Cherished Moments

Tonight I cuddled our so soon to be two lil miss independent on a recliner at my grandma’s. She had been running between the fish pond, sand box, and grassy field all day without the desire to nap, and it was clearly THAT time.  My clues were her begging for a beekt (blanket) and book, so the husband gets right on finding her brand new Ellie book while I find pull the blanket around her. Not ten seconds after the book closes, she slides to put her head up against my belly, kisses the mass that is her little brother, and is OUT. I am thrilled to have this chance because the kid is rarely a cuddlebug.  Even through her daddy and my uncle cheering on Clemson, she stayed out for one hour minus her adjustment when the baby kicked her in the head. 

This little special moment topped off my day and affirmed my blessing of being a super balancer. It had been a long day at my family reunion and one of my older relatives had been taken to the hospital. While we waited for the ambulance, Ari wanted to stay outside and make sure all was ok (but yes, I took her away). She looked at me and said, “Mama, this is serious”. I had no clue why I gave up podcamp afternoon, but this was why. Even though the emergency wasn’t an immediate family member, it could have been. Our time together is serious, and we have to make every moment great.  Such a blessing to witness the love of a little girl and know that her daddy and I are teaching her that love.  What a great way she has of showing it!

OBX

Last weekend we had the pleasure to attend the wedding of our burgh friends Amanda and Wally in the Outer Banks, NC.  We left the day after Hurricane Earl hit and left little damage, a huge bullet dodged.  The 12 hour trip by bus was wearing on me, but worth the nice wedding. Highlights included a steeler themed tailgate (which Greg and I had to leave to deliver the bus drivers luggage, I drove on flooded pea island roads), island brunch, and setting up the hall deciding we should do this for real. The wedding itself was splendid but all too quick and we were back on the bus home. Tuesday was rough going back to work and it being my busiest day of the month, but I lived.  Since then, g and I have been allergy riden and miserable but busy planning ari’s 2nd bday. Yesterday we went to kennywood which being sick, pregnant, and having a sleepy almost two year old is interesting enough for five hours. Atleast I got to ride the train and garfields nightmare. Today is Steeler Sunday, relaxing and prepping for the week.
* meal update: we are behind a bit due to being sick and busy, but it has been very helpful and less stressful! Plus, I keep thinking of more yummy foods to add to the list, win!
* todays blog is brought to you by tussin and benedryl so my thoughts are in no way complete!

Massive Meal Plans!

Arianna and Greg are blessed with this uncanny ability to sleep in most of the day while I am at work, but it’s like they have this secret code for the weekend.  They let me sleep in a little, somewhere between 8 and 9, and let me have about 30 minutes of personal time to either check my Frontier (which I haven’t done in weeks) or scrap book (and 30 minutes is NEVER enough).  But after that time is up, Arianna is banging on her door yelling something about her babies (this morning it was, “Mama, they hurt!!!”) and only Mama can hear the yells and knocks.  So I go to her room to see what she needs (today I asked her what hurt and she said “My Ellies”) and solve the issue (her stuffies, big bekt/blanket, and boppy were in a closet, a result of allergic reaction proofing the room on Thursday, so we had to let them loose) then get her dressed and take her downstairs (today I have the help of Greg since they let me sleep in a good bit later).  Yesterday though, Arianna was on a huge kick to go to Giant Eagle.  Why? She feels that she is too old for her high chair so she sits at the table and eats her breakfast.  I was reviewing the ad to see what we needed for the week and she needed to see an ad and make a list too.  She didn’t want to stop, so I decided to take stock of the pantry and freezer and make meal lists.  I realized that either thanks to foodperks or coupons I have a very full stash of food and should make the most of what we have before we totally forget we have it.  Thus, the list of meals until October 10.

One thing to preface this list is that it is somewhat limited by the following facts:

  1. We are eating mostly beef, pork, or meatless dishes due to my pregnancy driven chicken sickness.  This baby does not like chicken.
  2. The dishes are either quick and easy for Greg to prepare while caring for Arianna during the day or casseroles/slow cooker recipes that I can pull together nights before and he toss in when ready.
  3. We know what we like and we stick with it.  It doesn’t mean it’s always healthy, but it means that we eat what we want.  With a baby in a belly and an husband with an incredible metabolism, it works for the here and now.
  4. We have a lot of events planned for the fall plus we do dinner with my parents at my Grandma’s house every Friday, so this list isn’t really a HUGE list of meals, but a thought process of how and where we will be eating.
  5. Some of these meals make great leftover portions when cooking for two, so it is highly possible we will see a shift in meals through the month of October.

So, if you have come looking for great ideas or innovations, you may not find them here; however, I do have a great store house of recipes for slow cooker meals as well as other favorites once I can do chicken again that I will try to post soon.

Here it is, the list of meals!

Week 1

Sunday: Pork Roast, Mashed Potatoes, and Corn (my first pork roast ever…)

Monday: Sloppy Joes, Noodles, Green Bean Casserole

Tuesday: Homemade Pizzas from shells (10/$10 at Giant Eagle ‘til Wednesday AND 10/$10 Pepperoni!)

Wednesday: Pulled Pork Sandwiches (leftovers from the pork), Rice or side dish

Thursday: Dinner out (doctor day)

Friday: Family Dinner

Saturday: Bus stops, Tailgate BBQ

Week 2

Sunday: Island Brunch, Wedding Dinner

Monday: Bus stops

Tuesday: Kielbasa, Homemade Mac & Cheese, Carrots

Wednesday: Spaghetti, Salad, Garlic Bread

Thursday: Chicken Casserole (yes, I will attempt some chicken…) and Beer Bread

Friday: Family Dinner

Saturday: Kennywood

Week 3

Sunday:  Roast and vegetables

Monday: Burgers, Corn on the Cob

Tuesday: Lasagna

Wednesday: Leftovers (it is bound to happen with the roast and lasagna)

Thursday: Sausage Gravy, Biscuits, Taters

Friday: Family Dinner

Saturday: Reunion (will need to make a dish to share, not sure what that will be yet)

Week 4

Sunday:  Dinner Out (celebration!)

Monday: Mexican Night—most likely Tacos and Rice

Tuesday: Tater Tot Casserole (thank you Kim for reminding me! Greg has been missing me making this!)

Wednesday:  Ham, Scalloped Potatoes, Green Beans

Thursday:  Stromboli

Friday: Family Dinner

Saturday: Skillet Meal Fajitas

Week 5

Sunday: Pork Roast and Rice

Monday: Chili and Cornbread

Tuesday: Baked Potato Bar, Beer Bread

Wednesday: Steak Salads (Pittsburgh Style with Fries of course!)

Thursday: Bacon, Pancakes, and Hash Browns

Friday: Homemade Pizzas with homemade dough

Saturday: Family Reunion (will need to make a dish, not sure what)

Week 6

Sunday: Idlewild

Monday: Kielbasa and Pierogies

Tuesday: Ari’s birthday, Dinner Out

Wednesday: Baked Ziti Casserole

Thursday: Cheese Steak Sandwiches and Fries

Friday: Shepard’s Pie and Mashed Potatoes

Saturday: Ravioli

And that takes us to Arianna’s party day! So I know the list isn’t spectacular but it is easy and will hopefully keep us from grabbing pizzas or running to get take out.  Enjoy!

Week 22 and Potty Training

The past week was a nice one at work-not crazy busy and I had a Friday vacation day I used for mental health and kidney ultrasounds (more on that below). But the best part of the week was that Baby Girl made huge potty training strides! Not yet 23 months and she knows when it is pee and number two time! She went in the potty so many times Thursday and Friday. I am a very proud mama if you can’t tell. Two kids in diapers is to much for me and Greg. Hopefully she told her grands when she needed to go the past day!

Friday I took a day just to take a day. I accomplished a lot, fixed old scrapbooks so that I can actually look at them without hating myself for my choices and got the room organized some more. The best part was pulling ari’s pics for her 2009 and 2010 album and making sure I had enough pages for her and the baby. When my dad asked to take her for the weekend (their neighbor is at end stage cancer and wanted to see her baby girl), I was glad to get another full day doing my passion.  Friday also was kidney ultrasound day but I won’t know more til my appt Tuesday with the specialist. We met up with parents and Grandma for Never Ending pasta bowl at Olive Garden too. All in all a good, relaxing week.

I also got my Droid 2 which means on days like today I can blog in the car! Very exciting. Secretly I am certain greg is jealous but most of the time he’s home with the net so hopefully he won’t get too cranky. 😉 in to getgo for coffee bah it’s a kiosk! (I hate allergies!) Then continuing to saegertown for my cousin’s bridal shower.

Rejuvenate

Been spending the last few days trying to rejuvenate…not always easy when we have an almost 2-year-old and a growing baby inside that keeps Mom nausea 98% of the time.  I’d like to say things are looking up, but being sick is not becoming.  Sigh.  My hope is to spend the next few weeks resting…we have ALOT of fun coming up (the ‘Ski wedding in OBX, work Kennywood picnic, family Reunions, Arianna’s birthday, Hallowboo at Idlewild, Scrap weekend in Columbus) and so resting ahead is key.  We’re just enjoying the last few weeks of summer, swimming as much as we can and eating meals outside.  My great meal plans from last week are mostly still in tact because of opportunities to eat out or with my parents, so we still have a good 7-8 days of meals planned and ready to go.  That makes life SO easy! Looking forward to a short work week this week!

Tweet Up

Last Thursday we joined our friends for dinner at Buffalo Blues (highly, highly recommend–even family friendly!) followed by a  Tweet Up at Oh Yeah! for ice cream.  The trip got wins from all of us, but mostly from Arianna who is lactose intolerant.  She’s had ice cream off and on, but it always makes her have awful diapers and even swell around the mouth.  NOT FUN.  HOWEVER, Oh Yeah! has a great selection of soy ice cream and she was in Heaven.  Her cup was absolutely devoured, she mostly used a spoon, I promise.  We also got to meet some of the great Burgh tweeters like @SecretAgentL and @Wormy920.  Greg and I both agree we’d like to go to another tweetup, and preferrably get to head out to one when I am not pregnant/sick and without the kiddos in tow.  Either way, we’ll definitely do it again.  A GREAT way to meet other awesome ‘burghers!

Baby Day at the Zoo

Last weekend we braved a very packed Zoo for “Baby Day”; however, it wasn’t everything we expected. There were some sponsor booths geared toward baby/toddlers; however, nowhere near the amount I expected.  And it was seriously PACKED. People were rude–anyone with a stroller was basically pushed out of the way by 10-12 year olds rushing to see exhibits that weren’t going anywhere. It’s really sad to see parents letting kids get away with that. Sigh.  I was a lot angrier over the situation on the day of, but it was just before another fun round of not eating anything but Jello for 2 1/2 days (so maybe it was the sick coming on).  Greg said I needed to start to write my own B%&$# Blog, but I will leave that up to the Burgh experts! 🙂 I did tell him that you know, we have this blog and he could vent on his own…maybe one day I’ll convince him to get on and get involved. Either way, we’re heading back to the zoo tomorrow for Members Night so hopefully that will be a better experience.

“Top of the World”

We love the fact that we are Pittsburgh Zoo members.  It never fails, there is always something new that sparks the little one’s interest—one time it’s the monkey house, another the penguins, another the elephants, another the koi in the “river” around the zebras and giraffes—and we always leave extremely satisfied.  The Zoo has come a long way since I was a ‘lil Burgher myself, and it is about to get one more amazing feature: “The Top of the World”.  Although it will take a few years and three phases, the fact that it is being built is awesome news for a mommy and daddy of (soon) two little ones who LOVE animals.  (Ok, and really awesome for the daddy who knows all the scientific stuff about them and loves reptiles and amphibians.)  If you haven’t heard about this coming attraction, check out the details from the article in Tuesday’s Tribune Review.

Health Care Bill & Nursing

As an expectant mom, one of my biggest fears is my maternity leave and eventual return to work. I’ve ALWAYS been hyper busy and am the one who works for the money in the house, so returning to work is not even a question—it’s happening. I’d go crazy if I didn’t! So crazy, in fact, that I’ve offered to help some school teacher friends make Literacy Stations during my leave—told you I’m nuts! But yet, I have fears. I fear that I won’t document a process well enough or train my temporary replacement how to do what I do (I am currently the only person in my department who does what I do, so can you see why I worry?) and something will go wrong (and in my mind, I am 110% to blame!). I worry that I will not have given my children enough time during my leave to truly bond with mom and they will be daddy’s kids and resent mom for working. (It sort of happened to me when I was young, I was raised by my dad while my mom worked. BUT, I have an awesome bond with my dad and a love and respect for my mother that I cannot even begin to explain—she is a super awesome hero whether she’ll admit it or not!…so I know that me working isn’t going to hurt the babies.) But most of all, I worry about how to handle my return and nursing. When I had our first child, there was no question about what I was going to do—I needed to save money and I wanted to give her everything possible I could, so naturally, I nursed. She would eat and eat and eat…and then get really gasy and sick. I kept trying for 4 weeks and finally her doctor suggested one of my fears—she was lactose intolerant and needed to be on a strict soy milk diet. Saddened, I let go of the nursing bond and put her to the bottle…she immediately showed signs of healthiness and I was ecstatic. With this baby, I definitely want to try it again, but I never had to breech the subject of nursing in the workplace because she was done 2 weeks before I went back to work. If this kid isn’t lactose intolerant, I definitely want to try again, but I am so worked up about asking for the room to block and the time to pump (I have a male boss, so I am sort of uncomfortable about that). Thankfully, even though I have nerves that might be over nothing, I read a great article in the Trib this week about how the Health Care overhaul is helping out moms who nurse: http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/pittsburgh/s_693157.html  So it sounds like I’ll be able to ask for a room and privacy…the only thing is that I am a salaried worker and am not sure how the bill impacts me (hourly workers get unpaid work time up to every three hours). It will be interesting to see how it all plays out—one, if the baby even gets to nurse and two, how and when I get up my courage to ask. Hey, I just blogged about it, so I can’t be that embarrassed by the fact I am giving my kid the best thing a mother can from the start, right? Stay posted.