Category Archives: Life

How I’m “Doing It All”

Let’s take a quick moment to giggle at the title of this post because we all know there’s no such thing as “doing” or “having” it all and there’s certainly no way to do it all well. We’re all just doing our best. I just didn’t think How I’m Making Being A Stay-At-Home-Working-Mom Work For Me had quite the same ring to it. But that’s the gist.

I’m now four months into being home with Miles full-time while still managing my full workload and you know what? We’re doing great! And frankly, I’m astonished. Before Miles was born–and even when he was a baby–I truly didn’t believe this was possible. I mean, I sat in front of my computer for 8 to 10 hours per day. Certainly there’s no way I could accomplish all of that work and keep my kid alive (and fed, cleaned, entertained, engaged, and happy). But when push came to shove–a.k.a. he was always terribly sick while in daycare, I didn’t want to hire a nanny, and I hated being away from him–I decided to make it work. So that’s exactly what I’m doing.

Since I didn’t believe doing what I’m doing was possible and I didn’t know anyone else who was juggling a full-time career while staying at home with a baby (and not working while he’s awake or ever plunking him in front of the TV) I hope that sharing my experience and how I’m making it work could help someone else who might find herself in the same boat. And, at the end of this post, check out the four things I’m NOT doing, just to keep it real and highlight the fact that there are concessions we’ve made, tasks we’ve outsourced, and things I’ve had to let go in order to make this work.

Here are my tips for making it work:

  1. Get your baby on a schedule. I have such a love/hate relationship with schedules. But at the end of the day I couldn’t possibly be doing what I’m doing if Miles wasn’t on a schedule with his naps. From 5 to 9 months old we followed Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child and put Miles down for naps every 2 hours. Once he turned 9.5 to 10 months old we shifted to a “by the clock” approach (also from that book) where he takes two 90 minute to 2.5 hour naps per day, one at 9 a.m. and another at 1 or 1:30 p.m. He goes to bed by 6:30 p.m. every night. Yes, there’s some degree of flexibility in there if we happen to be out of the house longer than usual or he takes a nap that’s shorter or longer than usual, but 90 percent of the time this is how things go. I believe one of the reasons he’s a great napper is because he’s on a schedule. Being able to depend on his consistent nap times means I know when I can safely schedule phone interviews and get my work done.
  2. Protect nap time for work time. What that means: Sometimes I have to do household tasks while Miles is awake and that’s A-OK. This often includes doing and folding laundry and diapers, cooking (see more at the end of this post), cleaning up after meals, neatening up, walking the dog, running errands, and more. There are times when I feel a little guilty about it, like I’m not interacting with him enough while I do them, but I try my hardest to find a balance. I talk or sing to him while I’m doing them and he usually happily crawls around and climbs on me while I fold laundry on the floor of his bedroom and steal kisses from him. I’ve also found that the times when I’m engaged in other things are great opportunities for him to learn to play independently, which is an important skill and he’s getting better at it. I’ve also convinced myself that it’s important for him to see that these tasks take time and work and don’t just magically happen, though I’m not sure how well he grasps that concept yet at 13 months old : )
  3. Eat when baby eats. This is closely related to the tip above, but I believe it deserves its own space because it took me a while to learn it and it has made a big difference. Before, I’d feed Miles and clean up and then put him down for a nap and fix myself a meal and then have to clean up after that. What a waste of time! This has meant shifting when I eat my meals to much earlier times so I’m usually having breakfast at 7:30 a.m., lunch at 12 p.m., and dinner at 5:30 p.m. It took me a while to get used to it, but I really enjoy it now–I love sharing my meals with Miles, it’s so much more efficient to do it all at once, and I especially love eating dinner much earlier in the evening than I used to.
  4. Keep up with e-mails all day. This is one of the biggest concessions I’ve had to make. I try my hardest not to work while Miles is awake, but keeping up with e-mails from my phone is essential. Otherwise, every time he goes down for a nap or to sleep at night I’d have to spend a big chunk of time responding to e-mails before I ever dove into my work. Being quick to respond to e-mails is also crucial for my job. Editors who are contacting me with assignments could reassign them to another writer if they don’t hear from me quickly enough. And responding to their e-mails lets editors know that I’m responsive and dependable, which then makes them count on me for future assignments. Some editors know I’m with Miles all day and some think I’m at my desk like I used to be. To me it doesn’t matter–they should be able to depend on me just like they always have no matter how I choose to allocate my time.
  5. Set a monthly income goal. Of course this won’t apply to all jobs, especially if you’re salaried, but when you’re freelance like me it can be super helpful. First of all, having a monthly goal helps make sure I’m on target and am bringing in the income our family depends on. (My goal is the same every month). If I’m a little short then it means I need to pitch more, reach out to more editors, and so on. However, if I’ve met my goal in assignments for the month then it’s a sign to ease up. I know that I can realistically manage the amount of work needed to meet my goal while caring for Miles full-time, but once I surpass it things always get hairy. I used to just take on more and more work, but I now know that as I creep closer to my goal I have to think carefully about taking on additional assignments because it almost always means more stress, late nights, working on the weekends, and I inevitably become unhappy with the whole situation and then no one in this house is happy. More dinero is always nice, but the pressure it creates isn’t always worth it. To track my income, I use a Google spreadsheet that Robert created for me that’s made a tremendous difference in how I run my little business.

Here’s what I’m NOT doing:

  1. Exercising. There, I said it. There were so many times when I tried fitting in even 20 to 30 minute exercise videos as soon as Miles went down for a nap, but I just haven’t been able to successfully pull it off and get all of my work done without feeling super stressed about it all. So you know what? I stopped trying and I immediately felt the greatest sense of relief. This just goes under the fact that you can’t do it all and right now my work and my family are my priorities. I take Miles for a walk in his stroller almost every day and our neighborhood is incredibly hilly so I’m still active, but exercise–in the traditional sense–has taken a backseat for now.
  2. Cleaning. Let’s be honest, I’ve never cleaned. I HATE it more than anything and I’m terrible at it. I can keep the house somewhat tidy–as much as one can with an almost-toddler–but I do very little scrubbing. We have a cleaning lady who comes every other week and she’s worth every penny.
  3. Cooking. Okay, okay, I’m still cooking, but it’s just nothing like I used to do. Since I do the majority of the cooking while Miles is awake this means most meals can take no more than 10 to 15 minutes of prep time because that’s all I have before he wants to picked up. I’m the biggest fan of baby-wearing, but I’d rather spend my time playing with or reading to him than lugging him around on my back while I chop onions. No thank you. This means I buy a lot of pre-cut veggies so I can easily toss them with olive oil and throw them in the oven. We do a lot of pre-made beef or turkey patties, meatballs, pre-marinated meats, rotisserie chickens, slow cooker meals, pastas, and other things that are quick and easy to pull together into decently healthy meals. Fortunately, we use Fresh Direct, a grocery delivery service in the area, and they have an amazing selection of prepped items with clean ingredients. Is this ideal? Not exactly. But right now, I’m all about doing whatever works and right now this is what works.
  4. Getting “ready”.  I’m not one of those people who has to take a shower, put on real clothes, and do her makeup to feel ready for the day. I fully respect and admire people who do, but that’s just not who I am. And that stuff takes time. I’m happiest in yoga pants, a comfy top, a ponytail, and no makeup. I’m not afraid to go out into the world like this, either, and you better believe I do it every single day : )

Anything you would add? Any questions? Let me know!! I hope this is helpful.

Happy New Year!

holiday cardHi friends! I’m jumping on here for just a moment to wish you the HAPPIEST New Year! I hope you’ve had a wonderful holiday season filled with family, joy, and delicious food! We sure have. Robert and I’ll be spending New Years Eve cozy on the couch with big bowls of chili, chocolate chip cookies, and we’ll likely pass out well before midnight.

I recently took a trip down memory lane and loved looking back at this post about how we spent our holiday last year. I remember how excited we were prepping for our little guy’s arrival. It’s hard to believe Miles is already 10 months old.

2015 has been the most incredible, gratifying, challenging, joyful, exhausting, and exciting year of my life. I can’t believe that within the past 365 days we had a baby (with an unexpected, but fortunately healthy arrival) moved from Chicago to New York (I certainly didn’t see that one coming), Robert moved offices, I wrote nearly 250 articles and worked on two books, and we’ve managed to keep ourselves, two dogs, and a baby healthy, fed, and fulfilled. Yes, I’d say it’s been quite a year. 2015, you were so good to us. I can’t wait to see what 2016 has in store.

Finally, I just want to say thank YOU! Even though a recipe hasn’t graced these pages in many months, I’m grateful that you still care to stop by my little corner of the interwebs whenever I have something to say. Thanks for all of your support, love, and guidance over this past year. It means more to me than words could ever say.

Love, Paige



Huge News: We’re Moving to New York!

Fowler Family_2Yep, you read that right! Robert, Miles, and I {and Remy and Pippa} are packing up our stuff and heading East. And it’s happening soon–we’ll be on our way by the end of August. We can hardly believe it.

They say that having a baby changes everything, but this is one change none of us expected. Within weeks of bringing Miles home, the desire to be closer to my family grew and grew. Fortunately, Robert was up for the adventure and before we knew it the wheels were in motion. His transfer to his company’s New York City office has been seamless so far, the sale of our home is moving forward quickly, and we already found an adorable house to rent. We’ll be living in Westchester, just north of New York City. Robert’s already picked out his brand-new lawnmower : )

At times, this move feels absolutely crazy. We love our life here. We have such incredible friends. We love Chicago, our neighborhood, and our townhouse. I think we can both agree that leaving is going to be one of the more difficult things we’ve ever done.

But there’s just nothing like family and we’re excited to be near them. Miles is so lucky that he’ll get to grow up around them, experience New York City, and we’ll get to spend much more time at my family’s house in Vermont {my favorite place on the planet} than we’re able to now.

So here we go! If you have any advice on packing and moving with a baby while working full-time, we’re all ears. And if you live in New York and want to get together please let us know, we’d love to hang out!

Chicago, we love you and all of our favorite people here. We’ll be back to visit!

How we spent our Christmas vacation

I’ll always remember this Christmas vacation. We didn’t do anything special or go anywhere exciting. We were right here, at home, for two glorious weeks. It wasn’t exactly what we’d planned. We were supposed to be in Vermont for New Years with my family. However, due to Remy’s surgery we needed to be here to care for him. (By the way, thank you so much for your sweet thoughts regarding my last post! Your comments here, on Facebook, and on Instagram meant the world to me.)

It’s crazy to think about, but those two weeks were the last stretch of time that Robert and I will have, just us, for a very long time.

That time gave us the opportunity to spend our days doing productive things while also spending tons of time relaxing. We slept in, watched a whole bunch of movies (Magic in the Moonlight was my favorite), listened to hours of Pandora holiday music, binged on the first two seasons of The Americans (love!), cooked delicious meals, ate bowls upon bowls of popcorn from our new Whirley Pop (highly recommend!), downed daily plates of homemade Christmas cookies, and soaked in the holiday season by our Christmas tree. We also celebrated Christmas Eve and New Years Eve with wonderful friends.

I tried to snap at least one photo per day to remember this precious time. You won’t see anything especially exciting here (or a stitch of makeup or anything except sweats). Yet it captures, for me, some of the most memorable moments of the past year, cone-headed dog and all.

12/22: Planning our Christmas Eve dinner. This was so fun! It’s the first time I ever cooked for Christmas and we wanted to go big. I’m so happy with how everything turned out. Everyone says you shouldn’t make a recipe for the first time when cooking for guests (our friends Erica and Zack were joining us from Christmas Eve). I don’t agree–as long as I follow a Barefoot Contessa recipe to the letter, even if it’s new to me, it’s always going to be great. Ina didn’t disappoint.

IMG_1117 Robert made this beautiful display for our holiday cards. I loved walking by and seeing so many friends and family up there all season long. Hey look, that’s us at the top right! IMG_1125 I went cookie crazy! Over several days I made: these Christmas tree spritz cookies (a classic from my mom’s side of the family), peanut butter blossoms, chewy molasses crinkles, and frosted sugar cookies (Robert’s mom’s recipe). IMG_113412/23. Ooof, that morning. We’d just dropped Remy off for his surgery and had no idea what the future held. In a teary/numb/zombie-like state we made our way to Glazed and Infused for some good old-fashioned emotional eating. Happily, we got the call a few hours later that we’d be bringing our fluffanutter home. IMG_1181 12/24. Christmas Eve! We had the best day!! I woke up ridiculously early (like 4 a.m.) thanks to a little baby practicing his swim flips in my belly. So I did the only logical thing and started cooking. I made several more batches of cookies and began prepping for dinner. Before our friends arrived that evening, Robert set the table.  IMG_1210Party time!! Appetizers included a cheese plate, olives, homemade spiced nuts, and Barefoot Contessa’s roasted shrimp cocktail and cocktail sauce. IMG_1218 Next course: Apple and butternut squash soup. This recipe from Simply Recipes is SO good. The pinch of cayenne at the end really gives it a kick! Sweet and spicy is always a win. The next course, not pictured (oops), was a simple green salad with a Barefoot Contessa vinaigrette. IMG_1221 Onto the main event. Barefoot Contessa’s Filet of Beef Bourguignon. Oh. My. Goodness. It’s the best thing I’ve ever made. Hands down. Game over. I served it with mashed potatoes and sautéed broccolini. We chased it all down with a plate of Christmas cookies. I’m just sad I didn’t get a photo of the four of us, but we had a great time.IMG_1225 12/25. Christmas Day!! Before Christmas, Robert and I never discussed whether we’d be getting each other gifts or not. Lately, we’ve focused more on experiences (like our anniversary trip) rather than material things. And we love that. So it’s funny that we ended up giving each other a bunch of (thoughtful) material gifts this year. IMG_1261 Also funny: We gave each other bathrobes! Here, Robert’s testing out his new robe with his new shower radio. The man loves his NPR. IMG_1263This pretty much sums up how we spent the rest of our Christmas Day: Watching movies, relaxing, and napping. I didn’t even cook anything because we had so many delicious leftovers from the night before. In case you were wondering, beef bourguignon only gets better with time. IMG_1272 12/26. We may be crazy, but we’re planning to cloth diaper our baby boy. I may do a separate post about this (although do you really want to read about diapers on a blog that also has food?…) After LOTS of research it just feels like the right decision for us. I had everything we’ll need for the first few months and I was excited to prep these prefolds and fitteds. Prepping involves four to five cycles in the washer and dryer in order to strip away the natural cotton oils and increase their absorbency. I’ve never been so excited to do laundry in my entire life, which may explain why I appear slightly possessed : ) IMG_1309The end result! I still stare at his drawers of dipes and covers daily. Also: nursery sneak peek! (Full tour coming eventually.)IMG_1427This spread is basically how we ate for those two weeks. So many snack lunches & dinners!! We had some real home cooked meals in there too, I promise. We didn’t eat a single meal outside of the house for more than a week. It was extremely gratifying. Also, I’m currently obsessed with romaine and iceberg lettuce salads. I know darker leaves are better, but I just can’t get enough of the crunch right now. IMG_1402New Years Eve! Once again, I’m sad I didn’t get a group picture. Our friends Lisa and Brian had a bunch of friends over to their home for NYE. They recently gutted and remodeled nearly the entire house (themselves!!!!) so it was a great way to break it in. Everything came out so beautifully! IMG_1397New Year, new house projects!! Over the holiday we got a freezer for our garage. Robert hung a tennis ball from the garage ceiling so I won’t drive into the freezer. So far so good : ) IMG_1409Painting the baby’s bathroom!! I still can’t believe our baby has his own bathroom (?!??) The walls needed some patching and painting and Robert got ‘er done. Eventually we’ll tackle the weird door-less vanity situation… IMG_1437Chicago has been brutally cold since the New Year, but we had a fairly mild holiday. Finally, on the very last day before returning to work it snowed several inches. Here’s Remy watching the big flakes fall from the sky. I love this picture because it’s less than two weeks after his surgery and he was basically fully recovered by then. Dogs heal so quickly! A snowstorm and another day spent warm and cozy inside was the ideal way for our holiday to end. IMG_1444

We Love Remy!

fowler_2014-43Whether you know me in real life or we’re friends on Facebook or Instagram, then you have a glimpse into how much I love our goldendoodle, Remy. It’s difficult to articulate just what this dog means to me. As crazy as it sounds (and yes, I know he’s a dog and not a human), Remy is a part of me. He just is.fowler_2014-06 Remy came into my life when I was 23 years old. I was living on my own in Park City, Utah chasing a dream of being a full-time freelance writer and part-time ski bum. While I was learning how to support and care for myself, I was simultaneously learning how to support and care for him. I can say, without hesitation, that pieces of me exist because of this dog. He helped cultivate my ability and love for nurturing, which I can’t wait to shower upon our son. He’s taught me how to forgive in the face of disappointment. He’s shown me it’s possible to find the good and the fun in almost any circumstance. From him, I’ve learned to accept others exactly as they are. And most importantly, he’s shown me how to love unconditionally. Over and over again.fowler_2014-34Remy’s been by my side through countless miles, a cross-country move to Vermont, and infinite life lessons. He was with me when I moved to Chicago in 2010. We even share the same birthday.fowler_2014-09Remy was there the evening I came home giddy from my very first date with Robert. He was there the first time Robert visited my apartment and we cooked dinner together. He was there the moment Robert asked me to marry him. And he’ll be there the day we bring our baby boy home. fowler_2014-32And so, it breaks my heart to think that just over two weeks ago we thought we might be saying goodbye to Remy forever.

On December 19, I brought Remy in for what I thought was a relatively routine vet appointment. He’d recently lost some weight and was drinking a lot of water. The vet, Dr. Dann, felt something in Remy’s spleen and ran an X-ray and ultrasound. The tests showed a sizable mass. Dr. Dann explained that the mass could be one of two things: There was a 50 percent chance it was a benign tumor and a 50 percent chance it was hemangiosarcoma–a serious form of cancer in which about 90 percent of dogs die within one to three months. I sat there stunned. It was the last thing I ever expected to hear about our seemingly healthy and energetic 7.5-year-old pup. My mind struggled to process his words. Next, Dr. Dann explained that they wouldn’t know which one it was until they removed Remy’s spleen, biopsied tissues from other organs, and sent the samples to a pathologist. Even if it was benign, his spleen had to come out because there was a risk that the mass could burst and cause internal bleeding that could kill him. Surgery was our only option.

The final blow was this: If, during surgery, there was evidence of metastasis throughout Remy’s abdomen, Dr. Dann would call me and recommend putting him down rather than having him go through recovery only to get sick and pass away within a matter of months. As impossible as that was to hear, I agreed that it was the most humane thing to do, should it come to that. I never want Remy to suffer a day in his life. fowler_2014-11 Before Remy’s surgery, Robert and I wanted to have some photos of our family, just as we are now. We have so few photos of Robert, me, Remy, and Pippa* together that we couldn’t imagine saying goodbye to Remy without them. A friend put us in touch with a talented local photographer, Becca Heuer. I e-mailed her the day before Remy’s surgery. And, miraculously, despite being three days before Christmas, she was able to meet us that same afternoon. Although it was cold and rainy and one of the darkest days of the year (in more ways than one), she captured some of my all-time favorite photos. At the time, we knew it could be Remy’s last day with us. During the shoot that thought often crept into my mind, but I did my best to focus on the now and the love I have for him and our little family.fowler_2014-41fowler_2014-60I’m so happy to report that this fluffly white pup whose paw prints are stamped all over our hearts is still with us! His surgery went well, there were no visible signs of disease beyond his spleen, and, after seven nerve-wracking days of waiting, his biopsy results came back negative for cancer. Today, less than three weeks post-op, Remy is 100 percent back to his usual lovable, goofy self. fowler_2014-36We spent our Christmas caring for him as he recovered and loving on him as he healed. Since then, I’ve thought a lot about how fortunate we are with Remy’s outcome. Despite needing major surgery and requiring us to cancel a trip back East over the holiday so we could be with him, it’s turned out as well as we could’ve hoped. And let’s not forget, his tumor was in an organ he doesn’t even need. What are the chances? fowler_2014-22 I can’t help but think about the fact that every day families deal with uncertainty, heart-breaking news, and loss of all kinds. I’ll never know how we got so lucky, but I’m so deeply grateful. The experience isn’t lost on me.fowler_2014-14Whenever I look at these photos, watch Remy use a pillow like a human, hold Pippa as she falls asleep against my squirming belly, or feel Robert’s warm hand in mine, I’m reminded, more than ever, to never take any of it for granted. fowler_2014-01 *Oh, sweet Pippa!! She’s perfect and we love her every bit as much as we love Remy!

Second Trimester Recap

Happy 2015! I hope you had a fabulous holiday. We had a very low key and relaxing two weeks here at home, which I’ll be sharing more about very soon. I also have a few other posts in the pipeline that I’m excited about, including a few recipes (finally!) and life/baby-related things. You can expect to see more lifestyle posts in 2015 on A Balanced Life Cooks as life gets a bit fuller around here : ) I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I love writing them.

I’m now in my 30th week of pregnancy and a few weeks into my third trimester. Writing that completely blows my mind. Thirty weeks has always sounded so far along and I can’t believe I’m there. Now that I’ve had a few weeks to digest the experiences of my second trimester, here’s how those 14 or so weeks went down (along with some slightly humiliating selfies…)

17 weeks

Many women describe the second trimester as the “honeymoon trimester” and I’d say, overall, that was my experience. Soon after the 14-week mark my nausea subsided along with that crazy fatigue (I still experience both every five to 10 days on what I call “first trimester days,” but it’s more bearable than it was before). Mostly, though, my energy in the second trimester was kind of freakish. I think I drove Robert crazy at times because we’d plan to do something relaxing like watch a movie, but then I couldn’t sit still. I had to be up doing something like walking the dogs, cooking or baking, folding laundry, tidying–whatever I could come up with that kept me moving. I wouldn’t say I was in nesting mode quite yet unless I’m just always in nesting mode, homebody that I am.

For the most part, I felt like myself throughout the second trimester, except with a growing belly. I absolutely love it and the little life growing inside. At the same time, I have to admit, there’s been a bit of a mental adjustment that’s had to happen when it comes to accepting this bigger, rounder version of myself (especially lately). I think many women secretly hope they’ll be the type to stay exactly the same, but with a basketball-sized bump on their belly. That’s not the case for everyone and I don’t think that’s been the case for me. I’ve tried to approach the whole body-changing thing with a sense of acceptance and gratitude. As long as I feed myself nourishing foods (with occasional splurges, of course) and move my body in ways that feel right (more on that in a moment), then I’m okay with whatever this body needs to do to grow a healthy baby that we’re so incredibly grateful for.

As silly as it sounds, one of the most helpful things for me in terms of accepting the physical changes has been buying some maternity clothes. I’m fortunate that I don’t need an entire work wardrobe since I work from home, but purchasing a few items has made a big difference. Since I like to keep it real, here’s what it looks like when you try to squeeze into your pre-pregnancy stuff that no longer fits (yes, even sweaters and sweatshirts became too snug):


Investing in a pair of Paige maternity jeans has been the best decision clothing-wise. I also bought a few sweaters from Gap and Old Navy maternity, all on sale. And I’ve purchased two dresses from the brand Seraphine, which I’ve already worn a few times to weddings and other events. Once my pre-pregnancy clothes stopped fitting by around 20 weeks, I packed most of them away. There’s no point looking at them or trying to make them work if they just don’t.


20 weeks in one of my favorite Seraphine dresses

In terms of exercise, I was finally able to do a lot more in my second trimester. I took it very easy in my first trimester in part due to the nausea and fatigue, but mostly because I was afraid of doing anything that could hurt the baby (even though I know how important exercise is for a healthy pregnancy…) By 17 weeks I summoned the courage to take my first prenatal yoga class, which was also my first yoga class of any kind in months. And I discovered that prenatal yoga is kind of the BEST THING EVER. It made me feel like myself again since yoga is such a big part of who I am. It also makes me feel better overall because it helps open areas that are tight and achy such as the hips, shoulders, and low back. I take prenatal yoga classes twice a week and, bonus, the studios are within walking distance of our home (so no excuses!) I wish I hadn’t waited so long to go and next time around (if we’re lucky enough) I plan to start prenatal classes in the first trimester. I also try to walk a 3 to 5-mile loop with Remy most days of the week as long as the weather cooperates and that always feels great.

24 weeks

24 weeks

Other second trimester things:

Sleep For the most part, sleep has been good and restful. However, a few nights per week I experience what I describe as “running out of sleep.” I’ll wake up between 3 to 5 a.m. for absolutely no reason and can’t fall back asleep. Preparing me for what’s ahead? Perhaps. If you ever see my #firstbreakfast posts on Instagram, this is why. Once I’ve been lying awake for a while I start to get really hungry, which makes it even more difficult to fall back asleep so I get up and have something to eat.

Appetite I noticed that I have lower tolerance for hunger so when I get hungry I have to eat rightthisverysecond. I eat about one extra snack per day beyond what I ate before becoming pregnant or make some of my meals just a little bigger. Also, uh, digestion got a little rough around the 19 to 21-week mark and things were not moving. That was no fun at all. I’m thankful for a family that loves potty humor and always responded to my complaining texts with hilarious and appropriate emojis.

Cravings/aversions. I experienced phases throughout the second trimester where I loved and ate several different foods repeatedly until I pretty much got sick of them. Among them were: Sabra pine nut hummus with veggies, salty snacks such as cheddar rockets (Trader Joe’s version of cheddar goldfish, but better), chicken noodle soup, panini with fig jam, and citrus everything–orange juice, lemonade, oranges, and clementines. Oddly, I stopped liking Greek yogurt in the second trimester so that was kind of strange. I haven’t been a big fan of fish throughout my pregnancy, but I still try to down salmon once a week and take fish oil supplements.

So much homemade chicken noodle!

So much homemade chicken noodle!

Highlights of my second trimester included:

  • Healthy results at our 20-week anatomy scan!
  • Finding out that we’re having a BOY!
  • Feeling our baby kick for the first time and having his kicks become stronger and more frequent
  • My family’s visit in November!
  • Dreaming up nursery designs, starting to set up our nursery, and researching baby stuff

What I’m looking forward to most in my third trimester:

  • Watching baby (and my belly) grow and feeling consistent kicks and other movements
  • Baby showers in Kansas City this weekend and Chicago in February!!!
  • Finishing our nursery
  • Getting a stroller. Would it be weird if I practiced walking around the block with the stroller and the dogs? I kind of can’t wait for that.
  • Making LOTS of freezer meals. Over the holiday we bought a freezer for our garage and joined Costco. I also made a freezer meal Pinterest board that I will add to over the next few weeks. If you have any recommendations please let me know. It’s harder to find healthy freezer meals than I thought, but I’m up for the challenge and will keep you updated on that.
  • Meeting our baby boy in March! (Please stay put until then, little guy!) Hopefully we’ll have a name for him by then : )
27 weeks

27 weeks

For additional pregnancy posts see:

Our pregnancy announcement

Journey to baby

Gender reveal

First trimester recap

98 days until baby 

98 Days Until Baby!


Holy moly. This week we passed a major milestone. Wednesday marked 100 days until our due date and now we’re in the double digit countdown. WHAT? That’s just crazy talk. Considering the fact that only five percent of babies are actually born on their due date I realize it’s just a ballpark, but it’s still a big deal to me. I’ll be posting a second trimester recap in a few weeks, but I thought I’d share some of my thoughts on this whole brewing a baby thing now that we’re just over three months away from meeting our little guy.

Physically, I’ve been feeling really great. I can feel him kick, which is the coolest thing ever and still totally weird. To feel your body move and have no control over it is just…wow! I first felt kicks around 21 weeks and we could feel kicks on the outside by 22 weeks (I’m 26 weeks today). Some days he’s more active than others. And some nights he wakes me up while doing a conga line across my belly (or maybe it’s hiccups!) and I secretly LOVE that. I just lie there in the dark with a hand over my little dancer and a smile on my face until he goes back to sleep.


My belly is growing a lot more, too. I feel like it took a while for me to show and I’m happy to be out of that “is she pregnant or did she just let herself go?” phase. It’s sort of astonishing to watch my body change so much. I’ll never forget the first time a stranger commented on my belly. We were in the airport and the woman doing my pat down (I’ve been skipping the big X-ray machines) asked me right away how many weeks along I was. I kind of wanted to hug her right then and there, but figured I’d probably be breaking some TSA laws.

Once I passed the 20-week mark we started thinking about the nursery and buying and registering for baby stuff (!!!) We recently got a crib (already set it up!), mattress, dresser (that will double as a changing table), changing pad, bookcase, and ordered our glider. The glider will arrive in January and I can’t wait to sit in it, read, and just hang out in baby’s room. I realize that this stuff is just stuff and probably more than this little human will ever need. But I can’t tell you how helpful it’s been for my mental state. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve experienced a lot of fear throughout this pregnancy. It comes and goes, but sometimes the fear gets the best of me. There’s been something so reassuring about furnishing our nursery and researching baby items that’s made a big difference for me. I think it’s the fact that I can picture our baby using these things and it helps me trust that everything will be okay.

Speaking of our nursery, before becoming pregnant I wasn’t a huge fan of nurseries with a theme or that were overly babyish. Now? We’re going with a colorful safari/jungle theme and everything we’ve found is so cute I could just burst. Funny how things change, huh? Bring on the giraffes, elephants, rhinos, and monkeys!! Robert and I also bought baby’s very first clothing items last weekend: two onesies from Baby Gap and a hat and mittens. The thought of our little guy wearing them turns my heart to mush. Baby boy clothes are seriously the cutest.


Thanksgiving Day in Kansas City

As someone who basically researches stuff for a living (and enjoys it), I always imagined I’d spend the entire pregnancy reading stacks of baby books. I’m surprised (and maybe a little embarrassed?) to say that so far I’ve only read one (Bringing Up Bebe) and it was actually more entertaining than informative. Robert just finished The Happiest Baby on the Block (seriously ask the man anything about the fourth trimester and the 5 S’s and he’s on it!) I’ll be reading that next followed by Heading Home with Your Newborn (it’s written by two pediatrician moms and the closest thing I’ve found to a baby owner’s manual; I actually received a copy years ago for a story I wrote for American Baby magazine so I’m happy I held onto it). I may read some Ina May Gaskin books I have, too. If you have any must-read recommendations, I’d love to hear them! We’ll also be taking some classes offered through the hospital in the next few weeks. But ultimately, I know that the real learning happens in getting to know our baby and figuring things out once he’s here. Plus, I’m relishing this time when I can still get through as many novels as I like : ) I just finished a really cute book called Vintage that I’d recommend if you’re in the mood for some chick lit fluff.

I have a feeling that with the holidays coming up, the next few weeks are going to fly by and all of a sudden we’ll be well into the third trimester and preparing for baby’s arrival (aaaaand making 10,000 freezer meals…I’m super excited about that). For now, I’m trying to make it a priority to slow down and soak in this time as much as I can because I know it really is so fleeting and such a gift.