Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Snow Jam 2014

As Atlanta made an embarrassing mess of itself yesterday, we got out an enjoyed the snow.

Saving for next year's Christmas card!

My snow angel

Micah's snow angel

Our lovely little snowman. Unfortunately, the snow was really light and powdery, so it was super hard to make snowballs and roll snowman parts. If it had been wetter, we got enough snow that we could have made a pretty good sized one! Oh, well. Natalie had a lot of fun and gets very happy when she looks out the window at this little guy. Too bad it will be in the 60's in a few days and our poor little snowman will go the way of all frozen things...

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Great Snow of 2014

Things here have been pretty slow. I've read a few books lately (mainly while Natalie is napping.... on those lucky days that she doesn't refuse to).

I was invited to give the lesson at our monthly relief society meeting and it was a big hit. The topic was Wheat 101, which sounds lame and a lot of sisters admitted that they weren't very excited about it. But it actually turned out great; everyone seemed to enjoy it and thanked me afterwards. I expect that they weren't aware of how versatile wheat really is, so in addition to grinding it for flour, I talked about sprouting it and steaming it to use as a high-protein rice substitute and some other less common uses. People were WAY more interested in wheatgrass juice than I expected, so I wish I had grown more so that I could have given more samples of it. Everyone got to walk away with a potted plant of wheatgrass sprouts to grow their own wheatgrass and so many sisters have told me excitedly about how theirs is growing. I made up the most fabulous recipe using wheat berries that was a variation of Arroz con Leche with coconut milk. Then, I had some steamed berries leftover and made this for breakfast the other day:

Warm wheat berries and steel cut oats with strawberries, blueberries, craisins and almonds, all  bathed in milk. 

Friday was my birthday. I didn't have any plans, but then that morning, I realized that since it was my birthday I could get into the GA aquarium for free (usually like $40). Natalie got in free for being under 3, so we went downtown to the aquarium. It was less fun than it could have been because Natalie had been up all night the previous night screaming, so she was a little temperamental. She wanted to be held the whole time and didn't want to spend very long looking at each tank. We got to see the dolphin show, which I had never seen. Due to me being pregnant and emotional, I bawled the whole time because the dolphins were so beautiful. Natalie cried about half the time because the story line was scary and the special effects were too dramatic. The kids behind us were also crying and wanting to leave. Most not family friendly show ever!!!! On my way home, I went to firehouse subs for my free birthday sub and called it a good day. Except for the hour of backed-up traffic coming home (not even during rush hour?!) and Natalie refusing to take a nap once we finally got here.

Darlene sent these balloons, which Natalie has been enjoying heartily. I cut the mylar ones away once the latex ones lost their helium, and one made it to the stairwell and will now be up there until it eventually stops floating. 

Potty training is going.... well, it's going. We're 4 weeks in now. Natalie was doing great after 2 weeks- went 5 days with only one accident- but then she seems to have gotten bored/rebellious and has been having 1-3 accidents every day since. On Sunday night, I was nearing my limit after Natalie danced over to happily announce that she had peed on the bed. We investigated, and she had emptied approximately 500 gallons of urine across 2.5 feet on the air mattress in her room, soaking the pillow, quilt, both sheets and collecting in pools on the air mattress. Thank goodness she didn't do it on the new memory foam mattress topper on our bed, or I might have skinned her alive. 
 I was firmly determined that we should not train her with candy because it would ruin her ability to be intrinsically motivated, but dang it, it works! We started giving her chocolate chips the next morning (after considering many, many alternatives) and she hasn't really had an accident since.

Other things on the radar: 
  • If Natalie does well in the potty training department this week, she gets to go have a sleep over at Grandma and Grandpa's house this weekend while mommy and daddy take a relaxing evening to themselves to celebrate both of their birthdays and valentine's day.
  • The downstairs bathroom has a few good nicks and spots that need patched, so we're thinking of repainting and decorating it. The design challenge: it is very small and has very little light. I read that in small spaces, it's important to draw the eyes up, away from the crowded floor, so I'm thinking a wallpaper border along the top. Thinking about color schemes.... 
  • It's snowing. We have about an inch on the ground. I made Micah stay home from work today because I don't trust the idiot southern drivers here not to kill him. We'll go out this evening and play in it, hopefully. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Natalie's Birthday, Cold Snap and More

In another video (ran out of memory and couldn't make it all on one), she admits that Daddy taught her.

Natalie loves Micah, despite his corrupting influence

Natalie finally got some cake to celebrate her birthday. She enjoyed eating, singing and opening presents while Grandma and Grandpa were over. 

Last week, we experienced the awful weather that went on everywhere. Here, Natalie looks out on the snow last Monday morning. None of it stuck, but it was coming down pretty impressively. Monday night the low was 7 degrees.

Then, on Tuesday, we woke up to no running water in the whole house. There was a frozen pipe somewhere in the main that leads to us and our neighbor's units. We suffered through and eventually went to spend the night at Micah's parents' house, but on the positive side- it was about time for me to rotate my emergency water supply. Here, Natalie helps me prepare to refill the bottles.

The hardest part about not having water? The hassle of flushing the toilet. It took 3-4 bottles each time.

And of course, the reason that Natalie is not wearing pants in any of these photos is that 2 weeks ago today we started a new potty training regiment. The 3-day method emphasizes the first three days, but then they recommend having the child wear nothing below the waist at home and only loose pants when leaving the house for 3 months to make sure the habit is well established. We have had a few ups and downs, but mostly ups in the past few days. Saturday and Sunday were completely accident-free. Woohoo! Today there was one inexcusable accident in the evening and then some issues earlier this afternoon. The poor girl pooped 7 times in 15 minutes; I was impressed that even half of it made it to the potty with diarrhea like that!

Natalie is happy for her new cookware. Thanks, Grandma! When we first opened this when it arrived in the mail, we were unsure if it was a toy or just some really cute, miniature pots and pans meant for making single servings of soup.

Little craft I did- I had old, rusty cookie sheets that needed retiring. Covered them in some cool fabric and viola- decorative trays. Perfect for collecting the assorted just that ends up on the table.

Natalie is more interested as of late in princesses and wearing tutus. She insisted on wearing this to church on Sunday and threw a fit when I tried to get her to wear a normal dress.

After our spending spree through the holidays, I am making an effort to get back on track with out monthly budget. I got a ton of great snack food this morning at Publix. Over $100 retail price, paid $14+tax. Haul included:
6 packs of Tena pads
2 pints sorbet
12 packs pudding
4 packs applecause
7 bags dried fruit and trailmix
3 bags frozen vegetable
1 pack yogurt
2 snapware bowls
1 bottle syrup

In other news, Nick does not stay with us any longer. Another volunteer asked if she could foster him because her current dogs and housing situation only allow her to foster calm, older dogs. I was planning on taking a break from fostering when the bebe was born, so we went ahead and decided to hand him over last week since the opportunity was right. He is now kicking back with some other grandpa dogs without living in constant terror of being sat on by Natalie.

For some reason, I've been getting a lot of questions lately about baby #2. I guess I haven't been broadcasting every detail, though I'm not really trying to keep private either. I just try not to think about the fact that in 4 months, I'll have 2 kids to handle. I'm just content to ignore the fact as much as possible... though it is becoming harder and harder lately.

I feel super duper pregnant. Like, at 24 weeks, I feel more cumbersome and uncomfortable than I ever did my entire previous pregnancy. Everyone says that it just feels harder because this time around I have a toddler to take care of. I'll buy that to some extent. I'll let Natalie take the blame for my chronic exhaustion and the pain in my lower back and shoulders. But I doubt having a toddler to chase this time around was the cause of my morning sickness symptoms being 10x worse. Or the reason that I have aversions to half the food I cook. Or the unbearable heartburn, which kindly descends each night around 9pm and lasts until 2am, regardless of what/when I have eaten last.

But by far the worst part is that I feel ginormous huge. I believe that this is a common feature of consecutive pregnancies because muscle memory causes abdominal muscles to relax and yadda yadda yadda. All that matters to me is that I can't breathe when I bend over, a bunch of my maternity clothes are already too small and there is no comfortable spot on my lap for Natalie that doesn't involve her elbow jabbing mercilessly into my gut. It's especially irritating because my pre-pregnancy weight is 10 pounds less than it was with Natalie and I've been exercising regularly (vs never when pregnant with Natalie) and yet I still feel way bigger. And I've still got so much longer to go. I already pee when I cough and can't get comfortable when sitting. How can this possibly get worse for 17 weeks?

Micah claims that I don't look that big. But this conversation from last week was telling...
Me: "My belly is huge"
Micah: "How big should you be by this point?"
Me: "Well, you saw Heidi today. She's due 3 weeks before me."
Micah: "I didn't even notice she was pregnant."
Me: "Exactly."

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Natalie 2.0

Today is Natalie's 2nd birthday!

Even though we're waiting a few days to celebrate, I thought that I would share some tidbits about her growth and development. At 2 years old, Natalie:
  • Is finally starting to lose her big ol' baby belly
  • Is very active and curious and will not stop grabbing at absolutely everything
  • Has enough hair to do pigtails (even if each pigtail only has 7 hairs in it....)
  • Can reach all uncovered horizontal surfaces in the house
  • Counts to 10, plus a few extra numbers beyond that, like 18, eleven-teen and schfourteen-teen
  • Identifies and names all rainbow colors, black, white and brown
  • Identifies and names shapes like a circle, square, and triangle
  • Identifies and names most letters of the alphabet in capitol, about 30% in lower-case
  • Injures Micah in the groin region about once every 5 hours
  • Likes princesses; Rapunzel is her favorite
  • Is happy when she gets to skip a nap but still really needs one or she's a melting mess
  • Refuses to sit in a shopping cart
  • Likes to swim
  • Enjoys coloring, painting and playing with playdoh
  • Wants her toenails painted but still lacks the restraint to not touch them while they are wet
  • Engages in imaginary play- usually preparing pretend food and making us eat it
  • Talks embarrassingly loudly in church; still has no concept of whispering
  • Wakes up 5-10 times at night
  • Is developing a sense of humor; tells us when we are being funny and informs us that she is funny
  • Likes to snuggle
  • Eats everything. And enjoys most of it. But apparently not wasabi....