happy

still here, still squawking, still ridiculous.

i know that this blog has turned into a baby book substitute for my poor second-born child (i’m sorry william, i promise i will get you a real baby book like your sister has), and for that i…well, i don’t know what. do i apologize? i don’t think anyone was made that i went MIA. do i feel bad? kind of, but only for myself for not making my creative outlet more of a focus during this crazy time. i guess i feel like i miss the people who i interact with on this blog, and so maybe that’s it. maybe i just say that i’ve missed you all, whoever you are that come here to read my ridiculous squawking about the important and unimportant goings-on in my head.

i really like that this is a place that i can let my weird sense of dry humor show, and where i can update my faraway friends and loved ones, and where i can showcase my love of good old-fashioned home cooking and strong cocktails. and maybe write a heartfelt essay or two along the way that resonates with a few of you. this blog is not a blog like blogs have become over the past three years. and it won’t ever be that kind of a blog. even if or when i get my editorial calendar back on track, it will never be belong in the shiny, curated part of the internet with everyone else’s stylized (although maybe a little homogenous) stuff. and i hope that might be a tiny reason why people still read my blog…because it’s just me. and if you like me for me, what more could i ask for?

i have a recipe post lined up for next week, and somewhere, way down deep inside of me, there is some inspiration that’s starting to bubble up through the sleep deprivation that is part and parcel of being a working mom of two little ones. so while the baby book posts will still be a big part of how this blog is happening, you’ll start to see more of me sprinkled throughout this space. and i hope you’ll be here for all of it.

[that got weirdly deep, and i didn’t think it would. that’s what happens when you give me a beer and let me type without thinking for a few minutes….]

well let’s give a quick update into what’s happening in my life besides the whole child-rearing gig, shall we?

  • marriage is a whole different ballgame when there are two kids involved, but even through all the adjustments and general mayhem, i’m delighted to report that Mister Man and i are still very happily married. and what’s more, we will have been very happily married for five years as of june 1. in honor of this momentous occasion, we’ve decided to take a rather large, rather fun trip to the united kingdom in the fall, and it has been so much fun planning it out together! this will be our first trip to europe together, and my first time back since just after college, and i could not be more excited to take a trip, just my love and i, all the way across the pond. more on that as it comes together!
  • speaking of different ballgames…postpartum bodies are crazy. i won’t get into details, so as not to scare anyone off from having kids, but let’s just say that after baby number two, the snap back isn’t as snappy as it was with baby number one. i was in a big rut of eating ice cream every night, and dangerously close to the “eff it all” mentality, when i luckily was given the opportunity to do some nutrition and fitness coaching with katie over at belle fitness and nutrition. holy wow you guys. firstly, she is basically superwoman. she runs her own business, solo parents THREE children a lot of the time, and still has the best attitude around. secondly, she just gets how to help people fit good nutrition and fitness into their lives where they are. i don’t even have a gym membership, so she gave me some at home workouts, and they truly work (and i feel like i can make time for them, which is saying something). between her workouts and the nutrition program she works with, i’ve lost actual inches from my body in two months. i’m visibly slimming down, and it doesn’t feel like i’ve turned my life upside down to do it. because i wouldn’t have done it if it was too complicated. what i’m trying to say is, she’s amazing. if you’re in the market for a simple way to work good nutrition and fitness into your life, PLEASE check her out.
  • i’m drinking so much coffee these days you guys. like, i’m wondering when it qualifies as a problem. i’m walking a fine line between enjoying my daily coffee(s) and being fully dependent on them. i’m starting to justify the lattes at work by saying they are part of my daily protein intake, but we all know that it’s the espresso that i’m jonesing for. does anyone have experience in breaking a caffeine addiction while being sleep deprived that doesn’t involve actually giving up all caffeine? i’m not really going to do anything about it, but just in case i find myself getting worse…
  • i don’t know if any of you noticed that i have a second instagram now…in the absence of having the energy to write actual blog posts, i’ve been really into instagram and posting little micro-blog posts there. i’m also very into instagram stories. i mostly tell ridiculous stories about things my kids do to me, and every so often i can be pretty funny if you’re into that sort of thing. ANYWAY. if you read this blog, you’re cool and you already know that i’m halfway crunchy and into cooking from scratch, and natural cleaning products, and just generally being as much like laura ingalls as i can be. but my instagram is also a place where a lot of my irl contacts follow me, and i just find that the engagement for the crunchy stuff wasn’t there. i want people who like that sort of thing to be able to choose to see it and enjoy it if they want to. plus, i started posting a lot about essential oils, and i know that can trigger a lot of people because it’s gotten a bit crazy these days (and essential oil people can be a bit nutty if we’re being honest). so it all went into a separate account. all that being said, if you like that sort of thing (natural home and essential oil and simplified living), go ahead and follow me @withloveathome. also, a lot of people have asked so i’ll say it here: i’m not a big seller of essential oils, but i am a big fan of them, so if you ever have questions, or want me to order you some with my discount, or want to order them yourself, please don’t hesitate to ask.
  • i am an AUNTIE!!! our gorgeous niece, grace, arrived on april 21, and i am so excited to be an aunt i could just scream. it’s the weirdest feeling but there is something so cool about seeing your siblings have kids! Amelia is already obsessed with “baby grace”, and she and William are only six months apart, so i cannot wait to see how their relationship grows as they get older. i love my cousins so much, they are some of my best friends to this day, and i hope for the same for my kids.

thanks for being here and for giving me grace and for loving my silliness through it all. i love you all right back.

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five things.

sometimes when i don’t have a lot to say about life, either because we’re being oh so routine or because it’s moving so quickly and happily along, i like to write these types of posts. they’re a fun little way for me to share more of the random parts about myself. my last one revealed the insane way i eat my skittles….so you know, pretty hard-hitting stuff!

hope you enjoy. happy friday and all that!

***

1) i’m super into midi-rings right now. i’m about a million years late to the party, just like i am with everything. but there is just something so subtle and awesome about them, i don’t know i just LOVE THEM. the ones i have are tiny little rose gold ones from this etsy shop, and i wear them every day.

midi rings

2) do you guys remember raffi? i didn’t until my mother-in-law told me she had been playing him for amelia and then WHAM hello flashbacks. i mean how could i forget classics like “baby beluga”, “apples and bananas”, and “octupus’s garden”!? be careful though…all his songs are serious earworms and you’ll be humming them all weekend.

3) i recently changed jobs at work, and subsequently moved desks. my new desk is by a window (awesome) in an office with no microwave or coffeemaker (terrible). this leaves me without hot water, and i drink quite a lot of mother’s milk tea during the day, too much to be running into the main building to use a microwave. so i bought an electric kettle and snuck it into my cube. electric kettles and the like are considered contraband you see. apparently hot water is all it takes to make me into a rebel without a cause.

kettle

4) if i never had to go clothes shopping in an actual store, i wouldn’t. it just feels like such an ordeal to get dressed and ready just to go get undressed to try on other clothes. am i the only girl alive who feels that way? i’m going to try to see how long i can shop for amelia exclusively online before she demands i take her to a real mall. maybe by that time malls won’t exist anymore?

5) if you’ve been around for a while, you might remember my obsession with this candle? well did you know they stopped making that scent this year? (if any of you knew this ahead of time and didn’t warn me…) i was very sad for a while, until i found a scent that is EXACTLY like it, called warm caramel cider. i may have definitely bought too many of them this fall and now have nowhere to store them.

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a hand on my belly.

we’re sitting on the couch together, watching some show or another, as we do so often now. you stay in a lot when only one of you can drink and the other one has trouble staying up past 11:00pm. it’s just more fun that way, plus you can wear your soft clothes. so we’re watching our show, relaxing after a long day of cleaning the house (me) and working on the nursery (him). the nesting has started with a vengeance in both of us, with every inch of the house getting scrubbed and dusted and polished. it’s our way of controlling the very uncontrollable parts of this new chapter that’s speeding into our lives.

all of a sudden, he puts his hand on my belly. or as we call it in this household, the baby. my belly has ceased to be my belly, it’s now the baby’s house.

joe and baby

he does this a lot, but for some reason it makes me stop and notice this time. so much has changed in just a few short months.

***

in the beginning, me being pregnant was nothing but an abstract for him. it was something that could only be proven by two pink lines on a stick, and a couple blurry black and white pictures of what the ultrasound tech assured us was our baby. he had to take me at my word that the reason i couldn’t stay up past nine was because there was a little human inside me taking all my energy to grow its fingers and toes and eyelashes.

none of this was “real” to him. the idea of being a dad was just that – an idea. a hypothetical role to be filled at some point in the future, but not just yet. then one day, he put his hand on my belly and he felt our baby move. and that’s when the pieces of the puzzle started to fit. this was no longer just an idea, something that was going to happen, but hadn’t yet. this was something that was actively happening, now, right in front of him. it ceased to exist in the abstract and became real.

***

now the hand on my belly is a nightly tradition. he plays with baby z. to see if he can get a response back to his pokes. he lays his head on my belly to talk to the little one, mostly telling baby how he’s going to be the fun parent and to always listen to him (baby usually gives him a little punch to the face to set him straight, don’t worry). goodnights always include me and the baby.

and on this night, for whatever reason (maybe all the nesting), it hits me that this is him embracing fatherhood. he knows he’s a dad now, and even though that little boy or girl is still tucked away in my belly, this is his way of spending quality time with them. as endearing as they are, all the nursery prep and diaper lessons in the world can’t compare with how wonderful it is to see that hand on my belly.

i love this man more than words can describe, and to think that i will love him even more when we get to meet our baby? that takes my breath away. so i smile, put my hand over his, and let the moment wash over me.

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the beard behind the blog.

i can’t talk about life over the past few months without talking about Mister Man aka my loving husband aka my baby daddy aka the best person in the world. without him, i would be living in filth, eating peanut butter sandwiches and sauerkraut for every meal, and just generally being miserable.

he has pulled so much more than his own weight since i’ve been pregnant. he cooks when i don’t have the energy (or the stomach) to do it. he shovels every time it snows, which is every damn day. and up until last weekend, i hadn’t done a load of laundry the entire first trimester. he has just taken care of me so well. and that’s huge, because he can’t see any outward signs that i’m pregnant…i haven’t gotten physically sick, and i don’t look pregnant at all. so he’s doing this all based on how i say i’m feeling. the man is a saint.

so in honor of the father of my child, who also happens to have been gloriously bearded until last night, here is the beard behind the blog:

mister man's beard1look at that handsome face. and that beard. ohmahgah. it’s a new rule in our house that the beard must be grown every winter.

mister man's beard2i call this the revolutionary soldier ‘do. not as good as the full beard. but perfect for playing hockey and distracting the goalie when he’s scoring on him. yes, the man still plays hockey and is pretty darn good if i do say so myself (not like i’m biased at all).

mister man's beard3german soldier circa world war I. fun fact about Mister Man: he’s a chemical engineer and a salesman. meaning he’s a first-degree nerd (read: smartypants) and a people person. pretty sure that’s like the human equivalent of a unicorn.

mister man's beard4ah, the classic ‘stache. this look is best rocked with a cardigan. which he happens to have quite the collection of in his closet. coincidentally, the first gift i ever gave him was a green j.crew cardigan. i think i knew even back then he was the classic type.

mister man's beard5i can’t with this. i just put it in here because it’s so ridiculously amazing, like him.

mister man's beard6this is the face i fell in love with, back before engagements and marriages and houses and babies were even on our minds. this is the face i realized i wanted to spend the rest of my life waking up next to, back on a snowed-in december weekend in 2011. i still like it quite a lot.

i owe him a lot of dinners and backrubs and his choice of radio station in the car (classic rock only for him) once this little lemon baby gets here. i’m very happy that he’s the one i get to have with me through all this. and i’m very happy that he has stuck with me through all the sauerkraut eating.

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and then there were three.

baby z coming august 2014

oh yes. baby z. will be making his or her appearance later this summer and mister man and i could not be more excited!

turns out that growing a tiny human being inside your own body takes the wind out of your sails, energy-wise, hence my absence from this space over the past few weeks. i feel myself coming out of the fog, ever so gradually, so i will be back in business very soon.

that means you’ll get to hear me squawk about food (oh how i cannot wait for my appetite to come back!), home projects, and snippets of daily life once again. i’ll probably throw in some funny stories about pregnancy, including tips on how to hide your new sobriety over the holidays.

thanks for being patient with me as i start to feel more like myself again. i’m excited for this next adventure in our lives to begin, and can’t wait to share it with all of you.

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