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One Month

Happy One Month, Theodore John!

We’re a little in shock that it has only been a month since Teddy was born. He fills out our family so well it’s like he has always been here.

I feel like I’ve healed pretty well. I’ve only lost about 20 of the 50 (I know!) pounds that I gained with Teddy, which is a bit frustrating to me, but I’ll make it there eventually. I can wear the jeans I bought just before Ben was a month old and have started pulling out my regular clothes again. Most of the weight is stored in my lower half so pants will be a struggle for a while but getting out my old shirts is like seeing old friends after a long absence! I’ve stopped bleeding already (it took 6 full weeks with Ben) and don’t feel the stitches anymore.

I don’t take Teddy back to the pediatrician until he is two months old but I know that he is growing! He is out of newborn disposables and is starting to outgrow his newborn clothes. Many of the 0-3 month outfits are too big yet so we’re mixing and matching until he grows a bit more. We made the move to cloth diapers during the day last week so we aren’t flying through disposables anymore. He seems to be tolerating the change pretty well with no significant rashes to speak of. We weighed Teddy before his bath on Saturday and he clocked in at 9.6 lbs and has the chin rolls and dimples in his knees to prove it. I’m proud of how much he has grown!

We’ve fallen into a good rhythm with breastfeeding. He eats every 3-4 hours during the day and then a 4-5 hour stretch before our first night wake up and then 3 more hours. That’s typically a bed time feeding between 10 and 11, one feeding from 3-4, and a wake up feeding between 7 and 8. His schedule is a lot more fluid than Ben’s internal clock so stupid Daylight Saving Time has thrown us off a little. Ben is now ready to get up before Teddy eats but we’ll eventually get back to Teddy naturally wanting to wake and eat about 30 minutes before Ben is ready.

I think I am FINALLY past the mastitis and clogged duct problems that pestered me the entire time B was in San Francisco and I was solo parenting. I finished my antibiotics yesterday and started taking lecithin (food extract that acts like an emulsifier, sticking to fat in my milk to keep it from sticking together) and haven’t had any super painful clogs since I wrote my last desperate blog post. Astonishingly, Teddy started latching without a nipple shield after I wrote that post too so thank you for those prayers! It was wonderfully encouraging to have something start going right after 7+ days of frustration. We regularly go without the shield and only use it for the one to two night feedings, depending on how tired Teddy is. He has a lot more trouble latching when he is half asleep and when it has been 5 hours since he ate and I’m more engorged than normal. He can be quite stubborn about latching anyway and has spent up to 5 minutes sniffing and licking my nipple instead of latching but we haven’t given up yet. I was a little worried that the mastitis and duct issues caused a dip in supply but since Teddy’s diapers are always soaked and he poops all the flippin time, he is still getting enough to eat.

B is currently back in San Francisco for a second conference in less than two weeks. I dropped him off at the airport yesterday morning and he gets back Wednesday evening so this one is much shorter than the last one. He commented on how much bigger Teddy was when he got home last Thursday. That’s what you get for going away for a week when your son is only 3 weeks old! I feel much more confident about solo parenting for this second stretch even though all three of us have caught colds. I’ve figured out some coping mechanisms and experience coordinating both boys schedules. We’ve watched more tv than I’d like during the last week but I’ll be able to wean us off that once we get more settled. We watch youtube music videos and have dance parties (great for using up toddler energy!), Baby Einstein, and, of course, Toy Story. I’ve gotten really good at playing dishes with Ben with only one hand and figuring out how to shower each day. Baby wearing is more of a necessity this time around and I am so glad I bought the baby k’tan to use instead of the Moby wrap!

Ben has impressed me with his flexibility, maturity (at times), his helpfulness, and his love of his “baby broller Teddy.” I’ve learned that if we talk about what to expect from him during a situation, everything goes much smoother. For example, when we get home from the store, I tell Ben that I’m going to take Teddy out of the car and put him in the house and then I’ll come back for him. He knows I haven’t left for good and he gets attention too. We have started working some of the basic love and logic parenting methods into our daily routines with some positive results. We regularly “take turns” changing diapers and we give him the option to go first or second. He can choose between different shirts every day and chooses from several options for lunch or snacks. We’re working building up his self-confidence by giving him the chance to choose his own path from a carefully constructed set of options. All choice is a good choice because we only give good options but it works! We still spend our fair share of time in the time out chair because he “didn’t use good listening” but I’ve seen impressive improvement in the last month.

Ben is very helpful with Teddy too, in spite of liking to steal Teddy’s boppy and burp cloth all the time. He likes to give hugs and kisses, is very concerned if he thinks Teddy isn’t going to go somewhere with us, shares toys (Teddy doesn’t care but its adorable just the same), and is tolerant of the time Teddy spends with me nursing.

I’d be remiss if I don’t mention that it has been a year since we lost Baby 2. Time changes the feeling of emptiness that comes with losing a baby but it doesn’t go away, even after the birth of a child since then. We love and miss you, Baby Girl!

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4 day old baby snuggles!

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Our first walk with the double stroller (Joovy Caboose Ultralight)

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Momming

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Ben got a haircut and didn’t act like it was the end of the world!

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The many faces of TJ

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Our first outing without B

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Ben asked for a photo with his chicken nuggets to send to Daddy

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We had one amazingly warm (78) day to play in the leaves before it got cold and rainy

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Ben is a huge fan of leaf piles

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Teddy’s face is priceless

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Baby’s first WP shirt!

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Dressed like Daddy

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Ben refused to nap on Halloween and kept putting his monster socks on his hands like puppets

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The cutest Woody ever

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Buzz Lightyear to the rescue!

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Selfies while building towers

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Ben was sharing toys with Teddy (Woody hat, Mr. Potato Head, Daddy’s glove, and Ben’s burp cloth)

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This boy is full of energy and joy!

 

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My Boys

I can hardly describe what it felt like for my two babies to meet each other. My heart was overflowing and there definitely were some mom tears creeping up in my eyes.

Ben was super excited to meet Baby Brover Teddy and knew exactly who Teddy was as soon he walked in the door.

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Ben was super excited to find out that Teddy had gotten him a surprise to unwrap (a farm animal puzzle that makes animal sounds and Sesame Street stickers)

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He was grinning pretty big when he got to hold Teddy. He waved and said, “Hi Teddy!”

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One of our tactics for when we were separated and Ben was staying at my parents house was to pack a small gift for Ben to play with at the hospital for each day he would visit. Today he got to read the Baby Lit version of The Jungle Book. If you haven’t checked out the Baby Lit books yet, we highly recommend them! Ben can “read” the three we have (Dracula, Jungle Book, Moby Dick) on his own and is very proud of that.

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Two!

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“So here’s to a child who is joyful and clever. Happy day, happy year, happy always, and ever!”
Happy Birthday Pookie by Sandra Boynton

Happy birthday to our big boy, Ben! It’s hard to believe how much our lives have changed since you arrived but I wouldn’t want it any other way. We are proud of the little person you are and are excited to see how awesome you grow up to be. Love you, Benny Buddy!

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38 weeks

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38 weeks and how do I feel? Done, done, done, done, done! Carrying around this pumpkin is exhausting!

Obviously, the membrane sweep last Friday didn’t start labor but I’m fairly certain it got me closer. I believe I lost my mucus plug Saturday and baby has dropped so low that my mom joked that he’s going to crawl out on his own. My contractions have picked up in both frequency and intensity but there hasn’t been anything to time yet.

I broke down early last week out of frustration. I am beyond exhausted most of the time and there’s not much we can do about it. I love Ben dearly but sometimes I wish the end of this pregnancy could be like the end of his: at home with no responsibilities except sleeping in and walking as much as I am capable. Chasing around a toddler is not at all relaxing. I’m looking forward to my mini vacation in L&D!

We hosted Ben’s birthday party yesterday for just us and our parents. We kept the decorations simple (Toy Story decorations hanging from the ceiling in the dining room and Toy Story cupcake picks) and the menu simple (MIL brought fruit salad, my mom made cream cheese filled cupcakes and ramen salad, we provided lettuce salad and pizza). This was no Pinterest party but it was exactly the kind of party a two year old could enjoy.

We’re glad we kept it small because Ben woke up and suddenly everyone was there and it was pretty overwhelming for him. After at least 20 minutes of stubborn refusal to do anything, we offered him some “fruit candies” aka fruit snacks and he warmed up to the idea of being the center of attention.

He was mildly interested in the card B’s parents have him (“Monies!”), substantially interested in the V-Tech garage that matches the train set he plays with nearly every day, and didn’t want to do anything but play as soon as he saw the kitchen my parents brought for him! It took a lot of convincing to feed him dinner and even then, he stopped 3 bites from the end and asked to get down so he could play with his dishes. Hooray! Getting him a kitchen for his second birthday was definitely a good choice and would recommend it if your toddler has started to play pretend (Ben likes to fake feed cereal to toys and has a set of milk cartons
that he’s always bringing over to us to “drink”). B said he got some great photos of the party so hopefully I’ll be able to share those sometime before Ben graduates from high school.

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3

Does He Get It?

One of the questions I’ve asked most often during this pregnancy, besides “when are you due” and “is it a boy or a girl,” is some variation of “does Ben understand what’s going on?” My answer used to be that he has no clue but for the last month, different things we’ve been doing have started to click.

We have been reading Ben’s big brother book for several months already and that has opened the door to talks about how babies are different than big boys. Babies can’t play toys, eat snacks, or brush their teeth. Babies like to take lots of naps, be wrapped in blankets, and snuggled. We practice being gentle with Ben’s baby doll and giving kisses and soft butt-pats when baby fake cries. Ben loves to get in on the swaddling action by being wrapped up too. He thinks it’s hilarious and giggles constantly (did you know that the Aden and Anais swaddle blankets are big enough for a toddler?) and requests I carry him to daddy to snuggle like when he was a baby.

Now that we’re more settled in the new house, we’ve been working on creating a physical space for baby brother. While the master bedroom was being cleaned, stripped of wallpaper, and repainted, we talked about how our painter was working in Mommy and Daddy’s room, and how Ben has his own room with his bed and toys, and now baby brother will have a room with little baby things in it. Ben’s changing table and large toy/diaper organizing shelf are in the baby’s room now so we go to “Baby Brover’s” room for diaper changes. Ben likes to try to sit in the infant car seat but laughs when he discovers that he is too big to fit! We talk about how Baby Brother has little diapers and little clothes and show Ben how little they are compared to his clothes and diapers. Ben helps “fold” the tiny laundry and put the clothes away.

In more practical ways, we’re trying to encourage Ben to be as independent as his age allows. He is usually quite willing to help put his dishes in the sink, drop his clothes down the clothes shoot in the hall, pick up books or toys, help start laundry, climb into a chair to get his shoes on, or get into the car and be clipped into his car seat. There is always a decent chance that I’ll have to have a c-section and won’t be able to lift anything heavier than New Baby and it won’t be as much of a shock for Ben if he’s used to doing some things on his own already.

We are also trying to help Benny adjust to sleeping in a twin bed. We knew a long time ago that we didn’t want to buy a second crib nor did we want Ben to feel like New Baby has taken something as important as his bed from him. Right now, we’re working with a mattress on the floor with an extra long rail on the side. Ben slept amazingly in his crib and we figured we’d be taking a quick reduction in quality and hours as soon as we switched but I think we underestimated it. We went from Ben NEVER trying to climb out of his crib to almost constant attempts to escape from the big bed and run around the room. For the last few days, we have taken turns sitting in the room and only acknowledging his presence when he steps out of bed. The only behavior we are working on right now is staying in bed; what he does while he is in there is and always has been his own business. It takes him anywhere between 30 and 90 minutes to fall asleep for nap and bed time plus he is waking up earlier in the morning. I’m hoping that by his birthday in September, I’ll be able to report a huge improvement.

(For future reference for me: this was the month of the sudden and intense obsession with Toy Story 2 aka Woody-Buzz. He’d rather wear his Woody shirts than anything else. The movie MUST be watched at least once a day. There are worse things he could have this kind of love for but I’m getting a wee bit tired of it!)

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Ben had a quick bout of Hand Foot Mouth disease this month. I totally didn’t know it existed until the week prior. Apparently the annual resurgence of HFMD has come early to our area. We got off lightly: 24 hours of fever with lots of snuggles and Advil, a very light rash, and only a few mouth blisters. It could have been worse!

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Breakfast at the toddler table (we’re totally buying a new table from Ikea this week that is easier to keep clean!)

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Feeding himself

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“Cheese, Mommy! Cheese!”

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We took Ben to an awesome zoo about an hour away from our house and had a wonderful time. The weather was cool enough that I wasn’t miserable, the crowds were light, and Ben had a blast!

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Ben asked to be wrapped and brought to Daddy to snuggle

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I can’t quite capture what word he uses for sunglasses but he loves to wear his around the house (for 30 seconds at a time) and get his picture taken

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I bought him a calculator from the dollar store because he’s developed a love for pushing buttons (both literal and figurative). It only lasted about a day before it was completely destroyed but the look of joy on his face when I handed it to him was worth the $1.06

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After many months of puzzling, I still can’t figure out how he got so big!

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We discovered that Ben is to the point where he can focus on playing in the yard if there is something to focus on. We now have a stash of yard toys on the breezeway and have discovered that a bucket of water, dish soap, and a scrub brush can keep him entertained longer than anything else.

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Family photo with 2/3 of the family looking at the camera. Not bad!

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See the intense joy? Comes from the “butties” on B’s spare keyboard

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Ben loves to climb behind me on the couch and play with my hair

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Making the bed with a cat and toddler is nearly impossible

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“Mommy, ou’! Mommy, ou’!” At least he tells me when he’s done napping instead of crying?

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This boy loves his ice cream (like his mama!)

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22 months

B and I were stunned to do the math and realize Ben is only 2 months away from 2 years old. What?! He’s our baby!!!

In the past month, Ben has started stringing together words to make sentences in a major way. Many of the answers to our questions are more than one or two words now and when he chatters to himself, it’s a whole conversation! His little voice is adorable to hear, especially when he butchers longer words like turning “applesauce” into “asapah.” He mimics and repeats almost everything we say and his vocabulary has exploded. There are some words that are entirely his own like gibby for blanket. That one came out of nowhere! He loves making animal noises and my favorite is the sound an elephant makes when it trumpets because Ben uses his arm like a trunk!

We had been listening to kids songs in the car and suddenly Ben starred picking up on the words, singing along, and asking for favorites. He loves hearing ABCs (A Bees), ring around the rosey (ashes), LE (B-I-B-L-E), a song about brushing his teeth (teeth!), and Old McDonald (E-I-O). If he asks for us to sing when we’re playing and we sing the song he has in mind, he bounces up and down and dances.

Ben almost always uses silverware and dishes, even spoons! He is frustrated with us when we don’t provide them, even if we know the meal would be easier to eat with fingers or that he’d make less of a mess without them. He loves to scoop yogurt for breakfast and has even has mostly broth-free soup.

He’ll eat pasta (“pata”) now but only if it’s covered in sauce. He still isn’t a huge fan of milk but he will drink it when we give it to him with meals. He loves greek yogurt (nono), cheese, black beans, quesadillas (kayeeyah), chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, carrots, ice cream, daddy’s cereal, and many others. If he gets hungry enough, he’ll start making hopeful suggestions, “Kayeeyah? Chee? Fruits?” One of my favorite things that he does with food is if he sees me cleaning or chopping vegetables (which is often since we have a CSA subscription this summer), he asks to try whatever I have out. He often doesn’t like it but I love that he is interested and willing! He’s started to play pretend eating and likes to borrow my kitchen gear to play so a play kitchen might be in order for his second birthday.

Ben is testing limits and boundaries and it drives his parents crazy. “Oh, you said I can’t go downstairs? How abut I sit on the top step?” We are trying to be consistent and make consequences to his actions something we can follow through on. Ben has discovered that time out can follow us away from home and he needs to use good listening no matter where he is. He doesn’t always, of course, but it’s not a bad start for 22 months.

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Making faces

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Kitty ‘Gli is his best friend and puts up with lots of love and baby abuse

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We hired a young man from church to help finish some outdoor projects. Ben ran around the house watching him all day and talked of nothing else for a long time after

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Video games with daddy is serious business

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B sold an amp he doesn’t use anymore and Ben was really excited about all the knobs that he could turn

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Ben discovered the racecar carts at Home Depot and is no longer satisfied with a regular cart. He needs to drive the beep beep!

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My favorite part about this photo is that Mowgli just laid there and put up with being steamrolled by a small human twice his weight

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Ben had a brief bought of roseola last month and one of the few things that makes him feel better when he’s running a fever and can’t sleep is snuggling in the big bed and playing games on daddy’s phone

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Building towers is an almost daddy-exclusive activity

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Down it comes!

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Ben has started experimenting with picking out clothes and dressing himself. He *almost* got the hat on right!

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What do you do when you’re exhausted from moving and your toddler decides to wake up pre-7:00? Shows in bed, of course!

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This kid is full of personality

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Ben now requires two blankets, two sock monkeys, his pillow, a stuffed lion, a baba, and a boppy in order to fall asleep. He’s almost got the pillow thing figured out

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I had forgotten that Ben figured out zippers until I went into his room to get him up in the morning and he was naked

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We took Ben on his first big-boy trip to the “beash” last Friday and he LOVED it

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I love my boys!

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A Day in the Life at 21 Months

I’ve been meaning to write a “day in the life” post for 1 Benny-sized kid since he turned 18 months almost 3 months ago but haven’t found the time. I think that is probably a good illustration of what life with an active toddler is like!

7:45 am: Ben wakes up
He usually wakes up between 6:45 and 8 without any real pattern of why he sleeps later some days. I’ve been awake since 7:15 but enjoying some quiet time in bed before getting up. Ben plays quietly in his bed for about 15 minutes before telling me that he’s ready to get up.

8:00 am: Diaper change and breakfast
When I get Ben up, he tells me he wants to see the kitties, have cereal, and watch a show. I can handle that! I have a snack cup all ready to go with cereal (his preferred breakfast) and he looks at all his DVD cases before picking out Baby Beethoven. He doesn’t really sit down and eat so I know we’ll have to have a healthy snack before I shower.

9:15 am: B is home, I clean kitchen, Ben snacks
By now Ben has had two short shows and still hasn’t stopped moving long enough to eat. B had a breakfast meeting but is home again. The whole family goes into the kitchen to work, eat, and clean. Ben requests apples, “no no,” which is his name for yogurt, and cereal. He’s getting better at feeding himself greek style yogurt because its thick enough to stay on the spoon and he likes to practice often. He gets half a container of black cherry greek yogurt, half an apple cut into bite size pieces, and some of his breakfast cereal. Now that he’s discovered that some foods can be dipped, everything that might be dipped into something else is. While he is spooning and dipping yogurt and getting it mostly in his mouth, B works at the kitchen table and I empty the dishwasher, take care of the random toys and other things that have gotten left on the counter, and handwash dishes from last night.

9:45 am: Ben is done, I can shower now
Ben’s yogurt is gone so I take away his slimy dishes and wash his hands and face. Inevitably, I miss some yogurt that I’ll clean off later. That stuff hides from me! I tell Ben that I need to take a shower and he grabs a few toys and runs down the hall to his room. He knows that mommy shower time means that he gets quiet time in his room with books and toys in bed. It’s the only time during the day outside of naps and night that he’s allowed to have a pacifier so he’s generally more than willing to play by himself in his crib while I shower. I finish the rest of his container of yogurt, grab some clothes, and shower.

10:45 am: Planning and playing
I plan our errands for the day (bringing cash to the bank to deposit and getting an oil change) while Ben wanders the house. Some young newlyweds that recently graduated from our campus ministry have been struggling financially while the husband finds a full time job so he’s been doing yard work and minor repairs at our house when we have the cash to employ him. He was over this morning and Ben follows him around the house and loves to watch him work (today it was cutting up branches from a pine tree, caulking the front door prior to painting, and cleaning out a garden bed).

11:10 am: Errands
Ben and I take off in the car. The change oil light was on so we make that the top priority for the morning. Ben has a CD of kids singing Bible songs that he LOVES to listen to and requests that I turn it on when we get in the car. Surprisingly, he makes it through the oil change with a few car toys and his music turned on. He’s starting to be able to sing along, which melts my mommy heart every time. A quick stop at the bank to deposit the cash B’s mom gave us for her new iPad last week and we’re headed home again.

Noon: Lunch!
Ben is whiney and naughty so we know he’s getting ready for a nap. He gets much naughtier the more tired he is. To prove that to us, he is put on time out twice while I’m making lunch for doing things he knows full well are not allowed (playing with daddy’s laptop and touching the knobs on the stove). Eventually I finish making his black bean quesadilla and green beans and my leftover cheese stuffed tortelini with vodka sauce. I usually eat at the beginning of his nap but because I have an OB appointment today, I eat with Ben. Ben insists we stop to pray about 3 times during the course of the meal.

12:30 pm: Appointment
I leave Ben with B and take off to my appointment on the other side of town. I get a call halfway there that the doctor was called out for a delivery but decide to go in anyway. I only have 3 weeks until the upper limit to do the 2nd tri gestational diabetes testing so I need to get the glucose fluid and and curious about my weight gain. I see the nurse, find out that I gained more than 2 lbs per week for the last 5 weeks, schedule the GD test at 28 weeks exactly and leave for home. B reports that Ben dropped like a rock when he was put into his bed for a nap. Surprise!

1:15 pm: Home and nap productivity
I tell B about my appointment while he eats his lunch and try to decide what to do during nap time. It’s hot and muggy today so I really don’t want to go outside to work so I settle down to write part of this post (hi!), drink more water, and catch up on emails. I’m hoping to hear from the bank that they’ve finally approved our mortgage for the new house but refuse to get my hopes up since they’ve delayed twice already. I think I’m making smoked sausage, potato, and veggie packets on the grill for dinner so I think about what produce needs to be used up. We signed up for a CSA (community supported agriculture) program that doubles as an after school program and summer employment for several inner city high school students every year. I pick up our produce on Thursdays and so far this season, we’ve had bok choy, spinach, arugula, loads of mixed lettuce, a head of lettuce, radishes, herbs, kale, and scallions. It breaks down to only about $20/week and is a huge time saver for me so I don’t have to spend so much time outside gardening while super pregnant.

3:30 pm: Up and Grouchy
Ben woke up a few times during his nap so that didn’t bode well for the rest of the afternoon. He woke up grouchy so we settled onto the couch to watch Winnie the Pooh. He is about half interested and doesn’t do a very good job listening to me when I ask him to stop 1. climbing onto the kitchen table, 2. messing with B’s work stuff, 3. climbing onto the back of the couch, 4. pulling stuff off the cork board. By dinner I’ve lost track of how many warnings and subsequent timeouts he has been on today. Usually just the threat of “going on time out if you don’t listen to mommy” is sufficient but he’s to far into being naughty to listen today. He keeps begging for apples, cereal, no-no, crackers, etc so I hope B is done with work early enough for me to get dinner on the grill.

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Pooh is a good distraction

5:30 pm: Daddy is “home” and I make dinner
B is done with work and starts the grill so we can eat dinner in about an hour. He and Ben play in the living room while I wash, cut, and stack veggies in tin foil for dinner. We had smoked sausage, potatoes, onion, bok choy, kale, and asparagus. I love this meal because the only dishes I get dirty are a cutting board and one knife. Once the packets are sealed, B puts them on the grill using his new Father’s Day heat resistant glove and I wash what few dishes there are left. Ben has driven me to distraction today so I text a friend who has just gotten back into town after leading a youth group trip out west and we plan to go out after Benny bed time.

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Playing Daddy’s game when he isn’t looking!

6:40 pm: Eat
Dinner is done cooking and smells amazing. Ben loves the smoked sausage (it is basically a hot dog, after all) but takes some convincing to eat the potatoes and green beans. He eats about half of the vegetables on his plate before tossing everything to the floor and telling us he is done. B is a quick eater so he washes Ben up and gets him out of his chair so I can finish my dinner in peace. It’s close enough to bedtime that he brushes Ben’s teeth and takes him to his room to get a diaper change.

7:00 pm: Bed time and Friend time
B reads to Ben and my friend shows up at the house. We wait for B to finish before leaving so I have a few minutes to put away the tornado of toys in the living room. We chat with B for a few minutes and take off. We go to Friday’s for a “drink” for me and a fancy looking strawberry mojito for my friend. We catch up and hit the grocery store kid-free before heading home. I didn’t have a ton on my list but pick up some lotion (I’m almost out), some supplies for packing, and some end-of-the-day discounted sesame bagels for breakfast.

10:30 pm: Sleep
We’re home, I send a big bag of CSA lettuce home with my friend, B and I shut down the house for the day, and go to bed. Good night!