Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Baby #4: 30 Weeks!

Last week I went in for a regular appointment with my doctor, and as she's looking at my chart she said, "Looks like you're 30 weeks today." And, while I knew how far along I was, it also totally freaked me out! This pregnancy has absolutely flown by! I feel like I just found out I was pregnant, and now we're just about 10 weeks from meeting our baby girl!

Overall I'm feeling okay right now. If I do too much (or too little) during the day I end up with major lower back pain. My doctor suggested a maternity support belt and that does seem to help, but it's not super comfortable so I don't wear it all the time. I'm also really tired, but I have a hard time getting comfortable to sleep. Thankfully my other girls are good sleepers and let me sleep in. Otherwise I have some heartburn, but not too bad at this point. 

I'm still making it to the Y three to four days a week. I do group fitness classes and modify them depending on how I'm feeling. The class instructors are moms too and have been really helpful giving me ideas for how to stay active throughout this pregnancy. We've also taken a few family walks on the weekend when the weather is nice enough. There have been some really cold days, but overall the winter hasn't been too bad. 

It's still fun to feel baby girl move around in my belly. She doesn't seem as active as the other girls, but there are still 10 weeks to go. I'm sure the little kicks will get stronger over the remaining 10 weeks. Little J loves to kiss my tummy (kisses for the new baby) and Miss A likes to snuggle in to see if she can feel new baby kick. 

Over the next 10 weeks there is a lot I want to get done. Lady C is moving in to Miss A's room so that is the biggest thing we need to do, though we're going to wait another month before making that move. Lady C is still such a baby in many ways, so the idea of her in a big girl bed seems a little crazy. I'm also planning on taking Lady C's pacifier away, but we'll see when that happens. She sleeps so well right now I'm a little scared to take the pacifier away. Otherwise the nursery is mostly set up, I just need to hang things on the wall and switch to newborn clothes.

Monday, January 11, 2016

2015 in Review

I have neglected this blog for the better half of the year, but thought I would do a quick 2015 recap to cover all that happened in the year. 2015 was a year of big decisions and big changes for our family. It was a great year, but also pretty crazy. Here's a quick look back at our 2015.

January: We started getting serious about finding a new house. The house we lived in was nice, and we loved the neighborhood, but we decided it was time to move on. I also decided to resign my teaching position, which was a really difficult decision.

February: E had to go to Austin, Texas, for work so Baby C and I tagged along while Miss A and Little J spent some quality time with my parents. We had a great time in Texas, enjoying some warm weather, excellent BBQ (The Salt Lick was my favorite) and American history with visist to The Alamo and LBJ Presidential Library.

March: Annabelle turned 5 and had a Frozen birthday party with lots of friends at the YMCA. She also got her first haircut.

April: Early in the month we spent Easter with my family, and later in the month visited E's family to celebrate his niece's First Communion. The girls loved having so much cousin time! We also looked at houses and met with realtors.

May: As we continued looking at houses, I got a little frustrated and finally contacted a builder. I sent an email laying out what we were looking for, and got a quick response from the builder. We continued looking at existing houses and had a few meetings with the builder and lot visits.

Miss A graduated from preschool!

The first day to last day comparison is almost too much for me, even now!

June: We decided to build a house! We spent a lot of the month deciding on the exact floor plan we wanted and started thinking about what else we wanted to do for the interior of the house. We also met with the builder's realtor to make plans for selling our current house. We celebrated Father's Day with a fun outing to the Taylor's Falls area.

July: We spent a lot of time getting our house ready to sell and at the end of the month it went on the market. We also spent a week at a cabin with my family.

August: We started the month off with Baby C's 1st birthday! We had a great party celebrating our baby girl with family and friends! Late in the month we found out we were expecting Baby #4! That's right... a big secret I've been keeping for many months. More to come soon! We also broke ground on the new house and dove in the decision making.

September: Right on September 1st Miss A headed off to Kindergarten. It was exciting and a little sad all at the same time. She has done amazing so far!

At the end of the month we got and accepted an offer on our house. We continued with many, many appointments to pick out everything for our new house.

October: We worked on packing, making selections for the new house and helping Miss A adjust to Kindergarten. It was kind of a blur of a month. I have DITL notes that I'm hoping to get typed up sometime soon(ish). The big girls were Anna and Elsa for Halloween and Baby C broke out one of our old favorites, the octopus.

November: Little J turned 4, and we celebrated with a butterfly painting party with a bunch of her friends. Just before Thanksgiving we moved in to our new house and closed on our old house. We actually closed on the new house on Little J's birthday. To say our Thanksgiving week was crazy this year is an understatement, but we were so happy to be moved! I have a draft started about moving, but it makes me tear up ever time I work on it, so that may take a bit longer.

December: We had visits from family, the girls were in the church Christmas program and we celebrated Christmas with family and as a family of 5 at our new house. The month was full of unpacking, organizing and getting settled in our new house.

We rang in the new year with close friends, a great start to 2016!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

We have so very much to be thankful for this year. The past few months have been full, and quite hectic at times, but we are so thankful for all of our family and our new home. I'll hopefully be back to share more soon, but I hope you are enjoying a fun, relaxing day with your family!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Up, Up and Away!

There are so many posts sitting in my drafts folder. Oops! Let's get some of these published. We'll start with Baby C's first birthday party, because parties are lots of fun! 

We decided on a hot air balloon theme for Baby C's first birthday. Mostly because I wanted an excuse to make a little "hot air balloon" and put a baby in a basket. Adorable!

A first birthday at our house wouldn't be complete without a monthly picture birthday banner (or three). 

Add some mason jar hot air balloons.

And one chocolate chocolate cake for the birthday girl and cupcakes for her guests and we were set for a pretty low key party with family and friends.

I also set up a little hot air balloon project for the little guests, and a few bigger guests too.

Baby C's masterpiece that she made in advance.

We had a beautiful (if kind of hot) day for the party. Yay for a summer birthday! The kids all had fun running around the back yard and the grown ups hung out on the deck. 

Now for the best part, the cake! I didn't let Miss A or Little J have much for sweets before they turned one and on their first birthday they didn't have too much interest in their cake. Catherine, on the other hand, has gotten more than a few sweet bites during her first year and I think it shows by her interest in her cake. She was pretty serious when it came to cake time (probably because I had to wake her up from a little nap to eat... the other kids were getting a little restless), but she sure did love the cake!

I love this dive right in to the cake!

It was a fun day celebrating our sweet girl with family and friends! Happy birthday sweet 1 year old. I suppose I should stop calling you baby soon.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Great Minnesota Blogtogether!

Can you believe we're just one week away from the start of the Great Minnesota Get Together?!

I can only remember going to the Wisconsin State Fair once when I was a kid, and while I do remember the amazing, ice cold chocolate milk, I don't remember the state fair being a big deal. Upon moving to Minnesota many years ago I've learned that the Minnesota State Fair is a really big deal. And over the years I've grown to be a big fan! So when Alice put out a call for bloggers to attend the Great Minnesota Blog Together, of course I volunteered to go!

After meeting some of the other bloggers it was time to try some of the food. Ahhh... the food! At the event we got the chance to sample seven of the new, family friendly foods for this year's Minnesota State Fair and, honestly, they were all super good! I'm writing this a couple of weeks after and I'm dreaming of trying these items when I get to the State Fair next week (plus, I'm still dreaming of the pretzel cheese curds from last year, ha!).

The food we sampled was a good mix of sweet and savory. My table started with the sweets, Nothing wrong with dessert first, right? I tried the Maple Bacon Funnel Cake from the Food Building and it was amazing, because, well funnel cake + bacon + maple syrup frosting. It would make a perfect dessert for sharing at the fair. The other two desserts were a bit of a surprise for me. I loved Grandma Deb's Snicker Bar Salad from The Blue Barn. Normally, I dislike fruit in my dessert, but I could eat this snicker salad all day. So yumm! I also initially wasn't sure what to think of the caramel puff corn on the sundae, but as soon as I tried it... AMAZING! The puffs were a great, crunchy addition to the sundae. You can get the Salted Caramel Puff Sundaes and Malts from the Midwest Dairy Association Dairy Goodness Bar in the Dairy Building. I would highly recommend a visit! This flavor was chosen through the "Flavor of the Fair" hosted by Midwest Dairy earlier this year. Do you have any ideas for the 2016 "Flavor of the Fair?" Stop by the Dairy Goodness Bar during the fair to submit your suggestion.

On the more savory side, we tried Grilled Venetian-Style Pizza from Mancini's Al Fresco, Mac & Cheese Cupcake from LuLu's Public House, Stuffed Italian Meatloaf On-a-Stick from Green Mill and Tatchos from Boulevard Grill. Of the four, I think the Tatchos were my favorite. Tator tots, cheese, sour cream and bacon. Not only were they incredibly tasty, but they would be perfect for sharing which is great for state fair visits. I also really enjoyed the Mac & Cheese Cupcake and I know Little J will be thrilled to try it when we visit the fair. The Meatloaf On-a-Stick was surprisingly good, as I'm not big on meatloaf, but this had mozzarella cheese on the inside which I love. And really, who can go wrong with pizza? 

Really, everything we tried was super tasty and got me even more in the mood for the start of the state fair!


After we were stuffed full of delicious food, we got to learn more about fun for kids and families at the fair this year. One new addition to the fair this year is Math On-A-Stick created by Christopher Danielson of Talking Math with Kids. I'm really excited to check this one out with Miss A and Little J. There will be reptile-shaped tile puzzles, geometric tiles create patterns and designs and a Number Game scavenger hunt among other activities. I'm guilty of focusing on reading and letters with the girls, and not focusing so much on math skills (sorry math teacher friends!) so I'm really interested to see everything Math On-A-Stick has to offer, and get some ideas to take home with us too. Plus, I think this will be a nice, quiet(ish) place to take a break during a long day at the fair. I think we made it over eight hours at the fair last year, and that was with a tiny baby.

Of course there are many more fun things to do with kids at the fair. The Alphabet Forest, Little Farm Hands, EquiMania, Midway/Kidway and Miracle of Life building are all great spots for kids. You can check out  other tips and tricks for visiting the fair with little ones on the Minnesota State Fair's Little Tykes Pinterest board.

Tell me, what are your Minnesota State Fair favorites? What are your tips and tricks for visiting the fair with kids?

Thursday, August 6, 2015

52 Weeks: July Wrap Up

I've said it before, but we really love our neighborhood. This summer has been especially fun with all of the little girls running around together all day, most days. Some of the other parents made this awesome bike wash for the kids to play in. I haven't seen any bikes washed yet, but the kids sure do love to run through it!

Little J said this was her mask. She's been really in to The Incredibles lately.

Baby C cheering on the big girls from a safe spot in the grass.

Another big hit this summer has been lemonade stands. We don't live on a very busy street, so business tends to be slow. The girls are happy to drink the product. After some questionable customer service decisions last summer, I gave the girls special cups to drink out of so their cups wouldn't accidentally be passed on to a customer. They think they're extra big and cool with their coffee cups.

More water and drinks, this time from the hose. E likes to teach the kids new skills. And spray them with the hose.

The girls don't let a little rain stop them from playing outside. Just add rain boots and umbrellas, and playing outside is still fun.

And while the big girls are out running wild, it's nice to sneak some baby snuggles.