Thursday, January 28, 2016

Florida Vacation 2016

Last week, Victor, Max, and I headed to Florida with Victor's parents for a week-long vacation near St. Pete's Beach. Victor had never been to the gulf side of Florida before, so he wanted to check it out. I have cousins and an uncle who live in the Tampa area, and luckily I got to see two of my cousins while we were there...I haven't seen them since our grandma's funeral in September 2013 (we were supposed to see all 4 of my cousins and my uncle for my uncle's birthday dinner, but we had to skip town early to be home in time for #blizzard2016, so we missed seeing some special people). While it wasn't the warmest weather I've seen in Florida (windy with temps in the 50s and 60s most of the week), we still had a fantastic time in the Sunshine State.

Since we didn't have great beach weather, we took time to explore the St. Pete's Beach, Tampa, and Clearwater areas. There's so much to see and do in the Tampa area, so if you've never been, I highly recommend a visit...although maybe go when it's a bit warmer so you can enjoy the beautiful beaches!

And now, as is required after a family vacation, here comes the photo dump.

"Big plane!" He was fascinated.

Praise the good Lord, he napped on the flight! And needed to touch his little nose.

We got Max his own rolling suitcase for Christmas. We travel a lot, and we figured he might enjoy being responsible for his own luggage at the airport. Let me tell you, this thing was a hit! He's had buckets of fun over the past month pulling it all around the house, but it was even more fun at the airport. He is at the age now where he's not a big fan of the stroller (which he *loudly* made known while we strapped him in to get through check in and security), but once we got through security, we let him pull his suitcase through the airport. He thought he was hot stuff!

We saw beautiful sunsets every night from our condo.

This was the only beachy day we had, and it was our first full day there. That night, we got some wicked thunderstorms that woke Victor and I up at 3 AM. Crazy wind and rain. There were even some tornadoes nearby. Yikes!

Seagulls love Cheerios. Just ask this guy.

Max loved chasing the seagulls.

We stumbled upon a Maryland-themed restaurant on St. Pete's Beach, called Brass Monkey.

Max's diet consisted mostly of French fries that week. If he sees a fry, all bets are off. That's all he wants.

Another beautiful sunset

1 day shy of 22 weeks

Max would chase the birds into the water, then yell, "No! Cold!"

Our little beach bum. He loves the sand!

Last sunset
We had a wonderful time, and even though it wasn't the warmest while we were there, it sure beat the single digit temperatures they were having back home in our absence! Our week of fun in the sun helped prepare us for the blizzard that we returned home to, as well!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Recipes That Rock | Nutella Hot Chocolate

This wintery weather has me craving all the cozy things, and hot chocolate is no exception! I enjoy a Swiss Miss hot chocolate packet as much as the next person, but when I came across this Nutella hot chocolate recipe a few weeks ago, I knew I had to give it a try! Luckily I had a jar of Nutella in my pantry just waiting to be scooped into!

If you love Nutella as much as I do (and I love it A LOT. On our honeymoon in Paris, my breakfast every day was a croissant with Nutella), you NEED this hot chocolate in your life! It's simple and only requires 3 ingredients (although 1 could probably be eliminated) and your stovetop.

Nutella Hot Chocolate
Yields one monster mug (or two small-ish mugs) of deliciousness

  • 1 . 5 cups milk (I used almond milk)
  • 3-4 tablespoons Nutella (depending on how chocolatey you want it)
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla (this is the possibly unnecessary ingredient)
  1. Heat 1/2 cup of milk and Nutella in a small saucepan on medium heat. Whisk until well-blended.
  2. Add vanilla.
  3. Add remaining milk and turn up heat slightly. Whisk constantly until warmed through.
  4. Pour into mug(s), top with your choice of toppings, and enjoy!
Of course I have an Ellen mug
Now just make sure your pantry is always stocked with Nutella in these cold winter months, and you'll never be without this scrumptious warm treat!

Good to the last sip!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Blizzard 2016

As you may have noticed, things have been pretty quiet over here on the blog for the past week. That's because Victor, Max, Victor's parents, and I traveled to the Tampa area of Florida for a little mid-winter vacation. I'll post more on that later this week. Perhaps more notable is the fact that we cut our trip short by 2 days so we could make it home in time for #Blizzard2016.

Beautiful sunsets from our condo each night

Yes, we realize that we may have been crazy to leave the *slightly* warmer Florida weather (it was only in the 50s and 60s while we were there) to come home to a huge snowstorm, but we had our reasons. We switched our flight from Saturday to Thursday, giving us time to get home and hit the grocery store before the snow started Friday afternoon.

We jumped outside to take some pics as the snow started falling, and then we sat at home as Mother Nature dumped upwards of 30 inches of snow in our yard over the course of 34 hours (it snowed nonstop from Friday afternoon till late Saturday night). That's over 2.5 feet of the white fluffy stuff. Guys, don't get me wrong, I love snow, but this is excessive. I think we got an entire winter's worth of snow in one day. Good thing it's pretty.

This was around 2 pm on Friday Jan. 22

Thankfully, we never lost power, which was a big fear due to the forecast high winds. We watched movies, played in the snow, had some family jam sessions with Max's collection of instruments, and Victor did lots of shoveling and snowblowing. I stayed inside and did laundry, cooked meals, and baked banana bread. I honestly would've loved to help shovel and put in some manual labor/burn some calories (seriously, that's a lot of snow for Victor to move by himself), but I've been put on restricted activity orders due to my low-lying placenta. No heavy lifting or strenuous activity for this mama!

This was around 10:40 am on Saturday, Jan. 23.

In the end, it was good that we came home early to prepare for the snow. We have a clear-ish driveway, we had fun family time together, and we got to play in the winter wonderland before it got to be too deep to enjoy (seriously, it's kind of no fun now. As I said earlier, excessive).

Sledding isn't quite the same in so much snow, but Max doesn't know any better, so it's all fun for him.

We ventured out on the roads this morning to see how the town looked. We live on a main road, so our street was plowed early on. However, this morning, we noticed that several neighborhoods and side streets haven't even seen a plow yet, so their residents are still very much snowed in. The roads are looking ok, but a lot more work still needs to be done to get back to "normal." After seeing what the roads look like today, I think I'll wait until Wednesday or Thursday to venture out by myself with Max.

If you found yourself in Snowstorm Jonas' path last weekend, I hope you're warm and safe with your loved ones! If you were far away from the snow, enjoy living life normally this week!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Oh hey, Friday! | 5 ways my kid avoided sleeping Wednesday night

Hellooooooo Friday! This has been quite a week, with Wednesday marking 8 years since my dad passed away AND the day we found out we were having a baby girl! Wednesday was also made eventful by Max's bedtime avoidance antics. He usually goes down pretty well for bed, and the most he's done in the past to avoid being put in his crib is request that I read him more books (we could have worse problems, I suppose). 

Wednesday night, though, he pulled out all the stops. I have no idea why he was such a stinker about bedtime that night (he tried more of these tricks at naptime Thursday). By the time I headed back downstairs after getting him into his PJs and going through our normal bedtime routine, it was 9 PM. And between the hours of 9:01 and 11 PM, this is what he did:

  1. Unzipped his pajamas. Over. and over. and over again. And every time, he would continually shout "Uh oh!" until I came to zip him back up. He kept trying to unzip them as I rocked him, so I changed him into less-warm, two-piece pajamas and socks...then cranked the heat a few degrees so he wouldn't be too cold.
  2. Requested a drink of water. Much like unzipping his PJs, he also requested water a bajillion times. This was pretty cute, though, because he won't say the word "water." He signs for it in his adorable "sign-slang" by poking his chubby little pointer finger into his chin/cheek. He could be whining, crying, or babbling and then get completely silent to sign for water. Cracks me up every time. 
    This is the correct sign for water. via
  3. Asked to kiss my belly/the baby. This is also pretty cute. However, according to Max, the proper way to kiss the baby is for me to lift my shirt up so he can kiss my bare belly skin. And then he snuggles with my belly.
  4. Whine-yelled at the door. This drives me bananas! I don't know who taught him this, but good LORD it's annoying. He stands in his crib (with Curious George tucked under his arm), faces the door, and shouts, "Eh! Eh! Eh! Eh!" over and over again until my head virtually explodes. He doesn't do that any other time but bedtime or naptime. Seriously...who taught him that?!
  5. Wanted the Twilight Turtle on...then off...then on. When Max gets upset these days, he can't seem to figure out what he wants. He points at something or says something, so I get/do said item/task, then he freaks out and doesn't want me to get/do that thing/task. I guess he's so distraught he can't make up his mind. Wednesday night, he wanted the stars on, then off, then on, then off. Good grief, kid! 
And to add insult to injury, he woke up at 2 AM and did many of the same things listed above for another 30 minutes. I gotta tell ya, poorly-sleeping toddlers are WAY worse than newborns who wake up every 2-3 hours a night. At least a newborn usually just needs to eat or be changed to be happy again and go back to sleep. With a toddler, you never know why the heck they're awake, nor do you know what's going to get them to go back to sleep.

Linking up with
Karli at September Farm
Amy at The Farmer's Wife

Thursday, January 14, 2016

And baby #2 is...

...a baby. Just kidding. No really, it is a baby. And a healthy one, too, praise the Lord. We were worried that we wouldn't be able to find out the gender yesterday at our anatomy scan when the ultrasound tech said the baby wasn't in the best position to get the images she needed. But then she had me turn on my side to get the baby to flip.

And then, completely nonchalantly, she said, "Ok, that's a girl."

Victor didn't even hear her. He was helping Max name the animals in the video he was watching.

"Babe, it's a girl!" I announced. "Max, you're going to have a baby sister!"

"What?! A girl?!" Victor consulted the screen. "Man, last time I thought it was a girl, and it was a boy. This time, I thought it was a boy, and it's a girl. So basically it's always the opposite of what I think it is." Add that one to the old wives' tales--or perhaps old husbands' tales--list!

Victor then asked the tech how sure she was that it was a girl, and she explained that she wouldn't say anything if she wasn't 100% sure. She then showed us the three lines on the screen and said, "The absence of a penis is not how we decide it's a girl. We have to see girl parts!"

Of course, I would have been happy with another boy, but we are SO EXCITED (and Victor's a little nervous) about having a baby girl! For weeks, I've been referring to the baby as "baby girl," not so much because I had a feeling it was a girl, but more because I've had a name in mind for a girl since before Max was born that I was hoping I could use this time around (which we will be keeping a secret, especially since I need to get Victor 100% on board with it). I didn't have any boy names that I was in love with, but this girl name, it's a winner.

Max still doesn't understand the concept of having a baby sister. But he knows the little nugget in the ultrasound photos is the baby, and he knows the baby is in my belly. In fact, last night, as Max worked tirelessly to avoid going to bed (which I hope does not become a habit--that was exhausting), one of his stalling tactics was to ask to kiss my belly over and over again.

As for those old wives' tales, I guess they were sort of true...but only because I did a bajillion of them. I guess the odds were in our favor.

Hooray for baby girls!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Missing my Superman

Today marks 8 years since my dad passed away. He was my hero, my favorite guy in the world. On January 13, 2008, my father lost his battle with cancer. He was diagnosed with cancer of the thymus gland in late 2002. Over the next 5 years, he endured surgery, tumor regrowth, several rounds of chemotherapy, and worst of all, neuromuscular weakness--a side effect of his chemotherapy which shut down his diaphragm, making it impossible for him to breathe on his own. He was back on his feet again after spending close to a year in the hospital and a rehabilitation facility on a ventilator, but he refused further cancer treatment and eventually succumbed to his disease. He was only 51 years old.

I shared a lot about my dad in a post from November 2014 titled Memories of a Superman. He was an incredible guy, and he deserved to have his story told. There are a lot of people in this world who miss him, my sister and I being the top two.

I've always looked up to him.

I had just turned 23 when my dad passed away--fresh out of college, living on my own in a new state, and 5 months into my first big-kid job as a 2nd grade teacher. I never dreamed I'd be writing and presenting a eulogy for my own father's funeral at such a young age, but in the days following his death, I sat in my hotel room as snow steadily fell outside, searching the depths of my heart for the best words to honor such a special man.

Here is what I shared at his funeral.

I could go on for hours about how much we're all going to miss you. I could make a laundry list of the number of future graduations, weddings, births, and other monumental moments where your absence will detract from the happiness of the occasion being celebrated. I could mention over and over again how unfair it is that you've been taken from us because you had so much left that you wanted to see and do. But I won't, because none of that is going to change reality, nor will it dry anyone's tears. So instead of wishing we could bring you back and regretting things that were left unsaid or undone, I'd like to take this opportunity to recognize the happiness you created, the lessons you taught, and the unwavering determination you instilled in me and many others who admired you.

A girl couldn't have asked for a better dad. You've been unbelievably supportive, encouraging, and accommodating all throughout my life. You always put others' interests before your own, even if it resulted in you looking like a fool. Mom left us alone for an hour while she went grocery shopping way back when I was still cute and incredibly persuasive, and somehow I convinced you to let me put a dozen barrettes in your hair. Judging from the photo evidence, you were less than thrilled about the situation, but I clearly thought it was fun, so you went along with it. Every time Holly and I came up to visit you, you let us take the reins in deciding what we would do. Whether we wanted to go visit your friends, drive around on the lawnmower, spend the day at an amusement park, go snowmobiling around Lake Isabella (you were usually partial to that activity), or take the dogs down to the swimmin' hole, you were willing and always enthusiastic. We had some great times when we ventured up here, and we always looked forward to our next visit.

Back in Quincy, Holly and I begged for a treehouse and swingset in the backyard, so you went to the hardware store and bought the materials to make one. I inherited two valuable traits from you as a result of that project. The first was your handiness. I know my way around a set of tools, and I am the official "go-to" person at home AND school whenever "some assembly required" appears stamped on a new purchase. The second trait I inherited was the inclination to ask that oh-so economical question: Why buy it when you can make it? You've always been a resourceful guy, and you always jumped at the chance to get two things out of one. I remember how excited you were when you discovered the zip-off cargo pants. You can go from pants, do a little zip, and then you're in shorts. After another little zip, you've got pants again! That was a genius invention, in your eyes. There's something to be said for resourcefulness, regardless of where it comes into play.

Your ingenuity and determination were always apparent, even when you were sick and restricted to your hospital bed. You wanted to be able to lie back to sleep, but every time you tried, you were uncomfortable because you were afraid you wouldn't be able to breathe, therefore you couldn't sleep. You saw the TV remote cord that was attached to your bed, and you saw a solution. Unable to talk but on a mission, you went ahead and fashioned yourself a "restraint" out of your remote cord, tying your upper body to the top of your hospital bed. You were finally comfortable and able to rest. Unfortunately, the hospital staff was under the impression that you were trying to create a noose and thought you should be placed on suicide watch. I guess that was a time where your creativity worked against you, but it makes for a great story.

Your passion for golf, snowmobiling, and "makin' stuff" has encouraged me to develop an enthusiasm for something in my life. I found something in college that really caught my interest, and I was able to take that interest and run with it. Becoming involved with Relay For Life was one of the best things I ever did, and it was all because of you. You inspired me to make a difference and do what I could to help find a cure for cancer. Seeing you work so hard to fight such a devastating disease motivated me to do what I could to make that fight a little easier. Being involved with Relay For Life for those four years made me feel like I was doing my part to help you, even though you didn't personally benefit from my efforts. You were always supportive of my involvement in Relay For Life, which is what encouraged me to make it bigger and better each year.

You were an amazing, inspiring, delightful man; anyone in this room can vouch for that. You've touched many lives, and you will be greatly missed. Your strength and courage throughout your battle with cancer has rightfully earned you your "Superman" nickname, and you will forever be an inspiration to me. You've taught me that nothing is impossible, and seeing you stare death in the face on more than one occasion has made me believe that I can do anything I set my mind to. I've just begun my career in education, and I've already encountered several challenges in my short five months in the field, many of which I've talked to you about. There have been days when I've questioned my ability to deal with some of the difficulties I face every now and then, but then I think back to everything you've gone through and I'm reminded that I can't just think about myself. I have to think about the children who look up to me and depend on me. You've always thought of everyone but yourself, even when you were fighting for your life, and your selfless outlook on life is the driving force behind everything that I do.

I am a better person as a result of having you as my father. You may not have realized it, but you were teaching me, coaching me, and guiding me each and every day of my life. You've told me countless times how proud you are of me, but nothing I could ever do could make you as proud as I am to call you My Daddy.

Today, on the 8th anniversary of my father's death, Victor, Max, and I will find out whether we will be welcoming a baby girl or baby boy to our family this coming May. I know Dad will be watching over us, waiting with bated breath to hear whether he will have another grandson or a granddaughter. 

Rest in peace, Superman. It's been a long 8 years without you.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Gender Predictions | Old Wives' Tales

We have our anatomy scan this week, so in just a few short days, we'll know once and for all whether Max will have a little brother or sister. Our family and friends have had a great time speculating for the past 4 months whether there's a little gent or a little lady growing in my belly. I thought it would be fun to put some old wives' tales to the test to see what they collectively predict. We'll know soon whether their predictions are correct!

Boy or Girl? Old Wives' Tales for Gender Prediction

Chinese Gender Chart:  I consulted 3 different websites for a Chinese gender prediction chart. They take the mother's age at conception, along with either the month of conception or the baby's due date, and give you a prediction. 2 said girl, 1 said boy.
Verdict: Girl

Wedding Band Test: Place your wedding band on a loop of string and hang it over your belly. If the ring swings back and forth, you've got a girl. If it goes in a circle, you're having a boy. It swung in a circle.
Verdict: Boy

Needle and Thread Test: Similar to the test above, but opposite predictions (weird, right?). Hold a needle dangling from thread above the palm of your hand. If the needle swings in a circle, you're having a girl. If it swings back and forth, you're having a boy. This test was performed on me by two different ladies at Victor's cousin's baby shower. Both times, the needle swung in a circle. (It swung back and forth for Victor's cousin. They're not finding out their baby's gender, but according to this test, a boy is on his way in February!)
Verdict: Girl

Baby's heart rate: above 140 bpm or below 140 bpm. At each appointment, baby's heart rate has been between 150 and 160 beats per minute.
Verdict: Girl

Mom's hair: dull and limp or thick and glossy. I was still losing a lot of hair due to postpartum hair loss when I got pregnant this time. I'm not losing as much hair, but still lose some. My hair doesn't have much body, and it's not too shiny, either. But it's always been that way. I really haven't noticed much of a change from what my hair usually looks like.
Verdict: Inconclusive

Cravings: sweet or salty. My cravings haven't been too strong this time around. The biggest craving I've had is for a bagel and cream cheese after seeing someone eating one in a movie. What do carbs fall under???
Verdict: Inconclusive

Sleeping position: right or left side. Now that I can't sleep on my stomach anymore, I usually sleep on my left side.
Verdict: Boy

Bump: High or low. I feel like I'm carrying right in the middle at this point. Might be too early to tell.
Verdict: Inconclusive

Skin: breaking out or blemish free. I've been breaking out more during this pregnancy than I'm used to.
Verdict: Girl

Toddler boy's interest in belly: This was for realz on a list of gender prediction items I saw. If a toddler boy (must be boy, doesn't have to be your own child) shows interest in your belly, you're carrying a girl. If he couldn't care less, it's a boy. Max loves to kiss my belly and hasn't tried to blow a raspberry on it at all.
Verdict: Girl

Morning sickness: yes or no. I was fairly nauseous during the first trimester. I never actually got sick, but I felt pretty rotten.
Verdict: Girl

Hands: soft or dry. Up until recently, they've been very soft, even without the help of lotion. They're getting drier now. This could be due to the cold weather, but we'll say it's a predictor.
Verdict: Boy

Balance: graceful or clumsy. Haven't done much tripping or falling at all.
Verdict: Girl

Demeanor: moody or pleasant. Definitely moody, much to Victor's dismay.
Verdict: Girl

Big brother's prediction: Ok, this one I totally made up. I drew a pink bow and a blue bow tie on a piece of paper and asked Max "Which one is for the baby?" He pointed to the pink bow and scribbled all over the bow tie. I later circled the pink bow for emphasis. Obviously he wants a sister.
Verdict: Girl

Girl: 9
Boy: 3
Inconclusive: 3

I must say, if we're expecting a boy, these old wives' tales are gonna have some 'splainin' to do! Look for a post later this week to find out what we're having!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Oh hey, Friday! | 5 Reasons I Love "Parks and Recreation"

I've recently gotten hooked on the show Parks and Recreation, which is available for streaming on Netflix. I never watched it when it was on network television, but man, am I a fan now! And if I'm being completely honest, I much prefer watching sitcoms in binge-watch form as opposed to waiting each week for one 30-minute episode (with commercials--blah!).

I'm somewhere in season 5 at the moment, and I know I'm going to be slightly depressed once I blast through all 7 seasons and I can't hang with Leslie Knope and the crew anymore. I sneak in some episodes during naptime once my chores are done or on the weekends. Sometimes I have to rewatch some episodes because I end up falling asleep because pregnancy. I don't like to multitask while I'm watching because the show is just so stinkin' funny that I can't stand to miss anything!

Here are my 5 favorite things about Parks and Recreation, in no particular order.

  1. Leslie Knope: Her passion for Pawnee, Indiana is so refreshing. She'd do anything for that weird little town. She's so quirky and such a thoughtful friend and coworker. Plus, it's super entertaining to watch her attempt to navigate some unexpected crisis in nearly every episode. She also says "I love you and I like you" to her love, Ben, and I just think that's the sweetest. And let's be honest, how could you not love a character played by Amy Poehler. I love that woman.
  2. Ron Swanson: This guy. I decided a couple of weeks ago that when he talks, he kind of sounds like Chuck Bass from Gossip Girl. He's so mysterious, wise, and secretly sweet and considerate. He's almost crotchety in his preferences, which is highly comical. 
  3. Andy Dwyer: His "doofiness" has me cracking up in every episode. He has excellent mannerisms and facial expressions that just add to his humor. I laugh so much during his scenes that Victor has begun asking me if I have a crush on him. Haha! 
  4. The way Chris Traeger says "literally." It's annoying how often people say "literally" these days, but I don't mind it when Chris says it. "That is LIT-rally the best news I've heard all day." I die. I also chuckle when he cheerily says "Ann Perkins!" every time Ann comes near him. Speaking of Ann Perkins (played by Rashida Jones), I'm so glad she's a likeable gal because I didn't like Rashida after she (or rather, her character Karen) got between Jim and Pam on The Office. But I like her now, because Ann Perkins rocks. 
  5. Tom Haverford's slang terms and abbreviations: Aziz Ansari is perfect for this role. I love his stand-up, and he's a natural as Tom. "Most people would say 'the deets,' but I say 'the tails.' Just another example of innovation." "'Zerts' are what I call desserts. 'Tray-trays' are entrees. I call sandwiches 'sammies,' sandoozles,' or 'Adam Sandlers.' 'Air conditioners are 'cool blasterz.' I call cakes 'big ol' cookies.' I call noodles 'long-ass rice.' Fried chicken is 'fry-fry chicky-chick.' Chicken parm is 'chicky-chicky-parm-parm.' Chicken cacciatore? 'Chicky-cach.' I call eggs 'pre-birds' or 'future birds.' Root beer is 'super water.' Tortillas are 'bean blankets.' And I call forks 'food rakes.'" That whole last quote may not have the same effect when you're reading it on my blog as opposed to hearing Tom say it out loud, but I was giggling while I read it. And no, I didn't transcribe that quote myself. I found it on a list of 25 Best Tom Haverford Quotes. Because I have a life, guys...kinda.   
Have you watched Parks and Recreation? If not, perhaps I've convinced you to check it out! Have a great weekend!

Linking up with 
Karli at September Farm

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Oh Baby! | Week 20 Bumpdate

I decided not to do weekly "bumpdates" for this pregnancy (I didn't even take weekly bump photos when I was pregnant with Max!), but I figured it's a good time to update you all on what's growing over here since we're halfway through this pregnancy! I can't believe we're at week 20 already. This entire pregnancy has felt like it's crawled by, but the halfway point really snuck up on me!

How far along? 20 weeks

Due date: May 26, 2016

Baby's size: A banana | 10.5 oz and 10 inches from head to toe (according to BabyCenter). At my 19 week appointment, the doctor said my fundal height is measuring right on track.

Gender: Unknown--we find out next week!

Symptoms: Fatigue (though not nearly as bad as in the first trimester), round ligament pain, and occasional dizziness. Also, my nesting instinct is kicking in. I want to organize all the closets and PURGE as much as possible!

Weight gain: I'm up about 5 pounds at this point.

Maternity clothes: Yes, and so happy about it! I was able to hold off on maternity pants until about 16 weeks. I probably could've gone longer, but all of my jeans needed to be washed at that point, and we all know how jeans get a bit more snug right after a wash. Not worth the discomfort! I also went through my closet last weekend and packed away all of the shirts that are too short to cover my belly (which was most of my closet) so I could free up some hangers for my maternity clothes. My mom and sister gave me some cute new maternity tops for my birthday/Christmas, and I washed all of my maternity clothes from my last pregnancy and put them up in the closet.

Cravings: I don't have too many, which is weird to me. I'm loving bagels and cream cheese for breakfast, and munching on red grapes is a favorite of mine. I've also had a hankering for deli sandwiches occasionally, but it's not earth-shattering that I can't have one.

Movement: Yes! I started feeling this nugget move at around 16 weeks, which was much earlier than I anticipated. I didn't start feeling Max move until 18/19 weeks, and at our 12-week ultrasound in November, the tech said my placenta was in the front of my uterus, which usually means you feel movement later. Regardless, I'm loving feeling the little pokes and flutters inside! The baby is most active at night or if I sit for a while after eating.

Sleep: Elusive at this point. I'm having a hard time falling asleep, and I wake up a few times a night, sometimes for a bathroom break but not always. My favorite sleep position is on my stomach, but it's starting to get pretty uncomfortable to sleep that way now, so perhaps the transition to sleeping on my side has caused my sleep to take a hit. I never used a pregnancy pillow during my last pregnancy, but I'm thinking I might try one this time around. Any recommendations?

Miss anything? Sleeping on my stomach; I wasn't able to start sleeping on my stomach again until I stopped breastfeeding Max...he was almost 11 months old by that point, so I think I've got quite a bit of time before I can sleep that way again. Also, deli sandwiches.

Best moment this week: Seeing Max's face light up when he heard the baby's heartbeat at my appointment on Monday. He had been enthralled by the Curious George episode he was watching on my phone, but when the heartbeat came through the doppler, he was awestruck. So sweet. He was also so well-behaved the entire hour we were at the doctor's office.

Worst moment this week: Monday night, Max had a rough night, sleep-wise, which means Mommy did, too. He was up crying from 2-3 AM with what I believe was head congestion and teething pain, and he woke up crying again at 4:30 AM. Add to that the fact that I initially had a hard time falling asleep that night and you have yourself a very sleepy mama on Tuesday!

Looking forward to: Finding out the baby's gender next week at our anatomy scan! Hoping for news of a healthy baby!

How's dad? He's great. He's an old pro at this whole "pending fatherhood" business, haha. Much like my last pregnancy, he asks me at some point every week, usually one night after Max is in bed, how far along I am so he can look it up on He likes to stay informed.

Check back next week for some gender predictions based on old wives' tales, as well as a gender announcement later in the week!

In case you missed:

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

New Year's Eve 2015

We've hosted our "Dinner Party Crew" group of friends (affectionately referred to as the DPC) for New Year's Eve since 2011. It started out as 4 couples and has now evolved to include 5 little kiddos under the age of 3 (with a 6th on the way!). Victor's parents also join the festivities, and sometimes Victor's brother joins the crowd, as well. It's a laid back evening at our house, and we always look forward to it every year. One year we had a PJ party, another year we had a photo booth, and every year we have a Just Dance video game competition. Sometimes people spend the night and we have a delicious breakfast in the morning. Regardless of the evening's events, we always have a great time.

This year was no exception. We had way too much food, Max refused to eat (too much excitement), his friend E wouldn't stop eating, and by the time midnight rolled around, everyone was ready to hit the hay (that last hour went by way too slowly!). Here are some photos, most of which include the kiddos. They played so well together!

Max's train set was a hit!

Don't you just love E's outfit?

Waiting for that dang ball to drop. Max went to bed at 10 but E partied till the end!

Happy New Year! Don't worry, I was sipping sparkling grape juice. No champagne for baby!
As I said, we all had a great time! It's so nice to have a low-key evening with the kids! We're very fortunate to have such wonderful friends--and we all love each other's kids like our own! Couldn't think of better company for ringing in the new year!