Pregnancy Update: 38 Weeks with Baby #2

How far along? Almost 38 weeks!

Gender? Girl.

Baby’s size? The length of a stalk of rhubarb, so 19.5 inches, and about 6.5 lbs.

Movement? Yes, a lot. She’s very low in my pelvis now and punches the inside of my hip bones. I had a dream last night that I could see her hands through my skin as she moved. Weird!

Weight gain? About 25lbs.

Symptoms? Huge belly, some heartburn (it has gotten better recently), varicose veins, lines nigra, and nesting tendencies.

Belly button in or out? Out, and has been for a long time. Will it be somewhat normal again? I doubt it.

Wedding rings on or off? On, which is surprising. When I was pregnant with Finley, I didn’t wear my ring at night because my hands would get puffy. I’ve noticed absolutely no swelling in my hands or feet this time (knock on wood).

Sleep? Meh. I wake up a handful of times throughout the night to roll from one side to the other, which is a production due to the large belly and extra pillow I use between my knees. I also use the bathroom at least twice. All in preparation for life with a newborn. 

Best moment of the week? On Sunday morning, Brody, Finley and I went to the zoo, and it was lots of fun! She went through a brief stage when she was scared of all the animals, but lately, she’s been obsessed with all things animals. She keeps talking about how she wants to show her baby sister the animals at the zoo. We walked around there for over an hour and then grabbed lunch at Pizza Brutta. It was a great morning!

   
    

Looking forward to? Brody runs his second half marathon on Sunday, and it’ll be fun to watch him. 

Miss anything? A full glass (or three) of wine, stomach sleeping, not needing to wear compression things, and working out.

Exercise? This has been a big difference between my two pregnancies. When pregnant with Finley, I worked out at least a few times a week and walked the the dogs at the park almost daily. With this one, I chase a toddler around most of the day and sometimes get a short walk in with the whole family before dinner. 

Labor signs? As I mentioned before, Baby Girl dropped about a week and a half ago. At my appointment yesterday, I was not dilated. The Braxton Hicks contractions are happening a lot, but nothing starting in my back and nothing painful. 

My Decision to Attempt a VBAC

Before meeting with the OB who performed my c-section with Finley, I was pretty certain I’d be scheduling a c-section for this baby. It seemed like the right decision for many reasons. And then we met, and a few things changed my (and Brody’s) mind.

1) The risks for complications in each situation are comparable, with the VBAC being slightly safer.

2) Although the percent of success wasn’t great at a modest 62%, when (or if) I go into labor, they’ll be able to give me a more accurate percent of successfully delivering vaginally at that moment. 

3) This was the big one for me: the lifting restriction. For up to six weeks, I wouldn’t be able to lift more than 15 lbs. I wouldn’t be able to hold Finley, put her in her crib for naps, or get her into the car seat. I would be so dependent on other people, and I know it would be hard on me and Finley. 

So, I’m going to give it a go. I know my chances of success are higher if I avoid interventions (Pitocin, epidural, etc.), but unfortunately, if I am overdue by a week, I’ll need to be induced. Hopefully I’ll be able to choose to have my water broken, if it hasn’t already, to get contractions going rather than Pitocin. I don’t know if I’m strong enough to handle labor without an epidural, but maybe without Pitocin, my body will respond differently and I’ll be able to get through them. 

Purchases for Baby H

As the second child, and the second girl, this baby is going to be blessed with lots of hand-me-downs. The seasons match perfectly since they’ll be just under two years apart, and as long as this baby isn’t crazy small or big, we’ll be able to use Finley’s clothes. Plus we still have the infant car seat, Bumbo, swing, bouncer, play mat, and so on. Which is great, and I love that we are getting more use out of these things. 

But, I wanted to give Baby H a few new things, and here’s what we’ve got for her (so far):

-A beautiful nursery: It’s a “forest” theme with bedding from Land of Nod, a stenciled tree by yours truly, an owl mobile from Etsy, a porcelain owl, and a sweet moose clock (thanks Bridget and JP!). 

   
The tree required some free-handing to touch up the imperfections.

-New shoes: This week I bought her Zutano booties and Freshly Picked moccasins, both for fall and winter. Adorable!

   
 –Solly Baby Wrap: Even though I have the Baby K’tan and Ergo, I’ve been eyeing this wrap for months. There were lots of good reviews, and it sounded like a more breathable option than the Moby. I bought it in the yellow color and can’t wait to wear Baby!  

This has turned into a long post. If you stick with it, thank you. Maybe the next time I check in it will be with a birth announcement. Probably not though. That’s okay. I can wait.

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Pregnancy Update: 33 Weeks with Baby #2

How far along? 32 weeks, 5 days.

Gender? Girl.

Baby’s size? She’s a pineapple at 4.25 lbs and 17.2 inches. 

Movement? Oh ya. She seems to move the most in the evening, but I notice it throughout the day. Since this will likely be my last pregnancy, I’m enjoying it.

Weight gain? About 17-18 pounds.

Symptoms? Heartburn! Tums are my best friends, and they go with me everywhere. I feel the burn after eating most food but especially citrus, chocolate, tomato-based anything, and spicy things. I also feel it if I’m starting to get hungry, which I assume is my stomach acid preparing for food creeping up. 

Also, I obviously still have varicose and spider veins. I wear some form of compression wear every day, and it has been helping relieve the discomfort.

Belly button in or out? Out. 

Wedding ring on or off? On day and night.

Sleep? I fall asleep easily and have fortunately not been cursed with pregnancy insomnia (knock on wood). I’m up a handful of times throughout the night to roll to the other side or use the bathroom. 

Best moment of the week? The best was also the scariest for a while. My SIL, who had the same due date as me, had her baby on Thursday at 32 weeks. Mom and Baby are both doing well. 

As for non-pregnancy related events, I had my friend’s bridal shower and bachelorette party this past weekend. It was a blast and so fun to spend time with her and my high school friends!   The bridesmaids and the bride (in white) at the bridal shower. Yes, I’m wearing flats but standing on my toes. I’m a shorty and had no business wearing heels.

High school friends!

  We painted pretty trees.

 

My lovely friend, Susan, had a baby 10 weeks ago. Isn’t she a doll! 

Looking forward to? A quiet weekend at home with Brody and Finley.  

Miss anything? Just the normal stuff: non-maternity clothes, wine, stomach sleeping.

Exercise? Not as much as I’d like, but I’m trying to not get down on myself about it. I know I’ll eventually (hopefully, someday) be able to get back into a good exercise routine and decent running shape.  

Labor signs? Some Braxton Hicks while exercising.

How I Nest: Stock the Freezer

A couple weeks ago, I had the urge to pull Finley’s 0-9 month clothes out of storage, wash everything, and hang it all in Baby’s room. So that’s done. 

Baby’s room is almost complete. We need to install the monitor (we ended up buying the same wifi one we have for Finley), buy and put up a tree stencil, and do a little more decorating with small items. I do have a few more items to purchase (sound machine is on back order, maybe the Solly Wrap, and newborn diapers). 

Otherwise, we are pretty much set. So how does this mama continue to nest? I make food. 

After Finley was born, we survived on quick meals for about three months: frozen ravioli, sausages, Stoeffer’s lasagna, and who knows what else. All I remember is that I rarely cooked. I know that after Baby is born, I’m not going to feel motivated to cook, and even if I am, I may not have the time or energy. Plus, those easy meals aren’t all doable anymore with our more grain-free lifestyle. Enter: freezer meals.

If you’ve followed me for a while, you know I’m in a freezer meal group that meets monthly. From that I’ve accumulated a bunch of recipes I know we like and that freeze well. Otherwise I’ve started bookmarking new recipes and going through ones I’ve already bookmarked which I assume would be fine frozen for a few months.

Even if you’re not preparing for a baby, having meals ready can be so nice for busy weeks or to gift to friends with new babies, sick family members, or new neighbors. 

Here’s what’s in my freezer so far:

Chicken wings (from February’s freezer meal group)

Crockpot sesame honey chicken

Chili chicken, kale and quinoa casserole (I used rice instead of quinoa and didn’t add black beans because I didn’t have any.)

Crockpot Santa Fe chicken

Playgroup granola bars (I used less sugar, coconut oil, and chocolate chips but no raisins.)

Small loaf of Paleo banana bread (The recipe made enough for two small loaves, and we ate one to try. Thanks to Kate for sharing this one on her blog!)

Blueberry muffins (I didn’t make the glaze. Also, Finley and I have tapped into that bag for a couple breakfasts last week. Whoops!)

Taco meat (No recipe other than beef from the 1/4 of a cow we bought this fall and Costco taco seasoning.)

Crockpot cashew chicken (I can’t find the recipe online, but there are tons out there.)

Here’s what I want to prepare still:

Double pumpkin muffins

More Paleo banana bread (link above)

Lots of waffles for Finley (The recipe is from my friend’s cookbook, which I’ll share how to purchase once it’s available.) 

Tomato and lentil soup

Chicken and broccoli rice casserole

Maple nut baked oatmeal

Crockpot short rib tacos 

Chicken tortilla casserole

Do you have any great freezer meals? As you can see, I’ve got lots of chicken ones, so maybe other kinds of meat or vegetarian options. Thanks!

Handling Two

*This was written on Thursday but I didn’t have a chance to read it over or finish the last sentence until this morning.

Today was a tough day, and it made me (somewhat) doubt my ability to be a mama to two kids. At this point, there’s no going back. She’s going to be here in a little over two months, and I am so incredibly excited to meet her. 

I had lots of anxiety and fear over having to care for an infant while keeping a toddler happy during the first trimester of this pregnancy. Suddenly, those fears disapated. Maybe my hormones regulated, maybe the sun came out (love me some vitamin D), or something else, but I felt great. Confident. Let’s do this!

Today I watched another kiddo (8 months), and it was so challenging. She’s a sweet little girl, but she’s dealing with separation anxiety and really hasn’t been away from her parents much. She needed to be constantly held. There was crying from both Finley and the LO, sometimes at the same time. I was in survival mode the whole time, and unfortunately we did very little playing. 

At one point, when both were overtired and in tears, I attempted to divide and conquer. LO went in the pack n play while I read Finley a couple books to help her calm down before attempting to put her down for a nap. That failed.

Finley came in the nursery where the pack n play was set up. I put Daniel Tiger on the iPad, and I held the little girl in the rocker while she napped. During this time, Finley pooped, and it was definitely past her normal nap time. I tried putting LO down in the pack n play, but her eyes opened immediately. 

The LO’s mom came to pick her up at 1:30pm, and Finley was still awake (she’s normally asleep by 12:30pm). After she left, Finley was not interested in napping, even though she was exhausted. Finally, she fell asleep at 2:55pm.

Long story short, having two kids isn’t going to be easy (duh). I know the situation today was unique, but it gave me a glimpse into how challenging some days may be with two. 

I wrote this all while holding my sleeping daughter, who finally fell asleep in her crib and only slept there for 45 minutes. It’s now 4:30, and she’s about to wake up. 

A Weekend in DC

Good morning!

I’ve got some free time while all the kiddos (Finley plus the two I watch a couple days a week) sleep and wanted to share our weekend trip to DC.

We flew in late Thursday night, and Finley fell asleep sprawled out across our laps. She stayed asleep in our arms as we got off the plane and walked to get our bags.

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Erin and Dan have a one bedroom condo and were kind enough to give us their bedroom for the weekend. Erin’s friend loaned us all the baby gear we needed (pack n play, car seat, high chair, etc), and the pack n play was already set up in their bedroom.

Friday morning began around 7:15am (Finley slept in!!!). Erin and Dan both had to work, so the morning was ours. Brody, Finley and I walked to Starbucks and Target and then strolled around for a bit.

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Erin was able to come home early, so we went to lunch with her. We drove to Union Market.

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What a cool place! There were lots of food vendors and “stores” set up inside. Brody got a burger, Finley ordered a grilled cheese, and Erin and I had Korean tacos. Yum!

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We hung out at their condo for the rest of the day. We drank, relaxed on the couch, watched Finley chase Chester, and ate dinner on the back patio.

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Saturday morning, Finley woke us up before 7am, and to let Erin and Dan sleep a little more, we took a walk to Starbucks (basically the only coffee shop open before 8am – crazy!!!) and a bakery for croissants.

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After her (and my) morning nap, Finley took her first ever train ride.

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We took the train to a BBQ place. I had the BBQ Chef Salad because it had four kinds of meat on it – the perfect sampler!

Next up was the zoo. Unfortunately the rain cut our stay there short, but we still had fun seeing elephants, gorillas, and pandas. It was even one of the pandas first birthdays.

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We decided to walk back to the condo from the zoo even though it was still raining. Finley didn’t mind, and we were already wet from being at the zoo. At the condo, everyone napped. Yes, that means I took two naps on Saturday. Pretty amazing vacation, right?

Once again, we stayed at the condo for the rest of the day and had a delicious meal.

On Sunday our flight didn’t leave until 2pm, so we spent the morning being lazy and eating eggs and bacon.

The flight home went just fine. The problems arose once we got back to our car in Milwaukee. The battery was dead, and we couldn’t find the parking ticket. Yikes! My smart husband called the airport’s information desk, who sent out a guy with jumper cables. He was at our car in two minutes, and a few minutes later, the car was running. Phew! Then, while Brody packed the car, I searched by the driver’s seat for the ticket. And I found it! Phew again! Two potentially pricey mishaps avoided.

It was a fabulous trip and so good to spend time with Erin and Dan!

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My Unwarranted Advice for Soon-to-be Moms

A handful of my friends are pregnant right now. Some with their first, and some with their second. I love talking about all things pregnancy and baby related, and I realized I had never done a post like this before. While I am far from an expert, here are my two unwarranted cents.

1. Read The Happiest Baby on the Block before Baby is born. Read it again after Baby is born. A friend recommended this book to Brody, and I am SO thankful. It was an invaluable resource and helped prepare us for making Finley comfortable in her new, scary environment (aka the world and not the uterus). I suggest reading it after Baby’s birth because you’ll likely have missed or forgotten something, or it will just make more sense now with a tiny being in front of you.

2. Attend a mother baby hour from early on and as long as you can. When Finley was three weeks, I went to Meriter’s (my hospital) weekly meeting for first time mamas. There are three groups: 0-3, 3-6, and 6-9 months. I went almost every week and looked forward to each meeting. I found it to be a safe place to talk about my struggles and ask questions. So many moms were going through similar things, or had recently gone through it, and I learned a lot from them and the nurse who facilitated the meetings. A group of about twenty moms formed a Friday play group so that we could continue to get together past nine months, let our kids play, and be there for each other.

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Finley at one of her last Mother Baby Hours

3. This one is quite trivial but enjoy your thick, luscious hair during pregnancy and for the first few months post birth. Because it’s going to fall out. As someone with thin hair, I loved this part of pregnancy. Thanks to the extra estrogen in our bodies, the hair follicles hold on to the hair you’d normally lose. So when your hair starts coming out and clogging the shower drain, it’s releasing all the hair it’s been hanging on to for over a year. I’ve also been dealing with awkward re-growth of hair on the top of my scalp.

4. Don’t become obsessed with napping like I did. Looking back, I see how much energy I wasted regarding Finley’s napping. Finley was never a bad sleeper (although she had her rough patches like all babies). There’s so much I could say here, but I won’t. I only wish I would’ve been more “go with the flow” and not have been so much of a nap slave. (Do you feel the same way Jena?)

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Sleepy baby

5. You don’t need to change Baby’s diaper very often in the night. For the first few weeks of Finley’s life, I changed her diaper every time she got up in the middle of the night. This would often extend her time awake and make her upset (cold air, cold wipes, etc). I finally learned that unless the diaper is soiled or she’s had it on for a long time, it’s unnecessary to change it.

6. Leave Baby with your partner overnight as soon as you’re ready. Or maybe sooner. I went on a girls weekend trip for two nights to Lake Geneva (an hour and a half away) when Finley was four months old. Brody stayed home with Finley, and he did awesome. I appreciated and needed the break from my role as a mommy.

7. Consider joining Netflix. This was something Brody told a couple recently, so I’m stealing it for this list. Newborns sleep A LOT. I watched the first season of Orange is the New Black in a few days. This winter, we watched all seven seasons of The West Wing.

8. Make as many freezer meals as you can before Baby is born. Even though babies sleep a lot early on, you’ll often be so exhausted that cooking is not appealing. I spent Finley’s naps cleaning, napping myself, or *gasp* relaxing (reading or watching tv). Freezer meals that involve a slow cooker would be ideal. A simple search on online (or even my blog!) will provide lots of options.

9. Keep food and water next to the chair where you feed your baby. I was hungry and thirsty all the time when Finley was first born. Before Finley went to sleep, I’d put an extra water bottle and a small snack (trail mix, Larabar-like balls, etc) next to the rocker.

10. Find a babysitter you trust and use him/her to go on date nights with your partner. Or get a haircut by yourself. We left Finley with a babysitter for an afternoon when she was six weeks old. That may be earlier than some parents are ready for, but we felt confident in our sitter and weren’t going to be far from home. A former neighbor of ours recommended our sitter, who recently graduated from college, and her mom lived across the street from us. I know other moms have had luck with care.com and the UW Job Center website (if you love in the Madison area, but I bet other colleges have something similar). If you’re lucky enough to have family members in the area, take advantage of when they offer to watch your little one.

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Brody and I at a wedding sans baby

Questions:
What was some good or bad advice you were given about pregnancy or babies?
How have you helped a new mama out during those first few months?

I Whine for a Bit and Then List Ten Happies (not a real word)

Like everyone, I’m in shock that it’s August already. In my previous life as an English teacher, this is when I would start to freak out/get excited about the beginning of a new school year. I’d be planning units, getting my classroom ready, and reconnecting with colleagues. I miss that. Whoa – I didn’t intend for this post to get all down-in-the-dumps so quickly, but it’s been a little rough around here lately.

Big “first world problems” happening in our household. For one, as I explained already, we sold our house. Fast. Now we don’t have a new house to move into…that is unless you count our friends’ basement. We’ve been packing up the last seven years of our lives, and our dining and living rooms are filled with boxes. The walls are empty and closets are half full. It’s sad, but I’m okay. We are so incredible fortunate to have amazing friends who have offered up space in their house to live and/or store some of our belongings that we don’t want in storage.

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This week, we were THIS close to having a great house. The house was on the market last year, didn’t sell, and was for sale again. We put in a few informal offers, and it seemed like she may accept. Then she changed her mind. And then we almost had it again. And then she said she was going to take it off the market. Hope, sadness, hope, sadness. After this last rejection, Brody and I have both moved on and realized this house will not be our forever home.

Our options now are to either wait for a house (in our price range that we like) to come on the market in the one neighborhood (fully developed, elementary school, pool, sidewalks, green space, etc.) we like, or build in a different neighborhood (which is also a really nice area but still being developed obviously). If we build and commit by September 1, the house would be complete by January 15. Such big decisions.

Another “first world problem” we’re dealing with is Finley. Oh my. Fevers, crabbiness, runny noses, night wakings, and did I mention crabbiness? I keep reminding myself of how horrible she must feel. I’ve heard that if adults experienced the pain babies feel when their teeth come in, we’d all be on high strength pain killers.

There have been some very good moments too in the past couple weeks. It’s not like me to be such a Debbie Downer, so here are ten awesome things about my life:

1. Finley is becoming a walker! It’s so cool to see her moving like a person.

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2. We took a family trip to the zoo (on Finley’s super crabby day), and we had a great time. It’s some good and interesting people watching there on the weekends! Finley seemed to like the ostrich the most.

3. As we pack, we’ve also been purging. Lots of trips to Goodwill and lots of crap thrown away (we bought a Bagster and will have Waste Management pick it up before we move).

4. I’ve had a few good long runs alone and with friends. However, Brody and I have decided to not run the Madison Mini anymore. This was going to be a race we ran together, and with him getting sick and injured and us moving, we’re not ready. We’d like to do a fall half marathon instead.

5. My mom sold her condo and is moving up north to the cottage permanently. She’s officially retired and will be living in a beautiful house on the best lake ever.

6. I made a delicious dinner two nights ago: PaleOMG’s Thai Pork and Veggie Meatballs. The sauce is ridiculous. If I wasn’t trying to clean out the random food in my freezer, I’d buy more pork and curry powder and make it again soon.

7. Finley loves her Radio Flyer. Every time we walk past it in the garage, she points and grunts. She holds on to the handlebars, and it’s pretty much the cutest thing ever.

8. Starbuck’s iced caramel machiaccto with whole milk = yum. I crave these all the time. I mean, why wouldn’t I? It’s the perfect combination of sugar, fat, and caffeine.

9. Today Brody and I are taking a pasta cooking class at A Pig in a Fur Coat with a bunch of other friends. We went in with two other couples and bid on the class through a raffle at a charity event. Yes, I know pasta is a grain and not Paleo/Primal. It’s a conscious cheat and will be worth it.

10.¬†I read a book! My friend loaned me A Fault in Our Stars, and I really enjoyed it. I haven’t read a book for MONTHS (my previous English teacher self is scolding current SAHM self), and how I missed it. I once owned this book, but a student borrowed it and never returned it.¬†Anyways, I’d like to see the movie now. Ha! Like that’ll happen.

Happy Saturday folks! Have a good weekend!

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Another Cottage Weekend

The weather this past weekend was SO much nicer than two weeks ago, and Finley was able to get into the lake and enjoy the water. Yah lake baby!

She kayaked…

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and floated…

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and played on the beach.

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She also ate yummy food (pretty much all fruit) al fresco…

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and enjoyed an adult beverage (she didn’t drink any).

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Brody and I got our long run in while we were up there also. We ran from the cottage to and around Paya Lake and back, which was almost eight miles. I could tell within the first minute that I was going to have a good run, and I did. It was hilly, but it’s good training because our area here is so flat. This was the first run where we took fuel; we took turns holding the handheld water bottle filled with Blueberry Pomegranate GU Brew drink mix, and then at 4.5 miles, we ate our GUs.

The only negative parts of the weekend were Finley’s sleeping (fighting naps and night wakings) and Frankie puking (he must’ve eaten something funky Thursday night). Otherwise we had a fantastic time!

Pool Party

Finley’s grandma gave her a pool for her birthday. Since we’ve been home from the cottage, we’ve already used it twice.

On Sunday, after being in the car for three hours, I thought Fin would enjoy trying it out. And she did.

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Yesterday, it was quite warm, so we filled it up and let it sit in the sun to warm up while we walked to Starbucks (I needed a caffeine fix).

Finley played by herself for a bit. She also figured out she can crawl out of the pool, so not all the time was spent in the water.

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The dogs also took advantage of the pool by using it as a giant water bowl.

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Around 4:30, Finley’s friend showed up for a little pool party on our back deck. Leo, who is seven months, and his mama, Liz, came over for some splashing and chatting for an hour or so.

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Finley followed Moose and Frankie’s lead and drank a bunch of the water. Don’t judge – I’m building up her immunity.