Thursday, March 31, 2022

What's Saving My Life Right Now

 Earlier this week on Best of Both Worlds, the hosts shared what is saving their lives right now. I've been on the complaining side lately with all the early wake-ups, cold weather, and other challenges. And while I think it's important to "keep it real" around here, it's also kind of refreshing to think about the good things in my life right now! 

- Our gas fireplace. We converted our wood-burning fireplace to gas in early January and have used it a TON. It's probably been used almost daily since it was installed since we haven't had much warm weather. I've used it every night this week since it's been pretty wintery out there!

- Taking turns getting up with Will. Phil and I trade off morning duties. I did not do this with Paul even though I remember struggling with early wake-ups. I don't know why we didn't trade off, though! But once Will was weaned from breast feeding, we've been taking turns getting up with him. I'm pretty sure I suggested it, so it's a good reminder to ask for what you need instead of assuming your partner knows.

- Magnatiles and this chair, both of which were hand-me-downs from friends. The magnatiles have entertained Paul for HOURS. In this picture, he's building a house for the pound puppy Phil had as a child plus some Paw Patrol characters. He will happily play on his own with magnatiles. It's harder to find things that entertain Will, but he loves this chair. He likes climbing in and out of it and will try to do a somersault off of it with mixed success. 15-month olds are hard to entertain so anything that hold his attention for 5 minutes is a win!

- On that note, Paul's sudden but intense interest in coloring has been wonderful, too. It's another activity he'll happily do without much intervention from us. You can see from the picture below that he has to color EVERY SQUARE INCH of each page! Sometimes he'll ask one of us to color with him but it's an activity I don't mind! So I guess the theme of the last 2 life-saving things is things that captivate our children. 

- The library. I take home about 20 picture books/week and always have 2-3 eBooks checked out for myself. So far of the 27 books I read so far this year, 26 came from the library! I am glad that we have a wonderful library that is only about a mile away. I'm hoping to take Paul there soon. He hasn't been there since pre-covid since his mask adherence isn't great (he will wear it but then will often suck on the part by the mouth and probably touch it so overall, it's not very effective). But masks are no longer required so it feels like a good time to bring him. 

- Buying lunch one/day week now that I'm back to the office. I'm planning to write a post about the pros and cons of being back in the office, but one big pro is the treat of eating out once/week! I also treat myself to a weekly latte on a different day of the week. 

- Skyways walks on days I'm in the office. Since it's so dang cold here in Minneapolis, our downtown area has an awesome skyway system. You can get nearly anywhere without stepping foot outdoors! I try to take a 30ish minute walk at lunch time each day while listening to podcasts or an audiobook. It's very easy to hit 10k steps on days I'm in the office with a walk at lunch and the walk to/from the parking ramp. 

To give you an idea of how extensive the system is, here is a map of the skyway. The red lines are the skyways.

 - This may be controversial to say, but our son's iPad. We bought him a refurbished iPad for Christmas but he only gets to use it during quiet time on the weekends. It's loaded with an educational ap called ABC Mouse and the PBS Kids video and game aps. So I tell myself it's ok for him to have screen time since he only has access to educational things. Letting him have iPad time allows us to rest/get a break when Will takes his mid-day nap. I tried asking Paul to have quiet time in his room with toys but he wasn't great at staying in there. The iPad has solved this! When it's nicer outside, I'd like to do some big kid activities with him while Will naps, like going to a book store or the library or park, but for now, Phil and I need the opportunity to lay down and read/zone out/nap. 

- Hand-me-downs. We have been on the receiving end of so many hand-me-downs. I do not particularly care about whether my kids are fashionably dress. I favor function above all else - does it fit/is it comfortable/can they run around and play? That's all the really matters to me! Will seems to grow out of things so fast so it's nice to pull from the clothes Paul wore and not have to scramble to buy something when he changes sizes. Paul has moved into a new size, too, but I've been able to pull from boxes of stuff friends and my neighbor gave us. We are paying it forward by passing off hand-me-downs to others. In the photos below, Paul is almost 20 months and Will is almost 16 months. The outfit (which was purchased by my MIL in Europe!) was more seasonally appropriate for Paul as he wore it in October, but a shirt with a cat is always in style in this cat-loving house!

- Today is the last day of March which means we are one month closer to reliably good weather!! April may contain some snow but the average temps should be much better.

I could go on and on! Your turn - what's saving your life right now?

Monday, March 28, 2022

A Cold Winter-like Weekend

Burr. It's cold here. 19 degrees this morning which feels better than the last couple of days sadly. This is below average for Minnesota but at the same time not surprising? But after last weekend's gorgeous weather, it was hard to adjust to needing to put the kids in hats and winter coats! Have I mentioned how over winter I am and long the weekends feels when we can't get outside much?? This, too, shall pass but wow I am ready for warmer weather!

Friday was a quiet night for us. The boys had a long bath after dinner. They are quite the handful in the bath and it gets pretty loud but it's a good way to burn off some energy. 

We watched some March Madness basketball after the boys were in bed and were excited to see St. Peters beat Purdue - they are the first 15 seed to make it to the elite 8 and we were cheering for them. I love a good Cinderella story! They ended up losing to UNC on Sunday but it was fun to watch them go further than anyone expected. 

It was my turn to get up with Will on Saturday. He started crying on and off around 5 but I was able to leave him in his crib until 6. But of course I did not really sleep during that hour since he was cried periodically. Phil did his usual grocery shopping and we facetimed with my parents later that morning and got to see my niece who is visiting during her spring break. We spent a lot of time in the basement on Saturday since it was too cold to take the boys outside. I am so thankful that our house has a finished basement! Our last house didn't. 

Will loves this hand-me-down chair. His latest obsession is trying to do summersault off the chair!

My running partner was on call over the weekend (she's a pediatric urologist) and had to round on Saturday morning so we planned to run at 3 that day in the hopes the wind would have calmed and the temps would be warmer. That did not happen. It was still very cold and windy at 3 so we only ran 2 miles because it was just very unpleasant. Running in the wind is the worst!

On Saturday night, we had a friend over for dinner. I made enchiladas with leftover shredded pork that I'd made earlier in the week and Spanish rice. Our friend brought guac and a really delicious GF layered cake. Both boys enjoyed having a guest, but especially Paul! 

Phil got up with Will on Sunday - at 5:30 am. Bleh. I had been up with him during the night - I had to give him some motrin and rock him for awhile around midnight. The canines he is getting are really bothering him. 

Will's pose in this photo = how Phil and I feel

I took Will to swimming lessons that morning which he LOVES. I think he's going to be our water baby. Granted, Paul loved swimming lessons at this age, too, and I wonder what he'd be like now if we didn't have a 1.5 year break from lessons but we'll never know. Hopefully we can convince him to take lessons again in the future when he's a bit older/more rational. ;) He's a HARD NO on swimming lessons right now. But he will need to learn at some point because learning to swim is not optional in our family, especially with my parents living on a lake. 

Later that morning, I took Paul to the American Swedish Institute which is a museum not far from our house. They have an amazing play room for kids on the lower level. Apparently the theme of the play room changes based on the featured exhibit in the museum, so right now the theme is dragons. There was lots for the kids to do! They had costumes, dragon-themed books, a taco truck/kitchen area (we think this must have been inspired by the book "Dragons Love Tacos" which is a favorite in our house), and lots of dragon-themed play areas. 

Will took a 1.75 hour nap - shorter than we'd like but longer than Saturday's 1.25 hour nap... This adjustment to 1 nap is rough with these early wake ups! After his nap, we got out for a short walk/scooter outing. We were only out for about 20 minutes since it was pretty windy and cool, but we bundled the kids up in winter jackets. 

And then time stood still after that. I'm sure other parents can relate. I gave the boys another bath after dinner so that killed some time. But wow time can really crawl when you are cooped up most of the weekend. The play date on Sunday helped but we are all tired of being inside so much!

This week may feature freezing rain and possibly a sloppy snow storm. I'm really selling you on Minnesota, aren't I? I promise I'll be singing a different tune come summer and fall. I love love this state but wow do I hate our never-ending winters!! But in about 8 days, temps will rise to the 50s so things WILL get better. 

How was your weekend? What is the weather like where you live?

Friday, March 25, 2022


Happy Friday! It's a new month next Friday which I am happy about as we are that much closer to reliably nice weather!

The book I'm reading is The Day the World Came to Town. This is a non-fiction book about Gander, Newfoundland, where all the planes that were flying from Europe to the US on 9/11, but were too far into the flight to turn back when the US airspace was closed, landed. It is a really delightful book about how this little town opened their doors and their hearts to all the people who were stranded while the air space was closed and trying to come to terms with what was happening in the US. 

The high of my week was my dinner out with my good friend on Tuesday night. The restaurant we went to has small plates so we shared 4 different dishes. The food was so delicious and the conversation was even better! This was my 2nd time eating inside a restaurant in 2 years and it was delightful! 

The low of my week was our early wake-ups thanks to Will's awful sleep. One morning he was up at 4:45!! He's only napping once/day at school for a max of 1.5 hours so I don't think the early wake-ups are related to him getting too much daytime sleep. So teeth might be a factor, or it's part of the adjustment to dropping to one nap? I hope and pray he starts to sleep later soon. We are so very exhausted! In the meantime, Phil and I are taking turns getting up with him, although Phil doesn't get much of a "break" Tues-Thur since I need to be in the shower around 5:45...

A recipe I made was carnitas (pulled pork) in the instant pot using a Milk Street Kitchen recipe. We are still figuring out the right # of recipes/meals to make now that I'm back in the office 3 days/week. I'm pretty sure we are going to end up freezing most of the pork, which is fine as it freezes well.

A show we are watching is The Drop Out although now that we are caught up, we have to wait until the weekly episode drops. The show is fascinating. I read Bad Blood a couple of years ago, which I highly recommend, and also listened to the podcast that this show is based upon. 

For workouts I went for a delightful 4 mile run on Monday morning when it was in the 40s which felt sooo nice after doing lots of runs in the cold this winter. I also left work a bit early on Thursday to fit in a treadmill run at the office gym, I'll do a strength training workout this morning and then tomorrow I plan to run with my neighbor. We are doing a 10 mile race in 2 months so we need to start to increase our mileage. I'm thinking we'll do a 5-mile run tomorrow.

The best money spent was on dinner on Tuesday night!

My plans this weekend include nothing tonight, which is what I prefer for Friday nights! Tomorrow I am catching up with a friend I used to work with when I lived in Charlotte on Face Time and then we are having a friend over for dinner that night. Will has swimming lessons on Sunday morning and Paul and I are meeting some friends and their kids for a playdate later that morning. So a good amount of plans but all things I'm looking forward to.

Bonus Paul photo:

Phil assembled Paul's new bike over the weekend so he got to try it out on Monday after dinner. Since then it's been too cold or raining to ride it again but soon we'll have nice enough weather for post-dinner biking.

What was the high of your week? What recipe(s) did you make this week?

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Currently: March 2022

Turns out I haven't done a currently post since October! So here is what is currently happening in our world.

Reading: Invisible Child which is a heart-breaking book by a NYT reporter that chronicles the lives of a family living in poverty in Brooklyn. The book focuses on the oldest daughter of 8 children. I can't remember why I added this book to my holds list but I know I saw it on a lot of best-of lists. It's non-fiction but reads like a novel - but a sad novel given everything that happens to this family. I'm also about 40% through The Count of Monte Cristo. Overall I like the book but there are sections that really drag for me. I don't know if it's because I'm reading it in short snippets (I'm using the Serial Reader which breaks it out into daily readings) but I someone wonder - who are these people and why are we hearing about them?

Loving: the warmer weather we've had recently. The snow and cold is not fully behind us - we might get some snow this week, actually - but things are moving in the right direction! We were outside quite a bit this past weekend which makes a huge difference in my mood! I took Will to the park on Sunday afternoon and he loved swinging. And yes he's wearing footie pajamas in the photo below, in the middle of the day! I liked that I didn't have to worry about him taking his socks off during the walk and having cold feet. Paul was notorious for doing this and then I'd worry about what people thought when they saw our barefoot kid. If they had kids, they likely didn't think a thing because all kids seem to hate socks??!?! Even at age 4 Paul prefers to be barefoot, even in the dead of winter when I'm cold with thick wool socks on!

Feeling: pretty tired. Will has been waking around 5-5:30 for the last month and it's wearing us out! I don't know if it's teething or needing to drop to 1 nap or just a phase? I went back and read through a bunch of posts I wrote when Paul was around this age to see if this was a thing for Paul, too, but I didn't unearth any wisdom about what to do. We can't really let him cry when he wakes early since his room is next to Paul and he will wake Paul up and then we have 2 kids up way too early. We are going to try to drop to 1 nap/day at home on the weekends but I don't think that will work at school because they nap at 10 and 2 in his room and with a 5:15 wake-up, there's no way he can make it to 1 or 2 without napping... I keep telling myself that everything is a stage and it will eventually pass. 

Anticipating: a dinner out with a girlfriend tonight to celebrate her 40th birthday! We are going to one of my favorite places - Colita - which happens to be 2 blocks from our house! Everything on the menu is gluten free! The restaurant focuses on the Oaxaca region which features food that is naturally gluten free so the chef decided to lean into that so everything is gluten free. So I get to see what it's like for most people when eating in a restaurant! 

Struggling: with Will's sleep which I already mentioned above... I did a lot of googling around and it seems like teething *might* be the culprit but who knows. He just has 3 canines left and then will be done with teeth until he gets his 2y molars so the end is in sight! 

Grateful: that I am done nursing. I do wish I had known when my last nursing session was in the moment, but overall it's really nice to be done. Now Phil and I can both do bedtime (I always did bedtime when nursing since it didn't make sense to have Phil come up for the book reading/placing in the crib part since that took so little time). Plus I have a work trip at the end of April and while I was planning to wean him before that trip, it's nice to not stress about how to wean him. 

Working: on keeping up with workouts while back in the office 3 days/week. Morning workouts aren't possible for me, as I have to be up at 5:45 at the latest so we can be out the door at 6:50. Plus Will has been up early and working out while he's up doesn't work. So I've settled on getting 2 runs and 1 strength training workout in on Monday, Friday, and Saturday and I'm going to try to leave work a bit early one other day of the week to do a run outdoors or in the on-site gym. We'll see how this goes!

Listening: to Taylor Swift and Brandi Carlile when I'm in the car with Paul. Those are his favorite artists. He will request specific songs and knows a lot of the lyrics! I'm trying to turn him onto the Beatles by playing songs at dinner time but I haven't converted him into a fan - yet!

Watching: the new season of Top Chef. I have a text thread with 3 other friends who are very into the show. It's really fun to discuss it with other die hards! I'm also watching "A Million Little Things," "This is Us" and "Investing Anna" when I have the tv to myself as those are all shows Phil isn't into. Together we are watching "The Drop-Out" which is a documentary based on Elizabeth Holmes. It's really well-done!

Wishing: for a beautiful spring! Spring can be kind of disappointing here since we often get huge snow storms in March/April. But I'm holding out hope that we'll get a nice spring to offset the super cold winter we had.

What are you anticipating, struggling with, and grateful for?

Friday, March 18, 2022

Five Things Friday

 Hey hey, it's Friday! The weather forecast is looking great so I have high hopes for the weekend! Here are 5 things on my mind these days!

1. I upgraded my iPhone to the latest model - the 13. My iPhone 8 was over 4 years old and the battery was not holding a charge well anymore so it was time to upgrade. The activation process was a cinch! When I upgrade to the 8, the process was HORRIBLE. I use my phone for work and my company had some security wrap-around that made it difficult to transfer everything to the new phone. Luckily they changed their phone security so it did not impact the activation. So far I'm very happy with the phone - the camera is so much better! I need to play around with it a bit, but here are a couple of photos I took using the portrait mode. Paul so badly wanted to hold Will which is challenging since he's so wiggly - and not that much smaller than Paul!!

2. The weather has been WONDERFUL here this week. It's been in the 40-50s and the snow is really starting to melt. Plus with the daylight savings change, it's still light out after dinner so I was able to take Paul scooting after dinner one night. He was so happy! His helmet isn't buckled in the first picture below but I definitely buckled it before he started to scoot. Now that the weather is nicer, we ordered his bike and it arrived this week. He's been wanting a bike with pedals as he did not care for the strider/balance bike we got as a hand-me-down from the neighbors. He doesn't know that the big box sitting in our living room is a bike but he is going to be thrilled when it's assembled and ready to ride, hopefully this weekend!

3. This was week 2 of being back in the office and I was in 3 days - unlike last week when I was only in 1 day thanks to a stomach bug. Overall, it's gone pretty well. It is nice to see people in person and I've enjoyed buying lunch every day. Starting next week, I'll shift to buying one meal out and one coffee out. It's definitely harder to fit workouts in, but it's easier to hit 10k steps/day so hopefully it all evens out? I worked out on Monday, ran with my neighbor at 7pm last night, worked out this morning, and will run with my neighbor tomorrow morning. 4 workouts seems fine for this stage of my life. My company is providing memberships to the gym in our building, so I might try to go there one day/week or something like that. 

4. I am feeling a little bit weary, though, which is probably partially due to being back in the office in person but mostly due to Will's sleep. He's been waking up around 5-5:30. I thought the time change might help but it hasn't. We pushed his bedtime back to 7pm and he's napping for about 1-1.5 hours total at school (which is typical for our kids - they don't nap well in the infant room). I googled 15 month sleep regressions yesterday and it sounds like the culprit is teething. He's getting his 4 canines and wow they seem to bother him. He's pretty cranky in the morning and often doesn't eat well which is out of character for him.

5. We have one things planned/day this weekend which feels like about the right amount for us. Tomorrow we are going to a friend's house for lunch. Paul is SO excited to see her boys. They are older - 1st and 4th grade I think - and they are so sweet and really dote on Paul. On Sunday morning I have swimming lessons with Will. I'm hoping to spend lots of time outside since it will be in the 50-60s including a visit to the park hopefully.

Ok,  your turn! Tell me what's on your mind today!

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Pandemic Parenting

It's hard to believe that we've hit the 2-year anniversary of the start of the pandemic. The start of the pandemic feels like a lifetime ago. I mean, so much has happened since March of 2020 considering we have a 15-month old now! The Mom Hour podcast recently did a 2-part episode about pandemic babies - the first was focused on the babies; the second was focused on the mom. In these episodes, they share the experiences of the moms on their contributor team who have had babies in the last years. I highly recommend it, especially if you've had a baby in the last 2 years! 

As a way to memorialize my experience of having a child during the pandemic, I thought I would share my answers to the questions they asked. As a reminder, I got pregnant in March 2020, so my entire pregnancy took place during the pandemic. Will was born in December 2020 when our covid numbers were at their worst in our community. This past winter our numbers were higher than Nov/Dec 2020, but deaths were lower since 70+% of our state is vaccinated. So Will was born during the absolute worst stage of the pandemic here in Minnesota.

Baby-focused questions:

How was the first year of life different?

The biggest difference was how few people he met for the first months of life. My parents were here when he was born but they were the only people he met for the first 3 months of life. Friends and family would drop off food/gifts and we'd introduce him through our glass storm door, but that's as close as he got to others until family and friends were vaccinated. Because it's so cold here in the winter, introducing him outdoors just wasn't possible! He met my MIL in mid-March 2021 when she was 3 weeks past her 2nd dose of the vaccine. Once more friends and family were vaccinated, we started to introduce him to more people. 

Introducing Will to a friend through our storm door.

But besides that, his first year of life was not all that different from Paul's. 

How is his temperament different?

This is one of those questions that is kind of impossible to answer. He does have a very strong case of stranger danger and will only willingly go to me, Phil and his daycare teachers. Is this due to his personality or because we saw fewer people during the pandemic? We'll never know. I mentioned his stranger danger to his pediatrician at his 15-month appointment and she said it is completely normal and developmentally appropriate and that it will improve with time. 

Favorite memory of your pandemic baby's first year?

Introducing Will to Paul was very special. No visitors were allowed in the hospital due to covid, so Paul met Will when we got home from the hospital. He was so very excited!

It was very exciting to introduce him to family and friends as case rates dropped and family and friends were vaccinated. 

First photo with the grandparents - which he was not happy to take!!

Meeting his nanas for the first time - he met my mom when he was 2 days old and my MIL at 3.5 months

I think I will also always remember walking around Hyvee with him after I got my first dose of the vaccine! 

What will you tell your pandemic baby some day?

I am sure we will explain what the pandemic is and hopefully it's the only one we have to explain to him. We'll tell him how careful we were in an effort to minimize our chances of getting covid. 

Mom-focused questions:

What felt too hard/really hard?

I personally found being pregnant during the pandemic much harder than having a baby during the pandemic. A few "really hard" things come to mind to me. 

First off, I had to go to the 8-week ultrasound appointment alone due to covid protocols. We found out I had miscarried our last pregnancy (the previous October) at the 8-week ultrasound when there was no heartbeat. So I had a lot of anxiety going into the 8-week ultrasound for this pregnancy and so wished that Phil could have been there with me. I was able to facetime him into the appointment, but it's not the same as having your husband there to hold your hand. The ultrasound tech was the same person that did our last ultrasound for the pregnancy that we lost. She was so great and said she would tell me the instant she saw a heartbeat - and luckily she saw a strong heartbeat right away. 

The other aspect that was really hard was communicating the precautions we were taking to keep me and the baby safe to others that viewed the pandemic differently than we did. I get anxious and my heart kind of races all over again just thinking about the fall of 2020 and how difficult it was. I ended up seeing a therapist that fall which was very helpful. Phil and I were always on the same page about how we handled things and he was a great source of strength and a good shoulder to cry on. 

Were their silver linings?

Phil and I actually did not mind having visitors in the early weeks of Will's life. Phil's motto for visiting a family with a newborn is to "drop off some food and get the heck out of there!" So not having to juggle visitors was not the worst thing but we still were on the receiving end of lots and lots of meals - which is the best gift you can give new parents! Those early weeks are exhausting and it was my first time breastfeeding a baby (I pumped for Paul since he could never figure out nursing) so it was nice to have complete privacy and focus on adjusting to being a family of 4.  I was happy when I could introduce Will to more family and friends but appreciated those quiet early weeks. 

Also, I don't know that we would have gotten away with a 2-night stay after a C-section if not for covid. Our care team was totally on board with getting us out of the hospital asap, especially since it was my 2nd c-section. I had a 7-night stay when we had Paul for a variety of reasons so we were THRILLED to leave after 2 nights.

Lastly, I appreciated being able to WFH for all of my pregnancy and the first 15 months of Will's life. I could wear pregnancy leggings every day since no one sees your lower half on zoom! And not having to pump in the office was AMAZING! Lastly, the return to work was so much more gentle when WFH. I'm back to work 3/days week now, but I am glad that I can still WFH 2 days/week. Prior to covid, my company was NOT open to WFH. You could do it occasionally if you had an appt or something, but you couldn't consistently work from home. They have changed their view on WFH and I have the pandemic to thank for that! Phil also is able to WFH as much as he'd like - which for him tends to be 1-2 days/week. 

What did you miss out on or have to grieve?

Overall, I didn't really miss out on much since it was our second baby. I think having your first baby during a pandemic would have been harder since it was harder to do things like have a baby shower. 

What do you wish you could go back and tell yourself 2 year ago?

I wish I could tell myself that everything is going to be ok and that your family is going to stay healthy and happy. 


The last month or so has started to feel "normalish" for us now. We traveled to AZ, have started to see more friends, and ate in a restaurant for the first time on our AZ trip. Covid numbers have really declined here and there have barely been any cases at daycare so it feels like the worst is behind us - for now! And hopefully by this summer our kids will be eligible for the vaccine. We consider ourselves EXTREMELY fortunate to not have lost any family members or close friends to covid and I hope and pray that continues to be the case. 

I'll be forever grateful to the scientists that develop the vaccines and the healthcare workers, especially those on the front lines!!

Let me know if you have any other questions about having a baby in a pandemic! If you had a baby in the last 2 years, please comment and let me know how your experience differed from mine.

Monday, March 14, 2022

Toddler Will at 15 Months

Will turned 15 months about 2 weeks ago in the midst of all the fevers and such. This means he is fully in the toddler stage of life! He is a mover and a shaker and definitely keeps us on our toes. For a good stretch of time he was the easier kid to have around but wow has that changed!


- He went on his first family vacation! We traveled to Tucson, AZ in mid-February to visit my sister and her family. He handled the travel pretty well overall with the exception of gaining an hour! On this trip he had his first visit to a zoo but was fairly oblivious to it. He was in the stroller the whole time and was very content and I would take him out to point out animals to him but he's too young to really appreciate the zoo like his brother did!

- In the health department, he had his first allergic reaction (to amoxicillin), first visit to the ER, and first surgery. I would like to not repeat any of these things. 

Waiting in the pre-op room for his tubes procedures. The nurse said he was much happier than babies usually are when they haven't been able to eat and are in a strange environment.

Hanging out in our room at the ER where we found out he just had a terrible virus and it was nothing to worry about (we were there because he spiked a 104+ fever while on antibiotics)

The remnants of the horrible rash he got from the allergic reaction to amoxicillin and the resulting serum sickness

Words: He has been a bit delayed in the speech department, probably because he had a mild to moderate hearing loss from having fluid in his ears when he had ear infections. That should completely reverse now that he has tubes but we will get his hearing re-checked later this month. He says "hola" and "ma" which is how he says mas (the word for more in Spanish). He says about the same amount of words that Pablo did at this stage. Pablo also had tubes (at 9 months) so he was a bit delayed in the speech department. I also think going to Spanish Immersion daycare might impact their language acquisition as they are learning 2 languages. But none of this worries me because I know that Paul's language exploded between 1 and 2 and hopefully that will be the case with Will, too. I do find it a bit annoying that he can clearly say "ma" for more but will not say mama! Come on! He definitely charmed everyone at the doctor's office as he said Hola to everyone he saw. 

Growth: He weighed about 21 pounds and is almost 32". There is only an 8 pound difference between Pablo and Will so I think there is a good chance he will outweigh him in the next couple of years! He's around 30th percentile for weight and in the 70s for height. He has a very long torso! He wears mostly 12 month pants and 18 month tops and sleepers. 

Movement: He is not walking yet but our kids seem to be late walkers, probably thanks to their giant heads! He had a gross motor delay at 12m so we saw an OT for an evaluation and did 1 OT appt. He was referred because he was not pulling to stand and wasn't walking along furniture. As soon as he got his tubes, he started to pull to stand/walk along furniture. So I think the delay was related to feeling like crud! To get around, he scoots on hard surfaces and will crawl on carpet. I just need him to walk by 18 months so he can move to the toddler room, but he seems on track for that. Paul walked at 16.5 months so that is kind of my goal/hope for Will. His doctor wasn't at all concerned about him not walking and said winter babies in particularly tend to walk later because they are stuck inside more and aren't as motivated to walk as they would be if they were going to the park for example. 

- Crawling up stairs. He just figured out how to slide down the stairs this weekend, but he's not great at it. So our evenings/weekends consist of him crawling to the top of the stairs and us carrying him back down (which he usually strongly protests).

- Bath time. This kid LOVES water. I enrolled him in swimming lessons. We had to miss the first one last weekend since the roads were bad thanks to a combo of rain and snow but we got back on track and went to lessons yesterday and he LOVED it. He especially loved sitting on the edge of the pool and falling forward into my arms. 

- He likes walking behind his walker toy and gets faster every week.

- His brother. He is so enamored with Paul. No one can get him laughing like Paul can! 

Me and the mutual admiration club

Dislikes: diaper changes, long car rides, hair cuts (he's had 2 and SCREAMED through them) and he usually cries when we walk into his room at bedtime/naptime. He must have FOMO but once he accepts it's time to sleep, he usually goes down easily.

This kid LOVES food. I am amazed at how much he eats at times and his teachers tell us he is a great eater and will sometimes eat off of his friends plates. If he wants more during meal times he says "ma ma ma ma" and claps (doesn't quite get the sign for more, so he just claps). If you are eating someone around him, he will inevitably come over to you say and say "ma?? ma??" in the cutest little high pitched voice. He isn't very picky but his favorites are yogurt, graham crackers, berries, and banana pancakes with peanut butter. He will not drink milk, so we give him water in a miracle 360 cup. As I mentioned last week, I weaned him from nursing when I got the stomach flu. He was nursing quite a bit when sick (I would nurse him during the night when he had fevers), but was typically nursing twice/day until I dropped his morning feed the first weekend of March and then all feeds when I got sick.

He's a happy, smiley, sweet little guy that loves to laugh. He definitely seems more mischievous that Paul was! The last 3 months have been pretty brutal on the illness front. When I looked through photos from the last 3 months, there are so many pictures of me holding him while he is battling a high fever (he's had several over 104F!). I am hoping that we have a long, healthy stretch ahead!

Thursday, March 10, 2022

The Virus that Won't Quit

So much for Phil and I avoiding what the boys had. Turns out this virus has a very long incubation period as Phil got sick about a week after Paul. Phil started to not feel well on Monday afternoon/early evening. Just in time for my first day back in the office in 2 years on Friday! I debated staying home since Phil wasn't feeling well, but if I stay home when someone in my house isn't feeling well, I may never be in the office. Womp womp. Phil was feeling a little better on Tuesday morning so was able to help out with the kids. I didn't need my 5:45 alarm because Paul was up at 5:30. Luckily Will didn't wake up until I was out of the shower. I would have had to go get Phil otherwise (he slept in the guest room in the basement). 

We were out the door by 6:50 and drop off went pretty well, although Will has been crying at drop off which he usually doesn't do. I guess a week at home with mom and dad has made that transition hard for him. 

Phil asked if I wanted him to take a "first day of school" pic! But I took one myself in the bathroom at work. Here I am with my hair done and pants that button. Not an exciting outfit, but this is my typical look - fitted pants paired with a sweater. 

Here is my desk set up at work. Logging in went pretty smoothly. It was good to get my desk cleaned up. I disinfected it with Lysol wipes which can be found all over the office now!! 

The funniest thing I found was a card for a coworker who had a baby in Feb 2020. I guess we all left the office in such a rush that I did not get the card sent but they did get their gift. I texted him a photo of the card and signatures and he asked that I still send it to him. 

So all was going well until mid-afternoon when I started to feel nauseated. I wrapped up what I was working on and headed out around 3:15 to get the boys. We made it home with 5 minutes to spare before I threw up. At least it didn't happen in the car although before I left work I found a plastic bag in case I got sick in the car. 

I only threw up twice so it wasn't the worst bug, but I hate throwing up so much that 2 is still awful. Luckily Phil was on the upswing so he took care of the kids so I could lay down. I did try to nurse Will at bedtime but ended up getting sick again when I walked into his room so Phil took over bedtime. I took Wednesday off of work and slept for 5 hours straight that morning/afternoon. I was able to do more for the kids that night, but Phil was definitely the primary parent that night and did Will's bedtime again. 

I had been planning to wean Will from breastfeeding before a work trip in late April so decided this was a natural time to be done breastfeeding. I had dropped morning feeds last weekend and was going to drop night feeds in the next couple of weeks. But I am sure my supply is non-existent right now, which would have pissed Will off if he tried to nurse, so we are done nursing. I'm kind of sad that when I nursed him on Monday night at bedtime, I didn't know it was our last nursing session. I didn't exactly LOVE nursing. It was fine and I am glad it worked out and I didn't have to pump, but there were tender and sweet moments from nursing, especially when he was sick, so I will sort of miss it? But in life, there are often times when you don't know you are doing something for the last time. 

I'm back at work today, but working from home. I'm not 100% but feel much better than yesterday. I just hope no one at work gets this virus! Hopefully this is our last one for a long time? I've now had 3 stomach viruses, all of which involved me throwing up, in less than a year!

Monday, March 7, 2022

What We Read in February

Hey hey! I'm alone in my house for the first time since last Friday! Huzzah! After the longest, most endless stretch of illnesses - which luckily Phil and I miraculously dodged - the kids are both back in school. It's a big week for me as I return to the office tomorrow. Sob! I am honestly not very excited about it but hoping I feel good about it once I am back in the routine... But being showered/hair done/make-up on, packing a lunch, and being out the door by 6:55 each day sounds daunting! I've decided to cut myself a break this week and buy lunches. I can tackle packing lunches next week when I'm more used to leaving the house looking, well, professional! 

But back to the subject of this post - reading! February was another EXCELLENT month of reading! In general, my 2022 reading has been really great. I can't quite put my finger on why, though, but I think part of it is my recommendation sources have shifted slightly. I started to listen to 2 new-to-me book podcasts last year (Current Reading and Sarah's Bookshelves Live) and my reading tastes seem to be compatible with the hosts. I read 9 books in February, and my average rating was around 4 stars. Here is how my reading broke out. 

Excellent/Great Reads

Honor by Thrity Umrigar was a 5 star book. She is an auto-read author for me and her latest book really packs a punch. It's an extremely heavy topic (an honor killing due to a family member marrying outside of the family's religion). It was excellent. I also loved These Precious Days and Fight Night, but the other 2 were great as well. 

Just Ok

I felt men to just ok about the last 4 books. 


I also had my first DNF of 2022 - Wintering by Katherine May. I've seen this memoir recommended several places and it seemed like the perfect time to read it. But the tone of the book kind of bothered me from the start. It started at the beginning of the book where the author expresses frustration about having to leave the park (I think it was the park they were leaving?) because her husband is not feeling well. It turns out her husband has appendicitis. I just struggled to relate to being frustrated about leaving the park. We go to the park A LOT with young kids. I'm never frustrated to leave - my child is, but I'm not. And I would certainly not be upset if we had to leave because Phil felt awful. I just felt  like she was kind of uncaring towards her husband? I guess I would feel like an a-hole if I had to write out that I was upset about leaving the park and it was because ultimately my husband had appendicitis? If I am feeling annoyed toward an author, especially when it's a memoir, it's a sure sign that I need to abandon the book. Others have loved this book so I may be the outlier. Perhaps I sound like an a-hole for sharing my reaction to her reaction to her husband, but I thought it would be helpful to share what drove me to give up on a book. I'm trying to be better about abandoning books this year. Life is too short to read books that don't resonate with you. 

The boys' reading:

We've brought home some great books from the library lately! I borrowed an idea from fellow blogger, Elisabeth, and started a kid lit shelf on goodreads so I can keep track of what we've read and loved. These were the 4 favorites from last night. Shout-out to Elisabeth for suggesting the Dinosaur book. It was read multiple times and made all of us laugh! I think that was the only book I requested ahead of time - the other 3 were serendipitous grabs from the shelves. Zero was a funny book about the number zero. He's envious of the other numbers because they are worth something. As a math major, I really loved this book and Paul enjoyed it, too. I'm Sticking with You was a cute book about a friendship between a bear and squirrel. And Little Witch Hazel is a 4-part book that is pretty long, but something Paul really enjoyed. It features an owl which is an animal that Paul has loved from a young age. 

Will's interest in books continues to be a little meh, but he did say "ma ma ma" (how he says mas which means more in Spanish) when I read a book to him at naptime last weekend so it's good to see he can be interested in books. He's just not nearly as interested in books as Paul was at this age, so I worry I didn't read to him enough as a baby? Much of his reading was "second hand" while I read to Paul. But maybe it's just his temperament? Time will tell and we will keep trying to get him interested in books.

Did you read anything great in Feburary?

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Paul at age 4

Time for a more fun post after yesterday’s post about the illnesses plaguing our house! 

Paul is 4! I feel like we've been talking about his birthday for quite some time. He was way more excited for and aware of  his birthday than he has been in the past so that is a fun development. I feel like we are hitting the start of the sweet spot of parenting. Most of the behavior challenges we experienced around 3-3.5 have improved. He still will get upset at times, but nothing like the dysregulation we saw in the fall. I think I will start to plan some mommy/Pablo outings now that he doesn't need to nap and does so well when out and about! 

Growth: He's around 30 pounds and I am not sure how tall - probably around 41" or so? We'll find out at his well-child appointment on Friday. He's definitely petite for his age. I think the rule is that you need to be 40 lbs to move to a booster seat in the car and that feels like it's YEARS away for him! He is mostly wearing 2T bottoms but can still wear 18m shorts. He recently moved into 3T tops and pajamas. 

Words and phrases: He continues to be very chatty. I can tell that he picks up on things we say, especially Phil's common phrases. Often when we ask how his day at school was he will say "it was really busy!" The other night he was kind of hyper and was running around in circles and then stopped and said, "I got a little carried away." At dinner time when Will inevitably throws food on the floor, Paul will tell us, "He's just a baby!" 

He also has a great imagination. He still talks about his cat Jax who lives by a lake but also apparently has a house in California. Paul said he drives his convertible there to visit him and that Jax also drives a tiny car. He also pretends to be different animals, especially in the cat family like a cheetah. Much of his pretend play involves him being the daddy and me being the mama and Will being the baby. So last week, we were the mama and daddy birdies who went to find worms to feed to Will the baby birdie. 

Dressed up as Cat Boy, playing with his Cat Boy toy

Playing in his "space ship." This car seat box got a lot of use!


- He loves sledding and being outdoors. I can't wait for the weather to warm up so we can spend more time outdoors. There are a couple of sledding hills walking distance from our house so we sled when the weather isn't too cold. 

- He loves board games and has gotten really good at puzzles. He is so my child as he will tell Phil, "we do the edge pieces first, right mommy?" He has also gotten very into magnatiles which are the coolest toy!

- His favorite show is Wild Kratts. Of the shows he's watched on PBS, this is my favorite. He has learned so many facts about animals and often shares them with us. We got him a refurbished iPad for Christmas so he gets to play on that during quiet time on the weekends. He uses the PBS video and game aps and ABC Mouse. 

- He still loves to read and mostly reads picture books now. We did read our first chapter book around the holidays (Mr. Poppers Penguins) but he hasn't been interested in reading other chapter books. He understands the concept of the library and will tell me what books to request. He also enjoys the Highlights magazine that we get every month. 


- He got his own seat on an airplane for the first time on our Tucson trip. It increases the price of vacations but it's really nice for him to have his own space. He did excellent on the plane rides since he had his iPad and our flight to Phx had tvs with lots of movie and TV options.

- He moved into a big boy bed last fall. It was a tough transition and he still struggles with bedtime at times, especially on week days when he naps at school. He really doesn't need a nap so isn't as tired on those days which makes bedtime challenging. He helped pick out some new art work for his walls - we went with some dino prints and a painting of the solar system. I moved the art that was hanging above his crib to Will's room. He dropped his nap late last fall so spends quiet time in his room on his iPad.

Dislikes:  Being on someone else's schedule. Getting him out the door on weekday mornings can be kind of brutal!  

Eating: is pretty meh. We keep exposing him to things but there is no forcing this kid to eat something he doesn't want to eat. He has been willing to at least try things (but pretty much immediately spits it out) so I guess that is progress? His favorite foods are dino chicken (which have blitzed veggies in them), banana pancakes, cottage cheese, mac and cheese (although he is particular about the shape of the pasta - like he won't eat shells!), pizza, Cheerios, crackers, and cookies. So basically mostly carbs. 

School: He's in the same room at school as he was at 3.5 - the intermediate preschool room. We continue to be impressed by what he learns there. He can pretty much count to 100 (just has trouble with a few numbers like 80 and 90). He doesn't really speak Spanish at home but we know he understands everything. He used to struggle with drop off but now it is very easy and he doesn't cry or complain like he used to. We had his pre-K assessment this winter and he did great. I got to sit nearby while he did the assessment and it was easy to see what he did great at and what was challenging for him. It seems like numbers/math is his strength right now but we'll see if that continues to be the case!

Potty training: He night trained on his own this winter so that was nice as I wasn't sure how to handle that. He's been night trained for several months now and hasn't had any accidents. We thought he would have a hard time with it when traveling and sleeping in a new location but he didn't have any issues!

Big brother adjustment: he's adjust well to being a big brother. He can be a little rough with Will at times but I think that is to be expected. They don't play all that much together and the surest way to get Paul interested in a toy is to give it to Will! They play best during bath time although Will can get a little too wild for Paul sometimes! He is very sweet towards Will most of the time and I can't wait to watch their relationship develop.

In past posts, I talk about changes ahead but I don't anticipate any besides moving up to the Pre-K room at school this summer. The next big change is starting kindergarten but that's over a year away - but will probably be here before we know it!

That's Paul at 4! We feel lucky to have a happy, healthy, smart kiddo.