Month: February 2016

My Favorite Things: Costco edition

After attempting to buck the trend for (too) long, we joined Costco a little over a year ago.

That being said, the closet one to us is about 45 minutes away, so I only find myself there about once a month, sometimes less.

When I do go, I always look for my favorite staples and leave just a little wiggle room for impulse buys.  They always seem to get me with their clothing, of all things.  I’ve gotten workout gear that I love for both N and me, pajamas for the girls, and even a pair of Hunter boots.  Around Christmas time, I found a few great deals on toys for the girls and made a mental note about their American Girl discounted gift cards.  And don’t you just love their double-sided “sister carts” as my girls call them?

These are my favorite buys, in no particular order:

-Kirkland baby wipes.  These are THE BEST baby wipes I’ve ever used.  I like them because they are so big and textured.

-While I’m over in the paper goods, I always stock up on whatever is in low supply at our house: paper towels, napkins, foil, ziplocks, etc. the Kirkland brand is great!

-Nuts.  We eat a lot of nuts in our house and they have bulk bags for great prices.  I also love their dried fruit selection and prices for a boost to make trail mix

-Chicken packs, so much cheaper than the grocery store and high quality too.  We buy all of our beef and pork from local farmers but I have had their steaks (delicious) and salmon (so good) too

-Their Gluten free flour blend is great and much cheaper than our grocery store

-Frozen blueberries, we go through this whole 3lb bag in a month.  We add blueberries to our oatmeal, cereal, pancakes, and anything else we can think of

-Cheerios (finally gluten free!) and steel cut oats.  The oats are such a good price and the container lasts us about a month, depending on how “into” oatmeal we are that month

-peanut butter, I love their natural peanut butter and we go through both jars in about a month.

-Kerrygold butter, this is my favorite butter and I love buying it in bulk here

-Tomato paste, we use this for so many things, especially homemade pasta sauce and pizza sauce. I love having a large supply on hand

-coconut oil, this is THE BEST place to buy coconut oil in bulk and it is great.  We use it for cooking, baking, and sauteing (great butter replacement for MG)

-Maple syrup, another great bulk item and I love the consistency and quality of it.

(A lot of those things mentioned above are organic too, if you’re into that sort of thing)

No sponsorship here, just passing on a few tips for a place I’ve grown to love.

We are cold and wet over here, though the blizzard they called for (in our area at least) was a big flop.  It’s supposed to be really warm again Sunday and I’ve got some new fabric and monogramming to tide me over until then.



Cool as a Cucumber 

Today marks 28 weeks and the start of the third trimester.  That means I’m two-thirds done with this pregnancy! At most I have 14 weeks left, but potentially a lot less. It’s definitely starting to feel more real….

…as well as look it too.

While baby is now responding to my voice and is apparently able to dream, I am starting to become more and more aware of my larger size and growing belly.  Strangers are too as this month I’ve received my first “out of the blue” pregnancy comments, always a fun milestone to cross off.  I don’t mind these as the ratio of good comments far outweigh the insensitive ones, and I soak up the wisdom and wistfully loving looks given of the older generations.

Some of my complaints include rolling over in bed, getting up from a seated position, easily becoming tired, and running out of breath a lot.  I definitely don’t have the energy I did last month and could nap again almost every day if time allowed.  Honestly most afternoons, I feel just plain lazy.  I know this is just a passing phase though and nesting energy will hit soon enough.  When it does I will use it to my advantage, but until then, I am taking the time to rest according to my body’s demands.  Starting at the beginning of this pregnancy, I intentionally  cut back on outside stress and commitments and I’m so thankful I did, especially right now.  I’ve had more than one person remind me that stress is not good for the baby (or myself, really), and I’m thankful for the ability to mitigate it as much as possible.

Conveniently, Bea and I seem to be on the same schedule: go to bed early, but stay awake until late, wake up a few times a night and then for good bright & early, naps required in the afternoon. I don’t know when she’s going to drop her afternoon nap but I’m thankful for every second of peaceful rest I get and crossing my fingers it either ends soon or lasts well past Mayby’s newborn stage.  I just don’t know if I can try to “nap when the baby naps” as well as try to teach Bea the importance of quiet afternoon rest time.

With my other two girls, I only experienced a little bit of heartburn, just enough to make me hope they were growing hair (old wives tale).  This time it’s been a lot more pronounced, not to the point where I’ve medicated, yet, but uncomfortable for sure.  I’m praying she comes out with a head full of black hair.  In my humble pregnant opinion, salsa, tomato sauce, and chewy sprees are the best hair growing tonic I’ve found.

I love feeling her move around as it is always reassuring.  Her movements are a lot more energetic now and I can even feel the subtle ones too.  The weirdest sensation is getting numb spots on my stomach, almost as if it’s falling asleep.  I usually get these when I’m up and moving around; perhaps she’s found a nerve?

Based on her movement, if I had to guess, I would say she is transverse with her head slightly angled down.  I get so many, well actually all, sharp kicks on my right side.  It is rare to feel anything but little jabs on my left.  She still has plenty of time to go head down but I’m praying she does in the next ten weeks as no doctor will naturally deliver a transverse baby.

Next week I have my glucola test and I graduate to bi-weekly appointments.  Even though my doctor is an hour away, I enjoy these mornings with the girls.  It was a special time for MG and me last pregnancy and it is becoming that way again as the girls know what to expect each time and also learn a little more about the baby as well.  I’m certainly enjoying my car- seat free arms as well as stroller, diaper bag, and heavy-baby-carrying free hands as well.  Although I can’t wait for her to hurry up and join our family already, I know, just like last time, I’ll look back and relish the days when “it was so easy”.

I can’t remember if this plagued me in the last two pregnancies at this point but I’m having some fears over the baby.  This time I don’t fear the delivery like last time (although maybe that will come as it nears), as Bea’s birth was my redemption birth, my confidence booster. But I do fear something happening to this baby.  Every day feels like another step taken, closer to meeting this baby, but also harder to let go of her.

It feels too good, and slightly unfair, that we would get not one, not two, but three healthy girls to take care of.


P.S. here is Bea’s pregnancy cucumber update 

A little love story

A little love story for your Valentine’s Day…

N was quarantined in the spare bedroom, sick with a virus that I desperately hoped not to catch.

I thanked the good Lord as I heated up leftovers.  The thought of cooking a dinner from scratch for just the three of us sounded so unappealing and would have stolen my time to read books with Bea; which I find myself doing more routinely now that she can sit still for long periods of time.  

We blessed our dinner and MG made sure to add in a special prayer for Daddy while I covered behind her with silent pleading and house scrubbing.  The girls liked my leftovers tonight so that accounted for one less battle I had to fight and left room for leftover Super Bowl treats from our party the night before.  

MG was on a high.  She’d come home from school, dance, and piano lessons, to a new bath toy which she had earned from a motivational chart.  She wasn’t allowed to open it yet, just look at it though the plastic. While I emptied the dishwasher, I answered 1,000 questions about it.  After the questions started to repeat themselves in a cyclical whir of a 5-year old brain, I had to remind her that I didn’t have any more answers about it than she did.

We cleaned up the kitchen and then played in and cleaned up their kitchen.  I was then treated to a ballet and at the end, instructed to throw roses at pink leather shod feet.

I gathered the girls upstairs and started a bath.  Capitalizing on the excitement of the new toy and that Bea had taken a 3+ hour nap that day in the name of “the time has come to gather all Sweet Mama Makes’s paperwork for our tax guy”, I let the bath time run long, hoping it would tire them out to my level of tired and create fewer bedtime battles I’d have to navigate singlehandedly. 

The water eventually ran cold and we warmed it up.  But when lips turned blue and skin turned pruney, it was finally time to exit.  The lotion, ‘jamas, hairbrush, toothbrush routine was mercifully expedited because we had to be quiet “because daddy was sleeping.”, and the girls will do anything attentively so long as there is a ring of newness to it.

We stole away to the sister room and finally laid heads on pillows.  The girls each picked out a book, Frog and Toad for the eldest, lift-the-flap for the youngest (poor second child, most of the flaps had been torn off three years prior)  I picked up the Bible reading next, which is something Daddy normally covers, but felt confusion, not knowing where he’d last left off.  MG said, “let’s just read my favorite story” and pointed to Goliath.  This has been her favorite story since…never.   

I was kind of shocked at how graphic this retelling was.  I was apprehensive it would give her, the most sensitive of imaginations, nightmares.  At the end she said, “in the other Bible we read, David takes a sword and chops off his head at the end.  I guess that would make blood go everywhere.”  Fears put to rest.

I kissed them both and inhaled their freshly bathed scent, the perfume that launched a 1,000 mothers. I said goodnight even though I knew Bea would reappear in my peripheral in about 6 minutes, give or take.  

I went downstairs to tidy up and finish up a project and counted 10, 9, 8,7….

I watched on the monitor as MG rolled over and tucked herself in.  I panned the room searching for Bea.  I finally spotted a little, wet, top knot sticking up from the stairs outside their room.  Upon further inspection, she was reading a book by the light of the hallway lamp. I suppose I couldn’t be mad about that.

But a predictable ten minutes later I heard the attempted, yet failed, silence of tip toes coming down the first, and then second flight of stairs.

I looked up serendipitously as she poked her head around the corner.  

She knows she’s not supposed to be downstairs.  She knows she is learning to stay in her big girl bed. She knows this means she will have to sleep in her crib instead.  But she just can’t help herself.  As I carry her back up, I feel for her, somewhat.  Her self-control is just underdeveloped.  And being in a dark room next to a snoring sister is just so….boring.  Her big girl bed is my “last chapter and then I’m done”.

It was a late night for me as I worked out a few frustrations on my project before willingly setting it down.  It’s hard to walk away on a negative note and not have it chase you for another 24 hours until you can pick it up again.

 As I made my final rounds, picking up fallen dollies from beds, clicking off flashlights, closing up books, I noticed that Bea was still awake. Lying down, but awake.  I reached out my arms to her and she came willingly, pressing her weight against me like only a lover of physical touch can.

She is still doughy, like a baby.  When I squeeze her, she is fleshy, not bony and muscular like her older sister.  Sometimes I just can’t help myself and grab for her because her skin feels so good and her limbs are so healthy in a way that I am ever more aware I will never be again.  All that good skin, wasted on the young. 

She usually gets annoyed with my pinching and kissing, but at night she is warm and melty and will languish in my arms so long as it prolongs her banishment to bed.  

I pressed my head into hers and she pressed back.  I whispered, “i love you” and she whispered something non-sensical back.  I laughed because it was more “hot breath” than words and it tickled my neck and ear.  Then she laughed.  And I thought “I’ve never felt more love than I feel in this very moment, on this very day.”  And that thought occurs to me 1,000 times every single day.  

So is a mother.

Not your typical love story, to be sure, but one any mom could write given an hour and a moment of reflection.



Nesting strikes us pregnants in different ways, at different times, I think.  My version this week has been to triple, yes triple back up my favorite photos from the years past.

It’s one of those jobs that I’ve been putting off for a while; it’s boring, it was low on my priority list, and it nagged me, but not enough to commit hours to it.

Then finally the nesting bug bit hard and I began the digital slog through the weeks, months, and years of our past (nearly) ten years of memories, to make sure our top favorites were in one, always accessible, easy to find space.

I made a strong effort to be very selective in my choices, because I hate the glut.  Just the idea of trying to find a specific photo from a chasm of an endless seclection makes my heart quell with a little anxiety.  The old method was queue up computer, retrieve external hard drive, plug it in while praying it’s not been corrupted or unintentionally erased, or some other horrible scenario.  Pick a year, pick a month, and begin wading through the thousands of selections.  All the while wishing you had done it better to begin with and vowing to change as you move forward.

Years 2013-2014 were particularly brutal.  It was the year Bea was born and my phone seemed to know no bounds of a delete button.  It just snapped, snapped, snapped, recording each fragmented moment and, in the great misfortune, didn’t take the time to sift through them later.

That’s one thing I’ve gleaned from this historical comb, I hope I am a better picture taker as the years go by.  Not only in composition, but also in editing, and knowing when to stop with the shutter button.  Because 100 photos of the same seated baby does not a good photo shoot make.

Another thing that was impressed upon me was how darling our girls were.  I mean, look at them.

I try not to brag on them (superficially at least), too much, but looking back on these photos makes my buttons pop just a little.
And the strange thing too is that I knew they were beautiful, unique, little creatures at the time but somehow, knowing their personality, and composition in full, and seeing glimpses of their futures in their faces, somehow makes these old photos more relevant and beautiful, and treasures worth preserving with utmost care.