Snuggles, Pets and Contractions

Well, we are officially one week out from our due date. I'm sitting here breathing through contractions as I type this up, wondering when little Cecilia will make her debut in this world.
I'm hoping she arrives before next weekend. My sister Erica is going out of town and I really want her to be here when baby girl is born. I think we've got a general idea of what will happen when I go into labor. Thank God for my family! They have offered to do so much to help us out during that time. My mom, Aunt Debbie, Erica, Grace and brother in-law Chris have all offered to be available and take time off of work if needed. I've even had a couple of friends offer to be there for anything we need. I feel really blessed to have them all. It's not as easy logistically when it's your second kiddo and the first is in school. We don't want Amelia to miss much, if any, school, but we also want her there when her sister is born and my family is making that happen for us. 

We had a pretty great weekend. It was laid back which is just what I needed. Mark had to work all weekend, so I got a lot of one on one Amelia time. We slept in Saturday and spent a little time in bed snuggling, downloading new books onto her Kindle and loving on our Rudy cat.
Yes, our curtain is a sheet... we're remodeling. 

I decided we needed to make a trip out to Craft Warehouse. Amelia has never been out there with me and I was hoping to find some stuff for the nursery. If ever there was question as to whether or not she's my kid... take her to craft warehouse. She had to look at every single thing and added so many things to our cart. I ended up with nothing, but somehow spent a lot. I have so many ideas for the girls bedrooms, but they didn't have what I needed. Looks like a trip to Hobby Lobby is a must soon!! This is the super awesome fabric that Amelia picked out (oh my sarcasm). She wants to make her stuffed horses some blankets out of it. I'm pretty sure if my mom took me in a store and let me pick out any fabric at Amelia's age it would have been some equally special penguin fabric. 

After our trip to the craft store, which Amelia is now obsessed with, we stopped by and visited with my mom and grandma. It's so cute how my grandma is just waiting for Cecilia to get here. Every time I walk through the door she says "you're still here?" As if I'd go into labor and not tell my 92 year old grandma. She's so cute. 

Today Amelia had Irish dance and after we stopped by the pet shop. Last weekend we volunteered at church for Amelia's school. I was talking with two of the moms about our pets and mentioned that we've had some of our fish for five years, and one of them since last Christmas. Well, when we got home that same morning one of our fish, the beta that Amelia got for Christmas, was dead. Poor Rosie. Amelia cried a little and told us she went to heaven. I let her pick out a new beta today. It's a really pretty one that she named Storm. 

Of course she had to check out the bunnies too. That girl has been asking for a bunny for two years now. 

I hope you all had equally enjoyable weekends. I'm looking forward to a productive week. I have a long list of things I hope to accomplish. Fingers crossed. 
Ashley Elizabeth

Mother Daughter Dates

There is a special bond between a mother and her daughter. I can't imagine what my life would be like without Amelia. She really is the most amazing little lady ever. I think it is incredibly important to spend as much time as possible making memories with our little ones. Even simple things can have a huge impact on our children and give them something to remember for the rest of their lives.

Get dressed up and go out to dinner. Let your little lady wear some blush and lipstick, put on some fancy clothes and take her out for a night on the town. Pick a restaurant she will love and save room for dessert.

Visit a local library. Our library has toddler story time and preschool story time, each two days a week. After story time, let your little girl pick out some books to take home and read with you later.

Play at the park. Put down your phone, get up off the bench and swing next to her. Go down the slide, run around playing tag, kick a ball together or play on the teeter totter. She will enjoy the park much more if you are playing with her.

Go to a movie. Let her pick out everything. Movie and snacks.

Walk to a local coffee shop and grab some hot cocoa, a steamer or an Italian soda. Have a seat at a table by the window and talk to your daughter. Conversations with little ones are the best.

Craft. If you don't have craft supplies at your house already go to a JoAnn's, Michael's or your nearest craft store and pick up a few things. Glitter, beads, paper, paint... whatever you fancy. Just have fun creating something wonderful with your girl.

Take a trip to the nearest children's museum. You might even be able to get free passes from your local library.

Visit the zoo. It might be fun, depending on the age, to take a sketch pad and have your little one draw each animal you see. 

Mani/Pedi dates are always fun. If you don't want to spend the money to have them done somewhere you can do them at home and have just as much fun.

Have a game night. Get in your pajamas and grab all of the games you have.

Close yourself in her bedroom and play... play babies, barbies, legos, ponies, house and whatever else she likes to play.

Teach her about paying it forward. If she's old enough, volunteer together. If she's still too young, give packages to and do things for people in need.

Have a tea party. and dress up.

Dance party. We love to crank up some music and dance like crazy. You could even add to the fun of it and give makeovers before. Let her put make up on you and pick out your outfit.

Cook. Bake. Either one, include her in preparing dinner or a yummy treat. Wear aprons, let her put in the ingredients and even lick the spoon.

Go to a show. There are often kid friendly options available for plays and musicals. Portland has great options for children's theater performances. You can find local ones in your area with a quick google search.

Paint your own pottery and ceramic places have popped up all over around here. Let her pick out something special to paint for her bedroom or to display in your home. This is such a fun thing to do!! They even make great gifts!

Movie Night. Amelia and I often have Friday night movie night while Mark is at work. We usually pick out a new movie that we haven't seen, grab some snacks and snuggle down in bed to watch it together.

Picnic. Pack up some of your favorite foods and head to a nearby park or waterfront. Take a blanket, a basket and sit outside having lunch and enjoying each other's company.

Hike. It doesn't have to be an all day thing, but exploring new places can be such a fun adventure.

Play a sport together. Whether it's kicking around a soccer ball, shooting some hoops, playing some tennis or another sport that your little one loves, there will surely be a lot of laughs and fun memories made.

Road Trip. It can even be a day trip. Pack up the car and head out for the day. If you have a beach nearby, mountains close or a cool town not too far away, go explore a new place.

Let her plan the date and go with it!

A lot of these ideas can really be used for dates with your daughter or son, but since I'm a girl mom I thought I'd share some of our favorite things to do. What are some of your favorite things to do with your littles?

Ashley Elizabeth

Friday Favorites!

Happy Friday All!!!
This week had some pretty great moments. Here is a quick recap.

Amelia got a sewing machine over a year ago and we just now pulled it out of the box. She's been dying to learn how to sew. Her first project was a baby blanket and it turned out great. I think she's a natural.

My sister Erica and I spent the day together on Monday. She works so much that we don't get to do that very often. We headed out to a children's store on Mississippi Ave in Portland, then we went to Ruby Jewel for ice cream! Yummy!!! She had a doctor's appointment mid day and then we ended our hangout session with a trip to Ikea and happy hour. It was such a fun day!!!

We bought this dresser off of Craigslist a few months back. I knew I wanted something that I could use as a changing table and this was just right. We only paid $50 for it. Mark sanded it for me last weekend and I was certain I had picked out the perfect paint color for it. We plan on painting the dresser and one accent wall in the nursery the same color. So I went and picked up the paint, super excited to get going on this project, and when I started the first coat I knew it was all wrong. I hoped it would dry darker, but it didn't. My awesome husband, knowing that I was super sad about this, told me to go pick something else out. I tried three new colors and ended up with one I am absolutely in love with. I can't wait to reveal the finished dresser. I just put the second coat on and it's awesome!

I had my 38 week ultrasound and check up on Thursday. We've now had every ultrasound tech at the clinic tell us that baby girl has a head of hair. They've even shown us a few whispy curls on the ultrasounds. This week I'm definitely feeling like they might be right, and I blame Mark and his head of thick hair. Holy heartburn. I didn't have any with Amelia, but this is constant now. Even just drinking water. Ugh, I feel so sorry for people who have to deal with this on a regular basis. Everything looked good though at the check-up. We're just anxiously awaiting her arrival.

We spent one evening setting up baby gear. The bassinet, bouncer and stroller. Since the remodel has us sleeping in the nursery, we are just keeping everything in a corner of the living room, but it still feels nice to have some of that stuff put together. Amelia was excited to try it all out with her animals.

I'm looking forward to a weekend hanging out with Amelia at home. I need some girl time with her. I've commissioned her to create some watercolor art for the nursery and I can't wait to see what she comes up with. She's going to start on them tomorrow, then we are going to find some old frames and paint them to match the nursery accent wall. I just love the art she creates. We also have a lot of decor to make for Amelia's room and some organizing to do in there. It's taking a while, but this house is starting to come together. I think our new couch and love seat will be here this next week!!! Mark is going to begin some projects in our bedroom. That's the last room in the house to be remodeled. We have a few things here and there in every other room (like painting trim), but our room is completely unlivable. Hopefully I'm able to help him out some. I'm anxious to get this place finished!

Enjoy the weekend!
Ashley Elizabeth

38 Weeks

How far along: 38 weeks

Current size: according to our ultrasound tech she's about 40th percentile. 6lbs 5oz. about. So if we make it to her due date they are guessing she'll weight about the same that Amelia did. 

Due Date: February 7, 2016    

Symptoms: I hadn't had any morning sickness for a while now, but all of a sudden this past week I've been sick almost daily. The nurse said it's a sign that she's coming soon. We'll see. She dropped several weeks ago and the pressure is crazy intense. I've had more and more contractions, but they obviously haven't amounted to anything yet. 

Gender: A precious baby girl

Name: Cecilia Kateri

Movement: She moves all of the time. Poor girl is running out of space and her movements usually lead to a major lump off to one side of my belly. Feeling the baby move is my favorite part of being pregnant and she's definitely giving me plenty of movement. 

Clothes: maternity jeans, maternity tops and regular leggings. I am so glad I haven't had to buy a ton this pregnancy. 

Sleep: It's been a roller coaster. One night I don't sleep more than an hour or two, and the next I sleep great. I'm up at least every hour each night, but I've been able to take a nap a few days lately so that's helped. 

Cravings/Aversions: I can't get enough ice water. Other than that I don't really have any cravings. 

Appointments: We've been having weekly appointments since 32 weeks now. We have also been having weekly ultrasounds too. With the amount of contractions and pre-labor signs I was showing they've kept a close eye on her. Thankfully she's stayed in like she's supposed to and after watching her breathing on the ultrasound for the past few weeks she's good to come whenever (according to my midwives). Part of me has felt this entire time that she won't make it to her due date, and part of me is now thinking she'll go past. 

Latest Things: My sisters threw a beautiful baby shower for me last weekend. I just wanted it to be a small event that my 92 year old grandma could take part in. They held it at her house and I had local family and a few of my closest friends attend. I really feel blessed by the amount of love shown to use by everyone. To know that others share in the joy that Cecilia is bringing to our family warms my heart. I can't wait to hold both of my girls in my arms at the same time. 

What are you doing to prepare: My hospital bag isn't packed yet haha, but I have most of the stuff pulled out and sitting on my dresser. I've washed most of her clothes, but we have yet to paint her dresser so I'm going to be working on that this week. Our cloth diapers arrived and I'm so excited to use them. I know she probably won't fit in them for a few weeks or even a couple of months, but I'm still excited just to have them in the house. We are still sleeping in her nursery because of the home remodel, but I'm working on the decor and will get started on decorating as soon as our bedroom is done. I doubt it will be before she arrives, but I'm totally fine with that. I pulled out her carseat, started packing her diaper bag, set up her bassinet and put the stroller together. 

Looking forward to: being able to do all of the things I want to do. SPD is not my friend and it has grown increasingly difficult to function as I near the end of this pregnancy. I have energy and want to do a lot of things, but the pain just doesn't allow me to. I'm really looking forward to the day when I can load up Cecilia in her stroller and head out for a walk with my family. One that doesn't lead to my hips killing me.  

38 week thoughts: I'm in full nesting mode now and want to clean, sort, organize, decorate and do anything else that needs to be done. I still can't believe how quickly time has gone by. It seems like yesterday we were buying tons of tests and hoping and praying so hard for another baby and now... two more weeks until her due date... seriously? and then the following week I will have a 7 year old. Slow down!!! 
Ashley Elizabeth

Amelia Lately

It's been a while since I've bragged on my Amelia girl here on the blog. Let me just start off by saying this girl amazes me. Every single day I find myself more in awe of her. She has the kindest sweetest heart and I'm so lucky to be here mama.

Amelia is doing so well in school. Last year she did great, but this year she's just excelling at such a crazy fast pace. If you didn't catch my post "A Girl In Glasses" last year, check it out and you'll see why I'm so excited to see her doing so well, especially in reading. We've known math was her thing since she was three years old, but reading hasn't been her strong point... until recently. I continue to love her school so much and really feel we made the right decision in having her attend there. 

Since finding out we were expecting baby number two, Amelia has stepped up to be the most helpful kid I've ever seen. She's always been great about helping out around the house, picking up her things and such, but this girl does so much without being asked. Grocery shopping with her is crazy. She takes the list, finds all of the stuff and puts it in the cart, then puts it all on the belt, loads the bags and puts ALL of the groceries away when we get home. She actually gets mad when I try to help. She checks on me often and refills my water when it's running low. She helps with laundry (which she LOVES) and would seriously scrub every surface in this house if I let her. I'm pretty sure she's got a little OCD in her. 

Amelia continues to do Irish Dance and loves it. She's done a few weekend competitions now and has done a few performances. She's looking forward to dancing over the St. Patrick's Day weekend in and around Portland. She's been dancing less than a year and I'm really proud of how well she's doing. She hasn't had any horse back riding lessons lately. The weather here has been crummy and our schedule has been so busy. I'm hoping she can pick them back up regularly in early spring. She's still so obsessed with horses and she lights up when she gets to go riding. 

We continue to struggle with getting this girl to eat. I swear she'd starve if we let her. For a while she was dealing with chronic stomach pain and it worried us like crazy, but it seems to have eased up lately, although I'm not sure what has changed to make it better. I think Mark and I both tend to stress about her eating, but according to her doctor she's really healthy. Super skinny, but really healthy. Last night was the first meal we've been able to have as a family in our house. I had Amelia help me make dinner and I let her dish herself up all on her own. She ended up trying something new (and way out of her comfort zone) and she didn't complain! I think we're moving in the right direction, although I'm pretty sure she won't be budging on the born vegetarian thing anytime soon. 

I'm anxious to see how Amelia adjusts when we become a family of four. She's been the only one for seven years, but she's also really excited to be a big sister. I'm looking forward to seeing her in her new role. She already lists off all of the things she plans to do to help me (wash the cloth diapers, give her a bottle when I pump, help get her dressed, make her new hair bows...). Cecilia is one lucky little girl to have Amelia as a big sister. 
Ashley Elizabeth

Life has been crazy!

I really haven't been around here much. Life has just gotten so crazy and I feel like my head is constantly spinning in different directions. Sitting down to write a blog post just hasn't happened. I've definitely had plenty come up that I could write about, but the time just hasn't been there... so I'll try to catch you all up on the latest happenings at the Todd residence.

December 1st we got keys to the new house we are living in. We knew there needed to be work done to the place before we could move in, but we had no idea that the previous tenants had trashed it. I honestly don't know how people could live in such filth. It took us several weeks, TONS of cleaning, gallons and gallons of paint, ripping out all of the flooring, refinishing hardwoods and ordering all new appliances for it to be livable. We still have a ways to go before it's done, but at least we are able to live here and enjoy the new (larger) space. Our bedroom is the last major project so Mark and I are staying in what will be the nursery. I have to admit my crafty self is dying a little at not being able to decorate Cecilia's room yet. I have so many ideas and can't wait for them all to come together. 
Amelia in her new, super pink bedroom
Christmas didn't feel like Christmas this year. We tried, but considering we moved two days before it just didn't feel like the holidays. I'm pretty sure my anthem was "Where are you Christmas" from The Grinch. We did manage to get a Christmas tree a few days before and I let Amelia take full control on decorating it. I think she did a pretty awesome job. I loved this little tree, even though it was so much smaller than we've ever had before.

Amelia had an Irish dance competition a couple of weeks ago and she did a fantastic job. I'm so proud of her. She placed well in her dances both days and took home a trophy on the last day. I need to find a way to display all of these in her room. 

Now, until this baby girl arrives, I will just be spending my days washing baby clothes and trying to organize/clean this chaos that we are living in... and perhaps I'll be able to hop on here more frequently. After all, I'm in need of several breaks throughout the day at this stage. 
Ashley Elizabeth