Playing the waiting game... This baby is welcome to show up at any time. Meanwhile, it's SNOWING in Wilmington. I haven't seen snow here in about 2 years.
The weather is SO bipolar. I wouldn't be surprised if it is snowing on the day we bring Ezra home from the hospital. I'll blame it on Jon's parents haha. They got in town on Wednesday after spending 5 months in Arizona and a week in Florida. Apparently, while they were visiting their son, Jeff, in AZ they had a week of 16 degree weather! 

Tonight here is supposed to be 28. A temperature that I have only seen this winter ONE time. But, tomorrow is supposed to be 50 degrees by the end of the morning and all of the lovely snow that does stay will be gone. :( Noah will be so disappointed, after he keeps running to the window asking if the ground is white. He is forever fighting me on the fact that it isn't fair that you have to choose to live near where is snows or where the beach is. 
Fortunately, since hubby and I both used to live in the snow and don't want to go back to it, we will (hopefully) raise our boys to be tanned, beach going, surfing, sun loving "dudes" LOL Meanwhile, I'll just keep watching the snowfall from inside with my buddy Mr Owl and some tea <3
“I think best in a hot bath, with my head tilted back and my feet up high."
So, lately, I have been extremely into semi homemade bath recipes. Last night I was really tired and worn out from a long couple days of... well, just being pregnant for one, but Noah also had a sleepover, Hubby has a bad cold, and all the excitement/worry/stress of planning a trip to Disney-- I just needed to put my feet up and let the hot water relax my body and my mind. When I finally fell asleep, I slept like a baby!

This recipe is more for general relaxation than for health benefits, unlike the others I have posted in the "Bringing Up Baby" section of this blog. You could probably use any other flavor of tea you wanted instead of pumpkin, such as lemon, orange spice, mint...etc. I just really love pumpkin ANYTHING.

Relaxing Pumpkin Spice Bath with Milk & Honey
1 or 2 bags of pumpkin spice tea (I used Trader Joe's Pumpkin Spice Rooibos- very fragrant) 
1 or 2 bags of Camomile tea (I like the chunky, almost loose leaf kind in the triangle shaped bags)
1/4 tsp of ground ginger
1/4 cup of honey

1/2 cup of Epsom salt
1/2 cup of milk bath mix (can be found at a local drug store or Walmart) 

The one thing I did notice about this recipe, mostly because of the 'spice' factor, is that I sweated a significant amount even after exiting the bathtub. Something about the "warmth" of the ingredients brings out impurities. 
Honestly, this recipe is one of the favorite ones I've tried which is why I chose to share it. The aroma (because of the pumpkin) and softness of the water due to the other ingredients is a sure fire knockout.
Call me crazy, but... I, currently 30 weeks & 4 days pregnant, have agreed (along with my husband) to take our little man to Disney World in just 2 weeks
- at over 8 months pregnant!

It might seem a little nuts, but our friends have been begging us for 4 months to go with them. They go all the time and love it!

I have been to Disney 3 times in my life and hated all 3 times, or at least as much as I can remember about them; which, honestly, isn't much at all. And hubby, who is 11 years older than me, remembers even less.

We assumed that we would just take him later on when the baby was about 7 months and just enjoy it altogether, but after talking to people who have been with a baby before and those who's children are growing up with the experience of Disney as an only child (at least thus far) we realized that it's a memory that's special for each child. Noah is already six and his window to experience the "magic" is kinda running out. Since we don't celebrate things like Christmas and he doesn't believe in Santa, we at least want him to run up a Buzz Lightyear character and still feel like he's REALLY seeing Buzz from Toy Story. Not that I assume my kid is dumb... Just that he's still a bit gullible; and I like it that way.

We schemed with his best friend's, Davis, parents and in just the past 2 days have decided, booked, and payed for a 5 day vacation to Disney in January. Reading this post of helpful hints really convinced me that it's possible to enjoy Disney even a little bit swollen and a little bit exhausted haha
Below, is a video of us breaking the news to them this afternoon.

So many people are telling me, "Better enjoy reading before the baby gets here!" But, why? Why can't enjoy it when my baby gets here? 

A friend of mine recently told me that she just read her first novel since the birth of her daughter...a year ago. Granted, everyone goes at their own pace and I go through spurts where I read more at some times than others. But, if I'm going to have a baby around the naps 4 times a day and I'm gonna take the advise to "rest when your baby rests", I can't physically take 4 naps in a day! I'll never  sleep that night. But, lounging on the couch with a good book? That, I can do!

I am currently in the process of reading, "The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems" by Tracy Hogg and Melinda Blau. (Unfortunately, I can't tag their website here because Tracy passed away late in 2004.) However, even though it's for the benefit of my family (which I why I am reading it allowed to hubby), it's not exactly what you would call leisure material. 

Since Jon and I got engaged I really haven't had the ability to read like I want to. But, who can blame you when you are planning a wedding, volunteering for 70+ hours a month, working 30 hours a week...etc? But, now that I am technically a stay at home wife and mom (with my part-time photography) I would like to make more time for small things I can enjoy and take advantage of even if I don't have that much time.

Hubby and I already read and study so much for work and volunteering and general knowledge that some people probably wonder what the fun is in reading even more for recreation during your time off the clock. My husband is already one of those people; if I don't read it to him, it's not going to get read.

Scariest thing happened yesterday!!

Husband went out of town for work this week, so it's just little man, me, & our 3 doggies. We have been out of town for the last two weekend in a row and it's nice to be home and do things at my own pace.

Yesterday, because we had been out of town, I had given my house key to the house sitter-- which meant I locked myself out. Well, our back gate doesn't lock so I went through there and got in a different way; a way that I was fortunate to find open since most of the time all of our doors are locked and bolted (which my hubby hates!). However, I didn't shut the gate all the way-- or as my six year old asked, "Did you hear the "click" sound?" 

A while later, I let the dogs out to go to the bathroom and play a bit before the rain really started coming down. Now, two out of three of our dogs are wimps and don't want to be outside in the elements anymore than they have to, so I was surprised when only our smallest, Oscar, was at the door wanting in. But, I didn't really think much of it because our two others are always wrestling around and always come back in when they get bored. 

Well, about 30 more minutes went by and I thought I had better check on them. They were no where to be found! They had gotten out of the gate and it was all my fault! I called and called for them, but our Jada girl is a runner and once she's out of earshot there is no getting her to come back without force. Nigel, our 10 month old puppy, is a follower and doesn't have his whits about him when he gets his sniffer onto something curious.

So, there I am in the middle of cleaning my house, doing laundry, 7 months pregnant, a kid to pick up from school in an hour, and a husband who is out of town. I immediately got in the car and looked and yelled and tried to think of any place they might be, but I couldn't see them. :(

My brother in law came and tried to help me look & my parents a but later. But, the darker and more rainy it got, the more scared I got that they wouldn't come back. In the past they had never been gone more than 15 minutes. By the time my parents left, it had been 8 hours. By the time I got off the phone with my distraught husband, it had been 11 hours. I really thought someone had stolen them as early Christmas gifts.

By 1 a.m. I had emailed everyone on our HOA list, posted on all kinds of Facebook pages, and put an ad on Craigslist. I completely blamed myself, my hubby couldn't talk about anything else, & Noah didn't really grasp that they could be gone forever. This morning, after dropping him off at school, I put up 10 lost dog signs in our neighborhood. I really didn't have much hope since our little babies aren't tagged or micro-chipped.

About 20-30 minutes later, we receive a call that our vet saw the post on her Facebook page! A woman had found Jada & Nigel in her backyard & taken them to our vet's office. The vet had recognized the dogs, but couldn't remember who they belonged to, so she told the woman that the owners would definitely be looking and advised her to take them to the animal control shelter. (All this just minutes after I called animal control looking for them both!) 

They had spent the night at animal control and it was $60 to get them back, but worth it to see my precious fur babies again. My husband and I treat all of our pets as if they were our children and it is so difficult to stick out a situation where you may never see them again-- and worse yet, never got to say goodbye.

I am so happy that there are still kind-hearted people in the world that will bring back what belongs to you even if they have no idea who you are. Our nest, and our hearts, are full again!
Last night, we were getting ready to eat dinner... Mind you, we need to go grocery shopping, and keep putting it off, so badly that Jon basically made up what we were having for dinner, dumped a bunch of stuff in a pot, and put it on a plate! I was already not in a great mood because, being pregnant, who wants to just eat what they are given with no choice?? A travesty!

Anyway, I started talking to Noah about his day at school & what he had for lunch, because when he stays at his mom's she normally doesn't pack a lunch. Sneaky little devil that he his though, always gets strawberry milk with his lunch and picks out every "junky" al a carte item on the menu. Either that, or he trades with someone. We haven't quite figured that out yet. I just know that the time he came home & had nachos, a bag of chips, strawberry milk, and chocolate chip cookies for lunch, I about came unglued!

Don't get me wrong, I am a big advocate of rewarding good behavior (or a good workout) with a little indulgent treat. But, when you are 6, already have a few cavities, and don't like playing outside alone-- I kinda feel like I have to make sure your whole life isn't an indulgent treat. Especially, when my love of dessert is what got him craving sweet things in the first place! Guilty. :(

That being said, he told me that he had a strawberry milk again... Like always. Now, we have already made the rule that he can have only water or milk when he gets home from school, instead of juice (because I swear the child doesn't drink water at all unless made to & it equals NEVER going pee)! So, I told him that he had to chose between having "healthy milk" (white milk) at school and getting dessert after dinner... Or, he can have a strawberry milk only.

The response I got shocked the pants off of me.
He said, "Okay. My other mama doesn't care because she's my REAL mama."

That is the single most dreaded sentence that a step-parent has in the back of their mind. "You're not my real mom/dad!"
Poor thing didnt even realize that he had crushed my feelings (and my hormones) but I couldn't do anything but sob into my husband's shoulder about something he will never experience or understand.

My dear, dear husband tried to explain to Noah why my feelings were hurt, but Noah didnt understand and the more he talked about it the worse it sounded and the more I cried. He is a professional justifier, just so you know. ;)

All I could imagine was him being 16 and wanting to do something that I said no about, using the fact that he didnt come out of my stomach as an argument. And then what would I say?

I got over it after a while, but had to quickly blog about it, while I sit here in the pedicure chair where most women gossip and I am analyzing my life haha-- Ah, the trials of step-parenting. And the rewards too... ❤
I am so excited! Trader Joe's just opened in Wilmington yesterday! 
Today, hubs and I went to go check it out. The crowds were so crazy that the police where there to direct people into parking spots! 

I've been to the Trader Joe's store in Charlotte a few times, but you can only buy so many things without weighing down our car or having perishables in our belongings. But, today, I went and stocked up on just a few essentials, aka... dinner and a treat!

Among the the Szechuan beef & broccoli, organic pork gyoza, pumpkin pancake & waffle mix... I got the little gem you see to the left. Sipping Chocolate. I promise you, it will satisfy everything that you ever wanted in the way of hot chocolate. 

Recently, I have been trying to finish up a box of Swiss Miss that we have had in the cupboard for WAY too long. It, especially being fat free, turns me off with a passion! In comparison, this heaven on earth!
It's definitely thicker than the stuff you'd make in your Keurig and sweeter & richer than any type of chocolate milk.  

Tonight, Jon and I feasted our bellies on Chinese and our eyes on Downton Abbey. A large cup of this chocolate & a cozy blanket made this night a success!!

We don't celebrate Thanksgiving, but turkey's are on sale this time of year. Here's a pic of the 24 pounder I made; my first go 'roud at a turkey ever! Everyone said it was the best one they'd ever had. 
We had a big feast with friends who brought haystacks, mac and cheese, stuffing, rolls, mashed potatoes and gravy, pumpkin pie, apple crisp cheesecake, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, and vegan chocolate cake. It was amazing! 

My boo is growing up so fast. I took this picture of him on the way to an assembly we went to over the weekend. I swear, sometimes I could mistake him for 15, not six. Love him so much!

He is excelling at school and after the first report cards came out we found out that he is meeting requirement at almost every subject in class. A cause to celebrate for sure!

Things have been such a challenge lately with him asking so many questions about God and people's attitude towards him and our beliefs as Jehovah Witnesses. Not to mention his mom getting remarried and now he tells just about everyone that he has two moms and two dads... The constant shuffling of his emotions and how he adjusts to all the changes going on in his life. It amazes me. He will be a much more flexible, well-adjusted person than I am.

Every day I get more excited to see his lil personality develop... See how much like Jon he really is. Before Noah, I never knew another child of divorce (besides, my brother, who I saw quite rarely) and thought that their spirit would be slightly more 'broken'... more reserved.  As my hubby would say though, ASSUME makes an ass out of you and me... And, yet again, he would be right. 

I know everyone rants and raves about their children; how great they are and how smart. But, there are some days when I really just want to broadcast everything Noah says from a loud-speaker and share with everybody what a remarkable kid he is truly turning out to be. 

I really think he has more love in his little toe than I do in my whole body and more understanding in his crazy lookin' smile than I do in my best written sympathy card. More than anything, I hope he stays that way. Innocent and genius all wrapped up into one. 

Noah & Grady (Ohio 11/12)