Slowing Down & Giving Thanks

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been tired (well, prego), and thus, I’ve slowed down quite a bit.  Which is nice.  REALLY nice, in fact.  I don’t feel like I have to fill each minute of every day with something… be it Facebook, Instagram, planning, texting, emailing, cooking, working out, just… being productive.  I am happy to take this time to “stop & smell the roses” aka watch Gabe grow up, truly listen to him and engage with him and Javi, and figure out what is important to me and what I want to do.  And while I don’t have any earth-shattering conclusions, I do know that I am one very blessed wife & momma, and today, Christmas Day, I am so very thankful for the multitude of blessings that is my life right now.  Healthy, happy family.  Friends & family who are so very thoughtful and kind.  A growing baby in my belly (oh yeah, and some great food too… like my Christmas dinner BLT! Lol)  Gabriel hugs (we are on #101 today).  Enough money to pay off debts and live comfortably. Etc, etc.

So, as I catch up big time on blogging tonight, here’s a little about our Thanksgiving, nearly 1 month ago:

We drove up to my grandparents in Pittsburgh after 3/4 day’s work on the Wed. prior.  The weather, naturally, was predicted to be terrible-awful-undriveable… all the crappy things they say when it’s gonna be a real $h!tstorm.  As luck would have it, we just encountered a touch of snow in WV (by a touch, I mean white-out conditions a few times), but thankfully we neither slid nor got slowed down, so we actually got there in great time–thanks Javi!  (I only wish I hadn’t listened aka worried about all the bad weather hype!)  Zero accidents with Gabe (yay!) and no complaints from him either, thanks to Mickey and Thomas shows on my iPad.  We got in before the g-rents went to bed.  My grandparents, bless their hearts, like their house warm roasting, so we spent a lovely night with the window wide open, tossing and turning in the seemingly 90* air.  Oh yeah, and Grandma swears up & down the beds are all Queen size, but trust me–they’re not.  Every time I rolled over, I nearly fell off the bed! And we got up at 6 AM to use the bathroom… and never went back to sleep.  Definitely made the top 10 worst night’s sleep in the past few years but… could have been worse! 

We go down stairs to shower, and the g-rents are already up, prepping the stuffing and turkey.  After finding out Grandma’s “secret” recipe was not a secret (*gasp!* it’s in the family cookbook?!), and Javi helping get the turkey in the oven, I was not only parched but ravenous too.  We helped make breakfast, then chatted the rest of the morning as we waited for other family members to arrive.  Gabe & I ended up taking an amazing nap together, and by the time we got up, everyone was there and the pre-Thanksgiving snacks were in full force on the table–thanks Aunt Carol for those ah-mazing deviled eggs… I must’ve had at least 7!  Various convos and catching up (and snacking!) ensued, PLUS the 1st annual Cupcake Competition–complete with unbiased judges 😉  Congrats Aunt Debbie, your chocolate on chocolate cupcakes were indeed delish!

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite moments of the whole year–time to share a wonderful meal with the people who are most important.  Just so grateful for the time together… especially since we never know when it’ll be our last year all together.  We lost Uncle Paul in June this year, completely out of the blue, and it was definitely strange… and sad… not to have everyone there.  Like a big gaping hole.  But, in the strange yet miraculous circle of life, my friend Caroline gave birth to her beautiful daughter Mary on Uncle Paul’s birthday.  I thought that was a sweet sign from the Lord.

The rest of the weekend went fast… Javi & I traveled to Ontario to open a Canadian bank account, then braved the mall for a little Black Friday shopping (in which I got WAY more maternity clothes than necessary… and some black knee high boots!).  Saturday morning we took Gabe outside to go sled-riding… what a blast!

I did some practicing on my nature pics too… then warmed up with hot choco 🙂

We had a post-T-giving get together with the other side of the fam on Sat, where we met my cousin’s new baby, Lily:

And we capped off an awesome weekend with a little more sled-riding with the Big Boy & a few pics with the parentals 🙂  Happy Thanksgiving!

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Posted in Family Travel, photography, Potty-training, Power of thanks | Leave a comment

Our Second Child & Happy Halloween

This is going to be a quick post, because this momma is TIRED.

Today I announced at work (and on Facebook… because that makes it Official, right?!) that J & I are expecting baby #2.

We’ve tried for awhile… and waited for awhile… and were patient for awhile.  And yes, I grew frustrated and despaired and wondered if it was EVER gonna happen (especially because making Gabriel required no wait at all).  We tried to time around work, promotions, seasons, and a slew of things.  “Oh this month would be perfect because….”  Well, of course, we found out God always has the Master Plan.  And his plan was a June baby.  So a June baby we will have 🙂

I found out on Sunday September 29th.  I had just run the Salem Lake 7 miler the day prior, and while I was running, I sorta just knew.  Something felt different, and I was a few days late so that tipped me off too.  I had been kind of informally charting my temperatures, so that was the final icingonthecake of the most wonderful yesssss I’m finally prego feeling.  When I finally took the test, it turned positive immediately.  Just like with Gabe.  I can’t describe that joy.  To finally know, I have life inside me again.  I lifted my head towards the ceiling and praised God.

It’s been a series of ups & downs in terms of mood.  My belly is starting to get round and poke out, so I’ve been paranoid the past few weeks that people were going to start noticing before I made the Big Announcement.  I’ve been not hungry, or so hungry I could eat anything.  Nausea has been almost daily, but not to the point of throwing up, so that is a major plus, especially because I sit with a bunch of guys at work.

The highlight thus far was my 8 week ultrasound on Tuesday, and finally getting to see the little one:

ultrasound 8 weeks baby2He or she is the size of a gummy bear (and looks like one too).  Life is such a miracle… we were all once 8 week old tiny gummy bears, miracles to our moms & dads.  I am grateful to be carrying this child, and eternally grateful that God blessed me with this opportunity to bear another child, a sibling for Gabriel, and possibly my second son, or first daughter.  I am so hopeful for the possibility of this child’s life.

I don’t want to turn into a pile of joyous tears right now, so I’ll just say… I feel blessed tonight.  We took Gabe trick or treating–he did an excellent job shouting it to the neighbors–and let him eat copious amounts of candy.  He fell and busted his front teeth on the living room floor, but I think he’s OK.  Thomas the Tank engine costume proved a huge hit, and his little face lit up when I gave it to him 🙂  They had a party at daycare, and he brought home plenty of goodies.  Hopefully he sleeps!  Oh, and when I told him he was going to have a baby brother or sister, he said “I get to push the stroller?”  Yes Gabe, you can definitely help Mommy push the stroller.  Love my sweet boy.

That is all.  Momma is exhausted, and Gabe keeps waking up at 5-5:30 to watch Mickey Mouse… this too shall pass.  Can’t wait until baby #2 keeps me up all night! LOL

Goodnight friends!

Posted in photography, pregnancy, Things they say | 1 Comment

Blowing Rock & Tweetsie Railroad

This is an overdue post from Labor Day weekend.  I wrote about it on my Eat, Run, Travel blog (at least the Tweetsie Railroad part), but I figured I’d share it here with you too.

First–Gabe absolutely loved Tweetsie Railroad.  It’s kinda like Disney World meets the Wild West meets a small town.  Really fun atmosphere.  For the whole family.  Really 🙂

All day long, Gabe talked about the “Choo choo” which sounds like “shoo shoo” when he says it.  And he still, weeks later, talks about Tweetsie “Wailwoad” lol.  He had a blast driving the cars and flying the planes too!

Besides riding the train (twice), Gabe’s favorite part was the train table at the gift shop.  We have one of these at home (go figure!) but this one was especially tantalizing for some reason. He didn’t want to leave.  Javi & I wanted to ride the “horses” but Gabe wasn’t a fan until the next train rode by.

The next day, we headed over to the actual Blowing Rock, seen here:

IMG_5814_1Apparently, when it rains or snows and the wind is blowing, it makes the rain or snow go back upwards.  Or something like that 😉  We didn’t get to see any of that, since it was gorgeous and sunny!

Took the opportunity to annoy Javi & Gabe take some family pics:

We played around, enjoyed the gift shop, then spent time in downtown Blowing Rock.

…and our last stop was downtown Boone, to the Mast General Store, to be specific.  It’s such a fun place!  We bought some gummies, chocolate covered peanuts, and an old-fashioned soda for Javi.

Gabe wasn’t feeling well at this point (I forgot to mention that he slept terrible–awakening every hour, talking about the Choo-choo).  He fell asleep on Javi, and after a short stop at the cafe across the street for some iced coffee (for the tired mom who had to listen to an excited toddler all night)… we headed home!

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The Playground

So up until now, I’ve been really nervous to let Gabe play on the playground by himself. I mean, there’s tons of spots where he could fall and break his arm right? Of course I don’t want that to happen! Luckily, one of the benefits of daycare is that he can play on a playground (supervised) every day.  He’s gotten really good.  When we went to the Honeybee Festival (was that 2 weeks ago now?  Oy I’m behind! That blog is yet to come.) he made a beeline (yep, pun intended) for the slide.  And commenced adorable playground antics, of which I don’t even need to photoshop AND I didn’t even need to spot him.  He’s that steady, and knows he’s gotta go feet-first down the slide (at least for now!)  I’m soooo thankful that he can play and I can actually stand by and just watch–er, take pics–without worrying about him getting hurt the whole time.  I’m not the only protective parent, right? I certainly don’t want to be OVER protective, but I also don’t want him breaking a limb either… hopefully I’m at a nice balance.

So we walked around… and ended up right back at the playground, this time with friend Amy & son Brayden 🙂  I love how cute Gabe & Brayden were as they played together!  They are over a year apart, but I can see them being awesome buddies as they grow up together.

More about the Honeybee Festival at a later date… this mom is tired!  Oh if you missed my Throwback Thursday blog on Norway or my weekend Trifecta at Blowing Rock, definitely check ’em out!

TGIF Tomorrow 🙂

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Big Boy Bike

So lately Gabe’s been eye-balling the neighbor kids’ bikes.  All of them.  It’s as if the tricycle we got not so long ago for his b-day (7 months if we want to be exact) is just not cool to him anymore.  He really didn’t grow out of it yet.  But, we let him test-drive a few bikes at Wal-Mart, 12 inch cute little boy bikes, and he was hooked.  Gabe begged to go back to Wal-Mart.  So like any parent who hates going to Wal-Mart, we just went ahead a got him the bike, because we just couldn’t wait 4 months til Christmas.

Here it is.  G-man adores it!

Lately, Gabe’s been all about Mickey Mouse clubhouse.  Now he’s all about the new bike.  We rode it in the rain on Saturday after we brought it home.

Gabe had a little crash (yes, reminiscent of my crash a year ago), so he took it easy on Sunday.  We did a little riding, then some bubble fun, then he wanted to line up all kinds of stuff by the mailbox.  Kids are so weird 😉

Last night we went out to ride in the cul-de-sac (because I have to ride my bike with him), and Gabe said the cutest things, like:

IMG_5499 copy

Gabe also sang this cute little song “I’m super faster, I’m super faster!”  Adorable.  I love when my boy is happy, when we play outside together, and watching him grow.  Amazing & inspiring.  Have a great week, friends!

IMG_5439_1

Posted in Biking, photography, Things they say, trying new things | Leave a comment

The Beeeeeach {photo blog}

I am way behind, but last month we went to the “Beeeeeeach” as Gabe says it.  Because of a sudden death in the family {rest in peace, Uncle Paul. You are sorely missed} my parents were not able to come.  And despite the sadness overshadowing our trip, we did our best to put on a good face.  It was Gabe’s 2nd trip to the beach, the first being a trip to South Beach for our first anniversary, in 2011 (which I just realized I never blogged about… bummer!):

Gabe has definitely changed!  Check out this year’s pics of our Atlantic Beach vacay (I went to Emerald Isle in 2001…this was right down the beach!)

I can’t say we had an absolute blast (weather, sadness, missing the grandparents, Gabe waking up sooooo early) but it was definitely a nice break from the usual.  There’s something so soothing about the beach.  So soothing that I did not work out at all for 2 days, save for walking and little bit of swimming.  Sorry, Insanity.

We had a fun little condo & a great view!

The first full day we were there it rained… a lot.  So we went to the aquarium in the morning.  Gabe liked the sting ray pool… even tasting his fingers afterwards (yuck!!)  We watched the sharks in the big tank, with replica U-boat from WWII in it (cool!), and Gabe didn’t want to leave.

It was still raining that afternoon, so we got Gabe a bubble-maker.  Thank God for that 🙂

I found a good book “Under the Banner of Heaven”, by Jon Krakauer, and finally got time to just chill & read on the beach while these two played in the water.  These are some of my fave shots of them ❤

Overall a good trip.  Hoping to have a few more adults to help with the energetic lil toddler next year!  And when we got back, it was the 4th of July, then P-day. So I’m not fully caught up, but this trip was worth mentioning for sure!
Hope you’re having a great Sunday!  What’s your fave “Beeeeach” to go to?

Posted in Back to Where I Was, Insanity, photography, Potty-training, Things they say | Leave a comment

P-Day: Potty-Training

So no $h!t there we were… (ok, bad joke, for those of you who get it).  Potty-training has been on my radar for a long time.  Ever since I read The Baby Whisperer–a book I loved, btw–where she says you can potty train a 1-year-old, I’ve wanted to just get ‘er done.  Heck, who am I kidding, I’ve been dying to be done with diapers and wiping lil G-man’s booty.

Buuuuuuutt (er, but), as it always does, life got in the way.  We gave it a shot in January, over New Years weekend, and after a day of changing wet underwear, Gabe *FINALLY* got it that evening.  But he was anti-potty all day, and if anyone was to sit with him, it had to be Daddy.  And the next day we were out & about, and *whoosh* there went potty-training, down the drain out the window for another 6 months.

Which brings me to the “They’ve gotta be ready” issue.  Yes, they have to be physically able to hold themselves up, hold their bowels, and able to follow simple instructions.  But I think sometimes parents use this as a cop-out for their own laziness or unwillingness to try.  Gabe was ready a year ago.  Why didn’t I push it?  Yep, I admit it, laziness.  It’s a lot of work cleaning up pee & poop, so I waited.  Do I wish I could go back and do it over again?  You betcha.  How do I know he was ready?  One day last July, when he was 18 months old (yes, a year ago!) Gabe got out of the bathtub, and said to me “I have to go potty.”  So I got the potty insert out, set him on there, and lo & behold–he peed in the potty!  If ever there was a sign of readiness!  But *doh* I didn’t do anything with it, assuming it to be too difficult and messy for the time being.

So how did I do it this time around?  I waited until we had some time off of work, which was the 4th of July week.  We went to the beach for the first part of the week, so I planned for Friday July 5th to be P-Day, yes potty training, pee-pee in the potty, day.  I told Gabe weeks ahead of time, and reminded him every few days that P-Day was coming.  This might sound silly, but Gabe has an excellent memory, and I knew it would help prepare him mentally.  I had already purchased two 7-packs of big boy underwear (the ones from Carters are way cuter, but the Wal-Mart ones are OK too 😉 )  I am about to order him a 3rd pack, because yes, we have our fair share of accidents:

IMG_0375On P-Day, I went and bought Gabe a little potty.  I went back & forth on this, trying to follow the Baby Whisperer’s advice to just get an insert for the big potty.  This didn’t seem to work too well with Gabe, as I think he felt scared he was going to fall.  Her logic was then you wouldn’t have to make another transition (baby potty to normal potty), but everyone I talked to said the baby potty worked for them.  And even more so if it sang songs and did fun things!  So I found this lil beauty at the consignment store for $10:

pottyNot only did it come with batteries, but it makes sounds when you flush, play with the toilet paper, and put the lid up and down.  Probably would’ve been $30-40 in a store.  So I got it at roughly 75% off!  Score!  Little money saving tip: if you live in a nice town, or near one, go to their consignment store.  I save boatloads of $$$ getting Gabe boots, shoes, swimsuits, clothes, toys, and yes potty chairs at the consignment store.  Best part?  Most of it is hardly used, it’s mostly name brand (not that I really care, but name brand is usually cuter, lol) and I don’t have to search all over Target or Carters or wherever, it’s nicely organized under one roof, at very low prices.  #winning 😉

Anyways, I sat Gabe down on it, and he went the first time!  Say whaaaaaaaaaat?!  Yep, I was as shocked as you!  Maybe I shouldn’t have been.  After all, he’s watched a few of his classmates at daycare pee in the potty for months.  He just sat down, and he was a natural!  I had asked a fellow mom of boys for advice, (TT—thank you!) and she said offer a treat when he does it right.  So, gummy bears are the bribe treat of choice 🙂  And he loves them!  Another mommy friend (BB) had said, just stay at home and let him drink & pee, drink & pee.  So we did.  Basically for 3 days straight.  Gabe did awesome!  And he even did awesome when he got back to daycare on Monday.

Now, we’ve had our share of accidents, to be sure.  He will get to playing or watching TV, and just completely forget about peeing on the potty.  Oops.  And he refuses to go #2, waiting until bedtime when he has a diaper or pull-up on.  Today was the icing on the cake–following a weekend rife with accidents, Gabe pooped himself at daycare.  It got on his shoes and everything.  He was super upset, said his tummy hurt, and had a fever.  Ugggghhhh.  So I went to get him and we are home.  I’ve given him a pep talk every day before school, saying “You’re going to stay dry today, right?”  “Yes!”  Welp, that didn’t work today or this past weekend.  Watching TV, he peed himself (and the couch) and didn’t even notice til he got up!!  (insert multiple expletives)  Good thing we have slipcovers.  See honey, the IKEA couch is good for something!  couch

Now, while I go buy stock in Febreze, I can at least be comforted by the fact that he’s come home from school about 50% of the time in the last 3 weeks DRY.  He has successfully gone potty at Wal-Mart and at a rest stop somewhere, with no toilet insert, just me holding him.  And he loves his big boy underwear, and looks great in them!

Last tip for you moms of boys, watch out for The Arc.  The arc occurs when little boy is sitting down, and grabs his little pee-pee while peeing, causing pee to go in an arc, straight out all over your door, wall, floor, pants, etc.  His pants & undies might have gotten hit by The Arc too.  Make sure you emphasize “Point it down!” over and over.  And over.

Gabe is now partially trained (still wears diapers at night & naptime, and still won’t poop in the potty), but I’ll take it.  At 2 1/2 years old, I think we are doing OK.  And I’ve cut my diaper bill by about $50 a month (~$0.33/diaper x 5 diapers a day x 30 days).  I’ll definitely take that!!

To summarize:

1. Have a plan.  I bought the potty the day of, but should have bought it ahead of time to give him a chance to sit on it and get used to it.  I had the day picked out well in advance and stuck to the plan.

2. Be prepared for messes.  In addition to buying stock in Febreze, get some Clorox wipes and paper towels too.  And extra detergent.  And extra undies 🙂

3. Reward consistently.  When Gabe does right, he gets a gummy bear.  If he has an accident, no gummy.

4. Be patient!  They didn’t learn to walk overnight, they won’t learn to use the potty overnight either.  Give it several weeks, and be prepared for regression (ahem, I need to take my own advice here!)

Have a wonderful week!  And I have to share one final thing: Gabe says the word slippery like this: “Swip-a-lee”  Absolutely cracks me up!

Posted in life with toddler, Potty-training | 1 Comment