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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

TDY Cheaters

TDYs are the worst. TDY = Temporary Duty . . . one of the few military acronyms I actually know. I went to a neighborhood playdate with other military spouses and I was definitely the only mom who missed the memo with all the acronyms. 

Neither here nor there!

TDYs seem to be especially horrendous when they are more than two weeks. Something about remaining under the two week mark makes them much more reasonable. Will has been gone for a little over a week. For what it's worth, I'd 100 times over take a long TDY third trimester with a toddler (who's a good sleeper!) than fourth trimester with a newborn (who's a bad sleeper). Any day. But it's still been a rough go to spend all your waking hours with an irrational little human. 

Our demeanors, 65% of the time. PS - find us on snapchat: theresabreslin.
The TDY is one of the pinnacles of "motherhood martyrdom." I have yet to experience a deployment, but at least then you feel lots of concern and sympathy for your spouse, who will typically be working exceptionally long hours in uncomfortable quarters in dangerous locations, etc. etc. But the TDY. At least in my experience, it means short days of lectures/exercises, plenty of "team-building" (e.g., ultimate frisbee, barbecues, and drinks out) with various colleagues, and lots of Netflix streaming. And if you're lucky, an absurd amount of FaceTiming with your wife ;) It is really easy to let yourself feel resentful if you're not careful and grounded. By staying grounded I mean stress eating pumpkin muffins obviously.

But that's beside the point, because we're cheating this time. Yep, little Will is going to daycare all week. 

The Child Development Center (aka the CDC - sad choice of acronym) has hourly care available if a classroom slot is open. It's a fantastic option at only $5 per hour, plus it's an environment with which Will is already very familiar as it's where he went full-time from 12 months to 18 months old. I knew I would probably need this option if I wanted to get any work done from home. (I really did have more energy for it when Will was an infant - go figure.) So, I called the CDC on Friday to see if they had any open slots for the next two weeks and ...


But then later that day I got a call telling me that Monday and Tuesday had opened up. I just had to gather some new paperwork and he'd be all set.

And thennnn . . . 

Yesterday morning after dropping him off I get a call that the rest of the week had opened up. If I took the whole week I would only pay the discounted weekly rate.

Well, twist my arm whydoncha?

So, William is currently at daycare, as he will be tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day. I am able to furiously bill hours and hopefully get this project out of the way before tackling trial prep for my pro bono case. (Oh, have I not mentioned that I have a federal pro bono trial scheduled for when I'm 35.5 weeks pregnant? No? Let me remedy that now. I have a federal trial for which I am sole counsel scheduled one month before my due date. Hooray!) And then after that maybe I can tackle prep for the next little human that will join our family. 

One thing at a time. 

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015


I applied to three jobs in the year between moving to Illinois, having little Will, and starting at my new firm. I wasn't exactly banging down doors for work. A cushy little work-from-home gig fell into my lap when Will was a couple months old and it was going well enough. But then I randomly applied to a job opening and later found out that the founding partner of the firm graduated from my alma mater (whoops - had no idea when I applied!). I totally chalked it up to God's will and the rest is history. 

But now I'm retired. Again. Does this make me the Michael Jordan of the legal/blogging world? No?And my family has had to make a whole new set of adjustments to my transition back home. A kid no longer at daycare all day. Will he like me? Will I be able to keep him entertained? Will we both go stir crazy? There are significant changes to the budget, significant changes to what we're eating. At some point we will actually begin to prepare for this second child whose due date is approaching with ever-increasing speed. I actually have to clean my own house again. I get to blog. That sorta stuff. 

It's been over a week with me full-time at home again. Here are some tidbits about how our days are going.

After 19 months of not caring about television, aside from occasionally exclaiming "BALL!" when baseball, football, or golf is on, this child has finally started to see the benefits of sitting still for a few minutes to indulge in Dinotrux or Curious George. Some mornings, I will fire up the Kindle for a few minutes so I can get ready without having to repeatedly prevent Will from trying to climb into the toilet. 

I got a sliiiick new treadmill setup, at least for the time being while we only need the garage for one car.  

Oh except that there's this. ^^^ He lasted for but five minutes before trying to climb aboard. Not to mention the TERRIBLE FRIGHTENING HORRIBLE spider problem in the garage right now.

We get our smoothie fix every day, i.e., Will IGNORES HIS OWN DAMN SMOOTHIE (see background) to mooch all of mine. 

We visit the same playground at least once per day. Every day.

Then it's everyone's favorite time of the day: pantsless independent playtime! He builds "choo-choos" with his matchbox cars. 

These cars were actually my little brother's from 1998. Matchbox cars are virtually indestructible, I tell you.

We run countless errands, e.g., commissary, post office, commissary, OB, commissary, Target, OB, commissary. Then probably back to the commissary. Yeah, we be mixin' it up. 

You can't even tell me I let him watch too much television because LOOK IT'S THE POPE.

And this is why I can't look at my phone while he's in the highchair. All hell breaks loose with the yogurt. 

So we both get bathed.

And I put him to bed at 6:30 and it will be his bedtime for as long as I can get away with it. 

That's what we're up to. Lots of variety as you can see! And yet I know deep down that I will look back on these slow days with utter fondness and nostalgia. Our sweet, slow days alone are numbered. (Approximately 12 weeks and 2 days, according to my iPhone app.) Better get 'em while I can.

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Monday, September 21, 2015

Oatmeal Pumpkin Muffins

Will left for a somewhat long TDY yesterday morning, so I'm just going to be over here drowning my loneliness and sorrows in pumpkin puree. I first tried looking on Pinterest for a suitable oatmeal pumpkin recipe, but they all called for ingredients I didn't seem to have on hand. Instead, I decided to take Kate's recipe (that I make all the time) and substitute pumpkin for water and VOILA! Same delicious muffin, with just a hint of pumpkin flavor, to mix it up when I'm not making pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. 

Speaking of Pinterest, every time I'd click on the recipe, I'd be all BLAH BLAH BLAH - GET TO THE RECIPE WOMAN!!!!! So without further ado . . . 

  • 3 C oats
  • 1 C pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 C milk (of any kind!) 
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 C coconut oil
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t cinnamon (or pumpkin spice)
  • [Somewhat] OPTIONAL: 3/4 C chocolate chips
Instructions: Preheat oven to 350. Oil a muffin tin (I just used canola oil spray). Mix the oats, pumpkin puree, milk, eggs, vanilla, and oil. In a separate bowl mix the sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Combine. Stir in chocolate chips. Bake for 20ish minutes or until the tops begin to brown. Let cool a little in the pan (otherwise they do fall apart easily when hot).


// I sometimes substitute maple syrup (+ 1/4 C flour) for the refined sugar.

// Make sure the coconut oil is soft, if not in liquid form. Otherwise it doesn't blend evenly into the muffins and you get weird chunks in your muffins. Ask me how I know.

// Toddlers go nuts for this jam (ooohh, I'm totally gonna try and add nuts next time…).

// I always set aside a few muffins without chocolate chips for little Will. (See below.)

The end.

If you need me, I'll be eating pumpkin pastries, pregnant-sobbing, binging on Call the Midwife while the hubs is away. :D


Saturday, September 19, 2015

Third Trimester & a Coming of Age Story

Yesterday was officially the start of the third trimester with baby Zelie in my belly. Yep, less than three months to go.

I'm pretty sure I've gained approximately the same amount of weight as I did at this point last time, somewhere around 25 pounds gained. I feel about 100x better physically at this point, though, than I did with Little Will. Probably from chasing around a toddler and generally being too busy to stop and whine about the little aches and pains. I really do forget I'm pregnant and that I even look pregnant. (Even though during the first half of the pregnancy, I couldn't stop talking about how HUGE I felt.)

A bump-date of sorts:


Turns out it's not easy to get the best bump angle when you have a little human clinging to your hair for dear life.

IN MORE IMPORTANT NEWS . . . Little man got his first haircut today. 

It's a real coming of age story.


Pure mullet.

AKA mad scientist hair.

He was surprisingly docile during the actual haircut. He sat on Will's lap and had this concerned look on his face that silently screamed WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING? But, alas, those two little fingers found their way to his mouth and then he settled in for a smooth finish.


He was so satisfied with the results he did a little dance in the street for us. (As we screamed at him to get out of the middle of the street.) 

Both these guys got haircuts today actually. 

Lucky ducks.

Anyway, I wanted some snaps of what we all look like now, because by the time Will gets back from SOS (Squadron Officer School in Alabama - freakin' acronyms) in five weeks, I will [definitely] be much larger, William will [hopefully] have some curls back, and Will will [probably] be all slim, trim, and buff from working out in his free time. I guess we'll find out in time. 

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Friday, September 18, 2015

Food Rules

This morning I read Michael Pollan's Food Rules during the one-hour of wait time during my glucose tolerance test. Fitting that I'm reading about how to stick to "real food" just after consuming an entire bottle of condensed liquid sugar. Again, drinking the stuff was not all that traumatic (I got the chilled lemon lime kind), BUT the sweetness did take me aback upon the first sip, the aftertaste made me cringe a little, and I've definitely felt a little off all day. Whereas last pregnancy I was like what's all the fuss about - this was delicious! I'm hoping this means I've been doing a better job this pregnancy of limiting my sugar intake. 

The other night, I was lazily sprawled out in our bed rubbing my belly to feel Zelie's kicks when Will told me I looked like sort of like this:

Fair assessment. So obviously I'm doing something right. 

Side note: Is it absolutely horrible that I just got a library card at the base library? I would always tell people while I was working (excuses, excuses) that my JOB is LITERALLY reading ALL DANG DAY, so reading for pleasure is not going to happen, aside from blogs, obviously, and the occasional book I would want to read enough to purchase. But I feel like a whole new world is opened up to me! Of course I am on the wait list for ALL the e-books (fine, five, because that's the limit), but I can't wait to dive into some books I wouldn't normally read because they aren't something I'd buy. And why am I not checking out physical books? Suffice it to say the physical trip to the library with little Will in tow for the card itself was enough excitement for me for a while. Maybe in a few weeks ;) 

Back to food: when I was working, we fell into eating lots of convenience foods just because I had no time/energy to cook. If it weren't for Will stepping up and cooking dinners several nights a week, it would have been pizza and fast food every night. (Though I am fairly certain that Will Breslin would be fine with Papa John's pizza every night.) Obviously, now I have a lot more time at home where I can prepare foods that require a little more cook time (even if prep time is minimal). Also, little Will is finally kinda sorta into sitting still with Nanny Netflix for 15-20 minutes at a time while I prep. Can't stop me now! 

Lately, I have been devouring Like Mother, Like Daughter (can you tell by the photo above?) and 100 Days of Real Food. I think they balance each other out, as the former focuses on the organization/budget/parenting side, while the latter really focuses on the healthfulness of meals. I've been swapping out whole grains for enriched grains and eating more plants. That said, if you know of a good, easy whole wheat bread recipe, do share! Some highs were easily swapping whole grains in a casserole we cook regularly (I'll post the recipe after I tweak it some more to be a bit healthier) and whole grain noodles in this chicken noodle soup we make regularly throughout the fall/winter.

A BIG low was when I tried to crockpot a chicken and it was a disaster - turned into basically a soupy pot of shredded chicken and bones, teensy tiny little bones - I'll be sticking with my oven next time (where I can cook two chickens at a time!), thank you. And I have a lot of work to do if I am going to convince Will to eat less meat when chicken at the commissary is so ridiculously cheap. I'll be working on it. 


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Yet Another Maryland Trip

We recently returned from a five-day trip to Maryland for my cousin's wedding. Even though I've been finished work for almost three weeks we are just now trying to settle into a routine. (And even then it will be thrown out of whack by Will's five-week departure for more training in Alabama. But we are trying!)

Originally, I had planned on making this trip solo over just a couple short days. But after pushing up the end date at my firm and realizing that I could change my Southwest itinerary to lengthen my trip for only $6, we decided it would be the perfect opportunity for little Will's last hoorah as a lap baby (before he turns two and/or I run out of lap space). 

This is how we roll . . . 

Car seat on my back, pushing Will in the stroller with one arm/my belly, pushing the other luggage in the other hand. I got a couple "You Go Girls!" so I was feeling pretty skilled.

A MAJOR incentive to making the trip with the toddler, despite being pretty largely pregnant and missing out on time with a husband about to leave for five weeks, was that my niece, Molly, was going to be in Maryland, too. We have a portrait of Will and Molly hanging in our living room and he repeatedly points to it screaming, "MAH-EE! MAH-EE?!" He LOVES him some Molly.

We got lots of great snaps of the cousin-twins.

I'm not gonna lie. It was pretty exhausting. Nobody slept. We stayed at my mom's, which is not baby proofed at all and the one thing the kids wanted to do the whole time was play on the staircase and/or fight with each other over the few toys on the premises. A couple mornings, Will and I made our escape to Barnes & Noble where I would enjoy some coffee and he would be occupied by the train set or Lego table for 15-20 minutes before maniacally running through the aisles of books (at one point wielding a pink umbrella at unsuspecting patrons, but I digress). 

The wedding was kid-free, so my mom and stepdad watched the kids while my sister and I drove up to Princeton, New Jersey for the day. The church was gorgeous, the ceremony was gorgeous, and the wedding (as all Nolan weddings are) was out of control fun. The entire Nolan side of the family was out of their chairs and on the dance floor for the first song right out of the gate. It could have been the four hours of cocktails preceding the event, but I like to think it was genetic — we just have the groove woven into our souls. 

I got to go back to the 7am mass by myself and got to attend the most prayerful mass I've had in months (and probably for months to come!).

The sibs at cocktail hour.

I got a ton of compliments on the maternity dress I'm wearing. I highly recommend it! The material is stretchy, yet thick. It's high quality for price (only $33) and best of all - machine washable! Also, I wore it two weeks prior at a different wedding and no one noticed it was the same dress from pictures because it's a nondescript little black dress. So if you're in the market. (I also survived the whole day and night in the wedges I'm wearing - 12k+ steps according to my Fitbit - just throwing that out there - STILL GOT IT.)

I won't comment on how many times I was asked when I'm due (5,394,384 estimate) or how many times I was asked what I'm having (2,469,495 estimate) or how many times I was asked if we are "done" since we have the quintessential perfect family of Boy-Then-Girl (1,495,394 estimate). Nope, won't go there!

When we got back Sunday we worked hard to get a good snap of the kids before my sister's departure:

My sister's flight left on Sunday, but Will and I didn't leave until Monday evening, so we got to have some quiet time at Jima's (my mom, grandma aka G-ma, which was translated to "Jima" by a confused friend who thought it was a Japanese term of endearment; we just ran with it!). 

And to contrast the first picture . . . 

We're back in the cornfields. And the poor man next to us only had to endure about 14 elbows from yours truly and about 13 smelly feet kicks from the little man. 

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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

A Long, Laborious Weekend

In a good way, of course!

Will's bro and two-year-old nephew came into town for a couple days, so after some nakey time in the pool (obvz) we showed them all that St. Louis has to offer. At least what we could pack into two days with two toddlers in tow. 

This included:

1. Eckert's for some wagon-riding and apple picking. We got there as soon as it opened and beat the crowds… and slightly beat the deathly humidity. 

I'm guessing these ones were a little on the tart side. But I ensure you, the kids loved it!

2. Busch Stadium for the Cardinals vs. Cubs game. Ever been to a major league baseball game with two toddlers? What kind of life are you living!?

We played it pretty smart, in my opinion, and got standing room only seats. We knew that the kids wouldn't sit still for very long. Besides, it was really hot in the sun.

Count it as a victory that we only needed to go to the First Aid Station once! Little Will spent most of the afternoon running in circles around a pole until he got dizzy, causing himself to fall and hit the back of his head, necessitating ice. The EMT people were like, oh did he cry right away? Yes. Great, here's some ice. Just sign in and you can go. Alright then. 

Eventually, the Cubs scored so many runs that people started to go home, and some nice ladies gave us the tickets to their seats. So after the boys wore themselves out running around the stadium, we got to sit down for a couple of innings, which was nice. 

^^^Action shot.^^^ Just SLIGHTLY STRESSFUL.

3. St. Louis Zoo. I highly recommend getting to the zoo early on the Tuesday morning after a long three-day weekend. There was barely anyone there! It was awesome. 

Not pictured, all of us devouring:

4. Schlafly Bottleworks for lunch. 

5. Ted Drewe's custard for dessert. 

Hey, we earned those calories.