Monday, November 19, 2012

Hand Turkeys and Playing in the Park

As I've written quite frequently in the past few weeks, I'm attempting to prepare for Evie to go from "only child" to "older child."  At this point, the transition is harder for me that it probably will be for her.  I am just worried.  I want her to be happy, and I don't want her to feel like we are not giving her the attention that she has always had from us.  However, I know that is impossible.  All of our lives are changing in a big way, and there's nothing we can do to stop it. 

I didn't know I'd feel this guilty about it all though.  I've probably been coddling Evie a bit more lately that I had in the past, and I feel like she's been more clingy that before too.  She needs me to do things that M used to do for her.  Honestly though, it hasn't bothered me.  I am happy to know that she still wants me, and as much as that might be a burden in the near future, I'm cherishing this time when I can indulge her.

For me, I feel like so  much is changing already, and the baby isn't even here yet.  My maternity leave sub started on Friday, and I'm having a hard time letting go of my kids at school.  I had a particularly rough day on with him being there, but when I got to daycare to pick up Evie, she gave me this. 

Evie's first ever "hand turkey"

My heart melted.  An older kid helped trace her hand, and then she colored it (in spectacular, two-year-old fashion).  Evie was so proud of herself!  It is now displayed on our fridge.  :)

I'm also grateful that the weather was beautiful here in Wisconsin over the weekend (highs in the 50s!), and we were able to spend time outside.  M put up the outside Christmas decorations yesterday while Evie and I did some yard work.  After her nap, we were able to go to the park for a while too.

Going down the slide

Just running around

We have no idea how much time we have left like this (two weeks at the most!).  As much as I'm excited and ready to meet this baby, I'm also enjoying every moment that I can just me and Evie. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

39 Weeks (-1 day)

As of tomorrow I will be 39 weeks pregnant.  If this baby is born at the same point in my pregnancy as Evie was, I will be having a baby on Tuesday.  HOLY CRAP!!!  For work reasons, I'm hoping that I can hold off until Wednesday at least (like I have any control over this...HA!).  We only have two days of school this week because of Thanksgiving, and I just want a clean break with the kids.  I dread the idea of just not coming in one day.  (I'm planning to write more about this tomorrow.  :)

Like I posted last week, I'm ready.  I really am, but it's still a little tough to wrap my mind around the idea that these are our last days as a family of three.  As much as I'm excited to meet this baby, I am mourning the loss of our time as "just the three of us."  I know that our family of three was not complete, but we had some good times, and this baby is going to change everything.  In the end, I know that it will be for the better, but the big adjustment is scaring me right now. 

Taken at 38 weeks 3 days

Weight gain/loss: +39 lbs. at my doctor's appointment last Monday. 

Fruit of the week: This week baby is the size of a watermelon.

Feeling: Ready!  Excited!  Sad! (about life changing so drastically so quickly)  Nervous!  Happy!  Pretty much every emotion...followed by an exclamation point!

Sleep: Last week was actually really good.  Evie has finally begun to sleep better since getting over her cold, and I have been able to mostly turn off my brain and sleep.  If I can make it through school on Tuesday, I know I'll sleep better too. 

Food cravings: Nothing really.  I'm excited for Thanksgiving though!!  Mmmmm....stuffing! 

Movement: Less than last week, which is great because I'm feeling pretty confident this baby is stuck head down.  Woo hoo!!  He is still moving around enough to reassure me that things are fine, but it has definitely decreased from a few weeks ago. 

Labor signs:  We were a little freaked out on Friday night when I had contractions about 4 - 6 minutes apart for a couple of hours.  They weren't incredibly painful, but they weren't Braxton Hicks either.  If it had lasted much longer, we would have been on our way to the hospital!!  Other than that, I was dilated 1.5 cm and 50% effaced at my appointment last Monday.

Name:  Miller??  Brooks??  Tyler??  We don't have a clue!

What I miss?  Nothing really right now.  I'm looking forward to being able to sleep comfortably on my back and tummy again soon...for the couple of hours of sleep that I get each day.    

Best moment this week: Seeing Evie play with her cousins last night at my in-law's.  Evie is pretty funny on her own, but with another two year old, and a six year old *attempting* to form some sort of organized play, it was hilarious!

What I'm looking forward to:  Getting through school on Tuesday.  Again, I know that I have no control over this, but I really just want to make it that far. 

Next Appointment: Tomorrow at 39 weeks. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Prepping for #2

The countdown is on.  I'm officially less than two weeks from my due date, and physically I am VERY ready to have this baby!!!  (I'm sick of the indignity of my husband hoisting me off of the couch, among other pleasant symptoms of being 38+ weeks pregnant.)  Sleep is no relief anymore because I'm so uncomfortable, and I hate being winded from getting out of my car.  

I'm ready to meet this kid.  

Baby boy at 9 weeks
Preparing for this little one hasn't felt too much different that preparing for Evie.  There has been less stuff to buy.  We already owned the boppy, breast pump, bottles, neutral newborn clothing (we didn't know that Evie was going to be a girl until she was born), burp rags, etc, and we were fortunate that many friends and relatives gave us hand me down clothing after we found out that we were having a boy this time around.  But overall, getting a room ready was about the same and the overall pregnancy experience has been about the same.

Then there's Evie.  That's been the big difference.  I am more concerned about her than the baby at this point.  I have taken care of a newborn before, so I know what to expect with crying jags (from both of us!), sleep deprivation, sore nipples, and constipation fussiness, but I am so worried about Evie it actually makes me feel a little sick inside.

Part of it is probably guilt.  I give her my everything right now.  How can I give everything to two kids???  I know that having a younger sibling isn't going to damage her for life (my younger sisters are two of my best friends), but how will she adapt in the present?  We've been reading books about becoming a big sister and she helped decorate the nursery.  We've tried to involve her every step of the way, but I know that the baby is still very abstract to her at this point.

Evie is baby crazy right now.  She loves helping my sister with my niece.  She holds the bottle, she helps change diapers, she plays *gently* with the baby.  She loves her baby dolls.  She has to take one of them to bed with her every night and she cuddles with her and reads stories to her, but I know it won't be the same when it's a real live baby that Mommy is taking of too.

Evie and Baby
I don't want to over-think this.  "Mom guilt" is probably just getting the best of me right now.  We're all going to be fine.  I'm ready to have this baby and begin the adjustment to a family of four.  Evie will love her little brother, I just hope that it doesn't take her too long to realize that.  :)

Moms of two (or more): What did you do to ease the transition for your older child(ren)?  How did they adjust once the baby was born?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

37 weeks (3 days)

I know I haven't posted a weekly update in a while.  Probably because I fell off of the blogosphere for a while, but now that I'm back, I thought I'd write weekly updates while they still last.

So here I am at 37 weeks and 3 days.

What's funny is that looking at this picture, I don 't know if I look significantly huger (even though I feel significantly huger) that I did my last "weekly" update at 27 weeks

27 weeks 1 day

I feel like I just look thicker all around.  My face, my hips, my meaty man hands...  But the bump seems to stick as far out ahead of my boobs as it did back then.  Am I just delusional???  I guess that's why so many people reacted in disbelief back then when I told them I still had 3 months to go.  Ha ha ha!!

Weight gain/loss: +37 lbs.  I had hoped not to gain as much this time as I did with Evie, but I've packed it on slow and steady just like I did last time.  At the time Evie was born at 39 weeks 1 day, I had gained a total of 42 lbs.  I look like I could pull that off again.  I am comforted by the fact that my beginning weight this time was about 10 lbs. less than before I got pregnant with Evie, and hopefully breastfeeding will help me take off the weight like it did last time.  

Fruit of the week: This week baby is the size of a watermelon, but with arms and legs that keep jabbing me from the inside.

Feeling: Ready to have this baby!!!  The house is as ready as it's going to be.  Evie is as ready as she's going to be, and M and I know what to expect from a newborn, but we're ready to jump into the unknown of a newborn and a toddler.  

Sleep: Not so great.  I wake up from the pain in my hips and then I flip myself over to the other side, just to lay there awake for a couple of hours because I'm worried about school, labor, Evie...  At 2:00 a.m., everything always seems more worrisome!

Food cravings: None lately.  I get full really fast these days, and I've been battling a little bit of reflux too.  My throat feels like it's burning if I haven't eaten or drank anything in a few hours.  I think that it just acts up when my stomach is empty. 

Movement: I'm surprised by how much movement I'm still feeling.  It also worries me though, I want this baby to stay head down.  He was still head down at my 37 week check up on Monday, and I'll find out this coming Monday if he still is.  The baby and I have officially been labeled as having an "unstable lie."  This just means that the doctor is uneasy about the fact that the baby flipped on his own this late in my pregnancy.  She was very explicit that if I go into labor I NEED to tell the admissions team at the hospital to do a quick ultrasound to make sure he's still head down before they allow my labor to progress.  Basically, if he flips again at the wrong time, I will have a c-section.  :(

Name:  Still unsure.  We've narrowed it down to 2 choices though...

What I miss?  Being able to see Evie when she hugs my legs.  ;)  She kind of disappears under my bump these days.  

Best moment this week: When we found out that the baby had flipped head down on his own, and we didn't need to have the ECV procedure!

What I'm looking forward to:  Thanksgiving!  It's my favorite holiday of the year.  I have been hoping to have a Thanksgiving baby.  Maybe not on Thanksgiving Day this year, but I have a week time period to have the baby so that his birthday will fall on Thanksgiving every 5 - 6 years.  Does anyone out there have a holiday birthday?  Is it really annoying and I should stop hoping for that???

Next Appointment: Next Monday, November 12 at 38 weeks. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Halloween 2012

Halloween was definitely more exciting this year with Evie than it has been for the past couple of years.  She knows what candy is, and she wants it!!

Mi bailaora de flamenco (My little flamenco dancer)
This year, Evie was a flamenco dancer.  I found the outfit on our trip to Spain over the summer, and I couldn't pass it up.  Bonus: it was only 10 euros (about $13)!!

No one really got the costume, and many people looked at me funny when I told them that Evie would be a flamenco dancer for Halloween.  But I guess that's the burden of having a Spanish teacher as a mom.  I'm sure she'll encounter more moments like this in her life.  : )  I tried to teach her a few flamenco moves (see clip of Sevillanas flamenco here), but she wasn't really interested.

She loved wearing the dress...once she found out that people would give her candy if she was wearing it.  We didn't trick or treat too much, we just walked around our small, suburban block and stopped at the houses of neighbors that we know fairly well.  Evie had just as much fun handing out candy to other kids when we got home.

I'm sure we won't be able to get away with that much longer.  Next year, she'll probably understand there is much more candy to be had if we stop at more houses.  M and I wanted to put that off as long as we could though.  Next year, we'll also have her little brother with us, and I'm sure she'll be more than happy to take his share of the candy since he will be much too small to eat it himself.

I'm sure that Halloween will become a bigger deal as Evie (and little brother) begin to understand it better.  For now, M and I enjoyed the relatively quiet evening of seeing our neighbors and taking Evie trick or treating.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

ECV Update

I'll start right off with the good news: the best possible scenario played out for us on Friday afternoon.  When the resident at the hospital did the ultrasound prior to performing the ECV, they found that the baby had flipped to head down. They did not have to do the procedure...which would have required an IV, muscle relaxing drugs, and a ton of pain for the 2 out of 3 chance that the baby might turn head down. 

I started crying I was so relieved.  Then I joked that we should look to see if he's still a boy.  The resident appeased me, and yup, still a boy.  :)  This time, I saw boy parts.  At our 20 week ultrasound, I didn't feel very convinced.  I have been having a lot of dreams lately that the baby is actually a girl, and this confirmation was kind of nice. 

So, now that he was head down on Friday, I just have to hope that he stays that way.  I have no idea when during the week he turned over.  Apparently, it was not such a momentous movement that I was able to notice it.  This baby has always moved a lot more than Evie ever did, and it's difficult for me to tell what's what most days.

Because we were discharged from the hospital so quickly, and we had free day care (thanks to my wonderful mother-in-law), M and I went out for a nice, late lunch together.  Since we were at the hospital, we were near all of the great restaurants near downtown/campus area in Madison.  We haven't just walked down State St. in forever, and we ate at a campus restaurant that we haven't gone to since my days long ago (11 years now!) at the UW. 

View of the Wisconsin capitol from State Street
What could have been a potentially really tough day, turned out kind of nice. Hopefully this baby has settled in the way he's supposed to (head down!!) and everything will go smoothly from here until the end. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Make like a fetus and head out

Sorry for the somewhat graphic reference, but that's what I'm hoping will happen anyway.

We found out at my 36 week appointment on Monday that baby boy is heads up.  The doctor had a heck of a time trying to check my cervix (you know...she was REALLY up in my business), and she couldn't tell which way baby was turned.  She brought in the ultrasound and confirmed that his head was squarely below my left ribs.

She immediately began talking about scheduling a c-section.

::Commence freak out::

I know that this baby's birth will be nothing like Evie's, but holy cow, this is definitely not what I expected.  She said that we could schedule something for a few weeks from now, and hope that the baby turns on his own before that, in which case, I will not need the c-section.

She then began explaining my other option(s).  She explained an external cephalic version (ECV) to me, in which she and another doctor will try to flip the baby from the outside.  I've heard of this before, and all I know is that it's supposed to hurt.  But, I told her that I'm willing to do anything to avoid a c-section, so I'll try it.

She left the room to call the hospital to schedule the procedure.  I quickly got dressed and went to get M and Evie from the waiting room.  I was pretty upset, and I wanted him to hear her explain everything, just in case I missed something.

The ECV is scheduled for Friday afternoon.  I will prepped as though I may have a c-section if the procedure goes very badly (i.e. baby is so distressed that they feel it's in his and my best interest to deliver immediately).  My doctor has only had this experience twice in her 16 years as an OB, which helped calm my fears.  She also seemed to feel that this is an appropriate step.  She did not discourage my decision at all, and she explained that my chances of success are better because it's my 2nd pregnancy (thanks for stretching my out Evie!), and because of the placement of my placenta.

Since Monday afternoon, I've done a lot of internet research (for better or worse) about methods of trying to get the baby to flip spontaneously.  One recommendation was a chiropractic technique, so I made an appointment for Tuesday morning, and I have another appointment this morning.

I just truly feel like the baby is not settled in any one direction quite yet.  He still moves a TON, and big movements too.  I feel like he may have already repositioned, but I don't know if that's just wishful thinking.  I'm trying to remain positive.  Even if he hasn't moved yet, even if the ECV is unsuccessful tomorrow, there is  still a chance he could flip on his own before I need to deliver.  And I know that no matter how this baby enters the world, that he is happy and healthy is my number one concern.

I'm just keeping my fingers crossed and praying (which is new for me) that it all works out that way.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fell off of the face of the blogosphere

Well, I didn't really.  I still frequent a few ladies' blogs (Sarah and her new baby boy, Amber and her adorable Batman, and of course Melissa with her new baby girl) to comment and read about what they've been up to, but it's been a needed break.

School started and I just needed to deal with the grind again.  I also needed to spend time with Evie when I could.  The mom guilt is getting worse each day as I know that I'm not going to be able to devote all of my time and attention to her in the very near future.  I'm still working, and I will up until I go into labor, but I'm also in need of an outlet as things get closer to the end.

I guess what I'm saying is that I'm hoping to get back on the wagon.  I want to clean up my look and try to reconnect with my (few) faithful readers.  I'm missing the capability to write about what's on my mind.  I'm going to take it one step at a time, and I will not pressure myself to post every day...especially with a baby boy on his way in the next 4 weeks.

Here's a quick update for now:

Evie is doing well back at daycare.  We had a rough transition at the beginning of the school year.  She was tired out all of the time from playing all day.  She was a total bear each evening, and it was a little stressful.  She began hitting me, and asking to go on timeout....YIKES!!!  I was very scared.  If she wanted to go on timeout, what the heck should her punishment be????  The solution for that one is a blog post in I'll try to write about it soon!

I'm currently 36 weeks and 1 day.  I had my 36 week appointment yesterday and was excited to find out that I'm 1 cm dilated!  I was also very disappointed (and freaked out beyond belief) to find out that the baby is currently breech.  My doctor scheduled an external cephalic version (attempt to manually turn the baby from the outside) for Friday afternoon....but that's another post that I plan to write tomorrow!

So, I guess I'm back on the blogosphere...

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

27 weeks, or maybe 30?

I had a doctor's appointment yesterday and I got to have the "fun" of the blood glucose test.  That gross orange stuff makes me feel sick to my stomach!!!  But, on the upside, I don't have gestational diabetes. 

In other news, when my doctor measured my stomach, she paused and then said, "Oh, you're measuring 30.  That's interesting."  I asked if that was an indication of a problem.  She said no, that babies have growth spurts in utero as much as on the outside, so I could still be measuring 30 at my next appointment in 2 weeks.  However, if I'm still 3 weeks ahead, she'll probably schedule another ultrasound. 

With Evie, I was always measuring behind.  She was calculated to be a week behind at my 20 week ultrasound, so this is new territory for me.  Evie was a very small baby (5 lbs. 15 oz.), but all signs are pointing to a larger baby this time, even my doctor's comments at my first appointment.  Or maybe I'll just deliver earlier than originally thought (fingers crossed!!).  Or maybe it doesn't mean anything at all.  I guess we'll just have to wait and see...

27 weeks 1 day (officially)

Weight gain/loss: Up a total of 23 lbs. from my pre-pregnancy weight.  I'm trying not to obsess about it, and I'm hoping that going back to school tomorrow will distract me a little...from worrying about weight gain, and also from binging because I'm home all day.   

Fruit of the week: This week baby is the size of a rutabaga.

Feeling: A little anxious.  I am ready to just start school.  I always feel like this at the beginning of the school year.  

Sleep: Eh.  Part of it is the onset of my school-year insomnia, part of it is not being comfortable.  The body pillow has made its way back into our bed. 

Food cravings: Mass quantities.  I just feel like eating a lot of whatever I happen to be eating at the moment. 

Movement:  It's getting interesting!    I always had fun trying to identify body parts when I was pregnant with Evie, now I get to do that again.  :)

What I miss?  Just feeling normal.  In my lower moments, I think I'll never feel normal again.  I know that's not true, but it will be a completely different type of normal.  Maybe my anxiety isn't entirely related to school...

Best moment this week: M's birthday last week.  Evie and I threw him a "party."  Basically we made what he wanted for dinner, and then had chocolate chip cookies while he opened his presents (a new Badger sweatshirt and a wall hanging for his man cave).  It was fun, just the three of us.  :) 

What I'm looking forward to:  Going back to school tomorrow, and the kids start next Tuesday.  It will be nice to have the routine again, and it's always fun to see the kids after a summer off.  Even as high schoolers, they can change a lot in a few months!

Next Appointment: Sept. 12 at 29 weeks 2 days. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Stuff my kid says, Part 2

I wrote about Evie's talking a few months back, but this kid just keeps saying more and more stuff.  Everyday she seems to come up with something new.  It used to just be words for actions and objects, but now she is putting together complete thoughts and scenarios. 

Talking to Evie is the highlight of every day for me.  Part of it is just seeing how she learns new words and phrases (language nerd here!), but more than that, it's hearing what she thinks and how she feels.

And, oh boy, does she have opinions!!!!  And she's not shy about letting me know what they are!  She's been pretty insistent on wearing her pajamas (specifically the monkey ballerina pajamas) all.the.time.  She wants a freeze pop for breakfast every day.  She wants to go to the park at bedtime (that's just a ploy to put off bedtime...hasn't worked yet, but she keeps asking). 

Monkey ballerina pajamas...the current favorites.

Other conversations that have happened lately...

On a walk:
Me:  Evie, do you see the squirrel?
Evie: Yeah.
Me: Is it gathering nuts for the winter?
Evie: No, chicken nuggets.

Playing with her toy camera:
Evie: I take picture of my dinosaur.  Points camera at her dinosaur ride along toy.  Cheese!!
Evie: I take picture of Keeka.  Runs to take a picture of the dog laying on the couch.  Cheese!!
Evie: I take picture of toys.  Runs into her room and points camera at her toy box.  Cheese!!
Evie: I take picture of nigh-nigh.  Points camera at her crib.  Cheese!!

Playing with my purse:
Evie: I have purse.  Bye bye!!
Me: Where are you going?
Evie: I go Target.....bye!!!!!
(Like mother, like daughter.  I have a serious Target addiction....)

Eating breakfast (blueberries and yogurt...not a freeze pop):
Me: Can you please sit in your chair?  I'm going to get your breakfast ready. 
Evie: No, sheep in chair.  Buckle in.
Evie buckles her plush sheep into her booster seat, then sits in the chair next to it.
Evie:  Sheep eat too.
Looks at me and smiles. 

Eating breakfast with the sheep.

Hearing her ideas and listening to her begin to pretend and imagine is possibly the coolest thing about being a parent (so far).  I can't wait to see what she comes up with next!  :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

26 Weeks

I've had a few blog posts rattling around my brain lately, but as I'm enjoying the last few weeks of my summer, I haven't found the time or energy to post them.  All in good time....

But for now, here's proof that I wear something other than yoga pants and maternity tank tops when I'm off work.

26 Weeks (and 1 day)

The past few weeks have just plodded along.  Evie and I have made the most of our time by going to the park, visiting family, doing some back-to-school shopping, and trying to stay caught up around the house. (Yeah, right!)  Next Tuesday is my last official day of summer before I go back for inservice.  The kids start two weeks from today.  It will all be here before we know it!

Weight gain/loss: Up a total of 20 lbs. from my pre-pregnancy weight.  Blargh!!!!!  As I've posted before, it's bothering me much more this time, and I'm not really sure why. 

Fruit of the week: This week baby is the size of a head of lettuce.

Feeling: I feel like the 3rd trimester back ache kicked in a couple of weeks early.  It could probably be attributed to wrestling taking care of a toddler every day.  I've also been getting a headache every afternoon for the past week or so.  I've been trying to drink more water to see if that helps. 

Sleep: Actually pretty good.  I'm trying to enjoy my last week of non-school year sleep.  I'm a total insomniac during the school year.

Food cravings: SWEET.....anything sweet and bad for you.  Chocolate, cake, cookies, brownies, you name it.  I'm kind of glad that M's birthday is tomorrow so I have an excuse to make one of the above.  Right now, I'm thinking a double batch of his favorite chocolate chip cookies....

Maternity clothes:  See picture above.  I actually own a maternity dress.  However, the only reason I'm wearing it today is because I was sick of hitching up my maternity pants which always.fall.down.   

Movement:  We can now see movement from the outside!  And I feel like I'm beginning to place body parts.  Pretty sure I felt a leg earlier.  

Gender? Boy!

What I miss?  Not being pregnant.  I'm emotionally ready for this baby to be here.  I'm not trying to wish the time away, but the sooner he's here, the sooner we can adjust to life as a family of four.  (i.e. NO MORE WAITING!!!)

Best moment this week: Visiting my sister in Illinois with my other sister and her 4 month old daughter.  Evie, my sister, the baby, and I made the 4 hour drive on Friday and then back home on Sunday without too many problems.  Although, we probably looked like a traveling circus!   

What I'm looking forward to:  As much as I'm dreading bringing Evie to daycare every day, and not having this time with her, I am looking forward to school starting.  I'm trying to finish a few projects around the house in the mean time!

Next Appointment: Next Monday, August 27 for the blood glucose/gestational diabetes test.  After that, my appointments are every two weeks. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Names, names, names

I will save you the suspense, I can't reveal "the name" quite yet....because we don't have one picked out.  M and I are currently hashing that out.  He is going to go through out baby name book one more time to see if there is anything that we've missed.

The middle name is non-negotiable because they are both family names.  It will be either Michael or David depending on which first name we choose and which of those two middle names sounds better with it.  And "the name" may even be something that's not on this list because we really don't have much of a clue yet.

Picking a name for Evie was a breeze in comparison to this baby.  Knowing that it's a boy actually makes it more difficult.  M and I could agree on a million girl's names, but boy's names are particularly difficult for us.  We want something that is masculine (i.e. you know that it's a boy when you see it in no Taylors, Rileys, etc.), but we also want something relatively unique so that he's not one of 14 Jacksons in his 1st grade class. 

So, without further ado, in no particular order, here is our current short list of boy's names that we don't hate:

  • Cade Michael
  • Dillon Michael
  • Miller David
  • Dominic Michael
  • Tyler David
Cade is actually a student's name at school.  It's not like we'd name the baby after him or anything.  I just like the way it sounds.  Plus, Cade was ranked #347 in popularity last year by the Social Security Administration, so it's not crazy, but it's not super-popular either. 

Dillon is a possibility only if it's spelled like this.  It's another one that I just like the way it sounds.  Dillon (spelled this way) was #345 last year...another plus for us!

Tyler was suggested by my sister and I've always liked it.  I like the option for Ty as a nickname too.  I'm worried that it's becoming a girl's name though.   Plus, it's very popular (#38 last year). 

Dominic is a surprise for me on this list.  I never thought that M would like it.   Now, I'm not sure if I even like it that much anymore.  At #76 on the Social Security ranking, it's a little high for my liking too.

And then there's Miller.  Miller is what Evie's name would be if she were a boy.  M and I heard it years ago (long before we even really talked about having kids) on a VH1 celebrity baby name show and we couldn't get it out of our heads.  It's still in the top 5, but we want to explore other options.  I would hazard a guess that it's probably the front-runner.  However, M works in the beer industry, and we don't want the poor kid to be called "Miller-time" his whole life.  But who knows??  Maybe he would like that!

Part of me doesn't care about the beer association though.  I've had students with pretty unusual names, and I think that they grew into those names.  I was surprised to find Miller at #925 for 2011.  It doesn't have a ranking in the top 1000 for any year prior to that.  Apparently, the name is catching on.

The hard part is that although I like all of these names (I think), I don't love any of them.  Maybe the right name is still out there and we just haven't hear it yet.

Also, I know that by putting this out on the interwebz, I'm inviting opinions.  I'm happy to hear them!  I don't think that M or I could be too swayed from our own opinions about the name of our child.  :)  So, if you hate it, let me know.  And if you love it, let me know about that too!!

Monday, August 6, 2012

24 Weeks

So here I am at 24 weeks pregnant:

Do I look bored??  Because I feel bored.  I am just bored with being pregnant right now I guess.  We've passed the excitement of the big ultrasound and the gender reveal.  My big summer trips are over.  I'm feeling ok, but I know I still have a long way to go.  I'm actually really looking forward to school starting in a few weeks, mostly because it means I'm that much closer to my due date.  ;)

Weight gain/loss: Up 18 lbs. from my pre-pregnancy weight and feeling REALLY bad about myself.  I keep reminding myself that I gained 40 pounds when I was pregnant with Evie, and I started at a higher weight that time too.  I've been very good about exercising since I got back from Panama, but I need to start watching what I eat better.

Fruit of the week: This week baby is the size of a cantaloupe.

Feeling: Physically, fine.  Just a little bored.  I've been very into some school projects, and I really am looking forward to going back in a few weeks.

Sleep: My hips are feeling much better.  At my appointment last week, my doctor gave me some exercises to strengthen my lower back and hips.  I think that it's really been helping. 

Food cravings: Coffee.  I haven't given in yet because I feel like it's been too ridiculously hot out, but I think that I'll have to get some in the near future.   

Maternity clothes:  Blech!  I haven't had this bad of body issues in a while.  I need new bras because I've outgrown all of my old ones, which might help. 

Movement:  I've definitely felt a couple of bouts of hiccups in the past week.  I forgot how weird that is!! 

Gender? Still a boy, I hope... That's what we're planning on anyway.  ;)

What I miss?   Clothing that fits normally, and not feeling like a huge whale all of the time.    

Best moment this week: Seeing Evie's reaction to the animals at the State Fair on Friday.  She was SO into it!!   

What I'm looking forward to:  Meeting my new department team member tomorrow.  He's in Wisconsin on a teacher exchange program from Mexico.  I think it's going to be an awesome experience for the kids and our school.  (See, I'm school-obsessed right now!)  Also, I'm "coaching" in the teachers vs. students softball game at our local community picnic on Saturday.  I thought I'd look ridiculous trying to play softball almost 6 months pregnant, so they assigned me the job of coach...yikes!!

Next Appointment: August 27.  This is my last 4 week appointment, after that I go every 2 weeks!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Recipe for my Craving

I posted in my 23 week update that I had been craving "scotcharoos."  I had one comment saying that they hadn't heard of them, and to me they seem very Wisconsin-y, or at least very Midwestern.  (Like 7 layer salads and hot dishes, ha ha ha!)  Obviously, they're not a delicacy or anything (I would argue that they should be),. but I wanted I would share the awesomeness of scotcharoos with the world.  Please let me know if you've ever tried anything like this, and what you call them.  If you've read my blog much, you know I'm a big language nerd and colloquialisms like this are my favorite.  Yup, I'm that big of a dork. 

Also, I found this photo online (source) because by the time I got around to writing this, I (with M's help) had already polished off an entire pan (and a half if you count the leftovers from M's parent's party a couple of weeks ago), and I felt too bad about myself to make much as I really wanted to...for the sake of my blog and all.  ;)

I think there's a lot of ways to make these, and I don't use a recipe, I just go from what I've always done.  So here's my version: 

1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter
6(ish) cups of rice krispies
1 1/2(ish) cups of chocolate chips
1 1/2(ish) cups of butterscotch chips

Heat corn syrup, sugar and peanut butter on the stove until just melted together.  Careful not to overheat, or the bars will be hard as rocks.  Mix rice krispies with the peanut butter mixture.  Spread it in a 9X13 pan. 

Melt chocolate and butterscotch chips in the microwave.  Spread the mixture over the rice krispies and wait for it all to set.  I usually put them in the fridge/freezer (depending on how quickly I want them) to speed up the process. 

I don't really bother measuring the ingredients other than the first three.  I just eyeball what looks good.  I know, I'm so good at recipes, I should write a cookbook.  (<--sarcasm)  I've never made a pan of these that were inedible, even when I overheated the stuff and it was hard as rock, we found a way to eat them.  Even when they're bad, they're good. 

Have you ever tried these?  What do you call them?  Do you have a dessert or recipe that's specific to your state/region that you LOVE??  Please leave me a comment!!  I need more dessert recipes while I still feel not bad about eating whatever I want!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Happy Birthday Evie! - A letter for your 2nd birthday

Dear Evie, mi hijita,

It's hard for me to believe that a year ago, you couldn't walk, you didn't talk much, your hair looked so short, you were still such a baby in so many ways.

Evie with my mom on her first birthday

Now, you are a toddler to the core.  You don't just walk, you run, you climb, you do somersaults while watching Olympic gymnastics...  And boy, do you talk.  You've inherited that trait from both of your parents, although we'll both blame the other if asked.

One of my favorite pics from the past year...telling the world what she thinks
You've even become a little world traveler.  I'm so proud of how you adapted to a different way of life, and a new language.  You made me so proud, and I hope that my travel bug wears off on you a little bit.  I'm going to need someone to go with me on my world adventures, and your dad has never been interested. 

Chasing some pigeons in a plaza in Barcelona
With me, overlooking Barcelona from El Parque Guell

The past year has been easier than the first in some ways, and more difficult in others.  Asserting your independence is part of growing up, and, as your mom, I am going to struggle with that at times.  But I wouldn't trade a single temper tantrum for the ability to have a conversation with you, or to hold your hand walking into the grocery store.

"Talking" on the phone.  Around Halloween last year

You amaze me every day.  I think that I couldn't love you more, but then you imitate how your dad puts on deodorant, or how I talk on the phone, and I melt all over again.  Each moment is something new and exciting and I am honored and thrilled to share it all with you.

Evie at her 2nd birthday party.
She picked put the Brewer cake...I was pushing for a big 2 with zoo animals.
The next year is going to bring some big changes.  You'll be a big sister soon, and I'm going to need your help every step of the way.  I worry all the time about how you'll handle this, but you never cease to surprise me.  I know you'll charge into the role, like you do with everything else, and you'll be fine.  ;)

I love you completely, and that will NEVER change.  


Monday, July 30, 2012

23 Weeks

Well, I know I've been a bad blogger lately, but I've been enjoying time with my family....I'll catch up on writing about it later!

It's crazy that I'm 23 weeks.  Crazy that I can't believe how quickly I've gotten to this point, and crazy that I still have 17 weeks to go.  Four more months seems like an eternity, and I am feeling so big already that I don't know how I'm going to fit any more baby in there. 

Feeling H-U-G-E!

Anyway, M was off of work all of last week, so we had a lot of family time.  I'll have posts for all of that later this week, but for now, I'm going to take the easy way out and just do my "weekly" survey.  :-P

Weight gain/loss: I'm not sure how much I've gained in the past few weeks.  I've fallen off the wagon of weighing myself regularly, but I'm up about 15 pounds total since I found out I was pregnant.  I think I'm on about the same pace as I was with Evie.

Fruit of the week: This week baby is the size of a grapefruit. Seriously, it feels more like "bowling ball." 

Feeling: A little overwhelmed.  My sister brought her 3 month old daughter to Evie's birthday party yesterday, and I had flashbacks to caring for a newborn....and now I'll have a toddler too.  Yikes!!!

Sleep: I think my hips are shifting because they've been very sore the past week or so.  I took a tylenol before bed a couple of nights and that really helped.  I feel like I have a long way to go to start feeling like this already.

Food cravings: Scotcheroos...I'm not sure if these are a Wisconsin/midwestern thing, but if you know what they are, you know they are amazing.  It's basically peanut butter rice crispy treats covered in melted chocolate and butterscotch chips.  I should post the recipe....add that to the list of "later this week" posts. 

Maternity clothes:   Just see this post.  I pretty much feel like a whale wearing a burlap sack. 

Movement:  Still feeling a lot of it.  M is able to feel it almost every day too, which is so exciting.  I think I even felt hiccups yesterday.  Not sure if it's too early for that, but something strange was going on in there!   

Gender? Boy.  We are currently having a name battle at our house.  M and I cannot agree on boy's names.  This is going to be interesting!

What I miss?   I'm beginning to feel like I might have a problem, but I still miss alcohol.  A cold beer sounds amazing.  

Best moment this week: Evie's birthday last Tuesday!  I get more excited for her birthday than I think I ever did for my own.   

What I'm looking forward to:  Going to the State Fair on Friday.  Funnel cakes and cream puffs, here we come!!!

Next Appointment: This Wednesday, August 1st. It should be a routine weight/blood pressure/baby's heartbeat checkup.  :)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

I need a clothing section called, "So, you've given up on life."

I am so over maternity clothes.  Eight weeks ago when I began wearing them, I thought that they were the most comfortable things I'd ever tried on in my life.  That was purely because I had been squeezing myself into my pre-pregnancy clothes while waiting to get all of my maternity clothes back from my sister.

For a few weeks, maternity clothes and I lived together in bliss.  I was happy to have pants without zippers or buttons, and flowy shirts that hid my bump, or tighter shirts that showed it off in a good way. 

Fast forward to now, when I think that what I really need is a clothing store/department called, "So you've given up on life."  I feel like they would have what I'm looking for: the ultimate in comfort and stretchiness, while not making me feel bad about myself.  I'm having a much harder time with my body image with this pregnancy than when I was pregnant with Evie. 
I'm stressing more about this right now because we have a big party this weekend for my parents-in-law.  I didn't plan on being pregnant in July with 90 degree heat at a party in a park where I will undoubtedly be chasing my two year old EVERYWHERE.

Oh, and add to that the fact that I feel hideous (even when I'm not sitting in a pool of my sweat with a toddler hanging off of me) and I can't decide on anything to wear.  I bought a cute new dress while I was in Spain, but it's a little big on me at this point in my pregnancy.  I'm going to attempt to rig it up with some pins to see if it will fit decently, but I'm doubtful, and to be honest, I won't have a ton of time to monkey around with it on Saturday morning.

Cute Spain dress

I also bought a new shirt in Panama, but I would need an undershirt for it because the material is a little transparent.  Did you know that it's impossible to find flesh-colored neutral maternity tank tops????  I know I could probably find something online, but I'm not much of an online shopper (I like the rush of making my purchases in a store), and the party is less than 48 hours away.

Panamanian Bargain Buy ($6!!!)

I'll probably just end up wearing the same black dress that I wore to all nice occasions when I was pregnant with Evie.  I feel like it's a tired article of clothing...basically, I'm sick of it, but I have limited time and options right now.

Black dress: cute, but I'm just not feeling it

I think the crux of the issue is that I don't feel like I look good in anything.  I just don't feel pretty right now.  I picture myself looking decent and then I look in the mirror and see a very different image.  I know it's all in my head, but I worry that I'll never feel like I look good again.  I lost the weight quickly and easily (really without trying at all) with Evie, and what if that doesn't happen this time?  What if I have a closet full of non-maternity clothes that don't look good on me either? 

In the meantime, I'm thinking of opening a boutique.  I'll sell yoga pants and hooded sweatshirts.  Hair bands and sports bras sold separately....

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

21 Weeks (and 1 day)

I'm finally back from all of my summer travels.  I'm lucky to be back too.  We almost didn't get out of Panama on Sunday morning due to a flight cancellation, but all ended up working out, and we made it back in Wisconsin....just 6 hours later than planned (around 2 a.m. Monday morning).  My students were amazing with all of the delays, but also with the trip in general.  I'm one proud Spanish teacher right now!!!

I  missed Evie (and M) like crazy.  I was very homesick towards the end of the week, and I am so happy that I am home to stay for the foreseeable future.  M said that all of my flight issues were a sign from the universe that I'm not supposed to leave the country again for a while.  He's probably right!

Oh yeah, and I'm pregnant too!  That made for a few issues on my trip, but overall, it wasn't bad.  Panama has the most humid climate I've ever had the (mis)fortune of experiencing.  I was a hot, sweaty mess the majority of the week.  However, I think that would have been the case whether I was pregnant or not. 

So, here's the 21 week bump!  Crazy that I'm over half way done!!!!

Feeling not so pretty lately....

Weight gain/loss: +2 pounds from two weeks ago.  Putting my total weight gain at +11 pounds. 

Fruit of the week: This week baby is the size of a pomegranate.  

Feeling: Happy to be home!!!!  I'm VERY tired, but I think that's just the trip catching up with me.  I was so happy that Evie took a 2 and a half hour nap yesterday so that I could take a nap too!  Normally, she sleeps for an hour and a half on a good day. 

Sleep: Better now that I'm not dripping in sweat.  I LOVE A/C!!!

Food cravings: Chocolate.  Anything chocolate.  

Movement:  I'm feeling a ton of movement.  M was able to feel the baby kick for the first time last night.  Loving it!!

Gender? BOY!!!  Here's the post in case you missed it.

What I miss?   Booze.  Seriously, it's summer.    

Best moment this week: Seeing Evie yesterday morning.  Man, I missed that kid.  

What I'm looking forward to:  M's vacation next week.  We need some time, just the three of us.  We are taking Evie to an amusement park by my parent's house, and I can't wait!!!

Next Appointment: Friday, August 3rd.  Although I might reschedule because we are also planning on going to the Wisconsin state fair that day. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

It's a.... (and other news)


Profile shot of our son
"He" was not incredibly cooperative in getting measurements, etc.,  but the fact that the tech was able to say "boy parts" (as she put it) three separate times during the ultrasound makes me feel pretty confident. I asked her before we left the room if she felt confident that it is a boy, and she said that they can't guarantee 100%, but she thinks a boy is very likely. 

So, the planning begins.  We've already taught Evie how to say "brother."  And the spare bedroom in our house, which will become the nursery, is already decorated for a boy.  (The family that we bought our house from had a little girl and a little boy.  Even before we had kids, we always referred to the rooms as either the "little girl's room" or the "little boy's room."  Ironic that we had the same gender of kids in the order that we chose to use the spare rooms!)

It's a little underwhelming to know that it's a boy, but to now have to wait another 20 weeks to meet him.  If it goes as quickly as the past 15 weeks have, hopefully it will be here before we know it.  :)

In other news, I leave tomorrow for Panama!!  I had a great idea a month ago to line up some bloggy friends to do some guest posts, but that fell through (due to my own poor planning) while I was in Spain.  I'm not sure what my internet access will be in Panama, but I will post if I can.  It's going to be a very different trip with a group of high school students, rather than a toddler.  

I know I'm going to miss Evie (and M!) like crazy, but in some ways I'm looking forward to a little me time too.  One other teacher (who is also a very good friend) is coming along, and I think we are going to have a great time.  I can't wait to see the kids explore a new culture, and see another way to live in this world.  I hope that they are able to learn a lot.  

Hopefully I'll be in touch soon!!! 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Boy or Girl???

I love all of the old wives tales associated with determining the gender of a baby.  When I was pregnant with Evie, we did not find out the gender at our 20 week ultrasound, so we tried all of the tricks and 2/3 of them said that we were having a boy.  The Chinese gender predictor chart said that we were having a boy, and in my gut, I was sure that we were having a boy.  In my mind though, I thought I had seen the tell-tale "three white lines" (aka: it looked like lips, if you know what I mean) at the ultrasound, so a girl wasn't a huge surprise to me. 

With this pregnancy, we are finding out, and tomorrow is the big day.  We (potentially) find out if this baby is growing a peen or a vag.  Since the time to try out all of the fun old wives tales is running short, I thought I'd try a few and determine today, what will be proven by science tomorrow.

Chinese gender predictor: It depends on which month we conceived.  That's iffy, it was either the end of February or beginning of March.  If it happened in March (more likely), we are having a girl.  If it happened in February (less likely), we are having a boy.

Old Wives Tale Quiz This predicts that we have a 60% chance of having a girl and a 40% chance of having a boy.  That's not much better than 50/50....

Acne while pregnant: The tale goes that if you have more acne, you will have a girl.  My skin has been the same as always, so I guess that means boy??

Cravings: Salty cravings mean that you're having a boy, and sweets means a girl.  From this post, I think that predicts a girl. 

Previous kids: If your older child's first word was momma, you'll have a girl.  If it was "dadda," you'll have a boy.  Evie said "dadda" long before "momma," so, boy it is with this one!

Moodiness: If you are moodier than usual, you are having a girl.  That definitely means a girl for me!!!!  I have had to keep myself in check more than once this pregnancy!

Boob size: Supposedly, a larger left breast means girl, and a larger right breast means boy.  Righty has always been a little bigger, but I guess this still points to boy. 

Morning sickness: If you have little or no morning sickness, it predicts a boy.  I had some morning sickness, but not nearly as much as I had with Evie....boy???

Dreams: The tale goes that that you dream about what you will have.  I always dreamed that I was having a girl when I was pregnant with Evie.  This time, I've dreamed of having a girl 1 or 2 times, but just the other night, I had a dream that it was a boy. 

Finally, what do I think???  70% of the time, a expectant mother's intuition is right about the gender of her baby.  I'm really not sure.  I think that I'm being swayed a little by the fact that I know that M wants to have a son.  (Disclaimer: He would love any child that we had, but I know he would feel like he was missing out if he never had a son, and I think two babies are as much as our family can handle.)  I keep thinking it's a girl, but maybe I just want Evie to have a sister because I'm so close to my sisters.  I think there are too many outside influences at play here for me to make a rational decision.  (Also, that's a really good cop-out because I have no idea!)

Conclusion: I am having a hermaphrodite.   Of the wives tales I listed, four say girl, four say boy, and two are inconclusive.  In the end, whether this baby is a boy or a girl (or other), he/she will have two loving parents, an adoring big sister, and an extended family that will love the crap out of him/her.  :)

I found a great list of old wives tales here at

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Losing Myself

This is one of my biggest fears.  I feared it when I was pregnant with Evie, and I fear it even more now as I expect my second child.  How do I maintain my own identity while wrapped up in the needs of two other human beings?

I would be lying if I said that I wasn't upset when I found out I was pregnant.  Even though M and I probably would have eventually had more kids, this was very unexpected.  I don't want to sound ungrateful.  I know that there are millions of women (including my own sister) who have struggled with infertility, who would give their left arm for an unexpected pregnancy.  I'm over the shock, and I'm definitely looking forward to the new baby, but I still have doubts.

What if I can't handle two kids?  Some days (like last Friday), I feel like I can't handle the one I already have!!   There are lots of days and weeks when I feel like I don't have any time for myself.  How will I ever get any time with two children?  I resent M because I feel like he doesn't have to sacrifice as much.  Will our marriage be able to handle the addition of another child?  Evie is pretty comfortable as an only child.  How will she deal with this transition to big sister?  Will I still be able to give her enough?

On down days, these thoughts rule my mind.  We can prepare for all of this as much as we'd like, but until this baby arrives, there's no way of knowing what it will be like.  Nothing is ever exactly what you expect it will be.  I just hope that I can keep some shred of myself, and I will be recognizable on the other side.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Summer Fun!

It may seem that we've had all of the summer fun that we can handle here with our big trip and all, but we're just getting started!!  We have tons of plans this summer for when we're actually in this country.

To recap a bit: our Spain trip was amazing!!  We saw a lot of the country that I hadn't seen before, and lived with a great host family (I will not be posting their pics, as I did not ask permission).  We started in Barcelona, where we spent 3 days.

Chasing pigeons in a plaza in Barcelona
Then we moved on to Valladolid to stay with our host family.  While we were there, we took a few day trips.  We went to a city called Ávila which is a walled in city that is about 1500 years old.  We went to a city called Segovia with a 2000 year old Roman aqueduct, and we also were able to visit Santander, a beach town on the northern coast.

Skyping with M from our homestay
Our remaining summer plans are quite as exotic, but at least we'll be able to do (most) of them as a family.  Well, after I get back from Panama on the 15th that is.  I am taking a group of students to Panama for 9 days where we'll stay with Panamanian families to learn more about the language and culture there.  We will also be doing some work in a Panamanian orphanage as a service learning project.  We leave on Saturday, and as much as I'm looking forward to the trip, I'm also looking forward to coming home to stay for a while.  ;)

M is on vacation for a week and Evie's birthday is coming up!!  We plan to take her to Bay Beach amusement park in Green Bay during that week.  I went there a ton when I was a kid, and I can't wait to take Evie too!  I have such great memories of it, and it's so exciting to pass that on to her.


It's going to be a busy summer, but I'm looking forward to spending some time just the three of us before the new baby is born.  Next summer will be a whole new adventure!!

This post was written for Toddle Along Tuesday, sponsored by Growing Up Geeky.  This week's topic is Summer Fun.  
Link up and join the fun!!

Monday, July 2, 2012

19 week update

Because of our trip, it's been 4 weeks since I posted an update.  Do I look a lot different???

15 Weeks. 

19 weeks

 I swear these are different pictures...I just happened to be wearing the exact same thing.  I think that bump has grown a little in the past four weeks, but from looking at the pictures, not as much as I felt like it had.  I've been feeling H-U-G-E!!!!!  I know that I still have a long ways to go, but I wish that I had faithfully taken photos every week when I was pregnant with Evie, I think I'm much bigger this time around.

So, onto the survey!

Weight gain/loss: +3 lbs. from 4 weeks ago, putting my total weight gain at 9 lbs.  I am excited that I'm still hovering around my pre-pregnancy weight with Evie.  :)

Fruit of the week: This week baby is the size of a mango.  

Feeling: Tired.  I think that my trip is still catching up with me.  I'm also a little overwhelmed with the fact that I leave for Panama with a group of my students on Saturday.  I didn't plan on being pregnant for all of this traveling!!!! 

Sleep:  Good, but I would like more of it.  I went to bed at 8:30 last night, it wasn't even dark out.

Food cravings: Milk.  For being a Wisconsin girl, I'm not much of a milk drinker, but yesterday I think I had 4 glasses. 

Movement:  Definitely feeling a lot of it these days.  I had an anterior placenta with Evie, and I feel like it must be posterior this time with all of the movement I'm feeling.  This is by far my favorite part of pregnancy, so I'm enjoying it.

Maternity Clothing: I love everything about them, expect how the pants fall down all the time.  I've been wearing more dresses with the heat anyway, so not a huge problem.   

Gender? We are definitely finding out.  A lot of people have been saying they think I'm having a boy, but I think that's just because I already have a girl.  In Spain they call a boy/girl combination "la parejita," which means "the perfect little pair."  I think that everyone over there was just biased towards that.   

What I miss?   Having cocktails with M on summer nights.  All weekend, I just wanted to put Evie to bed and sit on the patio with a cold drink, talking to M.    

Best moment this week: Getting home.  I had the most amazing trip, but I know how much Evie missed M.  I missed him too.  It was nice to be a family all together again. 

What I'm looking forward to:  Taking my students to Panama.  As much as this is a strain on my family, it's the opportunity of a lifetime for my students.  A trip like this one when I was in high school truly changed my life.  I had never really been out of my little town before, and it opened my eyes to how big and interesting the world is.  I hope that this trip will do even half of that for my students. 

Next Appointment: The big anatomy scan this Friday, July 6th.  Yup, that means we're finding out the gender on Friday!!! 

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Flying for 8+ hours with a toddler: Easier than I thought it'd be

In order to get to Spain, we took a two hour flight from Chicago to Newark, NJ, then a 7.5 hour flight from Newark to Barcelona.  We were in Barcelona for 3 days, then took a 1.5 hour flight to Valladolid.  During our stay in Valladolid, we took a couple of car trips that were at least one hour each way, and also a 3 hour (each way) train trip to the beach in Santander on the northern coast of Spain.

On the way back, we had to fly back to Barcelona from Valladolid, then from Barcelona to Frankfurt, Germany, and then an 8 hour 20 minute flight back to Chicago.  Yikes!!!! Even now, I can't believe that we did all of that!

Evie had never flown before this trip.  I know, I know...I like to start with the high ropes course.  I was as prepared as I thought I could be: plenty of diaper, snacks, entertainment options, etc.  Of course, none of those things will work when you're dealing with a fussy toddler, but Evie was a trooper, and I learned a lot about my own levels of patience.
At El Parque Güell in Barcelona

A few things helped us more than I thought they would though.   First of all, when flying for extended periods of time with a toddler, tiring them out at the airport is key.  We ran Evie from one of the terminal to other during each layover.  It worked well for us on our way to Barcelona: she slept for 6.5 hours of the 7.5 hour flight!  On the way back, we had less luck, but we tried our best.  Fortunately, she wasn't too fussy and I was able to walk around the cabin of the plane for most of the flight.  I don't know what I would have done if there had been more turbulence...

Second, I never would have believed in the kindness of strangers to entertain my child.  From the soon-to-be grandma on our first flight who played peek-a-boo with Evie for at least half an hour, to the elderly Spanish grandma of 5 who held Evie for an hour of the train ride to the beach, it seemed like everyone was understanding of fussy babies and willing to help out if they could.  I will remember to pay this forward!!!

With my dad in the Plaza Mayor of Valladolid
 Overall, I was really impressed by others' attitudes towards my toddler being on their trans-Atlantic flight.  There were only two instances of people being snide or rude throughout the whole trip.  One was just a man on a train who did a lot of eye rolling and huffing.  The other was a woman on our first flight to Newark who said, "I guess you haven't heard of the Benadryl trick."   (Make sure that you picture this woman's lips pursed and very judgy wudgy looking as she says this.)  I am not going to drug my child for a two hour flight.  I will admit that I brought a bottle of the stuff along just in case it got really bad.  I was fortunate that I never had to use it though.

It wasn't all easy.  I had to hold Evie for about 16 hours straight on the way back because she refused to go by my dad, or go in her stroller in the Frankfurt airport.  Trying to entertain her on the long flight from Frankfurt to Chicago was tough too.  But really, the whole ordeal was better than I thought it would be. 

Have you flown with your child?  How did it go?  Do you have any tips for me in the future?

Friday, June 29, 2012

Asking the interwebz for some help

I had a cute post all planned for today.  After being gone for 2 and a half weeks, I was all ready to tell you about how amazing our trip was, and show you pictures of all of the cool things we saw and did...and then I tried to go grocery shopping this morning. 

I'm afraid that Evie has officially entered the "terribles twos."  The tantrums have been manageable, and mostly in the privacy of our own home until recently.  Also, until recently, they haven't been violent towards anyone.  She has hit me a few times in the past couple of months, and we took it very seriously.  We created a timeout space, and put her there whenever she was violent (mostly hitting, biting a little bit).  It was relatively few and far between, I think we put her on timeout a total of 3 - 4 times between April and June 10th.

However, while we were gone on our trip, the episodes of violence grew exponentially.  She had a violent outburst like this about every other day.  I chalked it up to being in a strange place, away from her father, etc.  I disciplined her as much as I could, but these incidents often occurred in public, which means no timeout space, and the whole world is watching (read: judging) how you react.  Being in a different culture, where I'm unsure of the social norms for disciplining your child in public made it even more difficult. 

I was hoping that it would be better when we got home, but this morning at the grocery store, she bit my hand so hard that she left a bruise.  She was upset that I strapped her into the shopping cart.  Fortunately, I hadn't really started my shopping yet.  I immediately carried her out of the store.  We went to the car in the parking lot, where I attempted to explain to her that she hurt me and that biting is wrong.  I say "attempted" because I felt like she got her way in the end: she didn't have to ride in the shopping cart.  I feel completely defeated.  In her mind, biting equaled getting her way. 

So, that's where my plea for advice comes in.  Does your toddler have outbursts in public?  How have you handled it?  We need to act immediately.  She needs to learn that sometimes you have to do things you don't want to do, and biting/hitting are not the appropriate reactions. 

Please tell me about your system for dealing with tantrums in public.  I'd love to hear any suggestions that anyone can give me.  I promise a cute post from our trip over the weekend....  :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

So many things to write about...

Well, we´ve moved on on Friday from Barcelona to Valladolid.  Barcelona was great, and I have a ton of pics to post, but no way to post them.  Expect a photo dump post upon return to the U.S.  ;) 

Anyway, we arrived in Valladolid (a small-ish city of about 400,000, northwest of Madrid) on Friday afternoon and we were greeted at the airport by our host family.  They are a mother, Marta, father, Roberto, and three sons, Iván (8 years old), Sergio (7), and Lucas (2).  They are the most outgoing family ever, which is awesome, but it´s been overstimulation overload for Evie since we got here.   I´m used to my relatively quiet house with one child....this is the home of three extrtoverted boys.  Evie has been having problems settling in for naps and bedtime, which we haven´t seen in a while.  It´s been a little frustrating, but I know we´ll be alright. 

Marta and Roberto are awesome.  They have treated us like members of the family since we stepped off of the plane, and the boys are so excited to see Evie and teach her how to play in Spanish.  It´s amazing how much she has picked up in a just a few days.  In English, she counts to ten (she always misses 9, but it´s close enough ;), and she´s already trying to count in Spanish.  She misses more numbers, but I can´t believe that she´s even attempting it.  She says hola and gracias readily, and last night at dinner she said, "I want agua."  That´s better spanglish than some of my!!!

Our biggest hurdle is how much I think we both miss M.  We have been skyping almost daily, but it´s not the same.  I felt horrible that yesterday was father´s day and we were 4000 miles and 7 times zones away.  Since the time we left, and especially since we´ve arrived in Valladolid, Evie has been really clingy.  She won´t let me out of her sight.  If I leave the room to even go to the bathroom (God forbid!), she screams.  It makes me feel awful to think that she´s so afraid that I´m going to leave her.

There is so much more to tell you, but since I began writing this post, Evie has woken up for the day (at 9:15...thank you jet lag!), and I have to get her going.  We are going to meet my dad at his hotel and then run some errands.  I´m on my last diaper, and I´m out of travel size shampoo!!  I´ll write again as soon as I can. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Estamos aqui!

Well, we made it to Barcelona. The trip actually felt pretty easy compared to what I had mentally prepared myself for.  Overall, Evie was great, all of our flightswere on time and everything that I expected to go wrong didn't.  

Updating from my tablet will be difficult because it's a touch screen and it's annoying to type 
on here. We have free wifi at the hotel though, so I'm trying to make the most of it.  I'll have to steal my dad's laptop when I have a chance, but right now I'm going to go enjoy an afternoon siesta with Evie. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Four Posts for the Price of One!

This seemed like the easiest way for me to get caught up with what our life has been like lately.  So, here it goes...

First, we've been up to a lot.  Last weekend, we were really busy, but a highlight was going to the local "Breakfast on the Farm."  Evie had a great time.  M was raised on a farm and these types of events (including the county fair) were a major part of his childhood.  He loves taking Evie to them.  We've already made plans to go to the Wisconsin State Fair in August!

Evie playing in the "corn box" at the Breakfast on the Farm

We have been working on some home improvement projects over the past few weekends.  We are still considering putting our house on the market sometime this summer.  It's a big decision.  There are a lot of pros and cons to weigh, and I feel like I change my mind every day.  In the past month, we have painted the master bath, and repainted our living room.  (Sorry, I only have before and after pics of the bathroom.)  We are probably going to be getting new carpet sometime this summer too.
Mirror wall before and after

Shower wall before and after

The walls were just plain white, and I had red rugs and a red shower curtain.  Now the walls are blue and a new coat of off-white, and the accent color is chocolate brown.  I really like how it turned out!!

Today was my last day of school with my students.  I have to go in tomorrow to finish up grades and give my room a thorough cleaning.  On Friday, I have about 10,000 errands to run, and I have an OB appointment.  Saturday, we are going to a Brewer game with some friends to celebrate my birthday (I'll be the big 3-0 on Sunday!!  Yikes!!!!).  On Sunday we have to go my our nephew's 2nd birthday party, and finally on Monday, my dad, Evie and I hop on a plane to spend 16 days in Spain.  Whew!!!

To say that I'm feeling a little overwhelmed is an understatement.  I do not regret my decision to take this trip with Evie.  In all honesty, I never would have gone without her.  This is an amazing opportunity that just sort of fell into my lap, and I can't pass it up.  I didn't plan on being pregnant, but there are pregnant women all over the world, I'm sure I'll be fine.  :)

I will be trying to post while we are gone, but it might be more difficult than I think it will be.  I have about 15 posts (no exaggeration!) rattling around in my brain lately.  I hope that I am able to write more now that school is out.  But at the moment, sleep wins!!!

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