and baby is a...


Yesterday was our anatomy scan and baby looks great! I went into this pregnancy just knowing in my gut that baby was a girl to the point where I had given no thought to anything regarding this baby being a boy. I've had the girl's nursery planned in my head for months but just couldn't convince myself that this baby could be a boy. It's funny, because going into this pregnancy I also said I wanted boys -- lots of 'em -- but once the ultrasound technician confirmed that baby was a girl, everything just felt right. It felt like, yes, that was the way this was supposed to be and we would be welcoming a little girl into our family in August. My husband was more surprised as he's been guessing this baby is a boy. I've been right with both my pregnancies. Mother's intuition, or something! According to the poll I set up last week, 64% of people guessed girl as well while 36% of people guessed boy!

Both of my pregnancies have been polar opposites. Both babies have had heart rates in the same ballpark so I'm quick to nix that old wives tale, but I just felt different. My belly is pointed where it was much rounder with Ethan. I just feel different than I did last time and despite my insisting I'm meant to be a mommy to just boys, I knew this one was a girl. A few months back my sister and I saw Iron & Wine and I had sent the thought into the universe that if this baby is a girl, I wanted them to play Woman King. I mean, sure, it's been on my bucket list to see Iron & Wine live and hear that song live, but I've always associated that song with having a daughter. And as soon as he played it that song -- one of the first songs of the evening -- I just knew that I was carrying my daughter. Maybe now my husband understands my urgency to duke it out over a girl's name.

When we told my parents I was pregnant with Ethan, we played them a song -- True Blue by Bright Eyes -- and let them guess. For my mom and sister it was obvious but the funniest part was watching my dad sit there until the end of the song, frustrated and freaking out about not being able to figure out what this song has to do with a baby. Because of that, we knew we wanted to do the old song thing again. This time, we used Something Corporate's Punk Rock Princess -- and to my surprise both my parents got it at once. The hardest part was not telling anyone until my sister got home from school at 3:00. I didn't want her to find out on social media or from someone else, which killed me to do. As soon as she walked in the door, we played her the song and she guessed it right off the bat, too. (If you're wondering, the boy song would have been Summer Fling Don't Mean A Thing by New Found Glory.)

Ethan doesn't really 'get' it yet, but we wanted to finally tell him he would be having a baby sister. We put a pink balloon in a box and let him open it. It was sort of counterproductive. I spent his entire life explaining that there are no girl colors or boy colors so all he got out of it was that he had a balloon, but by the end of the day he was getting that he's having a baby sister. It's been his guess most of the time, too, with a couple of flip-flops in between -- probably because his friends only have baby sisters.

The final person that I wanted to tell in a special way was my aunt Fran who lives in Pennsylvania. Because of the distance, I didn't know how to include her in the special surprise without just blabbing it out over the phone. I turned to Google and found an amazing cupcake baker in her area who was so excited about making a special reveal cupcake for us. I just texted her the morning of my anatomy scan and within 30 minutes she was at my aunt's condo to surprise her with a pink-filled cupcake. She even included a fondant keepsake topper which I thought was so awesome!

She also videotaped my aunt's reaction to finding out it was a girl after she took a bite of the cupcake -- which is an awesome keepsake for us to have, too. So, yes, if you're up in the Philadelphia area, check out V's Cupcakery! I thought that was so awesome of her to do for us and such a special way to include my aunt in all of the fun!

It's been crazy being able to write this baby's name in her baby book now and refer to her by name instead of just "baby." But speaking of names -- we are keeping it a secret until she's born! I know. No fun. I always say this and everyone gives me the death stare. When choosing Ethan's name, I couldn't believe how many people -- even random ones who work at the grocery store or randomly stopped to chat about baby stuff in the mall -- thought their opinions mattered! For every "no, I don't like that," "no, that's boring," "no, how about ____, it's better," I promised myself I'd be making it a surprise this time! It's killing me, especially because we chose her name (thanks to another sign from the universe, which I'll talk about later) and love it so, so much. The cutest part is hearing Ethan say it, which he does as if the first and middle name were hyphenated, and it just makes me so happy. I can't wait to see him as a big brother. He's going to be awesome.


tot school - letters e, f, g - 33 months

I meant to post this last week, but with the whole hospital fiasco, I didn't get around to it. Also because of said fiasco, I wasn't able to swap out the tot trays this past week. The older Ethan gets, the less acceptable leaving the same trays up for two weeks becomes. By Thursday of the first week, he already wakes up asking for new trays and gets all cranky when I make him wait for the weekend to get them changed out. Tot School is still his favorite so I'm trying to figure out how to keep everything up to speed to hold his interest again. It's crazy how quickly he's growing up!

Anyway, this last week (er, or two) were the letters E, F, G. We've already finished the individual letters but are now wrapping up the alphabet a second time in groups.


The point of this tray was to help Ethan practice spelling his name. He's getting quick about saying the letters out loud, but it was fun watching him identify each letter and place them in the correct order to properly spell his name! He liked this one, but kept commenting how there were no pictures of him. Whenever we do name trays, I usually include some pictures of him and I guess I dropped the ball on this one.


Sweeping was a skill we mastered a long, long time ago, but lately he's been asking for more sweeping trays. This one didn't disappoint -- I'm pretty sure it was his favorite of the week. I cut up some green paint swatches and a letter G, and Ethan got to go to work sweeping the green pieces into the G.


This tray had photos of different objects and Easter eggs filled with said objects. Ethan got to shake each egg, listen to the sound and place it on the correct card. He also loved this activity! The downfall was by the end of the week, he had started to open all the eggs with the intent to put the objects in different colored eggs. On one hand, it was a good idea -- that way we couldn't remember what color egg held what -- but on the other hand, there were rice and beads all over the floor by Thursday and this tray had to retire early.


We did more work with sounding out words that begin the letters E, F, G. Unlike last week, he was sort of over the magnet board this week. It didn't get much action.


Ethan is still really into the dry erase trays and really loves trying to write his own letters! We did a basic tracing tray but also added this one so he could try to make his own letters, too. He got a little self-conscious about trying to write his own letters but was trying really hard and doing awesome!


This tray was my nemesis! I waited until the last minute to do it, past my bedtime, and had to sit there all cranky and crabby trying to cut out felt people -- which I didn't excel at. Sigh. This was just an open-ended fun activity for Ethan to be able to build a family using felt people and to learn that all families are different. The first family he created was ours, and then promptly noted there weren't enough cats. Oops. But he had fun making all sorts of combinations of families and it made my hard work worth it -- especially because he usually ignores any and all felt activities!


Tot School Montessori MondayI Can Teach My Child

No Time For Flash CardsFor the Kids Friday


20 weeks

How far along? 20w1d
Due date: August 30th, 2014
Baby is the size of a... banana! A breech banana that kicks me in the bladder!
Baby's development of the week: Per Babycenter: He's swallowing more these days, which is good practice for his digestive system. He's also producing meconium, a black, sticky by-product of digestion.
Maternity clothes? All bottoms, most maternity shirts. It's hot in Florida (um, duh) so I'm basically living in t-shirts or tank tops anyway. It's easy to get away with non-maternity versions if they're long enough, but mostly I've moved into maternity tops as well.
Sleep: I'm still always tired and can't get enough sleep, but I'm also waking up 3-4 times a night to pee. I attribute this to the fact I wound up in the hospital and now have been instructed to drink a ton more water than I've been drinking before.
Best moment this week: Well, having no more dizzy episodes and life being able to return to a (modified) normal, but also taking Ethan to meet the Easter bunny today! Contrary to his grumpy pout, he loved the bunny (the girl taking the photos, not so much):

Food cravings: I've actually finally started having my first real craving: cereal. I can't get enough cereal. I've never been a cereal person pre-pregnancy, but it's the most delightful thing in the world now. I made my husband go to the store and buy me all the cereal that I would never in a zillion years let Ethan eat and I've been eating it with ice cold milk once Ethan is in bed at night. I can't get enough. It's weird.
Food aversions: No real aversions.
Baby's Sex: I guess girl, my husband guesses boy. Ethan has flip-flopped back to boy.
Baby's Name: Is still a secret!

And for fun, here's a look at how incredibly ginormous I'm getting faster than I can keep up with this pregnancy:


why i'm scared to have a daughter

Our anatomy scan is Monday and I've been starting to feel anxious. The bulk of my friends and family seem intent that the baby is a girl, if not only to make me squirm and cry how I just need boys. The thing is, all I want is a healthy baby. We would be thrilled with either sex, of course, but in my heart I am downright scared to have a girl. I don't feel capable.

It's because women still fight to earn the same wages as men.

It's because teenage girls are still sluts and whores and bitches when they try to be in control of their own bodies and lives.

It's because we've never had a female President.

It's because we've never had a female President but I can find fifteen t-shirts or onesies on any given day proclaiming the wearers desire to be a princess.

It's because on any given news channel you'll read stories of companies trying to take away women's rights.

It's because of the man in the next bed over during my most recent hospital stay who declared "look at all these attractive women doctors, you know all they had to do was wink to pass med school."

It's the conversations of those around me at my sister's dance competitions judging not by skill and performance, but how "pretty" one doesn't or doesn't look up on the stage.

And it's the conversations of those around me at my sister's dance competitions pointing out how "big" the legs of one girl are, how the "bigger girls" should be more covered up. And it's the fifteen year old girl, half naked, gyrating around on the stage to a song that keeps repeating "do what you want with my body" while no one bats an eye.

It's the fact that beauty spas for toddler girls exist and include make-up artistry.

It's the fact that not liking pink isn't even an option despite the fact I have never liked pink, and I'm pretty sure I'm still a girl.

It's the fact that people around me declare girls who aren't in pink aren't dressed like girls, like a color can somehow define you.

It's the fact that my father exclaimed at dinner last night how women shouldn't be allowed to fight in the military, even if it's their dream and desire to do so.

It's the fact that girls are still universally seen as weak and, if they try to assert their strength, are placed back in the bitch category.

It's the fact that now an innuendo-laced establishment exists where half-naked women sell frozen yogurt.

It's the fact women who breastfeed their children are still being accused of showcasing an inappropriate sexual act.

It's the fact that you have to like shopping and glitz and glamour and fashion to be a girly girl and if you don't, you're somehow less than a girl. You become a tomboy, like you're suddenly no longer a girl.

It's because girls play princesses and boys play in the dirt. If you're a girl who likes sports and don't mind getting your hands dirty, you get homophobic slurs thrown at you.

It's the fact that I select my physicians by experience and expertise and my mother still points out how the female ones don't wear any make-up.

It's the fact that I can't turn on the local news network without seeing infomercial after infomercial on how to better one's natural appearance through surgery or pills -- all geared for women, of course.

It's the pressure and societal standards that scare me. It's because I know what it's like to come home from fifth grade as the only girl in the class not invited to a birthday party because I don't act like a girl.

It's because I know my daughter will be able to do anything and because I also know that society will try to strip her of those rights.

It's because whatever my daughter likes is her choice and her decision.

It's because I want her to experiment with her hair or make-up or clothing if and when she wants to, not because someone tells her she "needs a little make-up" -- just as I would for my son should he ever decide blue hair suits him nicely a la sophomore year.

I want her to decide what she wants to be when she's an adult, not a onesie, even if she decides she wants to be a darn princess.

It's because my husband doesn't think he owns our daughter's sexuality and because this new trend really creeps us both out.

It's because I want my daughters to grow into women who enjoy sex as men are supposed to, without them feeling shame or as if it's taboo and indecent.

It's because I want my daughter to be as free to play sports or catch lizards or like Spiderman as she is to play princesses or carry a purse without insult or comment.

It's because I want it to be her decision whether or not she wants to stay home and start a family or pursue her dream career -- not a sense of archaic obligation.

It's because I want my daughter to be free to get whatever tattoos she wants -- or doesn't want -- without someone telling her to act like a lady.

It's because it's a whole lot of lead by example that I don't want to fall short at and the pressure is enough to make my knees buckle.

It's because I don't want to shelter my children but I'm not sure how to protect a girl from our society and that scares me.


easter crafting & cards, 2014 edition

Ethan and I are still at my parents house for our daily daycare but today I decided we should be a little more productive. Every year, Ethan makes little Easter cards to send to relatives along with his yearly Easter bunny photo. We are going to meet the Easter bunny this weekend so I thought we could get a jump start on this year's cards.

Here's what you need:

Little pieces of paper (ours were cut into 4x6 sizes), pieces from a cotton ball (we used 2 cotton balls and plucked them apart for the tiny pieces), glue, paint (we used EZPaint) and a marker.

We painted Ethan's thumb with the EZPaint and then stamped it onto the paper. I made dots of glue and Ethan got to work stamping on the bunny tails.

Next, I drew on the bunny ears (though Ethan probably could have done a better job!) and Ethan got to work putting faces on his bunnies...

...and legs, too, in some instances!

I love that each bunny looks different, unique and perfectly adorable!


when life makes you slow down

If you're not following me on Instagram (which apparently is my social media of choice these days), I was admitted into the hospital on Sunday morning and had to stay overnight. I've been (probably jinxing myself) saying how this pregnancy is so much easier than my pregnancy with Ethan and, in so many ways, it has been. But when this pregnancy likes to throw me completely off whack, it does it in a big, big way. I started feeling crummy on Saturday. Ethan and I came back from a birthday party and I just didn't feel good. I attributed it to the heat and me not drinking enough and after pumping myself with fluids it sort of went away. Until the middle of the night when I was so dizzy that I couldn't tell which way was up, couldn't uncross my eyes or see straight (or see anything) and did horrible things to our poor mop bucket like something out of The Exorcist. I called my OB's emergency line and they had me head into L&D which somehow morphed into a trip to the good ol' ER. The perk to having had a problematic first pregnancy in which I basically lived in the ER was that we made friends with some of the nurses and my favorite nurse happened to be on when I was taken in. It's the little things. After some Zofran and dizziness medication and IV fluids, the doctor said I was dehydrated and had both a UTI and some Vertigo-like thing going on. The dizziness didn't come back after 12 hours in the ER (though being in that MRI tube made me want to vomit -- I don't recommend that to anyone), but the doctor wanted to admit me for observation overnight. Worst case was that it would return and I would pass out or fall and while pregnant, yeah, that wouldn't be good. My uncle is also an ER physician and when he told us he agreed with the doctor, I caved and let them admit me. It was the longest I had ever been away from Ethan and that broke my heart completely. All I really wanted was to go home to my little man, not stay overnight in a hospital room. That evening, the OB who delivered Ethan stopped by my room and because I'd been fine, said he could release me. As soon as he left the room to do my discharges, the dizziness came back on a smaller scale and I thought I was going to fall down after trying to walk back to my bed from the bathroom. Figures. So the nurse spoke to another OB at my practice and that OB wanted to keep me overnight.

The good news is, the dizziness didn't return and by 4 a.m., my pressure was no longer low. But 24 hours straight of IV fluids hurts -- I don't care what the well-meaning nurses said! -- and I just missed Ethan. And sleeping from a reclined position (a no-no because of the dizziness)...but mostly Ethan. When the OB discharged me, I got a seven day twice-daily antibiotic to take home with me and the warning to not do anything or be alone until it's finished. In the event the infection was causing the dizziness, she didn't want me driving or falling while by myself or with Ethan. My issue is that any days off of work my husband takes from now on are days he will lose when the new baby arrives. The plus is my parents live five minutes away so Ethan and I get to spend the week at what we jokingly call Grandma's Daycare. I'm familiar with Grandma's Daycare. I spent the bulk of my first pregnancy in Grandma's Daycare because of the bedrest. Every morning, my husband dropped me and my bags off at my mom's and picked me up on the way home. So here we are again, but now with Ethan in tow, and hopefully only for a week. Though it was a good lesson in not over doing it.

Before I got pregnant again, this was my biggest fear. This was why I waited so long for my next baby. I didn't want to break Ethan's routine. I didn't want to end up sick or laid up in bed and trying to figure out how to juggle a toddler who doesn't understand. In my head, it went a lot worse than it actually is proving to be. For a nearly three year old who is such a stickler for routine and loses his mind when his routine is broken, Ethan has been handling this like a champ and with the resilience and grace I wish I was handling it with. There have been no tears, no confusion, no begging for our activities that I'm not currently able to do. There has been no sadness and mourning the loss of the things we once did. There's just been this little guy who happily packs up a couple matchbox cars and giddily plays the "are we there yet?" game on the way to Grandma's house. He truly does amaze me.

Of course, this week couldn't go by any slower for me. My mom is busy with other things and I'm trying to make Ethan and I as invisible as we can be. He's been watching so many episodes of Doc McStuffins that my no TV allowed! rule is turning in it's grave, but beggars can't be choosers and a week of television won't kill him. I'm just trying to survive this week and kick off next week with our anatomy scan and my OB recheck on Tuesday in which I'll hopefully be cleared back for normal life. Albeit maybe a slower pace than the one I've been trying to keep up, but normal life nonetheless. With new tot trays and swim lessons and maybe finally getting a head start on the new baby's room and Ethan's bedroom makeover. And Easter Bunny photos. And...oh, I am so not good at helplessly laying around when there's so much stuff to do.

Such is life, right?


boy or girl?

My anatomy scan is all set for the morning of April 14th! I've been hearing such an even mix of "I think it's a girl" or "I only see you with boys" that I thought it would be fun to set up a poll and see who winds up being right or wrong!

I set up a little poll below -- I would love to see your guesses! (FYI, I'm officially going with my guess of girl and my husband is guessing boy! Ethan's guess varies by day but as of today, he says he's going to have a baby sister!)

I think Baby #2 is a...
pollcode.com free polls 

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