Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pregnancy, 10 weeks down

We will see how long I keep with weekly pregnancy posts.... I don't know if I'll have new things to report each week, but this one should be pretty good since it's the first one.


So far this week, there hasn't been much reprieve to the queasiness. It's usually worse in the morning, and yes, eating something does help--but it doesn't disappear. It comes and goes at various times. Often, I do find myself snacking to keep the queasy feeling at bay, but then I feel really bad about myself because I'm eating way more calories than necessary.
I suppose I am just getting used to the tiredness, because it hasn't been as bad. I've not even taken a nap since Sunday.
I'm craving salt like a maniac--which I know means I need to drink more water.... I'm trying! The ever-present sweet tooth is actually under control with a once-a-day treat that's pretty much been my norm since my first pregnancy two years ago.
My face hasn't seemed as oily, but last time that didn't peak until the third trimester--I've also skated by with only a few blemishes.
All in all, I feel less pregnant than I am...which I suppose is nice. Although, sometimes I over-do it because I think I'm non-pregnant-Wonder Woman and then I feel like crap for half a day.


I think the baby is a girl. I just can't convince myself otherwise because all trends point to a baby sister for G. I really want a boy, as I did last time, but we LOVE having a girl and will LOVE having another one. The main reason for wanting a boy is for a change of pace. I don't want two girls close in age...they will drive me batty, not to mention compete with each other. I feel like having a girl and then a boy would be nice for both of them. G could be the bossy big sister I know she will be...and a second-born boy would either A)ignore her or B)put her {nicely} in her place. My husband, of course, just really wants to minimize the future boyfriend encounters / wedding costs. ;-)
I still think 12/18 will be the baby's birthday; so that means there are about 29 weeks left. WHAT??? Doesn't that sound like a small amount of time?? I know some of it will go by very slowly, but this pregnancy already seems to be flying by because there is G to take care of.


Now that everyone knows, I can freely admit that I am very excited to have another baby. I am a realist, though, and can remember every.single bad time that occurred when G was younger. Breastfeeding started as a nightmare, we got puked on more times than I could count, 8 pm sounded like a crazy late hour, I was emotional and hormones are crazy, I had painful physical issues to contend with for months, G turned into a crappy sleeper, I felt overwhelmed with parenting at times, our marriage took a bit of a back seat, I had an uphill battle getting back into shape...the list goes on.... But a lot of that we know how to handle now. Being a first time parent is really, REALLY, hard; but we have cliche-ly weathered that storm and have earned our stripes.
I love new baby snuggles and the lack of mobility that keeps their life pretty simple. I enjoy all of the firsts--like smiles, accidental waves, rolls, winks, etc... I promise to try just as hard to capture, record, and share all of the new baby's milestones because I don't want him or her to feel like #2. I know that will be hard, but as a daughter to two second-borns...I've heard plenty about feeling minimized. Though, I have to say my dad seems to have had a lot easier time because he was the first (and only) boy. See, another reason to hope for a boy. Long story short, while we didn't find out the baby's sex last time...I really want to this time. I really wanted to last time too, though, and my husband convinced me not to. I see both sides to knowing/not knowing, so I guess we'll just see the first week of August.


New Baby (no nickname has been created yet) is the size of a kumquat, which is barely bigger than a bouncy ball. He or she is now officially a fetus and has fingers/toes. Nails are forming and little hairs are starting to cover the still translucent skin. His or her spine has started to really develop and the head is huge in comparison to the rest of the body. New Baby is apparently kicking up a storm, but I don't feel anything yet.


She is fascinated with babies, and loves pointing them out. She takes great care of her dolls and gives them kisses and hugs. I've tried to tell her about the new baby, but I doubt she understands. As time moves forward, I'm not going to be able to pick her up all the time...so that will probably be the biggest change for her, and I anticipate it being ill-received. Being a pregnant mom to a 15 month old is tough, especially when I feel absolutely miserable, like I did yesterday. I pray for help and muster through.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

New Camera Food Photos #WW #Linky

If you've read my recent posts, you've probably seen that the quality of my photos has increased significantly. My camera that I got for Mother's Day is AWESOME!!! I've always been a food photographer...but now I can better reflect the delicious items we see and taste.

Fresh CA cherries

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Our Three Day Weekend

My husband had three days off, in a row, and it felt like a real vacation. We had planned to do some outdoorsy-naturey things, but G ended up getting sick...such is life.

We did go for a jog and to the park on Friday afternoon, because my husband got home from work a few hours early. We went to a new park on Saturday morning on our way to the Farmers' Market. I made my cheesecake in the afternoon and the other two played. We had awesome grilled steaks for dinner that night.
My husband marinated and grilled our fancy steaks.
thought my dad would enjoy a photo of our Bean Crock :-)
Sunday is when the illness struck. She had a runny nose when she woke up and church was borderline-WWIII. It actually started out really nice and I thought we were going to have an easy time....HA. Starting around the Sanctus she started having a meltdown, so I stepped to the side with her. I tried to go back to kneel...fail. My husband took her to the back and returned around the sign of peace. We made it to communion as a family but then I took her out because she started screaming. She kept screaming, despite me letting her walk around the fountain area outside. It was clear something was wrong. I blame her Prevnar shot that she got on Thursday. She always has a reaction to that shot. Always. And it's always a few days afterwards. I'll be writing a post about it soon. Long story short, Sunday was pretty much a bust. We all took a long nap in the afternoon and then went out to eat. Dinner out is always a treat, but this wasn't as much of a treat since she wasn't in the greatest mood.
Monday was going to be our day to hit up a regional park or see Mt. Diablo...but G was in a royal mood all morning. We considered ourselves lucky to get in an afternoon jog. We grilled out again and watched the latest episode of Mad Men (which was one of the craziest they've ever made, in my opinion).
does not like cheesecake, even if it has strawberries in it!
It was a really relaxing weekend...until G started being super crabby and sick. Hopefully she kicks it soon because I'm doing solo parenting at the end of the week while my husband has a business trip. I had plans to fill our time, but if she is still sick....let's just say I might go crazy from being home-bound with an irritable 15 month old.

Memorial Day Cheesecake {or 4th of July}

This past weekend I made a Red, White, and Blue Cheesecake to honor those who died while serving our country. Annndddd because my husband and I love a good cheesecake. G, we found out, scoffs at the very sight of cheesecake--too bad for her.

Friday, May 25, 2012

When God Knows Best...We're Expecting!

G will be getting a little brother or sister for Christmas this year! They will be 22 months apart, which is a bit closer than I'd prefer, but it's really something God had his hand in.

The long and short of it is that this baby was neither planned nor unplanned. We left it up to God and we couldn't be more excited now. We'd like 3 kids and are glad to be young parents. G loves babies and other kids, I know she will be a great big sister. She's nearly weaned (just went down to 1 feeding--before bed--today) and will probably be potty trained by the end of the summer. She really doesn't seem like a baby at all. Her lack of real-word-talking is really the only thing that reminds us just how young she is at 15 months.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Fifteen Months old

Many times moms will reflect on how old their kid is and say.... 'where did the time go?'
Not me, not this month. It seems like G should be a lot older than 15 months--it seems she's been around a lot longer than a year + 3 months.

She's a regular part of the family, and only if I try very hard can I imagine life before her. Because I stay home with her every day, she feels like an extension of myself. I don't often worry about her, because it seems like I've developed a sixth sense. I can almost always tell what's wrong with her, even though she's not great at talking. I can hear the difference in her words, even though they probably all sound like 'da-da' to anyone else. I guess it's just a mom thing.

Anyways, she's growing right along and the official measurements from her well-child check-up are:
Height: 30.5"
Weight: 21.5 lbs
Tooth Count: 4 top, 2 bottom, 1/2 of a top molar (the outer half is clear of her gums, but the inner half is still covered), & G has been cutting a bottom tooth for a few days now. I'm not sure if it's sharp (and clear of the gums) yet, because I don't want to get bit! She also has bulging gums at the site of the other 3 molars.
She still wears a size 4W shoe (regular fours DO NOT fit her) and size 18 month clothes. The doctor, whom I do not like (I miss our KS doctor so much), said her numbers are very average, despite many peoples' comments that she is very small.

Here are some facts about 15 month old G---

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mother's Day 2012 Adventures

This Mother's Day was my best one yet (though only my second one ever). My husband was off work on Saturday, so that was a nice treat in itself. We went for a long bike ride, played at a new park (and met another toddler family), went to the Farmer's Market, and went to mass in the evening. Sunday we went to Stockton (apparently the Foreclosure Capital of the country) to check out what the medium-size city in the central valley had to offer. We went for a nature walk and chased geese at a regional park, ate a delicious patio lunch, saw some nice yachts at the downtown marina, and {my personal reason for heading to Stockton} got Sonic happy hour drinks.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Thirsties Duo AIO winner

Another successful cloth diaper giveaway has ended. Thanks to the 187 people (3099 total entries) who entered, it is great to see so many people entered in the new all-in-one offered by Thirsties.

The winner is:

Surprise Visitors {photos}

We has surprise visitors last week--thus my lack of pre-scheduled blog posts to cover my absence while playing hostess.

My grandpa, his wife, and daughter (my half-aunt who is several years younger than me) have been on a cross-country road trip for well over a week now. Last Wednesday they called me from 3 hours away, wondering if they could stop by for a visit. Thankfully, my mom had given me some clue that this might happen...so I wasn't completely thrown off guard. I also have a clean-house complex that kept me from having to run around making my house presentable right before they walked in.

It was lovely to spend time with family, and G reallllllyyyy enjoyed hamming it up for her new friends. She's met them a few times before, but not in her recent memory. My husband didn't get any time off work, but he did spend the evenings with us. I took them into the city on Friday and we saw the Golden Gate Bridge and Fisherman's Wharf.
Here are the highlight photos (taken with my new camera):

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Dirt: Wordless Wednesday #linky

Until recently, G wasn't interested in mud or dirt. She seemed pretty content to play in the grass and pick up leaves or smell flowers. All of a sudden, dirt is her new favorite exploration site. There's not much I can do to stop it, aside from keeping her indoors...so I just let her go......

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Potato Salad with Bacon Recipe

I recently made a new recipe for potato salad to go with the grilled burgers my husband requested last week. I searched around on the Internet for a different recipe, because while I love my mom's potato salad, I was interested to try something new.

I found this recipe on Brown Eyed Baker (love her stuff), and altered it to fit our tastes.

Potato Salad with Bacon

adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

8 medium red potatoes, washed well and cubed (leave the skin on, unless you prefer not to)
5 thick cut slices of bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup mayonnaise
1.5 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
5 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
½ green pepper, chopped
Dill for seasoning and garnish, use fresh or dried

Friday, May 11, 2012

Seven Quick Takes 22


My husband is off work tomorrow. I might be OVERLY excited. It makes Mother's Day weekend even more special when we have TWO days in a row together. We have plans to hit up the lovely Farmer's Market that G and I have been going to the past few weeks. We will eat lovely grilled food, I'm sure; and relax in the glorious California Sun. Being so far from family sucks, but it sure is a lot easier to handle when my husband is home with us.


My husband basically told me what my Mother's Day present is going to be...and I have to say it's pretty BIG! I can't believe I'm getting it, but I think it's really sweet he's using money we should/could be saving on a super awesome present for me. No offense to him but he usually goes down the cheap/frugal path for my presents. I don't mind, because I know it's the thought that counts--but this particular thought is very sweet :-) Yeah, we are on a budget, and I complain about money more than I should...but the truth is he's making a bit more than when we were in Kansas. We aren't able to go on a fancy vacation, or buy a house...but he is buying me a new camera for Mother's Day!!!
I.AM.SO.EXCITED. Taking pictures is one of my favorite things to do, because I love preserving memories. I never want to forget anything and I truly believe a picture is worth a thousand words...especially with a kiddo. My current camera was my birthday present a few weeks after we got married (so it is 3.5 years old and is a simple Kodak point and shoot).

Thursday, May 10, 2012

FuzziBunz Perfect Size Diaper Review

FuzziBunz was one of the first brands I read about when decided to cloth diaper. When starting our stash, I bought a few prefolds and covers, a few fitteds, a couple newborn size diapers, and two FuzziBunz. I bought one small and one medium, because as is common advice, I wanted to figure out what worked best for us before preferring one brand over another. My dear friend bought an entire stash of the FuzziBunz one size diapers and they've worked really well for her. I also really like FuzziBunz diapers because they are cute, easy to use, and moderately affordable. I have two of the new elite style diapers, 1 small perfect size and 2 medium perfect size. Check out my review of the perfect size below!

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Contra Loma Reservoir Regional Park #WW #linky

On Sunday, we headed out for a little walk in nature. There's a great hiking area near us called Black Diamond Mines Regional Park, but we opted for the less-intimidating-sounding-but-also-nearby park that features a trail around a public water supply reservoir. Contra means opposite and Loma means hill...so as you might imagine, there were some beautiful rolling hills around us.

very peaceful

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Sleep Perfection

I'm beginning to feel like my blog is actually more focused on sleep than cloth diapers...but it's not like I pigeon holed myself into one subject anyways. I titled my blog Letters from Momma because I planned to write about a pretty broad range of mothering topics. I'm the kind of person that can't pick one thing to specialize in.

Recently, I posted about having to teach G to fall asleep on her own--after traveling, illness, and kicking the thumb sucking habit. It took four days of hard crying and me having to go in at 10/15/20 minute intervals (nap time could take three interventions but bed time was just one or two). Since the Thursday before last (around 11 days ago), she hasn't needed me to come calm her down. Sometimes she even falls asleep after 'chatting' to herself for a while--with no crying at all. There are naps or bed times when she is too overtired and cries a little when I put her down. I hate that, because I know it's not her fault. My husband works until 6 every day, I feel like a 7:30 pm bed time is just not fair to either of them, so it takes serious commitment to get her to bed before 8 pm. However, she has been waking up around 6:30 am. I can't get her to go back to sleep if she wakes up past 6 am. Although on the off chance she wakes up at 5:50 am, I can get her to go back to sleep. If she's going to be this early of a riser, we've really got to work on a good bed time to make sure she's getting enough sleep at night so she's not crabby all day.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

My husband got off a little early on Friday, so he met G and I at the grocery store. It was really fun to do our shopping with Daddy and G loved him pushing her around. I loved checking out with all of our great stuff under budget :-) Two weeks in a row I have gotten a ridiculous amount of stuff but saved a lot of money. The bagger even asked if we had a large family at home...I just replied I like to stock up on staples when they are on sale :-) I saved nearly 50% and we've been eating great!

We're still loving our grill, so there's not much going on in the oven lately. I'm perfectly fine by that...and it makes clean up a lot nicer too!

Sunday, May 06, 2012

My life with Giada, 5 dishes I've made recently

Giada at Home is pretty much my favorite Food Network show right now. I used to love anything Bobby Flay...but I've been away from cable for 2 years, so my tastes have changed. While I still hold a special place for him in my heart (he's so cute!), I find myself drawn to Giada's recipes. Here are a few I've made lately.

Penne in Almond Sauce
Both my husband and I LOVED this dish. We really enjoyed the flavors in the sauce and the surprisingly fun almond crunch. While the sauce itself is smooth, the almonds may definitely turn some people off because it's a whole different texture level for pasta.
The dish is relatively easy to make, I'd say a 3.5 out of 10. I had a small incident because I don't have a blender. I used a food processor instead, and it ended up making a huge mess. I made homemade rotisserie (style) chicken, rather than using store bought as the recipe directs. I also used mini-penne, and that was a great upgrade because the sauce was able to find its way into even more little crevices! I did not have any fresh basil available, so I omitted that without noticing a big difference. I also may have gone a bit overboard with the lemon zest, so the dish tasted very California-y :-)
The Penne in Almond Sauce is wonderful leftover too! My husband enjoyed eating it cold for lunch a few days, though I preferred it reheated. G ate a bit of the dish. I think the next time I'll make it, she'll like it even more because she's really become a big fan of pastas.
We had SO much leftover!
 Peach and Strawberry Crumble
We love fruit around this house, and peaches & strawberries are two of our favorites. When I saw this dish on Giada's show, I knew I had to try it. I altered the recipe by adding a bit more fruit, using a 9x9" pan, using salted butter, and subbing cornstarch for arrowroot (I looked for it, but never found it at Safeway).  This was such an easy recipe, but it does involve a food processor, so I'll give it a 2 out of 10.
The topping is really light and delicious, but for me, it's the juices of the fruit that make this dish so special. It tastes so summery; I could almost feel the peach juice dripping down my chin when we ate the crumble. The lemon juice and cornstarch really bring out the sweetness from the peaches and strawberries. I served it alongside vanilla bean ice cream, but I know homemade ice cream would be the perfect compliment for a summer time favorite.

Friday, May 04, 2012

I really did just save a ton of money by switching to Geico

First of all, this post is not at all sponsored by anyone.

Last fall, I "backed into" an illegally parked car at our old apartment complex. I am a decent person, so I went to the office to tell them what happened. The girl who drove the car was on her dad's insurance, so we pretty much dealt with him. I thought we needed to split the cost to fix her door, and that we should deal with it out of insurance. My husband, and of course the chick's dad, didn't think that was best. My husband thought our insurance would not go up very much, and that it'd be easier and cheaper up front to turn it over to insurance. I went along with his opinion.

Fast forward to 3 days ago, when I got our renewal bill from State Farm. It turns out our insurance premium had gone up over $300 for our 6 month bill. I was beyond livid. They classified me as a "4" driver, even though I've had a clean record prior to that stupid incident. In case you were wondering, a 5 is the worst. That seems a little extreme to hike up our insurance so much for something so minor. My husband called State Farm and pretty much got no where with them as far as lowering out bill. I'm sure they don't care, but they lost our business over it.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Thirsties Duo All-in-One Review & cloth diaper #Giveaway

I think it's safe to say that I've tried every diaper option Thirsties currently sells. As you've probably read in my other Thirsties reviews, they are my go-to brand because they have something for everyone and every occasion! If you are having night time issues, add a Thirsties hemp prefold for super absorbency power. If you are a pocket dipe lover, look into their Duo Diaper. I could continue listing their great options, or you could just head over to their website, ThirstiesBaby.com and look around for yourself. All of us eco-conscious diaperers can appreciate Thirsties' commitment to using local products when possible and their efforts to reduce the company's carbon footprint. Thirsties warehouse is 100% wind powered. You can read more about their sustainability efforts on their website.
The latest in diapering options from the Colorado based company is a Duo All-in-One diaper. When I heard they were coming out with an AIO, I imagined it to be like the Fab Fitted, but with a tried and true Thirsties Duo Wrap attached to the outside for the waterproof feature. I was almost right. Check out my review below and be sure to enter the great giveaway to win your own Thirsties Duo All-in-One cloth diaper.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Spaghetti!! #WW #Linky

G had her first experience with spaghetti with sauce last week. She has had plain noodles or cheesy noodles on several occasions, but definitely loved the tomato sauce!

love it :-)
Link up below if you have a photo post today!

Celebrate with the new #CoronaRita at Chili's

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Chili’s Grill & Bar for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

With all the gorgeous warm weather around us lately, I've been dreaming of spicy dinners and cold drinks. In college, Chili's was a favorite spot for me and my girlfriends to grab a drink while munching on the Skillet Queso. Chili's is also where we started my Bachelorette Party with dinner and drinks! Their drink menu is pretty much unbeatable for the price and it doesn't hurt that the food is yummy too.

Now that May is here, it's time to consider where you'll celebrate Cinco De Mayo, college & high school graduations, and that much deserved warm date night alone. Chili's is a great place for them all, but with our baby girl in tow, we'll stick to celebrating family! Chili's has a casual family atmosphere in the dining room and a friendly kids menu...but a party on the drink menu ;-) if you choose to imbibe.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

SAHM does not equal luxury; an essay

Recently, I saw a post on the Facebook asking me if I consider it a luxury to be a stay at home mom. Truth be told, I don't even remember what page I like that asked that, but I certainly remember the emotions (anger) that boiled in my blood as I responded; "Being a SAHM is a choice, not a luxury."

Bam. Take that whoever you are, insinuating that being a SAHM might even come close to luxurious. For a good part of the afternoon I thought of reasons why being a paid-working mom is more of a luxury than being a SAHM. I compiled a list of things that make staying at home anti-luxury, and I thought of how I would write a blog about it.

Then my husband came home and I told him about the "SAHM = luxury" preposterous proposition over dinner. He sided with the whoever they ares and said that a lot of people can't afford to stay at home, so that's how it can be considered a luxury.