Raising a Blended Family

Operation Pretend To Not Be Pregnant

…has now commenced.

My parents and brother are less than an hour away from the house and will be with us for the duration of the holiday. As you know, we will be telling them about Link on Christmas morning… Which gives Shorty a whole three days plus half of Christmas morning to make like a nonpregnant woman.

This isn’t going to be easy. This pregnancy has so many textbook symptoms that are making themselves Known, with a capital K! Symptoms such as:

-Extreme exhaustion. Shorty is soooo tired all the time! She works eight hour days, comes home, naps, eats* dinner, and goes right back to bed at toddler bedtime- which is 7pm! Seriously, the latest she’s gone to bed all week was tonight and she managed to stay up until nine o’clock because we had to get the house ready for our family- and that was seriously a struggle. Poor lady is tired!

-Not-just-morning sickness. We have officially moved well beyond only having seen a “few” episodes of sickness; it has become a regular unwelcome part of Shorty’s routine. So many things make her sick! Smells, thoughts of certain foods she finds repulsive at that particular moment, brushing her teeth… It comes and goes at infrequent and unannounced intervals; hiding it for three days is going to be a challenge!

-*Eating. Or, lack thereof. Appetite is lagging. When Link is hungry, s/he only wants spicy foods… And cream of wheat. Random, much?

-huge boobs. Simply ginormous. She’s moved up two cup sizes already! I’m quite happy with them, actually… But most of the time my wife does not share that sentiment. Plus they ache. Poor Wifey.

So, given how “classically pregnant” my wife is… The next few days should be interesting! I feel like a sneaky little kid hiding treats… It’s been a long time since I’ve kept a secret from my mother!

I’ll letcha know how it goes!


7 weeks ultrasound

So with us “not being sure of our dates” and all (wink wink, nudge nudge), we returned to our OB’s office today to get a dating scan.

Everyone, meet Link. 🙂


It was definitely love at first sight. I mean, look at that little gummy bear all curled up in there! We got to see and hear the flicker flicker flicker of the heartbeat, beating away at a steady 125bpm. Link is measuring a bit behind at 6w2d, which was concerning to me but seemed perfectly fine with the tech. Shorty also said that Thing One consistently measured a week or so behind at every ultrasound but still came out just fine at full term, a small-but-healthy six-pounder. So, maybe Link is just following in big sister’s footsteps or maybe s/he’ll catch up. It’s hard to say.

It was strange to be the one standing at the side of the bed watching the scan rather than being the one scanned, but at the same time not-so-strange. I had a moment during the scan where I was conscious of the difference in our positions compared to last time, but it was just a moment of awareness and not a moment of regret or jealousy. So far, I am surprising even myself with how okay I am being the non-pregnant one. I am nothing but happy that we are pregnant, nothing but excited that there is a baby growing in Shorty’s belly, and so in love with our little baby already growing so strong inside his/her mama’s belly. ❤

Merry Christmas, indeed. Seeing the heartbeat and confirming the pregnancy clears the way for us to tell my parents, brother, and our kids about Link on Christmas Day. What a joyful holiday it's going to be!




It’s been a great week for our little family. Hope and optimism are in the air!

On a personally triumphant note, I finished my last final yesterday morning after two solid weeks of studying and stressing. It was such a relief to finish that final and to have kicked butt on everything I needed to kick butt on- I did great in all my classes this semester! In an accelerated 15 month program, with clinicals on the side and kids and family responsibilities, it wasn’t always easy but I am proud of myself for having made it work thus far. It helps to have an incredibly supportive wife, of course. I’m officially halfway through my program now! Halfway to being a nurse! Fates willing, I will be done shortly before Link makes his/her appearance.

Speaking of Link, also this past week, on Thursday, we had Shorty’s first OB appointment. Everything went great- the OB was the same one we’d used for her pre-pregnancy “check up” to make sure everything was good to go, and he was surprised and delighted to see us back so soon, pregnant! The OB kind of reminds me of Santa Claus, in that he is large and jolly and has a big white beard. Like Santa Claus, he had a present for us as well, in the form of our first ultrasound this Wednesday to “check the dates of the pregnancy” (wink wink, nudge nudge). We are both so excited… But nervous… But excited! Wednesday can’t get here soon enough!

Finally, it is so. hard. To believe we are less than two weeks out from christmas. My parents arrive in a week and a half and I can’t wait to see them- and surprise them. I miss them!

Happy mid-December, friends. It’s almost solstice, almost Christmas, and from where I’m standing (actually, lying on the couch because I’m on vacation!) life is looking pretty darn good.

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6 weeks

…is still so incredibly early, I know. Nevertheless, it feels like a milestone. We’ve known about this baby for over two weeks now, though it feels more like two years. Seriously, how did I forget that first trimester goes by so slowly? Currently, baby is growing a nose, eyes, ears, and mouth! S/he is also busy forming hands and eyelids and is about 1/3″ long. Grow baby, grow!

We are in full swing of early first trimester symptoms. Nausea, vomiting, and oh yes- hormonal mood swings. Good lord, the mood swings. My normally calm and even-tempered wife is acting more like… well, me…. these days. I have to be careful where I tread because even a small disagreement can blow up on me and suddenly. I am the one with the Irish heritage and the temper in the house, but not lately…. Not lately.

It’s not just my perception- Shorty will back me up on this. In fact, we were discussing it in the car the other day (with the kids in the back seat) and she blurts out “Oh yeah, I am a total witch when I’m pregnant!” After a moment of shocked silence, we hear Thing One from the back seat: “Wait. You’re PREGNANT?!?!?!?!”

In that moment, we had a choice: admit the truth earlier than we were ready, and in doing so probably lose all hope of a “Christmas surprise” (believe it or not this kid has a bigger mouth than her moms), or lie and smooth it over and hope she believed us. We totally lied. And she totally believed it. Guilt? Yes. Christmas morning surprise and not having to worry about Thing One knowing way too soon: still intact.

In addition to forgetting that trimester one is actually 44,830,750 weeks long, I also forgot how worrying it can be. I think I am worrying more than Shorty, but both of us have had our worry moments. We set little milestones in our head for when we will start to feel more comfortable- first six weeks, then tomorrow’s first prenatal appointment, 8 weeks, 11 weeks… But the truth is we won’t be comfortable until we have left first trimester behind… If then. I think my worrying is facilitated by the fact that I am not the one pregnant, I can’t feel the changes happening in my body, and I also can’t feel things going along in a normal, non-complicated pregnant way. This is new for me and I am trying to adjust and tone it down… But I worry. Just have to have faith, I suppose.

Anyways. We’re going to start doing weekly bump pics like we did with Pax. I promise as the bump gets bigger, my artwork will get better. 😉




Christmas Gift Run-Down, 2014

A week ago, our daycare announced they would be doing a special open daycare today where parents could drop of their children and go shop for Christmas on their own.

Shorty and I decided to take advantage of it because Pax and Thing One are both at the age where they are very much aware of what you are putting in the cart and what the “toy aisle” is… There is simply no sneaky shopping around either of them anymore. So, at ten AM sharp when the daycare opened, we dropped off the kiddos and hit the town.

It was glorious. I got to spend money to my heart’s content (a rarity for sure), got to shop kid-free (another rarity), and got some really awesome deals out of it! Best of all, I got kid-free adult time with my wife, including a time-out from shopping for a lunch date!

We came home and wrapped our loot before picking up the kids again, and now I feel like a kid myself- I can’t wait for Christmas. These kids are going to be so dang excited to see the gifts their awesome mommies/Santa brought!

First up: for our two-year-old, train-obsessed maniac, his big gift will be:


A Thomas power wheel. Obviously! I am so excited to see him open this- he goes basically crazy anytime he sees anything to do with trains, including train tracks, and if that thing also happens to be a Thomas train… Prepare to hear about it for the next twenty minutes straight. He’s going to be so happy!

Thing One’s big gift was harder. I really had to do some soul-searching. The kid doesn’t ask for much (to the point where Shorty and I had to really think to figure out some good gift ideas), but what she does ask for is A) expensive and B) electronic. I don’t blame her for the expensive part, as nine-year-olds generally have no concept of how much things cost, but the “electronic” part gets to me. Thing One already spends so much of her time on electronics- TV, kindle, wii, her Nintendo DS- that I was initially loathe to get her anything else in that category. I’d rather get her something that encourages less screen time, like a giant trampoline or books or craft supplies or something.

But, to make a long story short, it ultimately came down to this: she really didn’t ask for much this year… and by “much,” I can think of two things she specifically asked for. That’s it. And Christmas is about making my kids happy and seeing their joy when they open their asked-for gifts… So, we decided to go for it. Thing One’s big gift this year is:


A wii u! (And we got it on super discount, by the way. $100 off the normal price?! Yes please!). It will come with an accompanying Disney Infinity starter game set. The infinity is pretty much all she’s asked for and I know she will love it. The Wii U is something unexpected, I hope (though she did see me looking at one online) so it should be a good surprise. I’m super excited to see her open it on Christmas and even more excited to have all of us playing games and being silly on it together later that day. Not going to lie- moms are big fans of Mario games. 🙂

So, those are their big gifts. Most of Pax’s additional gifts center around trains and trucks: he’s getting a whole tub of wooden trains complete with train tracks, bridges, tunnels, houses, etc. I bought it all used for $20 and it was easily $150 worth of trains. It matches his current set and train table so I am happy. He is also getting a balance bike (but probably won’t use it until spring), Elmo alphabet train, rockin’ Elmo (sings songs and dances, I think), a Tonka helicopter, and some books and Elmo/Thomas DVDs. Plus an art easel. There’s a thousand other things I know he would like but with all of that from us, plus a grandma, a great-grandma and a great-aunt still out shopping, I’d say he’s set! Little ones are so easy to buy for.

Thing One was harder to figure out. Ultimately, we decided she is getting some wii u games and extra controllers, a few lego sets (X-men and Hobbit-themed, she loves both), a Minecraft dress up head (I do NOT get that game), board game, science kit, and some artsy-craftsy stuff… Plus more that I’m forgetting. She has a bit less I think but her stuff is also much more expensive- so hopefully it all evens out.

The final thing that came out of our shopping trip today is that we know how we’re telling my mom about the baby on Christmas morning. We had been going back and forth with different ideas, and then suddenly we just ran across this onesie while shopping today, and ta-DA!


It’s perfect! We’re going to add in “^and brother” in the part where it says “sister,” and write “coming August 2015” on the back diaper butt part… and then wrap the whole thing along with the booties and give it to my mom to unwrap. I’m so excited! And nervous, about how she’ll react- but that’s another post. I’m excited. We just need to figure out how to tell the kids and whether to tell them before Christmas or at the same time as my mom, somehow.

So that’s our Christmas gift rundown of the kid’s gifts. We came home, put in Christmas music, lit a candle, and wrapped our loot before we went and picked up the munchkins. It was a very successful day!



What are your family members getting for the holidays?



We are at 5w2d over here. Still soooo early and such a long way to go… but considering we found out when she was only 3 weeks, we’ve gotten through these past two weeks pretty well, I think!

Poor wifey has a ton of symptoms though… most of them not-so-pleasant.  On the plus side, the symptoms are reassuring, since at this point the only other thing we have to prove there’s a BABY in there is a couple of peed-on sticks. Symptoms mean something is in there causing symptoms, means BABY! But, on the negative side… nausea and morning sickness have been big issues. She’s pretty much nauseous all the time, and random things will set her off. Smells, movements, nothing at all. Poor lady had to pull over on the way to work the other day to puke. 😦  She is very sensitive to strong smells- I made quesodillas the other night with salsa and lots of yummy stuff in them, and I swear she turned green. She could only eat a bite of it before giving up. Other food aversions are sour cream and anything caffeinated- much to her dismay. She can’t even drink the one cup of coffee per day that she’s allowed- baby won’t let her!

Pregnancy tea and peppermints have come to the rescue several times on the morning sickness front, and seem to make it better. So does having crackers or something to eat quickly to line her stomach when she gets hungry, because we’ve learned hungry=nausea.  Baby likes food! Well… certain foods, anyways. We’ve taken to leaving crackers on our bedside table for easy access when she wakes up nauseous.

We have our first OB appointment next week. We initially called a different doctor who was highly recommended in town, and got scheduled in with their office, but that won’t be until we are 12 weeks in January. Since that is soooo far away, and since we (I) are worry warts, I went ahead and scheduled the initial appointment with the OB we’re already at, since I knew they would get us in sooner. We’ll go, we’ll get everything confirmed and okay’d, and then when 12 weeks rolls around we’ll transfer to the other office.

Patience is not a virtue I possess, unfortunately, but baby-baking can’t be hurried… so I’m just going to have to live with it. I have so many thoughts on this pregnancy: more thoughts on being a NGPFFT, first-trimester worries (Shorty has a history of two miscarriages, both before 8 weeks), baby name thoughts, Christmas pregnancy reveal ideas, thoughts on Pax becoming a big brother and no longer being the baby… so many thoughts! I guess there’s plenty of time to tell you all about them though… we’ve got nine long months to wait. Wait with me, friends. We’ll chat.


Scratch that

I had a cute little post all written out about the season, decorations, new beginnings, blah blah blah.

Pushed publish and WordPress somehow pulled some shenanigans where it instead published a comment I made on someone’s blog and meanwhile deleted my actual post. Go home WordPress, you’re drunk.

So, anyways, you have WordPress to blame for this shortened version and pictures. That’s probably all you really needed anyways though, right?

Shortened version:
Can’t believe it’s December.
Kids make Christmas fun.
Season of hope.
Next year, five stockings instead of four! (Family of five sounds SO big right now).IMG_0344-0.JPG