Friday, October 16, 2015

Week 16 - Week 20: Halfway Cooked!

Week 16

It's amazing to me how my love for this little baby seems to have multiplied in the last week. I love that we know he's a boy. I love that we know his name! We didn't have any ideas for names for a second child, unlike Ava, whose name we had picked out literally years before she was even born! We stumbled across the name Liam, and we had been trying to find names to go with Alexander, which we agreed that we liked as a middle name. Once the gender-determining ultrasound was done, we spent the rest of the day calling him "Liam Alexander" and seeing how we liked it. By the end of the day, it was clear to us that should be his name!

I've been more certain of the movements of little Liam! He was really active during the ultrasound but I can't feel all those little wiggles yet! But I can feel little twitches when he moves his limbs and changes in pressure in my belly when he moves his whole body - mostly in the area where his head is on my right side.

Pelvic pain is becoming pretty persistent already! I can't curl up on my hip in my usual corner of the couch as long as I usually do because I get achy.

Otherwise, I'm feeling pretty great! Some days I'm more tired than others, that's for sure, but no nausea or aversions or issues with food. I have a healthy appetite and I'm trying hard to increase my water intake!

I have finally dug out my maternity clothes! I can breathe again! I'm not sure what I was waiting for; I guess I keep thinking we will get the green light to move any day now so I'm reluctant to start pulling things out of storage.

We have already bought some clothes for Liam! I'm especially keeping an eye out for "little bother" and "big sister" clothes! Which, I find it kind of rude that there are no "big sister" shirts available in anything smaller than 2T! Really?? Ava currently wears 12 months (and we have started dipping into 18 months) so I will have to custom make something for her or buy it huge and let her wear it after he is born!

So far my weight gain is ZERO!! I'm glad, because I'm starting out 10 pounds heavier than last time so I don't need to gain as much this time!

Ava girl is still trying to get rid of her cold completely. She only has a runny nose right after she sneezes but she still has that wet cough. Her napping has been kind of erratic because of that. So we've been back and forth between 1 and 2 naps a day. She's always so tired in the morning but then she ends up with this horribly long stretch until bedtime. I almost feel like she just needs a late morning nap and that's all she needs for the day. So we are still trying to determine a good schedule for her.

I am incredibly thankful that I did not catch whatever Ava has. Chris had it mildly for a few days and I thought for sure I would get sick too. I wish I could take 2 naps a day!

Week 17

We took a trip back to Kansas for a wedding. It was a quick trip so we chose to fly instead of driving there. It was a nice change of pace from being stuck in the car for a whole days' drive! Ava was a little high maintenance on the plane, but nothing that wasn't manageable. Those fruit pouches were a lifesaver for take-off and landing!

Traveling is hard for Ava. She's a pretty routine girl, so staying somewhere besides home is exciting and exhausting at the same time. She didn't nap well on our travel days and was just unsure of what was going on the whole trip. It's nice to do something different once in awhile, and it does make you thankful to be home where things are easy again! A friend had once told me that taking trips and vacations with children is "never easy or relaxing, but it will always be fun". I completely agree with that statement! Ava slept until almost 8 the morning after we got home and napping is back to being easy and predictable.

I'm starting to notice that I can't bend down to touch my feet without feeling little baby in my belly getting slightly squished! He's getting bigger!

I get winded going up and down stairs.

I'm really into jalapeños! And ice cold milk!

Currently the only symptom I deal with is pelvic pain. And my boobs are feeling a bit heavier! (sorry tmi, haha)

And things still wear me out easily. The trip to Kansas was utterly exhausting!!

I've been a little more motivated to clean and organize lately...but I don't have to do it so quickly because our move got pushed back by a few months. The promotion list still isn't out so Chris is now in the March course date instead of the October one. Gotta love all the "hurry up and wait" that goes on in the Army!

I am enjoying the hunt for things for Liam's room. Now that the moving plans have changed and the timeline has been pushed back, he will have to have his own room in our next house...we don't want to room share for more than those first several weeks!! Mommy and daddy like their room to themselves! We have decided on colors for his room - I'm not much for themes! Ava had a hot pink and turquoise and gray room, Liam will have a navy and gray room with pops of red! Liam will use Ava's dresser; we got her a bigger one for her room. We have his crib and we will move the recliner into his room. I am keeping an eye out for linens for his room - a rug, some blankets and sheets, some things for the walls. It is so nice to not be so overwhelmed with everything a baby needs this time! I'm not in any kind of rush to buy anything, even though it is so exciting to shop for him when I find sales! I'm enjoying shopping for a boy a lot more than I thought I would; maybe that's because I had a girl first and I know that I still get to buy those girly things for her?! He already has a tub full of clothes and a couple of gender-neutral things we had for Ava that he can use, too.

It's really been disappointing to research double strollers...we have the Graco Click Connect 40 car seat and it is not compatible with very many strollers - even with the adapter kits! We are very limited on what we can buy. I would love to have a double jogger, but I think the only option we have is like a bazillion dollars, and honestly I'm not sure how much we would actually need a jogger over a regular stroller. So I think we are going to stick with a Graco one that we know will fit the car seat and the price is much more reasonable.

Ava has been throwing fits lately, and they're usually over the smallest things! If she doesn't get what she wants, she immediately starts to cry and trots away and swings her arms around and usually ends up rolling around on the ground. It is really, really hard not to laugh at her when she's being so ridiculous! She has definitely entered toddlerhood!

She loves to talk - we just don't always know what she's saying! She loves to read her books over and over again - she has a few favorites which mommy and daddy are already tired of reading! Sometimes we try to hide them to see if she will want to read a different book instead! Ava has been getting to try more junk food lately - jello, ice cream sandwiches, tortilla chips, and a cookie...and she has loved it all! She is still a really versatile eater, and her new favorite thing is spaghetti squash! She maintains her love for all breads and pastas, cheeses and yogurts. And fruit! She's also been going to town on chicken lately. Maybe I've just been making better-tasting dinner lately!

Week 18

Things are moving along! I'm already losing track of which week I'm on - I usually have to reference my pregnancy app to make sure I'm counting right!

I don't remember what week I really started feeling Ava kick consistently, but lately I feel like Liam has been pretty quiet in there. I keep reminding myself that it's still early to rely on consistent fetal movements, but I can't wait until they are more frequent! Ava was quite the ninja so it could also be that this baby will be more mellow!

Speaking of Ava, she is becoming an adventurous climber (she still can't get on the couch by herself yet, thank goodness!) and we are working on stringing "more, please" together in sign language! She is really into string...still! Floss, drawstrings, and her teething necklace are all her favorites right now. She gives hugs and snuggles to her teddy bear and carries her baby around a bit. She is really into touch-and-feel books and lift-the-flap books, although most of the flaps have been ripped off! She has just recently started pointing things out in books with her index finger. She likes toys that she can pull around the house, especially her book cart! She takes it over to Duke and reads to him. Love. It!! Playing in the kitchen and in the bathroom is a treat and she usually never wants to leave! She's growing fast and is pretty much completely in 18 month clothes, size 4 shoes, and a size 4 diaper, although Luvs run small so it may be a 3 still in other brands.

Ava spent a good week or two being extremely frustrated when a toy got stuck or she got stuck or something didn't work the way she wanted. It took a bit of encouraging but now it appears that she is willing to keep trying instead of immediately giving up and running away and throwing a massive fit! These phases, I tell ya! Some are humorous and some drain my patience!

I am keeping an eye out for any signs of her molars coming in, but nothing much yet...literally a few hours after I typed this I spotted a sneaky molar that had cut through! It looks like it may have cut a few days ago...that could explain her moodiness and selective appetite! I feel bad I missed it; she definitely benefited from a dose of Motrin! Her top right has appeared, and I can feel her top left about to pop any day now. Her bottom gums are pretty swollen too!

And Liam has been kicking up a storm over the past day or so...he must have heard my concerns about how quiet he was being! I still can't feel it very well from the outside yet, so daddy hasn't felt the kicks yet!

19 Weeks

The weather has definitely changed around here! No more hot summer days! Today was really cold, and we all had to bust out the cold weather gear for morning garage sale-ing! We scored and found a brand new glider for $35! It will be the new chair for Ava's room and we will bump the recliner to the nursery.

I think everyone on post decided to make chili for dinner tonight because we went to the commissary and they were completely out of canned beans. Beans, people!! And then we noticed that all the chili seasoning packets were sold out, too! It was a good thing I had all the ingredients we needed on hand! I made Sweet and Spicy Chili with jalapeños and jalapeño cheddar cornbread! Is it obvious I crave jalapeños?? Oh and can't forget about the tall glass of ice cold milk!! Mmm! This dinner is seriously so yummy I just had to blog about it! Check out the recipes here!

Liam has been kicking so much lately! And I've been able to feel kicks when I lay my hand on my belly! He stops as soon as I have Chris try to feel; little stinker! I can't believe we are almost halfway to meeting him!

I think I know why I have been stuck...ahem...blessed with this extra 10 pounds this pregnancy - because Liam needs extra insulation from his sister who is bouncing and thrashing on top of mommy's belly! Seriously - this girl elbows him and throws herself against him daily! By the end of the day I realize how exhausted I am from simply trying to anticipate the random Ava jabs and contracting my abdominal muscles! And I know its going to get worse once Liam gets bigger! I'm feeling more exhausted lately and of course, Ava has been more needy. She is really into the mommy phase and is always wanting to sit with me and play with me, even when daddy is home! I don't mind it usually, but the constant picking up and guarding my belly and constantly playing with her sure wipes me out! I try to remember that Ava didn't ask for mommy to be pregnant and tired so I still need to give her all of me that I can, but some days I really, really look forward to bedtime, hers and mine! Her naps are, on average, an hour and a half long. Sometimes they are 2 hours, and once in awhile she has a short 1 hour nap. Ava is just not a sleepy girl! She doesn't want to miss out!
It is so fun to watch Ava learn new things. She eats off of a plate now and is getting better at feeding herself with a spoon, although I have to load it for her. If I ask her if she wants to go outside she will often go find her shoes, if they are out, or she will go to the hall closet where I keep my shoes and wait for me to open the door. And she'll plop down randomly so I can put her shoes on! She's getting better at putting toys back into the bucket...yay! I sing songs with her, and when it's over, she signs "more" and even "please"! She loves music! She knows that if I put on the backpack, which is the diaper bag, that we are going to go somewhere! I have been trying to take her out to more places, like a Baby and Me "class" at the library on post and a Monday's with Mommy playgroup at a local church. Ava made her first piece of art at "school" the other day! Ok, so obviously I helped her, but she was trying to eat the paintbrush! I know that we are not going to be able to get out and about right away after Liam is born, so I figure I'd better get these things in now! I am always so exhausted after our outings, because I spend most of it chasing her, but at least Ava gets something out of the experience! It's better than just sitting at home day after day anyway!

20 Weeks

I can't believe we are at the halfway mark!

I also can't believe how tired I am. I definitely felt the kick of energy after the first trimester and I entered the second tri, but that energy seems to be fading. As Liam grows, my range of motion is slowly decreasing. I've officially hit the stage where I am starting to notice things are a tad more difficult. Going up and down the stairs makes me huff and puff! And of course...chasing Ava makes me huff and puff, too! It's a different tiredness than the first trimester exhaustion. It makes me worried for what is to come! We have a big ole move coming up, and I couldn't be more excited that we are using packers and movers this time!! I.could.not.imagine. trying to pack up our house and move it while wrangling Ava on the daily right now. Not to mention the pets! Gah. The military life is difficult on pets/difficult for us to have pets! They are great until you want to go on vacation, you need to stay in a hotel for x amount of days, or you have to move across the country!

So as you probably know, the long awaited promotion list was finally released! So now Chris can get his RFO (request for orders) and then we will know our PCS timeline! We are just waiting on the RFO before the hunt for a house is officially back on! The only thing I really have to do with our current house before we move is reorganize the rooms. Currently we have our bedroom and Ava's, a guest room, and an office. I need to drag all the furniture around so the office and guest room are crammed together and then put all of Liam's things in the old office. That way, when the packers and movers come, they will unpack in the new house the way we would like our rooms laid out! I know, I'm so smart! So I guess temporarily, Liam will have a room thrown together at this house!

And while I'm thinking of it, HOW IN THE WORLD am I going to store things for both babies over the years?! We won't be getting rid of much of anything because baby #3 could be in our future! I would love to hear ideas of ways to concisely store when you won't always have a basement/attic/large storage area! I have a feeling large closets will be on our list of deal breakers when we look for houses at our next duty station! All of Chris's army gear already takes over storage as it is!

We took Ava to the pumpkin patch this past weekend! I haven't been to many pumpkin patches, but this one has everything! It is such a fun place! Ava could participate in probably half the activities; some she just didn't want to do (like climbing a stack of tractor tires or "panning for gold and gems" in a little makeshift stream). She loved jumping on the bouncy "thing" (I don't know what they call it) with daddy and going down a long slide by herself, with mommy to catch, of course! She liked to walk around in the giant sandbox (she wouldn't sit and play, though) and walking around to check out the farm animals was fun, too. We were really hoping to find this same little bench to take a "one year later" photo, but the bench was nowhere to be found! Sad face! It's hard to believe Ava used to be that tiny...and that we are going to have another tiny one soon!

Oh my word...this post is massively long! Maybe stuffing 4 weeks into one post isn't such a good idea!

I just finished up with Liam's anatomy scan! I always feel so excited a nervous for an ultrasound. Excited to see little baby and watch him move, but also that feeling of "what if" creeps up and I have to push it back down, out of my mind. You never want anything to be wrong with your child. I won't know the results of his scan until my appointment next week. But it sure was fun to watch him move! He is just as crazy as Ava was and is a true ninja - at one point he had his feet all the way up at his head with his hands behind his head, too! I got a short video of it, but of course I couldn't get it to load right to get it on this post. So I'll just share a photo instead! Maybe I'll try again to get it to load.

Just snug as a bug in there! He was kind of hiding his face a bit so I had to lay on my side to see if we could get a view of his face. She caught it quick, and then he burrowed his face again! I feel him all the time. Well, he does have his quiet times but I feel a ton of movement on my right side and down at my waistband. His head is now on the left side, so his positioned very similarly to Ava. Chris was able to feel him kick several days ago, and I do feel the occasional strong jab!

I went through Liam's clothes and organized them by size. I swapped out the furniture in the two extra rooms, so now Liam has his own room!

Isn't it lovely?!

This is probably about as good as it's going to look in this house...Ava's outgrown clothes and toys and allllllll the baby gear...oh and the cats' stuff. This is still their room, too!

We plan to have a "virtual" baby shower of sorts sometime in January when things have settled down after the move and the holidays. I'm hoping to upload a video to this blog, but I've not had too much success with video uploads on here thus far! I know just the bare minimum to blog...I don't know code or all the crazy custom formatting business. So for those of you wondering, we will have a shower for Liam, it just won't be an actual get together!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Second Pregnancy

Its funny how differently I feel with this second pregnancy.

Not necessarily physically, but emotionally.

With Ava, I truly felt happy and thrilled and ecstatic pretty much every single day of pregnancy, even despite the first trimester sickness and third trimester hugeness.

It was my first time experiencing pregnancy after trying for 4 long years. I was enjoying every moment of it. I wasn't taking any day for granted and I honestly felt like I was glowing every day.

I also had nothing better to do than to sit and daydream, plan and organize for little girl's arrival.

This time around, the pregnancy itself was a complete surprise. I mean, we weren't preventing pregnancy so obviously we knew it could happen, but seeing how we didn't get Ava without medical intervention made us have our guards down a little.

I still feel the timing for a second pregnancy couldn't have been better. I have absolutely zero regrets or hesitations about being pregnant again.

But this time, I feel like it's almost more of a personal struggle for me to stay as mentally excited as I was the first time around. And maybe that's an unfair standard to hold myself to because let's face it, after years of fertility struggle, what mommy-to-be wouldn't experience elation during pregnancy?! I was just starting a journey to "get my body back" when I discovered I was pregnant again. I had done my job - I grew a baby for 9+ months and nursed her exclusively until her first birthday. Those were my goals. I had put Ava first over my own body and lifestyle choices for nearly 2 years. I was ready to return the focus to myself to get fit and get rid of the final 10 pounds gained from pregnancy.

And then my sweet little Liam went and took that from me! :)

My genuine reaction to the positive pregnancy test makes it clear that I wanted him and that I needed him.

But I was also really, really looking forward to getting back to me!

And now that I'm halfway done with carrying baby Liam, I find myself thinking about my personal goals more and more.

I'm already itching to workout. To run. To go to the gym. To follow a diet and not worry about nourishing a tiny little body in addition my own.

I'm really trying to be motivated to exercise during this pregnancy, but it is really hard! Chasing Ava all day is about all I can handle! We do go for walks, but I can feel I want more than that. 9 months isn't a very long time in the big picture, so I'm trying to remind myself that there is so much time ahead of me to be able to focus on me. I also want to be able to focus on this beautiful time of growing a life and nurturing it! It is such a blessing. Maybe I can look back on this post and be reminded of how much I want to get back to me and that can be my motivation!

I think what also doesn't help is that I'm already comparing this pregnancy to my last - the symptoms I feel, the way I eat, the amount I exercise, and how much I weigh. I feel like I am bigger this time. I didn't really think much about weight gain with Ava because frankly I didn't care. I was with child and that was all that mattered to me. This time I think about it more.

I feel like I still have great mental health; I'm not worried that I'm depressed or sad or hating pregnancy. I'm pretty good at self-coaching and rationalizing with myself. I only have 4 more months of weight gain and then it will be weight loss! But I just know no matter how motivated I am to get my body back, it will be so, so hard with 2 under 2, and focusing on my supply for Liam. Where in the world will I find the energy to exercise with 2 under 2?!

I just don't need to worry about that now! That can come later after recovery is over and we have settled in as a family of 4.

I guess I felt the need to write about this because pregnancy and motherhood is hard. And a lot of these types of mental health things are somewhat taboo. I just want women to know that 1) You are not alone if you feel this way, and 2) Even the happiest woman, on the outside, has demons she deals with on the inside, too. It is a very selfless thing to carry a baby and also to breastfeed. By the time Liam turns one, I will have devoted 4 years of my body to growing and nurturing babies! That's a long time! But at the same's not. This is the season in my life dedicated to having babies. So on the timeline of my life, 4 years is just a little blurb!

I can't say at this point if there will be a baby #3. A boy and a girl seems pretty perfect to us! All I know is that I love these tiny humans and I'll do my best to be the best momma I can to them.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Sweet & Spicy Chili with Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread

This stuff is so amazing!

My husband loves things that are sweet and spicy, and the chili recipe actually came from one of his friends!

It is just so good!!

And it's a one-pot meal - my favorite type of cooking!

It's almost a dump-and-go meal too, except you have to brown some meat and chop some onions first!

Growing up we always had cornbread with chili, and it was always the same recipe. I used that same childhood recipe, except I added shredded cheddar cheese (ok, actually it was colby because that's all I had) and jalapeños (you MUST use Louisiana brand...they are the best!), and I also used whole wheat flour because I ran out of regular flour!

Honestly, I think the whole wheat flour made this cornbread better! more thing...I accidentally doubled the amount of oil it calls it didn't bake very evenly! I couldn't help it; I was multitasking a bit too much in the kitchen while a hungry toddler whined and cried at the kitchen gate! I was trying to hurry!

I have made the original recipe more times than I can remember, and sometimes it did turn out dry, so it could benefit from a little more oil...just don't double it like me!

There were no fancy pictures of the cooking process this time, just the end result!

Just look at it!
(With my horrible kitchen lighting and crumb-filled table)

I am still SO full from eating this a few hours ago but this makes me want to sneak back into the kitchen for some more!

I'll cut to the are the recipes!

Sweet & Spicy Chili

3 cans diced tomatoes (I used 2...we don't like that many tomatoes)
2 cans red kidney beans, drained (I used 3)
1 16oz. can tomato sauce
2 TBSP chili powder (I probably doubled this)
1/4 cup brown sugar (hint: add a few extra spoonfuls!)
1 small onion, diced
1 pound of ground turkey or beef
1 can corn, drained
1 12oz. jar of jalapeños, drained (optional, but really make this a standout chili!)

Brown the meat and drain excess fat.
Add in chopped onions, cooking for a few minutes.
Add in the remaining ingredients, stir.
Bring to a boil over medium heat and reduce to a low simmer; cover.
Simmer for 20 minutes.

Get ready for the first bite to knock your socks off! The blending of sweet and spicy is sensational!

Cheddar Jalapeño Cornbread

1 cup flour (or whole wheat flour)
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/4 cup oil (NOT 1/2 cup!!!)
1 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
(or colby...and freshly grated is preferred over prepackaged shredded cheese! It melts so much better!)
Jalapeños - the amount is up to you! I did a few spoonfuls.

Mix dry ingredients together.
Add in eggs, oil, and milk.
Stir until everything is moistened.
Add in cheese and jalapeños; stir to combine.
Pour into square baking dish that has been coated in cooking spray.
Bake at 400* for 25-30 minutes.

There is something so special about biting into the jalapeño and the way it tastes against the sugar in this is so delicious!!