Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Adventures in traveling

What do you get when you take one toddler, one pregnant momma, 3 carry-ons, a carseat & an umbrella stroller up to the Hoosier State with 2 grandparents, a younger brother, his friend, and lots and lots of fun?

You get one tired toddler, one achy pregnant momma, and a lot of good good memories and the desire for everything to stay just as it is for just a little bit longer.  

Mia & I had a blast in Indiana.  She traveled super well on the way up there, we managed to avoid any luggage snafus, and she had this nervous excited grin pop up on her face when she saw Mommo & Papa Jack around the corner from baggage claim in the Fort Wayne airport.  

She slept pretty well while we were away--always a question when we travel--and spent her days playing with M & PJ or splashing in the pool watching Jackson & Cody jump into the pond.  She really was a great sport.

I took extra naps, ate someone else's homecooked food (thank ye kindly, mom), saw both of my grandmothers, some aunts & an uncle, and generally reveled in the beauty of northern Indiana.  There is definitely a different feel in the air up there than there is in Florida.  It actually felt refreshing and we could play outside for hours.  It was sort of hard to leave.  Except for the whole missing Greg/daddy part ;)

Our trip back was most eventful.  Our already late-for-us 8:40pm flight was delayed Sunday night till 9:45pm, and then we didn't push off until after 10pm, putting us into St. Pete/Clearwater after midnight.  Mia is so curious and aware that even though she was quite tired by the time we boarded the plane, she couldn't settle or sit still until about 20 minutes before we landed, falling asleep after 5 minutes in my arms.  Then she motioned to lay in her seat.  It was hot & steamy on the plane as soon as we landed in Florida and she was all sweaty from the heat.  Poor girl.  It was a very short night of sleep for her. (And for me. Okay, and for Greg too.)  

Now that we're back, we're trying to find a new rhythm again.  I'm not very entertaining these days, so an outing in the morning is almost a must otherwise tantrums and tears may very well ensue by 11am.  I'm thankful we have a "slower" week this week but am already planning our outings/play-dates so that there's a sense of normalcy and diversion for little Mia, our very curious, independent, strong-willed, but still needs mommy & daddy child.  

Here's the onslaught of digital uploads:

Preparing to board -- all our luggage (minus the carseat)
Double-checking that the window works

Rolling through Rural Indiana

Visiting Grandma Wiley on her 85th birthday --
4 generations

Hanging at Aunt Connie's

Jones women (Mamaw in the background)

Aunt Connie had some great toys


Filling the ... pool


Wagon pull with Mommo

Putting out fires

Self-portrait silhouette at 28 weeks

Watering the flowers

Mommy & Mia --
dare I say we might resemble each other here??
Mia & Mommo, in a made-by-Mommo dress

Watching Tangled with Jackson & Cody

Getting ready to finally head home

Passed OUT

Our trip ended two days ago, but as we still recover from the travel and lack of sleep that was a result from Sunday's late flight, I sit here at 1:30, not sure what to do with myself as my tot began her nap at 12:30 today (about 2hrs earlier than usual).  Maybe I'll eat some lunch and just chill.  Happy final days of August, everyone!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

getting my organization on ...

If you know me, you know I desire to be organized but do not excel at organization.  Only in certain areas of my life I am quite organized and in many other compartments, I live in a state of crazy, mostly manageable chaos.

When it comes to traveling with a child though, I don't like to be unprepared.  Mia and I are leaving in a few hours to head to my parents' house in Indiana, and the challenge of NOT checking luggage (no thank you baggage fees) has me feeling the pinch.  In a good way.  So far, I have all of mine & Mia's clothes, toiletries & shoes in one little carry-on, and I plan to bring a diaper bag and a shoulder bag for everything else!  The rest--we will get when we arrive in Indiana.  We'll still be checking a carseat (FREE) & probably winging a stroller (gate-check, FREE), and I'll be carting around my pregnant belly, but that's about it.  Lord Willing.  If I could minimize anymore, I probably would. But you never know what you might need on a plane. Snacks? Books? Extra wipes? Change of clothes? 35,000 Altoid Mints to devour at 35,000 miles??  It's very possible you will need all these things.

For those who have never flown with children or need a refresher, may I alert you of...
Flying with Children

It's the best website I've ever found for preparing for flying with children, written by a flight attendant/MOM.
Mia has been extra cute + an extra handful these days.  I guess I'll take a little of each.

(Pause the audio player before viewing this video.)

singing/talking loudly through Target

at the sprinkle for ciampa bambino this past Saturday /
LPK, me & Jenn

In that last picture, I'm at my friend Jenn's house for the most lovely sprinkle she & LPK threw for our baby boy.  I'll share more about that later, but it was awesome and I felt sprinkled...no...showered with love!  They did an awesome job with all the little details to make it feel personal & special.  If you need party-planning, they're your girls.  Like I said, more on that later.

In the spirit of being organized, I need to finish my last-minute packing items while Mia snoozes.

Ciao for now!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Meal Planning in Review

A couple of weeks ago I posted my plans to make the following meals.  This meal plan actually lasted us OVER two weeks.  Here are my reviews in green.

  • Cheeseslave's lentil soup -- Makes a ton and is a winner, good for reheating for lunch & dinner, multiple times. It makes enough to freeze, so if you don't think it will be eaten quickly enough I'd freeze some for later! Warning: It is slightly labor-intensive in the beginning, but because it yields SO much, it's worth it.
  • Cheeselave's beef stew -- I modified this recipe because I didn't have all the ingredients, but it was gobbled up within a couple of days. Nice variation for us on the traditional chuck roast.
  • Paleo Por Vida pork tenderloin -- 3.5/5 stars. It was good & really easy, but I personally haven't been much into pork the last little bit! Mia & Greg enjoyed it, and Mia liked the dried cherries.
  • JBB's chicken tacos (crockpot chicken with diced tomatoes/Rotel, 1/2 can water, garlic salt, cook on low; add to tacos with cheese or fix it up however you like!) -- Always a hit, especially with company. I served it with regular taco fixings: taco shells/tortillas, cheese, lettuce, salsa, sour cream, guacamole, and it was devoured!
  • The Nourishing Gourmet's crockpot chicken & quinoa -- I had never made quinoa before, but this entire combination is best likened to a chicken stew, in my opinion. Very good "comfort" food and would probably taste really good when you're sick or in the winter.
  • Nourished Kitchen's hamburger & barley soup -- This is a thick soup which cooks up like a "chunky" soup and is hearty & beefy. Because it's so thick, you can thin it out just by adding more water. Really economical meal. Season as you wish. Click on link for recipe (included in PDF file at the end of post).
  • Cheeseslave's brown rice mac & cheese -- This is just plain satisfying. I made this twice, mostly for me. I think I enjoyed it the most, but Greg likes a good mac & cheese every now and then. (Mia still hasn't really caught on to M&C).
  • Food Renegade's egg drop soup -- Actually never made this! I have a feeling if I did, I'd be the only person who ate it. The rest of my family isn't as into eggs as I am :-{ I do like that this recipe contains ingredients I normally have on hand.
  • Everyday Paleo's Stuffed Zucchini -- Really good! Although, the zucchinis turned out a little bitter after being cooked in the oven, so we mostly ate the stuffing. I omitted the eggplant because I didn't have any and I don't think the flavor was compromised.  I added more seasoning than I initially thought I needed--don't be afraid to do so.
  • Cheeseburgers -- By the point we had cheeseburgers, we had actually hit a ground beef limit, so these were less enjoyed than they normally are. But, it's a relatively quick meal and always good with sweet potato fries!

It only took me an hour or two to come up with this meal plan the last time I made it, and now I'd like a meal plan for the next week and a half. I'm not sure what I'll come up with, but this last batch of meals made a lot of food and unfortunately I ended up throwing some out because the leftovers weren't eaten in time! For shame!

One thing I enjoyed about this meal plan is that some of the meals provided so much food, I didn't need to cook every single night. Many were crockpot meals, so I could throw the ingredients in the crockpot earlier in the day and not worry about it until later. This would be especially helpful this coming fall/winter after the baby is born and I know we need to eat healthy, nourishing food but I don't have the time or energy to stand up in the kitchen cooking it!

If my next meal plans seems any good, I'll share it. It may not be as riveting :P but we'll see what we can find!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A day in the life, 8-18-11

A day at Gator Fred's with Mia & Meli ... in sequence.

"Welcome to the Real World"

I didn't realize this until yesterday, when Greg pointed it out, but pretty much from birth to adult life, we are told by our parents and authority figures (teachers, administrators, people who care & some who don't), that we are learning these so-called "tough lessons" now so that we'll be better able to handle the future.  It doesn't stop once you get to the next level, either.  He pointed this out as I was telling Mia the reason Mommy & Daddy were being so authoritative with her was so that she would have an easier time with friends and when she goes to school (I'm sure that reason really convicted her as she sat in timeout last night).  I was saying something along the lines of, "Mia, the reason Mommy & Daddy put you in timeout or ask you to do these things is so that you will understand there are boundaries and when you cross them, there can be consequences.  If we didn't do these things, you'd have a hard time at school or playing with friends as you get older or in LIFE."

School's in, for LIFE
Photo Credit
Greg said it reminded him of the lines he used to hear in school from his teachers.  Like in middle school, "It is important you figure this out now, because when you get to high school, there won't be so many opportunities!"
And then when you are in high school, your teachers tell you, "In college, they're not going to care who you are or where you're from, you need to get your work turned in and study, because no one's going to give you exceptions."

And then when you are in college, your professors, advisors, and teacher assistants tell you to suck it up, because in the real world, this is how it is and no one cares if you're upset because you can't find your bunny (or your dream spouse, house or job, what have ye) ... learn how to deal with it and move on.

It's not always pleasant to hear these words, but it's true and it's for our benefit.  We have to learn some of the tough stuff early on so we can better deal.  I'm not suggesting we purposely make our lives (or our children's) more difficult, or that we don't deal with them lovingly, but as much as I want to shield Mia from discipline that is no fun for everyone, it is for all of our benefits.  Unruly children, freaked, stressed-out parents...the combination is less peaches n' cream and more like rotting potatoes.  When you  discover the cause, you're a bit disappointed you let the potatoes get to the point, and embarrassed by the smell.

So, yesterday was that day for us.  All's well that ends well (right???), but there was a point (or several points, I should say) during the day where we thought, "She must be getting this by now. She has to be." And then the behavior would resume.  *Sigh*  The days when Greg works from home are a mixed bag: he gets to eat all his meals with us, avoid the commute, and enjoy the "comforts" of home, all the while Mia acts up even more and requires more attention from the both of us.  Needless to say, we were a bit exhausted last night!!

Hip flexors
Photo Credit
In other parts of our world, I'm 27 weeks and almost to the 3rd trimester.  Still unbelievable.  Just this past week, I've started to feel more tired than I recall feeling last time, and my hips have been quite sore. I went to one of my trusty chiropractors [yes, I have 2: one I saw before & while I was pregnant with Mia which is who(m?) I saw yesterday; and a geographically closer family friend whom we all see more often since Mia's birth] and he explained it was probably my hip flexors which go from my belly to the tops of my legs.  When I go from a seated flexed position to standing up, it takes a while for those hip flexor muscles to warm up and I feel stiff.  I'm blaming this on a growing uterus & baby and hoping my muscles catch up soon, because there's really no time to slow down.  It just means whenever I stand up, I do the pregnant waddle for a few steps until it eases up.

Next week, Mia & I are taking a little girls trip to Northern Indiana to visit my parents. We planned this trip over a month ago and I thought the end of August would take forever to get here and now it is almost upon us.  I'm excited to go, but hopeful even with just a direct flight I can manage all the luggage & a 2 year old who likes to say, "Mommy, hold you!" Whatever happens, we'll figure it out.

Alright, onward & upward, right?  Time to eat breakfast....

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Living Life

We're in what I'm calling an August groove right now, a steady rhythm of mornings, afternoons, and evenings that somehow seamlessly blend in with one another.  I blink and another week has passed.  I'm amazed by how slowly time passes in some phases of life and how quickly it evaporates in others.  If only I could truly soak up what I don't know that I'll be missing.  For now I'll just do the best I can and count my blessings, many in the form of good friends & good talks, a loving husband and a sweet daughter and a baby to anticipate for now.

It's been quite rainy here the past few days, reminding me of the beginning of the back-to-school craze in Florida.  Mornings are cloudy & wet, followed by skies of sun, then clouds again, before the rain moves on for a while.  It reminds me of working, actually, and the morning commutes and sloshing in the rain.

So yesterday was the perfect day to go play inside at Gator Fred's with little friend Amelia.  Mia & Amelia had a fantabulous time bouncing around, and I loved getting to catch up with A's mom, Ashley!

2 months apart, TONS of energy!

Inside the toddler play area
26 weeks
And today I reach 26 weeks! I've been feeling much better the last several days and am just thankful for that.  One thing that always phases me about pregnancy is just how the bump keeps growing.  In the pictures at the top of this blog, I'm under 20 weeks and you can hardly tell that I'm expecting.  Here, it's becoming increasingly obvious, and only will continue to.  It blows my mind that one day you don't have a baby bump and several weeks later, you do.  As they say in Spanish, increíble!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Instant Gratification

To quote Nike's old slogan, there is something instantly satisfying about "just do[ing]" something.  Like vaccuming.  You instantly feel more clean and productive because after a few swipes of the vacuum cleaner along your rugs or carpet, you see all the debris picked up and clean lines on your floors.

[Warning: This post will be interesting to about two people, maybe three...probably the grandmothers, and possibly Greg, with whom I need to have these conversations anyway.  Proceed at your own risk.]

In this case just doing something means getting started on a little boy's layette.  As you can visually see the mound of clothes grow, you start to realize this thing is really happening and if this baby boy came home tomorrow (okay, which we totally hope doesn't happen!), he'd have something to wear (well...in a few months when he grows into it)!  I shopped the half-price sale last night at the same consignment sale, and found a few more items for the baby boy for only $1 each!  You cannot beat those deals.  It was a bit overwhelming to shop past the 6 month mark, as I have no idea how to anticipate how big or small this next baby might be, but I tried to choose simple clothes that will at least work through Florida's "winter" (i.e., basically a variety of hot & cool clothes that can be layered).
I also decided I couldn't leave without getting Mia a few things too.  This is the first sale where she's been almost totally overlooked, aside from the Radio Flyer tricycle.  I got her a couple of fallish "boho chic" shirts (to quote Cousin Bonny) and a pair of Stride Rite shoes -- all for $6 total.  Booyah!

On my mind right now are the things left to do before the baby comes.  We need to move Mia into her big girl room, but first we need to get her bedroom furniture, which is housed comfortably in my parents' attic, states away.  Thus transporting it here is the first challenge.  Along with that, I want to figure out what kind of bedding to get for her twin bed & then figure out what we need to do to the room. Creative ladies, where do you shop for bedding? Or do you make your own, Sew Homegrown style??  And then we'll possibly paint? Do curtains?

I also want to investigate double stroller options (Sit & Stand? Side-by-Side? Front & Back?) so I'm not stranded at home with 2.  I do have a great baby carrier--the BabyHawk--so I can always carry the baby on me and push Mia in the stroller.  A bit more work but I've done it before!

And then finally, I need to keep building up my newborn diaper stash.  I have lots of one-size pocket diapers that can be used for an infant or a toddler (which is what Mia dons daily), but I need to add to the newborn size, probably with prefolds & covers to help me cover the gap between tiny babies and bigger babies.  Prefolds & covers will probably get me the most bang for my buck.

However, now that we've started actually getting more and more ready for this baby boy, I'm really ready to keep going!  Just needed that initial push, which I realize is what I need for most things...a little push in the right direction.

To reward for that awfully boring post, here's Mia from this past week.
Early morning rising means lazy help with cleaning

A self-portrait of Mia for Uncle Jackson

Playing over at Lily & Peyton's

Being a big girl with her backpack for bible class

Testing out the trike at the Consignment Sale

Breaking it in around the 'hood


Pushing herself along; feasibly the easiest way for her to do it at the moment!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

It's starting to feel real...

It's almost embarrassing how excited I get about these events, but I just departed from my fifth Jumping Jeans Consignment Pre-sale at the Florida College Gym and left with a boatload of stuff.

There were a lot of "new" items on our list this time including checking out baby boy clothes.  They had so much selection it was almost overwhelming.  Where do I start, what do I really need? Although the first things on my list to check out were swings, bouncy seats & double strollers.  This is what I walked away with ...

View larger photo here
The booty:
  • a glider & ottoman for $40! (for either Mia's new room or the baby's room, so each room will have one comfy chair for parent & child to sit in)
  • a papasan bouncy seat (Mia lived in her borrowed bouncy seat as a wee one, and I'm assuming this one might too)
  • a Radio Flyer tricycle for Mia (the biker in daddy is so excited about this!)
  • a book/magnet toy for Mia (for "quiet" times)
  • a pair of patent faux leather pink shoes for Mia
  • and as you can see, TONS of baby boy clothes! Mostly onesies, some pants & a special newborn outfit.
I was so pumped when we left the sale.  I only went $5 over budget and paid for it all in cash.  This is how we like to roll and I'm thankful I have a husband who helps me set aside dinero for this kind of thing.  It is a blessing.  

Normally when I shop the consignment sales I'm thinking Mia, Mia, Mia.  It was a little strange to have my attention divided so, but I really felt like capitalizing on some decent sales for this baby boy.  Which is why now it's starting to feel more and more real...
3 months & 8 days to go, or so! :D

Monday, August 1, 2011

Highlight of the past week

Seeing this little guy and feeling like you already know him ...

see a resemblance??
We got to see the little guy on the "big screen" last week at our appointment and for as short-lived as the ultrasound may have been, it's provided us with lots of good moments over the last several days.  He's measuring well, looks like someone else I know (Greg? Mia?) and might even be smiling in that picture.  Who knows.

Aside from that, we're just doing some planning for the new month.  On my side of it is what we're going to eat.  I had to text my little bro Jackson today to ask him which hobbit from Lord of the Rings has the infamous quote, "But what about second breakfast?" and he quickly wrote me back and said "Peregrin Took."  And that, my friends, is why you have a little brother who religiously read all the hobbit books as a young'n, among other things.  "A diversion!" - Legolas

So I scoured my blog roll high & low, asked for suggestions too and this is what I think/hope we'll be eating over the next couple of weeks.  It seems like a lot of soups and summer in Florida does not always seem like the right time for soup, but they're really easy to reheat and good for lunch leftovers for the man as well.  I've thrown in a few more summerly & manly meals too for good measure.

Honestly, I think I'm just listening to my body and following a bunch of cravings, mostly chicken broth  and eggs.  I made The Healthy Home Economist's Traditional Egg Custard on Saturday, mostly out of curiosity (does it not sort of sound like creme brûlée?), and I've eaten every morning since, straight of the fridge cold, and loved it.

Much of the above list was inspired by the Mommypotamus' posts for Real Food for Busy Moms.  Good stuff you can make easily, or on a budget, or in a time crunch.  Who hasn't been there??

Regarding the indigestion, who knew that maybe I was over consuming acidic foods? Hadn't thought about that one, but it makes sense.  So now I'm trying to combat this by keeping lemons on hand and adding a squirt to pretty much every glass of water I drink.  It seems to be doing the trick; that, and not over indulging on ice cream late at night.  But it's oh-so-tempting!  Thankful for a reprieve.  And getting ready to chomp on a cucumber for some alkalinity.

And with that, good night!