my favorite picture lately...

I started off the year working on Project 52, a photo challenge to take a portrait of my child once a week each week in 2014, but I fell off the wagon somewhere around week 25.  I blame it on a few things, like my venture into shooting with a film camera and my new pregnancy distraction!  I have definitely continued to take a lot of pictures of my (almost!) three year old, but have slowed down and have tried to become a bit more selective in what I capture, on film especially.  It recently took me about 6 weeks to finish a roll of film and this is one of my favorites from our trip to a friend's orchard early last month.  For some reason babies and toddlers eating apples are always so cute! (here is Edwin's apple photo from last year!)  And, I think this is probably the best shot I've ever taken using a roll of Fujifilm Pro 400H.  For some reason I haven't been real happy with the quality of my photos using that film and I don't know if I would buy it again, because I just don't know how/when to use the film properly.  When I saw this picture I was blown away at how beautiful the film grain looks on Edwin's skin.  It definitely stood out as a winner amongst the rest and I am pleased that I did get to see how lovely this film can be, even though I'll likely be sticking with the Kodak Porta 160 from here on out.  Anyway, thank goodness for apples because some days that is all I can get my kiddo to eat!  I hope you are having a beautiful fall.  I am going to miss the pretty leaves when they are gone. 


new baby on the way!

We've recently turned the corner into our second trimester, and it is definitely time for me to write a little bit about this new pregnancy.  I know this journal of mine seems to ebb and flow, or do nothing at all most of the time, but I don't want to be kicking myself someday for not recording a little bit more about this exciting time in our lives.  Here we are!  Baby #2 is due March 20th, the first day of spring!  Nick and I have known for a long time that we wanted another child, just one more, and the timing finally felt right.  I learned with my first pregnancy and child, that it's really important to celebrate every little milestone, and this certainly feels like one.  Time is actually going very quickly, which only sort of scares me!  In 6 months I'll be holding and nursing another little baby.  It doesn't seem real yet, but I know that we are ready for it.  Edwin is also very excited!  He noticed weeks ago that my belly was getting bigger and I'm always surprised at how interested he is in the idea of a brother or sister.  In fact, he talks about it all of the time, and in typical toddler fashion, it's pretty hilarious.  I've been writing down a few things that he's said lately and I thought I'd share what Edwin thinks about this new little one.

"Let's play belly bonk and smash the baby."  (belly bonk is a game we invented that involves touching our bellies together)

"I'm gonna poop on the baby."

"I'm gonna pee on the baby."  (there's a theme here apparently as potty training coincides with my pregnancy!)

"I love the baby."

"Mama, are you and the baby tired?"

"The baby's name is Margaret."  (which I sort of like actually!)

"When I'm a big brother, you'll get me rollerblades."

"The baby is coming tonight!"

"When I'm a big brother I'll get a bat and hit a homerun!"

"Give the baby some coffee."  (the one time I drink a tiny bit of decaf, he calls me out on it!)

I am hoping to do a few pregnancy updates here along the way, and maybe a few more "Edwin installments" of how he's adjusting to the idea.  Although the pictures don't show it that well, this bump is definitely getting bigger, along with the rest of me.  This mama is hungry all of the time!  Eggs and cheese are my favorite foods right now, but honestly, everything tastes really good!  I've been working hard to stay healthy and supplement my nutrition with tea and prenatal vitamins.  I can tell a huge difference when I am taking my vitamins and getting enough water, rest, and exercise.  I feel very very good right now and I am so thankful!  My first pregnancy was something I cherished very much and I didn't know if anything could ever top that, but this time around is proving to be just as magical.  Plus, it's not as scary.  I know a little bit better what to expect and that is very comforting right now.  The main difference is that I am even more excited for what is to come.  Some days I would like to skip the pregnancy and go straight to the baby.  But, I know I need some time to prepare, so here we go!


around the farm table

Last night Nick and I got to go to the neatest dinner!  A couple of friends donated to a fundraising campaign for a local cooking show that airs on Wisconsin Public Television called Around the Farm Table.  Their generous donation bought them a beautiful dinner for 4 on St. Isidore's Mead dairy farm in Osseo, WI.  The farm is run by Inga Witscher and her husband, who by day, run a small dairy farm and artisan cheese making operation.  In their "free time" they write and produce their cooking show and are constantly whipping up fabulous fresh food.  Nick and I were thrilled to be invited along to check out the farm and enjoy the delicious meal.  Thank goodness I brought my camera because it was one of the best nights we've had all summer! 
We started off the evening with appetizers and cocktails in the pasteur overlooking the farm.  While we were chatting, Inga's beautiful jersey cattle grazed their way right past us so we got an up close look at the cows! 

The weather was so amazing and we dined outside next to the garden.  We had 4 courses starting with a chilled cucumber soup, homemade fettucini with fresh tomatoes, a sampling of Inga's aged cheddar and plum jam, and her homemade peach galette.  They eat primarily vegetarian and the food tasted so fresh.  It made me realize how much I've been slacking in my own cooking lately, thanks to a certain little kiddo at home.  I need to get my act together in the kitchen and this dinner was so inspiring!
We got home late and were so thankful for grandma for watching Edwin for us.  It was a much needed night out together and reminded us (again) that we really need to do it more often.  We promptly settled in on the couch and started watching past episodes of Around The Farm Table and starting planning our next adventure to St. Isidore's Mead.  Inga kindly invited us out with kids next time to see the cattle and maybe even milk a cow!  If you are interested in finding out more about Inga's farm or the show, definitely check out these links here and here. I know I'll be watching a few more episodes very soon.


being home

I promised myself that I would do a little check in every once in awhile to set some goals and regroup with how things are going with me being at home.  Honestly, I've been met with all sorts of reactions when I've told people that I left my job.  Some congratulate me on my decision while others tell me they could never stay home with their children all day.  I know everyone has different experiences, jobs, and children so there isn't really a right way to approach the decision.  Ultimately, I knew it was the best choice for me, but I am definitely still figuring a few things out!  I've been home every day for two months now, with little to no childcare other than grandma or a friend watching Edwin for an hour and I've really only done that a couple of times.  He has come everywhere with me including a trip to the nail salon when I just couldn't take it any longer and had to get that pedicure! ;)

Here are a few things that have gone really well these last couple of months and a few things I would like to work on moving forward...

Thumbs Up!

#1  Edwin and I are just starting to get a solid routine down.  We have activities planned most mornings of the week so we are up and out of the house from 9:30-11:30 each day.  This gives us time in the morning to get up, get ready, get dressed, and use the potty.  I work out a few days a week, and other days we go to the farm, the library, or the children's museum.  Some days we'll go swimming too!  After a morning activity we are usually both ready to go home for lunch, stories, and then nap.  If I'm lucky I can get something done around the house during nap time, but it doesn't always happen because I will sometimes nap myself.  I feel ridiculously spoiled right now and have taken a lot of naps this summer!

#2  Potty training!  Edwin is not fully potty trained, but we have made SO much progress this summer and I have gained a lot of confidence in working on it with him.  It's become a regular part of our daily routine and we definitely use the potty every single day.  This was not happening at all while I was working and it feels really good to be starting this process.  We have even started to feel brave enough to leave the house without a diaper on and I now bring extra undies and pants with me wherever I go, just in case.  Major thumbs up!

#3  Finding simple activities to do!  Whether it is scooting around the neighborhood, picking clovers, or laying on a blanket in the yard, I find Edwin and I are happiest when our days are really simple.  I've definitely felt a shift from the frenzy of summer activities into a quieter routine and it is really nice.

#4  I feel very satisfied with each day.  I no longer feel like I am missing out on everything and I no longer feel really sad and stressed out all the time.  This is huge!  I find it to be a really good challenge for me being at home.  There is always something to work on and I don't see that slowing down anytime soon.

Thumbs Down,  For Now

#1 I'm sure you could ask any parent of a toddler this and you would get the same answer, but meal times are still one of my biggest frustrations.  Nick and I are realizing we need to be firmer with rules at the dinner table and not give in to his crazy demands.  The other morning I made muffins, muffins right?  You would think the most toddler friendly food in the world, but no, I was in tears and there were muffins smashed on my table.  It's not always like that, but I definitely have a little fear in me at every meal.  Will this improve as he gets older?  Gosh, I hope so.

#2  Meal planning.  I need a good hour or two set aside just to plan food for the week AND another hour or two to do some prep on the weekends.  If I don't, guaranteed I will be running to the store 12 times for one ingredient.  Making a list is a must for me.  I also have dreams of coming up with a dozen or so go-to meals that I could make all the time that would please everyone.  I have never been that streamlined in the kitchen before, but I think it's time.  I have to chuckle because my first idea of "streamlining" things was coming up with "muffin Monday" for breakfast.  As you read, it didn't really go as planned!

#3  Getting to a yoga class.  What yoga class?  I really really hope to get to a yoga class again someday, and it better happen before my next yoga retreat when I'm 50.  I've made it to one class this summer.  Major thumbs down.

#4 What else?  I know.  Edwin and I have started arguing a little.  Honestly, I never had the opportunity to do this before, so this is really new for me.  But, now that we spend so much time together, it happens.  He's tired, I'm tired.  He's being a toddler, I think it's ridiculous.  Again, stuff I'm sure every parent deals with, but it's definitely new territory for me.  Learning how to respond, how to diffuse it, how to pick my battles?  I don't know, but it's something that is in the back of my mind a lot these days that I hope evolves and makes more sense to me over time. 

Anyway, these are just a few things that I have been thinking about lately.  I am looking forward to doing these check ins to see if we can keep a good routine going and maybe even improve my consistency with a few things.  I know being home with children can be a challenge, but I also know that I can learn so much from this experience and that I have really high hopes for this chapter of my life.  So, to end on a positive note I thought I'd share a couple more huge successes, in addition to the ones above.

One, I am ridiculously caught up on my laundry at all times!  Yay!  And, drum roll please...I scrubbed my bathroom floor for the first time in a year!!!  Don't ask, just know that I am really really glad it's clean!  Overall, I feel way more organized at home, but as we all know, the work is never truly done.
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