Saturday, March 29, 2014

35 weeks

Perpetually behind on this, but sincere nonetheless... from last Sunday:

Dear little one, 
This week your Dad and I had a little orientation meeting for the birth center for all clients with due dates in the next month.  It made it all feel very real that you'll be here in our arms soon!  I find this both exciting and scary.  Exciting because I can hardly wait to experience the sweetness of the newborn stage again, but scary because I have a lot of things to prepare and do between now and your arrival.  Do you think you could promise to stay put until after April 13, and preferably until after Easter, too?  Your Dad is going to be a little busy that week, being a church musician and all.  
If not, we'll still love you, but thank you for at least considering my request, kiddo. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

assorted thoughts: seven quick takes


Yesterday marked one month from my due date of April 27.  One month!  How did that happen?!  I'm not sure if I can accurately say that the months have 'flown by,' or anything like that, but I do think that a second pregnancy is really a different experience from a first, in the sense that you already have a toddler needing you all. the. time., and less time for navel-gazing and prenatal yoga and birth classes and reading in preparation for the labor and all those good things.


I'm going to publicly admit that making the perfect cup of coffee usually eludes me.  Recently when we had a little family reunion in Arizona for my youngest brother's wedding, my brother Jonathan made this amazing pot of coffee that was just perfect.  Why can't I make coffee like that?  Is it just that coffee made by someone other than oneself will always taste better, seem like more of an indulgence?  Do I have an inferior coffee maker? (Probably; it was free.)  Or am I simply unable to attain to the proper ratio of water to coffee grounds?

Tell me, readers: how do you make the perfect cup of coffee?


Coffee, by the way, is best enjoyed first thing in the morning and then again during nap time, preferably with a slice of toast spread with creamed honey and sprinkled with a dash of cinnamon.


I found this dining room corner hutch listed on Craigslist for FREE a couple of weekends ago -- can't beat that price!

Nathan and his brother picked it up and moved it in, and I am loving the addition to our dining room!


Like most New Englanders this time of year, I'm so ready for spring.  Enough with the cold weather and snow already; give me crocuses pushing their tiny heads up through the dirt in my front flower beds, and tulips blooming cheerfully in the yard.

In an effort to usher in spring despite the icy piles of dirty snow still in our yard, I bought some of the $1.50 bunches of daffodils at Trader Joe's and created a simple but bright little spring mantel display.


This week is a little crazy; I've had rehearsals in Plymouth (about an hour and fifteen minutes away) every night except Tuesday, with another one tonight and a concert tomorrow.  While I may not be in love with everything on the program, we are doing Bernstein's Chichester Psalms, and the second movement {starting around 3:45 into the linked video} pretty much makes the driving {and the practicing of an Amy Beach symphony... sigh} worth it.   That and the fact that I get to carpool with a friend and chat during the long drives!

It might not be everyone's cup of tea, but I just think that is a beautiful piece of music.


Once I make it through the end of this week, I get to focus on the last details of pulling together my upcoming violin studio recital for my students, and then... getting ready to have a baby!  I think it's time to start thinking about packing a bag to take to the birth center, a toddler overnight bag, and a snacks-for-Dad bag.

All of this probably means that Nathan and I should try to settle on a name pretty soon, don't you think?  An agreement has not yet been reached, and it would just be awkward to have a baby that doesn't get named for days on end after her birth, don't you think?  Now accepting name recommendations... just don't publicly recommend one you know I'm actually considering because then you'll open up the floor to criticisms from not-so-innocent bystanders, and we all know how {un-}charming that is.

* * *

For more quick takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Have a lovely Friday, everyone!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

34 weeks

From a week and a half ago:

Dear little one, 
I'm starting a project just for you this week, and I'm really excited about it.  A baby quilt -- my first attempt at quilting!  I'm sure it won't turn out perfectly, but I hope you spend many happy hours lying on it, gazing at those of us who love you, and exploring the world around you.  I hope you grow to love it as you get older and can use it as a quilt on your own little bed. 
And I sure hope those new-fangled ultrasound things are pretty accurate, because on the off-chance you're not the girl we're expecting, you might find a quilt with coral and pink in it a little bit odd. 
Oh, and I'm making a quilt for your big sister, too, so she can have something new and special when you arrive.  Shhh, don't tell her... it's a surprise! 

Friday, March 21, 2014


Like many toddlers her age, I'm sure, Nell's favorite word right now seems to be "no."

Fortunately for us, she rarely says it in anything other than the sweetest of voices.  Yes, really!

Conversations around here go like this:

"Nell, was that a good dinner?"
{happily}: "Noooo!"

"Nell, do you love Mama?"
{smiling}: "Noooo!"

"Are you alive?  Are you breathing?"


So, we've just learned to adapt our questions so that her anticipated answers act as a morale boost:

"Nell, have you ever had a better dinner than the one Mama just made?"

"Nell, do you love anyone as much as you love your Mom and Dad?"


But one of my favorite conversations to have with Nell is this one:

Each and every night when I tuck Nell into bed, I whisper to her, "I love you."

And she whispers back with a smile:


{Photos in this post were taken back in January.  Newer photos, and a post about Nell these days, coming soon!}

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Homemade London Fog {Earl Grey Tea Latte}

Once upon a time, I used to occasionally enjoy drinking a London Fog from Starbucks.  Earl Grey tea, milk, vanilla syrup... it's warm, comforting deliciousness in a cup.  It's basically a charming name for an Earl Grey tea latte, but somehow the name makes it all the more appealing, don't you think?

Well, these days Starbucks isn't within our budget the way it was a few years ago, and hey, that sugary vanilla syrup isn't healthy anyway, right?  So, I make my own London Fogs at home!  It's a nice way to step it up a little from an ordinary cup of tea when I want something that feels ever-so-slightly indulgent.

I can't promise it tastes just like Starbucks's version, but I can promise you that it's cheaper and better for you!

You'll need an Earl Grey tea bag {or loose leaf tea, but I'm not always that fancy}, some honey, a bit of vanilla extract, and milk.  {I used half and half this morning because we were all out of milk}.

Boil your water, steep your tea bag, and add honey according to how sweet you want it.

{You could also use sugar, or any sweetener of your choice.}

Pour in your milk.  {Sometimes I heat my milk up first before adding it.  I even use the steamer wand on my oh-so-fancy $5 yard sale espresso maker if I'm in the mood for steaming it!}

And add the tiniest bit of pure vanilla extract.  A few drops, or maybe 1/4 tsp.

Sit down, put your feet up, and enjoy your homemade London Fog.

I'm sure my little 'recipe' is far from the first to grace the world wide web, but in case you, dear reader, have never enjoyed the sweet comfort of a London Fog on a chilly morning or cozy evening, now you have something new to try.  Enjoy!

Friday, March 14, 2014

33 weeks

Aaaaand after several 'catch-up' posts, we're up to date at 33 weeks.  Less than two months to go!  And some of the hip and back pain I was really suffering from seems to be improving, thank goodness.  Maybe it's the chiropractic visits, the exercises I've been doing, or the sacroiliac belt I got, but whatever the reason for the improvement, I'll take it!  I'm very grateful to be in a bit less pain these days.

The big sister is concerned about attention being diverted away from herself, I think - she tried to turn my face towards hers as Nathan was taking the picture!

Dear little one, 
Just a week or two ago I felt like I couldn't breathe well, couldn't eat more than a few bites, and generally couldn't get much more uncomfortable.  Well, you must have scooted downwards or into another position since then, because I'm feeling a little more optimistic now that I can make it another seven weeks, give or take.  
I had a dream about you being born and here in my arms, and I woke up that much more excited about your arrival.  A new baby is just about the sweetest thing on this earth, I think. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

{playing catch-up}: 32 weeks

The 32 week milestone came and went during our trip to Arizona for my youngest brother Christopher's wedding.  

Since my brother Jonathan and sister-in-law Jenn are expecting a baby girl with the exact same due date (!!!), some cousins-in-utero pics had to happen.  It was inevitable.  You understand, don't you?

The cousins are going to have matching stuffed bunnies!

Look at the cutie who photo-bombed this one:

Something was funny.  Probably our husbands taking too many pictures.

Dear little one, 
I can't help feeling excited for you that you're going to have a cousin so very close in age to you, and you're both girls (well, barring any last-minute surprises!), too.  Of course, unless we experience any major life changes soon, you'll probably be living on the opposite side of the country from your cousin, but still, there's something special about family, and I hope you feel that special connection, despite the distance. 
{previously: 32 weeks with Nell}

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

{playing catch-up}: 31 weeks

Let's see, 31 weeks involved lots of pain in my lower back and pelvis (SPD is no joke, people), lots of Braxton-Hicksing (enough that once or twice I lay down to rest and just calm things down a bit), and recovering from a 24-hour stomach bug that left me feeling wiped out for two or three days.

And can I just say, it didn't feel very fair to make it through four months of hyperemesis and then get a stomach bug a couple of months later.  I think I've vomited enough to last me for the rest of my life now, thank you very much.

Dear little one, 
I am generally not a very worry-prone person, but when I came down with a stomach bug of some sort and wasn't sure what might be causing it, I found myself worrying about you.  I wondered if it might be some sort of food poisoning, and I even called the midwifery practice to ask someone if I should be concerned.  The midwife I spoke with assured me that you were well-protected, and fortunately, you survived the experience just fine.   
You weigh over three pounds now, and get the hiccups quite frequently.  I love you, and am so glad you're doing well in there!   
{previously: 31 weeks with Nell}

Monday, March 10, 2014

{playing catch-up}: 30 weeks

I cannot tell a lie; I looked at the picture from 30 weeks and felt horrified.  That was three weeks ago, but I remember.  For some reason it seemed like a particularly difficult week at the time.  I wondered how I could keep getting bigger at this rate.  I bemoaned my ever-rounder face.  I compared it to 30 weeks with Nell and felt even worse.  (Umm hey, in retrospect, I barely looked pregnant at thirty weeks with Nell!  Oh, and I was wearing the same shirt in that photo as in this one, just for a nice stark comparison!)

Well, there's nothing like a few more weeks of pregnancy passing to give a woman perspective.  What was I crying about?  It can and will get (and has already gotten) worse.  Oh, the joys of bringing new life into the world, am I right?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

the reasons my toddler was crying on the plane

Last Thursday evening found us boarding a direct flight from Boston to Phoenix to attend my brother's wedding.  Evening flight = sleeping baby, we hoped.

We boarded around 5 pm, with crayons and snacks and toys in hand, and hoped Nell would drift off blissfully around 7 and remain asleep for the next four hours.

Well, as you're probably guessing, she had other ideas.  I don't just mean happily staying awake.  I mean miserably staying awake, crying and fussing about everything, turning heads all around us, and leading me to wonder if those little airplane windows could be broken and if so, if I could jump out of one.

So, because someday I want to laugh about this whole experience, I now present:  Reasons My Toddler Was Crying on the Airplane.

Because she wanted more snacks
Because I took off my coat
Because I took off my sweater
Because I took off her sweater (it was really too warm on the flight) but she wanted it back on
Because Daddy attempted to take off her shoes to help her get comfortable
Because a pillow was near her
Because Daddy's leg was touching her foot
Because she wanted to wrap Nathan's headphone cord around her neck multiple times but couldn't quite manage it
Because she wanted her diaper changed again and again for the thrill of visiting the airplane lavatory
Because she wanted more snacks than exist on the entire planet
Because I offered her a popcorn chip (compliments of Jet Blue) and she didn't want it
Because she decided she did want the popcorn chip, but I had already eaten it
Because when I gave her another popcorn chip, it hurt her mouth
Because she wanted to put the cap on the water bottle but hasn't yet mastered the screw top
Because she wanted a sip of Mama's water, not from Daddy's (identical) water bottle
Because my hand rested on her leg
Because a car was on the TV screen, but then it went away and didn't come back
Because she dropped a peanut
And then she dropped a raisin
Because one of her colored pencils had a broken tip
Because she wanted our neighboring passenger's ginger ale
Because she thought she heard a baby somewhere on the plane and she wanted to go see it
Because she wanted me to sing to her, but not any of the thirty-seven different hushed songs I tried
Because she wanted to kick the seat in front of us repeatedly
Because she wanted still more snacks
Because she wanted Daddy to nurse her (?!?!?!)
Because she wanted to press the buttons on the armrest of our neighboring passenger

...And probably a few dozen other reasons I've already forgotten.

She finally drifted off around 9 pm, by which time I really needed to use the restroom, but I dared not move a muscle until that flight landed, and I learned that even at seven+ months pregnant, given the right motivation, I could sit there and hold it, because... desperate times and all that.

{This picture was actually snapped on the return flight, when she managed much better and even let Nathan hold her for part of the flight.}

And finally, the top two reasons my toddler was crying on the plane:

1) She's a toddler (almost two, to be precise)

2) Flying is a wretched experience, even if you're old enough to deal with it maturely.  Which, I have learned, I barely am.

{If you were on our flight and think you may have seen a stray tear slide down my cheek, and you wondered why I was crying, well, see above.}