Wednesday, July 9, 2014

26 weeks, baby no. 2

the weeks are flying by!  i can't believe it's wednesday again and that we've ticked over to 26 weeks.  this past week we spent a goodly amount of time working on the house.  i got a few more boxes unpacked and am finally starting to find permanent places for things.  we had new appliances delivered on saturday, although through a mistake (times two) on best buy's behalf, we currently have a fridge residing in our living room.  they have now said it won't be installed until monday, much to our frustration.  at least we have the space to hold two fridges for the time being and that the old one is hanging in there for us to be using.


i was excited to return to baby boot camp classes this week.  ian and i took the month of june off from class to focus on packing and moving.  i did keep running, but i definitely missed going to class and working on the strength training.  we've been back twice so far and it's amazing how just one month off feels like ages when it comes to working out.  that first class back kicked my bum!  the second one was a lot better and i'm looking forward to going again next week.  things definitely require some modification, especially now there is a bigger bump in the way, but for the most part, i'm able to keep up just fine.  it's crazy to think how much more active i am this time around.  i could never have done this while pregnant with ian!


i had a midwife appointment recently and i'm happy to report everything looks great!  i worry at every appointment that those early preeclampsia signs will appear again, but my blood pressure is completely normal, still no swelling and my weight gain is actually within the normal range as well.  i feel much more relaxed about my health now, even with the early scare that something was wrong with my kidneys!  praise the lord that this baby is doing well and keeping me healthy too :)



dear little one,

this week has been busy, but also fairly normal in the scheme of things!  your big brother has been having some trouble sleeping, so you and i have been up to comfort him during the wee hours of the morning.  i love that he snuggles me in a big bear hug around my tummy to get comfy for sleeping.  the best is when you start kicking him!  he doesn't understand what that means yet, but i think it's pretty cool you are communicating with him already!  hopefully those kicks will be replaced with snuggles and kisses once you are here though ;)

this weekend you will be attending your first wedding!  your friend nell's uncle andrew is tying the knot with his lovely fiance, hannah, and we are looking forward to celebrating with them :)  hopefully mummy can find something semi flattering to wear and some comfy shoes.  it will be quite a long day, as we will be traveling to connecticut for the day, so please be on your best behavior and no kicking my bladder on those long car rides ;)

well, going to head to bed my little one and attempt to get some sleep.  between pregnancy insomnia and your brother's unsettled nights, it's becoming a rare thing around here!  we love you...stay safe and keep growing strong and healthy.

love, mummy

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

24 and 25 weeks, baby no. 2


i feel like this poor baby is getting left out on bump updates and ‘dear little one’ letters, but honest to goodness, last week i really couldn't blog.  i did take pictures of 24 weeks, but it was after an insanely long day of moving out of our house and crashing in a hotel for the night with no access to internet (unless we wanted to pay an arm and a leg to use it for an hour!).  i am so happy to have our new home with more space and a garden for the kids to play in, but moving while six months pregnant and taking care of a 20 month old is no picnic!  i was exhausted. 



the one thing i am super happy about is the lack of swelling i am experiencing this time around.  by this point in my pregnancy with ian the first signs of preeclampsia had set in (although i didn’t realize it at the time, as it was such a slow progression) and i was sporting some unsightly cankles and a ballooning face.  i am pleased to report that even on move out day when i spent all day on my feet in the 95 degree heat, i arrived at the hotel with the same size feet i started with in the morning!  this may seem like a strange thing to comment upon, but for me it’s a big deal. it is giving me hope that i may continue to have a normal pregnancy and not have to receive an induction at the end (or god forbid before!).  i’m also still able to comfortably wear my wedding rings, even in the high heat and humidity that the past few days have brought.  yay for baby number two helping me out ;)


so yes, 24 weeks saw us moving out of our first house and now at 25 weeks, we are settling in to our new one.  we moved only a short distance, one town over, but it still feels quite far when everything you own has to be boxed up and put on a truck.  i am quite proud to say that despite being increasingly more pregnant and taking care of ian all day, i still have managed to get all the main rooms in the house unpacked and livable.  it has been an exhausting week (not even yet!) and most days i fall into bed already asleep haha!


this little one is continuing to become more active, although as mentioned before, isn’t nearly as active as his or her brother was at this point (with which i’m totally ok).  we are still running and working out…heading for another 5k race at the beginning of august.  i’m proud of myself for still going and not using my pregnancy as an excuse to sit on my bum, although i know how lucky i am to be feeling like i can be up and exercising.  i am slightly bummed that it’s not helping with my weight gain however!  pretty sure i’m on track to overshoot the “expected” weight gain, as the textbooks tell us.  i do however, feel comfortable knowing that the weight isn’t from a lack of exercise or healthy eating.  i’m making good choices (most of the time…ignore the 4 girl scout cookies i ate while writing this post!) and i’m not swollen.  maybe i’m just one of those women who surpasses the anticipated average weight gain…who knows?!




dear little one,

these past couple of weeks have put your mummy through the ringer.  i’m completely exhausted and yet somehow, i just keep going.  i feel like dory from ‘finding nemo'…just keep going, just keep going.  of course, you have no idea what movies are yet, but someday when you are older, i will show you and your brother ‘finding nemo’ and then you will understand :)

your kicks and movements are getting so much stronger!  there are times when i just sit and stare at my tummy moving around vivaciously.  i can’t wait to meet you and see your tiny arms and legs in motion for myself.  you are getting pretty big in there too…average is about one and a half pounds by now and close to 14” long.  where is the time going?  only seven more inches and you’ll have caught up to your brother!  i often wonder whether you will be similar in size to ian or smaller (please don’t be any bigger!!!).  i also find myself spending time wondering whether you are a boy or a girl.  we have decided on a name for each (but won’t be sharing until you arrive) and i think about what your future might look like as my daughter with a big brother to protect you or as my baby boy with his big brother and best friend/partner-in-crime.  either way our lives are going to be so enriched by having you in this family and we can’t wait.

well i suppose mummy should get back to unpacking some more of those lovely “miscellaneous” boxes!  love you, little one.

love, mummy

Friday, June 20, 2014

we're moving!

i've been meaning to write a post about our latest announcement, but due to the nature of said announcement haven't got to posting!

we are moving house...in less than a week!

we have loved our home for the last three years.  it has been the perfect place for us to start our family, raise our son and enjoy our life together.  when we moved in three years ago, we knew this wouldn't be our forever home, but a great starting point.  with the impending arrival of baby no. 2, we decided to seriously start looking for something a little bigger with a yard and a driveway (after this winter we are done with on- street parking and snow bans!), as well as a solid school district for the children.

we were feeling quite discouraged after several months of searching and realizing what an expensive area of the country we reside in, however a delightful house popped on the market at the beginning of april and we knew it was the one for us.  we attended both open houses and met with a real estate agent to have our house assessed and move forwards with an offer.  after speaking with him, hubby was concerned that the budget was just a little too tight and would put us close to breaking point...not somewhere we want to be with a young family.  we said unfortunately we would not be putting in an offer and went back to life as normal.

fast forward three weeks and i'm still stalking the online listing and ogling over the photos.  hubby calls me during one of these such sessions and, without knowing what i'm doing, says he's been thinking about the finances and is thinking we should reconsider offering on the house.  long story short, we put in an offer, it was accepted and we put our own house on the market.  we received five offers after just two open houses with four above asking price!  our prayers were answered and we were really able to move forward with the puchase and sale of both properties.

since the beginning of may we have just been waiting for closing, originally scheduled for mid-july.  fortunately for us, everyone involved got their paperwork and financing through quickly and the closing date got moved up to june 26th.  i was away in ohio when this news came through, so i returned from our trip with three weeks to pack our whole house.  we are now five days away from the movers showing up.  we are coming a full circle and tying things up neatly with a bow and moving out on june 25th, exactly three years to the day when we moved in.  we will then close on both houses on the 26th and move in that afternoon.  by this time next week, i will be sitting on this very couch in our new living room.  i can't wait!

once we are settled and somewhat moved in, i will post pictures of the new place.  it is a home full of quirkiness and character and, while it is ready for us to move in, there is a lot to be done as well.  i'll be stalking home improvement and decor sites for the months to come, as well as blogging our adventures, i'm sure.  our main hope is to have the big ticket things taken care of before baby arrives in the fall.

stay tuned for more house updates :)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

23 weeks, baby no. 2

so i skipped a couple weeks...haha. 
 life got busy, pictures didn't get taken, but baby has been growing!


this week i ran another road race, the louise rosetti 5k, with the baby boot camp team.  i am a fan of the lovely purple team tanks for this year's race, although had to order a size up to accommodate my growing bump!


 i ran this race last year...my first race back after having ian (and several years off from running altogether) with the same team.  last year we all had babes in jogging strollers.  this year those toddlers hung out with their daddies, as many of us are pregnant with our seconds!  we had some fantastic mamas up front (not pregnant/no strollers) who got some awesome times.  i was only three minutes slower than my race time last year, although a good five or six than my best 5k back in december.  i figure i should allow myself some extra time these days ;)  


one final shout out for our boot camp team...we came in second place!  they tally the top seven times from each team (three of our seven are preggo) and we are pretty proud of ourselves :)  not bad for a bunch of mums!  i love being part of such a supportive and inspiring community of healthy mamas.



dear little one,

you've been on a growth spurt, munchkin...or else it's all the extra snacks i've been consuming to cope with feeling hungry 24/7 ;)  you are also getting quite active these days, although not as much as your big brother.  i never had a break from his kicking and back flips whether it was night or day.  you do seem to have sleepy times, especially during the daytime, but when you get going, i can definitely tell you are moving around!  your favorite time of day currently is about 10pm.

we made it through our first 5k together!  surprisingly you don't make me feel much different, with the exception of getting out of breath faster due to all the extra blood coursing around my veins.  it feels really good to be up and active during my pregnancy with you.  i hope that my healthy choices will be passed onto you at an early age and that you might someday come to love running as much as i do.

a funny thing happened this week that made me laugh.  i guess i hadn't realized how much you had grown when i reached across our kitchen counter top and knocked a glass of water over.  i couldn't figure out how it had happened since my arms had gone up into a cupboard to put some mugs away.  then it hit me that it was you that caused the ruckus!  i'm sure it won't be the last time ;)

love, mummy

Thursday, June 5, 2014

ian's first camping trip

as mentioned, ian and recently returned from a trip out to ohio to visit my family.  while we were there, we took advantage of my parents' camping set up and join them for a memorial day weekend camping trip.  i started camping at the ripe old age of six months and enjoyed going every year as a child while we lived in england.  unfortunately, camping in england is a bit different to camping in america (depending on where you live) and we never got to camping as a family in the u.s.  since my mum has taken over troop leader of my sister's girl scout troop, she has got back into camping and the rest of the family has followed suit.  they invited ian and i to join them and i felt it a perfect opportunity to introduce ian to the great outdoors :)  

i'll let the photos show you what we got up to...

first moments at camp...woke up at camp after falling asleep in the car on the way over the night before.  heading to set up his special camp chair with aunt olivia.

my brother's larvo (teepee shaped tent) was the home base for food and equipment storage.  my parents' asashi was our home for three nights...ian and i had the left tent, my parents, olivia and pepper (their beagle) had the right tent.  my brother tarp camped across the way with his own stuff.

early morning sunlight

someone was just a little chuffed that he had his own special camp chair...

and a table to boot!

but then he felt the need to recline in the grown up chairs...haha

pepper on her new doggie camp bed

ian was interested in my camera and took this picture by himself...no joke...it's one of the best ones i have of my brother!!

hanging out with grandpa before breakfast

snuggles with "uncle"

we took a brief respite from camp to attend "thomas' day out" thanks to my parents.  ian had an absolute blast, but also now thinks that visiting "choo choos" is what camping is all about!

checking out some other large vehicles with grandpa

buttons to push!!

pondering life from a tractor bucket

it's actually quite comfy once you get properly situated ;)

breakfast on sunday morning

practicing for the tightrope

just look at that handsome devil.  i declare there is nothing cuter than a little boy in tiny wellie boots!!

"where's ian?"

"is he hiding?"

"peekaboo!"

grandpa teaching ian about chopping wood.  20 months is old enough to use an ax right...?

grandpa in motion
disclaimer: above toddler was removed to a safe distance before any actual chopping occured!

my brother cooking on the open fire.  everything tasted amazing :)

ian playing with his new dump truck from grandma

"mum...my thumb is dirty...see?"

love this boy so much :)

it really was a fantastic weekend and i will remember it for years to come.  ian and i are extremely grateful to my parents and brother for allowing us to use all their gear.  i'm excited to someday get our own camping equipment and take our children on trips to make their own fond memories!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

19 and 20 weeks, baby no. 2

ian and i have just returned from a lovely holiday visiting my parents in ohio.  traveling with kids means leaving things like laptops etc. behind in order to fit in one extra book or cuddly toy, hence a lack of blogging once again :)  i was able to fit my camera in though and have lots of pictures and stories to blog.

let's start with a bump update!


19 weeks found us at the sheraton in boston.  it was the day before we flew out to ohio and we joined my dad at his hotel on the last day of his conference.  


oh the joy of a full length mirror!  i haven't had one since we moved into our house three years ago...haha!


i've been feeling pretty well...fortunately getting a respite from nausea and fatigue.  i still have days where i'm more tired than normal, but hey...i'm chasing a toddler around at the same time!  and as long as i stay on top of eating regularly, i am typically not feeling nauseous anymore.  thank goodness.

20 weeks found us at my parents' house after three nights of camping and two days of being ill.  boo.  i should clarify being ill was not the result of camping, haha, just unfortunate timing.  camping was extremely fun and both ian and i slept really well and enjoyed the days outside in the fresh air.  it was really refreshing after such a looooong winter to get some sun and wind.  


as you can probably tell from the 19 to 20 week pics above, this baby decided to grow while i was traveling (or perhaps it was all the yummy camp food cooked over an open fire!!).  either way, there is no denying a bump anymore.  i feel like i look 30 weeks pregnant instead of just 20, but yay for second pregnancies.  


anyway, we've made it halfway already.  it certainly has flown past for sure.  crazy to think the same amount of time again will mean baby's due date!  in the meantime we have lots of exciting things going on...more to come on that in a future post ;)


dear little one,

the past two weeks have been very full with traveling, camping, visiting your grandparents, aunts and uncles, as well as keeping up with your brother!  you went on your first camping trip and i can't wait to take you once you are born and can enjoy the sights and sounds for yourself.

you are currently kicking me and doing somersaults as i write this letter to you.  i love feeling your movements inside and remember how much i missed them after your big brother was born.  daddy felt you kick at 18 weeks, the very same day of pregnancy that ian made his presence known to him as well.  it was definitely a deja vu moment!  

as we've reached the halfway point, i find myself growing more impatient to meet you and find out who you are going to be.  having said that though, little one, i'm also quite nervous to be a mummy of two and am happy for you to be staying put for a good few more weeks still!  there are lots of preparations going on out here which will hopefully be done and dusted by the time you arrive.  i can't wait to show you the world and the family that you will be joining.

keep growing strong and healthy, my baby.

love, mummy

p.s. ian says "hi baby" :)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

baby bump debut, no. 2

 the bump is back!

i've been hiding under baggy shirts and sweaters for the past few weeks and finally decided to rock the bump :)  i also realized that my first baby bump post with ian was 18 weeks, so this worked out nicely.


most days i am so busy with everything else, that i actually forget that i'm pregnant.  well now the nausea and fatigue are mostly over, anyway!  it's definitely surreal to look at these pictures and compare them with my pics from ian's pregnancy.  can't quite believe we are doing this all again!!


i am pleased to report that over the past year i have successfully lost quite a bit of weight, workout almost every day of the week and am generally eating much better and healthier.  this is making a huge difference in this pregnancy.  i feel so much stronger (good when i'm lugging a 25-30lb toddler around with me!) and able-bodied.  i ran a 5k at 15 weeks and am currently training for another one in june.  it continues to amaze me what i can accomplish that i never would have been able to while pregnant with ian.  getting healthy has been a huge wake-up call for me and i'm so glad it was before this little one showed up on the radar :)


we have our 18 week ultrasound tomorrow afternoon and i'm looking forward to seeing baby again.  once more we won't be finding out the gender, as both hubby and i really enjoyed the moment after delivery upon discovering ian was a boy.  although it will be hard to wait, the reward is so sweet :)


now i just have figure out how crazy we are for actually going for no. 2!!!  
stay tuned for next week's update :)


dear little one, 

your big brother had the title of "dear baby" and while that is what you are, i wanted you to have your own letters, hence "little one"  :)

we were so excited to find out that you would be joining our little family.  our lives have changed tenfold since your big brother arrived and we know it will happen again once you are here.  i am enjoying this pregnancy with you so far, although you have proven a little more difficult than ian.  nausea, fatigue, early round ligament pain...i either didn't know of these with ian or didn't experience them until later.  

we have seen your little body and your heart beating away.  as soon as the technician pulled up the ultrasound image, ian pointed and said "baby"!  he also knows where you are and when asked where baby is, he will point to my tummy and repeat "baby".  last week he even said hi to you :)  hopefully he's as eager to say hi in october when you arrive!

i can't wait to see you again tomorrow.  a dear friend of mine had her adorable second daughter this past weekend and holding the teeny, swaddled baby made me realize how much i miss the newborn stage and brought a sudden wave of eagerness to meet you!  these next five months will be difficult waiting to meet you in person, so in the meantime i will enjoy feeling you kick and move around in my tummy.

i could go on and on with this letter, so i will sign off here for this week, but know how much you are already loved, little one.

love, mummy  

Thursday, April 24, 2014

petite lemon interview

as mentioned in our announcement post, we used a great company to personalize ian's t-shirt.  after finding petite lemon through instagram (@petite_lemon), i excitedly ordered ian's shirt for the big reveal.  i tagged them in our announcement photo and quickly heard back from jessica.  she loved the pictures of ian and invited me to be a part of a new series "in real life" on their blog.  i was happy to oblige and am able to share the link now the interview has gone live :)  most of you probably know my answers to their questions already, but i wanted to share my fifteen seconds of fame on the interwebs :)

you can find the blog post here...

and you can see the instagram post here.

among the big brother/big sister t-shirts, they also have tons of other adorable clothes and accessories for kids.  definitely check them out if you are in the market for something personalized.  i'm planning on getting sibling onesies/t-shirts for ian and our new bundle of joy for photographs once baby is born.

thanks for reading :)

Monday, April 21, 2014

i'm back...and with some happy news :)

hello blogosphere!

i cannot believe i've been gone since the beginning of february!  i had no intention of taking a respite, but i was sort of forced into one ;)  through february and march i was struggling to stay awake, feeling rather nauseous and generally run down.  it's all for a good reason though and i'll let my little man make the announcement...


that's right! our family of three is becoming four this october :)  we couldn't be more excited!  

we actually made the announcement public a couple of weeks ago, but i'm only just finding the time to get back to my little corner of the internet.  i adore the pics i was able to get of ian above and we just love his little "promotion" t-shirt.  i was happy to discover petite lemon through instagram and love all their personalized kids clothes and accessories.

i'm happy to say i'm starting to feel a little more energy and a little less nausea (thank goodness!) and i hope to be back to blogging more regularly.  i have a couple posts almost ready to go...ian's 18 month update and our recent easter celebrations.  plus i'm excited to be being included in a new interview series with petite lemon on their company blog.  link coming soon!

glad to be back for spring!  feels good :)

Sunday, January 26, 2014

lately

2014 is off to a good start :)

here's what we've been up to lately...

organizing the house.  i have the living room, kitchen and front hall completed...hubby's office is his territory ;)  i'm really proud to report that my kitchen has been clean, dishwasher running and coffee ready to brew every night before i go to bed.  it's such a satisfying feeling to come down in the morning to a clean kitchen and fresh pot of {decaf} coffee.


toy rotation.  i mentioned in my new year post that i implemented a toy rotation for ian.  it's been working brilliantly.  the first set he had access to really captured his focus and i actually saw him taking more time to work things out, being more imaginative and learning more about colors, shapes, sounds, etc.  we are onto rotation number two and i wish i had taken a pic of his face when he discovered the new "old" toys.  magical!



polar vortex.  it has been cold.  oh.so.cold.  a lovely polar vortex has been hanging out in our neck of the woods that has brought more negative temperatures than we've seen in the last two years combined!  we've had our fair share of snow as well, resulting in some lovely parking bans.  after the fourth one this year, we can't wait to someday own a house with a driveway (and maybe even a garage if we are lucky)!  in the meantime, hubby has been braving the cold to park the cars two blocks over and then shoveling out after the storm is over.  he's the best!


dogsitting.  for the past two weeks we've been taking care of my mother-in-law's pomeranian, nala.  my mil's job requires some weeks of nights, the last two being back to back, so we had nala to help out.  she made herself right at home in our kitchen and even wheedled me into giving her one our old pillows to sleep on!  she has definitely become part of the family.  ian has learned her name and must pet her no less than twenty times a day.  he has still been asking for her even though she went home this afternoon!  link enjoys her company as well and gets super mopey for the day after she leaves.  


crafting.  this month started out with making some reusable handkerchiefs for my mother-in-law.  she loves them and has given so many of hers away (mostly to hubby when he has his major allergy attacks when we visit) that she had mentioned she needed to make some more.  struggling with a sinus infection and starting two weeks of night work, i knew she needed them and probably wouldn't have time to make them.  got these whipped up in an evening (three plain, three with trim) and sent them up to maine.  she called me a couple days later to say her nose thanked me ;)

i've also joined a monthly crafting challenge through the blog crazy little projects.  each month amber is posting a couple options for entry into the monthly prize.  one in particular caught my eye, the pintuck pouch sponsored by simple simon and company.  it definitely isn't perfect, but i really love the fabric combo and the way it turned out.  i hope to make some more in the future.




food, glorious food.  we may have been out to breakfast a couple times this month.  debbie took us to thank us for watching nala and we met up with dan, becca and eliza on mlk jr. day.  i loooooove going out for breakfast.  everything is delicious and i always have a hard time choosing whether to go savory with eggs and toast or sweet with pancakes or french toast.  so many choices :)

hubby and i also got to go on a real.official.true date night this weekend.  dinner at legal seafoods (nom nom nom) followed by saving mr. banks at the movie theater.  we haven't been to a movie since the month before ian was born.  it was simply luxurious to have my husband to myself for seven whole hours.  we are parents 24/7 now, but it is great to take that couple time when you can and remember where it all started :)


my bff (how middle school am i?!) and i took matters into our own hands and decided we needed a girl's night out.  this past week we left the babies with their respective fathers for dinner and bedtime and took ourselves down to lynnfield to a new outdoor skating rink at the market street shopping center.  due to the almost negative temperatures (thanks polar vortex) the rink was completely empty and we looked like complete nutters, bundled to the nines and skating in the blustery cold.  becca is by far a better skater than i, but i did eventually get around the rink without holding on to the side!  following our skating adventure, we sauntered (yes, sauntered....no kiddos!) through whole foods, enjoying both a meal and a shopping trip.  i love my boy, but it was lovely to have a night off.



babysitting.  i am continuing with babysitting this year as a form of supplemental income (plus i just love hanging out with all the kiddos).  i have a young charge who comes to me twice a week and just this past month, i have started watching my goddaughter at her home while her mama teaches violin lessons.  it's a fun playdate for ian and i love having weekly time with this sweet little girlie.  sometimes hubby even swings by as we are still there when he finishes work just a couple miles down the road and is clearly the rockstar dad/uncle!  be still my maternal heart!

i also get the chance to be a back up babysitter for some of our other friends and this past week i got to hang out with another little gentlemen.  this little guy and ian are just two months apart in age and it's so fun to see them playing together after his mum and i went through our pregnancies together.  after he was finished hanging out at our place, we drove him over to meet his dad at work.  how cute are my two little passengers :)



little man.  i couldn't do a "lately" post without including an ian update!  almost sixteen months old, he's turning into such a little boy.  his language is picking up and every couple days he pops out with a new word.  

he was featured in a calendar for hubby's company.  all the smartbear babies, smartbabies if you will, had photos sent in wearing smartbear onesies and were placed according to their birth month.  his photo courtesy of his mummy :)

we've started on drawing recently as well.  he still mostly wants to eat the pencils and/or rip the paper, but sometimes we get some cute, scribbly drawings.  it's a great activity for a few minutes when i'm cooking or cleaning and need him to sit still (a rare occurrence!).

finally, the biggest announcement...he's sleeping through the night!  as in 11-12 hours solid without waking!!!!!  i cannot believe we are finally there.  once his four molars made their entrance, he's been great.  we are on night ten (yes, i'm still counting) and it's wonderful.  i knew six months ago when when we were getting up twelve times a night that this would eventually happen and it is such a sweet reward for all those nights of waiting it out.  hallelujah!






january has been a great month.  can't believe february is almost here!