Happy Easter! + 16 Weeks

He is Risen! A heartfelt Happy Easter from our family to yours – what a beautiful day for a Jesus-centered celebration!

Family EasterUsually Easter comes with lots of cloudy skies and rain, but today was just gorgeous. We had to get outside and take some family photos to commemorate it.

Easter

Easter 2Yesterday we did the same, even if it was slightly colder. Griffin participated in his first Easter egg hunt, and met the Easter bunny, as well.

Easter 9Although we have never really discussed the Easter bunny much, he was excited to see a costumed character, nonetheless – I’ll attribute that to lots of interaction with characters at Disney World!

Easter 8There was also a musical petting zoo, put on by the Country Music Hall of Fame. It was everything I had wanted our own attempt at Griffin’s birthday to be. A banjo, fiddle, mandolin, guitar, dulcimer, autoharp, and many  varieties of drums and bells were all available for small hands to touch and try out. The instructors were wonderful with Griffin and highly encouraged us to start giving him formal lessons soon.

Easter 4

Easter 5

Easter 6As far as Easter morning went, Griffin awoke and immediately headed downstairs to dig into his Easter basket.

Easter 3We then made our way to church, where we allowed Griffin to be in the sanctuary for worship service. He loved it, as he has in the past, but this time there was also a children’s choir – he made the announcement afterwards that he wanted to sign up.

Easter 10We came home and had the family over for a true Easter feast. We have leftovers to last the week!

As for myself, here’s a belated pregnancy update:

16 WeeksPregnancy Stats:

How Far Along – 16 Weeks

Size of Baby – An Avocado

Total Weight Gain – Still -3 pounds

What I miss – Cocktails at my favorite restaurants

Cravings – I would love just one Cadbury egg, but have sworn them off since they contain nothing my body would recognize as food!

Symptoms – Migraines have gotten worse in the last few weeks. No amount of pregnancy-safe medication seems to relieve them, and they last 2-3 days at a time. Luckily, sipping on some caffeine has actually seemed to help.

Maternity Clothes – No, but I’ve been on a bit of a rampage looking for flowy dresses and skirts for summer.

Worst Part of Pregnancy this Week – Definitely the headaches.

Best Part of Pregnancy this Week – Talking to Griffin about baby brothers and sisters. We haven’t told him yet, but are warming him to the idea!

What I’m Reading Now

With spring comes Spring Break, that lovely week involving vacations and ample time for new books. Right now I’m rotating between a few, multi-tasking novels with baby planning books. I love being able to go from toddler discipline strategies straight to the Scottish highlands. It makes for a great mental break, as well!

  1. Outlander Book 7: A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon – I’ve been fully ingrained in this series since last summer, when I began reading right before Starz debuted season one of the TV adaptation. Gabaldon has a way of taking the reader straight to Scotland with her skillful use of Scottish brogue and character/scenic descriptions. There’s history, romance, wonderfully crafted characters, and superb writing. I’ve even convinced my husband to start reading them.
  2. Lisette’s List by Susan Vreeland – My mother-in-law gave me this book because of my love for all things French. I had already read a few of the author’s other books, which include Luncheon of the Boating Party and Girl in Hyacinth Blue. Although I’m only about an 1/8 of the way through the story, this one seems to be just as carefully written as her others. Vreeland’s specialty is obviously historical fiction dealing with French art. Lisette’s List focuses on Pisarro and Cezanne.
  3. Bringing Up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman – Another francophile book, this is my second foray into the world of French child-rearing, and I’m getting more out of it than before. One reason is that I had underlined many of the passages my first time around. Another is certainly that Druckerman has an entire section of the book devoted to discipline for toddlers, something that I was less focused on when preparing for my first child. Now I’m underlining and highlighting at the same time.
  4. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf – I’m currently listening to this on Audible when in the car. Woolf’s To the Lighthouse is one of my favorites; I love the modernist method of free associative thinking that she employs in her writing. Mrs. Dalloway seems to be similar in writing style thus far, although I’m only a few chapters in.

What are you reading right now? I’m quickly going through these and would love other recommendations, especially when it comes to great literature and babies!

Here Comes Baby Two! 14 Weeks

My goodness, life is changing. Having purchased a new house closer to Jeremy and Griffin’s schools, as well as sold our current house as of yesterday, we’re finally in a place to make the big announcement.

14 Weeks2Griffin is going to be a big brother!

He doesn’t actually know yet, but we’ve given him many books to help transition into his new role. Once I really start to show, I think he will be able to grasp it more – all the pregnant moms in his books have enormous bellies!

Our ultrasound and last doctor appointment went great – everything is going smoothly so far and the baby seems to be tracking exactly as Griffin did last time. In fact, by and large my experience has been the same so far, as well!

14 WeeksPregnancy Stats:

How Far Along – 14 Weeks

Size of Baby – A Peach!

Total Weight Gain – At the last doc visit I was -3 pounds…but that was at 11 weeks. Now that we are on vacation I have a feeling I’ve gained that and then some.

What I miss – Wine. It’s so hard to be on vacation and not be able to enjoy a view of the ocean and a tall glass of red.

Cravings – None

Symptoms – Sleep has been a bit harder lately. My pillow just doesn’t seem to be doing the job it once did.

Maternity Clothes – Nope

Worst Part of Pregnancy this Week – Knowing that if I eat right and exercise after vacation, this gut just isn’t going to go away – it’s certainly not water weight!

Best Part of Pregnancy this Week – Seeing Griffin socialize with other babies on the beach and knowing that he’s going to make an amazing older brother.

Music Festival Second Birthday

DSC_0511My son loves music. Guitars, drums, piano – you name the instrument, he probably has some version of it and rocks out with it daily. So in thinking of a theme for his second birthday, naturally music came to mind.

DSC_0546I began searching for ideas on Pinterest, but quickly realized that this particular theme wasn’t too popular. Sure, themes like “The Sound of Music” or Hippie-styled events had been done before, but I couldn’t find anyone else who had documented what I was envisioning the party to be.

So I started making things up.

Birthday 4The centerpiece for the event was a play tent my mother had purchased from Land of Nod for Griffin’s birthday. Styled like an RV camper, I thought it would be the perfect kitchy decoration/play space for a kid’s birthday, as well as one he could use well after the event.

Birthday 6My dad made an amazing teepee and pup tent to serve as both decoration and entertainment. The kids were so excited to explore these!

DSC_0592DSC_0583DSC_0521Birthday 2Birthday 3Miniature teepees, VW buses, and vintage album covers were scattered throughout the event, adorning food stations and tables filled with intruments. I found the teepee craft kits at Paper Source, and the buses were an Amazon.com find. All albums were either my brothers or from a tiny shop in Franklin, TN.DSC_0579

DSC_0582DSC_0516Gifts and favors were set up in guitar cases, with accompanying signs to point the way. The favors included S’mores kits for the kids, and hot chocolate with marshmallow vodka for the adults!

Birthday 12Like I mentioned above, we already had several instruments on hand, but my husband scored some real band instruments from the high school he works at, and we had a “musical petting zoo” for the kids to explore. They were able to see instruments like Saxophones and Tubas up close and personal!

Birthday 8From there, I custom ordered some headpieces for the children – floral wreathes for the girls and feathers for the boys. The birthday boy got his own headdress. This was the second year running that I turned to Etsy store Mosey for these items, as well as the bunting and cake topper. She is so creative and easy to work with!Birthday 5

DSC_0603DSC_0813DSC_0573A custom Hot Chocolate bar was set up on the back porch with as many accoutrements as we could imagine – homemade whipped cream, peppermint sticks, white and dark chocolate chips, gourmet marshmallows in various flavors, grain free donuts from a local Nashville shop, and organic truffles. Easy but festive foods were served in the house. One of my favorites were the beet and orange endive cups, which unfortunately we didn’t get a picture of.

DSC_0528DSC_0526For dessert, a colorful macaron tower stood alongside a delicious hummingbird cake – all of which were grain free!

DSC_0588DSC_0619DSC_0620Birthday 10Birthday 11As the evening progressed, Griffin’s Uncle Marty jammed out on the guitar as the children danced around the fire pit and everyone made S’mores. It truly was a birthday music festival!

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New Year, Trying to Get Back to the Old Me

Our doorbell rang on the day we got home from our Christmas/New Year’s vacation. A cute little girl stood on the steps with a sheet of paper clutched in her hands and a hopeful smile plastered to her face. I’ll give you three guesses who she was and what she was up to.

Girl Scout Cookies.

Luckily I had not made any food related resolutions this year, and even if I had our sweet little troops in Nashville, Tennessee aren’t selling the gluten free cookies I’ve heard about in super cool states like California. Nonetheless, I couldn’t help but admire the guts it must take these little girls to go house to house like that. Only one week into the new year and they’re knocking on doors like wolves in sheeps’ clothing, for all the world seeming like the little devil on  your shoulder as you weigh your resolution against a green box of Thin Mints.

Again, I’m glad I had no reason to say yes to that cute face. My husband didn’t get away quite so easily.

But back to resolutions. Mine was a little different this year. Instead of trying to lose weight, I’m attempting to lose the false identity that’s crept up so stealthily. I care too much about what others say and how strangers perceive me. It’s time to stop caring.

Me and Marty

This is my year to get back to my childhood self. The girl who wore bell bottoms when everyone else was sporting high-waisted mom jeans. Who had hair I could sit on when my friends were getting chin-length bobs. Who started a journalism club and created her own magazine.

That much cliched phrase “new year, new you” is just so tired. It isn’t new; in fact, it’s exhausting. Attempting to reinvent yourself each and every year is probably the main reason that so many New Year’s resolutions fall quickly by the wayside.

I’m done with makeovers and potions that promise to transform; instead I’m going to seek out my past and hope that I can erase a few decade’s worth of everyone else’s opinion.

Inundated with Flu Vaccine Promotion

No matter your stance on vaccines or other hot topics, I doubt you want something shoved down your throat every time you turn around.

Yesterday my phone rang just after I had put Griffin down for a nap. An automated recording began speaking as soon as I said hello:

“This is Vanderbilt hospital. Have you received your flu vaccine yet?”

That wasn’t even the first time it had happened. I’ve gotten two additional calls like this from my insurance provider.

From advertisements in the parking lots of pharmacies, grocery stores, and Target, to blog posts from major publishers like the New York Times, I’ve been blindsided by just how much society wants me to get a freaking flu shot.

And I’m just here to tell you, all their effort isn’t working. Call it what you will (I call it a scare tactic), all this bombardment has left me hollow. Am I not allowed to make informed, educated decisions for my family and myself? Because I call it highly uneducated when people are running around clucking like chickens about flu vaccinations being important because of the recent outbreak of Ebola.

WHAT?!

That’s precisely what ABC News, NY Daily News, and  many others have reported as recently as last week.

I’m assuming next they will be telling us that the flu shot can help protect against STDs, as well. After all, Syphilis produces flu-like symptoms, so it’s one and the same, right?

My Hormones Love Disney

There’s nothing like listening to the Frozen soundtrack to bring on the tears.

I’m not even talking about the ballads like “Let it Go” or the more emotional parts of “Do You Want to Build a Snowman.” I was in the car this afternoon tearing up to “Love is an Open Door,” for goodness sake! Then to my horror, I found my voice also cracking to Aladdin’s “Whole New World” and Tangled’s “For the First Time in Forever.” Pandora was really playing with my Estrogen today, apparently.

Singing at an ear-splitting volume and flailing my arms in order to hear my son giggle from the back seat, I realized that my passion (obsession? unhealthy adoration?) of all things Disney had finally found a peaceful resting place. I would risk making a fool of myself to fellow drivers simply in order to watch Griffin get into the song and start humming and dancing along with me.

photoAnd it works! He absolutely loves listening to Disney music. We even took him to see Disney on Ice a few weeks ago just to watch his face light up when Mickey, Minnie, and the crew came onto the rink for the first time. Like everything else involving Disney right now, Anna and Elsa were the main attraction, and Griffin held onto his new friend Olaf as he bounced from one lap to another.

Of course, I tear up on occasions other than our car ride singalongs. Reading books to him, especially fairy tale-esque stories that remind me of my own childhood, can also bring on some watery eyes. I’m not even a crier, but it happens more than I’d care to admit.

Therefore I blame it on the hormones, obviously.

Disney aside, these hormones are once again out of control. I’ve taken all the steps that should lead to internal balance – acupuncture, herbs, vitamins, healthy eating, exercise. And yet my face still frequently looks like that of a preteen girl, even though I get monthly facials and follow my aestheticism’s instructions to the letter.

Right now the hormones are in control and all I can do is sing along, according to their demands.