{Fab Finds Friday}

Happy Friday! Are you ready for the weekend? We have a lot of fun planned over the next few days, so we are more than ready.

The ozone layer shows signs of recovery.

Is it bad that I relate to this comic strip so darned often?

 

Bossy Betty does it again. Love her writing.

Does having a child help or hurt your career?

This cheap and easy DIY granite cleaner is wonderful. We have used it since we moved and it’s time to whip up another batch.

 

Have a fabulous weekend, lovelies!

 

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{20 Weeks}

I officially hit the 20 week mark! Other moms warned me the second pregnancy would go by quickly and they weren’t kidding. Wowza! For the first half I was very private about the details of this little one. To a certain extent, I still am. But just for kicks, I’m going to start doing weekly updates. It will be fun to have these details someday. Since I’ve been in my pajamas pretty much since walking in the door after work today, there is no 20 week bump pic. Hopefully this 18 week bump will do!

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How far along: 20 weeks!

Total weight gain: No clue. But I’m still wearing my regular “fat” jeans. Now that Baby has decided to hang out a bit higher, I can even button them again. The belly band hasn’t been used in a few weeks. This has caught me off guard completely because with Chipmunk my hips popped and I was out of regular jeans well before the end of the first trimester. The “fat” jeans quickly followed.

Maternity clothes: My work slacks are of the maternity variety – love that comfy panel! I’m still wearing some non-maternity shirts, but I have mostly transitioned to ones that allow the bump to breathe a bit. Also, flats are a constant. I only wear my stilettos once or twice a week – and my back thanks me.

Stretch marks: No new ones. The stretch marks from Chipmunk have become more obvious as everything grows, though.

Sleep: Bahahahaha. Sleep? With a full-time job and toddler to shuffle? Well, one can dream of such things. Tonight was one of those nights where I walked in the door after work and wished I could go straight to bed. With Husband headed off to work and an insane toddler who was randomly into every thing, that clearly did not happen. There is a chance that Chipmunk and I both had an early bedtime tonight.

Best moment of this week: Confirming Baby’s gender. We have known for several weeks but waited until 20 weeks to confirm it. For now we are holding the results close.

Miss anything: Cold cut sandwiches. Oooooh man. I missed them like crazy with Chipmunk, too. It will be my first meal request once we’ve met Baby. Husband knows I’m not waiting two days after giving birth for a good sandwich this time.

Movement: SO much movement. As crazy as it sounds, I felt the first few thumps in week 12. It gradually increased but has not been consistent until the last few days. Those first weeks of movement drive me crazy because I will feel the baby a few times daily. Then Baby moves to another position and I won’t feel anything again for a day or two. This consistent movement is wonderful! Husband has even felt Baby a little bit.

Food cravings: Nothing lately, but OMG. Mashed potatoes and gravy. I craved them for three weeks straight. It didn’t matter how many I ate. It didn’t matter if they were creamy or lumpy. There were never enough. I started making huge batches so I would have leftovers. Husband only made the mistake once of snidely asking, after I had reheated a very large container and was eating it by myself, if I was going to save some for him. Sorry, Husband. With Chipmunk I only had one real craving incident and it was quickly rectified. This mashed potato thing was entirely new territory.

Anything making you queasy or sick: Fortunately that has passed! Baby was very rough on me the first trimester and the sickness held on through week 14. It’s wonderful to feel good again and remember what I love about being pregnant. (Note: the first trimester definitely is not what I love about being pregnant. In this house we call it the “Why Would Anyone Intentionally Do This Again?” trimester.)

Have you started to show yet: Yeppers!

Gender: Stay tuned. We will share eventually!

Labor signs: Nada.

Belly button in or out: In.

Wedding rings on or off: On and still loose.

Happy or moody most of the time: This week I have been super tired and cranky. For the most part I’ve been happy this pregnancy, albeit weepy. Who cries at the end of Cars or through almost all of the second Planes movie? This girl right here.

Looking forward to: Gender reveal photos and taking Chipmunk to see Thomas the Train this weekend!

 

Alrighty. That is all for tonight. Now I am off to bed so I can get up early and clean the house before the sitter arrives. Cleaning for the sitter on Wednesday night/Thursday morning is routine for me but seriously, today I walked in the door and wanted to run out crying. It looks like a tornado went through. Sometimes a maid sounds awfully nice.

 

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{Three Things}

First things first: for those who haven’t seen on Instagram, we are expecting our second child in January! We could not be more excited! The first trimester and beginning of the second were pretty rough on us. Now that the sickness and other stuff have subsided, I’m remembering all the things I love about being pregnant. It also means my nesting is in full swing. Poor Husband – I am a full pregnancy nester. We are currently painting the interior of the house, my baby notebook is organized, and lists are prevalent. baby notebook  The baby notebook – in progress.

We aren’t having anyone around for at least the first week as we adjust to being a family of four. After a few weeks Husband will go back to work. At that point it will be important for me to have things in order for survival. Below are three things that will make those first months easier:

Groceries. This time I will have groceries delivered. The last house was too far away from a grocery store for delivery, but fortunately this one is within range. We got into a horrible cycle of Husband bringing fast food home or just skipping meals because I could not find the time or energy to grocery shop, cook, or eat. With a preschooler around (and the desire to manage the food fund a bit better), that just won’t cut it. Thank you, modern conveniences.

Meal Prep. In addition to having groceries delivered to our front step, I plan to have our deep freeze fully stocked with prepared meals. Since Chipmunk surprised us at 37 weeks and I only got breakfast burritos prepared before his arrival, I plan to get everything together at 35 or 36 weeks. Taking out all the prep work will make it much easier to cook and feed the family with a little one demanding our time. Pinterest has some great meal ideas to consider.

Scrub. Scrub. Scrub. Last time I would have really appreciated someone cleaning my house once every week or two. I would have cleaned less and slept more. It was not in the budget then and I’m not sure that it will be this time. So I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we can get help in that area. Sleep will be even more precious this time around, which means I’ll likely have to accept a messy house for a while – with or without cleaning assistance.

What helped you survive those first months, mamas?

 

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{Fab Finds Friday} Independence Day Edition

About Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, the man who dreamed Lady Liberty.

Triple Berry Pie on this holiday weekend? Yes, please!

Did you know that Congress actually voted aloud to declare independence on July 2, two days prior to signing the Declaration of Independence?

Must make these festive chocolate and sprinkle ice cream cones.

American flag etiquette reminder, along with a little flag history. Don’t forget that it should always be lighted when displayed and should never touch the ground.

Next year I really need to get my act together and put a festive wreath on the front door. Like this one. Or this one.

And because I couldn’t settle on just one video this week, I leave you with a little John Philip Sousa.

Be safe today. Please don’t forget exactly what we are celebrating and the sacrifices made by generations for us to have our beautiful freedom. Happy Independence Day!

 

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{Little Gravel Road}

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Between our subdivision and town is a gravel road. Just one. It curves its way through fields and rocky hills, over an almost-creek, and toward another subdivision. The beginning and end are far from country; yet the space in between is a slice of rural heaven. Husband grumbles his wish that it be paved every time we use it. But I – I secretly hope it never is. That the gravel road lined by horses and cows somehow never ages. For even in its beautiful Colorado state, this dusty, random path is a nostalgic slice of Kansas.

When I drive it I’m thrown back to childhood. Age five. It is summer and we are going to my cousins’ farm to play. The same farm where I hauled the barn cat under my arm like a football and insisted I always be carried inside because the sweet, harmless dog was somehow terrifying.

I am still five. We have driven a dirt road to Daddy’s childhood home and are now traipsing beyond it through the woods to the river. He knows them both like the back of his hand. Some days we hunt the woods for morel mushrooms. Others we find a sandbar to picnic. Sweat from the sticky Kansas heat molds my shirt to my back. We all smell of bug spray and sunscreen. This is how Daddy was raised – hunting, camping, and fishing on the land just beyond his doorstep. My young mind almost cannot comprehend it, but I am comforted knowing he is so strong and capable. I am proud.

Suddenly I am 15 and learning to drive. There is immense comfort in learning to operate a car without the pressures of city traffic. Dad is constantly reminding me to relax my death grip on the steering wheel. He occasionally reminds me to stop watching the road directly in front of the bumper and is terrified by my square turns, insisting he has never seen someone turn the way I do. It is on a maze of country roads that I learn how to read them – to evaluate the looseness of the gravel, their washboarded depths, and sopping wet edges which bid us closer to companionable ditches. The hills scare me as I approach, filling me with worry that someone will fly over the top right in the middle, taking us out as it goes. Those Eastern Kansas hills. Some rolling and others steep, ensconced between the fields of corn and wheat.

Now I am 17 and a senior in high school. The angst of adolescence pushes me to those roads. Quietly driving them brings solace. They center me as I over-analyze every nuance of this chaotic existence.

I miss those dusty paths. My old stomping grounds. They cause me to crave our little Colorado gravel road. My beautiful reminder of the past. A small, unexpected piece of Kansas to share with my son. It’s a place rich in sunsets much like those of childhood. Shades of pink caress the hilltops and tuck in the fields for a long night’s sleep with Chipmunk softly shushing them from the backseat.

It never escapes me: the beauty. Whether the road pulls me to the past or keeps me solidly in the present, the quintessential allure is always there. Beckoning. Welcoming. Engulfing.

My little gravel road.

 

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