Saturday, September 28, 2013

Sunday Market

Sacramento is all about local food sources, "Farm-to-Fork" being a big concept around here, especially since there are so many farms in the surrounding areas. One of the big related attractions is the big farmer's market that happens downtown every week under the freeway, so we went last Sunday.

We thought someone might ask us to kindly leave since we didn't bring a single reusable canvas bag (most people had several, some brought their own roll-y cooler bags that looked like suitcases), but no one did. 

It was really impressive. So many booths with different fruits and veggies, which are the normal farmer's market fare. They also had some standard items that are always fun to look at, like eggs, fresh flowers, honey and jams.

But they also had things I'd never seen sold at a farmer's market, like rice (home grown?), LIVE crayfish and fresh seafood. 

I bought these hydrangea because I obviously couldn't not.

Afterward we walked across the street to go to a big downtown park.

We heard some music coming from the far corner of the park and saw some tents set up, so we went over to check it out. We ended up eating lunch there and June wasn't having my tamales or Michael's tacos, so her lunch consisted entirely of corn on the cob.

Perfect Sunday morning!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What Will It Be?!?

We're finding out the gender of the baby on Sunday!

Healthcare related back-pedalling...

It just so happened that I ended up relocating out to Sacramento with June (to join Michael) when I was about 17 weeks pregnant. The time that you normally schedule your "Gender Reveal" ultrasound is between 17 and 20 weeks. If I had been any further along, we might have just rushed the ultrasound and found out while we were still in Arizona.

But we didn't, which means that here I sit at almost 19 weeks, not knowing what gender of baby I'm singing to and it's KILLING ME. (The funny thing is that I don't think we knew with June until 20 weeks, so I'm not really sure what's different about this one. My first theory coming up in three, two one...)

I'm still covered by our Arizona insurance. I'm sure that I could hastily find a healthcare provider out here and schedule an appointment, during which I'd sit through a long "get to know you and your health history" talk and maybe schedule an ultrasound later. I imagine that this would tack on an additional 2-4 weeks of waiting time. Which I find to be...unacceptable.

Meanwhile, we're trying to decide if we want to switch to Michael's benefits packages because they are custom fit to California healthcare. So we've been researching in a backwards fashion. Instead of picking insurance and then picking an in-network provider, we're looking around at providers, picking which one feels right and going with that insurance plan. I've visited two hospitals/birthing centers so far.

Even if/when we get around to enrolling and scheduling, that's still some weeks away from finding out if BabyShock2 is a HE or a SHE.

Which is how I found myself Googling ultrasound services in our area. We're going to a free-standing clinic which is 100% non-medical and the whole purpose is just to have an ultrasound to see your baby.   Since it's a business (not a medically-oriented service), they are open on the weekends, so I scheduled for Sunday evening which means June will be in attendance!

I'm kind of embarrassed that I'm doing this. (?) Most of the reviews of the place come from women who are 15 or 16 weeks along and "just can't wait to find out the sex!!1!" There are lots of women who go in later in pregnancy to get the 3D (and 4D - what is a 4D ultrasound? Does it include sound? Smells? I'm confused.) ones where the babies look like they're made out of soft cheese. You know what I'm talking about.

I guess I'm no different than the women who go in at 15 weeks, we're both just impatient. The difference is that I'm going in because of healthcare reasons and they're going in because of SQUEEEE!

(Who am I kidding. I'm also going in because of SQUEEEE!)

So my first theory is that I'm dying to know the sex of the baby because if I didn't (before scheduling my appointment) know if/when I'd ever get to schedule an ultrasound. It could be months! The horror!

My second theory is that it will make this pregnancy seem more real to me. Unlike my first pregnancy, this one is filled with so many more distractions. Packing, selling the house, moving, A TODDLER, new state, job transitions, A TODDLER. I feel like BabyShock2 is my sort of constant buddy, but one that gets forgotten in these other huge events and daily trials. I'm hoping that finding out the gender will allow us to really visualize him/her, allow us to really start planning (names!) and maybe the sheer knowledge (and more frequent kicks) will be a better reminder of the little joy that's headed our way in February. 

So that's that! Now that you've read my diatribe about healthcare (God bless you, whoever you are), anyone want to put in a guess for what we're having? 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Children/Chicken Festival

On Saturday we went to another Sacramento neighborhood, Fair Oaks, for a festival I read about. I swear that the first time I read the paragraph about it in the Sacramento magazine, it said "Children's Festival." Well the next day, after I was asking Michael about his interest in going, the description had suddenly changed to"Chicken Festival." We decided to go anyway!

First, there were  chickens just wandering around. But there were also chicken-related crafts and art, as well as several people who had dressed up like chickens. 

It was just cute, you know? This little area had hay bales for listening to live music. 

There was a really big kids area where we hung out after lunch. And by 'kids area' I don't mean a little booth with face painting. I mean legit huge kids area with big attractions. Watching these kids flop around in their individual bubbles. (The sign next to this said "Enough air inside for 30 minutes" and I couldn't help but wonder about who had tested this and how.)

When the Chicken Dance came on, June got excited so I started rushing her over toward the stage. After all, I can't count the amount of times we've arranged her Beanie Babies in a circle and done the Chicken Dance inside it back home.

Well, I apparently underestimated the extent to which THIS is an object of terror.

So I hear this shriek and look down and sure enough my child is screaming and I am the heartless parent dragging her to her doom. Needless to say, there was no arm/wing flapping done that day. PRO TIP: This is also an object of terror:

But we did go on the big inflatable slide and spent tons of time running around the playground.

Surprise Baby Belly Shot: Me at 18 Weeks...

I know I haven't been posting as many belly pics this time around. The truth is I haven't taken any. I've been a little busy and also a little self-conscious about how early I started showing. I swear, the baby was the size of an olive and I looked like I had already gained 20 lbs. A helpful hint is that if you want to see what I look like in this stage of pregnancy, look at my pictures from the last time around and add 8 weeks or so.

Case in point- what I look like now at 18 weeks:

(Me last pregnancy at 26 weeks.)

Except, you know, shorter hair. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Evening in Midtown

To kick off our first weekend as a family in Sacramento, we headed downtown. I kept singing the "Downtown" song and June got excited. She then proceeded to cry when she found out that we were in fact going straight to dinner instead of a mysterious, physical location wonderland called "Down Town!".

Midtown is a cool, Hipster-esque, young-professionals type area of downtown. I loved walking around the little streets lined with gigantic trees, small boutiques, tattoo  shops and cafes.

We ate at place called Chicago Fire, which was great except that it was just one of those nights for June. You know what I mean. Everything was a battle. It was one of those nights where Michael had to take her on a walk outside while I had some Mommy Time and ate my emotions in the form of garlic bread.

Despite her orneriness, we decided to take a walk after dinner and went to an adorable diner called the Dessert Diner which sells nothing but cakes, tortes, brownies cookies and pies.

Of course June was a perfect angel here and was even excited about us all sharing our slice of Oreo cheesecake.

We're loving checking out the different neighborhoods around town!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Saying Goodbye

Friday was our last night in Arizona, at least as permanent residents. We might be back to pack up the house after it sells, but even that will be only for a couple of days. I was alone with June and decided to make it a special occasion, so we picked up some takeout, moved the furniture in the living room and had an inside picnic while watching Tangled

Michael got in later that evening when June was already asleep, so he got to surprise her by getting her up from her crib the next morning. June normally likes to lay around in a sleepy fog for a while, but this time she popped up, said "Daddy!" and gave him a huge hug.

We did some last-minute packing and tidying up, then walked around and said goodbye to the house. 

Then we packed up the car and headed out. 

It was likely not our strategic master move for Michael to bring the big Highlander out with his things, leaving us the little Prius to bring three of us and our things to California. We were quite jammed in there, especially since I had a huge box devoted to my home office items (computer monitors, keyboard, etc.).

During road trips with a toddler, you think of a lot of things that could go wrong, but I was mostly concerned with keeping June distracted/busy/happy/not screaming. The first day - the day we decided to drive more than halfway to Sacramento - was A DREAM. June napped, played with her little electronic toys and read tons of books.

We stopped at a little hotel and stayed the night. June slept in a queen sized bed by herself (with pillows around the edges), so when I woke up in the morning and glanced over, I saw her little head - just the forehead and eyes - peeking back at me. 

The next day really only had about 4 hours of driving. June was restless and moving through her activities at breakneck speed. We tried giving June the tablet, but the apps were a little too old for her. She got frustrated trying to play, I got frustrated trying to help, Michael got a loud demand that he pull over so I can take over driving lest I spend another hour turned completely around in my seat. ("My insides have likely suffered permanent damage!")

We finally arrived in Sacramento just in time for a late lunch. We ate in a really cool little Irish pub downtown and my heart soared. Trees lining the streets, trees just starting to turn a little yellow or orange. 

The weather was warm in the sun and cool in the shade. After lunch we walked over to the Capitol park and marveled at all the green and the squirrels.

We arrived at our furnished apartment and spent a little time hanging out before running out on some errands. Within six hours of becoming Sacramentans we had visited Wal-Mart and IKEA and had eaten at an Indian Buffet for dinner. 

We bought some new things to make the apartment more functional and make June's room feel more like home. The details might wait for another post altogether, but I am glad to say that June seems to really like our new apartment and her new room - big girl bed and all. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Calling in the Big Guns

When I found out that I was going to be staying home with June alone - while the house was on the market, while I was pregnant - for three weeks while Michael was away (though he did come back one weekend), I called my mom with one word: "HELP."

Ask and you shall receive. 

Mom and Dad came out to visit over Labor Day, and Mom changed her travel plans so she could stay out in Arizona with me and June for another week. Isn't that just the mommest thing you've ever heard? She dropped everything and helped when I needed her the most, and I guess that's all you need to know. 

She made dinner some nights. She helped with dishes and cleaning. She was home when we had some services done (like getting the carpets cleaned). She arranged the house just so before leaving each day so realtors could bring potential buyers through. She helped with June, who is in a particularly high-energy phase of life, while I was in a particularly low-energy phase of pregnancy.

Even during times where we were just hanging around, it was just so nice to have someone else there. I'm sure this next sentence will disqualify me from any Parent of the Year contests, but parenting is just easier with someone else around. When June would throw a tantrum, it was just nice to have someone else there, someone who I knew wasn't judging. And things are just more lively with three. 

Coincidentally, June's school had Grandparents' Day while Mom was in town, so she got to go and enjoy milk and cookies. I laugh at the memory of Mom reenacting how one of the teachers asked if any grandparents wanted milk and Mom loudly proclaimed "Of course!" right before the rest of the pack gave a very modest, "No thank you." 

The three of us girls headed up to Fountain Hills for the weekend so realtors would have free reign. We enjoyed that last cloudy, rainy weekend by relaxing around the house, picnicking at the park and making several attempts to get portraits of June done. 

Mom, I'm not sure what I would have done without you... probably would have gone a little crazy and we would have eaten every meal out at the Cracker Barrel. You were such a help, even at the times when you probably felt like you weren't doing much. And we sure did miss you when you were gone. 

Thank you so much for everything. I love you. We both do.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Three Portrait Attempts and a Little Lady

This past weekend, our little girlpack tried to make some professional portraits happen. You could say it was a failure of epic proportraitions (aHem!). (Sorry.)

My mom has had success with the affordable portraits done at JC Penny's, and they offer a lot of flexibility in packages (or a la carte items), so on Saturday morning we headed to the one at Paradise Valley Mall. They didn't have any openings, so we made an appointment for the next morning and then played at the mall playground. 

We showed up early to our Sunday morning appointment to find the whole mall mostly closed. We weren't able to get into the Penny's so we hung out in the darkened playground again. (There were lots of parents and kids there, go figure.)

When we finally got ahold of the Penny's folks, they said my appointment wasn't until Monday. This was totally annoying because the woman I had worked with on Saturday specifically said that I probably didn't need a reminder call since my appointment was just "tomorrow." So...we moved past that frustration with a ride on the train.

We couldn't reschedule with that mall (even if we'd wanted to, which I didn't at that point), so instead we rescheduled for a weekday at the JC Penny's near my house.

So we squeezed in an appointment this evening, with me hurrying home from work and Mom hurrying to pick June up from school and make it to the store on time. This led to the perfect storm of us being rushed, stressed and June being very sweaty from her recent playground time at school. Not optimum portrait scenario.

Let's just say that I had told June she could have a special treat if she was a good girl during pictures (I am not above bribery), and afterwards Mom and I had to have the talk of whether or not a treat was in order. We did get a few good shots, but most of them were cheesetastic smiles or June outright trying to run out into the store. The best shots we got were when we let her hold a fake muffin that she found in the prop bin, go figure.

Since I was too frenzied during the photo shoot ("Show me your nice smile! Where are your dimples? June, come back here!") I didn't manage to take any artistic shots of the photo shoot. I did, however, take a couple of shots out in the parking lot with my iPhone.

So if they all turn out terribly, you will all be receiving a wallet-sized printout of this image. Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Labor Day Visit

For Labor Day weekend we had quite the gathering. Michael's parents came to visit and mine were also in town. Michael flew out from Sacramento to see the group, plus we were able to see JP and Kai. 

The first night that my in-laws were in town was also their anniversary. Check out adorable Judy, who was surprised by Fred's beautiful roses. The romance is still alive, folks!

June was so happy to spend some time with her Grammy and Papaw Fred. She even volunteered to give Grammy a back rub after first receiving one.

Michael enjoyed a lot of snuggles with June due to missing her the week before, and facing two weeks apart after the weekend was over.

Judy and Fred also allowed me and Michael to have a date night, so we had our own romantic dinner while they had their own.

We drove up to my parents' house on Labor Day. I reached over to hold June's hand during the drive and she wouldn't let go, even switching hands to hold mine so she could scratch her face, then switching back. A simple little moment, but one that warms my heart.

We spent the day hanging out, going in the pool and eating some good food.

Then Michael had to return to Sacramento, so we said our goodbyes.

Michael's parents (and my Dad) left the next day, with my mom staying on to help me out. She's been assisting with June and with the needs of the house while we attempt to sell and still maintain some kind of life balance. 

The weekend went by too fast, and we certainly enjoyed what might be our last big family get together while we're still Arizona residents!