Sunday, July 28, 2013

This isn't a link up, or me sharing something awesome that someone else wrote...

It's just a quick summary of our weekend, because it's nice to share the little joys and blessings of life since sometimes life is hard and challenging and confusing! So anyway, back to joy and blessings...

Jack and I drove over to Watsonville/Capitola/etc. this weekend to meet up with John and the whole Flynn family. Going on a "road trip" can be really challenging these days but this one went fairly well. (A road trip is really anything longer than 1 hour, in my opinion, once you have kids...and yes, this was a road trip with two kids for was safely in the car seat (Jack) and one was bouncing on my bladder and other internal organs (Baby #2)). Jack doesn't love being in his car seat and fights the insane urge he must have to nap (I say must because I normally plan travel time around his naps, so that he is drowsy and/or unable to keep his eyes open...but somehow the little bugger fights it and stays awake most of the time). We stopped a little over half way at Casa de Fruta (one of my favorite little's like Disneyland to me because they have a few little rides, a playground, and lots of things that I like to eat!) and Jack had a blast. He loved the huge water fountain (he kept saying "WOW!" and also "BALL!!!" (the ball part didn't make sense since it was a jet of water shooting into the air, but I just roll with it when he's happy) and then we played on the swing (more "WOW!" and giggles from Jack) and even hung out in the grass for a few minutes. Jack wanted to eat most of the things he encountered while playing in the grass (see for yourself below...recall that I said the road trip went fairly well, not perfectly.)

Anyway, that was pretty much the end of our road trip because then we arrived in Watsonville and Jack had a blast playing with his cousins and loving on Odysseus (Mima & Papa's black lab, who I believe is infinitely cooler in Jack's eyes than our own dog because he is bigger). Jack kept showing off his "walking" skills (3-10 steps & then a face plant) and I think having his big, tall cousins around encouraged him to get those chubby legs off the ground and start movin'! It was great to see him having so much fun and acting like such a big boy. His cousins are great and also very smart. When I say things like "let's give Jack some space to move" they clarify that he doesn't need space, he's having fun because he isn't crying. Ah ha, so true, little genius cousins. 

During our visit we also took him to the beach for the first time! I can't believe it's taken us this long, especially since Johnny was born and raised as a beach loving dude bro! Jack thought the waves were pretty cool (lots of "WOW! WOW! WOW!") and also enjoyed the dozens of dogs surrounding us (I did not enjoy them as much since a lot of them weren't leashed! When I see a dog unleashed, around children, I want to say, "Hey! Just because you believe your dog is well-behaved and not a rabid animal, doesn't mean I do! Follow the leash law!" I refrained since Jack was within arm's reach at all times.) I'm looking forward to taking him back again soon when it's a bit warmer, although John said he had a blast putting his feet in the water even though it was freezing cold. I didn't witness that part because I was napping in the sand like a good pregnant mama.

He kills me when he crosses his little chubby legs! I couldn't get him to look at me and smile because he was just way too excited about the waves. And the dogs.

My boys are so cute together! Love them.
To top off the weekend we celebrated Shiyah's farewell (she's moving to Phoenix to go to college & nanny for John's sister) and the food was delicious and although Jack refused to take an afternoon nap while we were there (he has now entered that hazardous age where he can "play" instead of sleeping...I found him pulling the pack n' play mattress up over his legs and laughing at one point...surprise, surprise, the two strips of velcro they provide to keep the mattress in place are no match for a 14 month old) he slept almost the entire 2 1/2 hour drive home! Miracle of all miracles! It was fantastic except that we were in separate cars (John was following behind a ways with our dog Blake, who tends to get car sick) and when you are alone in a car with a sleeping don't stop for anything. Even if you have another baby kicking and bouncing on a very full internal organ that you would prefer to empty at a clean gas station or fast food restaurant.

Anyway, now we are home safe and sound and next on the agenda (probably) is getting Jack his first hair cut. Why, you ask? I know, I know, his curls are gorgeous and he is such a handsome little man and why would I want to mess with that combo? Welp, mostly because after church on Saturday evening this occurred:

Old lady: Awww, what's her name?
Me: Jack.
Old lady: Look at those curls! (Jack turns around so she can see his entire face)
Old lady: He's a boy! 
Me: Yes, he is. (That was all I could muster since I was thinking, "WHAT?!?!?!" plus lots of other things that are not polite. I mean the kid is cute but obviously male! And he was wearing an orange and navy striped shirt and navy blue pants!)
Old lady: That's nice too.

So expect my next update to include a picture of our big little boy with a bit less hair! :(

Thursday, July 25, 2013

My favorite part about blogging, or blogs...

Years ago, I thought blogs were really silly, and sometimes narcissistic. (Disclaimer: sometimes I still find blogs narcissistic.) I definitely never thought I would enjoy reading blogs (so profusely!), let alone that I would create the occassional post myself. But something I read on my lunch break today reminded me of what a wonderful community bloggers can be!

Check out this post over at What a great read! I never would have stumbled upon it (and felt so encouraged) if I hadn't jumped aboard the blogging train.

Just a few of my favorite blogs - check out My Blog List to see all of my favorites!
I pretty much add a new blog every day at this point...

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Five Favorites!

I love link ups! And I love Camp Patton. What can I ups are so fun and I'm rather boring so I need to share other people's great ideas instead of my own. :)

Here are mine:

1. Downton Abbey

We started watching it 2 years ago (or whenever it first came out) and after a few episodes I was SO bored, and quickly gave up...but then after hearing so much about it from friends (some of them even hosted themed parties which led me to believe that the obsession was well-founded) we picked it up again a few weeks ago, and quickly blazed through all 3 seasons. I LOVE THIS SHOW! I was devastated two nights ago after the season finale (season 3) when we realized that season 4 doesn't make it's debut until January! What the WHAT?! I mean that is so far away...what are they thinking?! I mentioned to John that we won't even have time to watch it then, because baby #2 will have arrived, and then he reminded me that oh yes we will, because I'll be on maternity leave (which means aside from sleeping, nursing, rocking baby and minimal housework, I got time on ma hands!). So now I am counting down the weeks until the holidays with even more motivation.

2. John Frieda's Dream Curls Spray

I bought this forever ago (and interestingly enough, just like Downton Abbey, thought I hated it!) but rediscovered it in a drawer this weekend when my curling iron broke. (Let's take a moment to reflect on this...this is a curling iron that I've had for over a's made it's way through college, Europe, 3 dorm rooms, 2 apartments, 3 houses, and was finally laid to rest after years of labor on my crazy, crazy mop.) Anyway, back to this hair product. It's weird because it's not a mousse or gel, it's a watery spray, but it works SO WELL if you are looking for soft, bouncy curls (like me, and I'm not naturally blessed with those curls.) At $5 a pop...doesn't break the bank either.

3. Baked Potatoes!

Sounds crazy, but remember, I'm pregnant (and I love to eat even when I'm not!). This weekend our stuffed pork tenderloin (see how I said "our" and gave John some credit for all of his hard work? :)) turned out AMAZING and with it we enjoyed some delicious baked potatoes courtesy of some of my favorite friends (hint, hint, Steve & Ashley!). Lucky for me we had leftovers so I've been enjoying baked potatoes for the past few days (we even mixed some chopped baked potato into breakfast burritos this tasty!). Also, I found a really easy way to make them in the crock pot! Anyway, I'm hooked on them and I'm sure that's because the baby needs exactly the vitamins & minerals that baked potatoes contain, so, you're welcome, baby #2.

4. This guy....

One of my favorite pictures of Johnny because it makes me laugh. This was the day after Jack was born when we were leaving the hospital. I was so crabby and uncomfortable (18 hours of labor...practically gave birth naturally since my epidural fell out and no one noticed...newborn baby that was very small and scary to me, etc.) and he was being goofy and wanted to pose in my recovery room hospital bed. This guy!

Picture first so you know who I'm talking about. Since this is my first Five Favorites link up, he has to make the list! I am just so appreciative of him lately. I was talking to a friend about my daily schedule and how we make it all work and realized that honestly 90% of our success (in regard to our family life) is because of him. He wakes up early to make me tea (Baby #2 doesn't like coffee, so Irish Breakfast tea it is), and breakfast, packs me a snack & lunch if I need it, prepares Jack's breakfast...and this is all before 7am, with a smile on his face. He's there to check in on me throughout the workday with calls or texts when I need them, helps me with drop off & pick up of Jack when he's at daycare, assists with dinner (as sous chef but sometimes executive chef!), helps with everything around the house (bathrooms, laundry, I mean everything, that man is a saint), etc. etc. etc. He eats healthy, works out, prays with us & for us, and the best part...he is happy. I mean cheerful, joyous, and fun. He doesn't get "crabby" like I do, and I hope & pray daily that Jack will learn how to behave himself from John, and not me. Basically he's the best. I've been feeling this way (that he's the best) since last night when we were folding 4 loads of laundry together (which we finally got around to since Downton Abbey is now sadly on pause...the Bachelorette was just boring enough that I realized I could multi-task, wahoo!.) He is just the best teammate I could ever ask for and sometimes I think it is so crazy (wonderful) that we get to spend the rest of our lives together, raising a family!

5. diapers

The reason this is making my five favorites list is because diapers are important! And expensive! Since we ran out of all of the diapers we received as baby shower gifts when Jack was 3 months old (and therefore had to spend our hard-earned money on them) I've been on the hunt for the best diaper. When I say best, I mean convenient, a great value, and high quality. Hard to find, let me tell you. Pampers & Huggies are great quality...but expensive, unless you let your kid hang out in a soggy diaper for hours (we don't). Target diapers are cheap, but gave him a rash (not cool) and they just feel flimsy to me. Costco diapers (Kirkland Signature brand) are near perfect, but we don't have a Costco card anymore so I always have to bother my mom to pick some up for me (she's amazing and doesn't mind, but I do hate bothering people!). We tried cloth diapering for 24 hours and both hated it. And when both of us hate something...we normally don't follow through on it for too long. I know the concept works well for some people but I just like to get rid of my kid's poop as quickly as possible...I don't want to spray it off, wash the diaper, dry the diaper and hope there aren't stains on it, carry around a wet bag, use a special detergent, etc. etc. etc. Just not my speed. Anyway, I asked around and no one I knew had tried diapers, and they are really affordable (and delivered to your door step in 24 hours normally) so I assumed they were too good to be true. But after the cloth diaper fiasco, I decided to give them a try. I really like them! So I thought I would share in case you mamas out there have wondered about them as's nice to know when something is tried & true before you invest $ in it. And I love most of the stuff that has to offer (errr...wait...I love that they deliver to your door step...I mean what can be better/easier than that in those early postpartum weeks?). If you were expecting me to share my favorite martini recipe, just remember, although Bacon Mama leads a very exciting life, my #1 job is to be a mama, so I care about things like affordable diapers!

Friday, July 19, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday

I've decided that quick takes are definitely the best way to share a bit about our busy life! Plus I love the number 7 (it was one of my dad's favorites...I can still hear him saying "Guess 7! The number from heaven!).

1. We had a great time in Disneyland, but unfortunately I'm still so tired from all the traveling (& fun!) that I can't really even muster the energy to describe it all in a post. I mean seriously...we've been home since Sunday and we still haven't unpacked any of our bags (we have a lot of clothes! which makes closet organization a difficult task but enables this sort of laziness...wahoo.) Anyway, back to Disneyland. We found Jack a future wife!!! Just kidding, but seriously, he and Aubrey were way too cute together. I mean melt-your-heart-every-moment cute. Both so chubby and happy and we all just had a blast.

I mean how adorable are they?! We tried unsuccessfully to get a picture of both kiddos smiling, but this one's cute anyway because Aubrey is looking adoringly at her future husband, ya know? (You may also notice the baby bump making an appearance in this photo...they are both so little that we were paranoid one or both of them would take a nose-dive off Dumbo so I was dutifully standing guard, ready to pounce as needed.)
2. I posted a few weeks ago (I think?) about Jack's new word, "Whoaw." You can see it in action here as we were leaving It's A Small World (best ride ever for a young, slow/relaxing pace, bright colors, and AIR CONDITIONING!). I just die every time I watch it! He is growing up so fast. 

3. Another thing Jack learned during our trip is how to use a utensil to actually put food in his mouth! YAY! All it took was a small container of refried beans from TACO BELL (yes, that's right, I said it. If you were expecting a homemade/organic version, you've got a lot to learn about The Bacon Mama) and a spork! How funny is that?! He loved the spork! We got a kick out of it too.

Getting ready to experience refried beans for the first
 time....oh boy.
After many months, successful delivery of food to
mouth, via spork. I'm so proud. 

The whole Taco Bell experience was fantastic. We stopped off the I-5 in The Lost Hills (quite the garden variety vacation spot, if you've never I can't even joke about this, if you've never been I don't want you to plan a day trip and hate me forever!). I got in line to order food and Jack shouted, at the top of his little baby boy lungs, 50 times in a row, and quite emphatically, "MAMA! MA-MA! MAAAA MAAA! MAMA!" Everyone was smiling at how cute he was and it warmed my heart but it really made it difficult to remember what I was supposed to be ordering (everything has the same name at Taco Bell's all crunchy/supreme/beef/cheesy blah blah blah).

4. This whole blog post is about Jack. Are you surprised? We adore him. I mean he is just the most wonderful child in the world! I am not lying when I say that two nights this week, because he goes to sleep at 7pm and we miss him so much by 9 or 10 pm, we crept into his room, picked up our sweet, sleeping (yes, I said sleeping) boy, and fought over who got to hold/snuggle/rock him. Don't feel bad for Jack, he's a great sleeper and he doesn't even notice these little interruptions, which is surprising since John and I are literally racing to his room, yelling "I get to hold him! He's mine!" We're quite the pair.

5. I know I haven't mentioned him yet, so here's some more on Jack. John taught him to give hugs this week! I wish I had a video but we are too distracted by how much we love him to capture the moment and share it. Anyway, when you say, "Give me a hug, Jack!" he sort of leans into you, with one chubby arm across your body, and snuggles in to let you hug him. It should be noted, that he thinks this also includes the phrase "hugga hugga hugga!" because that's what John does. So sweet but very confusing because when I came home from work and John said, "Jack, give Mama a hug!" Jack did, but then John started yelling about how I needed to say "hugga hugga hugga" and I didn't know what was up and what was down. Now I know the program so we're good to go, don't worry.

6. I can't keep writing about Jack, so let's hear about baby #2, in a more positive description than "the little banana sized baby who inflicted 20 lbs. of weight gain, in 20 weeks, upon my poor, helpless body." Baby #2 (Tommy or Camila, still to be determined!) has been kicking up a storm. We went to an event for work last night and after a delicious meal of filet mignon, potatoes, a few bites of green beans, as well as this delicious layered chocolate & caramel torte dessert, baby was awake and kicking! Which was very exciting because we were also there for a show (excerpts from The Phantom of the Opera) and the sporadic movement inside of my body really matched what was going on on stage. 

7. I'm making a bacon & baby bella mushroom stuffed pork tenderloin for dinner tonight. I'm excited! When I say "I'm making" what I really mean is that I will help dice/chop a bit, but John will do all the hard work of butterflying the tenderloin, stuffing & rolling it, grilling it, etc. Like I said, I'm excited! I would share the recipe but it's something I found via my amazing friend,, so if you want to make it yourself, just google "mushroom stuffed pork tenderloin" and then buy the ingredients, find a husband to help you, and dive in. And then let me know how it goes for ya! :)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

20 lbs, 20 weeks, and lunch desserts

I have some advice for pregnant women everywhere.

After you’ve been on vacation (and therefore eaten more delicious/unhealthy food than usual), and especially if you’ve eaten whatever you want for your entire pregnancy, weigh yourself at 9 pm. It’ll be fun and you’ll be so happy you did.

Nope. You won’t! Learn from my mistake…and my husband’s (he suffers from foot in mouth syndrome on the daily, poor guy, and most of the time it’s not really his fault.)

Last night, as I filled up our large (awesome!) bath tub with warm water and a relaxing lavender-scented bubble bath, so I could relax after a long day of work, I decided that it would be a good time to weigh myself. So I jumped on the old (nope, it’s not old, it’s new  and super accurate) scale and WOWSA! I was surprised. I’ve gained 20 lbs.! In 20 weeks of pregnancy! For all you unreasonable (overly healthy/diet conscious) people out there…yes, I realize that if I wanted to gain 25-35 lbs. total during this pregnancy, as recommended…it ain’t lookin’ good. Ooops. For all you reasonable (food loving, intelligent, charitable) people out there…I know, I know, I’m growing a baby here! With my own body! And until 3 weeks ago I felt like vomiting 24/7 and the only thing that helped was snacking on delicious things all day long. I don’t blame myself either.

Anyway, back to my husband’s foot in mouth syndrome...

Me: Johnny! I’ve gained 20 lbs.! In 20 weeks! I’M FAT!

Husband: Oh honey. Maybe you should try to eat a little bit more healthy. Like you could try to stop eating seconds at dinner. Because when you do, you complain afterwards that you are so full that you feel sick. So maybe you could not do that.


Husband: Oh no babe, I didn’t mean it like that. I just mean if you want to not gain so much weight you could try to eat a little bit more healthy.


Husband: ……. You look great. Really, so beautiful.

Me: Yeahhh. I mean really, I think it’s actually fine. I weighed 15 lbs. less when I got pregnant with this baby than I did when I got pregnant with Jack. So, you know, 20 lbs. gained, minus the 15 lbs. I was under…5 lbs. 5 lbs. No big deal!

Husband: Yup. Definitely.

So today at work, in honor of the weight gain, I switched my morning snack to something a bit more healthy (i.e. I had John pack me only half of the delicious sour cream & onion crackers that I love to dip in hummus, and instead I ate some crackers + 6 baby carrots.) Go me. I was really proud of myself. 

Then after lunch, I ate a churro and a piece of homemade nectarine pie (my coworker’s creation with this delicious buttery French crumble topping.) YUM! I mean what is a pregnant mama to do?! Sometimes you just need “lunch dessert.” And sometimes, you just need two lunch desserts.

I love this part of pregnancy...the ol' "No, I'm not pregnant! Just a regular sized lady!"
....and then BAM! There's that baby bump!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Day Date with the Flynns

Mike & Lisa (John's brother & his wife) invited us to a Giants game with them and today was the big day. Mike had great tickets so we literally sat three rows behind home plate. It honestly felt unreal and SO COOL and I don't even like baseball! I mean I like it, in that I don't NOT like it, but I don't love it (like John & Mike do). This was our view!

No filter. That is some green grass. I mean our grass of course looks
exactly like this stuff. it doesn't.

Not bad for a Wednesday afternoon. Speaking of Wednesday afternoons, I was shocked that the stadium was full! I kept thinking, don't these people have day jobs?! Is everyone on PTO like me? Although I have 4 weeks a year, in recent years I've used my PTO to take a few days off during the holidays, handle family emergencies...and go on maternity leave. So to take a random Wednesday off was a big deal (and of course the day prior, I randomly received 800% more emails/phone calls than the average day, which was crazy!). Anyway, it was a great break from reality and especially a great opportunity to have a "day date" with my husband and spend time with my awesome brother-in-law & sister-in-law.

John and I drove to Pleasanton and took the BART to the city (really it is The City to me...I'm a country girl at heart and it just seems so huge and so bustling and so crazy!) which ended up being quite nice. Except for the fact that when we arrived at the BART station at 10am, we spent 15 minutes driving around the massive 8 story parking garage trying to find a parking spot. Right as we were about to give up, I spotted a little tiny itty bitty parking spot and my amazing husband somehow backed our large SUV in (and got out without denting anything...he let his growing daily pregnant wife out before he sandwiched the car into the spot). We're quite the team he and I! :) So then we jumped on the train and before we knew it we were at the Embarcadero stop so we decided to grab some lunch. Of course I had to go to the bathroom (when I'm pregnant you can pretty much guarantee I always have to go) and we were at this great sandwich shop called Miss Tomato's. The woman helping us was really kind and even though they didn't have a restroom for customers (such is life in The City!) she gave me their employee key and very confusing instructions about how to enter the building next door, walk through this, over that, through this, etc. etc. etc. so I could use their bathroom. It was really sweet and by the time I got back (after John thanked her profusely, he is so polite) and sat down to eat my sandwich, I realized that I was on the verge of tears. Welcome to life as a crazy pregnant woman!!! (If you've never experienced these emotions, you've either never been pregnant, or you have amazing pregnancy hormones that allow you to remain normal...more power to should probably have 10 kids since you've been so blessed). I whispered across the table to John that I thought I might start crying. He responded with, "Oh honey! Why?" (Of course he was trying to hold back his laughter.). So I proceeded to explain to him that I was just so happy that someone had been so kind to me, and that I didn't really realize that strangers would recognize that I was pregnant and go out of their way to help me (that happens more when I am 7-10 months pregnant and the size of a cow) and it just made me feel so special. And that made me want to cry. OH MAN. Can't believe we've got 4 1/2-5 more months of this business (depending on when I can pray this baby out of me!). It was really great. 

Anyway, back to our fun day date. Then we walked to the stadium (a brisk 1.3 miles, it was great) and enjoyed a great game (well, horrible if you wanted the Giants to win, but great if you were there for the scenery, food, and company like myself). By the top of the 9th, I had run out of my "I don't know anything about baseball" jokes (A. "Wait, I thought we were the Mets! We're the Giants?" B. "Oh, so all those zeros that we have are not good?" C. "Why do you keep yelling 'sit down' when he's about to catch the ball? Is someone going to bring him steak and potatoes out there for an early dinner?") and the guys were ready to hit the road after a rough game. Instead of walking back, John and I took an awesome rickshaw ride (this crazy toned hippie dude pulled us the whole 1.3 miles in a cart attached to his bike! I loved it. I like bike rides except for the pedaling part so it was really an ideal situation for me) and that was so fun. 

On the rickshaw! We're all smiles since we aren't pedaling 400+ lbs. of weight like the hippie dude.
And here's another picture from our day...turns out we really took pictures while on various forms of transportation:

Enjoying the BART - I love being able to multi-task while we travel!
Although I did make myself a bit car sick...or BART sick...with too much iPhone use.
Before we left we also snapped a picture of me and baby #2. John said I looked "so cute!" in my Giants shirt  but's not a maternity shirt and it was a bit tight. At least I got one more wear out of it since I won't be using it for the next 9-12 months (this math assumes I lose the baby weight in 4-7 months...very reasonable, right?).

19 weeks...which is nearly half way especially if you are hoping
and praying to get that baby out anytime after 38 weeks! (Like me)
Okay, one more cute picture just for fun...this is me and baby #1 (Jack!) at his first Giants' game last July (6 weeks old!!! So tiny but already so chubby!).

If you are really astute you'll notice that this is the same shirt as above...

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Jack's Favorite Toys and a New Word

I would say these favorite toys are in no particular order but there is definitely an order of preference. 

#1: Emptying clean laundry onto the floor
#2: Touching wine bottles 
#3: Safe, age-appropriate baby toys

He is so darn cute no matter what he is getting into though! This weekend the big word was, "Wow!!!" It comes out a bit more like "Whoaw!" and it is just way too much fun for all of us. Anything and everything that is exciting or cool in any way is, "Whoaw!" to Jack. This coming Friday we are headed to Disneyland with my friend Colleen (who I haven't seen since college!) and I expect to hear a whole lot of "Whoaw!" from Jack. The weather should be really nice and I am so looking forward to a little getaway with a friend (we are also squeezing in visits with family so that should be a blast too!). 

We are having such a great time watching Jack play and learn new things....and we are definitely still trying to coax a few steps out of him now and then (he prefers to fall down...walking is just the first part of falling to him and the falling is the funny part in his mind.) Hopefully soon I will have a video to share of him walking all over! We're not rushing him though, we know it must be a lot of work to get those chubby little legs off the ground! :)

Friday, July 5, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday

I'm doing my first link up today! You can learn more about Jennifer here ( - I just found her blog today and I think I already love her. She's a Catholic mama to six, living in Texas and I can't wait to read more!

1. The reason I am so excited about this link up is because I had nearly given up on blogging! I originally thought it would be a great creative outlet and way to share my life with family, friends, and strangers (hopefully only the awesome, normal, not serial-killer strangers) but then after just a few weeks, I realized that I have no time or energy to blog. I don't know how people manage posting daily. I hesitate to say that this it would just be impossible for me because I have a career (note that I did not say "job" has an entirely different meaning in my book) because I fully understand that being a stay-at-home/work-at-home mama is a full time job that keeps you VERY BUSY, but at this point I just don't feel like there are enough hours in the day to write a grocery list, let alone a blog post! My days are so full and the brain power that I have left after working all day goes into helping John with dinner (and the goal there is to cook very quickly, so of course I can't photograph and post our healthy creations), packing Jack's bag for daycare, and...washing my hair. I'm a busy lady! (Ha! I'm joking about the washing my hair part, I just got 10 inches cut off and it is SUPER EASY now!) Anyway, then I realized that I just needed a bit of inspiration and structure. I really do love structure! Enter 7 Quick Takes Friday Template, i.e., solution!

2. 4th of July was great - super relaxing as we spent the day with dear friends here in Modesto and then  in the evening I went to see a movie with my mom, which I haven't done in years! We had such a blast and it took me back to the last time we saw a movie just the two of us, which was when she dropped me off at college in Dallas, TX after helping me unpack & set up my dorm room (of course I didn't think I needed help, since I was "all grown up," but as she folded that last shirt and lovingly placed it in the drawer, I started crying and said "YOU CAN'T LEAVE ME HERE ALL ALONE!" and she wisely suggested that we go get a snack and see a movie before she headed to the airport.) Movies with my mom are always so great and I'm glad we picked up this little tradition again.

3. I'm realizing that I'm not very good at 7 Quick Takes. I think my Quick Takes are more like paragraphs, which may defeat the purpose. Oops. I guess I'll stop here and then this one at least will only be 3 sentences, which definitely seems like a Quick Take. :)

4. I am getting very excited but also very anxious in regard to the arrival of baby #2. Time is flying by (I remember my sister saying that with your first pregnancy each week crawls by, but once you have a little one, the days and weeks zoom!) and right now I've got a little bell pepper sized baby growing quite nicely. Interestingly enough, my baby bump is quite a bit larger than a bell pepper but such is life! My "morning sickness" (I need to find a better term since it was never morning sickness, and "constant nausea no matter what I eat or don't eat, all day, every day, even as I sleep" doesn't really work) has finally gone away! At 17 weeks (I am still resentful that I am not one of the lucky pregnant women who feel better after the first trimester :(, or one of the miracle women who never experience morning sickness at all!) it reduced significantly and now at 18 weeks, I've had enough energy to work out TWICE and I've stayed up past my bedtime (8:30 pm) a few times without become a very crazy/mean version of myself. Wahooo!

5. Since I'm feeling better and perhaps even nearing the very short window of time where I might enjoy pregnancy (end of 2nd trimester through first few weeks of 3rd trimester, before the horrible back pain/leg cramps set in and before I feel VERY, VERY BIG) I've been able to take my prenatal vitamins, which makes me feel like a really good mama. Sure, seems like a small thing but since I know they are incredibly necessary but wasn't able to consume them...this is a big deal. Like I announce to John (& sometimes text my good friend Colleen), "I just took my prenatals! Isn't that great?!"

6. In other baby/family news, we are trying to talk to Jack about baby #2. We even thought it would be nice to teach him how to rub the baby bump and say hello. Unfortunately he is a wild little rascal and is in a "head butting" phase (oh boy does he think it is hilarious too!) so instead of the sweet, gentle sibling encounter I envisioned, the baby bump received a headbutt. Maybe in a few more months we'll try again.

7.  If you want to read a great birth story, check out and at some point, find Taylor Rose: A Birth Story (believe me, you'll get distracted reading all her other amazing posts). What I love about it is that Morgan shares her labor experience with medical intervention (namely, epidural) but she has a complete perspective since she also experienced natural childbirth with her first baby! I think it's so important to share both sides of the story, because a lot of what you hear as a pregnant mama is one isolated experience from someone who, for example, did it naturally but had a 3 1/2 hour labor (and the whole time you are remembering your own 18 hour, very painful experience!). Or you hear a horror story about someone who labored for 42 hours and then ended up with an emergency c-section (yowsa!). At then as a pregnant mama, you don't know what to do! Because you are worried that intervention (namely, an epidural) will slow things down, and who the heck would want to slow labor down? Or, you labor at home for 8 hours and by the time you get to the hospital, all you can think/say outloud is "I want an epidural now!!!!" to anyone who will listen, but you feel guilty because you've heard about these beautiful, joy-filled natural experiences. Ugh! It's a headache. So anyway, I really appreciate Morgan's perspective and although it always made me very anxious for a few hours afterwards, advise you to continue to read birth stories as you can to get lots of different perspectives! Unless of course you are a middle-aged man and don't plan on giving birth any time that case, don't waste your time. But if you currently have a little baby growing inside of you...start with Morgan's and continue reading whatever crazy stories you encounter on the world wide web until you give yourself bad dreams (and then give yourself a break).

Whew! That's the end of my 7 Quick Takes!