Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas

We had a lovely Christmas. My mom and brother got to come for a few days and we enjoyed hanging out. It was Paco's first time to Atlanta, but we didn't venture out much. They went to see the Hobbit one afternoon while I stayed with Natalie and we had a few great meals. My mom and I got to go shopping at the mall (took me almost 4 hours to find 2 shirts, 1 pair of pants, a skirt that don't make me look hugely fat). Micah and I even got to go out on a hot date while Natalie stayed with Grandma and Uncle Paco-we went to home depot and then ate at longhorn steakhouse. Woohoo!

Here are a bunch of pictures of present opening on Christmas morning, mainly for the benefit of the gift givers who weren't there...

Natalie opens up this giant present from Aunt Chere


Micah got me a new Yoga mat! It came with a strap and block, and even a dvd with a few short workouts led by a guy with a braid wearing nothing but a speedo. Alright!


Loving our new hats from Paco

Cookbook from Dad. Now Paco can learn a few... you know... AMERICAN dishes.

Natalie had a blast and really got the hang of opening presents.

Micah got me new measuring cups and spoons! This is so awesome. I cook and bake so much, but I'm so cheap I've just been getting by without most of my set (which have become broken or lost). Now I don't have to use a Robitussin medicine cup for measuring teaspoons! 


 Natalie was intrigued by the lacing beads from Aunt Darlene. I was ecstatic over the waffle iron she got me.

Eating pumpkin spice waffles the day after Christmas. Micah usually is much more good-looking in the morning that this photo suggests. Paco, too.

And another fun acquisition- this is what we got at Home Depot on our date. Finally! Shelves to organize our food storage! We don't have a kitchen pantry and our cupboards are pretty small. Previously, all of our pantry food was stored in 2 massive 45-gallon plastic tote buckets and stacked in the 2'x3' space under our HVAC unit. This shelf takes up less floor space than one of the totes, and easily holds all of our stuff with room to grow. And it's 1.73 billion times easier to get out what I need.
Now with the HVAC closet emptied, I can finally stow the vacuum somewhere out of site! It's also great overflow space for our increasing collection of kitchen appliances- the waffle maker, a deep fryer, a mini-smoker, and a casserole dish with temperature regulating carrier are just a few of the things that we've added this season.

 And, a moment of cuteness.
Tonight, I looked over from the kitchen and saw Natalie had climbed up to the table, where I had a candle burning. I was worried about her touching it, but she was just sitting there, calmly looking at it with her arms folded. When I asked what she was doing, she said, "thinking". Hahaha.

Tomorrow is Natalie's birthday. We will wait a few days to celebrate. Tomorrow will be day 3 of the 3-day potty training method, so maybe on Thursday or Friday we will celebrate. We plan to take her to see Frozen at the movie theaters- Micah has shown her the song, "Let it Go" and she loves it. We'll see how tomorrow goes and decide weather she's ready to leave the house!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Flu

The flu has reached the Jenkins household.

I began on Saturday morning with Micah. He was complaining of symptoms like headache and fatigue, so I wrote it off thinking that he just hadn't gotten enough sleep (a condition whose symptoms I am infinitely familiar with). But by that night he had a fever and decided not to come to church on Sunday (which was a bummer, since he was supposed to be in 3 choir numbers and a duet for Sacrament meeting that day). Monday morning he went to the hospital at 3am because he measured his temperature at 104.5 (it was 103.1 at intake. Still high, but I suspect our thermometer is not very accurate). He was dehydrated so they gave him IV fluids and took an xray to make sure his lungs were clear and sent him home with a bunch of prescriptions. Aside from pain relievers and nausea medicine, he was prescribed tamiflu, a medication for treating the flu that is experiencing a nation-wide shortage (which surprised me, since I have hardly heard of anyone getting the flu this year), so I got to call pharmacies all over town to find one that still had it in stock. So around Monday, Natalie was starting to get a little crazy, which I mainly attributed to not sleeping. She refuses to go to sleep at night and was up past 10pm on Saturday and then was up in the middle of the night Sunday to take Micah to the ER. Combined with short naps and constantly waking up through the night as usual, I assumed that she was just a sleepy grouch monster. But then she started to run a fever and have diarrhea and refuse to eat anything, so she had clearly contracted it. The past few days have been watch-TV-and-drink-fluids type days. Yesterday we gave Natalie too much milk before her nap (since she's not eating anything, she needs sustenance from something!) and when she got into her bed, she threw up all over Micah. It was a good thing that he was there to catch the majority of it on his chest and stomach, as it barely got on her bedding, pillows and stuffed animals. Now those would have been harder to clean up.Micah is pretty much better, though he still has a lingering cough. Natalie's fever is gone, but she still refuses to eat anything (except for candy and ice cream, which she begs for constantly) and is very unhappy that we no longer leave the TV on all day long for her. As I type, she is downstairs screaming and crying and throwing a tantrum repeating over and over "Natalie watch TV!!!!!!"

Here she is zoned out on the couch the other morning clutching her sippy cup of gatorade watching Winnie the Pooh



I am surprised that I didn't come down with it (knock on wood) since I didn't get a flu shot and have been sleeping with and tending to flu victims for several days. I attribute my success to several factors: 1) Good hygiene practices 2) Good luck 3) Good respiratory health from all the awesome old-person-yoga classes I've been attending. It's a good thing, too. My brother an Mom are coming over in 5 days, so that will give us plenty of time to declare our home germ-free.

Yesterday, I had the 20 week ultrasound. When my Dr. asked, "Do you want to know what it is?" my first thought was "Um... A human, I hope?" Turns out, I was right. There is a human growing inside me. The baby appears to have two arms and legs, ten fingers and toes, four heart chambers and one vagina. Which is good, since this child will receive nothing but pink hand-me-downs. And bad, as Micah will probably one day insist on having more children so that he can have a son. 

Today, I got to go to the dentist for the first time in 5 years. I was just getting a basic exam, but of course they told me that I am in need of a deep cleaning that costs about $900. I told them I would have to wait until I have dental insurance and they warned me not to wait very long or all of my teeth will fall out. Which sounds truly lame. Fortunately, thanks to my vigorous brushing, I do not have any cavities. Unfortunately, I am experiencing early gum recession due to brushing too vigorously. Dang it! I just can't win with this whole teeth thing!

I've done a bit of holiday baking, but I'm finding it difficult to get much done in the kitchen these days as Natalie demands to sit on the counter at all times (often when I'm not even in the kitchen doing anything). I try to give her constructive things to help with (e.g. pour the cup of flour in, separate the muffin liners) but she always ends up getting into stuff on the counters and then I have to put her down and she throws a massive hissy. And no one likes being around a massive hissy-thrower.


In other news, I recently bought some pomegranates. I really enjoy pomegranates. My earliest memory of them involved going in to my dad as he was away in some room watching a football game and being amazed by the simultaneous beauty and hideousness of this strange fruit that he was ripping into chunks and gnawing away at to get to the hundreds of little sacs of edible fruit. I have since taken for granted that this is how pomegranates are properly eaten. And thus, I do not eat them often because it takes at least 30 minutes and usually makes a big mess of staining juice all over hands, clothes, furniture and floor. Before we got out the pomegranates this year, I looked up some methods online. And, lo an behold, there are many superior methods. This one in particular seemed fast and easy, so we tried it.

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It took a few minutes, but then we had a fabulous bowl of pomegranate kernels to eat. Amazing. I could even feed them to Natalie one at a time on the couch without fear of a massive mess.

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Big One

Yesterday, I got asked the big question. You know, the one that parents across the world dread. I was caught off guard because I figured that it would be years before I had to come up with an appropriate answer. No, not "Where do babies come from?", nothing so trivial.

"What happened to the dinosaurs?"

And, no, it wasn't Natalie asking. It was Micah.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Smart Trade

Our friend's baby came over for a little while this week. I had her in the kitchen watching me get some food ready. Yes, I put children up on the counter- in a bumbo seat nonetheless. I am an unsafe parent. 

So anyway, the baby started whining and drooling and putting everything in her mouth, so I offered her a cold teething ring. Then Natalie woke up from her nap and came down to join us. She was a little irritated seeing her little buddy there with her teething ring, so she picked up a pack of kleenex from the counter and gave it to the baby and took the teething ring. Silly little stinker.


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Thanksgiving!

Last week, we got to enjoy a fun trip up to Wilmington, NC to celebrate Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, I didn't think to get my camera out very much. This one pretty much sums up Natalie's feelings about long drives.


We got to do a lot of fun things, but most importantly, Natalie got some time with her grandma and grandpa, as well as Paco and Gabby.


And pumpkin, of course.


We exchanged a few presents since some of us won't be seeing one another around Christmas. Natalie got a couple of fabulous toys, including a set of awesome dinosaurs that I have already stepped on twice. They are pointy and they hurt! But Natalie loves them and is having fun learning their different names. Some of them she knows from a book already, but some are new names. Like the dilophosaurus, aka that scary one with the neck flaps from Jurassic park. 


We saw Catching Fire, which was exciting. I liked it better than the first, but I still couldn't get over the fact that I don't like most of the lead actors. They're not horrible, I just feel like they don't fit the part well. Also, when Katniss screams, it's so annoying I want to punch her in the kidney. 

Micah took me on a date while Paco babysat one night. We shopped a bit (it was small business Saturday, afterall) before getting dinner at front street brewery. I had the most amazing pulled chicken nachos and Micah had their ribs again. I guess they're pretty good there? Then we took a carriage ride and looked at all the cute little historic downtown houses that are fun to look at but, seriously- who lives there?! I could not believe the prices of some of them. I am definitely not a urbanite at heart.Tiny old houses really close together make me shudder. I am currently reading a really interesting book about homes and the psychology of how we use them and how they affect us (Title: House Thinking). I am dreaming more and more of one day being in a house. Last month, we talked about the possibility of one day living in a more rural area. I always thought that Micah would have to get a job in a big city, since that's where engineering companies are, but apparently there are many national labs in the middle of nowhere that he could end up working at. I'm definitely not ready to assume farm life in the middle of nowhere, but I could definitely handle a big yard with a garden and a few chickens. That's all I really want. But anyway. Back to Thanksgiving.

I made cronuts. I had been dreaming of it ever since I read what they are. And they sounded amazing. The consensus after making them: eh, they're alright. Not much better than a donut. If I was one who waited in line for an hour to get one from the Manhattan bakery that sells them, I would be upset.

Also, I made texas roadhouse rolls for Thanksgiving dinner, but I left them in the fridge overnight between rises. They tasted amazing. From what I've read, allowing the yeast to develop over a longer period of time brings out more flavor. I'm pretty sure that's what we experienced and I may refrigerate dough more often! Especially since it allows you to make the dough whenever you feel like it (within a few days).

Those were most of our highlights. Hopefully I come up with some more pictures to show you all how cute Natalie is getting.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Cockroaches and Fleas. Life is Awesome.

Things have gotten cold around here! Awesome for nights when I want to snuggle up in a fleece blanket and sip some cocoa. Not so awesome that the local insect community has voted our condo the hot spot to hang for the winter. We have seem SO many cockroaches and spiders lately, I literally lie awake at night in fear.

The cold also seems to have induced this strange rash on Natalie's body and back. We first noticed it late last week, then it continued to get worse through Sunday. She woke up from her nap and was red and bumpy all over. The redness has passed, but the bumps remain. I've been rubbing her down with lotion and laundering everything. 

And yes, her hand is down her diaper. This is her usual stance.

We set up the Christmas tree and Natalie is in love with it. 


And Natalie can officially reach all areas of our kitchen counter. Nothing is safe. She usually goes for the dog treats. I've found her half a dozen times dumping them out in piles for the dogs to eat. Urgh.

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I had a date to meet up with a potential applicant for Nick today, but she was a no-show. She texted me hours later apologizing. It's going to be difficult to line up another meeting because of her crazy work schedule and the fact that she lives waaaaaaay far away. Today, I had to take Nick to a special vet that was 45 minutes away, so it was almost halfway to where she lived. The visit went great except.... they determined that he is completely blind. He may have an endocrine disease. But worst of all, they found evidence of fleas. I'm getting very frustrated with fleas-last month we were having problems with Sammy and it seemed to improve for a while but then in the past few days he's been back to scratching. Both dogs are on expensive preventatives, I give them flea baths regularly, I've been vacuuming and cleaning everything I can and they just can not seem to leave these poor dogs alone!


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Why Have I Not Done Yoga Before?

Natalie has been getting really smart lately. She is very interested in letters and numbers and colors and shapes. Her favorite letter is B, but she is also fond of identifying and asking you to write the letters P, F, Y, O, S, E and recently C, G and D. 
As she seeks out new adventures, she has to adapt some of her old toys to make them more challenging. Thus the socks on her hands as she maneuvers these beads....


Natalie mostly terrorizes and bullies the dogs and they spend their days trying to stay out of her way. But after breakfast this morning, I came upon this lovely scene of her petting Nick nice and soft.


Other items of recent news:

Natalie finally started staying in the nursery at the YMCA. For the longest time, I would drop her off and they would come and get me 15-20 minutes later because she wouldn't stop crying. Starting about 3 weeks ago, she would still cry when she went in, but then once they started showing her toys, she would stop and play. Now, she goes in and doesn't cry but stands against the wall for a little bit. Sooooooooo. This means I now get to go to classes! I went to Yoga last Monday because I felt a little too sore for the zumba class that I originally intended on attending and it was so awesome that I went back on Friday and went Monday and Friday this week. How have I never known how awesome Yoga is before?! I guess I've only ever done yoga moves as warm up stretches for other sports. My only other exposure was Micah doing P90x yoga, which was pretty crazy. So, this is my first time attending a live class and it's been so awesome. It's great for stretching and balance and building strength. I love that I don't feel out-of-breath and sweaty during the class, but I still feel like I'm pushing my body. I can definitely feel how much I used my muscles the morning after. I leave feeling relaxed and energized instead of nasty and exuasted. I feel like the instructors say very thoughtful things throughout the workout without getting too touchy-feely.  Like, they talk about love and gratitude and goals without getting too weird and spiritual, which I really appreciate. So, hopefully I can continue to enjoy that. I might even add Pilates on Wednesdays, since the zumba class I went to last Wednesday gave me a massive headache. Yay!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Natalie Loves Pumpkin Roll

Because even before it's made, she gets to go through two whole beater-lickings: one for the batter and one for the frosting. 





Monday, November 4, 2013

Copycat

Here's some footage of our Halloween spoils

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They say that you get a good, objective glimpse of what kind of parent you are when your child starts to model your behavior. Well, I caught Natalie this morning sweeping the kitchen floor. I must be awesome.
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Sunday, November 3, 2013

Couponing, Halloween, Ladybug Bed

I love Kroger and Target. But mostly, I love that Publix accepts their coupons as competitor's coupons so I can score major awesome deals like this haul from Thursday.

It may not seem like a ton because it wouldn't stack very easily to show it all, but it's almost $60 worth of groceries and I paid $2.18. The real cool part? At least half of it was fruits and veggies. It's easy to score a zillion bottles of free soy sauce, but when I can get a great deal on food that is actually nutritious, it makes me feel like I'm doing a good job as a mom.
The groceries included:
1 package celery
1 package spinach
1 package carrots
7 bags of frozen vegetables
1 bunch of bananas
4 cans of tomatoes
a bag of pears
2 cups of yogurt
1 jar peanut butter
2 dozen eggs
4 packages pierogies
10 protein bars

Natalie heartily approves



And, I had a cute video to share from halloween, but my battery died, so I'll have to post it later.
Basically, Natalie liked trick or treating a lot. Micah didn't want to take her to very many houses, but she was having fun, so he was lame and sat in the car for the latter half. Everyone was so happy to have her trick or treat at their house and gushed about how cute she was. I was worried that she would be too shy. She definitely wasn't her cute, smiley self, but she came out of her shell a little bit and said trick or treat and thank you, even though at times I was the only one who could hear her. Natalie did a lot of walking and I enjoyed the nice weather. It was shorts and t-shirt type weather. Yeah. And here it is November 3 and we still have to turn on the a/c in the afternoons. Ay, the south.

Anyway, she was definitely interested in the candy part. Here, she enjoys some chocolate before bed:


Speaking of bed, Natalie has not been having it. Like, any of it. A couple of days she protested taking a nap and was a nightmare at bedtime and as Micah went in for the zillionth time to quiet her down, she was hanging quite athletically from her crib, screaming her head off. So, the cage-submission-sleep-method that we have been going with is no longer going to work I guess. We already had a bed in her room, but we took her to pick out some bedding to finally make it "hers". She opted for this lovely pink-and-green ladybug motif (after I refused the disney princess garb because I think that they make bad role models) and so far we have spent two restless nights and fitful afternoons trying to get her to sleep in it. I'm pretty sure that if we just let her chose her sleep schedule, she would just never sleep. Which is a problem. 


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Orange+Oil=Candle

I saw this cool instructables on making candles and had to try it. Turns out it works! Good to know for next time I'm out of batteries and candles during a power outage but have some citrus fruit around. Okay, so its not really that practical, but it sure is neato!


And here Natalie shows off her pumpkin eatnpark cookie


Monday, October 21, 2013

Berry Patch Farms and Trunk or Treat

On Saturday, we got in our fall festivities by heading north to a farm in the morning and then attending our church's trunk or treat and chili cook off in the evening. 

Berry Patch Farms was small, but good. They had all the essentials- a hayride out to a pumpkin patch, some farm animals for Natalie to oogle at, and a stand where we could buy a hot dog and a fried raspberry pie. Mmmmm.





















Natalie's Halloween costume was handed down from my sister, who made it for her daughter when she was one. I got compliments on it all night and Natalie looked adorable.


First-time-ever post-pigtail hair messiness!