Monday, June 28, 2021

A Summer Lake Weekend

We had our first visit to my parents' lake home this past weekend and had a great time! We drove up after work on Wednesday night and that drive reminded me why we NEVER drive to the lake after work. It took 4 hours! Road construction is so bad in the summer and traffic is awful. Plus we had to make 2 stops - one stop so Paul could go to the bathroom and another stop to get Chick-Fil-A. At one point both boys were screaming/crying. Phil said he wondered if we were on candid camera or something. But we wanted to get to the lake that night so we could get to my grandma's early the next morning before it got too hot. We had to visit with her outdoors since our kids aren't vaccinated yet. 

Thankfully everyone slept pretty well on Wednesday night and woke up in a good mood. Will reacquainted himself with the swing. 

After breakfast we drove to my grandma's assisted living center which is about an hour away. I had not seen her since July 2019! So we were overdue for a visit. She enjoyed meeting Will and getting to know Paul as an older kiddo! As you can see in the photo below, some family members were more cooperative when it came time to take the picture. 

After we left my grandmas, we ended up stopping at walk-in clinic in Fergus Falls to get Will's ears checked. He has a nasty cold and had been fussier than usual and not sleeping great so I wanted to rule out an ear infection. The doctor said he had some fluid in his ears but he didn't feel the ears warranted antibiotics. I was relieved as I was having PTSD from all of Paul's ear infections (he had them non-stop from 5 months until he got tubes at 9 months). 

We got back to the lake after 1 so we let Paul skip his nap that day. It's nice that he's old enough to skip a nap. A lot of our friend's kids have dropped their nap but Paul really still needs it - which I'm happy about as it's nice to have a break on the weekend. Paul wasn't super interested in swimming but he had fun playing in the sand. And we dipped Will's feet in the lake for the first time. 

We also went on a boat ride. Will HATED the life jacket so it wasn't the most pleasant boat ride, but that's life with a baby.

We were happy to NOT get in a car on Friday after spending hours in the car on Wednesday and Thursday. Will spent some quality time with nana looking at a book on her iPad.

After breakfast, Paul had his first experience fishing! He has fed the fish crackers every spring/summer so he was excited to catch some fish. 

There are tons of fish at the end of my parents dock, so he caught about 15 total (all thrown back) between Friday morning and evening. He was very excited about his catches!

My sister and her 2 youngest kids arrived at lunch on Friday. We hadn't seen them since January 2020! She enjoyed lots of baby snuggles and her kids were SO GREAT with Paul. We let Paul skip his nap again so he could maximize the cousin time. The weather that day was absolutely perfect - 80 degrees, not too humid, and no wind. We were all outdoors for the whole day so Paul was very tired by the time bedtime rolled around.

We woke up to windy, rainy weather on Saturday morning but we are in the midst of a terrible drought so I was not sad - plus we were planning to leave after lunch that day. It's so much easier to leave the lake when the weather isn't great!

We'll be back for a longer stay in August and my younger sister will be there with her little baby! I'm looking forward to meeting my little niece and getting time with my sister and her husband!

How was your weekend? Has it been a hot, dry spring/summer where you live? We finally got some rain over the last few days. I've never experienced such a HOT, dry month of June. We've had so many days over 90 degrees. I like hot weather but June has been a bit much for me so hopefully July is less intense.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Currently: June 2021

Whew, June is already half over! The days are long but the months and years feel short, especially in this stage of life with 2 young kids. Here is what is currently going on in our world.

Reading: The same non-fiction books as I was last week (The Positive Enneagram and How to Talk so Little Kids Will Listen) and I just started 'Good Company' by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney which is another book from the Modern Mrs. Darcy summer reading guide. I'm finding that I don't love reading multiple books at the same time so will avoid it going forward. But I wanted to get the book club book read well before the deadline (I don't like feeling like I'm cutting it close) and the Little Kids Will Listen book is a library book so I needed to get it back within the 3 week lending period. 

Loving: Will's stage. He's so smiley, happy and easy-going. Stranger danger has set in, which is developmentally typical. So he does not want to be held by anyone besides mom and dad. He does fine at daycare and is super happy there, but when we have family and friends over, he will no longer let them hold him without him screaming. :( 

Feeling: tired. Paul has started to wake up occasionally - I think he's hitting the stage where he starts to have vivid bad dreams. It's tough to get him back in his crib/back to sleep when he wakes. Add in the baby waking and some nights can be really rough. Will's naps can be short and unpredictable so I'm usually not able to nap on the weekend either so I just feel tired all the time right now! I remind myself that this is a stage and I won't feel like this forever, but it's tough when you are in the middle of it!

Anticipating: visiting my parents next weekend at the lake and seeing my 98yo grandma for the first time in almost 2 years!! We usually see her at the lake in the summer but that couldn't happen last year due to covid. I'm excited to introduce her to Will, plus Paul has changed SO MUCH since she last saw him! It will be great to get some time with my parents and the weather looks like it will be great! My dad got a fishing rod for Paul so we'll try fishing and see what he thinks. There are tons of fish by my parents dock. He usually feeds them crackers so we'll see what he thinks of catching them! My parents are super hands on with the boys so I know they'll give us a break to lay down during the day, etc. 

Struggling: with toddler emotions. Oof 3 is a tough age. 2 was much much easier so I'm not sure why it's referred to as the 'terrible 2s' as all my friends say 3 is worse than 2. 

Grateful: that we've been able to see more family and friends in the last month or so! That is what I missed most of all during the pandemic!

Working: out pretty consistently for the first time since when I got pregnant with Paul! I try to run 2-3 times/week - those runs are still run/walk intervals but I'm gradually increasing the amount of time I run. And then I do 2-3 21 day fix workouts. I like that they are 30 minutes long so easy to fit into the day. 

Listening: to podcasts as usual. I've also converted Paul into a Brandi Carlile fan! She is my all-time favorite artist so I'm glad he likes her music, too. His favorite song is "Hold Out Your Hand" from her latest album. It has some clapping section so that is why he likes it.

Watching: Top Chef on my own and season 7 of Alone with Phil. 

that our weather wouldn't be quite as intensely hot! We've had a lot of 90+ degree days with high humidity. I know this is the norm for many parts of the country, but our winters are so horrible so we look forward to summer days. And many days have been too hot/humid to have our kids outside. Hopefully things normalize soon!

Bonus Paul and Will Photos:

He's pretty much always smiling!

Working on tummy time. He is really trying to crawl but has a ways to go before that will happen!

First day of swimming lessons. This was as close as he got to the water unfortunately. He spent most of the lesson sitting by me or next to the pool. His teacher said this is normal, especially after a long gap in lessons. Hopefully he is willing to participate soon.

What are you loving, anticipating and grateful for?

Friday, June 11, 2021


Happy Friday from the land of hot, humid, Florida-like temps. We are in the midst of a horrible stretch of hot weather - like too hot to be outside. Minnesotans live for our summers since we put up with awful weather in the winter so this is just depressing! So I don't have anything positive to say about the weather but hopefully this passes soon!

The book I'm reading is The Last Exiles by Ann Shin. This is a fiction novel set in North Korea. It's in the Modern Mrs. Darcy Summer Reading Guide. Her picks are almost always a hit so I think it will be good! I'm also reading The Positive Enneagram by Susan Rhodes. This is our June book club book. One of our members is friends with a therapist who is an enneagram expert so she is going to join our book club discussion. I think the enneagram is FASCINATING so am looking forward to that discussion! And lastly, I'm also reading How to Talk so Little Kids Will Listen by Joanna Faber and Julie King. It's RARE for me to have 3 books going, but I'm reading about a chapter/day of the 2 non-fiction books so it's manageable. 

The high of my week was getting together with my first time mama group at a brewery! We hadn't seen each other since last fall when we met at a park. It was great to catch up and talk about our kiddos while sipping a cool beverage (I had a delicious mojito hard seltzer!). 5 of us the 8 of us were able to make it. We are hoping to get together again soon with our kiddos. 7 of us still live in the Twin Cities area so if we all make it, there would be 14 kids as we've all had 2 kids!

The low of my week was dealing with MORE sickness. Will had high fevers over the weekend but I assumed it was a reaction to his 6 month vaccines that he got on Friday. I thought it was odd that he had such high fevers (102-103) after barely reacting to the 2m and 4m shots. Plus he got one less shot at 6m. Then on Tuesday we got a call from daycare saying he had broke out in this rash. I got an appointment to take him in that afternoon but also uploaded the photos to MyChart and sent them to his pediatrician. Within an hour, she called me to say this was textbook roseola which is a very common virus that most kids get by the time they turn 2. By the time they get this rash, they are no longer contagious or sick. He was in great spirits that day but oof he looked rough as it was also on his face. You guys, I can't handle any more sickness in our house! But Paul started to sound congested again on Wednesday so I fear he is getting another cold! We've had 3 bad ones since mid-April. Sob.

Real life: do you see those dark circles under my eyes? I am exhausted and in dire need of a good night of sleep.

A recipe I made was shrimp tacos using this recipe. I intended to grill the shrimp, onions and peppers in a grill basket on the grill but it was 95 degrees and humid the night I planned to make this and I could not handle standing in front of a hot grill. So I sautéed them on the stove top. 

A show we are watching is Shrill on Hulu. I'm kind of surprised Phil likes this as it's very female-centric but it's something we are both enjoying. I also watched the latest season of Master of None on Netflix. Phil and I watched the first 2 seasons but he wasn't interested in this one as it's very very female-centric and deals with things like fertility and IVF. But I really enjoyed it.

For workouts I have been going for walks and doing 21 day fix workouts. It is so gd hot here right now and doesn't cool off overnight. So it's 75-80 degrees and humid when we wake up and it's just too unpleasant for me to go out and run in that kind of weather. If I could get up and run at 6am, I could probably go for runs, but it doesn't work to do that in this stage of life with me breastfeeding Will. So I am just taking a little break from running until the temps normalize. We have had temps in the 95+ range and it was even 100 last weekend which is NOT TYPICAL for June in Minnesota. I'm sure there are runners who would still run in this kind of weather but it's not worth it for me.

The best money spent was on seltzer and fries at the brewery! I hadn't had fries in so long as that is something I never order for take out since they tend to get soggy fast. Those crisp salty fries sure tasted amazing!!

My plans this weekend include laying low tonight. Tomorrow morning my aunt and uncle are coming over to meet Will! This is the aunt and uncle that we are super close to but we have not seen them since before the pandemic. I have referred to them as my "St. Paul parents" and my aunt is my "Julia Child aunt." Although we have not done a Julia Child night since I had Paul - not sure when we will pick that tradition back up (it's really labor-intensive so tough for my current stage of life). On Sunday morning, Paul has his first swimming lesson of the season. I'm planning to take him and hope it goes well! Then on Sunday afternoon, Phil's aunt and cousins are coming over to meet Will. We are grilling brats and will have some salads and beans and such - so a low key bbq. It's going to be HOT again so I don't know how much time we will spend outside. I'm glad our backyard is shaded in the afternoon so we have that as an option for those who can handle the heat. 

Bonus Paul and Will photos!

Practicing wearing his swim goggles! We'll see if he keeps these on during lessons...

Working on tummy time!

Our smiley guy!

Brother love

How was your week? Is it super hot and humid where you are? I love summer but this is INTENSE.

Monday, June 7, 2021

Baby Will at 6 months

Will is a half year old! It's kind of crazy that we are half-way through the first year of his life, but also great because the first year is especially taxing for the mama! He seems like a completely different baby compared to 4 months. He is so happy and easy-going. He'll whine a bit if he's tired of bouncing or laying on the exercise mat, but besides that, he really barely cries. 

Growth: He weighed 16 pounds and was 27.25" at his 6-month appointment. So he's closing on how big Paul was at a year - Paul was about 17.5 pounds and 28" at a year. It's so fascinating how different kids can be. Will seems so big but is smaller weight-wise (15th percentile). He's 80th for height, though, so longer than average. It's been very nice to not worry about his weight gain like we did with Paul. And Will has overall been healthier. Paul got his first ear infection around 5 months and had an infection until he got tubes at 9 months. Will has had a few colds but no ear infections so fingers crossed we avoid that issue!

The photo below shows how much bigger Will is than Paul! They are both 6 months in the photo below! Genetics are fascinating. It’s crazy that 2 kids from the same parents are sooo different!


He really likes laying on blanket and playing with his toys. He's especially happy when he's only wearing a diaper! It's been pretty hot/humid here lately so we let him just wear a diaper when it's super warm out. 

He really loves his big brother Paul. He is so entertained by him and gives him the biggest smiles! 

He weighs enough for his feet to touch the ground in the jumper so he has started to enjoy this toy although he doesn't quite get how to bounce. 

He hangs out in the bouncy seat when we eat meals and can now bounce himself by moving his legs up and down! 

He also loves bath time! He loves to splash with his legs. It will be nice when he can sit up. Right now he wiggles and wiggles so I have to keep putting him back up on the net that he lays on. 

Dislikes: really not much! He is very happy in general and only cries when he's tired of whatever he's doing, on his tummy for too long, or over-tired. He also cries when he gets overwhelmed by too many new people. He does great with 1-2 new faces but a couple of times we've had bigger groups over (baptism and when my 3 college friends came with 3 of their kids) and boy did he let us know it was too much for him! He adjusted quickly in both cases. I can't blame him for having that reaction as he's a pandemic baby that's barely seen anyone besides his immediate family!


He's big enough for the double stroller so we've gotten some use out of this hand-me-down. He doesn't look very happy in this photo but he has been enjoying stroller rides with his big brother!

He got his first tooth and I think the other bottom one will push through soon, so he drools like crazy and loves to chew on anything - teething toys, his fingers, your fingers!

Of course the biggest first was starting daycare when he was just shy of 5 months. He has had a very smooth transition to daycare and seems very happy there. His teacher told us he is the easiest baby in the room and only cries when hungry or tired. 

Feeding: He continues to eat well and is clearly gaining well! We are starting solids now that he is 6 months and will start with some oatmeal cereal and will try some purees, too. I would like to do some baby led weaning (give him chunks of food to chew on) but he needs to sit independently. He's not quite there yet, though, so needs to stick to purees for now. 

Sleeping: He is sleeping much better these days compared to when I wrote the 4-month post. He is usually only up once a night which is totally manageable for me! He finally dropped down to 3 naps from 4 which I much prefer. I look forward to when he is down to 2! His naps have started to improve recently, too. They are so so at school, which is to be expected, but at home he'll usually take 1 hour+ nap, sometimes 2.

Mama: I'm continuing to feel pretty well overall. I've been able to be much more active since going back to work as I can fit in runs and workouts during my work day when I have downtime. That's the biggest perk to WFH for me! Overall my return to work has been great! It's so much easier than when I went back after having Paul. It helps to know what to expect having gone through all of this before. I don't stress over how much Will is sleeping at daycare because I know it won't impact his nighttime sleep. And he is just so happy when we pick him up so I don't feel very guilty about sending him to daycare. It really makes you make the most of your time together on the weekends, so I probably spend more time laying on the floor playing with him or doing other things than I did at the end of my maternity leave.

I'm still seeing a pelvic floor PT which has been super helpful - highly recommend seeing one after having a baby! I was seeing her weekly but am dropping to every other week this month and then will hopefully drop down to once a month!

My RA is not great, though. I can't get off steroids as I get flares when I try to taper down - and even have flares while on steroids. I switched to a different injection (Humira instead of Enbrel) and will give it 3 months and then reassess what to do. My optimal drug combo is not safe for breast feeding so if Humira doesn't work, I'm considering weaning Will so I can get back on my ideal combo (methotrexate and Enbrel) and get off steroids. I was hoping to breastfeed for 1 year, but I'm weighing what's more important - making that goal or being in better health/off prednisone? My rheumatologist said she's not thrilled with me being on a decent dose of prednisone for over a year (I was on from about 28 weeks on during pregnancy) but it's also not the biggest deal if I stay on it until Will turns 1 and weans. Decisions, decisions. 

Pablo: continues to do really well with Will overall. He definitely shows his jealousy from time to time - like he does not like it when I play peekaboo with Will as that is "his" game and he will get mad when I read "his" books to Will. I try to involve him as much as I can so he feels part of the fun, but that doesn't always work. Phil and I both try to get one-on-one time with him, too, and I remind him that Will goes to bed earlier so he gets mommy and daddy to himself for the last hour or so of the day. But 3 year olds are not rational so that only helps so much! 

I'm looking forward to the 2nd half of his first year of life. The first 6 months are not my favorite with all the sleep deprivation and such! 

Friday, June 4, 2021


Happy Friday from hot and humid Minnesota. Our weather is truly so weird in the Midwest. We can go from -30F windchills in the winter to upper 90s w/ high humidity in the summer. Our high today is 97! Where else has such a wide range of temperature extremes? I don't love this hot and humid weather but I'm trying not to complain and am thankful we have air conditioning and ceiling fans in our bedrooms!!

The book I'm reading is The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth. I loved the author's previous book, The Mother-in-Law, and so far it seems like I am going to love this one, too!

The high of my week was getting my hair cut on Tuesday afternoon! I hadn't seen my hair girl in about 7  months so was long overdue for a trim and color. Seeing her is like catching up with a really good friend. She's been doing my hair for over 15 years I think! Phil had told Paul to compliment my hair when they got home from school. Good coaching by dad! It won't look this nice until my next haircut which will probably be in the fall!

The low of my week was being sick again with another cold! Gosh we just cannot catch a break. And of course it takes me longer to get over everything since my immune is suppressed thanks to a couple of drugs I am on for my RA. The boys had milder versions of this cold than the adults so that is a good thing - especially for the baby. But I had several nights of really poor sleep! 

A recipe I made was Greek turkey burgers. I use this recipe but use Turkey instead of lamb and skip the sundried tomatoes as we aren't a fan of them (I love tomatoes but don't like sundried tomatoes - weird huh?). We enjoyed this with some grilled asparagus. No picture unfortunately! I highly recommend this recipe. It's something we make about monthly during grilling season. Sooo good!

A show we are watching is nothing right now - we haven't found something we both want to watch. But shows I'm watching on my own are Top Chef and A Million Little Things. Both are coming to an end soon which is fine as I don't get much time alone to watch TV. 

For workouts I went for a couple of walks on Sunday and a nice longer (for me) run on Monday morning. Then my cold hit that night and I have taken it easy since then to let my body rest/recover.

The best money spent was on some goggles for Paul's swimming lessons that start next week. A commenter asked where we go when I posted about our plans to get him back in lessons. He goes to Foss Swim School. They just opened a new location that is even closer to us! Yay! Paul started lessons around when he turned 1. Lessons at that age are about giving them familiarity/comfort with water. They are not going to learn to swim obviously, but they do learn how to crawl out of the pool. It's pretty amazing how quickly they can learn to hold onto the edge and pull themselves out on their own. Paul is a more cautious kid so early exposure is important for him. I am going to guess that Will is going to be less cautious based on his personality so far, but we'll still get him started on lessons around when he turns 1. Foss does an excellent job. It's pricey, but you get more lessons/session than places like the Y and the pool is heated to something like 90 degrees so it's very comfortable for the kids (and mom - I'm in the water with them when they are under 2.75 years). And yes, we had to assess the covid risk, but with both of us vaccinated and case rates so low here, we felt it was time to get Paul back into swim lessons. I will wear a mask when I watch Paul at lessons to give myself some extra protection.

My plans this weekend include seeing my college friends on Sunday afternoon for a pizza party. After not seeing them for 8+ months it is so nice to get able to get together again! Our attendance at the pizza party will be pretty brief since Will can only handle about 3 hours of being away before he starts to melt down a bit! It's going to be very hot and humid here so I am hoping to hit up the wading pool at our local park with Paul - and maybe with Will if his wake windows line up with when I'd want to take Paul there. We'll see. This is the tricky part about having a young baby who naps times/day and doesn't nap on the go anymore.

Bonus Paul and Will photos!

Our  happy boy in a nautical outfit.

Happy baby doing the happy baby yoga pose! 

Pablo loves to collect leaves and other debris in his sand toy buckets. We are working on getting him to not dump it on the lawn, though! 

How was your week? Are you reading anything good or watching any good shows?

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

What We Read in May

Happy Tuesday! I came down with yet another cold last night so am dragging a bit today. This is my 3rd cold since early April plus I had the stomach flu. Ugh. This one major downside to people being out and about more! It doesn't help that my immune system is suppressed by several drugs I'm on, so it takes me longer than everyone else in my house to get over these bugs. Womp womp. 

But on a positive note - books! I finished 9 books in May and really enjoyed most of them!

Mom's reads:

This first pic features my favorite books of the month. Between Two Kingdoms is a memoir about the author's battle against cancer in her early 20s and then adjusting to life after cancer. This was my best read of the month and was so well written!! Group was another memoir I enjoyed. The author shares her experience with group therapy. I'm impressed by how honest and vulnerable the author was. Felix Ever After was my book club book for May - it's a YA novel about a transgendered teen. Everyone liked it and we had a great discussion. Gilead was a re-read for me. I read it when it was a new release and didn't love it as I think I was too young to appreciate that style of writing (it's very much character-driven with no plot). Long Bright River was a darker mystery about a police detective's search for her younger sister who struggles with addiction. 

This next batch of books ranged from pretty good to just ok. Mergers and Acquisitions was my least favorite read in May. Her tone rubbed me the wrong way at times. 

The Boys' Reading:

I didn't get many reading pics of the boys this month! Below, Will is sort of holding onto a baby faces book. He really pays attention to books when you read them. His favorite bedtime book is "Barnyard Dance" by Sandra Boynton! 

I picked up some library books for Paul when I grabbed a hold last week and our favorite was "I Found a Kitty." It is a really cute book about a dog who finds a kitten and tries to find a home for it. I requested the author's other book, "Can I Be Your Dog?" since this was such a hit with Paul! We also really enjoyed a book called "Daddies Do" which seems like the perfect read with Father's Day coming up!

What was the best book you read this month?