Friday, July 11, 2014


So far today, I have put Sophie's PJs in the trash instead of the laundry basket, and the aluminum foil in the dishwasher instead of under the sink.

This is probably a pretty accurate stage setting for how the rest of my day is likely to go. Which isn't surprising, given the fact that Bryan stayed up with me until way too late watching "House" on Netflix.

He had initially suggested we go to bed early and only watch 1 episode instead of 2, and I had actually burst into tears. It suddenly hit me how much I had come to look forward all day to spending that time together in the evenings (which actually counts as QUALITY time, by the way, since we basically talk throughout anything we watch together. He'll tell you that I'm the one doing most of the talking, but that's only because he gets so involved, he doesn't actually remember speaking. No joke.). I had especially been looking forward to it that evening, since the night before, I'd been forced to put myself to bed early because I was so tired, the room had literally been SPINNING. (This has only happened to me once before in my life, when Jule, Annalisa and I went to South Bend for the Trinity at Greenlawn prom, and I pretty much didn't sleep the entire weekend. On the way home, I found myself gazing out the window at oscillating fields of corn... But I digress.) It's amazing how the thought of 2 episodes of "House" and a glass of wine with another adult can get you through the day when that is literally the only grown-up interaction you will be having all day every day (for the most part). The fact that that other adult happens to be Bryan is, of course, a bonus ;-).

So after my dramatic moment, Bryan suggested that he watch the baby while I take a shower (He knows that a shower that includes time to actually shave my legs is a much sought-after commodity in the life of Theresee) and then we finish watching that coveted second episode in bed on the iPad. That could not have sounded more amazing to me. When we had finished, he did the best thing he could have possibly done at that moment. He turned to me and said, "Wanna watch a third?" I started tearing up again, which is pathetic. But that is my life. Right now, that is. And honestly, it kinda feels nice to be in a place where life is so simple (albeit BUSY), that it doesn't take much to get me to cry happy tears.

Oh, and then he got up with Sophie this morning so that I could sleep an extra hour. God bless Bryan.

In complete other news, I just took BOTH girls to the park AT THE SAME TIME! This, coupled with the fact that last weekend we drove to OH and back, officially makes us experts. Feel free to ask our advice on all things parenting.

I'll leave you with a few of our latest and greatest. Happy weekend!

 One week old!
 Meeting GranDon

Grandma Cathy

This is becoming a thing around here... 


At least once a night I have to bring her into the bed with me in order to get her to fall back asleep. It's kinda annoying and also kinda adorable... 

Her new favorite game: Playing "washing" hands/dishes #notcomplaining

Watching fĂștbol  

The fam on the 4th at Atwood Lake in OH 


At the Rosenthals. Thanks to Auntie Sarah for the awesome pool! 

Our little firecracker with the great-grandmas 

Verity's 2-week appt - First outing with both girls! 


Monday, June 30, 2014

Confessions of a Second-Time Mom

I have a confession to make.

I'm bored.

I've been on Maternity Leave a whole week and a half, and I am going out of my mind bored. How did this happen?? For the past few months I've been bracing myself, preparing for this new baby to completely turn out lives upside down like the first one did. And now she's here, and dare I say it? Life feels pretty much the same. Yes, it's a whole lot cuter around here and I'm getting a lot less sleep, but other than that... well, it's like they say. All babies do is eat, sleep and poop. Not a whole lot for me to contribute there except to feed, cuddle and diaper.

After Sophie was born, I took five weeks of leave (extending my original four weeks) and it felt like I needed every minute of that time. Bryan was off work for the first two of those weeks, and the day he went back to work, I called my mom crying and made her come over because I didn't think I could handle being alone with the baby. The baby who ate, slept, pooped, and pretty much did nothing else. Today, after being home for a week, Bryan is going into the office for a half day, and I'm honestly relieved, not to get rid of him, but to be back in my pre-baby routine, if only for half a day. Today, for the first time in over a week, I got up with Sophie instead of sleeping in while Bryan or my in-laws took care of her. I got us both breakfast and checked my blogs like I used to do every morning (I say that like it's been months since I've done this instead of one week, because it feels like it's been that long!). The only thing different was that after Sophie was settled, I went upstairs to retrieve a still-sleeping Verity from her cradle and bring her down to the swing.

Granted, after Sophie was born, it (literally) took me longer to get back on my feet because I had stitches that took way too long to heal (This time I managed to completely avoid any stitching or tearing!! I'll tell you all about that excitement whenever I get around to writing Verity's birth story). I also had post-pardum depression, another thing I seem to have avoided this time around.

In thinking more about it, I think a major component in avoiding the post-pardum depression, and subsequently feeling a bit underwhelmed by the experience of going from one child to two, is the simple fact that I actually kinda know what I'm doing this time. I'm much more confident in my ability to care for this tiny creature, especially in comparison to the hell-on-wheels toddler I was already somehow managing to keep alive. I honestly can't tell whether she is an easy baby or Sophie was a difficult one, or if I was just inexperienced the first time around and more experienced this time. I'm sure the answer lies, as it usually does, in some happy medium between the two.

So that's all. I just wanted to give this space some love and sort of update you all on how we're doing over here. Which is bored. But that's OK, because bored is better than stitched up and depressed! Trust me on that one.

Allow me to leave you with this, your daily dose of adorable:

(Sophie calls her "Buddy". At least that's what it sounds like when she says it. Now I know why someone on one of the baby name forums suggested "Birdie" as a nickname for Verity "because that's how children pronounce it".)

Thursday, April 24, 2014


Nothing huge to report, today was just a really NICE day. 

Sophie and I ate breakfast together at the table for the first time (as opposed to her watching Baby Einstein from her high chair while I squeeze in a few extra Z's).

She entertained herself and actually let me get some laundry and other stuff done like bills and emails and placing some orders online (bumpers for the toddler bed... bittersweet!). Then she ate a nice healthy lunch of brown rice, chicken, veggies and pineapple (point for Mama!!).

After lunch she slept for a whopping 2.5 hours, long enough for me to get some lunch myself, finish up the laundry and take a nap. 

It was gorgeous out today, so we spent the rest of the day outside. First we took a long walk around town, which included a stop at the historic "little church" of St. John's. Then we stopped back home to check the mail, pick dandelions, and sidewalk chalk it up....

... Then it was time to cross the street to visit the park.

After that, it was dinner time, and she pleasantly surprised me by eating her SECOND healthy meal of the day! More brown rice, sausage, and lots and lots of veggies. I kept asking if she was all done and she repeatedly informed me that no, she wanted more VEGGIES. I am so doing something right. I wish I knew what it was so I could do it on purpose... 

ANYWAY, after dinner I got her into her new nightgown from Grandma Cathy, which happens to match her baby doll's nightgown...

I know, it's adorbs, right? And the baby is seriously life-sized as well. And it giggles. And drinks the bottle. Mind. Blown.

Sophie's vocabulary has seriously more than doubled over the past couple of weeks. Also, she has grown out of most of her clothes. We just upgraded to a toddler car seat and ordered a toddler mattress to go on her toddler bed. And she is wearing a NIGHTGOWN. Not footsie pajamas. A big girl nightgown. My baby is officially no more. Thank God we're having another one in a little over 8 weeks or I might get depressed.

That reminds me, I still owe the world a belly pic. Once again I am not properly attired (Trust me, you do not want to see any midriff from me right now). I promise to get on that STAT!

Monday, April 14, 2014

A Series of Sporadic Pauses

I think it's a little hilarious that I thought, in giving up Facebook for Lent, I would spend all that extra time focusing on my writing and discerning the future direction of my blogs. As if I had these designated chunks of time that I was dedicating to Facebook rather than a series of sporadic pauses peppered throughout my day. There isn't a whole lot of opportunity for productivity to be gleaned from a series of sporadic pauses. And those precious chunks of time, when they do occur, tend to be spent preoccupied with baby prepping. So while my blogs look more or less the same, I CAN, however, say that I have at least used more of that time for writing than I usually would, and therefore I consider my Lenten venture more or less a success!

Speaking of baby prepping... Yesterday officially marked 30 WEEKS! I honestly can't believe it. My brain has been preparing, but it really hasn't sunk in after all this time that there is actually going to be a baby in this house again. Another human being. We are going to be a family of four. When I think about the fact that, at the age my mother got married, I will have two children, it blows me away. In a good way =). God knows how many people struggle to conceive, how relatively short a time fertility lasts in a woman's life, how commonly miscarriages occur between pregnancies; and only he knows how many child-bearing years I have left ahead of me. And so I consider myself so, so blessed to have two already (almost), and so close in age at that.

(I wanted to post an updated belly pic, because I have truly gotten huge, but the ones I tried to take just now on my computer did not do it justice because my t-shirt covers it up, so I'll have to try again after I've secured a more competent wardrobe.)

On a completely different topic, Bryan and I recently failed as parents (for the first time, mind you) and broke down and gave Sophie her OWN PHONE. I know. I know. I played the ol' pregnancy card and complained about how much easier it is to keep her occupied by letting her play games on my phone (yes, she can do that, it's gross) since it's getting more and more difficult to chase her around, much less lift her. So we activated my old iPhone4 and promised ourselves it was just until the baby gets here.

Right. Check in later to see how THAT one goes...

It really is so much easier now though. I can lie on the couch like a beached whale without worrying about her climbing all over my stomach, which is like, her favorite thing, or whining to go out every five minutes like some dog with a UTI.

On the other hand, it is an AMAZING feeling for me to have gotten my kid to WILLINGLY consume fruits and vegetables on a regular basis for almost TWO WEEKS now!! I feel like a super hero. I pretty much literally think she is now going to be a brain surgeon, what with all the essential nutrients flowing through her veins. It is seriously too good to be true. Hopefully this kinda makes up for the whole "gave-my-18-month-old-her-own-iPhone" thing.

I told Bryan last night, "I just realized something. Someday our kids are going to be old enough to ask us why THEY have to eat fruits and vegetables when we don't. We are totally going to have to start eating that crap." Le sigh. Such is life. #firstworldproblems

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Only an Only Child

So it literally just occurred to me today as we were snuggling on the couch, that Sophie is only going to be an only child for three more months. Today marks trimester #3, by the way ;-).

Even though I'm pregnant, I've been suffering from major guilt over not being more active and getting more done around the house during the day (which shouldn't surprise anyone since I have a major guilt complex to begin with. If I didn't have this to feel guilty over, I'm sure I'd find something else). I think that since I know I'm a naturally lazy person, I am always paranoid about whether I'm being lazy, especially when it comes to my roles as a wife and mom. Even when I have a legit reason to take things easy, there's always that nagging feeling that I should be doing something. The realization that these were going to be our last few months with just she and I did wonders to relieve a lot of that guilt. After all, if I didn't spend this time with her, I know I would just feel guilty later for NOT spending more one-on-one time with her before the baby arrived.

Speaking of quality time, tomorrow we're getting in a good chunk of it (circa two hours) since I'm taking her with me when I get my glucose test done at the OB. I'm a tad nervous, but they have an amazing play area that will be completely new to her, and I figure if I get desperate I can always show her movies on my phone or let her run up and down the halls a bit... Stay tuned.

I'd forgotten how much the third trimester feels like the first trimester as far as the fatigue factor is concerned. Fortunately for me, Sophie seems to be going through some kind of a growth spurt and has been sleeping a lot more during the day (although she's also been sleeping a lot LESS at night, so I guess overall that isn't much of a plus).

Well, that's about it, just wanted to sneak in a quick update while I had a minute. That's a wrap!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Bangin' in Baltimore


For those of you who have no idea, I used to have bangs, and then I didn't. And now I have them again. So that's why they're back.

This is a totally gratuitous selfie, because it makes me look way more model-esque than I do in real life, but I can't help being proud of getting the lighting and the angle just right (no filter!).

This past weekend was my birthday weekend, and Bryan's folks came in town to hang out, which worked out great because he and I got to have a nice long date night since grandparents are the cheapest, most willing of babysitters.

While they were here, we spent Saturday at the Baltimore Aquarium, which we've been talking about doing literally since before we were married. We figured "Carpe Diem!" because if we waited until after baby #2 arrived, it probably wouldn't happen for another two years.

Check out the slideshow! (courtesy of the Disney Story app)

You guys, I forgot how much the third trimester B-L-O-W-S. Technically I am still a week away from that milestone, yet here I am, huge, and hugely uncomfortable to boot. I cannot, I CANNOT BELIEVE I still have FIFTEEN MORE WEEKS OF THIS BALONEY. Last night I was actually kept awake because I was being kicked in the pubic bone. I'm pretty sure babies have no business dropping that low until, oh, WEEK THIRTY-FIVE or so. Someone please tell this baby (s)he is approximately TEN WEEKS ahead of him/herself.

The only plus (and I have to admit, it's a pretty good one), is that I can feel so much more movement - lots of little feet and hands and elbows and knees (well actually, just two of each, ideally) serving as a blessed reminder that all this is leading up to someone truly spectacular.

I'm short but sweet tonight, folks, just like my trendy new bangs. Tune in next week to find out what other shenanigans we're getting into here at Rosenthal Central!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Say Something

I decided to give up Facebook for Lent again this year, partly because I'm a Facebook ADDICT, but this year, more specifically, so I would be forced to devote more time to blogging. So expect more posts over the next 40 days! Since I won't be sharing the links to my new posts on Facebook, I suggest you subscribe to this blog (and this one, if you so desire) so you know when a new post goes up. (You subscribe by scrolling to the very bottom of the homepage and clicking "Subscribe to: Posts".)

See what I did there? Nice plug, right?

My goal is to post at LEAST once every 2 weeks, preferably more like once a week.

I opted to give up Facebook, not because I spend so much time on there that I have none left over for blogging (That would actually be really sad), but because I've been reflecting and praying a lot about what my God-given talents are and how God wants me to use them. Writing is (or at least it was) probably the most notable of my gifts (it may actually be the only one of my gifts, but I refuse to give up the search for my less-notable talents just yet). Since college, however (OK, let's be honest -- since high school, since college gen-ed writing requirements are pretty much a joke), my skills in this area have been tragically underused. I was able to get through college exerting minimal literary effort and still received rave reviews on my writing abilities, if not always on the subject matter itself. I even re-used some of my high school essays.

Since college, I haven't had any jobs that called for much writing (and who does, right? Except maybe journalists).

I took up blogging as a way to get back into writing since I found that I missed it (It's one of those activities that gets me "in the zone", that's how I know I love it). I was uncomfortably startled to realize how much anxiety it caused me. In grade school and high school I journaled almost daily without giving it a thought. In high school and the beginning of college I had a blog that I maintained for a while, and I never stressed about what I was writing or how I was writing it. I now realize that this was because I was still used to writing. Now I am miserably out of practice and find myself staring at what I've just written and thinking, "Does that sound like me? Is that too generic? There has to be a more creative way of saying that. But then it isn't ME if I'm trying to hard, right? Or no??" and on and on until I've worked myself up into an actual FEAR of something I used to love so much.

To get back to Facebook… it is so easy to use Facebook as a substitute-blog. That would be fine if it didn't come at the expense of honing a talent that God gave me, one that he wouldn't have given me if he didn't want me to use it. I've fallen into the habit of tossing out status updates instead of sitting down and taking the time to really say something.

But practice makes progress, so over the next 40 days, I am purposing to get writing back in my life, dammit! And if that means banging out a hundred crappy posts before I'm finally warmed up enough to write something solid, that's OK. It's part of my journey. And it will be a good lesson in patience, discipline, and humility -- all things that God knows I need a lot more of.

I'm hoping that along the way, I'm able to figure out exactly what I want this whole thing to look like. Right now I have two blogs - this one, where I post more general, family-oriented updates, and one for my thoughts on religion, politics, etc. A post like this one almost seems to fall into a third category though, because it isn't exactly a family update, but it isn't a social commentary either. Does that mean I need a third blog that's like, my journal? That would be a bit much. Can I combine one or more of these concepts into a single blog? Hopefully, the more I write, the clearer the answer will become. Hopefully I will realize I'm more passionate about one than the others. Or maybe Facebook will just become the place for family updates and the blogs will encompass everything else. We shall see.

Speaking of family updates though, I feel like you all deserve one since it's been quite a while.

First (drumroll, please)… A BELLY PHOTO!! Approaching 25 weeks, baby…

Also, it turns out my due date is JUNE 22nd, NOT June 24th as I was first told. The sooner the better!

I'm feeling really good. The baby is moving a lot and everything looks great. I'm just praying that this little one doesn't have Sophie's crazy energy level. Mama needs a breeeeeak!

Tomorrow I will be 29 years old. I'm trying not to be totally vain and dwell on the fact that this will be my last year as a twenty-something. It's not like turning 30 is going to magically turn me into a completely different person overnight. But there is still this sense of finality and the end of an era. Although of course that means the beginning of a new era (Actually, it's already begun) -- one that, despite my quarter-life crisis, I am very much looking forward to!

That about wraps it. I'm off to execute a MUCH overdue hair coloring. Tune in next week to see the results!

Friday, January 31, 2014

An Ode to Bryan: Happy Birthday!

Dear Bryan,

As you may recall, every couple of  years or so I like to write you a letter telling you why you are wonderful so that you know I still like you. The only difference is this year, I have a blog ;-).

I figure your birthday is a particularly appropriate time for the next installment, especially this one, since this year we will have been together FIVE YEARS. Wow. I don't know that I've ever stuck with anything for five years voluntarily, except maybe college.

So that being said, let me get right down to business...

I love you because you don't let yourself get worked up over the kind of stuff some of us (cough, cough) get worked up over, like politics, religion, and difficult people. Though I know you get irritated, you don't lose your sh*t (pardon my punctuation) - you don't let it steal your peace. I cannot tell you how much I admire you for that and wish I were more like you in that way. You can usually manage to talk me down at least a little when I start to lose it over one of these things, which I greatly appreciate!

I also think you are awesome for carrying this mindset over into your work. As you once pointed out to me, people generally don't ask to see the manager because they are happy. As a manager, your job largely consists of dealing with unhappy, angry, rude, condescending, demanding, even violent people. And you have to smile and be Johnny Flipping Sunshine through it all, explaining to the millionth person why they should ALWAYS PURCHASE APPLE CARE and apologizing for things that aren't your fault.

I. have. no. idea. how. you. do. it. 

  (See? Johnny Flipping Sunshine.)

Literally. It takes so much strength and self-control to wake up and be you every day. To me, you are so brave.

Then you come home after being on your feet all day and serve Sophie and I when I'm sure all you want to do is dump your pent-up frustrations from work. You make it a point to take on the particularly unpleasant tasks that you know I hate doing, like cleaning the bathroom and changing diapers, as well as some fun/creative ones that just make my life more awesome in general.

(Remember the time you re-painted and re-upholstered all the dining room chairs while I was out of town? Awesome.)

(And the time you surprised me by stringing white Christmas lights behind the headboard just like I told you I'd always dreamed of?)

When we first brought Sophie home and I was struggling with postpartum depression, you did every diaper change for at least the first week. I remember being afraid that she would bond more with you than with me, which was probably a very real possibility! Luckily we pulled through that dark time because you were there to do all the chores, run all the errands, and, on a few crucial nights, take on all the feedings for 8 hours straight so that I could rest. I felt your love for both your girls so palpably through that whole ordeal. You take such good care of us.

Can I talk for a minute about what an amazing father you are? I've trolled a lot of "mommy forums", blogs, and Facebook posts, and believe you me (and I almost hesitate to tell you this), you are the pick of the litter where dads are concerned. You are so involved in every aspect of parenting. For you, there are very few things that only a mom is supposed to do. It's so obvious that you love being a father. Watching you and Sophie interact brings me some of my best happiness.

I remember this Facebook app that would ask you to compare random friends; stuff like, "Who is funnier, John Smith or Jane Brown?" This one time, it asked me, "Who would be a better father, (insert name of person I was currently dating) or (insert random other guy friend)?" And I was uncomfortably startled to realize, that I genuinely believed that random-other-guy-friend, whom I'd literally met twice, would make a better father. I never forgot that, because I realized in that moment how important it was to me to believe in my heart that NO ONE in the world would make a better father than the man I married. One of the first things I thought to myself when I first met you was that I'd never met anyone I thought would make a better father. That's the truth, and it hasn't changed.

Did I mention that you are embarrassingly good looking? Like, seriously, you should probably be ashamed of yourself. 

I have a bunch of other notes scribbled down about a dozen other things that I could say about you, (you make me feel beautiful, you are so wise, you pick your battles, you make me laugh...) but I don't want to cheapen what I've already said by making this a million scrolls long.

Let me just end by saying that, as corny as it sounds, the main thing I love about you would probably have to be that "certain something" that cannot be described. I have no idea what it is, but it makes me absolutely sure of one thing:

I could not do this with anyone else. 



Nor would I ever want to.

Whatever "it" is, it made me IM my good friend Becca the morning after we met with, "I met the man I'm going to marry. Don't tell anyone I said that though."

(Remember the night we met? Awesome.)

I can't wait to have a million more babies with you, then retire so we can travel the world together without them ;-).

Happy Birthday, love.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Kiddie Games & Mommy Guilt

I have a terrible confession to make…

I kinda hate playing with my kid.

Doesn't that just sound awful? But it's true! I can't stand it! I try, I really do. Every now and then I'll realize that I haven't played with her recently and feel guilty about it. Cuz sometimes I feel like she needs help, ya know? Like, I think she forgets that certain toys are there, even though they are literally RIGHT THERE. Or that she forgets HOW to play with them. I feel that in order to be a good mom, I need to remind her of these things, because as I am so often reminded myself, play is her work, right? I need to help her grow and develop!

So I'll amble on over to her little play corner where she's sort of paused and is gazing blankly at the same toy she's been playing with for roughly three or four days now, and attempt to shake things up.

This is going to be fun! We are going to bond and make memories and it is going to be freaking magical!

This is when my first stumbling block presents itself. Not having been 14 months old for almost 28 years now, I stare into her toy bin and find that I can't think of anything to do with these things. How many times can you stack and unstack that ring-stacker-thingy? What exactly is the function of a stuffed Nemo fish? How many phone calls can you make on one of those old school Fisher Price phones with the googley eyes before it gets old?

Turns out, she could do these things over and over and over and over. Me, on the other hand… not so much. Not at all. After just a few repetitions, I am SO. OVER. playtime.

It's not just that that I find it mind-numbingly dull, which I do. But I cannot, for the life of me, see how alternating dropping the square peg into the square hole and the round peg into the round one forty-seven times in a row is actually teaching her anything. My brain knows she is learning, but I can't get myself to feel like she is, and so this overwhelming feeling of purposelessness hops on top of my boredom, and the combined weight is something I can stand for about five minutes before I want to run.

I thank God every day that Baby #2 is en route to relieve me of playtime duty.

I realize this is incredibly selfish, and I feel like I need to try to redeem myself by clarifying that I love talking to her and reading to her and spending time with her in general. I enjoy her company more than pretty much anyone else's. It isn't her I can't stand, it's the kiddie games. So maybe it's just that I'm more of a books person than a games person? That's how I was as a kid.

Still, is this terrible? Weird? Does anyone out there have any idea what I'm talking about??

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Christmas in Photos

Well, I think I actually accomplished it this year. By starting early and ending late, I actually managed to cram so much of Christmas into the past two months that I am officially OVER CHRISTMAS. There. I said it. But this is actually a very good thing, because it means my Christmas tank got filled to the brim, which hasn't happened in many years. And while I've come to accept the fact that Christmas will never hold the same magic and wonder that it did when I was a kid, that's OK. Having one of my own brought a little bit of that magic back this year, and I can only hope that each new addition to our family will come with just a little bit more. 

So without further ado, I give you, Christmas in photos...

(Heading to the Leesburg Christmas parade with Dalgettys)

(Stocking up on salt before the big storm)

(First time in the snow!)

(Santa came to the POP Christmas party!)

(Bryan's fan came in town the weekend before Christmas to celebrate...)

(… and brought some awesome gifts!)
(Christmas Eve: "The Night Before Christmas", "Home Alone", and takeout Thai)

(Christmas morning: Baking Grandmom McNichol's famous Cornflake Cookies and watching "A Christmas Story")

(Christmas afternoon/evening at the McNichol house)

(My favorite gifts this year: Adorable slouchy hat that Bryan surprised me with and the ankle boots I wanted sooooo badly!)

(Annual "Day After" celebration with the extended McNichol family in Philly)

("This guy is everywhere…!")

(These have been in the family for years and years. SO. COOL.)

(Cousins' White Elephant exchange)

Happy close of the holiday season from our family to yours!