Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Potty Princess

As of yesterday, Natalie is the proud owner of 21 new pairs of big girl panties. She has, in about 28 hours, soiled over half of them. But that's okay! It's all part of the process.

After reading about a number of different methods, I've decided to just take this slowly and easily and be okay with taking a step back and trying again later if it's not working out. I'm okay with her being in diapers sometimes, but I'm giving her more opportunities to get in tune with her bodily functions. 

I try to let her be bare-bottomed as much as I can. And there has been some progress. She used to be horrible- if we ever let her get away without a diaper, she would (seemingly deliberately) pee on the floor, watching with interest as she made a little dark splotch on the carpet. Now, she's comfortable with it and I feel like we can trust her a little more. Plus, I'm keeping track of when she goes so I can predict more accurately when/if she has to go. She loves to climb up into our bed  and snuggle naked whenever she gets a chance.

This morning was AWFUL. Before 8:30, she had already had 2 accidents. I went to aerobics and had her in panties and training pants and she did fine. But she (understandably) doesn't like going on public toilets, so by the time we got to the library, she was full. She unloaded approximately one gallon of urine onto me as I held her on my hip. All other stops were cancelled and we went straight home to shower. Fortunately, we did snag a nice video at the library called "Elmo's Potty Time", which she watched with great interest:

She had 2 more accidents before nap time and I was feeling very frustrated.

This afternoon went much better and gave me hope. When she woke up from her nap around 3, I put her in panties and training pants and she stayed clean and dry pretty much until 8. And even then, it was during nakey time before bed and she had the courtesy to poop on the plastic sheet laid out in front of the TV.

We checked out 2 books from the library and have several more on hold. They help a lot. When I want her to try to go, she doesn't want to stop what she's doing. But if I offer to read her one of her potty books, she's much happier to come to the bathroom and sit.

Last night, Micah cleaned off a sweet kitchen set that someone had thrown out by the dumpster. Natalie LOVES it (as evidenced by the 2 accidents that she had on the floor right in front of it- she just couldn't pull herself away!) and I wish we had several more rooms to hold toys because the more we get the happier she is. 

So, if you've read all of these details, I'm very impressed. You must have a deeply rooted interest in the eliminatory success of our child, and I thank you. Or if, more likely, you've been skimming, looking for the summary and uplifting conclusion, here it is: Some moments are up, some are down, but we are plowing through and I've lined up a friend with a carpet cleaner.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

That One Time We Went on a Cruise

We returned yesterday from our cruise. I've gotta say- I was disappointed. Partly because it rained 75% of the time. Partly because Micah was in a bad mood 95% of the time. Together, these factors made for a less-than-enjoyable vacation, and likely would have no matter what type of vacation we had chosen to go on. Still, I can see how a cruise could be one of the greatest vacations ever if:
1.) You had good weather
2.) You had pleasant companionship
3.) You had anywhere from a few to a few hundred $ to spare on extras
As it was, I was determined not to spend ANY money on extras. We even left the 'do not disturb' sign on the door for the first 3 days (and removed it only then because it got lost) so that I would feel okay about paying less than the standard gratuity for our room steward.

Here's a list of the activities that occupied us for 4 days:
1.) sitting/laying around
2.) swimming
3.) organized entertainment (shows/games)
4.) eating
5.) walking around

 I was glad to have a cocktail dress to wear to the formal dinner, thanks to Darlene.

Our second day was supposed to be a stop at cococay, a fabulous private island where we would enjoy a nice, relaxing beach day. Unfortunately, it was storming so badly that we didn't get off the boat and by late morning the boat left the island since the storm was too rough for passengers to safely get from the boat to the island anyway.

Nassau was pretty gross. I wish we had done an excursion, like scuba diving or zip lining in the jungle. Instead, we walked around in the rain for a few hours, taking in the not-so-impressive sights. This is parliament square- all the government buildings are pink, concrete and have rats running around outside them.
 This is the queen's staircase, a massive alley and staircase cut out of solid limestone by slaves. It took 17 years to complete and leads up to one of the forts. It pools easily in rain.

 After seeing more than we cared to in Nassau, we returned to the boat for lunch and then began a trek by foot over the bridge to Paradise Island, where we hoped to lay on the beach, despite the rain. Because we came on this vacation to lay on the beach and by darned we were gonna lay on the beach!
On the Bridge

 View of the warf from the bridge. Our ship is on the far left.

This monstrosity is Atlantis, a resort that owns most of the island. Due to the large amount of privately owned beach front, we were walking almost 2 hours before we finally got to a beach. Fortunately, the rain had stopped.

I wasn't super impressed with the beach, but the water was warm and clear. And the waves came up strong and unexpectedly.

 A lovely sunset as we took a romantic stroll along a gross, stinky pier.

Towel pig left by our room steward

The best food was definitely the dinners in the formal dining room. Though, it took way to long. Here, Micah makes sculpture as we wait on our food.

Altogether, glad to be back. Somewhat decompressed, somewhat turned off from the idea of ever taking a vacation again.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Look What I Can Do!

Making that horrible nails-on-chalkboard sound with a fork on a plate

Making farting noises with my mouth

Friday, July 12, 2013


Natalie enjoyed a fabulous morning. When I went to the store, where I let her gnaw on a candy bar (in its wrapper) while we shopped. She managed to get it open, so I just let her finish it on the back porch when we got home, where she promptly compounded the mess by playing in the sand and then coloring herself and the entire patio with chalk.

"Mom?! Why won't you hold me?"

Here's what I got for $8.40 yesterday at Publix. I saw some of the girl scout cookie nestle crunch candy bars on clearance while I was there, so I had to return this morning with proper coupons to score 14 of those for free, along with 11 more free tubs of butter and another 2 free pilsbury biscuits. Had coupons for 10 more, but they were out :(

Daddy tried to teach Natalie about the coolness of forts. She liked it okay after a while.

So, I ended up booking a cruise last Monday and we leave on Monday. I think that the tropical storm Chantel was making it hard for them to fill the last spots on cruises for this week. So, by chatting with someone and asking the right question, I was finally able to get a really good (unadvertised) rate. I have been so excited all week, shopping, checking out books from the library and packing. Micah, as usual, might think about preparing for the trip the night before. Natalie will be staying with Micah's parents from Monday through Friday. I will miss her and I'm sure I will be worried without being able to call and check on her much, but it will be immensely relaxing to have a break from her also. I am just so excited to have a chance to do nothing. I've been researching the ports of call we'll be visiting, but don't think we'll even do much when we stop. I might consider shelling out some cash to scuba dive or something once-in-a-lifetime like that, but Micah won't go in the water because he's scared of sharks. So, I guess we'll just be strolling the cities a bit but spending most of our time on the ship eating, sleeping, relaxing and preparing to eat, sleep or relax :)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Bye, Bye Binkie!

A few days ago, I took away Natalie's pacifier. She had started asking for it by name, so I figured I had better make it disappear before she became too dependent upon it. Since, it has been a little harder to get her to settle down for bedtime, but we're working through it. I'm suddenly realizing how much braces cost and taking all the preventable steps to avoid dental misalignment.

We're also kicking it up a notch in our semi-potty training with Natalie. We got an awesome toilet seat from Lowe's that has a child seat adapter that folds between the lid and seat. It's super easy to clean and use and Natalie loves it. So, we've been having her sit on it a few times a day all week, then on Friday night, she started pointing to the bathroom to show that she had to go. She also has begun trying to take off her diaper when it's wet. These are a few signs that a child might be ready to begin potty-training. The problem is that even if she may sometimes recognize when she has to go, I'm not sure that she can hold it yet. Right now I'm just trying to let her try every 30 minutes-hour throughout the day, and if she goes in her diaper, that's fine. No pressure. But she goes on the potty at least 3-5 times for each time she goes in her diaper, which seems pretty good to me.

In other news, we're trying to go on a cruise with the extra money from Micah's fellowship increase that they applied retroactively. Hoping to score a last minute deal, though it seems like 60 days out is the best time to get a low price. Micah's adviser will be gone for the rest of July and I'm still vaguely hoping that the after-school program will be offering me a job, so we would prefer do it sooner rather than later. Micah's parents are already on board to babysit, so if I find a good price in the next few days, I will totally book it. We'll see.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Summer Goings-On

Several things to report: 

First off, it's Friday. Which is usually very exciting, except that I had a job interview last week and they said they would definitely be getting back to me this week and they haven't. Grrr. I still have some hope that they want me, they are just busy. It would be teaching art at an after school program once a week.

In other news, it's been outrageously rainy here. It's been awful, because rain always drives bugs inside- I had gone a while without any indoor pest problems, but in the last 2 days, I have seen multiple cockroaches, ants and spiders, an earwig and even a big, wiggly earthworm. DISGUSTING! I had just spread diatomacheous earth around the perimeter of the carpet and as the latest rains began, the powder got wet in the sill of our floor-to-ceiling window beside the back door. So, now we know that water is getting in through that crack, and if water can get in, bugs can probably get in. So, once it dries out, we will caulk that baby up and hopefully diminish our bug issues in the future.Though, looking at the 10-day forecast, we won't have a day without showers until next Saturday, so it may take a while. So- all this rain- it's a bummer because we're stuck inside all the time. But it is keeping the temperatures very mild and doing great things for our plants. I just re-potted the rhododendron that Micah got me for mother's day and got a tomato plant for our patio. I know it's a bit late, but the first frost here may not be until December, so I'll bet I can still get some fruit out of it. If it ever gets sunshine, that is. We just collected basil last weekend from our little garden at Micah's parents' house and the zucchini plants were doing great, with a handful of flowers. My sisters' sentiments about her garden echoed true to me. I wish we had invested in greater variety, for sure.

I caught this pansy as the flower was just beginning to open and took a few nice pictures. I am thinking of submitting a print of this one to the non-curated art show next week instead of one of my paintings. What do you think?

So, her eyes look a little funny here because of the reflection of the camera in her eyes, but I love how you can see the little beauty mark by her bottom lip.

I always find it funny when I miserably fail to nurture a plant despite very deliberate effort (2 sweet peas, 6 creeping thyme and 1 lavender bush killed so far this year), then find something like THIS. Some clover had the audacity to grow right out of the brick on the side of our house.
As if to say, "Hey! It's not that hard for a plant to live! What are you doing wrong?" Urgh. And don't even get me started on all the grass that keeps popping up in our patio from fallen birdseed.

The saddest part about all this rain is that Natalie has been missing out on some major pool time.
Here she is all decked out in her gear. 
I recorded this because I thought she was going to climb in by herself- she does that some times. She is totally not afraid of the water. She loves to throw my flip flops in and then retrieve them. 

Here, Natalie examines a few fireflies that we caught.

Reading herself a book

Here's what I got on Thursday morning at Publix for $5.79:
1 bottle baby oil gel
1 bottle baby powder
1 bag tortilla chips
2 boxes of noodles
2 boxes of cereal
2 rolls of biscuits
4 packs of baking cup liners
3 pounds of bananas

On July 4, it was a very rainy, dreary day. We had lunch with Micah's friend who lives in the middle of nowhere southwest of Atlanta. Then, we hung around lazily while the storm waxed and waned outside. I kept checking the hourly forecast to see if fireworks would be on. At one point, it gave a 50% chance, then it went down to 30%, then up to 70%. At 5, it was 90% and I was pretty sure we weren't gonna go, but then by 7, the chance had decreased to 0%. Hmmmmm. Okay! So, we went to Buckhead to see the fireworks at Lenox Mall. We took Marta, which was AWESOME- no sitting in traffic afterwards. And I think the weather made it less crowded than it would have otherwise been, so it wasn't too packed.

 Here are Natalie and Micah looking at all the attractions set up at the mall.

And here are her feeling about the fireworks themselves:

You can see her grin at the very end, there. She mostly enjoyed it and liked pointing to it and clapping. Overall, very fun and totally worth $5 for a 2-way marta pass and keeping Natalie up really late.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Sammy and Daddy Play Along

I love this picture because it beautifully captures:
1. Natalie's up-do
2. Natalie's drawings on her tray and seat
3. How messy she can become when given no more than a tablespoon of smoothie.

How cute that Sammy would make believe with Natalie so that she can get the real vacuuming experience!!
Maybe I should have started crying and making her hold me to make it even more realistic....

 I started recording this when I suddenly heard Micah doing an incredible Ernie voice. I was hoping Ernie would show up again in the book, but you can enjoy impersonations of some other sesame street characters.