Monday, February 24, 2014

Naughty Natalie

It's been a tough week and a half.
Natalie has decided that she's too cool for naps. Which would be fine, if she were just naturally outgrowing the need for naps. But, no. She still needs a nap in a terrible way. By the time Micah comes home (around 5 these days), she is in total meltdown mode over everything. E.g.:
Me: Natalie, please don't put your fork between your toes.
Natalie: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! *convulses, cries, hyperventilates and nearly falls out of highchair*
I've been doing everything I can think of- making sure she gets plenty of active play opportunities to wear her out, giving her a filling (and not too sugary) lunch beforehand to make sure she's not hungry, never skimping on the routine of reading books and singing. But she just won't settle down. A couple of times, after trying for hours to get her to go to sleep, I've just locked her in her room to let her cry. For a while she cries, but then she just whines and empties the contents of her dresser all over the room. Last time, she kept knocking on the door and calling, "Do you want to build a snowman?" Then she pooped in her naptime diaper and took it off... smearing it all over. Gross. So, no more of that. 

Good thing she's so frickin' cute. No matter how much I can't stand her, I can't easily throw her out either.

Strawberries and Nutella

Wearing Dad's helmet and gloves while riding her cafr

Climbing daddy while he tries to exercise

Cute dress from LeAnn

Rocking out, playing her favorite song

This was hilarious. I was playing some meditative music and she was terrified of the image on the TV screen.

Playing "this little piggy" with the penguin. Her version just involves saying "that piggy market" with each toe.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Iced In

We enjoyed the following series of fun weather events this week:
Tuesday: AM Sleet, warm afternoon, night time freeze/icing over 
Wednesday: AM snow on top of the ice, wet sleet all day, night time freeze
Thursday: AM snow, warm afternoon. 
It looks like we're finally out of the path of the storm now; it's headed up to the northeast. Micah has been home Wednesday and Thursday but will be going back to school tomorrow. He's got a lot of work to do and so far has not been very productive this semester, so that's a little stressful. He just got back the reviews from a paper that he submitted to a journal and the paper is going to need some serious revisions before it can be published. It's a good and bad thing- on the one had, it gives Micah more stuff to do. On the other hand, the reviewers were very thorough and offered a lot of commentary, which shows that they felt that the paper really deserved some attention. Micah is supposed to write his thesis proposal this semester but so far has not been able to start. And somehow, I imagine the springtime won't be too wildly productive for him either. I'm mostly disappointed because Micah was talking about graduating as soon as next August if he proposed this semester, which is when he stops receiving his fellowship stipend. It would be nice and neat and eliminate the worry of how he would get paid for a while, but I guess 4 years would be a freakishly short amount of time to get a PhD anyhow.

In other news...
I tried English muffins again and they were great. This time, I used half whole wheat flour (freshly ground!) and I made them flatter. They had more nooks and crannies than my first ones, but still not quite like the kind you can buy. 

Also, I started this herb garden on my kitchen window sill. Hopefully the cold weather won't kill them all before they can even get started! I planted cilantro, basil, thyme, rosemary, chives, lemon balm, and parsley. 

Last weekend, we got to leave Natalie with Micah's parents while we spent the night at a nice hotel to celebrate our birthdays and Valentine's Day. We had a delicious dinner at a small Indian restaurant (for some reason I can't get enough butter chicken and naan right now) and then watched the opening ceremonies while soaking in a nice spa surrounded by junk food snacks. Unfortunately, between the bath and the amazingly comfy bed, I passed out unintentionally before the torch even got lit. 

We had to put this off for a couple of weekends because I wanted to make sure that Natalie's potty training was well established. But she has been doing great lately. We made it a week with only one accident.
Here she is making some modern art with the silicon baking mat that Micah got me for my birthday.

And here she is eating a slice of lemon, rind and all.

We broke out the watercolors on Tuesday. I see a lot of expressive and technical progress here! The top one is from a few months ago and the bottom one is from Tuesday.

Some other things we've been doing to kill time? We made Valentine's Day sugar cookies. Natalie got to add the red sprinkles, which she did by the huge, grubby handful. By the end, Micah and I were both ready to hyperventilate with anxiety because she was making such a mess. 

I've been making a few nice meals and then being lazy for other ones. This snowy weather has been very damaging on our waists. This morning for breakfast, we had sausage, eggs and blueberry pancakes; dinner was Alfredo pasta and homemade Macaroni Grill bread dipped in olive oil and balsamic; yesterday we  made eggs Benedict again and I've got meringue cookies in the oven right now.

Cool thing- did you know that you can reuse pickle juice to make more pickles? Micah and Natalie love pickles and I hate spending $1-$3 per jar when they can eat a whole jar in one sitting. I read that you can put cucumber slices into your pickle juice, stick it back in the fridge and they become pickle-ized in 2 weeks.  I've done it twice with slices and just stuck in some spears to try. Cucumbers have been on sale at ALDI for $.29, so a much cheaper alternative. Just takes a little space in the back of the fridge.

Aside from all the food, there has been a lot of this over the last 2 days:

Micah generously took Natalie outside to play both yesterday and today. She got soaked and was freezing but still didn't want to come in after an hour. Here I tried to get her to wrap up and get warm after returning from the snow/slush.

Natalie's snowman (which Micah forced her to make. I guess she was NOT happy to lay down in the snow):

Micah has also done a lot of prepwork to paint our bathroom and practiced piano to pass the time. I'm excited to see it done! I think it's going to look great- the nicest 18 square feet in our whole home! 

Micah has also been doing a lot of chores and letting me rest because in the past week I've developed continual, sharp pelvic pain that is unbearable. It makes everything a struggle- walking, standing, laying down, getting up- it's just been constant pain, pretty severe at times. I've already been experiencing terrible back pain. This makes it so hard to believe I have 12 more weeks to put up with. I believe that I may be suffering from SPD (see link for info), so we'll see if the doctor agrees on Monday. I go in for the first glucose screening. Natalie has gone to my appointments with me in the past, but since this visit will take over an hour, I had to schedule a time when Micah could stay home with her. Hopefully I pass; I don't want to have to find someone to babysit her for 3 hours if I need to take the follow up test! 

Friday, February 7, 2014


Just a little snippet of Natalie talking to herself while playing with beads. Of course, she was saying much more interesting stuff BEFORE I got out the camera. But if nothing else, this video will help you determine if you speak Natalese- I understand every word, but most people probably don't.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Groceries. Woohoo!

My publix grocery run this morning: 
5 packs of Boost shakes
8 tubs butter
2 boxes fish fillets
2 bags frozen sweet potato fries
4 bottles juice
2 boxes pop tarts
2 cans green chilis
7 bags frozen veggies
3 boxes precooked breakfast sausage
2 jars grated parmesan cheese
1 box herbal tea
1 box of cream cheese
Shelf price was over $140 and I paid around $20, half of which was those last 4 items. I had more coupons for free Boost, but the store didn't have any more in stock. Then, there was a ton of frozen fish and sweet potato fries still in stock ($.10 each after coupons) but I didn't have more than 2 sets of coupons for those! Grrr. Nothing worse than having not enough coupons except the store not having enough product in stock. This was one of those rare weeks when the sale only overlaps with the expiration date of the coupons for some major deals for one day! 

Natalie thinks that the boost drinks are milkshakes. They have enough sugar that they might as well be. Hahaha. 
But they will make good protein-rich snacks for me. Lately, I feel hungry all afternoon and snack nonstop and then in the evening I don't feel hungry at all, which leads to waking up starving at 4 am and not being able to sleep. Blah.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


Things here have been moving along. Natalie has started to become really stubborn and rebellious and whiny and also extremely hilarious and sweet and impossible to stay upset with.

Paco's Christmas gift- a box set of Dr. Suess titles- has proved a big hit. Any time we read the title of ANY  book now, she follows with, "By Dr. Suess." So, we started reading the scriptures the other day and Micah read "The Book of Mormon" and Natalie chimed in, "By Dr. Suess."

A couple of funny daytime exchanges between us:
Me: AUGH!!! *tripping over pots and pans strewn across kitchen floor by Natalie*
Natalie: Are you okay, Sarah?

Me: First, finish your bread. Then, you can have a cheese.
Natalie: No, I don't think so, honey.

Natalie has learned the word/concept, "scared", much to my irritation. Now, she freaks out at everything from turning off the lights for bed to Stinky, the potted cactus character from Sesame street, shrieking, "Natalie SCARED!!!!".

She likes to sing songs (mostly made up, some snippets of songs she is learning from nursery) while she plays and enjoys playing with our shelf of canned goods, piles of shoes or a laundry basket just as much as the overflowing contents of her toy box.

Also, she likes to be naked all the time and I generally just let her because she looks like a cute little angel cherub baby, with her chubby little everything and her wispy white hair. 

I recently made pizza for the first time. This alfredo chicken spinach one was delish except that the crust was crispy and awful. On my second attempt, I made the crust on this site and it turned out AMAZING.

I also tried making English muffins and though they weren't a total failure, I want to continue to search for a better recipe. These were supposed to deflate a bit as I cooked them, but instead we ended up with 4 inch tall english muffins. Also, they were void of nooks and crannies- completely unacceptable.
 But, of course, I couldn't just throw them away! So I came up with a nice use to mask their unappealing-ness: eggs benedict! After the snow, Target was completely out of eggs in 6, 12 and18- count packs, so I ended up buying a huge case of eggs. This meal killed 2 birds with one stone- used up a ton of eggs and made the english muffins palatteable. Also, it was unbelievably delicious and fattening and we probably both gained about 3 pounds that night.
This is Micah's Sexy Pose. 

I also got to make some food for the superbowl- pizza, wings, hotdogs w/ homemade pretzel buns, 7-layer dip, guacamole, cheesecake and more. We had several couples from our ward over and it went very well. 
I'm not the most warm, kind, charitable person, so I like feeding people- it's the easiest way for me to show people that I care about them. 
Natalie "helped" me with a lot of the preparations. I turned my back for a second and she took a bite out of this avacado half (and I mashed it up and served it to my guests anyway. Sorry!) and she kept absconding with my ingredients!