Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Patio Pics

Just a few images of the much-blabbed-about patio. There was NOTHING back here for the first year and a half, so I'm thrilled to finally have a little retreat. It's in the shade all day, which makes it really nice to enjoy when its warm. Best part: Natalie will play by herself for an hour+  ... I just have to watch occasionally to make sure she isn't climbing the chairs (which fall over on her) or digging in my plants. I love being able to sit in the dining room at the table (like I am now) and see that she's playing safely while doing my own stuff!
 
 
 
Under the tarp= grill, behind which sits the a/c compressor.

My hosta!
 
 
View from the kitchen window: Natalie scooping rainwater out of the birdbath (to drink)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Wildlife!

We've spent a lot of time on the porch in the last few days. Natalie adores her sand table and I adore my plants and bistro set.
I have my birdfeeder, which has been empty for a while. I asked Micah to grab some more bird food at the store, and instead of wild bird seed he got a bag of bird food for large domestic birds, like parrots. Haha. So, I'm not surprised that we've had a lot of birds- we're giving them the good stuff! Hopefully the new birdbath from my Mom will continue to draw them in through the summer. But for the first time I am suddenly seeing tons of these little guys in our bushes.
 
We left Atlanta for Boston around this time last year and the year before that we were not settled into Atlanta until the fall, so I amofficially in unchartered territory- I'm experiencing early summer in Atlanta for the first time. Can't wait until the pool opens! Woohoo!
 
Natalie has been feeding herself with a spoon lately. Or at least, trying to try to feed herself. She often gets frustrated and just hold the cup/bowl up to her mouth to slurp out the contents.
 
And I finally got around to making graham crackers again. They turned out so much better and, noteabley, are somewhat the same size and shape.
 
 

 And I FINALLY made bread that Micah actually likes. I was doing a super crusty dutch oven bread that I thought was the bomb, but Micah wanted softer bread. Third time trying the recipe, glad I didn't give up. It was a simple recipe- I think I'm just finally starting to figure out when the dough is kneaded enough/how to shape it/all the bajillion little things that can lead to disasterour consequences in breadmaking. I made 3 loaves, but we sat and ate one with butter and honey in a single sitting. Yummmm.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

TMI

If you're squeamish about discussion of the human body, do not proceed.

This morning, Micah joined the noble and holy Order of The Colonoscopy.
After some recent family events led him to get screened, he had his bowels examined. He began his laxative vigil, which was... probably as average an experience as you can expect after chugging 2 liters of moviprep- which, by the way, is the dumbest name ever for a prescription-grade laxative. I can see it now:
 
Pharmaceutical Guy: Hey, let's just call it "the explosive eliminator,... wait! I've got it! The Bowel Mover"
Other Pharmaceutical Guy: How about something a little simpler. And less gross. Like, "Colon Prep".
Pharmaceutical Guy: Okay, okay. Let's put the two together. Moving ...Prep... Moviprep!
Other Pharmaceutical Guy: That sounds like an overpriced box of candy that you get at the movie theater.
Pharmaceutical Guy: Perfect.
 
 
So, his Dad took him in this morning (He scheduled himself to arrive at 6:30. I refused to get Natalie up at that hour and then expect her to be managable in a waiting room) and he had a pretty clear colon. One little bity 5mm polyp (pictured in the first image below) that was removed and was not cancerous. Which is really obnoxious, since no polyps made it a preventative screening-no out of pocket cost. Instead, a 30 second snip means it will be billed as a surgery and we will have to pay the deductable plus 20%. Blah! It won't be unmanageably expensive, it's just annoying that Micah came so close to being fine and not having to pay anything.
I'm carefully considering which of these great shots will be the cover of our Christmas card this year...

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Dogwood Feastival

On Saturday, we got to go to the Dogwood Festival at Piedmont Park. It would have been really awesome if it weren't so crowded. Hundreds of artists selling their work in a dozen different mediums and countless styles. It was so inspiring, but unfortunately I hardly got to see a single piece up close or stop and look at something for more than 5 seconds. It was SO crowded that, pushing a stroller as we were, we basically had to walk around the whole park while crammed between solid human masses, moving at pace with the sea of people. If we got out of the procession, it took a long time to get back into it. Plus, you pretty much had to shove your way into the crowd, angering the people that you would be jammed up against until one of you got out of the human mudslide. It was a horrible way to experience the festival. And from what I saw, it would have been so cool! We went late on Saturday afternoon, just a couple of hours before the free Sara Evans concert, so I thought that everyone would be over by the arena and the beer tents. Nope. They were cruising the booths, hoping to drop by the show just in time, I expect. Next year, I'm going first thing in the morning!
There were a few highlights. One booth was giving out liberte yogurt and all they had left was coconut and blackberry so it wasn't very crowded. I snagged us a couple and oh. my. heck. The coconut yogurt was INCREDIBLE!!!! We also got to eat a great (seven dollar) funnel cake. There was also an ALDI booth giving out free crackers and coupons. Sweet!
And my favortie part-we saw a puppet show! It was a local puppet performer named Peter Hart with marionettes. He had a clown that danced, a bunny that played violin and a knight and horse that epically lipsynced and performed "Time to Say Goodbye". His show made me smile and laugh in sincerest giddiness. I haven't felt so lighthearted for a while! So, after the performance, I quickly decided that I must hire him to do a puppet show for my next birthday party. Why, yes, I am turning six years old, thankyouverymuch. When I shot the idea to Micah, he mentioned that it would probably be too expensive. I looked online, and it probably is a bit much to spend on flippant birthday fun. Check it out here. SO! My dear friends and family- my birthday is exactly 8 months away; that's plenty of time to pool the money that you might have otherwise spent on a birthday gift to pay for Peter Hart to come perform at my party. We can even hold it a few weeks early and pretend that it's to celebrate Natalie's birthday so Micah won't be embarassed that his adult wife wants a puppet show.
 
Here are a few random shots of Natalie:
 
Dressed for success



This one was funny. We were out grocery shopping. I was rustling around some marked down meats and when I turned back around, she had started eating this mango, skin and all! First though: Ahhh! We haven't paid for that yet! Second thought: Ahhhh! She's getting so sticky! Third thought:....hey. She's sitting quietly in the shopping cart..... Sweet. So I just let her have at it. Made sure the cashier charged us for it. And so it was that Natalie soaked herself silly in sticky mango drip and had the wierdest mango-peel-poop of her life several hours later.

This afternoon, Natalie's new water/sand table arrived in the mail! Haven't gotten any photos of her and the table, but a few from setting it up. I was using empty bottles to carry water out to fill it. HEre, Natalie exhibits a monstroud thirst:

And she was so wet and sandy and muddy (I potted plants, since I figured we were outside and already dirty. Bad idea. Wet sand>wet dirt) afterwards, I couldn't figure out what to do with her. I was afraid taking her to the tub would trail sand all over the house, so I just popped her in the sink. Which she found very interesting. Check out that baby gut!
Also, sporting a bandaid from her 15 month shots. She was 25lbs 10 oz and 32.5 inches- 95% for both height and weight. Doctor said she was the size of an average 2 year old. Very healthy and all that jazz.

And here she is, her father's daughter, devouring some hot wings.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Pi Mile Run

 
Did I mention that I ran a 5k on Saturday?
 
Yep. My very first time. Running, that is. I walked a 5k with Sammy and my time was 45, this time I did 35. Not bad! I was really dreading it, even up until the night before I wasn't sure if I should actually do it. But even though I hadn't prepared well, I guess I was in good enough shape from all the aerobics that it translated. I never had to stop and walk and I didn't even feel that sore the next morning. Here's the oh-so-flattering photo that was snapped at the finish line:
 
 
 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Spring Has Come and Gone

Spring is here! The ground is powdered with radioactive-yellow pollen dust and all of the trees have gone from bare to green in a week. It's already almost too hot to enjoy the outdoors during the afternoon and we went from using our heat to using our air conditioning with only one day interlude. It's a shame that Atlanta pretty much went from winter straight to summer. I love open-window weather! At least my mom got to be here for a few days to enjoy the last few days of highs in the 70's. We went for a nice little walk and Natalie did well. She is getting to the point where she will not stay in her stroller, carrier or be held (making it impossible to go to the store!), so I guess I'll just have to teach her to stay with us when we walk. She did better than in the past along this trail- mostly moving forward with only a few detours climbing off into the brush on either side. 
 
 
I really want to get one of those animal-backpack-leash things (the backpack straps on like a harness and the animal's tail can be held like a leash), but I made the mistake of reading an article about how horrible it is to keep your child on a leash and how so many people can teach their kids to just obey and be safe, why can't you?! It made me feel bad. So I'm struggling now to decide if we need one- I feel like it would give Natalie more freedom when we're out walking the dogs or at the store or in other public places so she would be happier, but of course I realize that it would be ideal to just teach her to stay with me and not walk out into the street or wander off. I'm just not sure she is old enough to understand that. Right now, I'm leaning towards getting one and just trying to use it judiciously and not all the time. If my biggest reservation is that I feel badly being judged for having a kid on a leash, then whatever. The haters can just suck it.
 
Here's my mom on her visit snuggling with the pack


Natalie got ahold of a box of tampons. Naturally, she shoved them all in a sandal.
 
And here she is in her favorite hangout: the window ledge behind the couch. At first, it was no big deal. She's just practicing her climbing skills, nothing to worry about! There's not enough space that she could fall! But it is becoming increasingly obnoxious because our couch is slightly curved, so towards the sides, there is a gap large enough for her to slide her feet through. Then, she moves towards the middle and gets stuck and it is way hard to get her out. Once I had to pull away the couch, which was no easy feat!
 
 
Natalie is just non-stop these days. She runs and plays and has an attention span of perhaps 15 seconds. We just bought tickets to go to UT over memorial day weekend for a friend's wedding and I have NO idea how we will make her stay with us for a 3 hour flight. We can't even keep her in our row for a 75 minute Sacrament meeting! But I'm excited that we'll get a chance to see some old friends and that they'll get to meet her and all that jazz.
 
 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Easter

video

I haven't written in a week and a half because I have been busy. Which is awesome! Through recent weeks, life had been so monotonous and dull. It's a huge relief to finally have something to do!

On Thursday, playgroup had a little egg hunt at the church. Natalie was being very shy that morning, but I managed to get her to pick up a few eggs.

 
Once she realized that there were treats inside the eggs, she was a little more enthusiastic and went hunting for eggs in the other children's baskets.

 
Unrelated side note: this is how we wake up in the morning. Surrounded by little creatures.

 
Friday and Saturday, my Dadio and LeAnn came down to hang out.


We walked along a trail at the Chatahoochee River. I thought we would see a big waterfall, but I think we needed to go on a dirt path to see it. We followed a paved trail that was pretty cool. Enjoyed the spring air and let Natalie wade a little bit.


Saturday was the egg hunt at the park. It was great! Natalie got several eggs and put them in her basket. Then, she started taking the eggs out of her basket and putting them back on the ground. She also tried to put her eggs in another kid's basket, so we decided she was done.
 
 



 


We decorated eggs and Natalie got a coloring book with bunnies and stickers from Grandma.



Just thought this was too funny not to capture. Definitely the ideal reading position.
 
Here is Natalie in her Sunday outfit. The hat didn't last too long, but better than I expected!

 
We enjoyed Easter dinner with Micah's parents, who came down and brought more eggs and Easter candy. Natalie has been pretty thrilled about all of the candy.
 
Since then, I have have done a few things this week. I babysat two days for a friend from church with a daughter Natalie's age. Cha-Ching! I finished my first ceramic piece from my weekly class- it is waiting to be fired then glazed. I am reading Gone Girl and then The Femenine Mystique for my book club. I am rearranging some things at home to try to make our closet space upstairs work better. I bought and assembled a shelf that goes over the toilet, but Micah thinks its too wabbly and insists on reassembling it. I think I did it just fine, it's just supposed to be mounted to the wall and we can't do that because we have a mirror across that whole wall.
 
I've been learning a few new recipes, heavy on vegetables. A dill carrot side, a fabulous roasted cauliflower that my sister-in-law put on their blog.
One dish I made up for Easter dinner and Marty wanted the recipe, so here goes:
 
Cabbage Carrot Casserole
Thinly chop a head of cabbage and shred 2-4 carrots. Put in pot then fill half way with water. Bring water to a boil, then cover and lower heat to a simmer. Once tender (20 mins or so?), drain and dump in a cake pan. Mix with a jar of alfredo sauce (or make our own. My favorite alfredo sauce recipe is this one) and sprinkle bread crumbs on top. Bake at 350* for 20-30 mins. Viola!
Not the healthiest dish, what with that fattening sauce, but it's low carb and makes a ton and is very filling!

In other news, Natalie has spent the past week waking up between 4 and 6 and crying/screaming hysterically. I think the solution is to stop letting her get out of her bed before 7. Micah thinks the solution is to not let her come into our bed for snuggles when she does get up, because she is getting up earlier and earlier, wanting to come in with us. It continues to be a struggle to get her to sleep enough, with the early waking and her spending more time screaming than sleeping during naptime lately. Micah is sure she will be traumatized with all the crying I let her do. I agree. But I would rather her be traumatized that her mother let her cry for a couple of hour a day than grow up to be an insomniac adult with no coping skills and no resillience who can't deal with it when things don't go her way.