Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Big Girl Bed

Back in the summer, when I kinda unexpectedly found out I was pregnant, as parents our minds started racing from here to there. Jim and I were still dealing with a lil babe in our eyes and the idea of another seemed just a bit overwhelming (as well as super exciting).
 Riesling and Mommy August 2014 (sometime at the beginning of my 2nd trimester)

Thankfully human gestation is a lengthy process and it gave us plenty of time for our lil babe to grow up a bit and handle a few things we were concerned about....maybe concerned is the wrong word. A few things we were hopeful would transition by the time she was a big sister. Two big ones were her sleeping arrangement and potty training.

As I mentioned in my Fall recap, we moved Riesling to a twin bed back in September. It really wasn't a choice as much as necessity. I was waiting for about a month or more for her to realize she was capable of climbing out of her crib. I could just see it coming. And once it did there was really no turning back. To be honest I think she hated that crib from day one. We did (and to some extent still do) a lot of co-sleeping. I know it's a controversial subject but I've done a lot of reading about it and we really felt like it worked best for our family. Sure there were some nights when it wasn't the best or most comfortable scenario but for the most part it allowed us all to get more sleep, nurse easily, and bond. Typically Riesling would start out in the crib and end up with us at some point mid way through the night. Once she woke up she was a terror to get back to sleep in the crib, but slip her in between Mommy and Daddy and she was out like a light.  I thought that switching her to a bed would result in no sleep time in her room and full time in our bed.  Although allowable and doable for us, not ideal, especially with Baby #2 on the way.

We considered a lot of options: mattress on our floor, toddler bed, gates, etc.  In the end we decided to go right to a twin in her room and skip another transition stage of a toddler bed. I didn't buy a convertible crib knowing we wanted more kids and they would probably be closer in age.  So the investment in a toddler bed and additional crib mattress just didn't make sense for us. We just put the twin mattress right on the floor with one side against the wall. I had planned to get a rail for the other side but never did. We just put an extra pillow on that side. We did find her on the floor sound asleep a few times in the beginning but now she seems to have no problem with it.

The day the mattress was delivered she was napping so it was propped up in the foyer.  How in the world she knew at 18 months that it was her new bed I will never know, but as soon as she woke up and saw that plastic wrapped treasure she immediately demanded that bed go in her room. It was the funniest thing.  We barely had it on the floor before she climbed up on with a pillow and a stacks of books. She loved it from first site. Although it still didn't eliminate my concerns about any potential issues when it came to actually sleeping.

Well wouldn't you know it, it had the opposite effect. She freakin' loved her new bed so much by the second or third night she slept through to about 5 am. She does still occasionally wake up in the middle of the night and come into our bed but far less than ever before. We have a unique set up in the house where her room is directly connected to ours so we just keep the door off and have a curtain hanging up. Her bed is on that side of the room and we have night lights set so it's a clear bath. I would say the majority of the time we aren't greeted by her little scampering feet until after 5am. She hops in bed and typically will snuggling up for another hour or more.

Our biggest challenge really is getting her to sleep initially.  We never did any type of sleep training or "crying it out" so it's always been a little bit of a process.  Now just a little more so since she can easily get out of the bed.  We try to be very routine with her with her evening and bedtime routine, so that is helpful.  The rest just requires patience and a little off key singing.  

We left the crib up, which she has gladly declared is now for the baby.  We plan on giving room sharing a try....I will let you know how that one turns out. Hopefully we get just as lucky.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Let's pretend it's Fall again

I am loathing winter at the moment.  I try not to be too negative about the brief (but oh so long!) few months when the cold sweeps in and steals my soul.  But today I am feeling it.  Winter I am over you and your incessant snow fall, frigid temperature with subzero windchill, potholes, ice patches, and lack of sunshine.

I know most are looking longingly toward Spring (not that I am not) which is a logical choice to keep away the winter blues.  But I keep finding myself wishing for Fall.  It's my favorite time of year and I just love spending every possible moment outdoors in the crisp air as I bust out my favorite jeans and watch my summer tan slowly fade.  We had a pretty jammed back Fall last year and I didn't seem to post much about it.  I think after a long summer of pregnancy sickness, I was finally feeling good and just wanted to enjoy the time rather than think about it.  Today I am thinking about it.....
Brunch in NYC

September was action packed with travel including: our annual Labor Day trip to Ohio where Riesling enjoyed my brothers excavation project to the fullest and managed to get dirty than I ever thought possible; a trip to NYC to visit friends complete with Riesling's first taxi ride (with no car seat, eek!); and a quick jaunt to Brooklyn with Riesling in tow for the bridal shower of a dear friend.  We also jammed in a few good hikes, a trip to our enjoy the festivities at our local Snipes frame, and introduced Riesling to her big girl bed. 

October brought a growing baby bump, a trip to the pumpkin patch with Grandma and Grandpa, two weddings, celebrating my 33rd birthday, and enjoying lots of Halloween fun.

November seemed to bring along a bit colder temperatures we busted out the flannel, sweatshirts, and carharts and still enjoyed a lot of fresh air and outdoor activities with a trip to Connecticut to meet the latest addition to the Levin family and lots of fun closing down the garden and playing in the leaves.  Jim and I also celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary with Riesling at our favorite vegetarian restaurant, The Blue Sage. 
 We actually ended November with a very snowy trip to Ohio for Thanksgiving but I will just try to forget that....

Friday, January 24, 2014

A few funny toddler moments as of lately.....

After getting in one of the bathroom vanity drawers where I keep my lady stuff, Riesling found a "pink one" unwrapped it and proudly displayed her new pantiliner "sticker" across the front of her shirt and wore it around the house for several hours.

She calls her glow worm 'Baby' and sings and gently rocks it. I find it so funny because it is meant to soothe her with its lullabies and she is singing over top of the music. She sweetly chooses the songs daddy and I sing to her at bedtime.  She is seriously prepping for her new role as a big sister.

She likes to break out in a dance while eating dinner.  She starts wiggling in her booster seat and bobbing her head, followed by "Dance Mommy, Dance.  Dance Daddy!"  Relentless until we are all bobbing and bouncing along with her. 

She lays with her legs over the arms rests and her head leaning back in her Minnie chair and declares, "Just relaxing Mommy."

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Taking time for life's moments

Waiting for a second child to arrive is so different than the first. With Riesling I remember sitting around rubbing my belly just waiting for this entirely new life to begin.  Life as a parent. Daydreaming about what he or she would look like and what it would feel like to make this incredible transformation into the stage of my life. I was taking long, long walks, watching too much TV, getting pedicures, and obsessing over baby gear.

Not to be taken the wrong way, but this time I find myself barely thinking about the new little baby.  I do try to take some time each night to just relax and absorb the movements of the baby will I lather my belly with lightly scented oil.  But, for the most part this time I find myself trying to spend as much time as possible in these last few days or weeks trying to absorb what it's like to just be Riesling's mom. Soaking up all the little tidbits of her tiny world. What a drastic change this is going to be for her. Ever moment we are together is about us, whether it's the two of us or us as a family.  Then all the sudden one day it just won't be. There will be this complete other person taking away from all those little moments. I know in the long run she will love having a sibling and Jim and I will love having a family that is just a little bit fuller, but I know there will be a transition period for everyone. I just can't help but put aside cleaning, cooking, or some other 'chore' of the day to sit and selfishly take in these last moments.

Many times over the last 23 months since Riesling was born I have reminded myself that there are so many moments you just can't get back.  I can remember it being Fall, having the windows open with that perfect kind of breeze blowing in.  It was quiet and peaceful in the late morning, I was rocking her while she slept all snuggled up in my arms.  At 7-8 months most people would have told me that she should be sleeping in her crib for a nice long nap, not in my arms. My dirty kitchen probably echoed the same sentiment but it was just what she needed at that moment. A moment I could give her and myself. A moment I would never be able to have again. Knowing that she would quickly grow past the phase. Knowing that I would never again having a quiet late morning with just one little sweet baby to give all my attention to. These days feel like that. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Gluten Free Butternut Squash Lasagna

I proud to report that we just used the last of the butternut squash from our garden in last night dinner.  We just opened the last jar of strawberry jam and only have a small bag of frozen peas and a bag of frozen tomatoes left so spring needs to get her pronto!

I modified this recipe and think it turned out pretty darn good.  The few changes I made included:
  • For the sauce, I steamed the squash using our steamer.  Threw it in the Vitamix with a little water.  Then just added sauteed garlic and a little olive oil.  I used a more finely grated romano/parmesan cheese blend that I had on hand and added about 1/4-1/2 C. I just kind of eye balled it based on the consistency and flavor I was looking for.
  • I substituted gluten free lasagna noodles.  I like the Tinkyada brand which is available at my local grocery store or health food store.  I found that they fell apart a little during cooking but it might have been partially due to my too small pot, so I went for a traditional pan lasagna instead of the roll ups.  I think it was a heck of a lot easier anyways.
  • No egg in the ricotta blend.  Just because I forgot.   
 Prep was the longest part but lasagna one of those things you can make ahead of time and throw in the oven close to dinner time.  It also made a large batch so I'm planning to freeze some of the leftovers for a quick easy dinner after Baby arrives.  

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Happy Girl

Some may say that I'm a little "crazy" about what I allow Riesling to eat.  It's actually probably more a matter of what I won't let her eat.  I could go on a very long rant about the subject but I will refrain and just say that our little gal has had very limited sweets in her nearly 2 years of existence.  I have given in to a few bits of birthday cake and some ice cream but otherwise we stick with fruit and homemade 'treats' that I make with natural sweeteners.

Today we went our for breakfast and Jim and I decided to let her have the chocolate chip Mickey mouse pancakes.  A little extra special treat since her days as an only child are soon coming to an end.  She was in heaven.  It's funny what a few chocolate chips will do for a girl.  She didn't even need any syrup.  She just gobbled them up plain.

Monday, January 13, 2014

My New Year

I know it's already mid January so I'm a little late with the New Year Resolution thing.  When the start of the month and a sparkling new year rolled in I was feeling pretty poor physically and mentally, so the thought of dealing with anything beyond the very basic needs of my family and myself was more than I could handle.  It really threw me for a loop mentally to be feeling so weak and fragile.  I think a lot of it had to do with it being the anticipated birth month of the baby.  Even though I was weeks and weeks away from my 'due date' (I'm currently 37+ weeks) it just seemed like I should have "all my ducks in a row" or at least be putting them there, which was definitely not happening.  Combined with the thought of going into labor when I was already in severe pain with the rib injury put me into mental overload.  Anyways, here I am a few weeks later feeling MUCH better and ready to get this New Year started.

*One of the biggest things I want to be better at this year is making time for myself.  I had a really hard time with this when Riesling was a newborn and know that time in general will be available in even more limited quantities with two little ones, so I'm trying to set my mind to it from the start. As a new mom, I felt very guilty being away from Riesling and felt that no one could quite give her what she needed from me.  Plus breastfeeding is really consuming and she wasn't a fan of bottles.  So, I definitely let her run the show.  I'm not saying that I regret that or think it was the wrong decision, I just think that I need to remember that caring for myself including working out, eating right, and having a little personal time for things like shaving my legs doesn't make me a bad mom.  I know have a gym membership where there is a daycare so I want to make that part of our routine pretty early in the game. 

*This kind of ties in with making time for myself too.  I want to read more.  Even if it's some Oprah book club novels, articles online or listing to books on tape.  I tend to feel pressured to read in depth classic literature or chiropractic research journals.  You really have to be on your A game to get into some of that stuff which means I don't do it.

*Experiment more with food. Once the garden and farmer's markets are in full swing I really want to try some new and exciting recipes and food preservation methods.  I'm in a bit of a rut lately but I'll blame it on the lack of fresh ingredients and my constant heartburn.

“I have the opportunity, once more to right some wrongs, to pray for peace, to plant some trees, and sing more joyful songs.”

~William Arthur Ward

Monday, January 6, 2014

Random Thoughts on a Cold Monday

Our old babysitter refused to touch the thermostats in the house while we were away.  Which I always found to be just a little annoying because sometimes the temperature can change quite a bit between 2pm and 8pm, so I would either have to turn it up before leaving or come home to a cold house.  One of my current babysitters had the heat cranked up to 80 the other day!  What is she doing sunbathing in our playroom?  She is obviously a college student who has never had to pay a heating bill in her entire life.

I am officially full term as of last Friday.  Yep, 36+ weeks and still haven't a clue what I'm suppose to do with another baby in this house.  I keep thinking in my head that I already did all this once so it shouldn't be that hard, right?  I also keep thinking that I am only attempting to fool myself and I know that it is going to be utterly exhausting and probably overwhelming.  I also can't imagine what it's like to have and give all that love again for our new little one.  I'm so excited to meet him or her!

Jim and his brother decided to start a gardening/homesteading website and blog.  They are still working out the kinks but it's up and running and Jim has been working diligently on his blog posts, so head on over and check it out:

Riesling is sick.  Poor little girl.  Although exhausted she has been restless in her sleep because of it.   Sometimes she is crying about being cold or hot or needing mommy but right now I'm listening to her mumbling in her sleep about "more books" and "need honey"....I think Daddy read her favorite Pooh and Piglet book too many times before bed.

I have been browsing my Pinterest boards for some dinner ideas I can freeze ahead of time or crockpot or quick dinners to prepare after Baby arrives.  I realized a few things.  I have so many good recipes pinned.  I rarely make any of them. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Holiday Recap

Is it really a New Year?!  I am having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that it's actually just kinda feels like Sunday since Jim was home all day.  I have kinda been in a fog the last few weeks.  Busy, busy holiday fun followed, which was immediately followed by not so much fun.  I had this stupid cold which turned into a really bad cough,  resulting in spraining my ribs from coughing so hard, fast forward 3 days later and I'm in the emergency room with bronchitis and severe asthma issues.  Did I mention I am 35 weeks pregnant, work a physically demanding job as a chiropractor and chase around a toddler all day?  It has definitely been a long week! Thankfully I am on the road to recovery and trying to refocus my energy in preparation for our new addition.  Sweet little Baby Robinson will be here before you know it.

Although it seems to have come and gone quickly, we had a really nice Christmas.  We didn't go too overboard on the gifts (although I can't say the same about Grandma!) which turned out to be for the best.  She couldn't even finishing opening the small stack we had.  She just wanted to play with and admire all her new things.  We were opening gifts until Friday last week.  haha.  I think one of her favorite things is a set of eggs I got her for her play kitchen.  She is too funny.

"I cut the egg!" putting her new cookware to good use.

She was also pretty psyched about the harmonica in her stocking.  After a brief lesson from Daddy she actually picked it up pretty quickly.

 Uncle Tim and Aunt Becka got her a great VW bus pop up tent, which she thinks is a school busy and LOVES.  She spent a lot of Christmas morning dragging in coloring books and stuffed animals and convincing Mommy and Daddy to crawl inside with her. 

She is such a lucky little girl and was blessed with way too many wonderful gifts from loving family and friends.  I know she's still young and didn't really understand what was going on but I think she handled it all very gracefully. I mean how many kids actually say, "no more presents mommy" ?