this time around.

Hello hello! It's me again... Every time I open my blog dashboard, I get that pang to pour my heart out. However, when I look at my watch, I am losing the battle to time and those words often stay bottled in my head. Real life takes priority, which is something I committed myself to long ago. That said, I miss my little corner of the internet and I promise to continue popping in as often as I can. Now onto the real point of this post: a little introspection on this pregnancy vs. my last pregnancy...

Chasing a toddler (or other children) was rumored to make subsequent pregnancies go by in a flash. I agree with this rumor 90% of the time. (The other 10%? The epic sick days which seem to last an eternity.) I remember back to this time in my pregnancy with {jv} and think of the quiet walks I'd spend dreaming of what life with a little one would be like. With this pregnancy, I certainly don't have the same amount of time for reflection. In some ways, it makes it easier: I'm not second guessing myself or worrying about things the way I did with {jv}. In others, I ache for the quiet to appreciate this extremely special time even more.

{cv} and I took advantage of the warmer weather this weekend and went on a long walk with {jv} down by the water, not far from our house. We made this walk a fair bit last summer -- and I anticipate doing this walk often once the new baby arrives in June. It reminded me of the days when I was pregnant with {jv} when we would stroll leisurely and catch glimpses of other parents pushing strollers. We would talk about what life would be like once we had our own stroller to push. On our walk this weekend, we had a similar conversation -- except it involved how life would evolve when {jv} becomes a big brother in just a few months.

Last week, {jv} cycled into his fifth ear infection of the season (paired with a nasty case of bronchiolitis). Having a sick child has a way of really making you feel like a parent. I watched his little chest rise and fall, remembering those early newborn days when I would do the same. For once, he was willing to snuggle and I felt the weight of his little body, so much heavier than it was 14 months ago. During these sick days, I found myself barely being able to focus on this pregnancy -- other than my daily prenatal vitamins. I certainly felt the baby moving and shaking, but my main concern was getting {jv} back to 100%. (A week into treatment, he finally seems to have turned a corner... or so we hope!)

If this pregnancy has taught me anything, it's this: I'm doing the best I can. Anticipating the new baby's arrival in June, I cherish the kicks and jabs from this new life. I feel just as connected to this little one as I did with {jv} but in a very different way. I have a better idea of what to expect this time around -- and feel more tied to this child because of it. This sweet baby is sure to bring his or her own light to our daily lives, just like {jv} did when he made his entrance. I cannot wait to see how he or she fits into our family (and how {jv} embraces his new role). 

Nearly 26 weeks into this pregnancy, there are definitely fewer "bumpies". However, there are more board books to read, more diapers to change, and more milestones to appreciate. Because of the joy {jv} has given to our family, there is also much more anticipation of what's to come. My heart may actually explode, come June. Until then, I will treasure those moments when {jv} crawls in my lap to read a book before bed -- and I simultaneously feel baby #2 give a little kick, as if to say "we're all here". I cannot wait until he or she is actually here...  

Here's to another week and hopefully some Trader Joe's tulips. xoxo {av}

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eight treats for your valentine (or galentine).

eight tasty treats for your valentine (or galentine).
Clockwise from top left: Lofthouse Style Sugar Cookies via Cooking Classy / Heart Pancakes via Two Peas & Their Pod / Baked Chocolate Cherry Doughnut Hearts via Making Nice in the Midwest / Conversation Heart Cakes via Studio DIY / Double Heart Cookies via Baked Bree / Salty Chocolate Peanut Butter Hearts via Dessert for Two / Heart Skewers via Style Me Pretty / Conversation Heart Bark via Life, Love & Sugar

With Valentine's Day only a few days away, I have been searching for ways to bring some heart-filled cheer into our corner of the world. Whether you're whipping something up for your valentine (or your galentine), these eight options are sure to bring some smiles. From healthy options (like these heart skewers) to sweet treats (cookies, doughnuts, and cakes, oh my!), I made it my mission to find a little something for everyone. I know both men in my life would love these heart pancakes on Valentine's morning. I see lots of tasty goodness in our future...

Do you have any favorite treats on your menu for Valentine's Day this year? xoxo {av}

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