29 May 2014

Baby #2: Third Trimester Update

As this pregnancy train is running full steam ahead into the third trimester, I thought I'd share an update in much the same style as my last update. I'm just into my third trimester at 28 weeks pregnant.

How are you feeling? 
For the most part, nightly use of a body pillow and weekly prenatal yoga are keeping me feeling good; however, I am definitely feeling pregnant as of the last week or two. I feel large, bump my belly into things that seem like they're far away from me, and generally have more aches and pains now than I have the rest of the pregnancy. No matter how much water I drink, I'm now getting regular (about a dozen a day) Braxton Hicks contractions. Heartburn reliably appears as my stomach gets hungry around 3 or 4pm.

Probably the worst thing about this pregnancy has been my weak immune system. With a toddler in the house and daily treks to germy places, I have had some sort of illness (even if it only lasts a day or two) an average of every other week. I have my fingers crossed that stable weather over the summer will usher in some relief for the last stretch of the pregnancy. Please?!

Are you still exercising? 
Yes and no. I've fallen off the circuit training wagon, and - while I aspire to return - it's unlikely I'll be back to that class until about 3+ months post-partum. I'm still going to my two-hour prenatal yoga class as often as my schedule allows (1-2 times per week). Madeleine has been very keen on her stroller lately, so I'm taking a walk whenever the opportunity presents itself. Walking the hilly trail near our house (especially pushing a 25-lb. toddler in a 25-lb. stroller) on a regular basis should keep me fit, though my body is pretty clear about telling me when I'm pushing it too hard.

23.5 weeks (late April)  (see 24.5 weeks with Madeleine)

How big are you? 
As the pregnancy has progressed, I've gotten much more relaxed with my weight gain. I'm definitely bigger than I was at this point in my pregnancy with Madeleine, but that is to be expected in the second pregnancy, especially when starting out 20 or so pounds heavier. I'm still sensitive to comments about my weight and size (who wouldn't be?), but I can say that I'm mostly at peace with my growing, bumping bump. Again, I feel like it has gotten bigger and fuller of baby in the last week or so.

28 weeks (see 28.5 weeks with Madeleine)

Are you feeling the baby?
Yes, again more so in the last couple of weeks. I've noticed a marked difference between the soft, wispy wiggles I'd been feeling for much of the pregnancy and the strong kicks with forceful movements I'm now feeling regularly. I suspect baby boy is rather tall as there are times when I can feel him in both my ribs and pelvis at the same time. He's starting to respond to pokes, so I'm hopeful that his first poke at Madeleine will not be too far away.

Any adjustments to your due date? 
My due date remains the same, though I am measuring a few weeks ahead of it. This is not the slightest bit alarming to me as I consistently measured a month ahead with Madeleine. I think it's a result of having anterior placentas and "extra padding" in my mid region. What is more concerning to me is the maternal instinct I have that Baby Boy is going to make his appearance early. I'm hoping for either August 8th or the 13th or later. Why? Because there are different conventions for writing the date around the world, particularly in the US and NZ, it is far more clear what date is meant if the day of birth is either the same number as the month or higher than 12.

How are you handling warming temperatures? 
Until very recently, I'd actually been running even colder than normal, which is saying something for this natural coldie. About three weeks ago, it was like a switch clicked, and I was suddenly hot...so things could definitely get interesting. Back when I had a sticky newborn Madeleine in my arms a million hours a day during a hot summer, I swore it had to be more comfortable to be pregnant in the summer. I'll get to find out. Strangers' favorite topic of conversation with me is about how I'll be pregnant all summer, so I won't be forgetting any time soon.

Does this baby have a name yet?
No, but we are definitely working on it almost daily. We're pretty confident that we have a middle name, so we need to figure out the right first name. This has been a very different process from naming Madeleine because we actually have several names that we think could work. Like Madeleine, we won't be sharing the name until Baby Boy has arrived.

How is the nursery coming? 
We're continuing to work through our list (see updates to the original nursery post), though the real progress will start once the furniture arrives...any day now. Then it's game-on for making sheets, arranging the room, putting together and hanging the mobile, and generally being able to actually see things in the space. I promise that I'll share the finished product as soon as there is a finished product to share.

Have I left one of your burning questions unanswered? Leave it in the comments.

22 May 2014

Our Dining Room

I'm excited to share with you some updates we've made to our dining room. While the room may not be absolutely finished, I think that it's done for the time being. It feels very much our style.

The room is painted Benjamin Moore Stampede. I've previously shown you our hook, a piece we picked out during our last visit to Wellington. It's still one of my favorite things in our house. 

On the other side of the opening to the living room, we are displaying some other favorites from Wellington: Bob Steiner ceramics depicting Kiwi icons. 

On the opposite wall, I hung six photos from our travels. The frames are Ribba from Ikea, which come with a basic white mat. I covered the mats with an inexpensive light linen that I picked up at JoAnns, the same linen I used for our Christmas stockings. I filled the frames with pictures full of happy travel memories, from our early dating days to first family vacations. 

Perhaps most exciting, we changed out the light fixture for a beautiful Hubbardton Forge piece. I adore this light, and I love that the shade looks linen (like the mats) at times and white (like the trim) at others. I only wish we would have found it sooner. (You can see the old light here and here.)

All that said, I'm glad that we have taken our time to find just the right things for our space. I only hope that the rest of our rooms come together as well. 

20 May 2014

Another Special Guest

A couple days after Denaye and David left, we got to host another special guest: Pierre! He and George have been friends since they were primary school age, and it's always a treat when we get to catch up with Pierre. The last time he was in the States was for our wedding, and we're hopeful that he'll bring his better half and two energetic offspring next time.

Pierre requested burgers, and we happily obliged. His timing was superb as he landed just as I was experiencing a beef craving. I suspect that my iron levels had been lagging, but I bet they aren't anymore!

Brave Horse Tavern

Lunchbox Lab

George and Pierre had a few opportunities to kick back and enjoy each other's company over a pint or two.

With s'mores on the "must do" list, we had our inaugural fire (built by two city boys before the country girl could build a more sensible fire) and roasted marshmallows. Don't worry: Madeleine's slide was well out of flame and heat range.

Speaking of Miss M, she was most taken with her Uncle Pierre and tortured him with repeated requests for reading the garbage truck book. While definitely sad to see him go, she seemed to understand that he needed to leave to get back to his two boys waiting at home.

Good visit, Pierre. Come back soon! 

16 May 2014

Friday I'm in Love

I'm back with another edition of Friday I'm in Love, highlighting a few things that have recently caught my eye and made my heart go pitter patter. Be sure to check out Misha's and Kendra's picks for the week, too!

ONE: Super easy watermelon cutting method

I love watermelon yet always hesitate to buy them because of dreading the cutting process. For Misha's shower, I used this super easy method for the second time. It works like a charm, leaving you with uniform cubes of watermelon in no time at all!

TWO: Blooming Azaleas and Rhododendrons 

Azaleas and rhodies do very well in the Pacific Northwest, but we only get to enjoy their full blooming beauty for a couple of weeks each year. I've been tempted several times in this past year to pull out the large quantities of azaleas we have planted in our yard, but I now withdraw my protests after seeing the show our garden is putting on this spring. Wow!

THREE: Bamboo clothing

I just can't get enough bamboo clothing lately. The few pieces of Kickee Pants wear that Madeleine had as a baby were favorites, winning a spot in my heart for being soft, stretchy (ie having an extended fit time), and environmentally friendly. I recently learned that they're local (based on Bainbridge Island), and I've been shopping for another piece or two for our newest little one. It remains to be seen whether I can resist the strong urge to pick up on of their adult gowns for myself.

FOUR: Sun + Cloth Diapers

As the frequency of sunny days increases, I find myself excited about hauling my drying rack and freshly laundered cloth diapers outside to spend the day in the sun. It's amazing what a few hours in the sun can do to stains and funky smells, even if our spring Seattle sun isn't quite warm enough to dry the diapers all the way through.

Having enjoyed a sunny week in Seattle, there's a lot to love. What are you loving this Friday? 

14 May 2014

Outdoor Living

Last summer, we were still getting settled in our house despite having lived there for nearly a year. George and I often discussed how we saw ourselves using the outdoor space, but we were not in a rush as the yard itself was more than satisfying.

Madeleine loved pulling up to her water table and splashing in the water, and we loved spending family time sprawling in the grass, the perfect place for Madeleine to crawl or softly land at the bottom of her slide.

By the end of summer, we had decided that we'd like to have some Adirondack chairs for lounging on the decks or patio. I'd been coveting the brightly colored Polywood ones (made from recycled milk jugs) since shortly after we moved into our last house well over five years ago, so you can imagine my satisfaction on the day that George signed onto my vision. Before the weather broke, we took advantage of preseason sales and ordered a few chairs and a metal fire pit.

I'm pretty wild about these chairs, as is the other female member of our family.

As the summer approached and we watched Madeleine get more and more enjoyment from visiting local parks, we started contemplating putting our very own play structure in the backyard. Again, the preseason sale worked in our favor, bringing us our very own "special park" just as the weather appears to be taking a turn for the better.

We're all thrilled to have some good large motor play in our backyard. It entices us to get outside at least once a day, and I'm amazed at how much it keeps Madeleine's attention. Her friends came by this week and gave their stamps of approval, too. We'll keep it!

Finally, we wanted to add a place to eat outside. Dining al fresco is something we have enjoyed doing at friends' houses, and we're excited to see whether we use the table as much as we think we might. So far, our lil' Ikea set seems to be doing the trick, again causing us to spend more time in the fresh air rather than inside our house.

We see ourselves living in this house for a long time, so I'm sure there will be some other additions/changes to the outdoor space over time. For now, though, we are really pleased with our recent investments and look forward to leading an active, outdoor lifestyle this summer!

What were the first additions/changes you made to allow you to use your outdoor space?

07 May 2014

Weekend Visitors

We were so happy to have Denaye, David, and Nicolas visit us this past weekend from the great state of Texas. We only had a day and a half of good weather before rain set in for the rest of their visit. Despite the grey skies, we had a great time catching up, taking in a few local attractions, eating delicious food, and laughing pretty hard. And you would never know this was Nico's inaugural trip; he is a natural born traveler!

Madeleine and Nico were fast friends. He hardly took his eyes off of her, and she was all too willing to bring him toys and offer cuddles. Of course, she also nearly sat on top of him while trying to sit by him and ripped toys out of his hands on more than one occasion. Nonetheless, it was fun to see the beginning of a friendship and get some more confirmation that Miss M is ready to be a big sister.

Kisses for Nico
Denaye and I did some (mostly window) shopping at a few of my favorite local kid stores (for locals who are curious: Hanna Andersson outlet, Merry Go Round, Wee Tots). David was able to get out and explore a few miles of our local utility/horse/walking/running/biking trail before the rain. He said that he enjoyed it, and I'm seriously impressed at anyone who can run those hills!

All six of us took in Pike Place Market on a busy, sunny Friday. The kiddos loved having so much to see, and Madeleine enjoyed the dried apple sample she scored from a vendor.

Denaye and David requested a visit to Din Tai Fung, which they had visited on a trip to China. We are a dumpling-loving family and were more than happy to make it happen. Spicy wontons continue to be a favorite of all three locals. Yum!

Living so close to the heart of wine country, we had to do a few tastings. We visited an old favorite and some new-to-us wineries and were pleased on all accounts. It was particularly cool that Denaye and David caught a rainbow when they had popped out for a quick tasting one afternoon.

Finally, do you think that the visit would be complete without matching outfits? No way.

There aren't enough words for me to say how much we all enjoyed spending the long weekend with the B family! Perhaps Madeleine said it all when she whimpered the whole way home from taking them to the airport. I kept telling her, "it's okay to be sad. I'm sad, too." Our next connection, whether in Washington, Texas, Ohio, or somewhere else entirely can't come soon enough!

01 May 2014

Misha's Spring Baby Shower

This past weekend, I hosted Misha's baby shower, inspired by the lively growing season surrounding us right now. I thoroughly enjoyed not only preparing for the festivities but also chatting with Misha's lovely friends and family. She has some truly spectacular people supporting her and Aaron as they enter this new chapter in their lives.

As I said, I took inspiration from spring when planning the shower and landed on soft yellow, green, and white. Pinterest offered its fair share of inspiration as well.

My saintly husband blew up and hung over 50 balloons from the ceiling in our formal living room. At least I was able to do the string tying and curling. :-) Here is the Pinspiration (turns out, pennies weren't necessary).

Aside from the balloons and some simple paper buntings, I used bright fresh flowers to decorate.

For beverages, I served cucumber water and strawberry thyme lemonade.

I seem to have inherited my mother's food estimation curse because I completely over-estimated the amount of food we needed and have been working through a fridge of leftovers. We ate veggies, mini spinach-artichoke cups, cheese, fruit, cupcakes, lemon cookies, and French macaroons. Using vases for the veggies was Pinspired.

To create a little piece of art for Baby L's nursery, we made a fingerprint balloon bouquet in the nursery's accent colors.

As a final thank you to the guests, I sent them away with plantable paper (inside the envelope) and a piece of chocolate.

What an honor it was to celebrate you and your baby, Misha! You're going to be an amazing mother!