Wednesday, February 29, 2012

9 weeks...

No this isn't a pregnancy post, it's actually a post about my current streak of 9-weeks of no Coke! Can you believe it? I haven't had a single drop of my favorite beverage in over two months and I've lived to tell about it. It hasn't been easy, but it's been worth the effort.

When I was pregnant with Bella, I allowed myself at least one Coke a day. Once Bella was born I resumed my normal Coke drinking habits of several a day. When I found out I was pregnant with baby #2, I curbed my Coke drinking again but knew I should cut it out completely. And no, I'm not one of those crunchy, holistic moms, because I have eaten several lunch meat sandwiches throughout this pregnancy and I didn't heat the meat. Haha! But in all honesty, I wanted to stop drinking Coke for me, it just so happened I was also pregnant when I made this decision. Coke is amazingly delicious and refreshing but it's 140 calories of absolutely no nutrition.

I didn't only give up Coke, I gave up all beverages with the exception of good old fashion water. I have an occasional cup of hot tea, but that's about it! Oh and the cup of apple juice I had to drink in L&D last week... yuck! I didn't think I'd be able to last this long but my willpower has been amazing. I've turned down Cokes many times and watched (with eyes of envy) as others enjoyed a Coke.

All my hard work and willpower will be rewarded as I plan to treat myself to a Coke as soon as this baby arrives. I figured a post-partum Coke would be an appropriate reward for pushing out a baby, well that and maybe a piece of jewelry from Ian. Haha! But anyway, I plan to reintroduce Coke but on a very infrequent basis, maybe once a week.

So big ups to me in my 9-week streak and keep your fingers crossed that I can continue this streak.

Love always,
Ian, Kim, Bella & Baby #2

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pop 911

Ian and I have been discussing asking my dad (a.k.a. Pop) to come to Florida to assist me while I'm supposed to be taking it easy (sounds much better than modified bed rest). Well, tonight I made the call to Pop 911.

Ian's mom, Grandma Ruth has been a great help, but she works three days a week (even though she claims she's retired) and always seems to keep a crazy schedule. I really only need help in the morning, until Bella goes down for her nap and for a little while in the afternoon, before Ian gets home from work. We have managed to make things work, but it's sometimes a little tricky. My mom, Dee Dee, works full-time and is saving her vacation for when baby #2 arrives. I'd much rather have her down here for the birth and the week following, so I didn't think it would be wise to ask her to come down now. Plus, my sister just had a baby and I'm sure she would like to spend some time with my new nephew. We will still continue to utilize Grandma Ruth and look forward to Dee Dee's arrival, but we decided it might be a good idea to call for back up.

When I spoke with my dad, I didn't have expectations of how long we'd like for him to stay. My dad asked how long we were thinking and I honestly replied, "I have no idea... for however long you would like." What came out of my dad's mouth next was a surprise and a huge blessing... he offered to stay for up to two-weeks, if we needed. Wow! 14-days of company and an extra set of hands was such a pleasant surprise and I quickly said, "Okay!" I felt like a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders and like I could actually survive the last few weeks of this pregnancy. When I told Ian the good news, he was also very excited and relieved. It's a very busy time of year for Ian and he helps out at home as much as possible, but having my dad in town will definitely be a big help for our entire family. Plus, it'll be nice to just visit with my dad for that long. Thanks, Pop!

Tomorrow I will look at flights and book my dad a flight. Hopefully we can plan his trip around Grandma Ruth's spring break to effectively utilize all of our resources. With only 7 more weeks to go, maybe 5, we have help planned out for 3 weeks. Once mid-March hits, Ian should be back to working normal (as normal as normal gets in the accounting world) hours. For the first time in the past two weeks, life seems manageable again. We can get through this and we will survive. In the meantime, we're eagerly anticipating the Pop's arrival.

Love always,
Ian, Kim, Bella & Baby #2

Monday, February 27, 2012

Not so typical Monday

Our daily routine of going out in the morning and returning home around lunch time has gone by the wayside. Our daily routine now consists of playing at home in the morning until its time for lunch and naps. It's kind of boring but I don't really have a choice. Fortunately Grandma Ruth, Stephanie and Jessica (the babysitter) have been kind enough to help spice up our new routine.

Today Grandma Ruth arrived bright and early to spend the morning with us. I secretly had a few errands that I needed to run and I was hoping Grandma Ruth would assist me in completing those errands. Sure enough, she did! We headed to Babies-R-Us to pick up a new booster seat for Bella and a few other odds and ends. I then quickly ran into Target to pick up laundry detergent, which we were completely out of. We were back home within an hour and I spent minimal time on my feet. I also wore my maternity support belt to help support my baby belly and reduce the pelvic pressure. By the time we got home, my body was definitely glad to be home and I parked myself on the couch to recooperate from our outing.

Grandma Ruth helped me feed Bella lunch and put her down for a nap. It was great having an extra set of hands today and it was really great having someone to do all the heavy lifting. It was a huge help and I am definitely very appreciative for the assistance today.

Bella and I ended the afternoon by playing outside at her sand and water table. Our lanai is a royal mess, but that's okay because I needed to entertain Bella until Ian arrives home from work, which should be shortly. I can sit in a chair and she happily plays at her sand and water table for awhile... probably one of the best purchases we ever made!

It may not have been a typical a typical Monday for us, but it sure turned out to be a pretty nice day. It's wonderful to have such helpful family ad friends close by. We wouldn't be able to survive without them! I just hope they know how much I appreciate their love, concern and helpfulness.

Love always,
Ian, Kim, Bella & Baby #2

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Bahama Breeze

We went to Bahama Breeze for dinner tonight to celebrate Aunt Dawn's and Grandma Ruth's birthdays. Unfortunately the weather wasn't the best and the normally beautiful views of Tampa Bay weren't so beautiful. Oh well, at least the food and company were good!

Eating out with Bella is becoming more and more difficult. Her attention span is limited, as she is only 22-months-old, but overall she does pretty well. Bella was adamant that she sit next to Ian (surprise, surprise) but wanted to sit on the bench side of the table. She looked so grown up just sitting on the bench without a high chair or booster seat. Her new freedom allowed her to behave for quite awhile, before she demanded food and YouTube videos. We gladly obliged and were able to last the entire 2-hours the meal lasted. Obviously by the end of the meal, Bella was over the restaurant and wanted to go, but she managed to last through appetizers, dinner and dessert. If I were to give her a letter grade for her behavior, I'd give her a B. She had her moments of poor behavior but overall was pretty well behaved.

And dinner was absolutely delicious! I ordered the jerk chicken pasta and it was delicious as always. And the chocolate mousse I had for dessert was to die for! Luckily Ian and I split dessert so I didn't have to eat the whole thing by myself. Bella enjoyed her meal of cheeseburger sliders, but REALLY enjoyed Ian's salad (sans tomatoes). I think she ate about half of Ian's salad... how funny!

We don't often get together with our extended family, but it's always fun when we do. Ian's aunt and uncle are very nice people and it's always nice to catch up with them. Ian's cousin was also there, although she was sitting at the opposite end of the table Sony didn't really get a chance to chat with her. Ian's other uncle is always good for a laugh or two, so it was good to see him, too. And we see Grandma Ruth all the time and had just seen her the day before. Whenever we get together, I always think to myself, "we should really do this more often." But we're all so busy that our get togethers only occur a few times a year.

Dinner at Bahama Breeze was the perfect way to end a relaxing weekend. While we were driving there, I realized that I hadn't been out of the Brandon/Riverview area in quite some time... stupid bed rest!

Love always,
Ian, Kim, Bella & Baby #2

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Newborn Fever

While Bella was at Grandma Ruth's for the weekend, I had the opportunity to spend the day with two adorable newborns! Ian and I attended a low key get together at our friends', Paul and Lisa's house and got to spend the entire afternoon with two babies under the age of 8-weeks. No diapers to change, no child to feed... no responsibilities! It was wonderful and I forgot how cute, adorable and sleepy newborn babies are. Baby Daniella and baby Olivia were absolute angels! But most newborns are perfect little angels...

Only a crazy person would choose to spend their time away from their own child with other people's children, but newborns are much easier to deal with than a very active toddler. When newborns cry, they usually only need one of three things: food, a diaper change or to be held. When toddlers cry, God only knows why they're crying and their crying often sounds more like whining. Rather than running all over the place and climbing on pieces of furniture, newborns are content to be held for long periods of time. Don't get me wrong, I love Bella and she is so much fun to be with, but today was a reminder of just how much I miss having a newborn.

At the current moment, I am in no hurry to trade places with the parents of a newborn, especially when it comes to nighttime. I enjoy my sleep and I am not looking forward to interrupted sleep. Bella is on a great schedule and it's going to be an adjustment for the entire family when our little one arrives. It will be a challenge for sure, but it's a challenge I'm ready for. I mean, we had no clue how to take care of a newborn when we brought Bella home and we survived (somehow). So we'll handle this change the same way: do whatever it takes to survive! Hopefully by the time we bring baby #2 home I'll be more comfortable with asking for help and humbly accept the help from family and friends.

I am very much looking forward to meeting baby #2 and bringing her home. While we may be sleep deprived for several weeks or months, having a newborn makes the lack of sleep completely worthwhile. In less than 8-weeks or so, we will be meeting our daughter for the first time and I cannot wait! In the meantime, I'll enjoy baby Daniella and baby Olivia AND my sleep.

Love always,
Ian, Kim, Bella & Baby #2

Friday, February 24, 2012

Good friends

Good friends are few and far between... and I am quite thankful to have several good friends who would do anything for me (and my family) including taking me grocery shopping. Today's adventure at Publix goes to show just how far some friends are willing to go for you.

My friend Stephanie has been very concerned about my activity level recently and checks up on me several times a day. She checks to make sure I'm not over exerting myself or doing things the doctor told me not to do. She has offered to help and I graciously accepted her offer to assist me with my grocery shopping. I know it sounds simple, but when you're. It supposed to do a lot of walking, grocery shopping can seem like a very daunting task. Fortunately Jessica was here so we left both Bella and Connor in her care while we set out on our adventure. We had absolutely nothing in our fridge and so my grocery list was quite long.

When I woke up this morning, I thought that I might be able to handle a little walking but as the morning progressed, I reconsidered my original thought. Stephanie agreed that it might be a good idea to get the scooter cart at Publix... so we did. I sheepishly asked the manager at the customer service counter for the scooter and before I knew it, I was scooting all around Publix. Stephanie pushed another grocery cart because the basket on the scooter is relatively small. Although, I must admit, the scooter was pretty fun to ride around in! With my list in hand, we made quick work of my mile long grocery list. Stephanie was kind enough to grab items off shelves and unload everything at checkout. She even helped load the groceries into the car! Not to mention she unloaded the groceries from my car once we were home and helped me put everything away. Talk about a good friend! And I must admit, grocery shopping with a friend, sans children, is awesome! We were actually able to take our time, compare prices and organize coupons! Yay!

Grocery shopping can be quite a chore and it takes a good friend to essentially do your grocery shopping for you. I can't wait until I can return the favor one day... whether its grocery shopping or something else. I am feeling very blessed today for a friend like Stephanie. Now if I could only clone her...

But our fridge and pantry are full (thanks to Stephanie) and our family won't go hungry, or order take-out. It's such a relief to have this chore crossed off my to-do list. I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders knowing what we will be having for dinner for the next week or so. Oh, the worries of a stay-at-home-mom!

Love always,
Ian, Kim, Bella & Baby #2

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Typical Thursday

Today was a typical Thursday for us. I managed to rest enough to feel well enough to attend our weekly play date. Both Bella and I desperately needed to get out of the house and a low key play date was exactly what we needed. Bella played with her friends and I relaxed on Amanda's couch. It was great having the extra help and it was really nice to have a yummy lunch made for us.

Bella took an almost 4-hour nap after we got home and I relaxed on my favorite new spot... the couch in the family room. I caught up on a few DVR'ed shows and caught up with a friend on the phone. Keeping busy during nap time is difficult when I'm not supposed to be exerting myself. Normally I would partake in nap time but I've been sleeping pretty well at night and I don't want to risk messing that up.

After nap time, we went outside to play in the backyard, per Bella's request. She enjoys her sandbox, sand toys and chasing Kaiser around the yard. I am able to sit on the lanai and watch her play without too much exertion. I sometimes have to assist her in entering/exiting the lanai through her favorite door... the doggy door. We've actually been looking at swing sets for our backyard but are doing our homework and shopping around. We want something she can enjoy now and 5-years from now. We also have limited space due to the size of our lanai but we are still able to fit a decent size swing set in the space we have. We would like one with swings, a slide and a little clubhouse area. There are so many options and we're going to take our time making this decision.

Well, Ian should be home from work soon. I just need to keep this little munchkin occupied for a bit longer and we will have survived another day of modified bed rest. I'm disappointed we will have to miss Sprouts tomorrow but thought that it might be fun if Ian were to take her to the make up class on Saturday morning! I'm going to call tomorrow to see if there is room and run my great idea by Ian... I'm sure he will be game!

Love always,
Ian, Kim, Bella & Baby #2

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Giant Baby?

I went to the hospital today for a perinatal appointment and ultrasound. Normally I'd be excited at a chance to see baby #2, but I wasn't expecting this appointment, it was at the hospital and it was early. I was told to arrive between 7:30-7:45am to register and then my appointment was at 8:00am.

I arrived at 7:45am and registered as expected. There wasn't much to go over seeing that I had been at the hospital the day before. What I wasn't expecting was the $100 co-pay that the registration lady said I owed. I had no idea how they came to this number, as perinatal appointments are covered at 100%. Rather than argue with the lady and reschedule the appointment, I paid the $100 using our FSA card and vowed to dispute the charge once it went through on our insurance. I was back in the waiting room by 7:55am and began what turned out to be a very long wait. I watched at two patients who arrived after me were taken back and I was soon the only one left in the waiting room. I waited... and waited... and waited some more. Finally at 9:00am, the ultrasound technician called my name and I was finally taken back for the ultrasound.

The u/s technician scanned some of my parts and said that at first glance, things looked just fine. This was a huge relief because my OB was concerned about me being dilated or my cervix shortening. Thankfully my cervix appeared to be fully intact. She was also looking for the placental lake that appeared on an earlier u/s, but could not find any during this u/s. Yay! The u/s technician then moved to baby #2. She took measurements of essentially every major body part of baby #2. We then briefly discussed the measurements... and I was presented with some shocking news. Baby #2 appears to be measuring 3-weeks ahead in terms of her femur length, stomach circumference and head circumference. I was 32 weeks 1 day, and she was measuring at about 35 weeks 2 days. Her estimated weight was approximately 4 pounds 14 ounces. OH MY GOD, I AM GOING TO HAVE A HUGE BABY! I know these measurements are just estimates, but Bella wasn't exactly a small baby. She was two weeks early and weighed 8 pounds 3 ounces. I will definitely be discussing baby #2's size with the OB at my next appointment. I don't want to be induced (at all) but I also don't want to deliver a ginormous baby! Hopefully baby #2 decides that she is ready and comes a week or two early and this will be a moot point.

I don't have any pre-existing conditions or gestational diabetes that would potentially cause me to have big babies. I'm not overweight and have a relatively small frame. Ian and I weren't big babies and we were each about 7-pounds. I suppose I'm just destined to have big babies, which is fine by me. I can't imagine having a 5 or 6-pound baby and how fragile they must be. Bella was a big, sturdy baby and I liked that. Baby #2 can be whatever size she needs to be, just as long as she is healthy. Just a little less than 8-weeks before this little girl is due, but if she would like to arrive a little early, that'd be just fine by me.

Love always,
Ian, Kim, Bella & Baby #2

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Labor and Delivery

After dealing with what I believed to be Braxton Hicks contractions and pelvic pressure, I called the triage nurse at the OB's office. At their urging, I went to the hospital to be monitored. I was checked into OB triage right away and hooked up to fetal monitors for a bit. I knew that as soon as I took a moment to rest the contractions would stop... and I was right. Once I laid down in the hospital bed, not a single contraction occurred. I was continuing to have pelvic pressure, but it definitely wasn't as bad as the pressure I was experiencing Monday night. The OB wanted to release me, but he wanted to see more activity from baby #2. I haven't even met this child yet, but she is a defiant little girl! She was snoozing so the nurse decided to pump me full of apple juice to get her going. Within 15-20 minutes, baby #2 was on the move. After about 2-hours of being monitored, we were finally released. I was given instructions to rest until my next OB appointment... next week. The instructions also said no lifting and limited amounts of walking. Awesome.

I haven't been placed in bed rest but I have been struggling to maintain a limited level of activity. How am I supposed to entertain a toddler, when I'm supposed to be resting on the couch? How am I supposed to get my 25-pound toddler in and out of the crib, when I'm not supposed to be lifting anything? I suppose limiting myself as much as humanly possible is my overall best bet, but it sure isn't practical. I'm really hoping things calm down and the OB clears me for regular activity next week... fingers crossed.

Fortunately, Jessica (the babysitter) was here today so I didn't have to worry about who would be taking care of Bella in my absence. Bella didn't seem at all concerned that I was leaving and waved good-bye as I walked out the door. Bella seems to have a lot of fun with Jessica and that makes it so much easier to leave when I need to. Jessica is also super helpful around the house and emptied all of our trash cans and vacuumed and mopped the floors (without me having to ask). She is AWESOME!

Grandma Ruth came over in the afternoon to help me with Bella. Everything was going great and I was getting plenty of rest until something unexpected happened. After taking a sip of hot tea, I suddenly felt ill and without any warning, I proceeded to vomit all over myself. Seriously?!? That pretty much summed up how my day had been going and was the icing on the cake.

But the highlight of my day?!? The aerated, crushed ice at the hospital. Oh it was so delicious! Chewing on ice has always been a bad habit of mine and it's a bad habit I've passed on to my child. I guess it's the little things in
life that matter most... or it's just turning lemons into lemonade.

Hopefully there aren't any more trips to labor and delivery until baby #2 is really ready to make her debut. Until then, it's back to the couch and more rest for this mama.

Love always,
Ian, Kim, Bella & Baby #2

Monday, February 20, 2012

Mundane Monday

Bella spent the night at Grandma Ruth's last night and I must admit, I miss my little munchkin! Ian will pick her up after work today so fortunately we'll get to see her tonight. Having the time to actually sit down and relax has been a big help. I haven't been experiencing any contractions, so minimal activity plays a big role in keeping them at bay. Rather than chores around the house, I remained on the couch pretty much all day. I caught up on some DVR'ed shows and surfed the Internet. What an exciting Monday!

I haven't planned much for this week and we're kind of playing things by ear. We have a play date on Thursday that I plan to attend, but only because it's low key and I'll have my friends around to help me with Bella. Other than that, the babysitter is scheduled for two days this week, instead of her normal one day. I definitely need the extra set of hands and I'm so glad she is able to make it for an extra day this week. I'm debating about going to Sprouts on Friday, but the more I think about it, it's probably best if we skip music this week. Bummer.

My friends and family have been extremely helpful and very caring. I've had friends offer to take Bella for the day and bring us dinner. Being stubborn (and probably stupid), I've kindly turned down their help for now. I just feel like our family can handle this and my friends don't need the extra burden. I know this is not how my friends feel because if they truly didn't want to help, they wouldn't offer. I've never been one to ask for help and it's difficult for me to accept help. One of these days I'll set my foolish pride aside and accept help when it's offered. In the meantime, Ian and Grandma Ruth are chipping in and I'm doing my best to remain let go of a lot of things (i.e. housework, laundry, errands).

A lot of not being able to do things for yourself means letting go and making do with what you have. The laundry in my closet is a mile high, but that's okay because I have two dressers and an entire closet full of clean clothes. The furniture could use a good dusting and polishing, but that's okay it can wait. My health and baby #2's health comes first and foremost. I had lost sight of that and this is my body's way of telling me to slow down. I have slowed down and my body appears to responding well to the extra rest.

On a slightly more exciting note, Bella's little backpack and lunchbox arrived today! And oh my goodness, they are so incredibly cute! I found the perfect little backpack at Pottery Barn Kids and of course I had to order the matching lunchbox. I can't wait to show Bella her new things because she is going to love them! The girls' Easter basket liners also arrived today, but the actual baskets are on back order. Oh how I love PBK!

But that's all from the couch in the family room... not too much going here. Just another boring Monday.

Love always,
Ian, Kim, Bella & Baby #2

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Parenting 101... according to us

Ever heard the saying, "opinions are like a$$holes, everyone has one"? Well sometimes I wish not everyone had one... an opinion that is. After multiple posts on Facebook by the same few individuals about their parenting philosophies, I'm beginning to think that I'm not raising Bella properly. Or am I?

Insecure people often feel the need to say and do things in order to rationalize their actions. I think this is especially true in the wild and wonderful world of parenting. As parents we are constantly questioning ourselves because we ultimately want what is best for our children. Questioning yourself is normal, I mean I question myself all the time. But the BIG difference is, I don't feel the need to post my insecurities on Facebook. If I'm proud of a decision I made, I don't immediately post it on Facebook for all my friends and family to see. If I'm unsure about something, I don't immediately post it on Facebook for feedback. I'm not looking for admiration or a pat on the back because knowing that Bella happy and healthy is good enough for me. I feel like when people post their opinions on Facebook, they're fishing for support... either that or they're trying to stir up drama. Either way, their motives aren't genuine and that's unfortunate.

We raise Bella the best way we know how. The "methods" we use can't be found in any book. We do what is in Bella's best interest, even if it doesn't always appear that way. We provide her with love and support no matter what. Bella never asked to be brought into this world and it's the responsibility of Ian and I, as her parents, to provide her with guidance.

5 Simple Parenting Rules (according to us)

1. Children need boundaries - Physical and mental boundaries are important in every day life. If we didn't have appropriate boundaries, then we would constantly be getting hurt.

2. Parents set the best examples - As parents we are responsible for setting an example for our children. We have to make a conscious decision to set a positive example because we are modeling behaviors we wish to see in our children.

3. Don't be judgmental - It's one thing to have an opinion, it's another to make people feel bad about not sharing that same opinion. If you're going to be "gung-ho" about a particular issue, please ensure you don't make others feel uncomfortable at the same time.

4. What works - Do what works for YOU and YOUR family, not what your best friend's cousin recommended or what some opinionated mom in your mom's group told you to do. If something works for you and your family, then go with it! As long as you're not breaking any laws or endangering anyone, it's probably okay. Change is more than okay because being a parent involves A LOT of trial and error. You're going to make mistakes, but how else will you learn? Mistakes aren't failures, they're simply life lessons. And stand confidently by your decision, because there will always be people who think you're wrong.

5. Take time for yourself - As a mother or a father, it's important to take a little "me" time every now and then. Personal burn out may lead to parental burn out or marital burn out. Take time to enjoy a moment for yourself and take time to enjoy a moment with your spouse.

The simple fact is... happiness and health come first and foremost. If you and your family are happy and healthy, then wonderful, you must be doing something right. And I am pleased to report that my family and I are very happy and very healthy, so I must be doing something right! Happy parenting!

Love always,
Ian, Kim, Bella & Baby #2

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Lazy Saturday

**Warning** This may be the MOST BORING post I have ever written, but it pretty much sums up my relaxing, but very boring day.

Today marked my first real day of temporary bed rest. I began the day by sleeping in until 8am and then I joined my favorite little girl for breakfast in the kitchen. Ian wanted to get Bella out of the house so I could rest which meant a trip to the gym. Apparently the gym was beyond crowded but Ian was able to workout and Bella was able to play in the kids area. While they were at the gym, I made myself comfortable on the couch and watched some television.

Poor Ian worked during Bella's 3-hour nap and I relaxed on the couch some more. I must admit, as nice as it is to relax all day, I sure felt guilty about Ian having to take care of Bella and work. Ian is really understanding about me having to rest, but I still feel really guilty not being able to take care of Bella. Hopefully this is just a temporary situation and I'll be back to business as usual soon enough. Ian knows how guilty I feel and I can't stop thanking him for all of his love and support. He keeps reminding me that this is all temporary (even if it continues for the next 8 weeks) and our family will be just fine. He works 60+ hours a week and doesn't complain about having to pick up my slack. I am lucky to have such a hardworking and family oriented husband! Thank you, Ian!

The rest of my day consisted of me laying on the couch and doing a whole lot of nothing. It was a pretty boring Saturday, with the exception of an exciting trip to Michael's and PetSmart. Woo-hoo! Michael's was having a sale on frames and I needed to pick some up to complete a decorating project in baby #2's room. Between the sale and the extra 25% off coupon I had, I picked up 5 frames for $3.75 a piece! It sure beats paying $12 a piece! I also picked up some card stock to finish my project. Our trip to PetSmart was uneventful and Ian ran quickly inside to buy some food and treats for Kaiser. The rest of our evening was filled with dinner, play time and movie time. Bella wanted to watch "Toy Story" so we gladly obliged until it was time for our bath, book and bed routine. 

Strawberries, bananas and Chex cereal... yum!
So happy to be eating like a big girl at the table.
Well, that pretty much sums up my extremely boring day. On a positive note, today was the first day I didn't experience frequent BH contractions, so all of the rest and relaxation must be beneficial. Grandma Ruth is planning on taking Bella tomorrow for the night, so I will also have Sunday and Monday to rest and relax. Now if I could only find things to occupy my time that involve minimal exertion, then I'd be golden. My mind keeps thinking about the 100 things that I could be doing around the house, including cleaning and laundry, but those will have to wait. Thankfully our house is clean (not OCD clean, but clean) and we have enough clean clothes to last us for several weeks. But enough about my super boring lazy and boring day... this recap is beginning to bore me.

Love always,
Ian, Kim, Bella & Baby #2

Friday, February 17, 2012

Taking time to rest...

Like I mentioned in a previous post, I've been experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions. Normally BH contractions aren't a big deal and it's simply your body's way of preparing itself for the real thing, but when other symptoms accompany BH contractions, it can mean that something is up. Today when Bella and I were leaving Sprouts, I began having BH contractions and felt very lightheaded. I stupidly drove the two of us home, but called the OB on the way home. I explained that I had left messages for the triage nurse (who is on my naughty list) for the past few days and that I was having some problems. The receptionist scheduled me for an appointment with the nurse practitioner that afternoon. I then called Ian to enlist his assistance. When he picked up the phone, I began crying because I felt concerned, guilty and frustrated. I guess a mother's guilt never ends.

Luckily the drive home from Sprouts is relatively short, so I focused on my driving rather than what was going on. Once we got home, I poured myself a huge glass of water and found myself a snack. I thought maybe my glucose level was low and I just needed to eat a little something. I also grabbed some milk and a snack for Bella and turned on the television. I needed to rest and I knew turning on her favorite show would keep her entertained until Ian got home. Bella was a perfect angel and sat contently until Ian pulled into the garage. We then waited for Grandma Ruth to arrive so that we could go to my appointment.

While we drove to the OB's office, we discussed how I was feeling, both physically and mentally. Physically, I was feeling pretty yucky, but I could deal with the lightheadedness, BH contractions and headache. Mentally, I was feeling AWFUL. I felt guilty because I had pulled Ian away from work. I felt useless because I couldn't perform my job of taking care of Bella. I felt worried because I didn't know if something was really wrong. My very loving and very understanding husband reassured me that we would get through this and we needed to do whatever the OB recommended.

The appointment was fairly normal and we met with one of my favorite providers, the nurse practitioner, Katie. As I explained my symptoms, I had to fight back the tears. There's just something about not being able to have complete control over your body that is disheartening. I also shared that I didn't want to feel like "that mom" who calls the OB or goes to labor and delivery for every little thing. Katie, who is known for being blunt, looked me square in the eyes and said, "Do you want me to smack you with my shoe? Stop being so stubborn! You are having some problems and it's okay for you to call your OB anytime something doesn't feel right." I laughed and said okay. When she asked me what I was doing during the BH contractions, I said drinking lots of water and trying to rest. She pretty much told me that it was very important for me to rest. She then reassured me that she believed the contractions were only BH contractions and that I was anemic. She took some blood and confirmed her suspicion. Rather than dole out a prescription for an iron supplement, she told me to increase my natural iron intake via my diet. I appreciated this approach, as iron supplements are known for their side effects and my IBS has been bad enough. Thankfully, the baby sounded great on the Doppler and I was measuring right on time. I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to rest and even went for a prenatal massage. The massage helped me relax and I had a solid hour of rest and relaxation.

One question still lingered in my mind... how the hell am I supposed to rest when I have a 22-month-old to care for?!? Ian suggested a few things, like having the babysitter come more than one day a week or enlisting the help of his mom. He also said that he planned to work from home as much as possible so that he could help as much as possible. I love the fact that my husband is more than willing to pick up my slack, but I felt so guilty that he was having to do more than his share. This guilt will never pass, but I'm trying to work through it. I'm praying that this is only temporary and I'll be back to my normal self soon enough. This too shall pass...

In the meantime, I will make a conscious effort to rest as much as possible... wish me luck.

Love always,
Ian, Kim, Bella & Baby #2

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Play Date Thursday

Bella and I played host to our weekly play date with our group of friends. Despite not feeling 100% on Wednesday, I managed to throw together a pretty nice little play date. Most of our usual friends were able to make it, so we had a full house of little munchkins.

I made tortellini primavera, a recipe I found online and served it with a fresh salad. I made an apple pie Chex mix recipe that turned out delicious! It seriously tasted like apple pie. I also made cake cookies, which is a super simple recipe that involves using a box of cake mix to make cookies. We had all sorts of other goodies, including fresh fruits and vegetables. My friend Amanda brought THREE different types of tropical desserts to obtain our opinions and my favorite was the raspberry-lemon no bake cheesecakes. And I can't say I mind being the guinea pig for my friends' cooking trials, especially when they're amazingly delicious!

The kids played outside on the lanai for most of the play date. They loved the sand and water table, which was filled only with sand. The other moms thought I was very brave to have 8 sets of hands around so much sand. I suppose I didn't really give it much thought and figured I'd deal with cleaning up all the sand after our friends left. The kids also loved the Kangaroo Climber, which we've been keeping in the house (for reasons unknown).

We enjoyed playing and having lunch with our friends but before we knew it, it was time for everyone to go home. Bella pretty much begged me to go upstairs for nap time and I gladly put her down for a nap. During nap time, I worked tirelessly to clean up the aftermath of the play time at the sand table. Between the wet/dry vac and my Dyson vacuum cleaner, I must have vacuumed up every last grain of sand. I had sand all over the lanai and inside the house. My OCD kicked in and I didn't stop vacuuming until I knew there was only sand in the table and the vacuum cleaner.

I meant to snap a few pictures of the kids playing outside but I totally forgot. Fortunately Bella wanted to play outside after her nap so I was able to take a few pictures of her playing at her sand table. She loves that sand and water table... it was definitely money well spent.

Enjoying the beautiful weather after a nice, long nap.
Bella hard at work.
This must take a lot of concentration.
Play date Thursdays are pretty much my favorite day of the week. Like I've mentioned before, I like knowing well in advance that we have plans every Thursday with our little group of friends. Hopefully we can continue with our weekly play dates once all of the little siblings arrive and once Bella starts school in the fall. But all of this activity makes for one tired mama... so goodnight y'all!

Love always,
Ian, Kim, Bella & Baby #2

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Braxton Hicks

I spent the morning trying to prepare for tomorrow's play date, but baby #2 had other plans. After doing some light cleaning (by my standards) I began having Braxton Hicks contractions. I tried to work through it, but when they didn't subside, I knew it was time for rest and lots of water. My plan was foiled yet again because, oh yes, I have a 22-month-old toddler!

I sat on the lanai while Bella played at her sand/water table. She played outside for a good 45-minutes until se realized how much fun it is to throw sand out of the box. Bummer. I decided it was time to go inside and resort to letting Bella watch television. While I "relaxed" on the couch, Bella watched The Lion King until it was time for lunch. I was still having BH contractions by this time and I was having some pain in my lower back. I figured I'd put Bella down for an early nap and really relax. I also called for reinforcements... or Grandma Ruth.

I laid in bed for nearly two hours and drank a ton of water. I also called the OB to reassure myself that these were in fact BH contractions and nothing else. The rest and water helped a bunch, but every time I stood up, the BH contractions would begin again. Luckily Grandma Ruth was here by the time Bella woke up from her nap so I had some assistance. I laid on the couch while Bella and Grandma Ruth played. I was thankful for the extra help but I was still getting up and down quite frequently. Ugh!

Being pregnant was a hell of a lot easier BEFORE I had children. When I was pregnant with Bella and wasn't feeling well, I could relax without interruption. But God bless my little Bella, because I think she could tell that I wasn't feeling 100% and was fairly well behaved today. Thank goodness for my well behaved child because today would have been much more difficult with an unruly child.

And to the unborn child, still incubating in my uterus... please cut me some slack. Please stop these false contractions because they are beginning to freak me out. I am by no means ready for your arrival and I need you to stay put for at least another 6-weeks. I am very eager to meet you, but I could really do with out the BH contractions.

As I'm writing this, I am also watching my abdomen contract. Guess it's time for me to get back to relaxing and chugging ungodly amounts of water. I'm hoping today was a total fluke and I just over did it this morning. After all, Bella and I have a play date to host tomorrow morning!

Love always,
Ian, Kim, Bella & Baby #2

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Bella and I woke up to this morning to find these beautiful roses and a card for each of us from the man who takes such good care of us... daddy! How sweet! It was even sweeter that Bella and I slept in a little bit and had sort of a lazy morning at home. We ate breakfast and lounged around until it was time for us to head to a Valentine's Day play date with some friends. I'm not usually into Valentine's Day, but there's something about seeing Ian express his unconditional love for Bella that absolutely melts my heart.

I recently joined a new moms group and I'm very excited about the new friends for the two of us. I was invited by my friend Michelle, who I had met before we had kids. Michelle's husband and Ian worked together at two different accounting firms and still keep in touch. The moms group is relatively small, which is good for me. So far, everyone seems really nice and welcoming, so I have high hopes for being an active participant in this group. We got a little lost on our way to the play date, but ended up finding our way and making it just in time for some gymnastics free play. The music class we attend also offers a gymnastics class for little ones, but I've never partaken in the free trial class because I always felt like Bella was too young. Apparently I was wrong and Bella LOVED the gymnastics class! She seemed to enjoy swing and flipping on the high bar the most and giggled as the instructor helped her swing and flip. It was adorable. And for only being 22-months-old, the child has pretty good balance. She walked along the balance beam with the instructor's assistance once and then wanted to try it on her own. With one foot in front of the other, Bella carefully walked along the balance beam without falling. I was very impressed with her balance, given her age. The trampoline started off fun, but then another little one decided to join her on the trampoline and ended up knocking Bella off. She fell and hit her head on the floor, but seemed to be okay after a few moments. My poor little girl! The mom of the other little one was very apologetic, but I reassured her that accidents happen and Bella was seriously hurt. 

Our afternoon was pretty uneventful and consisted of playing outside, lunch and naps. We played in the backyard before lunch time and Bella loved playing at her sand/water table, as well as chasing Kaiser all around the yard. She has discovered the doggy door on the lanai and likes to crawl out the doggy door to follow Kaiser. As for naps... I accidentally fell asleep on the couch in the family... for almost 3-hours! I must have been exhausted because I don't remember falling asleep and didn't wake up until almost 4pm! Unfortunately I will probably be paying for this tonight... damn. Hopefully there are some shows on the DVR I can catch up with tonight because it's going to be a late night for sure. After naps, we played outside for almost 2-hours until Ian came home from work. We enjoyed a delicious dinner of pot roast, carrots and potatoes in the crock pot. I am seriously in love with the crock pot this week!

While Ian was up and at 'em this morning taking care of his Valentine's Day surprises, he also went to register Bella for preschool. He arrived early and his timing paid off because we were able to enroll Bella in the Monday/Wednesday/Friday 2-year-old class. I had some reservations about enrolling her in preschool for 3-days a week, but Ian reassured me it was only a total 9-hours a week that she'd be in school. Once he explained that it was practically one day with the babysitter or one day at Grandma Ruth's it didn't seem so bad. Unlike most "preschools" in the area, this program is an actual preschool. They track the progress of the kids and follow a general curriculum. This interested us because the last thing we wanted to do was send Bella to daycare. A lot of daycares seem to hide behind the facade of being a preschool. We are very excited to have enrolled Bella in such a great preschool and can't wait to begin her educational journey. I even ordered Bella a backpack and lunchbox from Pottery Barn Kids, as shipping was free and I received a 10% discount, too. She is going to look super cute with her little backpack and lunchbox and I'm sure she will be excited to have new things for school. 

Surprisingly, as I sit here and type, I am realizing just how tired I may really be. Maybe it won't be such a late night after all... my body could really use the extra rest. I mean, I am growing a human being inside of me! Tomorrow will be a busy day as we prepare to host our play date on Thursday. For some reason, I always feel the need to clean my house from top to bottom BEFORE a play date, despite my house being totally trashed AFTER a play date. I guess it's just the neat freak in me... sigh. I also have food to make, but the recipes are pretty simple so it shouldn't take long. 

Happy Valentine's Day, y'all!

Love always,
Ian, Kim, Bella & Baby #2

P.S. I am 31-weeks pregnant today... only 9 more weeks to go. Or if this baby is on Bella-time, only 7 more weeks to go! =)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Fresh start to the week

We began our day with a BIG shopping trip at Publix. I bought enough food for the next two weeks and have dinners planned for the next week. The amount of money I spent was ridiculous, but buying fresh meat, fruits and vegetables can be expensive. To me, it's worth spending the money to be able to provide healthy meals for my family. Between the money I spent and the two carts full of groceries, I would say we had a successful trip to Publix.

We hurried home so that we could be home to meet with the company I hired to pressure wash our driveway, sidewalks and lanai. We usually pressure wash the lanai ourselves but we wanted to pressure the pool cage, driveway and sidewalks, too. I asked for recommendations but took a chance on a company I found on Craigslist. The gentleman who owns the company provided me with the proper credentials, including his business license and insurance policy and allowed me to negotiate an awesome price. He quoted me on price and I talked him down by $20 (yup, I'm pretty proud of myself). He arrived 5-minutes early and was so courteous and nice! He is an EMT for the county and does this on the side. He quickly went to work and by 2pm, our pool cage, lanai, driveway and sidewalks were restored to almost new! We will definitely be hiring him to pressure wash the house later this spring. So if you're in the Tampa Bay area and need a pressure washer, contact Ed at MasterStream... he does fabulous work!

We wrapped up our day with a delicious dinner of creamy Italian chicken in the crockpot over rice with green beans. Yum! I am on a crockpot kick and the old crockpot will be getting lots of use in the next few weeks.

Oh and the highlight of our day was going to visit Paul, Lisa and baby Daniella at the hospital. Oh my goodness, she is so precious! And she looks just like her daddy! I can't wait to see her again and I'm so excited for Bella to meet her. She is going to love her!

Hopefully the rest of the week is just as good as today because we have a lot planned this week. Between preschool registration, multiple play dates, Sprouts and visiting with Grandma Ruth, we will be busy, busy, busy this week. It's our week to host our weekly play date and we are excited to share Bella's new climber and sand/water table, as well as some new recipes I'm trying out. And as usual, Ian will be busy, busy, busy with work... bummer.

Love always,
Ian, Kim, Bella & Baby #2

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Florida State Fair

It's that time of year again... time for the state fair! Even though it was about 30 degrees when we headed out this morning, we bundled everyone up and had a great time. There was a method to my madness in that I was hoping arriving early and arriving when it was cold would prevent us from running into huge crowds. Mission accomplished!

For me, the weather isn't that bad. It was cold (definitely by Florida standards) but it was sunny. The wind wasn't too bad and it was actually pretty warm in the sun. When we woke up this morning, it was 65 degrees inside our house and about 32 degrees outside. Apparently there's a cold front, but it will be cleared out by Tuesday and be close to 80 degrees again.

We arrived at the fairgrounds around 9am, when the fair opened and parked pretty close to the front gates. There wasn't a line for tickets, unlike last year when we waited for almost 20 minutes to buy tickets. We entered the fair and headed to our favorite exhibits... the animals! We saw pigs, cows, goats, sheep, chickens, horses, rabbits and dogs (just to name a few). My personal favorite were the piglets snuggled up together against their mom. Oh my goodness, they were so tiny and so adorable! Bella enjoyed brushing a calf with Ian and enjoyed making me nervous with her fearlessness. The child has no fear and approached the animals in the petting barn without hesitation. I knew the animals would be gentle, but as a mom, I still worry.

Naturally, we ate... nothing too extreme but we did indulge in some yummy fair food. Bella wanted ice cream, which we allowed her to have at 10am and Ian and I indulged in a combo platter of fried goodies. We tried fried Oreos, fried Reese's peanut butter cups and a fried Snickers bar. All of the fried goodies were delicious but I think my favorite was the fried Oreo. And don't worry, not every we ate was unhealthy... we found a citrus tasting exhibit and ate all sorts of yummy oranges, grape fruits, lemons, tangerines and other fruits.

We walked around a little more and then headed out around noon. I cant believe we spent 3-hours at the fair. Time flies when you're having fun and we certainly did have a lot of fun. This is Bella's second annual trip to the state fair and I think it is officially a family tradition. The Strawberry Festival in Plant City and Fall Festival in
Bradenton are also annual family traditions. Next up, the Strawberry Festival next month!

And we are happy to announce that our friends, Paul and Lisa, welcomed their baby girl, Daniella, into the world this morning. We are so happy for them and cannot wait to meet baby Daniella soon!

Love always,
Ian, Kim, Bella & Baby #2

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Albert Whitted Park

This morning, after a quick trip to the gym, we packed up the family and headed to St. Pete for a birthday party. The birthday party was being hosted at a really cool park in downtown St. Pete called Albert Whitted Park. It's a park located next to an airport and on the water. It's an absolutely beautiful setting! The play ground has an airplane theme and has awesome climbing equipment and even a conveyor belt slide. Now if only the weather would have cooperated...

We bundled up as best we could but we hadn't planned on it being so windy! It was about 55 degrees and so windy, so it made it a pretty chilly. Being on the water didn't help, but we still enjoyed ourselves and Bella LOVED the park. She wanted to be pushed in the swing for a good 20-minutes and went down this one slide at least 25 times.

We enjoyed some tasty treats with our friends and sang happy birthday to Bella's friend, Davin. We also enjoyed cupcakes with bright blue icing. After staining our teeth blue and freezing in the wind, we decided to head home. Luckily Bella stayed awake on the car ride home and we were able to put her down for a nap. All the fresh, cool air and playing must have worn her out because she slept for almost 4-hours!

But if you're ever in St. Pete and looking for a fun place to take the kids, be sure to check out Albert Whitted Park... you won't be disappointed!

Speaking of the weather, tomorrow is supposed to only have a high of 50 degrees and a low of 33 degrees. Brrr! It's a nice reprieve from the 80 degree weather we've been having, but 60 degrees would have sufficed.

Love always,
Ian, Kim, Bella & Baby #2

Friday, February 10, 2012

Making the most of the day

I woke up this morning, after a fairly restful night of sleep, with plans to make today a good day. Despite feeling awful today (stupid IBS), today was a pretty good day! After struggling to make it through the week and feeling like the worst mother in the world for most of the week, I was determined to make the most of today.

Before music class, we played outside at Bella's new water and sand table. It's only been filled with water, as the lanai is being pressure washed on Monday, but she absolutely loves it! She splashes, plays with her water toys and even chases Kaiser around the lanai with her watering can. Poor Kaiser had no idea what he'd be in for when he ventured outside during play time. I can't wait to add sand to the table and move her kangaroo climber to the lanai, once it's nice and clean. I foresee lots of time outside this spring and winter!

We went to Sprouts to sing and play with our friends. Today's group was small but music class was still a lot of fun. The kids were asking for bubbles the moment they walked through the door, too bad they had to wait until the end of class for parachute and bubble time. Free play is still Bella's favorite activity and she loves climbing on the equipment. The kids even received a special treat for Valentine's Day from the teacher, fruit snacks, which they loved!

We went to lunch at Luna's with Stephanie and Connor and then headed home for naps. Bella took an almost 4-hour nap and I accidentally fell asleep watching a movie. I say accidentally because I didn't intend to fall asleep, but I wasn't feeling well and I was exhausted, so it just kind of happened. I really hope this doesn't affect my sleep tonight.

We have a busy weekend ahead of us. We have a birthday party tomorrow and we're planning on going to the state fair on Sunday. We also have a few things to get accomplished around the house. We're hoping to get everything finished on Saturday so we can relax and Ian can work on Sunday. Busy season is well underway and Ian is super busy with work... only 9 more weeks until he's on paternity leave! Yay!

It was a pretty good day overall and even though I didn't feel 100%, I made the most of the day and enjoyed the time Bella and I spent together. Making the most of the day isn't always easy, but it is totally worth it.

Love always,
Ian, Kim, Bella & Baby #2

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Where oh where has my patience gone?!? These days, I am struggling to remain patient in many situations and it's driving me crazy. I'm usually a very patient person, but I think the recent lack of sleep has finally caught up to me. I find myself getting irritated by the most unimportant things and I'm beginning to resent myself for it.

One of my biggest issues is remaining patient when I am disciplining Bella. Her latest "trick" is climbing onto the coffee table. This drives me crazy because I'm afraid she's going to fall and she's smudging my usually perfectly polished coffee table. Obviously her safety is my #1 priority so I try to address it quickly. I ask her to get down and if she doesn't, I physically remove her from the table. This usually makes her giggle and at that point, my patience is slowly lost. The fact that she thinks it's funny drives me CRAZY! Climbing on the table is not a game and if she were to fall, she could really injure herself. Why can't a 22-month-old child realize this risk?!?

During a play date today, I found myself being "that mom." I felt like I was constantly correcting Bella for the slightest infraction. I even put Bella in time out when she threw one of Connor's toy for no apparent reason. For some reason, I can be especially impatient when we are in public. I don't want to ruin anyone else's good time because my child is acting out. I know I shouldn't care what other people think, but I do. I don't like to be around poorly behaved children and I assume that most other (normal) people share this sentiment. Why can't a 22-month-old child behave like a perfect angel, all the time?!?

I probably sound like the most ungrateful mother in the entire world. But the truth is, I am blessed to have a child like Bella. She is well-behaved (usually), intelligent, compassionate, caring, loving, funny, happy, healthy and she is mine. Most mothers don't have it as easy as I do and I should really try to be grateful for such an amazing child. I am beyond grateful to have Bella in my life and I can't imagine life without her.

This leads me to expectations. Apparently I expect myself to be the perfect parent and I expect Bella to be the perfect child... all the time. This couldn't be a more unrealistic expectation for either of us. We are both perfectly imperfect and I need to accept that. Having unrealistic expectations only leads to disappointment and why should I set such unrealistic expectations for myself and Bella. I mean, I'm only human, so I'm bound to lose my patience every now and then. It's how I handle the situations is what counts. If Bella behaves poorly (at home or in public) I need to be patient and realize that she is only 22-months-old. She doesn't know any better and I need to take the time to model better behavior for her. I will try to set more realistic expectations for us and accept that fact that we will both make mistakes... after all, we're only human.

Each day is a new day and I'm hoping that I can put some effort into my new outlook. I hope that tomorrow my patience is restored... at least a little. Again, I can't set unrealistic expectations for myself and I need to cut myself a little slack. Any little bit of patience that is restored will be a blessing and for that, I will be grateful.

Love always,
Ian, Kim, Bella & Baby #2

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Exhausted does not even begin to describe how I am feeling tonight. Pregnancy insomnia has returned and caused me to wake up at 4:30am. So yes, I have been awake since 4:30am... and I am miserable.

Today went by quicker than I expected, but it has been a long day. We were supposed to join some friends at Chuck E. Cheese for a day of fun, but I canceled because I wasn't feeling up for the challenge fun. Instead I called my friend Stephanie, who happened to have a change of plans, and instead we had a play date. The play date was great and Bella was distracted with Connor and all of his toys, which allowed me to rest a little. Stephanie was kind enough to make lunch for us, too. What a great friend! We headed home shortly after 1pm for Bella's nap. I attempted to take a nap, but I think I was overly tired and so I couldn't fall asleep. Bummer.

We had leftovers for dinner and we're now watching Alice in Wonderland before bath time. I think I'm going to let Ian handle bath time tonight. I simply don't have the energy to help out tonight and I think Ian understands this... or at least I hope he understands.

The third trimester of pregnancy sucks. Plain and simple. For me, the insomnia, nausea, Braxton Hicks contractions, edema, heartburn make it very difficult to enjoy the last trimester of pregnancy. Luckily I only have about 9-weeks left, that is, if this baby arrives on time. If she's ready a week or two early, I wouldn't mind.

Okay, that's enough complaining for one day... I'm too exhausted to do any more complaining.

Love always,
Ian, Kim, Bella & Baby #2

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Chicken & Dumplings

Following in the footsteps of my friend, Ursula, I prepared a dinner of chicken & dumplings in the crock pot today. While it cooked slowly, all day long, my house was filled with wonderful smells! I was hoping the recipe would turn out properly and that the final product would taste as good as it smelled. After waiting ALL day (ok, only 6-hours) it was finally time for dinner. Let's just say the chicken & dumplings were a big hit! This recipe will definitely be repeated... at least once a month in our household.

Just thought I'd share the recipe with you:

Crock Pot Chicken & Dumplings

4 chicken breasts
2 cans of Campbell's cream of chicken soup
2 tablespoons of butter
1/2 onion diced
3 stalks of celery diced
1 can of peas
1 can of corn
1 package of Pillsbury grands biscuit dough

1. Place the chicken, butter, soup and veggies in a slow cooker and fill with enough water to cover.
2. Cook on high for 4-6 hours.
3. Roll the biscuit dough into small balls and add to the crock pot about an hour before serving. 

I improvised a little by adding the peas and corn, but it was a quick and easy way to add vegetables to the meal. The original recipe also calls for 2 packages of biscuit dough, but I thought that would be too much. The total prep time took about 10-mins and I love a one pot meal! It's a very hearty and filling meal, perfect for a cold winter day... or a rainy day in Florida.

Love always,
Ian, Kim, Bella & Baby #2

Monday, February 6, 2012

The ABC's

For the past couple of weeks, Bella has come to love a particular song... that song being "the ABC's." She has several toys that sing the ABC's but she recently began singing along. Her alphabet is pretty good for a 22-month-old and I'm quite impressed that she is learning her alphabet. Not only is she singing along, but she will bust out the ABC's all on her own.

She has foam letters to play with in the bath tub and she has also recently began identifying a few letters here and there. She is familiar with the letters "M", "P" and "J". When she doesn't see one of those letters, she immediately asks for the letter that is missing. I have no idea how she learned this, but again I am very impressed. She talks and she talks a lot. I love that about her! I once made a list of words Bella commonly used. Well that list has expanded immensely. It's difficult to keep up with her new words, so I'll spare y'all (and my brain) the trouble. She also puts sentences together, which can be hilarious. One of her favorite phrases is, "Uh oh, Kaiser pooped outside."  I also admire her politeness. She says, "please" and "thank you." Her verbal communication skills are expanding each and every day and I love being able to communicate with her to ensure her wants and needs are being addressed.

Bella also enjoys counting. While she only counts up to 5 on her own, she will count with us when we count to 10. For awhile she would count "1, 2, 4, 5" and completely skip over 3. We often ask Bella questions about how many things there are or count while we're waiting for something. Hopefully she is a little bean counter, like Ian, because my skills are certainly lacking in the numbers department. Actually, I hope and pray that she inherits her father's numerical intellect because I am REALLY deficient in this area.

And no, I'm not claiming that my child is a genius or a child prodigy. Nor do I think she is smarter than any of her peers. Children develop intellectually and learn at different levels and I think that my child is developing just as she should be. I will say that I think my child is pretty darn intelligent and I am very proud of that. Learning her ABC's and counting is just two more milestones in Bella's childhood. And I suppose her ability to count and recite her ABC's are just a few reassurances that Ian and I must be doing something right... either that or the child really is a Mensa.

Love always,
Ian, Kim, Bella & Baby #2

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Gotta Keep Going?

We planned to do something fun and outdoors today, but my body had other ideas. I woke up at 8:30am (sleeping in around here) and didn't feel quite well. My back was bothering me and I just felt run down. I chalked it up to pregnancy catching up with me and decided I'd better take it easy for the day. What a bummer on a beautiful Sunday!

Ian took Bella outside for a walk in her wagon. She loves that wagon and I'm beginning to think Ian loves it as much as she does! They went on a nice, long walk around our neighborhood and tool time to stop to chat with the neighbors. Once they returned from their walk, Bella asked to go outside again. This time they went for a walk, without the wagon. Their walks allowed me to relax on the couch for awhile and I apparently needed to do this.

All week long I chase after Bella, pick up Bella, clean, cook and try to stay as active as possible. Sometimes I push myself and I later regret doing so. Whether it's picking up Bella to hold her or hoisting the stroller out of the trunk, my body takes a beating... daily. I've found ways to give myself a little relief, which include letting Bella climb up and down the stairs, rather than carrying her. I would never deny a request by Bella to hold her, but lugging a 25-pound toddler up and down the stairs several times a day isn't easy with a a pregnant belly. I also refuse to sit around the house and do nothing all day, so Bella and I will try to maintain our weekly schedule of play dates, outings with friends and music class. I will keep pushing myself for as long as I can... or until someone tells me otherwise.

Our day was completed with a visit with our friends, the Freedmans, to watch the Super Bowl and enjoy some yummy food. The kids played all evening long and danced to Madonna during the half-time show. It was adorable! We made it until almost 9pm, when Bella had reached her breaking point. It was way past her bedtime and we needed to get home to get her to bed. Bella was fast asleep by 9:30pm and we aren't too far behind her. My body is craving sleep and who am I to deny my body such a wonderful thing?

Love always,
Ian, Kim, Bella & Baby #2

Saturday, February 4, 2012

We went to our third (elective) ultrasound today at Meet the Baby. At first baby #2 was asleep with her backside turned toward us. After a few minutes she woke up, but refused to cooperate otherwise. She flipped her little body but turned her head away from us. We were there for about 25 minutes and were about to reschedule, but the u/s technician had another idea. This is when she called for back up...

With two u/s technicians by my side, we talked to, sang to and jiggled baby #2 into a better position for the u/s. At first baby #2 seemed more annoyed than anything else, but once she got going, she started posing and giving us some pretty good shots. I honestly wouldn't have minded returning for another u/s but I was happy she finally cooperated! I need to give a shout out to my ladies at Meet the Baby in Brandon... thank you for giving us some beautiful shots of our baby girl!

She already looks so much like Bella!
Look at that perfect little hand!
Love that cute little face.
Smiling already!
Another funny anecdote from the day was the way baby #2 would respond to the sound of Bella's voice. Ian took Bella out for a break and upon their return, Bella was giggling, shrieking and talking (quite loudly). Much to our amazement, baby #2 moved her head toward the sound of Bella's voice! It was so cool! We encouraged Bella to talk to baby #2 and we watched in awe as baby #2 continued to move to the sound of Bella's voice. These two little girls are bonding before baby #2 even makes her debut. 

We left with over 80 images of baby #2 and a DVD. I can't say we ever watched Bella's u/s DVD, but maybe that is something we can show to the girls when they're a little older. It's pretty amazing to have these keepsakes, even if u/s images tend to look a little creepy to the average eye. Before leaving, we scheduled a maternity photo shoot. I can honestly say that I am not looking forward to the photo shoot. I don't like having my picture taken on a normal day, much less when I'm 32-weeks pregnant. This is not something we did when I was pregnant with Bella and I've always kind of regretted it. I'm hoping we get a few decent shots that we can actually share with people. Here's to hoping!

I loved seeing baby #2 today and I'm a little sad we won't get to see her again until she arrives. I'll be 30-weeks on Tuesday, which means we'll be meeting this little girl in about 10-weeks! If she's as punctual as Bella, she will arrive a little bit early. Bella was born at 38-weeks, so if baby #2 follows in her sister's footsteps, we could be meeting her in only 8-weeks... how exciting!

Love always,
Ian, Kim, Bella & Baby #2

Friday, February 3, 2012

It's Friday

After a long, but productive week, it's finally Friday! While it's been a fun week, I am one tired mama. Having Ian out of town for three days didn't help either, but Bella and I managed to keep ourselves occupied while he was away.

Today was our typical Friday: Sprouts and lunch with our friends. The moms were all pretty tired, but what do you expect when 6 out of 7 of us are pregnant?!? Yup, we've added two more to the preggo club. Sara C. and Heather are also expecting, but aren't due until August and September. It's going to be an interesting year for all of us with our new additions. But anyway... the kids played especially well together today and so we moms were able to rest, if only for a moment.

We had lunch at the Green Iguana, which is always yummy. The kids were so well behaved and we were able to enjoy a great deal of adult conversation. After lunch, we headed home for nap time. Bella took an almost 4-hour nap and so I took a 2-hour nap. After not being able to fall asleep until almost 1am last night due to nausea and heartburn, I was exhausted. I needed that nap, but I'm hoping I don't regret it at bedtime tonight.

While Ian was making dinner, I ran to Publix for a few necessities for the weekend. We go through so much fruit, vegetables and milk, it's not even funny. While I'm thankful that Bella eats a relatively healthy diet, buying fresh fruits and vegetables can get expensive. Tonight I bought a pound of strawberries, a carton of blueberries, a carton of raspberries and a carton of blackberries. Bella loves herself some berries! Thank goodness it's strawberry season in Florida and not only are the strawberries extra delicious but they're much cheaper! Hopefully our stash of berries lasts us until at least Monday.

Our DVR is packed with shows we need to catch up on. I'm praying that my anti-nausea meds do their job tonight and I don't have to deal with that tonight because I could really use a good night's sleep. We have an appointment for an ultrasound tomorrow morning... Yay!

Love always,
Ian, Kim, Bella & Baby #2

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Outdoor Play Time

All of Bella's friends have really cool outdoor toys and I'm beginning to think that Bella is lacking in that department. Sure, she has her very own (heated) pool and spa, but that requires one of us getting in the water with her. She has a wagon, which we go on walks with and the Little Tikes turtle sandbox. She loves the wagon, but prefers to be in her stroller. She loves to play in the sand, but she doesn't like to sit in the sandbox. We have a great backyard and a big screen in lanai, so I'd love to be taking advantage of the gorgeous weather we've been having. This all leads me to my current "wish list" for Bella...

I listed the Little Tikes turtle sandbox on Craigslist on hopes of pawning it off on someone else. I bought it on sale and with a coupon for $30 last fall, but it retails for $50, so I listed it for $30 in hopes of getting $25. Sure enough, a lady offered me $20 and I counter-offered at $25 and she will be picking it up tomorrow evening. Don't get me wrong, it's a nice sandbox, but Bella doesn't like to sit in the sand to play. She would much rather have a sand-table... or so I think. I spent some time today researching sand and water tables and found one that received great reviews. It's the Step 2 Adjustable Sand & Water Table. It's adjustable in that the legs can be moved to increase/decrease the height of the table. Hopefully this means we can get a little more use out of it than our sandbox. She seems to enjoy playing with her friends' tables, so why wouldn't she love her own table? I love the fact that it comes with a cover, so the sand should stay dry (from the rain). I also love the quick drain at the bottom of the water table. Our lanai has drainage channels, so it should be relatively easy to change out the water. Even though we will be keeping this under the covered part of our lanai, I love the umbrella for extra sun protection! Our local Toys-R-Us carries this table, so we will hopefully be able to pick it up this weekend.

I have also been researching swing sets. I will start by saying that I would absolutely LOVE one of the Rainbow play systems, but that simply isn't practical. We're not sure how long we plan in staying in this house and I'd hate to buy a $2000 swing set and have to leave it behind or pay nearly as much to move it. Plus, Bella is a little young for a huge swing set and I'd prefer something a little smaller. Basically, she loves to climb, play in a little hidden area and slide down the slide. I don't want something huge and I want something that's mobile. I'd prefer to keep this on the lanai because it's shaded and so the play set won't kill the grass. I came across the Step 2 Kangaroo Climber. It's compact enough to keep on the lanai but still big enough for toddlers to climb and slide on. I actually found one on Craigslist for $65 so we will be picking it up this weekend. Buying one for over half off on Craigslist makes me feel less guilty if it doesn't work us. I can simply re-list on Craigslist and try something else.
I hope Bella will enjoy her new outdoor toys and this will get us some good outdoor time. It will also be nice not to have to chase her around a park or playground with my pregnant belly. Plus, Bella will get time to play outside once baby #2 arrives and we become temporary hermits. I can't believe my little baby Bella is growing up so quickly and will actually be able to enjoy these outdoor toys. I remember when a sandbox or play set seemed like a foreign concept to me because Bella was so little. Where has the time gone?!?

Love always,
Ian, Kim, Bella & Baby #2