Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Gender Ultrasound and 21 Week Appt

I had my big ultrasound earlier this week! Adam and I took Ryan along with us so he could see the baby on the screen. We are very thankful that everything about the baby looks totally healthy. And he's still a BOY! The technician was absolutely positive. He is weighing about 1 pound now and has the cutest little profile. He would not stop wiggling and kicking the entire time. Another active baby I guess! Yikes. Because he was so active, the technician wasn't able to get a great picture of his spine, so I may need to go back to redo those images. During the ultrasound he kept opening and closing his mouth, like he was trying to drink or eat. It was fun to see a real live baby on the screen. It makes things a lot more real.

Then yesterday I had my 21-week appointment with my doctor. Here are my stats from that appointment:

Blood Presure: 105/44
Total Weight Gain: 13 pounds

We discussed my heart/chest pain, and she didn't really have any new suggestions, other than to go to my EKG stress test at the end of the month to make sure everything is okay. I brought up the idea of needing extra magnesium, since a few people suggested that to me. I had my blood drawn to check my magnesium levels (and once again my blood would NOT come out). My results came back in the normal range, although barely. So I may start taking a magnesium supplement to see if it at least helps with my nighttime leg cramps.

Other than that, the appointment was quick and easy. Baby and I are measuring right on track!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Pumpkin Patching

Lucas had a field trip to Bishops Pumpkin Farm this month, so of course Jenna and I joined him. We rode the train, watched a play, rode the carousel, bought a pumpkin pie, and of course rode a tractor to pick pumpkins!

Jenna was very excited about the train!
 Out in the pumpkin field Lucas and Jenna selected their pumpkins to bring home. The only problem is that Ryan was in school, so he didn't get to experience Bishops.
The next weekend I went with my sister to Loomis Flower Farm, where they also have a little pumpkin patch.
 We had a lot of fun, but unfortunately Ryan chose to stay behind at home with one of his cousins. So he missed out on getting a pumpkin again! I told him we could walk down to the local grocery store and buy one, but that's just not going to cut it.
Ryan keeps asking me if we can go to the Bay Area to go to our old pumpkin patch. It's a great idea, but I'm not sure it's going to happen before Halloween. Today Ryan has a field trip to a local farm, so I'm hoping he gets to bring home a pumpkin. Then I think our pumpkin patching will be complete for the year!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

20 Week Pregnancy Update

I'm officially halfway through this pregnancy, and this was an interesting week! Next week is my big ultrasound so I'm really excited for that, and anxious to see if they confirm we are having a boy.
I'll start with the boring stuff. I began having the dreaded middle-of-the-night leg cramps. I get them with every pregnancy and they are excruciating. Mine last a long time so I will often be pacing the room in the middle of the night, trying not to yell out in pain while I wait for them to pass.

I'm still pretty tired. I have normal energy in the morning but by afternoon my body just wants to rest. After I walk to school with the double stroller to pick up Ryan and then walk back home....I am tired! I feel like such an out of shape old lady, huffing and puffing.

On Saturday night I started having chest pains. They began pretty infrequently, and they would only last a few seconds. I noticed them again on Sunday, but couldn't pinpoint what was triggering them. The pain is right where I think my heart is, which is obviously a little worrisome. I have never experienced chest pains before. On Monday they were happening much more frequently, along with these strange "adrenaline rushes" across my chest. Does anyone know what I'm talking about? You know how when you are startled, sometimes you get a wave of warm tingling across your chest? I started having that feeling a lot on Monday. I'm not sure if the pain was making me anxious and causing this fight-or-flight reaction, or if the warm tingling is related to the chest pain. But then on Tuesday I noticed the pain got worse when I went on a walk with the kids, and almost nonexistent when I sat and relaxed.

I saw my doctor late in the day on Tuesday and they did a short EKG, which looked good. Everything checked out fine but they couldn't figure out what was causing the chest pain. My lungs sounded good, and it didn't appear to be a pulled muscle. The pain was feeling like a sharp zing across my heart. I knew that with my history of anxiety, that would be an easy explanation for all of this. But the doctor didn't think that was the cause, so she sent me across town to Labor and Delivery to be monitored. I was there for a couple hours.

They tried to draw some blood to check for a blood clot, but had a heart time getting any blood out of me. After many pricks to find a vein large enough, they finally got a few drops of blood out of my hand and then it just stopped flowing. Ha! The nurse said she has never seen such slow moving blood or small veins. When they finally got enough, the test came back fine. At this point the L&D doctor came in and talked to me, and said he suspects stress or anxiety is in fact causing the pain. I don't logically understand how being stressed can cause chest pain, but he said it is quite common. Nevertheless, he is a little concerned that physical activity seems to trigger more frequent pain in my chest. So I am being referred to cardiology for a treadmill stress test. The doctor joked that they should bring my kids in during the test and see how that affects my heart.

So that was my week in a nutshell. The baby's heart sounded great at the doctor and I am feeling him move a lot now. Now we just wait for the stress test and the ultrasound to confirm everything is perfect.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


I've had this post about Lucas written in my head for the past month or so. You see, for about a month at the beginning of the school year, I was seeing a big change in Lucas.
He was being gentler with his sister, and getting along better with his big brother.
He was having fewer tantrums. And when Lucas did get in trouble, he would actually STAY in his timeout. Seriously, this never used to happen. I noticed he was calming down more easily and apologizing much more readily.

Lucas was also becoming more responsible. He started putting his shoes and backpack away without being asked. Waking up and getting dressed before even coming downstairs.

He was becoming more gentle. Not nearly as much hitting and aggressive or destructive behavior. He was happy and agreeable and I no longer lived in fear of taking him out in to public.

Adam noticed the change as well. We talked excitedly about how Lucas was finally outgrowing his terrible 2's and 3's, and maturing into a calmer 4 yr old. We even questioned the potential diagnosis of ADHD given to us by his behavior specialist.

And then the last two weeks happened.

It was like we were right back in the throes of the last two years. Back to the never-ending rages. Back to the aggression. The hitting, kicking, biting, throwing, destroying. Back to zero impulse control. Back to the violent mood swings and inability to handle being told NO. Back to me living in fear of leaving my kids alone together for more than a couple minutes.

Back to the utter exhaustion at the end of the day, followed by the internal monologue of "What am I doing wrong here?"
It reminded me of when a baby first sleeps through the night and you think FINALLY. We are past that difficult stage! Then a few nights later they start waking up every hour, and you feel like you're back to square one. Fooled you Mommy! Just kidding!

But oh you guys. I saw a glimpse of what Lucas is going to be like when he matures. And it was amazing. Life was easier. More fun. More calm. All the things we love about Lucas without all the angst. I know he has better behavior in him, so I am encouraged by this last month of behavior. It was just the glimpse I needed. I am confident that our efforts are not all in vain. Slowly but surely he will mature and grow up to be an even more amazing person.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Stitch Fix Review #25

I'm back with my 25th Stitch Fix box! I haven't received a "fix" in 5 whole months, (read my last review here) so I was really excited to dig in to this box. After assessing my maternity wardrobe I realized I had a few gaps to fill in. Although I hate to invest in maternity clothes, the fact remains that I will be dressing my expanding body in maternity clothes for approximately the next 6 plus months. (I'm already halfway through this pregnancy...yikes!)

For this box I requested the following items: maternity skinny jeans, a plaid top, Fall colors, a non-maternity cardigan to wear now as well as post-baby, a dolman-style stretchy top/tunic, and dark colored sneakers. I stressed that I like to be really comfortable during my pregnancy, but that I'd also like clothes that make me feel pretty and stylish. I told her I wouldn't mind receiving mostly non-maternity items, as long as I can layer and wear them now, as well as in the future. Like I said, I hate spending money on maternity clothes. It seems like such a waste, and yet such a necessity.
Here is my personalized note from my new stylist. (My previous stylist retired, so I'm kind of starting over with a new stylist who is trying to get to know me.)

"Congratulations on expecting your fourth tiny human, Stephanie! I am thrilled to be styling you at such a special time in your life and in your Stitch Fix journey. I sure hope you are feeling well and have skipped any morning sickness (knock on wood!). The sea sickness bands worked wonders for me. Unfortunately, I had no non-maternity dolman style tops in stock for this Fix, but I think the Laila Jayde maternity dolman will still work fine for postpartum. Wear this top with the yummy deep purple skinny jeans and don't forget the plaid scarf. I picked out the scarf since no plaid tops were in stock, but I will keep my eyes peeled for a plaid top! I went adventurous with my vest choice and chose the boho-inspired Blank NYC to layer your fall colored tops. The cardigan I've included is machine washable, score! Happy styling, lovely. Blake <3 i="">
Well my new stylist sounds nice, right? I think she did a great job listening to my requests, given the fact that she doesn't really "know" my style yet. Here is what I received in my very first Maternity fix:

Chassin Faux Leather and Faux Fur Drape Vest by Blank NYC
Ok I'm just going to say it. This vest scared me when I pulled it out of the box. I'm not really a fur kind of girl. Then I tried it on and thought "maybe??". The faux fur is SO SO soft. And I actually really love the way the rest of the vest looks, where it is a faux leather. I do love wearing vests as a layering piece. I think they can really add interest to an outfit. I own a blue puffer vest as well as a green military vest, and wear both quite often in the cold weather. But the fur lapels on this vest are just not me. It's too fussy for my lifestyle, and although I'd love to be brave enough to wear this, I'm just not. Maybe when my kids are a little older! Status: Returning

Macki Space Dye Maternity Knit Top by Laila Jayde
 Once I decided against the vest I knew I wouldn't be buying all 5 items and taking advantage of the 25% discount. Therefore, I started to look at the other items with a more critical eye. I liked this top just fine. It was comfy and stretchy and potentially long enough to wear over leggings, especially once I'm not pregnant. But once I tried it on I just didn't love the color on me. It was sort of a blah cross between blue and grey and Adam agreed that it didn't do anything for me at all. I tend to shy away from more form-fitting clothes when I'm pregnant because I'm self-conscious about my increasing weight. Although now that I look at these photos I think it looks pretty nice. Status: Returning

Sammie Plaid Infinity Scarf by Look by M
I love this scarf! The colors are just perfect for Fall, and I do love plaid. The fact that it contains many colors means it would go with a variety of tops I own. However, this scarf is $34. I just feel like I could find a similar scarf for half this price, and be just as happy with it. I have been wearing scarves more often the past couple of years. They are especially nice in the morning when walking to school in 30-degree weather. So I think I'm on the hunt now for an inexpensive plaid scarf. I've got my eye on this one. I hope I don't regret returning the Stitch Fix scarf. Status: Returning

Adorra Maternity Skinny Jean by Just Black

When I asked for maternity skinny jeans, I had basic blue denim in mind. These burgundy jeans were a surprise, but a really nice one! At first glance they looked a little small, but they fit perfectly. They are so soft. Have you ever heard people describe jeans as feeling like butter? Well these jeans feel like butter. They almost feel like leggings because they are so stretchy and soft. Normally I hate overly stretchy jeans because they sag off of me, but the full maternity panel on the stomach of these jeans means they stay in place nicely. I looked in my closet and found 6 long-sleeve tops or sweaters that would look cute with these jeans, so I think they will be very versatile! And if I don't find a basic pair of blue maternity skinny jeans, I guess I can tuck my bootcut blue jeans into my tall boots and get the skinny jean effect that way. Status: Keeping

Odesza Graphic Print Cardigan by Market and Spruce

I went back and forth about this sweater! It is exactly what I asked for. A non-maternity cardigan that I can wrap myself up in and feel comfy and cozy. It looks great with the burgundy jeans I'm keeping, and it would look great over many different colored tops. The one thing that bothers me about it is the chest/lapel area. I don't like how it draws attention to that area of my body. While I want a warm thick cardigan, I also want it to drape nicely and compliment my figure. When I look at these photos I can see that the sweater isn't incredibly flattering, both in color and fit. (if you want to see what your clothes really look like, take pictures of yourself in them! It's very enlightening.) It was a tough choice but I think I'm going to return this one and request a cardigan in a slightly different cut. Status: Returning

I found a fabulous new pair of jeans in this fix, and I am very happy with my purchase! There are still a few holes in my wardrobe, though. Like some warmer items to bundle up in as temperatures drop. My plan is to immediately request another fix, and then stop them for the rest of my pregnancy. I want to get the most wear out of my maternity clothes, so I want to get them in my closet and start wearing them now. I'll halt all my shopping after my next fix and then take a look at my wardrobe again once I'm losing the baby weight in the Spring.

Have you updated your Fall wardrobe yet? You should really try Stitch Fix! It is SO fun, convenient, and helpful for those of us who need a little style boost. Feel free to ask me any questions about the service, or schedule your first fix here:

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Reasons Why I'm Late

I hate being late. Hate it. I'd rather plan ahead and be prepared so that I'm early. But kids change everything. Here are a few real-life scenarios that have happened over the last few weeks.

I was stupidly optimistic and thought my kids would listen when I said it was time to go.

A child hands me a large booger in the car while I'm driving, making me pull over to find a wipe.

My fully potty-trained child couldn't get their pants unbuttoned in time.

My fully potty-trained child decided to potty in their pants.

My potty-training child decides it's time to sit on the potty for 15 minutes as we are walking out the door.

One child discovers their brother has 1 more cracker in their snack bag and this situation must be rectified immediately.

Someone throws a guitar at someone's head.

Someone's missing shoe is on the roof.

My child can feel the seam on their sock.

That same child can feel the tongue of their shoe.

That same child can feel a tag in their shirt.

That same child has their long sleeves caught in their sweatshirt sleeve.

My child refuses to buckle his carseat.

My fully buckled child decides they need a drink, toy, snack, etc.

Someone hid my car keys.

My naked child decides they don't need to wear clothes today.

Someone has an invisible owie that needs 5 bandaids.

If I'm late, now you know why! Why are you late?

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Week of Dinners #4

Another round-up of our recent meals. Let me know what you've been cooking!

Sunday: Baked Chicken Parmesan, Whole Wheat Spaghetti, Broccoli and Cauliflower
I made a baked chicken parmesan recipe from my Sheet Pan Suppers cookbook. I had sliced it on my plate, so that's why it looks a little strange! On the side I had whole wheat spaghetti with the extra sauce, and some steamed broccoli and cauliflower. Here is the chicken on the sheet pan.
Monday: Steak, Baked Potatoes, Asparagus, Salad with Homemade dressing, Homemade Chocolate Eclairs
This was such a treat night! My Mother-in-law was visiting and it was her birthday, so I tried to make a special birthday dinner for her. We BBQ'd some New York strip steak that was just simply seasoned with salt and pepper. I made baked potatoes that I rubbed with olive oil and salt before baking, to ensure a crispy skin. On the side I roasted asparagus. In addition, I made a homemade blue cheese salad dressing to go on top of iceburg and cucumber. I absolutely love blue cheese and gorgonzola but I don't buy them often because nobody else in this house will eat them. It's fun cooking for someone who will eat these things!

I knew the birthday girl liked chocolate eclairs, and I went searching for them at Whole Foods. They no longer make them there, but the cashier assured me they were easy to make. So I went ahead and tried! Before this I had never seen, tasted, or made an éclair. I honestly had no idea what they were. But I thought they turned out really well! Of course I had nothing to compare them to, but I'd give them a thumbs up!

 Tuesday: Spaghetti Squash stuffed with turkey and veggies
After the previous night's decadent dinner I wanted something a bit lighter. I halved and roasted a spaghetti squash and then shredded it to make "noodles". On the stove I sautéed ground turkey with tomatoes, spinach, oregano, basil, garlic and onion. I topped the "noodles" with the turkey veggie mixture and then sprinkled a little parmesan on top before baking for another 10 minutes. Jenna and I thought it was delicious!

 Wednesday: Chile Lime Salmon, Cilantro Lime Rice and Beans, Raspberries
I had picked up this new chile lime seasoning at Trader Joe's last month and finally got around to trying it. I sprinkled it on salmon and then baked. It turned out to be really mild so next time I will be more heavy-handed with the seasoning. On the side I mixed together brown rice, black beans, cilantro and lime juice. Served with sweet raspberries!

Thursday: Broccoli Cauliflower Cheddar Soup, Cheddar Garlic Whole Wheat Biscuits
I've made broccoli cheddar soup many times but have never added cauliflower until now. I can't locate the recipe I used, but it was pretty basic. Onion, garlic, broccoli, cauliflower, chicken broth, half and half, shredded cheddar, thyme......I think that's it? It turned out to have great flavor and Adam loved it! On the side I made our favorite whole wheat cheddar garlic biscuits, recipe found here. I called them "cheezit muffins" and so Ryan decided to try one. He said it was really good, but he only took 2 small bites before he was done. At least he tried something new!

Friday: Pork Tenderloin with Potatoes, Onions, Carrots. Iceburg and cucumber with homemade blue cheese dressing

I decided to make kind of a pot roast using pork instead of beef. I rubbed the pork tenderloin with dried onion soup mix (I either make it from scratch or buy the all natural kind at Trader Joe's). Then I chopped up a bunch of potatoes, onions and carrots and added to the dish and topped with water before roasting. I made a new batch of blue cheese dressing and topped more iceburg and cucumbers. (Bought a lot at Costco!)

And just to keep things real, Saturday night was a mish-mash of a whole bunch of leftovers because I was tired of cooking! (And I can't let food go to waste)
OK now I need your help. What are your favorite crock-pot meals and/or quick meals you can prepare ahead of time? I have a few days coming up where I'll be out of the house during the late afternoon and I need some easy dinner ideas!