Thursday, August 25, 2016

Gym girls

Soccer is almost over for the summer and we decided we didn't need swim lessons in the winter, so we enrolled the girls in tumbling classes since Anna won't be able to take dance / tumble at her school (they come in the morning when she'll be at Kindergarten). They are loving it!  We're avid Olympic viewers and the girls were literally jumping off the couches and bouncing off walls anytime gymnastics was on, so this is a natural fit : ) 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Oh the places you'll go (and it all starts with Kindergarten)

"You're off to great places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting, 
So ... get on your way!"

She was SO excited for her first day of Kindergarten and got on the bus with no hesitation whatsoever! I still can't believe we have a Kindergartener! 

Her sign reads: 
Anna's first day of Kindergarten
I am 5 years old
My teacher is Miss Eldred
When I grow up I want to be: an animal doctor and police officer

Charlotte had to be in the middle of everything and was CONVINCED she was also starting kindergarten and would be riding the bus with Anna. She did somewhat OK, but told us many times "I don't want to ride in a car, I want a bus ride! ... I want a back pack too, a big one like Anna ... I'm a big girl going to kindergarten!" 

She had a great day! I met her at the daycare / preschool she'll go to most days for an afternoon Kindergarten enrichment program and she was all smiles as she got off the bus. She said she found her room with a little assistance, was assigned a cubby, went to the bathroom with her class (I made her practice going in the stall and locking and unlocking the door on her preview day), did some activities, enjoyed recess, and made a new friend, Phoebe. She rode the bus back to her other school with three other kids, including a new student, Lily, who she hugged before leaving. We had a great afternoon that included lunch, picking up cupcakes, and a movie at home.

While we were waiting for our table at lunch I was telling Anna how proud I am of her and how she's so brave and smart and getting so big and that sometimes I get sad because I wish she was still little. She leaned in and gave me a big hug and said "but you can be happy too because of all of that." And I am little big girl, I am! Oh the places you'll go!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Five going on (what feels like) fifteen

Anna starts kindergarten this week and I'm partially in denial and partially just praying I'm not in labor so that I can see her off on her first day. I picked her up early last Friday and we had a special Mommy / Anna afternoon that consisted of lunch at her fave (Frisch's), a manicure, and a new movie at home. I know she's ready for school, but the thought of her riding a bus by herself, being somewhere for half a day where I don't get a daily report, and navigating the big world that's out there has me a little freaked out. And I don't think I can blame it all on pregnancy hormones. Luckily, Anna has yet to disappoint me in her enthusiastic reaction to all new life changes, and I know she's ready for this new challenge! Oh the places you'll go little lady! 

Ready for the meet and greet with her teacher ; I may have called my Mom bawling half hour before this picture was taken (and before Anna was home) ... 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Baby Bump: Week 39 1/2

Here I stand, as pregnant as I've ever been, waiting on another stubborn little lady to make her way into the world! I swore I'd go well before my due date with all of the monitoring I'd been under, but turns out we were both stable enough to keep this little lady cooking. Since February when I saw that Anna's first days of kindergarten were going to be the same week as my due date, I had a little heartburn. I knew if I was in labor or still in the hospital, we'd survive, but I definitely anted to be there if possible. Either this little one heeded my requests or is stubborn like her sisters : ) 

My urine protein is still off the charts, my blood pressure ebbs and flows from high to low, my immune system is shot and I've had about 20 sinus infections, my platelets are low, and I have pretty decent bouts of swelling; luckily none of this all at the same time and enough for the doctors to prefer our little bun stay in the oven for as long as possible ... but not longer than 40 weeks. So, I have an induction scheduled for Friday, my due date, unless she comes earlier. I've been about 2cm dilated for a few weeks, but no other progress or signs of labor. My doctor has painted a pretty rosy picture ... "we'll start some pitocin, I'll break your water, and we'll have a baby in the afternoon!" Ever the optimist, I'm hopeful it's as easy as that, but the realist in me knows that my babies get comfy, so hopefully this one doesn't hang on as long as her sisters (19 and 30 hours). 

No matter what happens, how she arrives, and on whatever timetable, I know this much: she is loved beyond belief already! We are so happy that God decided we should expand our family and we CANNOT WAIT to meet our little bundle that will complete us. We have a name 99% picked out, but aren't sharing as we always like to wait to meet the baby and ensure it's a good fit. Spoiler alert: it's not Riley Elsa or Elsa Riley, so hopefully the girls will be OK with what we choose : ) 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Big sib

Although she's already an amazing big sister, we decided Anna may like to attend the sibling class offered by our hospital that also included a tour of the Labor & Delivery and Post-partum rooms. Charlotte was technically old enough to attend, but yeah, she's a little crazy, and we thought this would be a fun Anna, Mommy and Daddy date. We haven't been to the hospital where I'll deliver since Charlotte was born and given that they were going through construction back then, we were curious to see where I'll be dropped off and Mike will park for Baby Kelly's arrival. 

Mike and I talked the class up for a few days prior, thinking Anna would be excited for her special time; rather all she seemed to pick up on was the fact that she "doesn't want to change any stinky, poopy diapers!" Me either kid, me either : ) Even with that exclamation, she had a great time, was a pro at practicing with her baby doll, and will be a natural biggest sister in less than a week!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Friday funny

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Leg rest

Summer means swollen legs and ankles for this pregnant lady and one of the best purchases I've ever made was a $20 elevated leg pillow from Groupon Goods a couple of months ago. I promised the girls that they can have it to play with after the baby arrives when I'm hopefully less swollen. They took that to mean they can kick me out of my spot and elevate their very skinny and non-swollen legs right away. Stinkers!

Please also note the bedside fan ... I'm basically a menopausal woman ...
"Go upstairs and rest" they all said ... What they meant was "We'll find you within 5 minutes and kick you out of your comfy spot so that we can steal your pillows and act crazy ..."

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


My friends and coworkers have totally spoiled me as we prepare to meet Baby Kelly and although we have pretty much everything we need for her arrival, it's still fun to celebrate our upcoming arrival of sugar and spice!
My Cincinnati coworkers surprised me with a surprise lunch sprinkle, complete with my favorite dessert (Opera Cream Torte from The Bon Bonerie), bottles of wine to enjoy in a few weeks, and a hilarious book for Mommies.
My remote team sent us a delish cookie cake that the entire family enjoyed for several days. The girls minds were blown ... "it's a huge cookie with icing?!?!?" : ) 

And my sweet neighbors that I'm blessed to also call friends sprinkled me at dinner with another delicious cake from The Bon Bonerie. 

And, yes, I'm still pregnant. As of this past Monday I'm 2cm dilated and "ready for labor" but haven't made any progress since last week. Other than being uncomfortable, no signs of labor; nary a cramp or contraction, so I have a feeling this is another stubborn little girl : )  I thought they may induce me this week, but no dice. So we wait, I see the doctor again next Tuesday, and we have an induction scheduled for Friday, August 26 (my due date) with the doctor that delivered the girls. 

Word(less) Wednesday

Anna starts school in exactly one week and god-willing that I'm not birthing a baby or recovering in the hospital, I'm pretty sure this will be me : )

Monday, August 15, 2016

The most patient cat in the world

Once we had kids, the adoration of our furry family friends definitely waned and I'd be lying if I didn't say that I wouldn't be sad if we could find them another home. But, oh do the girls love them; and I'll be danged if Milo isn't the most patient cat ever. He seeks the girls out, let's them fawn all over him, dress him up, and occasionally Charlotte will attempt to ride him like a horse. Daisy is a little less tolerant of the dress-up games, but makes up for it by napping with Anna on a regular basis. Just a few recent examples ....

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Family fun day

Mike and I took a Friday off work a couple of weeks ago and planned a family fun day for the girls. We live very close to Kings Island, but the cost to go given the rides we can enjoy seemed steep, so we checked out Coney Island. It took us a few extra minutes to get there, but the cost was about 1/8 and we had a blast! If you've never been, it's a fairly small amusement park with mostly carnival-style rides; perfect for our littles. We got there right as the park opened (on a Friday) and had no waits for any ride. We rode, played, enjoyed lunch, and were good to go a couple of hours later; well, the girls and Mike may have been keen to stay, but it was HOT and this pregnant lady was melting.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Friday Funny

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Diver girl

The girls have loved our weekends at the pool, as have Mom and Dad, especially a very pregnant and hot Mom : ) We went to the same pool last summer and love it because of the many kid-friendly features; last year Charlotte and I hung out in the zero-entry area while Mike and Anna were able to bop around the pool and the water slide. This year we're all over the place, bopping around the pool, in the deeper (5 foot) area, on the wall of stairs, the slide, and after this past weekend, the diving board. Anna has done GREAT at swim lessons and has more confidence than I ever imagined after just a few months of lessons and decided she was ready. She did great her first time off the board, swam to the edge by herself, and showed no fear. I had a mild heart attack, but that's to be expected : )

Perfect timing to get her swim class ribbon for swimming the length of the pool!

They don't' give ribbons for just being crazy, sorry, Charlotte : ) 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

What's cookin': A whole lotta freezer meals

We're getting ready to have a baby around here and part of my pre-baby preparation has always been making a few freezer meals that are ready to pop in the oven or slow cooker so that things are just a *little* less hectic those first few weeks. This past weekend I prepared 10 meals that are ready to heat and eat!

I keep a file of freezer-friendly, somewhat healthy, slow cooker meals that I chose from and picked out a few other meals that the girls *usually* eat.

This round of meal preparation included:

- Bolognese sauce that was used for:
     - Baked ziti (1 batch split into three containers; 2 for the freezer; 1 for the next day)*
     - Two bags of bolognese to serve over pasta
- Cheese ravioli "lasagna" (basically frozen cheese ravioli layered between marinara sauce and topped with mozzarella)
- Cranberry BBQ chicken *
- Peppers and onions with turkey smoked sausage *
- Chicken cacciatore *
- Jamaican gumbo *
- Ranch pork chops *

* Recipe below

Slow Cooker BBQ Cranberry Chicken
2 lbs boneless chicken breast
¼ cup dried minced onion
1 (16 oz) can whole cranberry sauce
1 cup BBQ sauce (I use Sweet Baby Rays)

Combine all ingredients in a gallon-sized freezer bag. Zip close and place in freezer. When ready to use thaw in fridge overnight. Empty contents into crock-pot and cook on high 3-4 hours or low 6-7 hours.

Slow Cooker Sausage & Peppers

12 oz pkg sausage, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 green pepper, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can Italian diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning

Combine all ingredients in a gallon-sized freezer bag, zip close & place in freezer. When ready to use thaw in fridge overnight. Empty contents into crock-pot and cook on low 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours. Serve over rice.

Chicken Cacciatore 
1 lb chicken tenderloins
1 (26 oz) jar of chunky vegetable-style spaghetti sauce
1 zucchini, chopped
1 yellow squash, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 sweet onion, chopped

Place all ingredients in a resealable gallon-sized freezer bag and mix together. When ready to eat, remove from freezer and thaw in fridge for overnight - 24 hours. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours. Serve with cooked spaghetti noodles and garnish with cheese.

Jamaican Gumbo 
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (whole or cut into pieces)
12 oz andouille or smoked sausage, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
1/2 a medium onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, small diced or grated
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons Jamaican jerk seasoning blend

Place all ingredients in a resealable gallon-sized freezer bag. Mix together and zip bag closed. When ready to eat, remove from freezer and thaw in fridge overnight - 24 hours. Cook on low for 6-7 hours or high for 3-4 hours.

3-Ingredient Slow Cooker Ranch Pork Chops 
4-6 uncooked pork chops
1 envelope of dry ranch dressing mix
2 cans cream of chicken soup 

To prepare right away: Put all ingredients in slow cooker and cook on low for 4-6 hours.

To freeze: Put all ingredients in gallon size freezer bag. To prepare, thaw overnight, then pour everything into the slow cooker and cook on low for 4-6 hours. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Fisher girls

Anna got a fishing pole and tackle box for her birthday, but with a hectic summer (aka slacker parents), we hadn't put them to good use yet. Mike picked up a fishing pole for Charlotte over the weekend and the girls and Daddy trekked down to the lake in our neighborhood. No one caught dinner, but they all had a blast and swear they saw our friend Terry. Please note Charlotte's clip-on tackle box that may have been filled with goldfish crackers to use as bait that she actually ate : )

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Big muscles

Mike taught our girls early how to flex and flaunt their "big muscles" and I almost died a few weeks ago when nakes ba'bakes came around the corner flexing for me. Daddy wasn't home, so we naturally had to get it on video and send to him : )

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Word(less) Wednesday

These girls ... most pictures were taken on days Daddy was out of otwn or had to leave early.

The day they insisted their stuffed animal friends wear headbands : ) 

Funny faces because we had to get to school early so I could lead an early morning conference call ... they were not fans : ) 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Kindergarten safety camp graduate

After hearing rave reviews from a neighbor and knowing Anna would have a friend in the class, we enrolled her in a Kindergarten safety camp class that ran a few weeks ago. To say she had a blast was an understatement! The camp ran one week from 9 - 11:30am and taught the kids all sort of safety lessons, tips, and techniques. They also got to drive small electric cars each day, meet a police officer, ride a school bus, and tour a fire station. I loved the graduation ceremony on the last day,  it really hit home that I have a school age child now (tiny tear!).

The graduate and her certificate!

With her BFF and neighbor, Adam : ) 

The kids sang a few songs for us, including Twinkle Twinkle Traffic Light, which is now a fave in our home : ) 

I took the afternoon off to spend with my big girl, we started with lunch at her fave, Frisch's