Wednesday, June 22, 2016

30 WEEKS | Obligatory Baby #2 Check-In

In the 15ish total months that I have been pregnant in my life and maintained a blog, not once have I filled out one of those bumpdate/"this week baby is the size of a..." questionnaires. It feels like I'm missing out on some kind of Mommy Blogger rite of passage, so without further ado, here is my first and last Baby 2.0 bumpdate:

BABY IS THE SIZE OF: A platypus, a cucumber, or large tub of ice cream (depending on which of my apps you consult)

GENDER: Bouncing baby boy!

THOUGHTS/FEELINGS: A little bit sad that my sweet Charlie won't get as much attention and trying to mentally prepare myself for another natural birth (if all goes according to plan). 

FOOD AVERSIONS: This was much worse during my first trimester, but has petered off. I'm still a little turned off by poultry for some reason, though.

FOOD CRAVINGS: My food preferences are so out of whack with what I usually eat. I am not exactly a meat-and-potatoes kind of girl, but my ideal meal this entire pregnancy has been a big juicy, steak with mashed potatoes and veggies. I guess this baby wants some protein!

HEALTH/FITNESS: I would love to tell you that I've kept up with some sort of consistent workout routine, but I'd be lying. I like to think that chasing after a sprinting 18-month old is workout enough.

MIDWIFE APPOINTMENTS: My last appointment was at 28 weeks and it was pretty uneventful (which is always a good thing when you're growing a human!) From this point forward, I start going every two weeks. Aah!

WEIGHT GAIN: Based on my weight at my 28-week appointment I'm up about 13 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight and my OB/GYN said I'm measuring right on track.

SYMPTOMS: My heartburn has gotten worse, but other than that, I'm feeling pretty okay for the most part. I think nesting is starting to set in because all of a sudden I've had this intense motivation to decorate ALL THE THINGS in our house.

SLEEP: Up until last week, I was sleeping through the night. But pregnancy insomnia strikes again! I wake up any time between 12-1:30 am and usually don't go back to sleep until close to 4:00 am. Thankfully, I have the Kindle app on my phone to distract me so I'm not just laying in bed restless.

MATERNITY CLOTHES: Being pregnant in the summertime is seriously a whole other monster. When I was pregnant with Charlie I lived in leggings. This time around, give me all of the sports bras and Soffe shorts! I bought myself some Old Navy maternity tanks a few months ago that have been invaluable and I'm trying to stretch my existing wardrobe so as not to buy a bunch of maternity things that I'll never wear again.

BABY ITEMS PURCHASED: Honestly, there is very little that we need for Baby Boy #2. I suppose I should probably start stocking up on diapers and eventually we will need to buy a carseat and figure out how to transition both boys into one room, but for now, we have all we need. Of course, that didn't stop me from buying Baby #2 NB onesies to match an outfit I got for Charlie the other day at Carter's. I will totally be that Mom who dresses her kids in matching clothes. No shame in my game!

DADDY SAYS: He's excited for our two boys, and also excited to never have to go through his wife being pregnant again. Haha!

LOOKING FORWARD TO: Our baby boy! I know that so many women have more difficult pregnancies than I've had, and so many women would give anything to get pregnant as easily as I have and I really do try to be mindful of that. But I am just not someone who enjoys being pregnant. I'm uncomfortable all of the time and really see pregnancy as a means to an end- the end being our beautiful little family of four. So yeah, I guess you could say I'm ready for this baby to be fully cooked and join his family!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Book Challenge by Erin 5.0

Apparently this summer is all about getting in touch with my 9-year old, bookworm self who would spend every summer day spent in the refreshing air conditioned sanctuary that was my Grandma's local library, and my summer evenings staying up wayy past my bedtime with the box fan humming in the background as I raced through another Dear America, or Magic Attic Club book. 

I have been reading up a storm the last month or so and am actually on track to finish my book challenges, so what could it hurt to commit myself to one more?! If I haven't mentioned it before, I looove Erin's book challenges. She hosts them through Facebook so they're very interactive, discussion-based and just a heck of a lot of fun. You don't need to be a blogger to participate, so this challenge, I actually invited my sister-in-law to play along and it's pretty much all we can talk about. July 1st can't come soon enough!

This is my preliminary list for Book Challenge by Erin 5.0:

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I did cheat a little bit and picked a few books that overlapped with the Semi-Charmed Book Challenge categories, but either way, I've got a pile of library books sitting on my bookshelf (and Kindle because I can now borrow library books through Ohio's Digital Library- say whaaat?!) waiting to be read.

This may be the first time I finish a book challenge- wish me luck!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

3rd Trimester Thoughts

And just like that, I’m in my third trimester. I’m not sure what kind of sorcery is at play here, but how can I possibly be having a second baby in less than 3 months?!

The lack of pregnancy-related posts on my blog is a pretty good reflection of how this pregnancy has gone in general: barely noticed. Not that we’re not exceedingly grateful and excited for this little soul to make his way into the world, but we just don’t have the time or energy to devote to anxiously anticipating his arrival the way that we did with his older brother. Charlie is growing more and more independent every day, so 99.9% of our attention is directed at him. Just please don’t ask me how I’m going to continue to nurture his little adventurous self, as well as a newborn baby. Those are logistics that I am just not yet ready to come to terms with. I am very much of the mindset, “we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”

This pregnancy has proven more difficult than Charlie’s. I was sicker the first trimester and I’ve gotten a whole lot bigger a whole lot faster than I did with C. With Charlie, I only gained 23 pounds and was pretty proud of that fact. Karma. Total karma. I’m not eating more than I did this time around. If anything, I might be eating less because I’m too busy to stop for a snack throughout the day. But I am eating less healthfully which I know I need to get better about.

Being pregnant during the summer is also a whole different ball game. The heat really affects me so I have to be careful about being outside for too long, lest I start to feel faint and nauseated. Not to mention, I have just about no clothes that fit this bump so my grand plans for the summer involve sitting around my house in a sports bra, book in hand and A/C on high, for the next three-ish months.

Although I am not free of anxieties about having two boisterous little kiddos and having to start from scratch once again after it feels that our family has just now settled into a rhythm, I’m excited. I’ve had my fair share of sad thoughts at the idea that my first baby will no longer be my baby and I’m really fearful of him feeling neglected when the baby comes and I can’t focus all of my love and attention on him. That being said, I’ve had this phantom feeling for a while that our family is not yet complete and I’m really looking forward to completing it. Chuck and I have talked about how many kids we’d like to have and I think this is going to be it for us. That could garner a whole other post in and of itself, but suffice to say, I feel really contented thinking about our soon-to-be, perfect little family of four. 

A photo posted by Kaity | (Bee)autiful Blessings (@beeautifulblessings) on

Thursday, June 2, 2016

MAY RECAP | What I Read, Did, and Ate

There's been a severe lack of life-related posts on this blog as of late, and despite what my posting may indicate, I have done other things in the last month besides read. Although, reading probably accounts for about 95% if I'm being honest.

It's crazy to think that I only read 8 books between January and April, because I more than made up for it in May. Due to the sheer volume, I'm consolidating my reads into three categories: Must Reads, If You Have Time, and Don't Bother's.


Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon & Shana KnizhnikInspired by the Tumblr of the same name, I was pleasantly surprised to find this book full of depth and terrific content. It delved into RBG's most "notorious" opinions and dissents, including notes in the margins providing background, insight into why Ginsburg's words were so significant and translating constitutional law into layman's terms. This book had the potential to be really superficial, or boring and text-heavy. It was neither. The story behind RBG's legacy was approachable and well-written well. Highly recommend!

You Know Me Well by Nina Lacour and David Levithan | I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

I love, love, loved this book. LGBT teens finally have YA that resonates and I love that. This story of two unlikely friends who come together through San Francisco's Pride Week to help each other through relationships and life changes is so wonderful- I can't wait to read more from these authors!

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld | Being in love with Mr. Darcy (what girl isn't) and living in the Cincinnati-area, this book was a double whammy for me. I love, love, loved everything about this modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice. By far, one of my favorite books I've read in a long time!


Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander (J.K. Rowling) | I read this in preparation for the movie coming out in November, and because why wouldn't I want to take another jaunt through the wizarding world of Harry Potter? Although I love any opportunity to be transported back into Harry Potter world, and this book did make me excited for the upcoming movie, it was too textbook-y for my taste, and I think would have benefited from some illustrations to give life to the "fantastic beasts."

The Chronicles of Narnia (#1-6) by C.S. Lewis | I may have overdosed on The Chronicles of Narnia series while I was on the road, listening to the audiobooks. By the time, I got to the seventh, I was done. They weren't bad and they made for the perfect listen for a long road trip, but I just can't bring myself to be as crazy as C.S. Lewis as everyone else seems to be. 

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell | I can't even begin to describe how much I adored Fangirl and Eleanor and Park, so it seems that every book of Rowell's that I've read since then just fails to measure up. Carry On was cute, but not one of my favorites of hers and it was really difficult in the beginning for me to avoid comparing it with Harry Potter.


Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason by Helen Fielding | I just plain ol' didn't enjoy this as much as the first. 90% was a series of misunderstandings between Bridget and Mark Darcy and I found it so frustrating and annoying. It did get progressively better toward the end, but not enough to erase the first 300 pages of frustration.

I Wish My Teacher Knew by Kyle Schwartz | I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

This book was nothing like I expected which is perhaps why I didn't give it a higher rating. I anticipated a warm, fuzzy story about a classroom experiment that drew a teacher and her students closer. What I got, was a book about educational reform. I found it to be slow at parts, but for the most part, well-researched and informative. I particularly enjoyed the chapters on how poverty, student mobility, and trauma impact students' learning. 

I think in theory, Schwartz was writing to an audience of teachers, parents, and community members, but in actuality wrote narrowly to her fellow educators. As someone not very informed about educational policy and the issues facing our students, I wish she had provided more guidance to those of us outside of the school system.

I would definitely recommend for friends in the education system, but maybe not as much for those outside of it.

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In addition to having my nose in a book 24/7, I also took my first child-free trip to Binghamton, NY to watch my baby sister graduate with her Masters in Student Affairs Administration. Five days without Charlie had me a little homesick toward the end, but it was such a blessing getting to celebrate my sister's amazing accomplishment with her and my parents, as well as getting to see my high school bestie for a quick breakfast on my drive back home. 

Kelly's post-graduation dinner.

Stopping by for some waffles with Whitney in Ithaca, NY!

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Foodie Fun

May was also the month in which we tried Blue Apron for the first time! My supervisor gifted me with a week of free meals through the service (which is seriously the coolest and most thoughtful birthday gift ever) and Chuck and I had sooo much fun cooking and trying new recipes that were completely outside of our comfort zone, but turned out delicious! Although it is a bit of a splurge, we loved it so much that we've decided to receive a once per month delivery from here on out. It's better than spending that money on takeout!

This General Tso's Chicken was something I never would have had the courage to try on my own, but was so dang good and not nearly as intimidating to make as I thought it would be!

Next up, was Red Quinoa and Black Bean Enchiladas. Chuck was skeptical that we shouldn't add chicken to the recipe, but I was adamant about trying it as the recipe called for. He wound up loving them and not even missing the meat!

I was out of town visiting my sister so I didn't get a chance to try the Seared Salmon Salad, but Chuck took the initiative to make it on his own and his words it was, "So. F*&%ing. Good."

Not a sponsored post by any means, but if anyone is on the fence about trying a meal delivery service, I would 100% recommend Blue Apron- we loved it and are so looking forward to our delivery next week! Stay tuned for more of my culinary escapades!

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Lastly, it wouldn't be a proper May recap without making some kind of commentary on the little alien growing inside my belly. Baby #2 (who does have a name, but we aren't planning to share until after he's born) is kicking up a storm and is making Mommy's belly sooo much bigger this time around than my first pregnancy with Charlie. See for yourself:

It sounds like such a cliche, but this pregnancy really is flying by and it's incredibly hard to believe that in just three months I'm going to be a mom to TWO boys! I definitely have a lot of thoughts on how different (and similar) pregnancy is the second time around, but not a lot of time to articulate them. Here's hoping I can throw together a post on this in the near future!

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And shameless plug, if you want to follow my summer reads and escapades, be sure to follow me on GoodReads and Instagram. I may stink at updating my blog, but I'm pretty darn good at recording my recent reads and pictures of my adorable ginger baby, ever-growing bump, and culinary adventures!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Baby Registry: Round 2

A couple weeks ago, I texted my sister-in-law who has three kiddos of her own, “Are people going to buy us things for a second baby or should I just plan on buying everything we need myself?” I realize that Baby #2, especially being of the same gender as his older brother, will not elicit the same excitement from friends and family, nor compel them to go all out on buying baby things, so I honestly have no idea what to expect this time around (Mamas of 2+, any thoughts?). However, I decided to go ahead and create a baby registry through BabyList, because even if people opt not to buy us anything (which if I might clarify, is totally understandable and I’m truly not expecting anything), I would still have a consolidated list of all the things I want to get prior to #2’s arrival.

Since, as I mentioned, we’re pretty set on baby things and baby boy clothes this time around, here’s what remains on Baby Stuckert #2’s Baby Registry:


Evenflo SureRide DLX Convertible Car Seat: Currently, we have two infant car seats and a convertible car seat for Charlie, but since both Chuck and I split the child pick-up/drop-off duties pretty evenly, another convertible car seat for Charlie is a must. This one came highly recommended on Lucie’s List.

Eddie Bauer Animal Mirror – Dog: Neither Chuck or myself, currently have a mirror in the backseats of our cars which we’ve both realized we’d really like to be able to check up on Charlie. This one is reasonable, and adorable!

ERGObaby Heart2Heart Infant Insert, Natural: We have a double jogging stroller that my Mom scored for us on Craigslist, but until Baby #2 gets big enough to sit up on his own, I figure I can carry him around in my ErgoBaby while I push Charlie in our umbrella stroller. Since Charlie was born in the winter, I didn’t really have a need for the infant insert since we were hermits for three months, but now with a summer baby, this is definitely something I want to invest in.


OXO Tot Perch Booster Seat with Straps, Gray: It’s just about time for us to transition Charlie from his high chair to a booster seat so after perusing Amazon, I chose this one because it looked like the easiest to clean!

Sage Spoonfuls Big Batch Storage Set- 4 oz: I didn’t have much success with making my own baby food the first time around. However, after realizing how stinkin’ expensive baby food can be, and the fact that I recently won a Magic Bullet from a raffle at work, I’d like to give it another go and I think these storage containers would be perfect!

Medela Breastmilk Cooler Set: I’m thankful that my employer has an on-site lactation room. It made pumping with Charlie so much easier. However, since my position entails a lot of travel, I was not well equipped to pump when I was on the road. This will hopefully make things a lot easier the second go around.

Medela 12 Volt Vehicle Lighter Adaptor: Another tool in my tool belt for pumping on the go!

Medela Breastshield Valve & Membrane: I threw the ones I used with Charlie out because- ew. Time to replace!

OXO Tot Bottle Brush with Nipple Cleaner and Stand: We used this bottle brush with Charlie’s bottles and although I do not miss the daily chore of washing five billion nipples, this brush was awesome.


Although I do have plenty of baby boy clothes, Charlie and Baby #2 will have been born in completely opposite seasons, so I’m definitely in need of some lighter, short-sleeved newborn and 0-3month clothes to supplement his wardrobe. These are some of my favorites.

Halo Wearable Cotton Blanket - Cream - Large: Charlie has yet to figure out how to sleep underneath his blankets, instead of on top of them, so this was a must in the chilly winter months!

Stride Rite 3-Pack Comfort Seam Triple Roll – White: Because all baby socks eventually make their way from the dryer to the magical world of Narnia and you can never have too many.

Peanuts Snoopy Baby Boys' Bodysuit – Red: Even though I can say with 100% certainty that this Stuckert baby will not be named after a Peanuts character, we gotta keep the Peanuts love strong.


 DaVinci Jenny Lind 3-in-1 Convertible Crib, White: Since we’re planning to have the boys share a room and Charlie will still be a little small to make the crib-to-bed transition, we’re just going to commit to having them both in matching cribs when baby is ready to transition to the nursery.

DaVinci Jenny Lind Toddler Bed Conversion Kit- White: For when Charlie is ready to transition to a toddler bed, his crib will convert.

Earth's Best Diapers: This has been my absolute favorite brand of diaper with Charlie- super absorbent, not too expensive AND eco-friendly.

Earth's Best Tender Care Baby Wipes: Can’t forget about wipes!

WubbaNub Little Lamb Pacifier: Up uintil we lost his while grocery shopping in Kroger, Charlie was never without his Wubbanub. These pacifiers are amazing when babies are too small too hang onto a normal pacifier. I’m learning from experience and buying two this time around!

The Big Story of Little Me Three-Ring Baby Book: Despite the fact that I have failed miserably at keeping Charlie’s baby book updated, I do have the intention of finishing it one of these days. Looking back on the baby books that my Mom made for my sister and me is so sweet and I want to make sure I do the same for my babies.

The thing I love about BabyList is that’s essentially Pinterest for baby registries. I can pin anything I want whether it’s from Amazon, Target, Etsy…or anywhere on the web. I swear, this is not a sponsored post, but if you’re making a baby registry of your own, I can’t say enough good things about them!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Semi-Charmed Summer Book Challenge: Preliminary List

Two book posts in a row? In the words of Ron Swanson, "I know what I'm about, son."

Megan announced the categories for her Summer Book Challenge (#SCSBC16) and I got right to work making my preliminary reading list. Bookworm probs! The challenge runs from June 1-August 31 and I'm feeling really optimistic about this particular challenge. I have literally never been able to finish a blogging reading challenge, so I'm hoping if I stock my list with plenty of easy-to-read chick lit, I may be able to finally check one off my list!

Here's what I'm planning to read this summer:

5 points: Freebie! Read any book that is at least 150 pages long. | TBD

10 points: Read a collection of short stories or essays. They may all be written by the same author, or the book may be an anthology from different writers; your choice! | Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories by Stephanie Perkins

10 points: Read an adult fiction book written by an author who normally writes books for children. Examples: J. K. Rowling, Judy Blume, Suzanne Collins, Rick Riordan, etc. - Submitted by SCWBC15 finisher Kelly E. | In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

15 points: Read a book set in Appalachia. - Submitted by SCWBC15 finisher Ericka B. (Try this list or this one for inspiration. And here’s a map if you have a book in mind and want to know if it fits the setting.) | A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson

15 points: Don’t judge a book by its cover! Read a book with a cover you personally find unappealing. | Winger by Andrew Smith

20 points: Read a book that you have previously only seen the film (movie) of. - Submitted by SCWBC15 finisher Bevchen. | Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin

25 points: Read a book with a punny title. The title can be a play on another book title, movie title or a common expression. Examples of such titles include Southern DiscomfortWe'll Always Have Parrots or Bonefire of the Vanities- Submitted by SCWBC15 finisher Jamie G. Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist by Tim Federle

30 points: Read a microhistory. (Try this list or this one for ideas.) | Stiff: The Curious Life of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

30 points: Read one book with a good word in the title, and one with a bad word. Note: This category is reeeeeeeally open-ended! Maybe you like turtles, so The Pearl that Broke Its Shell is a title with a "good" word. Similarly, the "bad" word could be a swear word or a literally negative word like “not” or “none,” or it could just be something you don’t like. Have fun with it! (Remember, you must read both books to get 30 points; this category is not worth 15 points per book.) | First Comes Love by Emily Giffin and The Jolly Coroner by Quentin Canterel

40 points: Read two books that contain the same word in the title, but once in the singular and once in the plural. For example: Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter and The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer, or Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff and The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner. (Remember, you must read both books to get 40 points; this category is not worth 20 points per book.) | The Diary of Darcy J. Rhone by Emily Giffin and The Vegas Diaries by Holly Madison

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Want to join in on the fun? Check out Megan's book challenge here:

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

What I Read: January-April

Despite the poor showing that indicates otherwise, I love me a good book challenge. However, due to being sick and pregnant for about three months straight, my books read for the first quarter of the year was pretty pitiful. Now that I'm feeling back to my normal self, I decided I was long overdue to post a good ol' fashioned reading update. Check out my reviews below:

p/c Goodreads

Although I really enjoyed the first two books in this YA/Fantasy series, I found myself getting really annoyed by the main characters and I felt that in some areas, the author didn't provide enough detail or provided too much unnecessary detail to support the plot. The ending did redeem it somewhat, but overall, this was my least favorite book of the series.

I started this to fit my "Woman/man, girl/boy" category for Megan's Winter Book Challenge and never wound up finishing it until after the challenge wrapped up. It had been on my list for about three years and I can't believe it took me so long to read it. It is a light-hearted, but completely intelligent and introspective reflection on Evans' year trying to live as "biblically womanly" as possible. I love the conclusions she comes to and how she shares the changes in her faith over the course of the year. I would highly recommend!

The only reason I chose to read this was because it was a steal on my Kindle app and I knew that the author was also a blogger. I'm all about supporting bloggers turned writers, but this book just didn't do it for me. There were funny moments, but I felt like in trying to be comedic, it lacked any real depth. This is one you can skip.

Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding (271 pages, )
I loved that reading this was like snooping through your best friend's diary, if your best friend was a hot, hot mess. I really enjoyed this and it was a nice, easy, brainless read. This book was the "LOL" category of Erin's Book Challenge.

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson (278 pages, )
The first book of Anderson's I read was Speak which was about a teenage girl dealing with the aftermath of her rape. The second was Catalyst, about a teenage girl suffering from an obsessive and destructive exercise addiction. This book was about a teenage girl dealing with an eating disorder. I think Anderson's books are great for teenage girls dealing with a multitude of issues, but I felt like I was reading the same book for the third time. Her books have seemed so similar and formulaic that this one truthfully bored and disappointed me. I chose this book to fit the "season" category of Erin's Book Challenge.

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah (479 pages, )
I selected this book because it fit the category of Amazon Best-Selling authors that I had never read for Erin's Book Challenge. It had also been sitting neglected on my shelf for months after I received it in a blogger book exchange, so I figured it was a long, overdue read. It was standard chick lit, but it still made me cry and made me want to read more from Hannah in the future.

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden (512 pages, )
This was my last book challenge-related book for Erin's "set in Asia" category. It had been on my to-read list for years and was another book gathering dust on my shelf. It seemed from my friends' GoodReads reviews to be a very polarizing read- people either loved it or they hated it. I was more on the love side- I found it to be a fascinating glimpse into geisha culture of 1940's Japan- something that I knew absolutely nothing about. A lot of people said it was slow-moving which I can understand, but I don't think there were any details within the story that could have been eliminated. Overall, I would definitely recommend for historical fiction lovers.

As an avid Top Chef fan, this book was just for me. I wanted to know the scoop behind the private life of the enigmatic host, and I got what I was hoping for. Padma spares no details in sharing her life's stories, and I loved getting to peak into the life of a model/TV host/chef/a million other things. My only complaint, which seemed to be shared by several other GoodReads reviewers, is that despite some definite struggles and difficulties in her life, Padma has ultimately led one of immense privilege, which she never seems to actually acknowledge and I felt somewhat annoyed by. Otherwise, I would recommend for fellow fans of the show!

So far in the month of May, I've definitely stepped up my reading game and am hoping to stay on track to complete my goal of 50 books in 2016. So far, I'm 6 books behind in my progress, but I'm hoping if I maintain my current pace, I can still manage to catch up and meet it!

Stay tuned for more reviews to come!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Baby 2.0 Gender Reveal!

Well, for those of you who may have read my sappy love letter on Friday, 1. Props to you, and 2. You already know the gender of Baby 2.0. For anyone who didn't care to read my obnoxious, mushy sentiments written to my husband, today's the day!

I had every intention of doing some cute, Pinterest-worthy surprise for my husband's birthday. Then last Monday, the morning of our ultrasound, Chuck and I decided we just couldn't wait. We had to find out that day. So yeah, no birthday surprise. No gender reveal birthday cake.

Thankfully, my sister-in-law offered to practice her photography chops on us and I was just so happy to have a way to celebrate the gender of what will potentially be our last baby.

This also didn't go according to plan.

Ashlee did her absolute best, but Charlie was not having it. He was an angel leading up to the pictures, and an angel as soon as we left. During, though? Talk about a toddler tantrum! We didn't get the perfect family pictures I was envisioning, but I am so happy and in love with the ones we did get.

So without further ado, Baby 2.0 is a...

Clearly, Charlie is thrilled.

Fortunately, he has some time to acclimate because we've still got four months to go until I am officially outnumbered!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Dear Husband (On Your Birthday)

Dear Husband,

I met you when you were twenty-one years old. For all intents and purposes, still a boy. You were finding your place in the world and figuring out who you were and what mattered to you. Our relationship from the get-go was a warm, fuzzy place to land in the middle of life's uncertainties. For the past five plus years I've been by your side and watched you grow. From that uncertain young boy, to a trustworthy, dependable, and selfless man. For every fight, every disappointment, and every tension along the way, getting to see you in this place you've arrived, made every single one worth it.

Like most new parents, I don't think it would be a stretch to say that at times, parenthood has thrown us for a loop. Balancing roles, fighting exhaustion, making time for ourselves, and each other- each one has brought it's own set of challenges. But in the last few months, we've really settled into a groove. We work long hours, we do our best, and we support and appreciate each other always. I think it's important to take stock of this season in our life because in just a short while, we'll become a family of four and all of what we've worked to gain since become Charlie's Mommy and Daddy will be thrown out the window, and we will begin from scratch all over again. When we're overwhelmed, and exhausted, and two-under-two has us questioning our life decisions, I want to remember this season. When we manage to get our shit together, life is really, really good.

Since we found out about Baby 2.0, you have been everything I needed and more. You've been a phenomenal partner and Daddy since day one, but in the last few months of being a full-time baby-maker you have continued to impress me with the lengths you will go to take care of your family. Never once have I feared how I would look over Charlie while being sick, pregnant, and exhausted. You have been there for every mealtime, every bedtime, and every hustled morning drop-off when I needed you. And never once have you complained, dissented, or resented me. I always knew you were meant to be a father, but never could I have imagined how wonderfully that would manifest itself in our life together. You are selfless, trustworthy, and a better husband than I ever could have dreamed for myself.

I know you will inevitably be embarrassed by something that I've written and shared with the world, and you'll call me out and then move on about your day, realizing that there's absolutely nothing you will do about it. Because that's the man you are. You don't sweat the small stuff, and you love me for me, even when I make flawed decisions, even when I take things too far, or when I take things too personally. You are always grounded and level-headed; the calming force in my life. And yet you are always loyal and supportive. I don't thank you enough for that. For allowing me to be my sometimes melodramatic, sometimes high-strung, and my always overemotional self and loving me unconditionally, regardless.

You are a good man. A great father. And an amazing husband.

Your life is a gift to everyone you come into contact with, but I just so happen to be the luckiest of them all. I am so thankful you were born on this day and that the stars aligned, our paths crossed, and somehow, I get to be the one to spend the rest of my days alongside of you.

Happy Birthday, my love. Thank you for everything that you are.

Your Bee

P.S. Because music is our love language, I made you a birthday playlist. Most songs are sappy, most songs have some memory attached to them, one is just to make you laugh, but all of them remind me of you in some way or the other. I hope you find joy in every single one.

P.S.S. Congratulations on becoming a Boy Daddy times two ;)

Monday, April 11, 2016

Baby #2 is a...


Yeah, we don't actually know yet and the anticipation is killing us. We go in this morning for our 20-week ultrasound, and then, we wait. Chuck is not excited about this plan. However, when I realized that our ultrasound was going to be within 4 days of my sweet hubby's birthday, I obviously had to plan something. So against his wishes and because he loves me, my husband is going to wait a week to find out the gender of his second born so that I can do some kind of cute, Pinterest-worthy birthday cake reveal.

In the meantime, who has guesses?!

The old wives' tales say...

Carrying high or low?... High? GIRL
Baby's heartbeat? Last appointment was 150. GIRL
Craving? Sweet! GIRL
Chinese birth chart? BOY
Skin? Terrible! (Probably because of all the sweets!) GIRL
First trimester? Sick, sick, sick! GIRL

I'm fairly certain that every one of our family members thinks we're having a girl, and we've been leaning that way, as well. But I was dead-wrong about Charlie's gender, so I honestly have no idea!

Can't stinking wait to find out though- stay tuned next week for the exciting conclusion!