Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Here we go (grow?) again!

Turns out we aren't joining the "One and Done" club, although I'm sure most people probably thought we'd paid for that membership far in advance.  Instead, I think we'll be a part of its sister organization, "Two and Through."  That's right, Connor's going to be a big brother!

In an effort to treat both my kids (Ack, did I just say kids?!) as equally as possible, I'm going to reference my first pregnancy announcement post and answer the same questions.

So was McBaby #2 planned or another accident unexpected blessing?  This one was planned.  We tried for about three months before the stars aligned.  That's how these things work, right?

Did I tell the McHusband in some special way?  You'd think with three months to plan I could come up with something better than handing over a recently-peed-on pregnancy test.  How about having Connor hand it over?  I had gotten groceries from Walmart and in between putting them away and getting picked up by Heather for our Bad Moms movie date (appropriate, right?), I took the test.  When I saw that it was positive, I had just enough time to task Connor with delivering it to the McHusband before I kissed the boys goodbye and flew out the door.

Will we find out the baby’s gender?  We already did!  One advantage to my advanced maternal age (37) is being offered a genetic screening test for three disorders at 10 weeks and in doing so they can tell you the gender.  I had the test on a Friday and it was supposed to take 7 to 10 days to get the results.  I got the phone call Monday afternoon, 6 business days after the test.  It was great to hear that the baby is fine and know so soon what we’re having.  Looks like I will remain the queen of the castle since we’re having another little boy!
The cake I picked up to share the boy news with the McHusband.
On that note, I actually thought it was going to be a girl.  Unlike when I was pregnant with Connor, I had a few weeks when I just didn’t feel that great.  One afternoon while eating my salad with grilled chicken on it, I thought I was going to puke.  It took a lot of effort to get the bite down and even now several weeks later, grilled chicken does not appeal to me.  Fried chicken in the form of a Chick-Fil-A spicy chicken sandwich however?  I could eat three a day.  So solely based on that difference between the pregnancies, I was thinking girl.  And yeah, hoping a little, too.

Other than the occasional bouts of nausea, my main symptom was being tired, but I remembered that from the first time around.  I have done my best to keep up with the workouts I was already doing and only missed one boot camp because of feeling bad.  I remember some more-than-normal fatigue lasting on and off through about 15 weeks so hopefully I don't have to worry about that symptom much longer, if at all.

I’m starting off this pregnancy heavier (about 15 pounds) than my first so I know I need to watch the weight gain for the duration.  I will need to take off what I put on PLUS the extra weight I was already carrying.  I’m hoping breastfeeding will help a lot with that like it did the first time around, but I had supply issues and stopped breastfeeding when Connor was about four months old.  We’ll see how things go this time around.  I’ll be happy if I make it to four months again, thrilled to reach six months, and ecstatic with any number of weeks after that, both for me and for the baby.
12 weeks pregnant - and looking it!
How pregnant AM I anyway?  I am just shy of 13 weeks and hope this baby doesn’t come early as he is due on April 28th.  I’d hate to have to share my birthday (April 24th).  I got lucky and Connor came a day after his Valentine’s Day due date so let’s hope this baby arrives on or after his due date.

I had a check-up yesterday and everything sounded good.  No ultrasound since we did that genetic testing, but I heard the heartbeat.  And found out I need to lay off the snacks and up the exercise.  :( #stupidscalerealitycheck

We are excited (and, yeah, a little nervous) about being a family of four but are happy that we can give Connor a sibling.  I have two sisters, the McHusband has a brother, and while all those relationships had their ups and downs growing up, I know we both consider ourselves to be very lucky to have our siblings now.  We wouldn’t be the people we are now without them, and we truly appreciate them and consider them friends.
I don’t how regular a blogger I’ll be, but I do hope to check in at regular intervals so I can document this pregnancy like I did my first.  I have enjoyed going back and reading about what was happening and how I was feeling so I don’t want to miss out on that the second (and last!) time around.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Connor's first beach trip


Wow, long time no write, huh?  I want to tell you guys about our lives, from goodies I bake to Connor’s latest achievements (counting to 10!) to the McHusband’s most recent new-to-him car. 
Another Magnum.  Anyone wanna buy an Acura?
But I find myself lacking the mental energy to be productive after 8:00 at night.  I just want to veg with a TV show and a little internet surfing before my 9:30 bedtime.  I wish I were more motivated to post something at least once a week, but I just can’t force myself to do that.



But let’s not focus on how much I’m NOT writing and instead be glad there’s this post to read.  With pictures and everything!



Connor and I went to the beach this past weekend.  We met up with my sisters, Bri and Shannon, and their kids (Lyla, Owen, Olivia, and Maxie).  Sorry, no hubbies/boyfriends allowed this time.  Bri’s husband’s family has a little house in Surfside Beach, near Myrtle, so we crammed ourselves and all our stuff in there and it worked out great.  Unless you were Owen and Olivia sleeping on the sunporch with only the fans cooling you off.  Then you might not agree that “great” is the right word to use…



I worked a half-day on Thursday, picked Connor up from school, loaded the last few things I needed into the car, and we hit the road.  Connor fell asleep pretty quickly, which I had counted on, and we had a very pleasant 3.5-hour drive.  He almost always does great on long car rides.  I give him snacks, talk to him, and also just let him look out the windows and take in the world around him and respond to his questions and comments.  At one point, he was telling me about Mickey Mouse driving a muddy car and how he, Connor, needed to clean it.  I love seeing him using his imagination.



We arrived before Shannon, and Lyla and Maxie were waiting for us.  They were more than happy to help unload Connor’s toys.
Oh, you thought I meant carry them in from the car?


That evening we had a pasta dinner and then went on a walk.  We had seen turtles in the pond behind the house earlier, then on the way back to the house we saw swans.


We were all up bright and early Friday morning so once everyone was fed, it was time to slap on the sunscreen and head to the beach.  The house is about a five-minute drive from the beach and with it being both early and a weekday, we didn’t have any problems finding parking.  We played in the surf and sand for about 3 hours before wrapping it up, mostly at my request so that Connor could go back for a nap.  But we crammed a lot of fun (and a few snacks, of course) into that timeframe.  Connor is a big fan of the beach!
 



Sister Selfie


Snacks on the Beach
After Connor’s nap, the kids played with Connor's school bus, the souvenir that the McHusband brought back after HIS beach trip the weekend before.  I love how well all the kids (usually) play together and how they include Connor.
Once the novelty of the bus wore out, it was time for a rousing game of Hide & Go Seek.  Bri, Shannon, and I had fun finding good hiding places for the kids so it was a game for all ages.  We had pizza for dinner and then the kids watched a movie.  Well, the kids and Bri and Shannon.  I may have dozed off for a few minutes…  Hey, it’s hard work playing in the surf with a toddler! #pluswine
Sleeping Beauty
Saturday was our long beach day.  We met up with my cousin Cody, who moved to Myrtle from PA in February, for an early lunch to beat the crowds and then spent the rest of the afternoon at the beach.  Connor did amazing out there considering the early start to the day (seriously, these kids don’t understand that vacations are for sleeping in) and the lack of a nap.  He only fussed at the very end when it was time to go and he didn’t want to leave, but I think he was tired enough that he didn’t really have the energy to fight me too hard about leaving.  I strapped him in his carseat and I think he was asleep before I’d even backed the car all the way out. 
Sleeping Cutie
He slept hard for about 30 minutes while we made pit stops at the grocery store and gas station, and then I drove around for another 10 minutes or so to allow him to get enough zzz’s to get him through, happily, til bedtime.  He woke up a tad grumpy but once he was bathed and with the other kids – or his friends, as he called them – he was good to go.  The kids chilled a little with electronics and TV, and then more Hide & Go Seek with Cody’s help was on the docket.  We ate Crockpot Salsa Chicken tacos and rice for dinner and just hung out at the house.


Once the kids were down, the big kids had more fun visiting and we stayed up much too late. 
I think I finally got into bed at 1:30 and Connor, who had slept just fine the past two nights, woke up at 4:00.  I did something I’ve never done before and do NOT plan to make a habit of: I pulled him onto the bed with me.  My reasoning was this: I was driving us home the next day and wanted to get as much sleep as I could to ensure safe travels. #momlogic



Speaking of the drive home…  Once again, Connor was a perfect passenger.  It helped that he actually slept for an hour and a half.  See?  I wasn’t the only one tired from vacation.  We left around 10:30 and he was asleep just before 11:00.  He normally won’t go down for his nap until between 12:30 and 1:30 so he was definitely needing to catch up a little.  Wish I could’ve joined him…



All in all, we had a fabulous time, and I’m so glad it worked out for us to spend that quality time together.  I’m especially happy that Connor got to be with his “friends,” a.k.a. cousins. He’s old enough now to really remember them so every visit matters for more than just the obvious reasons.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Catching Up With Connor: 27 Months

I wanted to do a little review of what Connor’s doing and saying and just...knowing lately, mostly for me (remember, this blog is like my scrapbook) but also for our family and friends who know and love him but don’t get to see him as often.
Instead of “I” or “me,” Connor says “my.”  So, for instance, we hear, “My do it” and “My coming, Mama!” as he slides on his belly down the stairs.  The other night I was taking Connor and Monte on a walk and he said, out of nowhere, “My happy.”  I translated it back to him to make sure I understood what he was saying: “Are you happy?”  And he simply said, “Yeah.”  Any parent would be happy to hear that, but it was especially nice for this working mom to hear.

The McHusband gave Connor some cashews and he ate a couple pieces then picked up one that was whole.  He held it up, looked at it and said, “Moon.”  Why yes, my genius son, a cashew is moon shaped. #harvardherewecome
Continuing with the topic of my son's obvious brilliance, his other amazing skill is counting.  Sure, it's only to two and it seems more reliable when there's food involved, but hey, we all need motivation, right?  I had made some blueberry muffins for Teacher Appreciation Week at daycare and while I sent regular-sized muffins in to the teachers, I made some mini muffins to keep at home.  When Connor finished his dinner, I offered him a muffin as a treat, and as soon as I turned away after handing him one, I heard, "My want two."  How could I say no?
I am almost always surprised when Connor recalls something without any prompting.  Sunday night, just before bed, we were playing with his indoor basketball goal and throwing the balls around.  He then went across the room to get the blanket on the back of the couch because he apparently remembered that night when we got back from our Nashville trip (Easter Sunday) and we each held part of the blanket and bounced a ball around on it.  We hadn’t done that since and it was only the one time but apparently it stuck with him. 

He loves Jeeps right now, thanks to My Truck is Stuck.  And we practice our colors when we see them.  He knows red ones without our help and even called out a purple one – and he was right!
Connor loves to “help” the McHusband outside: mowing the grass on the tractor, shoveling dirt, sweeping, it doesn’t matter what the chore is, Connor thinks it’s great fun.  Let’s hope he hasn’t lost ALL that enthusiasm when he’s 12 and can actually be of assistance.  He also likes to use my broom inside so if I can just get him to sweep with intention, I’m thinking he can be promoted from Apprentice to Head Sweeper sooner than later.  (I realize that most kids go through a helper or monkey see-monkey do phase so this isn’t something unique to Connor; I’m just trying to write down that he’s doing it now for my own recollection looking back.)
Connor is a generally happy kid and I’m going to give most of the credit to the McHusband and me.  I mean, I think it’s in Connor’s nature to be agreeable, but even nice people can be grouchy when they are tired or hungry or not taking care of themselves.  We try to make sure that Connor gets enough sleep, eats well, and gets his fair share of fresh air while limiting any TV watching.  He only ever watches either Chuggington or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and if he watches at all during the week, it’s typically just one 25-minute episode when we get home (while the McHusband and I feed animals and get Connor’s dinner together) or maybe two episodes on a weekend day: one in the morning and one in the evening.  Oh!  That’s another thing that’s new.  Mickey is meant to be interactive and we’ve started hearing Connor answer questions when the characters ask them.

There’s so much more to our little towhead that I could go on and on.  But I don’t have the energy to break it all up with pictures and, let’s face it, a post with all text just isn’t as much fun to read.  Just take my word that he’s a special little guy.  Not that I’m biased… ;)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Lately...


Lately…  I’ve been trying to get at least 7 hours of sleep at night, which means I have to head upstairs around 9:30 to get ready for bed, read for a few minutes, and fall asleep by a few minutes after 10.  Some nights are more successful than others, but I’ll take what I can get.

Lately…  We’ve been enjoying more and more time outside in the beautiful weather.  Spring can be short lived in NC, with summer in a hurry to show up and then add insult to injury by staying long after it’s fall’s turn to be in the spotlight.  Every additional day without 90+ percent humidity is a good one.  Last night, Connor and I went on a run-walk with Connor enjoying snacks and water while I huffed and puffed up and down the hills near our house pushing a 35-lb (at least!) toddler plus the stroller.  We won't be able to (relatively) comfortably do that at 6:15 for much longer so it'll be back to 4:45 a.m. solo runs.

Lately…  I’ve seen Connor’s vocabulary and understanding growing by leaps and bounds.  Monday morning he was finishing breakfast and he asked to watch Chuggington (a train cartoon), or as he put it, “Choo-choo tee?”  Meaning, “Can I watch Chuggington on the TV?”  I told him we probably wouldn’t have time.  As I was cleaning him up a few minutes later, he said, “No time, choo-choo” while shaking his head.  First of all, I was just happy that he took it in stride and was okay with not getting something he wanted.  He normally is fine, but he’s also a toddler.  ‘Nuff said.  But he took in what I said and it resonated with him and he said it back to me like he understood the concept.  I love watching the wheels turn and things click for him.  And I love hearing him try out new words like “yellow” and “helicopter.”  I swear it’s like those words are just fun for him to say.
Lately…  The McHusband has been pretty focused on his new garage.  It’s up and ready to be finished with electrical, plumbing, drywall, painting the floor with an epoxy, etc.  Who needs a project car when you have a project garage?  At least it can be somewhat used as planned now.  We have the trailer, mower, and Connor’s riding toys in there.  I am happy for him to have this space since it’s something that he always planned on having when he grew up.  I know he and Connor will get some quality father-son time out there…maybe while Mommy gets some quality Stephanie-TV time.  We all win!

Lately…  I haven’t been blogging.  Yeah, that one’s pretty obvious, huh?  I just find that when I sit down in the evening with my hour and a half of free time, I simply don’t have the energy to give anything else.  I just want to watch a show, surf the web a little, then get myself up to bed without feeling like I HAVE to stay up a little longer to cross a task off the to-do list.  Wanna know a little secret?  I didn’t type this up from the comfort of my couch; instead, I found myself with a little free time during the work day so I decided to jot a few thoughts down.

Lately…  I’ve been missing my blog posts.  I know, it’s a “have your cake and eat it, too” situation.  I’ve made some great dinners that are worth sharing (Are you guys aware of how awesome roasted broccoli is?!), the McHusband and I had a super fun trip to Nashville (see photo below), and we’ve done some fun things with Connor, like the Touch-a-Truck event in Apex this past weekend.  I count on the blog as a scrapbook and if I don’t keep it up, I know I will regret not being able to look back and review our life at any given time.  Not to mention how it connects us to our extended family as well as our group of friends.

Lately…  I’ve been trying to be healthier.  Okay, this one is only about a week old, but that qualifies as lately, right?  I just enjoy my snacking and fru-fru (i.e. alcoholic) drinks and if I could have any magic power, it might be that I’d want to eat and drink whatever I wanted and not gain weight.  Who wants to be a part of my superhero squad?  I’ll be the Calorie Killer.  I’m thinking I could use a Fat Blaster and a Carb Slasher so let me know if you’re interested.  For now, until I get bitten by a radioactive bug or find a glowing rock, I’ll just stick to counting calories, getting in three to four days of exercise, and drinking lots and lots (and LOTS) of water.

Lately…  I am grateful for all the blessings in my life.  I have a good job, a wonderful husband, a pretty darn great kid who happens to be super cute,  loving and supportive extended families, and we all have good health.  Now all I need is more time, energy, and willpower.  Which bug do you think needs to bite me so I can get more of those things any time I need them?

Thanks for coming back.  I really want to try to be better about blogging even if it's just a weekly check-in on Monday or Tuesday to recap our weekends.  We'll see how that works out... 

PS  And since I'm pretty sure I won't be back tomorrow, I want to wish a happy early birthday to Jenny.  For that matter, I need to wish Shannon a happy belated birthday since she celebrated hers this past Saturday.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Sick day + some deep thoughts

Sunday evening, I picked Connor up to put him in his chair for dinner and I knew.  I just knew.

He had a fever.  I could feel how hot he was under his arms.  The McHusband took him up for his bath and I asked him to check Connor's temp and sure enough, he had a fever.

Connor fell asleep just after 7 Sunday night and I finally woke him up at 6:45 Monday morning to see if he was still running a fever so that I needed to stay home.  The McHusband was off to Greenville to testify in a trial (for those who don't know, he's a forensic engineer so he reconstructs accidents and has to serve as an expert sometimes) so his day in the office trumped mine. 

Connor and I had a great day together.  We have been so lucky that for the most part when he's been too sick for daycare (which means he's running a fever), he's otherwise himself.  We had fun together, we took Monte (or "mahn-kee" as Connor calls him) on a long walk, and I got extra stuff that didn't get crossed off the list over the weekend taken care of.  I mostly finished painting the guest bathroom, I washed our bedding AND made the bed as if guests were coming over, and I got the downstairs all cleaned up.  And in between all that, I was with Connor who proves over and over again to be the brightest part of my day.  Have you seen my latest Instagram video of him?  Surely I'm not the only one who thinks he's absolutely adorable.

I am not confident that I'm "doing it all" very well, but I feel good about my mom skills.  When I'm in "mom mode," I'm good about blocking out other distractions so that I'm devoting time to truly being with Connor.  I'm a working mom so I miss out on being with Connor most of the days during the week so I try really hard to make sure our time together counts.  Quality over quantity, right?

I am often amazed by how much I love Connor, by just by how much I feel for him.  When I heard that Joey Feek died, I couldn't help but mourn her two-year-old daughter's loss.  I see how much I mean to Connor, and I can't even imagine what it would do to him if I just...disappeared.  I realize that that seems very depressing and macabre, but I can't help to worry about that.  He is my world, and I would do anything to ensure his happiness.

Man,when did I become so sappy?  Oh yeah, probably just over two years ago... :)

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Fit to Fat to Fit

Is anyone else watching Fit to Fat to Fit on A&E?  I was intrigued by the concept from the very beginning and now, four-and-a-half episodes (I'm watching one right now) in, I’m definitely hooked.  Here’s the basic idea:

A trainer in amazing shape has four months to gain a certain amount of weight (we’re talking about 40, 50, 60 pounds here) and then he (so far, they’ve all been men) will work alongside their client/partner who is looking to lose at least that much weight.  They will work together for four months and then we’ll see their transformations.

The idea is that the trainers get to see how they feel eating a bunch of crappy food and not exercising and carrying the extra pounds so they can gain an understanding of where their client is mentally and physically.  The trainer and clients meet up after the initial four months and they get started right away with a workout.  The trainer puts the client through his/her paces, then the tables turn and the trainer does the workout.  So far, all the trainers have suffered and struggled through that workout but I have to wonder if some of that is for the audience (us watching and their client).  Not all of it; I'm sure they are still feeling the workout, but it seems like they could possibly be exaggerating their reactions for the show.

I like the focus on the trainer at the beginning, but I don't feel like the focus shifts enough to the client in the second half of the show.  I want to see more of that person working hard to lose weight while they adjust to their new lifestyle within their old lives.  Have their families changed their eating habits too?  When are they getting in their exercise?  Did anything knock them off course?  How do they deal with cravings and social situations?

One thing that isn't clear is how much the trainers are working out once they are allowed to exercise again.  Since they go to a gym for work, it's easier for them to get in anywhere from a "normal" amount of exercise to what most people would consider an excessive amount.  I'd like to see them roughly match their client's schedule.  Sure, they can do their training of people as their job, but they can't use any more than an hour (comparable to a lunch hour for most people) during a normal work day for exercise and even then they have to remember that they need to be presentable and ready to get back to work an hour after they start so they don't actually have 60 minutes to work out.  Before and after work, they can exercise as much as their life allows as long as it doesn't vary greatly from what their client is able to do.

Real life for most people doesn't mean working in a gym and exercising for a living.  it doesn't mean taking care of only yourself.  It doesn't allow for specialized meals for one.  I think the show should work a little harder to truly put the trainers in the shoes of their clients.  They need to know how truly difficult it can be to lose a lot of weight when it isn't your job, and your actual job and commute takes up 10 or more hours of your day.

Even though I think there's room for improvement in the show, I think the concept is a really good one.  Not only does it help the trainer see how the client may be feeling, but the client has that much more appreciation for the trainer and what he is willing to do to help.

And on that note, I'm going to get back to this episode and see how this pair does together.

Monday, February 15, 2016

My baby is 2!

I’m starting this post on Friday the 12th.  Two years ago exactly I went to my last weekly check-up at the doctor before embarking on a five-hour drive home through snow and ice.  Thank goodness Connor didn’t decide to come a little early because he would’ve been on the news as a roadside birth since it took me less time to actually HAVE him, from the time real contractions started to his arrival, than it took me to drive home.

I could go on and on about this toddler of mine.  He is funny, sweet, talkative, curious, smart, and every other adjective you want your two-year-old to be.  He loves washing cars with the McHusband, watching Mickey Mouse and Chuggington, reading books, and putting his puzzles together.  We bathe him every other night but he loves baths so much that he asks for one every night.  I think we’ll definitely have to get him a pool for the backyard this summer.
Connor is still a good eater and has been loving oatmeal lately.  Broccoli too!  The one thing I know he isn’t a big fan of is chicken nuggets.  When I mentioned that to friends, they asked, “Has he had Chick-Fil-A nuggets before?”  Because, come on, who doesn’t like those?!  Yes, he’s had them and they just aren’t his favorite.  Dipping sauces, however, are a different story.  He loves them all.

It amazes me how much he takes in from the world around him.  One day recently the McHusband was out of town for work and I said so and said, “Daddy is on an airplane.”  Now when I tell Connor, “Dada has to work,” he says, “Airplane!”  I love when my little sponge wrings himself out and I get to see everything he’s absorbed from us and school.

Speaking of…  Connor will move up to the next classroom in March so he’s been spending a little time over there just to get acclimated to the new room, people, and teachers.  On the first day, the assistant teacher told me that he was the only one who didn’t cry and that he was one of the best listeners.  #proudmom  I wasn’t really surprised.  He’s fairly “go-with-the-flow” in general although he certainly has his terrorist toddler moments.

Luckily Connor is still happy to go for long walks in the stroller, and I hope he continues to be content as the weather improves.  We will also have to get the bike and…I don’t know what that kid-carrying-pull-behind thing is called but you know what I’m talking about.  Anyway, we’ll have to get that out so we can ride through the neighborhood across the street.

Connor still sleeps in his crib in a sleep sack.  That keeps him from climbing out, should he decide to try, but also keeps him warm.  Anyone who knows us in real life knows the McHusband and I like the house pretty cool for sleeping.  Connor actually asks to get into his bed to hang out with toys or books and in the mornings, he doesn’t want to get out right away…or for an hour after waking up.  So weekday mornings can be a bit of a struggle if he wakes up later, but it works out great for us on the weekends. He still has his two blankies and a pacifier and his stuffed dog – and yes, if he has one of those, he has to have them all.  He has started calling his paci a “pal.”  So it’s going to be that much harder to make him give it up since he’ll be asking for his pal.  We should probably do that sooner than later before this friendship gets even stronger…

We won’t go to the doctor for his two-year check-up and shots until the 26th, but my at-home measurements have him weighing 34 pounds and standing 35” tall.  So he’s petite just like me.

I am so proud of Connor and what a wonderful kid he is.  And I’m proud of the McHusband and me for doing a good job with him for two whole years!  I have several friends with new babies and when I think back to that time, it’s amazing how short it was in the scheme of things.  Not at the time, of course.  Some days I thought we just weren’t going to survive.  But we did!  Not only survived, but we flourished!  I sometimes miss those snuggly infant days, but I mostly love Connor being this age.  He makes me smile and laugh every day and, as trite as it sounds, I love seeing the world through his eyes.

Unfortunately Connor is spending his birthday at home with me (my office is closed today) because he has pink eye.  He woke up yesterday with his right eye swollen and red.  As time passed, both eyes got kinda watery and by the end of the day they were, to use a very scientific term, "gooky."  He acted okay yesterday so fingers crossed he doesn't get a bad cold or an ear infection, which would be his first, to go along with case of conjunctivitis. 

Happy Birthday, Connor!  We love you more than you can imagine and we can’t wait to see what this next year has in store for you.