Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Jump Up, Jump Up & Get Down!

For the past two years I've done at-home birthday parties for Marcus that were themed (1-year Sock Monkey party, 2-year Mickey Mouse party). While it was fun to find creative ways to decorate and do food for those parties, they were also admittedly a lot of work. That kind of stuff is fun for me, and I thoroughly enjoy it. However, this year I went off Marcus' lead. I wanted a party that focused on his likes, and things he absolutely loves right now.

So, instead of planning a party based around coordinating food items, we took the party to Pump It Up! Marcus' love for bounce houses and jumping his little heart out is second to none. I thought a bounce house type party would be just his thing.
Between 10 kids and two arenas filled with different inflatable features there were smiles, giggles and squeals of delight galore.

For 60 minutes the kids (and parents, too!) jumped and played their hearts out.
Ever tried to capture nine kids bouncing around on camera? It's the easiest thing… Said no one, ever. 
A few of the parents who bounced and jumped and had as much fun as the kids!
The food and decorations were all taken care of in our party package. Hallelujah! I simply assembled a few goodie bags and brought in a cake.
After a little time in the party room, noshing on pizza and cake the party wrapped itself up.
I'm pretty sure every child who left was completely exhausted.

And, I had one little man who had the best. day. ever.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Surprise for Us All

For the first 15 weeks of this pregnancy it was fun to pretend to myself, and everyone else who asked, that I would actually wait until delivery day to discover if M² was a he or a she. After much discussion Scott and I agreed that we would indeed find out. Immediately upon our agreement I knew exactly how to tell our families, and I began planning the fun.

Finding out was so different this time around than with Marcus. This time there was no ultrasound needed to see if there were lady bits or man parts. My doctor simply drew some blood, sent that into a lab, and results were back within a week.

Per my instructions, when the results came in my doctor wrote down the gender on a card and placed that card in a sealed envelope. I was none the wiser on whether we'd be seeing more blue, or have pink pop up in our lives.

Two days after I picked up the sealed envelope we whisked away to Kansas City. Almost immediately after we landed I rushed to a local bakery where I dropped off the sealed envelope. Once I left the shop the bakery discovered our news and placed gender specific frosting into cupcakes.
You see, both sides of our families would be together, at the same time, to celebrate Marcus' birthday. It was the perfect time to make such a fun announcement!
After an agonizing wait through the birthday dinner it was FINALLY time for the cupcakes. Scott and I passed them all out, all the while not a single soul in our group of 22 had a clue what was actually happening.

We sang to Marcus where he took exceptional delight in blowing out his candles.
Then it felt like ages before anyone touched their cupcakes. Finally, I heard our friends' little girl say, "Mommy, there's pink inside!"

I looked at Scott, he looked at me, and I think we were both kind of in shock. We were thrilled and terrified, and both of us was expecting to see blue frosting.

I teared up a little bit, took a bite to confirm the pinkness, and then promptly told both grandmas that they needed to get to eating their cupcakes.

My mom took one bite, saw the pink, and squealed with delight. Scott's mom followed suit, and I think I may have seen some mist in both grandmas eyes. Or, perhaps that was just the blur from the tears in my own eyes.

Meanwhile, Marcus had no idea what was going on around him as he enjoyed every sugary bite of his cupcake.
At any rate…

We were thrilled to make M²'s gender announcement while celebrating Marcus' big day, and it was extra special doing so with both our families surrounding us.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Happy Marcus Monday!

It was just one of those amazing weekends that you didn't want to end.
Happy Monday!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Week 20 & He or She? Read on to See!

20 weeks - we are half way! 
It just doesn't seem possible to be this far along already.

Cravings // Edamame is pretty much amazing. I polished off a 14 oz bag of those puppies a couple of days ago, and I have zero regrets about it. Cherry tomatoes are still pretty awesome. And pineapple is about the best. thing. ever.

Size of Baby // According to My Pregnancy app, M² is the length of a banana. Or, 6 1/2 inches head to rump, or 10 inches head to heel, and 10 1/2 ounces.  

Symptoms // I certainly have more energy than the first trimester, but I don't mind a nap when Marcus goes down, and come 9:00PM I am totally spent. I've also noticed the round ligament pain is pretty prevalent when I run. I've also noticed I'm pretty susceptible to crying over the most random and ridiculous stuff : tv shows, commercials, the fact that our house seem to always be 1.7 bazillion degrees Fahrenheit.

Movement //  Movement is becoming stronger and more frequent. It won't be too much longer until Scott and Marcus will be able to feel M² moving about. 

Sleep // Falling asleep and staying asleep aren't an issue. It's just I have to find just the right position to fall asleep. And then I have to pray I don't have to wake to pee. I've found once I wake the pregnancy insomnia takes a strong hold.

Clothing // My workout clothes are all still pre-pregnancy. That's not to say they all fit like they did pre-pregnancy… For the most part I'm in maternity pants/shorts, and stretching my non-maternity tops out for as long as possible. Maxi dresses are my go-to when yoga pants aren't necessarily deemed appropriate.

Best Part of the Week/ Looking Forward To… // Last weekend we were fortunate to spend time in Kansas City and Iowa. While home we were able to gather both sides of our families to celebrate Marcus' birthday. During that time together we announced to our families M²'s gender. I'll share just how we made the announcement with our families next week.

However, Marcus couldn't wait to share the good news here, too.
We're having a girl. 
Holy smokes.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

What a Difference a Year Makes

The differences on a day to day basis are so subtle. But, looking back on the last 365 days, a lot sure has changed.

Monday, March 23, 2015


Dear Marcus,

As I write this I can't help but allow the tears to stream down my face. It doesn't seem possible that three whole years have passed since you blessed our lives in ways I'm not sure I'll ever be able to fully explain. I blinked and suddenly here you are, no longer a baby, but this amazing little boy who holds my heart so tightly that sometimes it hurts.
You are such a strong-willed little boy. Your fierce determination to do things your way, on your time can be difficult at times. However, I know it is this trait that will lead you to do great and amazing things one day.
Your sweet, snuggly side is second to none. When you crawl into my lap and still fit into me just so melts my heart, even during our most difficult days. And when you ask, "Can I snuggle wiff you?" I simply cannot say no. Or when you say your nightly prayers and follow them with "Night, Mommy. I wuv you," my heart melts into a puddle within my chest.
Three years ago I wasn't sure what the dirt, sand, trucks, trains, and mess would bring our lives. But, life would be simply be incomplete without it.

Our lives are fuller and more perfect because of you.
Happy Third Birthday, Little Man!
I love you to the moon and back. Twice.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Week 19

First and foremost, I'd like to wish my dad a very Happy Birthday!! We hope your day is full of joy, laughter and love.

Nineteen weeks down!
It seems as if overnight my belly exponentially expanded!

Cravings // I'm always - ALWAYS - hungry. Tomatoes are so, so good right now. I'm hungry for foods with substance: big, fat turkey sandwiches, specifically from a couple of local Italian joints. I also couldn't help but snag a Shamrock Shake this week. My first, and only, of the season. <-- Willpower at its finest right there.

Size of Baby // According to my app M² is the size of an heirloom tomato, or about 8 1/2 ounces and 6 inches long.

Symptoms // The typical mood swings, hot flashes that consume my body, and round ligament pains round out the top three symptoms this week.

Movement //  The movements are there, though still pretty subtle, but they are there. I'm so anxious for those bigger movements to happen.

Sleep // And so the discomfort begins. I feel as if I'm constantly tossing and turning to find just the right spot to get comfy, fall asleep, and stay asleep. I know it's only going to go downhill from here.

Clothing // Most of my non-maternity clothes have been kicked to the curb. The forgiving glory of the stretchy maternity pants is a saving grace (though some of my regular pants can still be MacGyver'd with the old pony tail holder around the button trick). Thank goodness for the extra room in maternity tops because most of my regular tops leave my midriff feeling a little bare, and thanks but no thanks to all of that.

Best Part of the Week/ Looking Forward To… // We have an upcoming trip to the Midwest! For the first time in Marcus' short little life both sides of our families will all be together at the same time to celebrate his third birthday! To say we are excited to get home is an understatement.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Team Blue or Team Pink // A Quick Poll

Just for fun, we've been asking friends and family to guess whether they think M² is a boy or girl. I'm asking your thoughts, too!

If you would, please cast your vote for team blue or team pink! Simply use the poll below (it will take all of 2 seconds).

Results will be in by the end of August! ;)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Sharing the News

In lieu of Saint Patrick's Day I thought I'd FINALLY share how I shared the good, lucky news with Marcus and Scott as to how our family would be growing from three to four.

It's crazy to think I'm almost half way through this journey (WHAT?!!) and have yet to have shared this part of the pregnancy. (I did share the story over on Sweet Turtle Soup about a month ago, but I thought it'd be nice to have it documented here as well.)

Let me first back up a bit, and without going into too much detail, say that getting pregnant with M² did not happen as quickly or easily as with Marcus. I was by no means considered secondary infertile, nor did I experience any major problems. However, there were several months of waiting and wondering if something may possibly be wrong with me this time around. My heart goes out to anyone who is trying, or has tried, with unsuccessful results.

Fast forward to around Christmastime. After months and months of praying there was a glimmer of hope for an M² I went to Target on a whim and picked up a test. I had no clues or indications I was pregnant, I was just hoping the test would come back with a result that we'd been waiting for sometime to see.

The afternoon I picked up the test I came home to find both Scott and Marcus were soundly napping away. I slipped into the bathroom and waited the four agonizing minutes to see if there was one line, or two. To my delight two very faint lines appeared.

For two hours Marcus and Scott snoozed away while I held on to the sweet, sweet news myself. During those two hours I decided I wanted to find a semi-creative way to tell my guys our family was expanding.

That's where our Elf on the Shelf, Teu, came in to play.

Magically, on the day the test came back positive, Teu made a very rare day trip back to the North Pole for an early special delivery from Santa.
When Marcus and Scott woke I pointed out that Teu had something extra that hadn't been with him earlier in the day. 

Marcus was encouraged to take the small gift off the tree and open it. 
 Marcus gladly obliged in the request. 
Inside the package was a note from Santa.
While Marcus didn't really understand what was going on, the expression on Scott's face was truly priceless: disbelief, excitement, joy, and perhaps a bit of terror (?).
And the rest, as they say, is history. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Happy Marcus Monday!

Childhood friendship is the most beautiful memory that cannot be replaced.
Happy Monday!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Week 18

Four and a half months!
The days tend to drag, but I am continually amazed at how fast this pregnancy seems to be going. In just two short weeks we will be half way to the big day. That's just plain crazy to me.

Cravings // Food. All of it. Just give me all the food. I'm always so freaking hungry right now. There may or may not have been an entire container of cherry tomatoes consumed in less than a couple hours. I've also had zero willpower when it comes to those dang Starburst Jelly Beans. Someone stop the madness already!

Size of Baby // According to My Pregnancy App: M² is the size of a bell pepper, or about 5 1/2 inches long and almost 7 ounces.

Movement // The movements are becoming a bit more noticeable. I'm getting really anxious for the day when I can share with Scott and Marcus the feeling of M² doing acrobatics.  

Sleep // If I could just avoid getting up to pee 463 times a night things would be peachy. It would also be awesome if Marcus would just sleep solidly through the night. But alas, neither is the case. It's also become apparent I can no longer comfortably sleep on my back - my preferred sleep position. Things are just too heavy for comfort when I'm on my back.

Clothing // I'd be lying if I said I wasn't more comfortable with the top button of my pants undone. I'd also be lying if I said I tried on a pair of maternity shorts and the stretchy waist was kind of amazing. I'm still wearing my non-maternity clothes, but I have a feeling that won't be lasting much longer.

Best Part of the Week/ Looking Forward To… // There are a few greats going on:
Last Friday I had a regular check up and M²'s strong little heart beat was the most beautiful music to my ears. 
Coffee FINALLY tastes and smells good. Praise the Lord. It had been a solid ten weeks of no morning cup of Joe to get my day jump started. Though I'm savoring my coffee I have significantly cut back on my intake of the liquid black gold.
Pieces of decor and furniture are slowly trickling in for Marcus' nautical inspired room. I'm dying to get everything here, put together, and placed just so.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Checking the Pearly Whites

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists recommends that when a child gets their first tooth they should have their first dental visit. Whelp, Marcus' first tooth came in well over two years ago. Know when his first dental appointment was? Yesterday.

To be honest, I'm not exactly sure what was holding me back… Aside from the sheer terror of how the whole experience might go down for the little guy. I'd heard stories from friends who had taken their kids to see the dentist, and the situation ended up less than ideal. My fear of the potential for a tantrum and total melt-down was holding me back.

Finally I bit the bullet. After doing a ton of researching (seriously, I spent almost an entire afternoon scouring Yelp, review sites, and calling offices) for a pediatric dentist I found one that I felt comfortable with before I'd even stepped foot into the office.

As we drove to the appointment my stomach was in knots and I was tossing prayers up, pleading for an episode free experience.

The second we arrived I was immediately put at ease. The entire staff was warm, welcoming, and absoultely amazing with Marcus. Kind. Patient. Understanding. Exactly what every little one (and parent) needs when they experience something new and potentially scary.
When it was time for the actual check up I could not believe how smooth the whole process went for us.
Marcus followed every direction given and answered all questions asked of him. I couldn't help but swell with a little pride as Marcus complied with Dr. Nick as teeth were counted, cleaned, flossed, and a treatment applied.
Marcus still has a long way to go with his teeth brushing, but I was so thankful when the doctor suggested several tips and tricks to try and make the teeth brushing process as efficient and effective as possible.
Of course for Marcus the highlights included picking his own tooth bush, having chocolate tooth paste used to clean his teeth, and picking a few treasures from the treasure chest after the exam.
Toy chest!
It's kind of weird to say, but I'm actually looking forward to our next visit.
High fives from Dr. Nick after a successful check up.
Here are a few tips I found helpful for us prior to and during our visit:
1) We talked A LOT about our teeth and the dentist for about a week leading up to the exam.
2) We talked A LOT about brushing our teeth.
3) We tried the best we could to explain what a dentist did and why we need to see them.
4) Doc McStuffins was watched, and I tried to kind of compare her to seeing a dentist.
5) During the visit I was excited about that Marcus experienced. Everything.

Have you taken your little to see the dentist? If so, how was your experience?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

One Pot Sausage, Tomato and Basil Pasta

When I was pregnant with Marcus I planned way in advance and made a whole slew of freezer meals. I mean, I had the time. I wasn't chasing a toddler all over Kingdom Come, so prepping 15 meals was no big deal.

While I know I still have some time before M² arrives, I'm not totally sure I'll find the time to prepare as many meals (if any). So, I've been on the hunt to find tasty, easy meals that I can whip up with an infant and a personified tornado.

Recently I came across this one pot pasta and it immediately went to the When the Baby Comes food list.

It was unbelievably easy to prepare. From start to finish I think the whole meal took 25  minutes to prep and make. Amazing. I need more meals like this in my life.

Did I also mention it's action packed with flavor? And Marcus even ate some of the noodles. Hallelujah!

One Pot Sausage Tomato and Basil Pasta
What You'll Need
1 pound of spaghetti (one box)
1 package sausage of your choice - I went with smoked turkey
1 large onion thinly sliced
3 cups halved grape tomoatoes
2 cups fresh basil leaves, loosely packed
4 garlic cloves thinly sliced
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

How It Comes Together
In a large stock pot over medium-high heat combine spaghetti, sausage, onion, tomatoes, basil, garlic, and 4 1/2 cups water. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Bring pot to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until pasta is cooked through and liquid has reduced, about 8-10 minutes.
Stir in Parmesan and serve immediately.

Viola! That's it! Dinner is ready.
Recipe inspiration