Week 28

Week 28How appropriate that just as I’m entering third trimester I’ve started to feel very large, stretched, tired, and cranky the past few days.  Maybe it will pass.  I hope so – 12 weeks to go!  Funny how that can sound short or so long, depending on your mood. 

I have started thinking a little bit more about preparing…  maybe taking a refresher birth class or getting a newborn care book…  there’s a nagging worry in the back of my mind that I’ll forget something important, like, that babies need to be burped. 

My mom asked me yesterday if we have a plan for what to do with Jane if I need to go to the hospital in the middle of the night.  The thought had literally never crossed my mind.  I suppose it’s getting time to snap out of my blissful 2nd trimester denial and get real about baby #2 coming…  scary!

Week 25

IMG_5193 IMG_5191

Love the look on Jane’s face in that bottom one.  What is it, anticipation, plotting against the belly?  Ha, my big white belly!  The rest of me is so tan from being out at the park midday all the time, Jane too, she tans amazingly well.

Life is so good right now and I’m really just trying to enjoy it while it lasts.  Still very comfortable as far as any pregnancy symptoms, sleeping well, and feels good to ride my bike.  Almost every day we do something fun outside with friends and I can’t believe this is my life and sometimes I even get paid for it.  We found a great part time gig watching twin nearly 3 year old girls for the summer and they are so sweet and well behaved it feels like they’ve been with us forever after only a few weeks.

Even my stomach is feeling good, despite being borderline anemic, again, and having to take prescription iron pills + stool softener.

At this point I’m not stressing much about the baby coming.  All I can do is hope there are no complications and he’s not super fussy, but otherwise it just seems so much more normal than last time – no job issues to deal with, we’ll probably do all the same things we do now, only I’ll be more tired for awhile.  People ask me if I need anything and I sort of shrug…  we got a co-sleeper and lots of clothes donations…  we can dig up stuff from storage…  buy some diapers… babies are no longer a huge unknown to me.

The only thing we don’t have is a name.  I never considered boy names the first time because I was certain it’d be a girl and had her name picked before I even met Nathan.

I can’t imagine just going through a book or list and picking something, I want it to have some sort of personal meaning.

I would love to name him after my grandpa or dad, but neither seem to work.  Our last name is Johnson and my grandpa’s name was John, and while I do sort of think John Johnson has a fun classic ring to it, there’s something too cutesy about having kids named John and Jane, or Jack and Jane (people also called my grandpa Jack when he was young, apparently a common nickname for John?).  I do really like the name Jack though.  My dad’s name was Jesse Raymond, and I wouldn’t be comfortable with him having the same name as my dad, and don’t care for the name Ray.

If nothing comes to us, I’m planning to look through my dad’s papers, he was really into doing genealogy research and even had a trip planned around it to Norway for the month after he died.  I like classic “greatest generation” era names, and am open to suggestions if you have any!

I’m continuing this series to illustrate how it wasn’t just a one week “challenge” where I bought as little as possible, rather a realistic reflection of how to regularly feed a family of 3 healthy food on a budget.

Here is the week immediately following Week 1:

Organic Kale 2.49
Bananas 2.5
Organic Parsley 1.79
Broccoli 2.49
Cucumber 0.89
Orange 0.83
Avocado 1.29
Yellow Pepper 1.25
Garlic 0.39
Organic Spinach 10 oz. 6
Organic Celery 2.99
Organic Carrots 2.49
Amaranth 2.39
Brown Rice 2.56
Pasta 1.49
Wheat Tortillas ($1 off coupon) 1.29
Red Lentils 2.6
Dried Chickpeas 1.49
Tempeh (16 oz.) 3.58
Soymilk 2.99
Cumin 2.79
Maple Syrup 4.99
Nutritional Yeast 3.12
Pizza Crust/Cheese/Tonic 6.33

Coffee 3
Protein Powder 5
Free Bread 3

Total: $72.02

So this week happened to be way under $100, but maybe it’ll even out in weeks to come.  Here’s what we ate for Week 2:


-Cucumber & Peach salad

-Salad w/tempeh & tahini dressing

Oma’s House (Memorial Day): Fruit, cookies, tabouleh, hummus & bread, rhubarb dessert, granola bars

-Bowl of cereal, crackers



-Amaranth w/kale & tahini dressing

-Banana w/pb, bowl of chex

-Pasta Salad (w/white beans, broccoli, peppers)


-Oatmeal & fruit

-Pasta Salad

-Hummus & veggies

-Lentil Soup



-Oatmeal & fruit

-Hummus & veggies

-Salad w/pasta and avocado

-Toast w/pb

-Out to eat with friends (@ Pico de Gallo, got an $8 salad)


-Apple, Toast w/pb

-Smoothie, Lentil Soup w/crackers

-Toast w/pb

-Mushroom & Pineapple Pizza



-Amaranth, Kale, Lentil Soup, Avocado

-Out:  Veggie Nachos and Beer, $30?




Oma’s House:  Salad, vegetarian sloppy joe’s, crackers, veggies, chocolates, cookie

-Toast w/pb


So that’s it.  Looking back at the week maybe we bought less groceries b/c we ate at Oma’s and restaurants a few times, which is unusual.  Also, wow, I eat more peanut butter toast and cereal as snacks than I thought!


It has been over three weeks since the second anniversary of my Dad’s death.  I wasn’t particularly emotional that day, it was one of the first nice weekends and we were out having fun with friends.

I think these flowers blooming remind me more of it than anything.  This bush is right on the side of our driveway:


Spring came ridiculously early that year.  I was out on a walk with my mom and Jane.  Just as we were entering my alley we saw a loose dog and I went to knock on some neighbors’ doors to see if I could find the owner.  When I came back my mom said “your phone was ringing”.  I checked it to see multiple voicemails and texts that said “911 call immediately”.  My heart started racing and I managed to call the number back, getting my Dad’s friend on the other end, obviously in a panic himself, who blurted out “your Dad is dead”.

The following time is a blur, his friend came quickly to my house, told us the details, drove my mom back to her house, Nathan came home.  I hugged Jane a lot and wandered around the driveway in stunned silence and clearly remember noticing the flowers had just bloomed.  Nathan also noticed and mentioned it to me later – not the sort of thing I’d usually expect from him.

This year was a lot easier than last year.  I guess it’s true what they say, you get used to the new normal.  The second set of holidays without him was much less painful, and I don’t cry every time I pull up to their house and his truck isn’t in the driveway.  The one thing that still really sets me off is if I start thinking about how much fun he would’ve had with Jane at this age.  About how he’ll never meet my little boy and what an amazing role model he would’ve been in this kid’s life.

So yeah, it gets easier, but I still miss him so much.


Summer is here all of a sudden.  Like mid 80’s, sweating, everything in full bloom, outside all the time summer last week.  It is amazing.


Pregnancy related things are good too, except I’ve started to get some soreness and tightness in my back, especially the lower right, just like last time, except a few weeks earlier. (And wow, looking at those pictures, I’m definitely bigger than I was at this point last time too.)

In other news, we’ve spent a lot of time the past couple weeks considering a move outside the city.  Public Defender positions opened up in four cities about an hour outside Minneapolis in various directions.  Previously I wouldn’t have even considered it, so it says something that this time I told Nathan to go ahead and apply.  This is the job he went to law school intending to do, and many times the positions in the metro area have been filled by attorneys with a couple years of experience – that they got in an outlying area.

Why now?  There was no specific turning point.  His job search has been going on for so long with so many disappointments, and I hate seeing him unhappy and cringe thinking about his hour long commute each way to work – for his physical and mental health as well as financial reasons.  Also, I’m really sick of being broke.

Why not now?  Well, the timing would be especially bad because this would probably happen before the end of the summer – where would I have the baby, and how would I cope with a newborn without my large support system here?  All our family is less than half hour away and I love my neighborhood community so much, I can think of a dozen people off the top of my head who I could call for last minute help with childcare or whatever I needed.

For Nathan moving wouldn’t be a big deal, he’d be excited about it.  But for me being a stay at home mom, my friends here are my day to day life and I really depend on that social interaction to keep me sane.

Another thing to consider is that it would be temporary – we would rent out our house (for hundreds more than the mortgage too!), and I could come back and stay with my mom sometimes and still see my friends.

Trying not to obsess over it, he doesn’t even have an interview yet!

Question is, how much would the offer have to be to make the move worth it?  Anything more than his current pay, just for the opportunity?  So hard to put a price on it.

Anyone ever been in this position?  Do you love where you live so much that you wouldn’t leave, or would you jump at the opportunity to try somewhere new?

I joined a no-sugar challenge group on FB this month and some people commented at the beginning that they spent a lot of money on groceries getting ready to eat healthy.  I haven’t tracked our grocery spending for a long time, but thought surely we don’t spend more than $500/mo., and that is with almost no meal planning, rarely eating out, shopping whenever we feel like it, buying lots of organics, good coffee, and expensive protein powder too.

So here is what we bought and ate during a recent week:

Organic Celery 2.99
Cucumbers 1.16
Avocados 2.58
Garlic 0.39
Ginger 0.8
Lime 1.12
Broccoli (2) 5.18
Bananas 3.4
Organic Spinach 15 oz. 6
Romaine Hearts 2.48
Cherry Tomatoes 2
Onions 1.24
Cheerios 1.99
Grape Nuts 3.69
Brown Rice 4
Wheat Tortillas 1.99
White Rice 1.19
Quinoa 2.96
Dried Black Beans 1.69
Dried Chickpeas 2.49
Tofu 1.99
Tofu 1.99
Soymilk 2.99
Soymilk 2.99
Peanut Butter 3.49
Frozen Veggie Burgers 3.59
Chamomile Tea 3.29
Boullion Cubes 1.59
Water Chestnuts 0.99
Coconut Milk 1.39
Pasta Sauce 1.59
Almonds 3.2
Trail Mix 2.35

Coffee 4
Protein Powder 6
Free Bread 6
Produce from G-Non 15

Total:  $111.78

I generously estimated what coffee and protein powder cost me per week, and also the worth of some gifts from my grandma – day old bread she gets free from a place by her house, and a whole bunch of fruit, lots of which I froze for smoothies.

The following is what I ate for the week, Jane and Nathan generally have variations on the same, with more rice in place of all my salads!


-Coconut milk yogurt w/grape nuts & banana

-Spinach salad w/black beans, salsa, and avocado

-Watermelon & dried apricots

-Lentil Soup w/Kale

-Chia Pudding, rice cake w/peanut butter


-Oatmeal w/pb, flax, raspberries and some watermelon

-Lentil Soup w/avocado, then banana and cantaloupe

-Orange Tofu w/coconut lime rice & broccoli

-Chia pudding and some rice chex cereal


-Decaf soy latte (gift from grandma)

-Smoothie (generally banana, greens, celery, raw ginger, protein powder, some fresh or frozen fruit, ice, water)

-Quesadillas w/mashed black bean, spinach, salsa, avocado mixture

-Cucumber salad

-More quesadillas for dinner!

-Toast w/pb


-Oatmeal & yogurt w/nectarines & blueberries

-Quinoa & Beet Salad


-Toast w/pb

-Random dinner, I think Nathan and Jane ended up going to his mom’s:  Sauerkraut, bowl of grape nuts, chickpeas & rice, yogurt


-Cantaloupe, toast w/pb

-Spinach salad w/quinoa, chickpeas, avocado

-Stir fry w/brown rice, tofu, veggies, peanut sauce

-“Oatmeal Cookie” bowl (healthy almost sugar free dessert):  oatmeal, flax, banana, coconut, pb, cinnamon, touch of maple syrup & few chocolate chips.



-Waffles (we went to a local vegan brunch event – they make the waffles, everyone brings a topping, donation: $5)

-Chickpea/pasta/red sauce dish

-Veggie burger, salad w/quinoa, chickpeas, avocado

-Bowl cereal w/almonds & some chocolate chips


-Oatmeal & cantaloupe

-Scrambled eggs w/foraged morels (we chicken-sat for our neighbor’s backyard chickens so free eggs too!)

-Bowl grape nuts w/banana

-Salad & Veggie burger, leftover chickpeas/pasta/red sauce

-some almonds & crackers


What do you think?  Is this a lot different from how you eat, do you spend a lot on groceries?

Things are good.  We had our ultrasound last Friday, everything looks normal, and my blood test came back confirming I do not have Fifth Disease, which Jane had a couple weeks ago.  Common and harmless in children, but can cause complications in pregnancy, so was nervous about that for awhile.

This week’s belly pic – me making our “reveal” cake – the frosting was splattering all over, hence removal of shirt:

photo 2

G-non about to cut:

photo 2

And…  It’s a boy!

I truly wasn’t expecting or hoping for one or the other, but it was still surprising when they told us.  We’re really excited though.  I think I would’ve felt more comfortable/safer with a girl, but this is more exciting.  And I’m happy I’ll get to have one of each without feeling the pull of trying for a 3rd child!

On Sunday Nathan gave me a very nice Mother’s Day.  He took Jane to run errands in the morning so I could drink tea and read the paper in peace, then he started seeds for our garden (kale is already sprouting 4 days later!):


Then we went to his parents’ house and took the kids to the park, at least got a day of nice weather before another week of way below average temps in the 50’s.

photo 1

Otherwise, I think I’m in the sweet spot of pregnancy.  Appetite, energy, and sleep are good.  Not feeling too big, but this week I did notice it’s just a tiny bit more difficult to bend over and tie shoes.  Still have the almost every day itchy/leaky vag which is annoying but I guess not too bad in the grand scheme.  And the little boy has been kicking a lot and been more responsive when I push back, unfortunately always seems to stop when Nathan tries though.  Can’t believe he’s not even 1 lb. yet!  Check out this bicep, ha:




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