Sunday, July 28, 2013

Playing at the orchard

While I would normally be planning plenty of afternoon/evening pool trips in late July, this welcome cooler weather has me thinking all about fall! With that in mind, coupled with the fact our orchard opened last weekend, we headed over to play after naptime today. A great change of pace from some of our normal parks, as there are no kittens, ponies or goats at the park!

This sweet little kitten is going to learn very quickly what being an orchard cat means. Turns out in the last year, my son has become fast enough to run up to and pick up a kitten without even missing a beat. The kitten hopped right down but Troy (and every other kid in the place) tried again and again to get their own moment with this furry critter and its twin sibling.

Troy was very wary of the goat "overpass" when we were there today. At first when he was playing in the tractor nearby and noticed a goat passing over he jumped up and ran over to me asking if it would step on his head. We sat and watched them for a little while before deeming it safe to return to the tractor :) However, later on he found himself stuck on one side of them while I walked to the other. It took a little coaxing to get him to cross under to me!

score for the small town airport

Ever since Mike's air travel has increased considerably, he's said how much he likes flying out of our local airport. And we certainly enjoy our visits to our own little airport from time to time too! A trip this morning did not disappoint and had us standing by the fence watching an airplane prepare for takeoff. Much to our surprise, as it began to roll away for departure the pilots turned the plane towards us and both waved to Troy for a moment before moving along. He immediately recognized what they were doing, and said, "They wave to TROY! To ME!" He then continued to wave the entire time it rolled away. All day long he talked about the two pilots who waved to him from the "big airplane, then flying up, up in the sky!" I thought it was pretty cool myself, so no wonder Troy is impressed!

belly laughs

This little guy is loving my big ol' belly these days. He likes looking at it. He likes laying on it when we read books. And he especially likes feeling his baby sister kick when she's especially active. Blurry pic, but a sweet moment captured as he grinned and smiled away while she moved around. Can't wait to see these two together!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Where the green grass grows...

Couldn't help but take a photo as I drove down a corn-lined road today on the way to the lake. Straight out of a Tim McGraw song, I tell ya...

Happy Birthday to Mike!

Mike doesn't like celebrating his birthday. Anyone who knows him knows this fact. However, I've now spent 6 years of birthdays with him and I've helped him find a few ways to enjoy his special day :)

One, birthdays involve food. Like cake and cookies, or whatever sweets the birthday person chooses. Mike's definitely a fan of that one. Two, birthdays involve free things. Like restaurants that let you eat for free on your birthday (doesn't hurt this has to do with food too). Birthdays for the win!

Now he's still not a fan of large displays of birthday fanfare, like being sang to in a restaurant. We stay away from those situations :) How we pulled off a surprise party for him two years ago I'll still never know. Brian's hand was all over it, so that certainly made it possible. And last year his birthday was like a dream, since we spent it at a luau beachside in Hawaii. Yep, that's a hard one to top.

We had planned to go out to eat dinner together as a family, but around 3 hours before we were scheduled to meet up, I decided to put out some messages to our sitters just to see if anyone might be available to hang with Troy. It had been a loooong time since just the two of us went out for a dinner alone and I thought I'd see if I could make it happen. Thankfully, it sure did!

The obligatory birthday shot below, Mike's (clearly) favorite part of the evening when our waiter took our photo. Haha.

We had a really enjoyable time. I'm very thankful for this guy and glad we got to spend some time together on our own :)

Knowing we wouldn't be out late, we told our sitter not to worry about putting Troy to bed. That way he got to stay up for candles and cake! Doesn't look like he's excited at all, now does it! Happy Birthday, Mike!

29 weeks

Check out the latest belly pic to the left, 29 week update. I have a pic from when I was about 30 weeks pregnant with Troy available here, if you're curious. Still trending smaller overall even though I feel huge!

Nothing too noteworthy to share this week. I guess I'm going from feeling pregnant to feeling very pregnant... not "I'm ready to be done with this" pregnant, just more round than I typically am...

Came across this interesting article on chiropractic care during pregnancy so thought I'd share it here. I was adjusted all throughout my pregnancy with Troy, all throughout this one and everything in between. If I'm due to go, I go, even if I'm feeling great. This article outlines all the different areas of our body that benefit from chiro care during pregnancy and how it contributes to overall wellness.

Pregnant or not, I'm definitely a fan! And for those of you who are wondering, Troy and Mike both get adjusted regularly too. Troy's been amazingly great for all his adjustments in recent months and more regular adjustments for him (plus starting a probiotic) have moved us past that awful bout of constipation the poor guy had!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

37 things I love about my husband...

Let's just call this the "I'm going to brag on my husband" post, because, well, I think he's pretty awesome. And today is his birthday (I'll let you guess what the magic number it is). And I may list praises in my head for him a whole bunch but its about time I celebrate who he is with all of you, too :) Enjoy!

37 Things I Love About My Husband
  1. He's my rock, constant encourager in all things.
  2. He's not a picky eater and will eat (almost) anything I cook :) 
  3. He knows how to keep a lawn in kick-butt shape. 
  4. He's a really hard worker, not just at his paying job, but everything he commits to do, he does 100%.
  5. He challenges me to do what I commit to at 100%.
  6. He's great with our son. 
  7. He loves me like crazy and I've never doubted that a day since I fell in love with him. 
  8. He loves our kids (yes, Cassidy already too!) like crazy and will stop at nothing to look out for them. 
  9. He runs a mean full scale vacuum operation on our house. I vacuum to get it done, he vacuums to REALLY get it clean!
  10. He finds ways to treat us and make us feel special, big and small. 
  11. In just about five years of marriage, he's already made some of my "big" dreams come true, from babies to a Hawaiian vacation :)
  12. He loves God and seeks constantly to keep our family in step with what God is up to in our lives. 
  13. He's currently sleeping with the flattest, oldest pillow in the house just so I can have all the good ones while pregnant :)
  14. He's a deal-finder. 
  15. He's constantly sacrificing things he wants to have or do for us. 
  16. When it really comes down to it, he'll do any chore that I ask him to PLEASE do, even if its not in the "norm". 
  17. Even though he travels a ton, he doesn't miss a beat when he returns, as hard as I'm sure that is. Troy usually can't wait to get on the floor to play with him and he doesn't say no :) 
  18. We have great conversations, and I know 40 years from now, we'll still have things to talk about.
  19. He's determined.
  20. He's really supportive.
  21. He treats me like an equal in marriage and is always respectful. 
  22. He's secretly a dog-whisperer. We have a great dog because he trained her so well early on. 
  23. He gives ME ways to be in the loop when he's traveling, like the hottest new app that can track where he's driving when. I swear, I did NOT ask for that and he just sent it over!
  24. He always lets me pick where we go when we go out to eat. 
  25. He's thankful, thanking me for the small, mundane things each day like dinner. He's raising our son to be thankful, too. 
  26. After years of living outside of "the south", he's still got that polite southern charm, calling people "ma'am" and "sir". 
  27. He's himself in every personal, social and professional situation, and never puts on a "front", just being genuinely him. 
  28. He drives the car I brought into the relationship to work every day, even though its more beat up, and never complains.
  29. He means what he says and says what he feels.
  30. We have fun together!
  31. He's happy to learn new things, especially things that have to do with household repairs or appliances. 
  32. He's not a very serious guy :) 
  33. He loves old Vanilla Ice-era music and Christian rap. 
  34. He never gets tired of watching Gordon Ramsay shows with me on Hulu. 
  35. He made the best discovery ever back in the day I used to travel and work for the American Cancer Society, The Office. I'll never forget that night I walked in at like 10pm and he was so hyped up and insisted I sit down to watch an episode. Safe to say not a day has gone by (when he's home) that we haven't watched an episode and laughed together!
  36. He listens. A whole lot. Has since our very first date.
  37. He continues to take me on dates :)
All in all, I know I have been blessed with an amazing guy! Happy Birthday Mike, love you!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A moment with paint

This afternoon we painted. I had the idea to do it earlier so I told Troy before his nap. He woke up chipper and the first thing he said was "ready to paint Mommy!" Not I want milk/snack/outside/Bear/etc. Ready to paint!

We had a good time as he loves painting and has been doing tons of it in daycare lately. I did have a short moment where I thought about how much different things will be once Cass arrives and Troy doesn't have 100% of my attention any more. Yes, we'll still get to paint, and yes, someday the two of them will both sit at a table and paint together, but those days are a ways off. In the meantime, I'm just going to do everything I can to carve out time to do special "Troy and Mommy" things and continue to pray for a smooth transition from 1 to 2!

Here's a pic...I love how his little forehead is even furrowed while he concentrates on what he's doing!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

On a roll...

Troy's on a roll tonight. Just three of his randoms from this evening:

When told he couldn't watch any more TV, he responded with, "I so sad. I crying. I need to watch TV!" (Seriously, where did he pick that up!?)

When he was pleading with me for one more book, he rubbed my belly and put the book he wanted to read on me and said, "Mommy, I want you to read to Cassidy!" Nice try, Troy.

On his, oh, fourth attempt to get me to return to his room after it was supposed to be bedtime, we heard him on the monitor asking for a drink please, repeatedly. Then we heard, "I love you Mommy..."

Monday, July 22, 2013

Weekend in St Louis

Likely our last "adventure" this summer, we spent a few fun-filled days in St. Louis this past weekend. Man, I love St. Louis. There's so much to do there and I just love what it has to offer... and so many things for free, too! Mike had a bit of work to do this weekend, but thankfully we got to spend some time with him outside of work... much better than kissing him goodbye for the whole weekend!

Troy has done enough road-tripping this summer that this was nothing to him. He was great on the rides there and back.

Despite sweltering temperature (hello, upper 90s) we had a little bit of time when we arrived down there to do something fun, so we thought we'd make a quick visit to the (free!) zoo. We saw exactly three large animal exhibits before heading out - hippos, elephants and the interactive sting ray/shark area! The hippo exhibit was pretty cool, I don't think I'd ever seen hippos this close before!

The elephants recently had a new baby join the family. She was super cute and while you can't call her "tiny" (or even really see her in my pic below) she was able to stand right under her parents!

Mike and I visited this zoo once before and I remembered how cool this exhibit was and really wanted to do it again. Not much footage to document this one since I spent the majority of our time 1) petting sting rays and sharks and 2) ensuring my child didn't fall into the sting ray/shark pool!

We headed to the hotel to check and we went to cool off in the pool. Another animal sighting... this time there was a friendly bunny right outside the pool area! Not a hippo or a sting ray but still very cool :) 

My favorite reason to visit St Louis is because I get to see my great friend Alicia! We had a great time enjoying dinner at the hotel and catching up in the room while Troy snoozed, or pretended to snooze :)

The next day Troy and I met up with Alicia for some more quality time. Per her suggestion, we headed to the St Louis Science Center, an awesomely FREE attraction :) We didn't know what Troy would really be into there since it's geared for older kids, but being the great little guy he is, there was plenty to interest him. We started by the spaceships and building machines, but Alicia had tipped him off that there was a dinosaur there, and after a few minutes at each station, he would look up and ask for the dinosaur. So we marched onward!

A very cool three (or more) story ball machine. But not a dinosaur...

At long last we reached the dinosaur! Troy sized him up from a distance at first and then cautiously approached. Once he warmed up, we couldn't get him to leave! And that was perfectly fine by us, since he was so content and we were able to sit down and relax!

Here he is digging for fossils in the dinosaur exhibit. Hours of entertainment, seriously. 

We took a short dinosaur break to grab some lunch in the cafe and I thought, hey, let's get a photo of me and Troy in front of the dinosaur. Something about me lifting him up or him taking his eyes off the dinosaurs made him completely scared. I felt so bad! But it was also kind of funny. He had been playing there for well over an hour already so I didn't anticipate any problems. We had a short talk about the dinosaur being pretend and he was totally fine again.

Much happier photo after lunch without Mommy holding him :)

The next morning as we checked out, Troy eagerly rolled Daddy's travel bag through the lobby and out to the car. He is such a great helper and wants to be just like his Daddy :)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

28 weeks pregnant

Single digit (9) weeks until full term...boom! Yesterday I went up to the one tub of things I have set aside for Cassidy's arrival so far and just poked through the pink a bit, excitement building for her to get here! Its really wild to think we're actually doing this, haha. I'm trying to remember what those early weeks are like with having a newborn and then I just realize there's no way I even remember close to what that's like and will just have to get back in that groove when she gets here.

Its been HOT this week, probably the hottest week of summer, and I think summer heat brings out all of pregnancy's not-so-finest-moments :) I feel like I've become messier and clumsier this week, I feel like she's doubled in size and decided to take up (not so) permanent residence near my ribs at times. I'm visiting the bathroom about once an hour and added another pillow to my sleeping arrangement.

All that to be said, I'm still doing well! Certainly not at that "is this over yet?!" phase and I'm praying that stays for awhile longer. I want to enjoy the final weeks of pregnancy, and we need those weeks to get ready for her! It'd be great to have Troy fully potty trained by the time she arrives so I tried to get him in underwear again this week... still so many pee accidents. If anyone has any tips on how to move things along other than wait until he can hold his pee longer, I'd be glad to take the advice. Also, this week is the third week in a row I've been committed to meal planning again! Woot! One week can be a good try, but three weeks means its starting to stick again. Trying to make it a habit heading into baby's arrival so its not so hard to get back into once we get settled into our new routines.

I think that's about it. Still mostly doing my Bradley exercises, though they are multiplying by a factor of 2 or 3 every week and I'm trying to keep up! Troy tries to climb my back and ride me like a horse when I do my rocking exercises so those are mostly a naptime/bedtime event :) I think that's about all for this week!

Beat the heat

Troy loves to be outside. I swear he's immune to the soaring temperatures outside this week, the hottest week we've had so far. Tonight we waited until after dinner to head out and cool down. Troy loves playing with the hose so we just let him have it tonight :)

Attempting to do a sommersalt (sp?) in the pool 
Freeze pop + backyard water slide = perfect summer night!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Family Day at Arlington

Troy got to experience one of Grampa's favorite places to visit this past weekend. Bonus: Sundays are "family day" so in addition to watching the horses race at Arlington Park, there were tons of other things to do. There was a petting zoo, pony rides, bounce houses and more set up literally right off the track, so the kids could watch the races up close when they came by. It was a lot of fun!

Feeding some goats

Unfortunately this was probably the most crowded petting zoo I'd ever seen. I did feel a bit bad for the animals in there. 

Watching a race with Gramma

Someone stopping by between races to chat with the kids
While we were petting goats and llamas and watching races up close, Grampa waited and waited and waited in line for the pony rides. Literally like 45 minutes. He's pretty great :) Finally the time came for Troy's turn on the ponies...he absolutely loved it and is still talking about it multiple times today!

Thanks Grampa and Gramma, for a fun weekend in the city!

Trip to Mystic Waters

We had a visit to Chicago this past weekend and had plenty of opportunities to enjoy the summer heat! Saturday's highlight was a trip to Mystic Waters, which had just the right variety of things to entertain us all for a couple hours. Gramma and Auntie Daria were with us to enjoy the fun!

This play area had steering wheels that turned on the water... Troy's two favorite things put together! He had a lot of fun on this splash area.

Showing off swimming skills
Afterwards, we headed back to the house for some Portillos dinner al fresco. Troy was HUNGRY and ate more beef than I ever could have imagined a two year old could eat. I know I enjoyed it too!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Playscapin' it up

Of course when we came here earlier this year, I vowed we'd be back "tons" this summer... all of a sudden, its nearly three months later and we hadn't returned! Today was absolutely perfect to head out to Homer Lake for some playtime on the "playscape"and a picnic lakeside. The day started out cool but by the time we got out there, it was time to slather on the sunscreen and soak up the summer day!

Troy is all about independence these days. He turned to me at one point when I was sitting down and said, "You stay here Mommy, I go up there!" And ran to the top of the water feature. I try to give him as much freedom as I can when we're playing there, and it definitely pushes me out of my comfort zone a bit! He has so much fun there, and I think every parent struggles with that while their kid is playing. Fact is we're just not accustomed to letting our kids run through creeks and climb rocks barefoot. I suppose that's why the Forest Preserve folks thought it was so important to build something like this here!

We were the only people there for a half hour or so, and once others showed up, Troy was eager to play with them. He greeted this little guy as he walked up with his family and showed him the ropes as he checked it out :)

We wrapped up our morning with a picnic lunch by the lake. Troy said he saw a "snake" and I brushed it off without even looking. When I looked down after a little while, I realized the largest worm ever was directly under our table waiting for a snack. You could practically call that a snake, I suppose!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

27 weeks... hello, third trimester!

Woo, woo, 27 weeks here we are! I've been feeling like I'm not at all prepared for her to arrive (I'm sure the craziness of putting our house on the market has something to do with that, that's a whole separate post for another time), but this week has been really good. Today has been really good! I had my check-up today, following yesterday's visit to the lab and my reunion with every pregnant woman's favorite sugary beverage (NOT). At least the midwives sent me home with the glucose drink last month so I could take it at home and have my labs done ahead of my appointment. That was a definite positive. All my bloodwork came back really good, and my platelets which dip down a bit while I'm pregnant, even came up a little bit in comparison to early pregnancy, too! My blood pressure and weight were also great today too. It's been a good month I guess! Thank you Jesus for a continued healthy pregnancy :)

Took my first draft of my birth plan into my appointment today and was pleased that everything on there was "pretty much standard practice" according to my midwife. I've started preparing for birth doing the Bradley Method exercises, which I attempted to do last time but didn't stick to very seriously. This time I've programmed the weekly lists into my iPhone so they're readily accessible every day. And I'm starting out strong and sticking with it so far! (I found this blog which recaps the weekly "homework" and its very helpful. Since I'm not actually taking the class, doing the homework and reading up is certainly helpful in prepping!)

I think that's it for this week... and that's plenty! Somewhere around 12-14 more weeks until we meet Miss Cassidy Lynn... I can't wait!

My only real craving so far... lots and lots of peanut butter! On toast, on apples, straight out of the jar :) 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Fav books: Summer 2013

I'd love to start keeping track of some of Troy's favorite books. Because they come and go in seasons, maybe I'll post a couple times a year on this. I always love when other bloggers I follow share their kids favorite books in hopes that we can find some fun new ones, so here you go. Here are his favs as of late.

This book is absolutely adorable. We got it from Troy's cousin Emily when she gave us a big box of books this past Christmas that she used to enjoy. There were lots of great ones in there, and this one has risen to the top! Troy knows almost every line on this book and my absolute favorite is the bee page: "Its time to sleep, little bee, little bee, yes I love you and you love me." Its adorable to hear him say that part :)

Then we have "Moo Moo, Brown Cow, Have You Any Milk" as a close second. We read that one daily as well. The best line of this one comes at the very end when the boy is snuggled in with all his animals and says, "Sleep tight farm friends, may I dream with you?" And the animals reply, "Yes sir, yes sir, yes please do." :)

Finally we have a classic favorite, and this one has been a favorite several times already for Troy. But he's certainly on a kick right now with "Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel." Sometimes he gets bored with it since it is one of his longer ones but most of the time he asks for it, he eagerly sits the whole way through. Side note: how much do I love how he has a bigger bed now so that we can snuggle up and read books together versus him trying to squish into my non-existant lap on the floor? Oh yes, much better option snuggling in bed for those longer books :)

And that wraps up our summer favorite books! Looking forward to seeing what books we find in the months ahead :)