And then there were (almost) four…

Thanks to Kenzi, we have some family photos from this pregnancy.  We almost missed the boat!

Note to prego mamas:  maybe do a photos session before you’re term and have hit whale status.  A month ago would have felt much more flattering.

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Up next:  Will we ever put the crib together and prep the nursery?  Looking doubtful. Maybe this weekend.   I either need a babysitter or a husband to get that project done, so it’s on hold.

Also, we’ve decided to stay home until we have this baby.  This means I get to celebrate Mothers Day doing whatever I want!  My kind of holiday.

Mothers Day is on the 11th this year, which is my brother’s birthday.  We have cousins born on pretty much every day from May 11-15 and then sporadically throughout the month.  Baby lady could share someone’s birthday.  Wouldn’t that be cool?  I don’t think there’s any hope of avoiding a Taurus at this point, but at least the weather is beautiful and the birthday parties are plentiful this month.


Our Weekend in Photos

Forgive the delayed post!  We had a really hectic and fun weekend (again).  It seems to be the Springtime thing.

This weekend was the March of Dimes walk for cousin Jack.  Jack’s Pack (sans the pregnant me) walked to show support and had a great time to boot.  I wasn’t on top of it–I took no pictures.  You’d think since I wasn’t walking I could have at least snapped some pictures, but I had Mary Lou’s Donuts on the brain.

 After the walk, we headed to Abbi’s house to hang out and let the boys play.  It was such cute cousin time.  The boys had a blast!  Here are a few shots that are on loan from Kathi:



Sunday was just as fun because Oliver stayed all night.  Oliver is all the rage at our house these days.  We made plans to meet friends of ours at the park so the big boys could play together and the grown ups could squeeze in a visit, too.  It turns out when you have 1, 3, 5 and a baby in tow at a petting zoo, grown up visiting of any kind is really moot.  But it was still fun!  It turned out to be a beautiful day after a cold start, so we were relishing the sunshine and excitement on the boys’ faces.

photo 1photo 2photo 3ImageImagephoto 4ImageImageImageImageImageIt was a perfect Spring day for the zoo and a train ride.  We are loving being this close to the park!

17 Months

We have a 17 month old!

Loves:  Dinosaur Train, bugs, containers, potato heads, books, elephants, stacking blocks and boxes, his baby doll, other kids, fruit, firetrucks, vacuuming, putting away every last block (we have a little OCD working)

New things:  climbing everything, getting on and off chairs/couch, getting in and out of his booster by himself, trying to switch to one nap, running everywhere he goes, opening the fridge (which has since been taped shut, much to his disdain)

Saying:  up please, bye dada, eggs, daddy’s, more _____, no thank you, I don’t knoooow, choo choo train, shoes on, all done this, no no no diaper, night night kitty

He gets more fun all the time.  I feel like I say that every month.  He’s learning so much and he is a hilarious kid!  So curious about nature and dirt and bugs and sticks…  and containers.  Silas is really into sorting and putting things away (hello, Oliver–they are so the same kid).

He’s putting phrases together and has started babbling extensively (but good luck figuring out what he means, although he clearly knows what he is saying).  He listens fairly well and understands so much of what we say to him.  It constantly surprises us to realize he understands things we say to each other.  We’ve started spelling things to avoid meltdowns about various things, which is a sure sign of toddlerhood.

Si loves to be outside, which is lovely now that we have a yard to enjoy.  Tim and I are grateful that he can’t see the park out the window, so we’re feeling pretty lucky to not have a kid crying to go to the park at every waking minute.  The petting zoo and playground and sandbox are all the rage these days.  Wait until he discovers that water park!

We love him to the moon.  Happy 17 months, baby Boo!  You’re probably going to be a big brother this month…

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We headed to Alex with Timmy for the end of the week to squeeze in one last hurrah before baby.  We had an early Easter with bug-filled eggs, digging time with Oliver’s new Easter tools, gorgeous hats, our first tractor ride, and some horn honking in Poppy’s big work truck (OH the joy on his face–so darling).  We even had a little energy left on Saturday to head to Menard’s with the new stuffed elephant in tow to start a little front yard landscaping project.

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Up next:  hopefully finishing the nursery with another crib and some art, hopefully not having a baby for a few more weeks.

Our Weekend in Photos: Columbian Park Zoo

Living a block from the park is proving to be pretty awesome now that warmer weather is upon us.  Tim and Si met some friends at the park Saturday morning and had a super time without me (I was at the thrift store having my own super time).  Sunday, Eric and Nicole and the boys came for the day and we all went to the petting zoo and park and even got to ride the train for the first time since moving here.  It was pretty fun.  


Obviously the moms were the ones taking pictures…  The boys had so much fun!  It was also fun to see Timmy and Eric being good dads and getting excited about things like taking train rides and feeding goats.  Pretty cute all around.


We’re digging…

We’re digging a few things this past month.


White Collar (end of season four on Netflix) and Castle (season five now airing)

We are wrapping up these two shows, which is really depressing… until we remember that means it’s time for Rookie Blue to start back up again.  Plus, RB is going to have an extended season this year.  Only really lame people know that.  And by lame I mean Swarek-style cool.  Me-ow.  If you’re feeling really adventurous, you can refer to it as “Rookie Azul” like Tim does.


If the Buddha Had Kids by Charlotte Kasl

We are largely over reading parenting books, but I picked up this one at the library and am really loving how it lines up with the values we want to give our kids like simplicity, compassion, self-awareness, kindness, and nonviolence. One of the reviews claims it is a really approachable blend of Buddhist and Quaker wisdom, practical advice and psychological research.  With what I’ve read so far, I couldn’t agree more.  Not for everyone, but I love it!


The Five Love Languages by Gary Champman

Gone are the days when our spare time was spent coming up with ways to surprise each other, although we have plenty of joy in the form of an endlessly entertaining toddler who is an ever present reminder of our love and commitment.  Our combination of commute, nanny kids, toddler, grad school, late pregnancy, and home improvement have left us feeling a little less than energetic or romantic.  Luckily, nanny kids are done, grad school and pregnancy will be done in a month, and life will continue to simplify.

Our love is alive and well in the forms of taking out the trash, volunteering to change an offensive diaper, or being the one to come up with what’s for dinner, but we decided to read a book together to start out the Springtime with a commitment to finding joy together. I’ll be honest.  We got an hour and a half into the audio book and my interest waned.  We have worked a lot on open communication and are relatively adept at figuring out what we need and asking for it.  I can see how this book would be extremely helpful if you haven’t done that kind of groundwork, but I found it a little watery.

Fast forward to my classic bottom line approach:  If you go to, there is a quiz that will tell you what your profile is.  The email that follows the quiz is actually more helpful because it is full of specific examples for all five types.  I had sixes in all areas (not helpful for Tim figuring out how to take care of me) and Tim had a nine in acts of service, which was more helpful for figuring out how to take good care of him in our marriage.  I ended up going through the follow up email and bolding the things that would make me feel loved just to give Tim a more clear list of things to work with and I think that will be helpful for both of us.

So I guess the review on our part is this book has a few practical applications in the forms of concrete examples of what the other person needs, which is always helpful because it makes it easier to implement and work into daily life. I think it’s potentially especially helpful for those of us who needs more literal, concrete suggestions.


Columbian Park and our own back yard.  Tim and I have both commented on how different and better our life feels when it includes walks and sunshine and a happy toddler eating bugs and dirt.  Cheapest therapy out there.

The petting zoo and train are back in action this weekend.  We can’t wait to take Silas now that he’s old enough to enjoy it!  It’s nice living a block from the park.

Third Trimester

So, we’re wrapping up our last trimester of our (most likely) last baby.  I am less than three weeks from full term, although I hope she cooks long beyond that mile marker.  Nevertheless, it’s reassuring that I am feeling largely back to normal.  I see the midwife this week and I think she will be as happy as I am that the painful contractions are gone (although I’m still having MANY braxton hicks contractions each day), and also gone is the feeling that my baby is going to fall out, which is always good.

After the stair debacle, we have had more than two weeks of altered family life where Tim has been on baby duty and I have been on the sidelines without lifting.  It’s very weird for me, but it’s also been eye opening to have Tim here with me and to see him step into a full time baby routine with little trouble and surprising enjoyment.  He will enthusiastically attest to the daily challenges of having three kids under age four in the afternoons.

I won’t be keeping them anymore until after the baby comes, and I’m so glad Tim was here to help me (slash do all the work) until they could find different care.  Tim is back to work tomorrow, so Silas and I will be doing our thing and getting back to our old routine, minus the lifting.  Methinks Si won’t begrudge getting to climb the stairs or step into his bed by himself with the help of a step stool.  He’s very independent these days.

When I was pregnant with Silas Peter, I was sick until my third trimester and I welcomed it with open arms despite lots of heartburn.  This pregnancy, I had the classic 2nd trimester honeymoon period and the 3rd trimester delivered typical aches and pains, sore ribs that won’t stay in place, and once again an uncomfortable transverse breech baby.  I am still wearing my rings and have virtually no swelling this time, which is nice!  Similarly to last pregnancy, super tart lemonade sounds amazing and gives me terrible heartburn.  I keep drinking it anyway every few weeks.

I’m holding steady at about 20 pounds of weight gain, which the midwife is happy with even though it’s on the low side.  Generally I am still feeling really good with interspersed bouts of moon face and beached whale tendencies.  I need help almost every time I try to get out of bed lately.  Poor Tim!

Speaking of Tim, he has some Couvade Syndrome going on with this pregnancy just like he did last time.  He had a few bouts of nausea when I had morning sickness and has once again put on some sympathy weight.  We lovingly refer to it as his burrito baby.  I think it’s safe to say we’re equally excited about getting outside this summer and walking off our collective baby bodies.

I’ll have you know I painted my own toenails today at 34 weeks pregnant.  Feeling pretty proud of that, although Tim asked me if I was ok a few times in the short process since I was gasping for breath trying to reach the final few toes.  You know you’re near the end of pregnancy when your husband resorts to calling you Big Mama instead of other terms of endearment.

While I’m happy to let this little bella grow as long as she’ll stay in there, I’m looking forward to the end of pregnant life these days. She feels bigger than Silas ever was and I can’t keep her out of my rib cage for any length of time.  I’m happy she seems to be a little more robust than he was, even if it means my belly button is less recognizable than it was last time and my sleep is nonexistent.

Aside from third trimester discomforts, I think this time I am also looking forward to the end of pregnancy because I know how it feels to greet a human I grew in my own body.  It’s really an amazing thing. I’m getting really excited to meet her and hold her and (heaven help us) decide what to name her.

Up next:  an attempt at some pregnancy pictures before this baby gets here and we have none, a midwife visit to make a game plan for getting a head down bambina, and a bit more cooking for the nearly stocked freezer.

Onarga Weekend

We wrapped up our third week with Tim home by going to Onarga for the weekend to hit up a Masters party and celebrate early Easter with Tim’s family.  Knowing this was probably our last trip before we are a family of four, we were hoping for a really relaxing weekend and it turned out to be just that.

After breakfast with friends on Saturday morning, we headed westward and got there just in time to grab iced coffees at the local coffee shop with Sara.  We got to visit a while before the Masters party at Tim’s buddy’s house and then Silas and I went back to the house while Timmy finished out a euchre game.  Si got to go to the park with grandparents and aunt Sara while I squeezed in a nap and a little reading.  Lovely!

The rest of the weekend involved lots of swinging on porch, bubble blowing, block tower building/destroying, taking walks, and chasing the elusive cat who weighs almost as much as Silas.  Ah, the life of a happy toddler.  We had such good quality time with Sara and Derek as well with an unexpected slumber party.


We didn’t end up with any great photos from the weekend (thanks, blurry phone pictures) but this one of Papa Roger, Si and Elmo was pretty darling.


I know that no one is ever really “ready” for the monumental changes that come home from the hospital disguised as a tiny human, but we’re as close as we can get.  Feeling good!

Thanks to the weekend overhaul, baby sleeping spaces are ready, diapers stocked, clothes washed, and hospital bags completely packed aside from the last minute list (yes, of course I have a last minute list).  Yesterday, Tim and I spent six hours working furiously to store or purge random belongings lying around.  We worked mostly in the kitchen and dining room and it feels great!  The result is clean counter tops, clean floors with minimal toys, and an airiness to the house that is so seldom felt these days with mister mess pot doing his thing between naps, babbling away as he narrates his play time.  So sweet.  

Today I am focusing on storing toys with small parts (we have way, way too many wooden puzzles) and also toys that would cause damage if flung at a baby sister (Silas lacks a certain finesse, but is more than willing to share).  Si loves his baby doll and has been practicing pushing her in the swing (gulp) and carrying her around.  He is practicing his sharing with baby E in the afternoons and he loves her perhaps just a little too much, but I love how big his love is for such a small guy.  He is really going to be an amazing big brother.   

Our other goal for the rest of this week is to decide on a few freezer meals, get the ingredients, and actually make them!  I have always loved the idea of freezer meals and we used to have some in rotation, but we have moved away from that.  It’s sort of exciting to think about new recipes!  Plus, Tim is only home for a few more days, so I need to use the extra hands to keep Silas from “helping” in the kitchen.  

We are sort of stalled with home improvement progress this week, but good ol’ Frank is working on patching our plaster walls from shelf removal.  Once we get all the woodwork filled in and walls patched and painted, we’ll be back with an update.  I can’t wait!  I’m also considering white washing all of the wood flooring on the first level since it’s in rough shape.  I may end up liking that enough to not replace them down the road.  Hmmm.  I haven’t told Tim yet.  

So.  Who wants to come visit?  The park is calling!



Our Weekend in Photos

We had a really lovely weekend.  Tim ended up staying home from his conference, so he’s been here helping me do major cleaning and baby arrival prep for days on end.  We spent Saturday gathering things for the hospital bag and getting the baby car seat in the car.  I also bought tiny tiny diapers and washed all of her clothes and linens.  Eek!  I felt really anxious all day Saturday.  

Today we had Mary Kay come keep Silas all morning so we could sort through and store our wardrobes that we won’t be using this summer.  It is so refreshing to think about life (and laundry) with a pared down, simple summer wardrobe.  We also rearranged the bedroom to make room for the cosleeping set up for the first few months.  

This afternoon the boys napped while MK and I did some pajama shopping.  I really wanted some pretty jammies for the hospital this time around and Target never fails to disappoint.  I also got a last minute hair cut today which I’ve been avoiding since my favorite gal quit a while back.  It isn’t the best haircut I’ve ever had, but it’s a massive improvement on my super long, super boring hair from before.  

All in all, we’re feeling pretty ready for little bella whenever she decides to appear.  I’ve been diligent about taking it easy during the day and Tim’s still doing all the baby lifting. I’ve also been doing Spinning Babies exercises and some yoga ball stretches with the hope of a head down bambina.  She’s a maniac in there!  I am feeling a little more normal and less panicky about going into preterm labor. 

More about our weekend:  playing outside, DIY Ball jar sippy cup, lunch date with little Blue Eyes, trying on Grammie’s glasses, Silas and Mama belly comparison, blooming tulips, manly snuggle time, and a very pregnant 33 weeks.  We’ve had a head down baby all day today!  Let’s hope it’s a trend.  


April: Cooking Time

I don’t know what happened to March, but it’s gone now.  Our goals for last month were to get outside and to make a parenting game plan and I think I can say we succeeded on both accounts.  Not impressively, but sometimes that’s how it goes.  

We spent as much time as we could outside, which ended up being a few sporadic warm days interspersed with a few inches of snow.  We were ready to bid winter farewell this year and getting the fence up last weekend made us even more grateful to feel the first real warmth of springtime, despite the fact that the project began on Saturday in an inch of snow covered grass.  The buds on the trees are tiny but present.  In a few short weeks we will have that familiar burst of green all around, which is always cathartic for the Garner-Ballards.  We’ve spent every day in the back yard since we put the fence up, so I think it’s already a huge improvement to our quality of life here.

Tim and I are feeling better about our parenting approach as Silas becomes more adventurous.  It helps immensely that we have similar gut responses to his actions now, which wasn’t the case last month.  One thing we learned over this past weekend is how sparingly we use the word no except in times of true “no” situations.  We are big on redirecting or saying it’s time to be done with this or that, and that seems to work well for him with minimal drama.  This weekend ended up somehow enlightening Si about using the word “no” and it’s all he says all day long to himself, to us, to his diaper, to the cat, when he wakes up, and even in his sleep.  Ugh.  What happened to our sweet kid?  I’m ready for this phase to be over, but it’s not fading easily.  I’m not giving up.  My will power is pretty impressive with more appropriate conversation replacements, so eventually I’ll win this one.

Let’s move on to April’s goal.  Cooking!  I’m going to start stocking the freezer for meals post baby arrival, but the more important goal is to keep cooking this bun in my oven until at least May 4th when she is full term.  I’m pretty much kissing the idea of a June baby goodbye at this point.  

So, I mentioned I fell down our stairs last week.  Baby looked good and is wiggly as ever, but I had painful contractions in clusters all weekend and a lot of pressure that wasn’t there before.  Monday morning I called the midwife who said to lay low for 48 hours until my Wednesday appointment and see how my body does getting back to normal.  I was diligent about resting Monday and Tuesday, whcih is hard for me.  The painful contractions calmed down and went back to Braxton Hicks, but they’re stronger and a lot more frequent since I fell.  I suspect that’s just going to be the new norm until I meet this little girl.  

This morning I saw my midwife (instead of the one on call Thursday) and it was a weird mix of reassuring and nerve racking.  Tim had been nervous and also a little miserable since he’s been on baby duty with not only Si, but two other kiddos as well this week.  I thought he’d feel better after talking to my super sweet, always reassuring midwife…until we got there and she seemed worried, which made me worried and made Tim even more anxious than he was before.  Bummer.  

Basically, after checks and testing and more fetal monitoring today, I am in the clear for preterm labor at this point and the baby looks fantastic.  No bed rest, but no lifting things like toddlers or bags of groceries or doing anything ostentatious for the next month while I keep the bun in the oven for as long as possible.  Now’s the time when I ask who’s been thinking about coming for a visit.  I could use the company and some baby lifting back up.  Thankfully, my brother, Logan, is going to start staying with me on Monday and Thursday nights when Tim is away, so that will alleviate bedtime lifting altogether.  Still working on a nap time system, but we will figure it out.  

I had visions of warm weather, walks in the park with a stroller and giant belly, and a robust third trimester.  I never pictured myself as the delicate type, so it’s a little self image adjustment to think of myself as less than strong and capable, but we’re there.  Now’s a good time to bring up the March of Dimes, speaking of early babies.  Join Jack’s Pack and come walk with us here in Lafayette!  Well, not with me, but with my other family members.  I’ll be the pregnant one trying not to go into labor.

Tim has a conference this weekend and most of next week.  After that, we’re spending April out back in the yard.  We’re also hammering out some details for the rest of the year and trying to do some big picture planning now that we will be a family of four.  Stay tuned!  Never a dull moment around here.