Sunday, March 28, 2010

Second Time Around

As this is supposed to be a blog primarily about the joys and trials of motherhood it seems only appropriate that I start pondering the world of pregnancy AGAIN, this time with a toddler in tow.

I will start with backing up a bit.

I always assumed that when the time came to get married and start a family, everything would be such a natural, relatively easy, progression. While marriage, and even my first pregnancy, up until a point, were, becoming a mother has been so much more of a drastic change than I ever expected.

Cue second pregnancy. If I was TRULY honest with myself, I wasn't ready to be pregnant again. The bliss of the first pregnancy, I realize in retrospect of course, is the naiveté. I had no clue what to expect, what was in store for me. The exhaustion, discomfort, loss of bladder control. And then there's the birth. While that lovely mommy amnesia has kicked in a bit about the whole thing I do remember that it was painful and definitely not something I'm looking forward to again, and I even had a quick, uncomplicated birth.

I feel like I've become even more neurotic with this pregnancy. My breasts weren't huge and sore right away like with Ainsley so I of course assumed something was terribly wrong with the baby and my hormones. I feel faint and weak all the time likening this too to something catastrophic when I know in the small sliver of my sane mind, and with Ian's constant gentle reminders, that everything that I'm feeling I felt with Ainsley and she couldn't be more healthy.

On the flip side I think I've loved being pregnant this second time around more so far (I know it's only been 15 weeks). With Ainsley every day seemed like an eternity to check off one more day and then one more week. The first trimester absolutely FLEW by for me this time. While I definitely had my crash days on the weekends and some weekdays around 3pm when Ainsley and momma had lay down play time, I hardly had time to notice how tired and nauseas I felt most days. I have a baby to entertain and whether I feel good or not she needs to be fed and changed and played with and loved. I just chewed lots of gum to help with the gag reflex and went about my day as usual. With my first pregnancy it was both a luxury and a curse to feel every little thing.

I can't believe in a month we get to see our new little baby again and we're just about half way there. I'm feeling the urgency to get the nursery ready and get organized asap because with all of the travelling we're going to try to do this summer coupled with my sheer size housework is going to become increasingly difficult.

Ian and I have been having fun looking at names again. I've been surprised by how many names we've checked off of our original list from the first time around. We're still on the fence about finding out the sex. I'm intrigued by the idea of waiting until the end and hoping it will give me something to focus on in those final hours when last time all I could do was keep my eyes shut and get through it. I'm also excited by the prospect of a gender neutral nursery and newborn clothes. However since neither Ian or I have a strong conviction yet I'm worried one of us is going to cave during the ultrasound. I guess we'll see what happens!

Time to go play with my sweet little love bug. She's being very snuggly this morning.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Florida was a complete blast. I was prepared for the worst, weather and travel wise, and it couldn't have worked out better. Ainsley was a trooper on the plane, worming her way into the other passengers affections. She of course got squirly but between Ian, myself, and lots of tricks in my bag, she did wonderfully.

The weather was about 75 and sunny every day execpt for one late afternoon and morning of rain which worked in my favor because I got burned so badly the first day. My typically sun loving skin has turned Norweigan or something with this pregnancy, good to know for the summer.

As for activities, there was never a dull moment. Ainsley LOVED everything. The first morning we took her to the beach and she ran screaming into the ocean. Even when the frigid waves bit her toes she charged ahead. The hardest part of the week was trying to dry her off and keep her warm. She suprisingly, ate very little sand but definitely enjoyed rubbing it into her hair. Luckily she also loved the sprayer at the end of the boardwalk to clean herself up. It actually became quite the point of contention to keep her away from that spigot. She loved the pool equally and while parents of more "normal" children were complaining that the pool heater was broken, thus keeping their warm blooded children out of the water there sat Ainsley bounding down the steps of the pool blue lips shivering the whole way. What a character that girl is.

She didn't sleep well the first few nights which was to be expected, however Ian and I could have slept like babies thanks to the ocean breeze and surf pounding on the shore all night. Heaven. Luckily Ainsley's sleep sheep mimics this noise and eventually she got the hang of her temporary bed and was quite the sleeper.

I ate my fair share, as per usual. Favorites are still the fried Grouper sandwich from Gramma Dots, key lime pie, Bubble Room cake, and anything JoAnn makes on the grill. Good thing my pregnant belly hides all those goodies, or does it?

It was wonderful to be with great family and friends again after whats felt like ages. Ainsley so thrives in an active loving environment and try as Ian and I may we just can't compete with a loving group of people stimulating her every moment.

Pops taught her how to say "doctor" as well as any 15 month old can. She sat for books with Grammy and loved to sing and look at plants and birds. I am always amazed that for such an active baby she truly loves to calmly sit and take things in too. She listens when you talk, most of the time, and loves to help out when she is able. She has now learned the sign for tired and lets us know when she wants to go to bed. We communicate more and more everyday and I saw just in this one week how much she has grown.

We have a busy week ahead with lots of visitors and errands to run. I'm thankful to be kept busy but feeling exhausted just thinking about it. That one cup of coffee I'm allowed every day just isn't enough!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Long Nap, No Meat

Ainsley is STILL napping (going on 3 hours now) so I thought I'd take the opportunity to update the blog. Now watch her wake up immediately.

We leave for Florida on Friday! Clearly I am excited because this is all I talk about. I am packed for the most part and after a Target run this afternoon we should be all set. I've always been an early packer and with a baby (and lovely bag restrictions) it's gotten 10 times worse. I've mainly traveled alone with Ainsley since her birth so getting to travel both ways with Ian in tow feels like a luxury. Someone else to hold the baby and the bags? Much too exciting.

She woke up.

Continuing 4 hours later...

This is why I can't write blogs in more than one sitting. I've completely forgotten what my motivation the title, oh yeah!

So, on the pregnancy front not much is new, other than feeling huge for 4 months along and my sudden aversion to meat. I was biting into a roast turkey and havarti sandwich on homemade bread anticipating the deliciousness to abound my senses when instead I had an uncontrollable gag reflex and the urge to urp. Not the reaction I was expecting. Since that moment nearly a week ago I have been unable to touch meat, think about meat, smell meat, and of course, cook meat.

Perhaps this seems normal for a regular pregnant woman. Pregnant women=crazed food aversion/craving ladies right? True, expect when you take into account that with Ainsley I couldn't get enough meat, pork to be precise. I'd explain more but I'm getting nauseas just typing about it. Ugh.

So what to do when the head chef of a 3 person carnivorous household suddenly goes veggie? Turn to my favorite Moosewood cookbook of course. I was actually excited to try out some new recipes this week and made sure Ian agreed to them all beforehand to avoid the inevitable "it's fine" reply when asked how a new dish is.

Tonight we had Cauliflower and Cheese pie with potato crust. It was awesome! Ian had 3 helpings and even picky Ainsley ate a good portion. Also on the menu this week is a Mexican Pepper dish, Eggplant Parmigiana, and Bulgar (sp?) Casserole. The pepper dish is new but the other two we've had before and have passed the test. I have to say it felt great to leave the market today with a cart full of yummy good for us food, lots of veggies, grains, and fresh cheeses. I feel like I always eat best on Mondays when the grocery shopping motivates me. Too bad a pecan caramel dessert is in the oven right now to ruin all that!

In other news, Ainsley got her first hair accessories today! Okay, I bought her her first hair accessories. It started out innocently enough, a headband here, a flower clip there. Before you know it I'd cleaned the shelves of any possible hair option for a slight of hair toddler. Let me tell you, it was all worth it. Her adorable quotient went up like a million percent with that little pink flower pin in her hair. I took pictures but let me tell you they don't do her full justice.

This one's of me and my vain attempt (I wonder where Ainsley gets it?) to get a shot of my new awesome haircut. I don't think I've had my hair cut since last summer. It had pretty much become a rats-nest. Oh the joy of cute short hair again.

Still dolled up while reading with daddy.

This face pretty much says it all.

Half of the cuteness is of course Ainsley in all her 14 month old glory, the other is her love of her new accessory. She was literally preening around the house. Probably my mistake for showing her how she looked in the mirror. Whoops! Guess it's never too early to learn vanity. Every time the clip got loose or she played with it too much and yanked it out she'd run over to me, hold it out, turn her head, and patiently wait for me to place it just so in her hair. The whole thing is just too much. Luckily she let Ian take it out for bedtime. I was a little worried there for a moment.

I am excited for a busy (for us) week this week. Just about 2 commitments a day! I'm thankful or the bustle in hopes of making this week fly by. I can't wait to get some fresh air, vitamin D, and quality family vacation time. If I don't write again before we leave you can rest assure I'll have all the details upon our return, and oodles of pictures.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Oh what a blustery day

It's a rainy spring day outside. Ainsley is down for her morning nap. (She now grabs her blanky and pacifier and goes to the stairs with her arms outstretched when she's ready for her nap and then waves goodbye when we put her in her crib. She's getting so big!) I have approximately 1 hour before I'll need to wake her up to head over to our musikgarten class, hurry home for lunch and do a last minute clean up before our playdate at 1. It's so nice to have some fun things on the docket for today.
Yesterday was a beautiful spring day, at least in the afternoon once it stopped raining. Ainsley and I went to the park in her new red wagon and spent the late afternoon hours in the backyard. I raked and pulled weeds, delighted in finding numerous sprouting bulbs of which I have NO clue the origin. I'm hoping for tulips. I really felt like I was in the secret garden. Ainsley on the other hand had a blast running around our, thankfully, fenced in yard exploring under the deck, in the bushes and of course the dirt. She was covered in it by the time Ian got home. She of course managed to eat some and rub a lot in her hair. I don't get wigged out about messes like that because she is clearly having so much fun exploring and investigating different textures and smells.
As an adult I still appreciate sensory experiences. While working at the elementary school my teacher and I used to fight over who got to monitor the kindergarteners in the sensory table. Especially if we had something extra fun like cornstarch and water in there. It's fun getting your hands messy and so relaxing to just play with sand or soft dirt. I am so looking forward to true spring when we can spend hours out back gardening and playing.
While in our yard I was trying to decide what we could do, on a tight budget, to spruce up the space for both Ainsley and Ian and I. I would love to get a little fire pit because I LOVE fires, but the practicality of making a fire eiher with Ainsley around or after she goes to bed seems unrealistic compounded by the fact that I will be huge and pregnant this summer and any extra heat will be unwelcomed makes that seem like a bad option. I know I want to plant a small vegetable garden. I'm thinking of sticking mainly to herbs and a few vegetables, tomatoes, peppers, lettuces, that I use often. We have a great farmers market in Oak Park and I know I won't be able to restrain from going there each week to stock up so I don't want to go overboard. I'd also love to get something to get something for Ainsley to play with/on like a small sandbox or a playhouse. While we have a great park right up the road it's still not the same as having something in your own backyard. To complicate matters I would also like to build anything that we put back there. While neither Ian or I are particularly handy I love to make things plus the look of wood over plastic is always preferable to me. I'm thinking a home made sandbox next to a playhouse with a little table and chairs in it would be just the thing. Home Depot here we come!?
Okay, so I know this is a garden, but it'd work and it looks fairly simple to do, right? Two college graduates (one a PhD candidate) should be able to figure this out.

I'm hoping to plant some perennials around the border of the yard and Ian has his heart set on a small flowering tree. Keep in mind we are talking about an oversized Chicago lot here. Not much space to work with.

I am already seeing that in so many ways this is the perfect first house for Ian and I. We have always wanted an old home with character and charm, but I'm realizing this comes with some definite draw backs and disadvantages. I love our home for right now but must admit I already miss the sprawling backyard of my childhood with the wide open lot right across the street, neighbors more than spitting distance apart and an attached garage. Some day.

Right now I am just excited to get outdoors and extend our living space there. I Can't wait to get a grill and a table and chairs out there. I can just picture myself snoozing on a lawn chair while Ainsley snoozes this summer. It's going to be great! Now just to finish that raking...