Sunday, May 31, 2009

Bad Girls, Good Babes Reunion Weekend 2009

Natalie and I did it again. We boarded a plane ... all by our cute little selves ... and traveled to another state. I think it will be our last "free" airline trip since Natalie is sure to turn two before we fly again ... well, maybe :)

This time - our 8th time traveling by plane - we headed back to Denver, Colorado for our Bad Girls, Good Babes Reunion (BGGB, B-doubleG-B if you're cool enough to say it like me) to see my three best friends from college: Missy, Lisa, and Laryl - and to spend time with two of the cutest little nuggets I know: Emmett and Marisa. This was our first BGGB with three babes in tow, and I must say I was quite impressed by how smoothly everything went.

Here are the three "good babes" ... aren't they adorable?

What follows is by-no-means a complete recount of our BGGB weekend adventure ... just a few details I'll always remember :)

Auntie Lisa Lee, Sherpa Extraordinaire

Landing in Denver, we were both a little tired, and it was already bedtime (with time change) for NHV. I was seriously dreading the baggage claim-carseat, big pink bag plus carry on and toddler-shuttle ride-rental car pick-up adventure that still awaited us. But we were so very excited to see Lisa Lee, who flew in earlier in the afternoon, hung out at the 'port, AND took care of absolutely EVERYTHING! The rental car was waiting just outside the baggage claim doors. How awesome is that? I must admit I was surprised - very pleasantly so - to have all of that taken care of ... but I don't know why I was surprised because Lisa Lee had proven herself a worthy sherpa at last year's trip to the zoo and all over Denver. It was just such a blessing to land and hop in a car and speed away ... to Missy's house we go :)

Arrival, Late Night for the Babes

Everyone was still awake including babes - past 10 o'clock - when we arrived. We chatted and hugged and watched the little ones play until almost 11:00, and then decided to call it a night ... I also shared some exciting news because I just couldn't contain myself, and Missy already knew :) It was my first time meeting Marisa, and I was quite smitten. She is such a little love and full of personality, just like her mama!

Just Tired? Nope, Sick
I took Natalie to the doctor on Tuesday (we flew on Thursday) to have her ears checked. She was clearly very congested, and I didn't want to risk ear complications on a flight. The doctor - not our usual - assured me that it wasn't an ear infection, prescribed saline mist to keep the snot moving, and a cough suppressant, and told us to have a great trip. Natalie was not 100% when we left on Thurday late afternoon, but she definitely seemed better. I was having a hard time keeping enough tissues on hand to wipe her constantly running nose ... ugh!

I woke up Friday morning not feeling all that great. At first I thought I was just tired and perhaps a little weary from traveling. But as the day wore on, it became apparent that I had some kind of cold or flu or feverish-snotty-sore throat misery. By lunchtime, Natalie was ready for a nap and so was I. I sent Lisa and Laryl off to lunch while I enjoyed a little cable TV on the couch. (Cable is such a luxury for me; we don't have it at our house, and sometimes I really miss TLC, HGTV, Style, and MTV.) I flipped through the channels a few times and prompty fell asleep ... I missed my opportunity to veg with cable! I continued to feel pretty rotten the rest of the day and Saturday and Sunday, too. The amount of snot (sorry if that's graphic) between me and Natalie was like nothing I had ever seen before. We must've gone through like 9 boxes of tissues!

It was beyond disappointing to be sick during the one weekend a year that I get to spend with my dear, faraway friends (and the babes). I kept my distance to hopefully avoid "contaminating" everyone else, and my energy level was a far-cry from its usual. But I did enjoy

Aquarium Outing

One of many highlights (despite the lowlight of being sick) of this trip was a visit to the Denver Aquarium, the perfect venue for the kiddos. And perfect chance to "feed" Natalie's recent octopus obsession ... well, in theory, at least. Natalie chanted "octopus" the entire time - a display that is at the very end of the aquarium circuit - and barely wanted to look at any of the other animals. And then, we finally got to the octopus exhibit and a "cartoon, costumed shark guy" terrified her so much that she didn't even look at the darn octopus, the one she had been asking to see for at least an hour!
It was just so nice to be "out" with my girls. How I wish we all lived closer together. I wish we could just call each other up on a Saturday afternoon and meet up for lunch or an outing to the zoo or whatever. Being able to spend time with Missy, Laryl, and Lisa is absolutely precious ... regardless of what we are doing we always manage to have the BEST time together. I love my "bad girls."

Binky Dilemma and What Are You?

Ugh! I am beginning to truly dread the binky separation that is imminent. NHV has always l-o-v-e-d her binky. She still sucks an infant Soothie, like the one she was given at the hospital. Soothie makes a version for older babies - older than three months, I think. But NHV doesn't like this firmer, different-colored version. And so, my 22+ month old continues to suck an infant Soothie. Oh, the angst of it! What am I going to do?

For a long time now, we've only allowed her to have it while in her crib - for naps and bedtime. In fact, you can ask her, "When do you get your binky?" And she'll reply, "Naps. Nigh-nigh." I feel good about that ... despite that if you calculate the amount of time that wonderful child sleeps, you'll find that her sucking potential is around 14-15 hours a day ... if said binky stays plugged in her mouth the entire time. I know her adorable little smile and our orthodontia bills will suffer some day!

Recently, we've been broaching the subject of ditching the binky. Explaining that "babies have binkies" and NHV doesn't need a binky anymore because she's not a baby. I feel a little guilty about putting this kind of pressure on her, but desperate times ...

Sitting around the table after dinner, we started having this same conversation. I think she brought if up by saying something like, "Baby. Binky." And I replied, "That's right. Babies have binkies, and you're not a baby, right, N?" CPV chimed in with another question, "Natalie, what are you?"

Following a brief pause, N happily and clearly answered ... exactly what Chad expected and what sounded to me like "Cowgirl." A cute answer, for sure, but I was a little confused. I looked to Chad for confirmation only to be surprised to learn what Natalie was actually saying ... "Toddler."

Unbeknownest to me, she and Chad had a semi-related conversation earlier today, and he taught her a new word, "toddler." And she remembered that conversation from about 10 hours earlier.

I am not sure we are any closer to getting rid of that darn binky, but I am impressed with Natalie's growing vocabulary and her ability to remember ... everything ... a trait that is sure to get us in trouble in the near future!

Friday, May 29, 2009

FFF: Memories

Earlier tonight, hubby asked me if Natalie was walking this time last year. After a quick pause to calculate and reference her first birthday, I was a little surprised myself to realize that she wasn't even walking yet ... one year ago. She waited until after her first birthday. By the way, knowing my propensity for how quickly she does grown up, you probably know that I was totally okay with that! But it really is amazing to think that my beautiful, smart, extremely dexterous and mobile dumpling wasn't even walking just one year ago. My how time flies!

Anyway, that conversation coupled with the memory theme of this week's FFF, promptly took me into the photo archives ... back one year ago today. Notice she's on her rear or hands-knees in all three shots. Today she was on her feet and running all pretty much the entire day. And look at how short her hair was ... these were her pre-mullet days ... for sure! Oh, and I love her toe in the last shot; she still pulls that big toe away from the others ... don't know why, but it's so cute!

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Head on over to
Kiss the Frog 4 Me if you want to see other adorable memory-inspired photos :)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Add Eeee-Paca to the List

We love our local zoo. Our family membership has proven to be one of the best entertainment investments we've made to date. After our long weekend in Denver and two days spent in the classroom, I desperately needed to run some errands and restock our fridge. But ... it was a beautiful day, and Natalie looked at me - with those big, beautiful eyes - and said, "Animals. Please." She even signed "please" in the adorable way that she does. How, in the world, could I refuse or resist? All the way there, she kept asking "Animals?" like she couldn't believe we were really going. And I reassured her - over and over again - that we were, in fact, heading for the zoo. She was excited beyond belief. She listed the animals she was looking forward to seeing: tigers, cougar, and birds.

This turned out to be an especially exciting trip to the zoo because Natalie realized that there are, in deed, a few other animals at the zoo. We always walk past their cages, but she shows little interest ... unless it's the tigers, cougar, or birds. Today, we stepped up to the alpaca pens, and Natalie called out with much enthusiasm, "Eeeeee-Paca." The small crowd around us cracked up, and I must admit that I beamed. How cute is that? Eeeeee-Paca! She then proceeded to "beep" his nose and crack up herself.

Yes, our zoo list has expanded: tigers, cougars, birds, eeeeee-paca!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Welcome to the World, Baby Girl Thompson

I know you've read about my friend Laurie here before. She was the one I shared my pregnancy with ... my NHV and her DBT were born just 12 days but also several states apart. We talked at least once a week throughout the entire nine months of our "motherhood journeys" ... and the phone calls have continued in the many months since. Through bedrest and contractions and countless worries, we saw each other through. Heck, we even decorated our nurseries the same.

She is an amazing teacher, the most genuine person I've ever met, and an incredible mommy to ... TWO ADORABLE MUNCHKINS! Yes, my dear friend did it again :) Her baby girl, Taylor Elizabeth, was born just after midnight. The labor the quick, the drugs good, and the pushing minimal :) I was so excited to see the introduction of Big Brother Benjamin to his sweet little sister. As Laurie would say, "So fun!"

I am beyond happy for my friend and her newly expanded family! You did it, girlie ... without induction this time!

P.S. I am super jealous, too, because Laurie's husband got her a fabulous piece of "pushing jewelry," an engraved circle necklace from SimaG. It's precious!

Friday, May 22, 2009

FFF: Favorite from the Lake

Our wonderful friends Ashley, Colin, and their cutie Morgan had us over for an impromptu BBQ last Saturday evening. They live on a lake - it is a beautiful location, for sure, and it was a gorgeous NW evening. We had a fantastic time, and I snapped lots of photos ... but I forced myself to choose just one, my favorite.
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I decided to "make an effort" with Natalie's hair ... just for the occasion :) Yes, I wrestled her baby fine hair - the mullet part - into pigtails. I just admit, she did look pretty cute. I can also say that I haven't done it again since. I, too, have baby fine hair and a very tender head; that combination makes for one heck of a time with any hair style. Which explains why I've had the same hair style, or lack thereof, forever, and why the most elaborate I've gotten with Natalie's hair is a clippy bow to hold her bangs back.
Anyway, the weather is finally shaking off all the dampness and clouds. The sun is making an appearance on a more regular basis, and I am excited for the outdoor activities to come. The lakeside BBQ was a great way to kick-off the season ... both the warm-weather season and the pigtail season :)
Check out other great photos at Kiss the Frog 4 Me.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Happy 22 Months!

Okay, I am starting to accept it. My baby girl IS almost TWO years old! Crazy! Insane! Oh-so-bittersweet! Here's a little update on this, the day she is officially 22-months old.

Our beautiful daughter ...

  1. sleeps 12 hours at night (from 8 to 8) and takes a 3 hour nap (from 1 to 4) - I actually start to miss her during that long afternoon nap, but I also love that it affords me the time to get housework done, blog, or take a nap myself :)

  2. still loves that darn binky, but she's only allowed to have it when she's in her crib. If she asks for it before nap or bedtime, I say, "Natalie, when do you get your binky?" And she replies, "Nap. Nigh-Nigh."

  3. continues to call out (about once each night / early morning) because the binky has fallen through the crib rails onto the floor ... and I continue to be the sucker who goes and gets it for her.

  4. snores, big time, like her Grampy (and Grammy) ... sometimes, I'll say to Chad, "Darth Vader is hanging out in Natalie's room again."

  5. drinks about 16-20 ounces of whole milk, much prefers (diluted) apple juice to orange juice (but I love the way she says, "owge"), would rather snack than eat a meal, and has food texture issues, just like her mama

  6. has less interest now in the potty than she did three months ago; I hope I didn't miss my potty training window! She still requires privacy to make her poopies, and she definitely knows when she's going pee-pee in her diaper.

  7. sings "Happy Birthday to yoooouuuuu!" whenever she sees a greeting card, of any kind.

  8. said very clearly on our way to the park today, "Sunshine! Sunshine! Sunshine!" Yes, baby girl, we don't see it often enough; celebrate when we do!

  9. has an obsession with animals, especially those at the local zoo - we have a family membership. There are birds that play peek-a-boo, two beautiful tigers, and a cougar ... at least that's all her list includes. Also, we've created a little confusion because Natalie was introduced to Santa at the zoo during their Reindeer Festival. So she's pretty much convinced that Santa lives at the zoo. She asks to see him everytime we're there.

  10. counts to 10 ... sometimes just because, sometimes to tell me how many ducks are in a picture or kids are at the park or pieces of cereal she dropped on the floor.

  11. says "Messshy" about everything ... raindrops on the windshield, mulch on the sidewalk, food on her hands, cereal she dropped on the floor, ...

  12. loves to play with her foam letters and ABC puzzle; she knows them all and loves to line them up ... just a matter of time before she's spelling :)

  13. wants to "deeeep" her food in whatever sauce, dressing, or condiment is available.

  14. is all about taking care of her babies and Baby Elmo! She rocks them, feeds them, puts them "nigh-nigh," changes diapers, and shushes them when they cry - she does a ver convincing "wah, wah" followed by "shhh, shhh, shhh."

  15. sits and "reads" books for 15 minute stretches ... all by herself ... she points at pictures and says what she sees ... animals, colors, Sesame Street characters, letters, ... the babbling goes on and on

  16. also loves to be read to; it is so sweet when she carries a big book to me and says, "Read." Before I even have time to respond, she turns herself around and backs up to plop down in my lap. She has a few favorite books ... Little Critter collection, Curious George, a book about Zoe and Elmo called Just the Way You Are, Deep Down in the Woods at Sleepytime, Goodnight Moon, Feet Are Not for Kicking, The Teeth Book, ... but will read anything including the newspaper or any magazine.

  17. cannot get enough of "Wheels on the Bus" except our version usually doesn't include the wheels or horn or doors. Natalie prefers to sing about the people/characters/animals in her life. So we sing, "When Uncle Ty's on the bus, he says, Yo, Yo, Yo," and "When Elmo's on the bus, he says, Hee, Hee, Ha, Ha," and "When the hippo's on the bus, he says, "Pardon me, Pardon me."

  18. calls out "Bus" everytime a bus or large truck passes by. She has a good eye; sometimes she'll spot the "bus" before I do :)

  19. only really gets in trouble when she runs away from me and doesn't stop when I say, "Stop." She loves the freedom of running down the sidewalk or across the park, and it really terrifies me. I fall asleep at time with visions of her getting hit by a car. I don't know how to make her stop. She just giggles and keeps on running.

  20. is heading toward her first haircut ... soon ... I know I've been saying that forever, but I think I am almost ready, and her hair is getting so long. It's still an obvious mullet, but she does have some bangs now ... love my whiskey tango baby girl :)

  21. is still working on her teeth. On top, she has her front four and a few "molars" further back. One eye tooth has just broken through the gum. On bottom, she only has three teeth in the front - where the heck is that fourth? - and a few "molars" in the back.

  22. remembers everything! A promise to go to the park. A face in a photograph. The way to certain destinations. That Tuesday (the day after hanging out with daddy while mommy works) is her day to go to her buddy "See-See's" house.

I just hope I can remember a fraction of this beautiful time we are spending together right now!

FFF: Giant Tortoise BLOOPER

We have this great little zoo in our community. The sculpture animals out-number the actual animals, but NHV doesn't seem to mind, not one bit. In fact, she runs among the bronze animals and happily pets them, hugs them, and pulls on their tails. All of which is clearly not safe to do with real animals! And I love the photo ops it creates ...

During a recent visit, she had a little BLOOPER with the giant tortoise. At my urging, she backed up in between the tortoise's front legs and ... BONK! Hit her cute little noggin. Oh, look at that expression ... poor baby! (I couldn't help but chuckle ... just a little!)

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I didn't actually take two photos - I just cropped the photo to show the "details" of NHV's expression ... priceless!

This was also the same day as the "nose dive on concrete sidewalk" incident. Amazingly, NHV still asks - almost daily - to go back to the zoo to see the animals.

Check out a few other BLOOPER photos at Kiss the Frog 4 Me.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Don't Fail to Try

This morning Natalie was playing in her closet and found her first pair of Stride Rite shoes. The ones Grammy bought for her. The size five pair of shoes that my now size-seven-wearing toddler insisted that she wanted to wear. She plopped down on the floor with a shoe in one hand and a very determined look on her face and proceeded to shove her foot into the cute hot pink shoe. All while chanting, "Shoes. Shoes. Na-Na's shoes." I sat down beside her and explained that the shoes were now too small for her feet. That her feet had grown bigger since she last wore them.

She persisted, and I said, "Natalie, honey, those shoes won't fit your feet anymore." To which she replied, with the sweetest look on her face, "Twy." Oh, how many times have I attempted to motivate my baby girl with that simple imperative sentence? And now she wanted me to do the same. Just try.

And "twy" we did until she was satisfied that her feet are, indeed, too big to fit in the now tiny shoes.

But I left that moment with a gentle and very poignant reminder that it never hurts to try, which reminds me of a quote that we should all live by, "Try and fail, but don't fail to try."

Of course, this little scenario also reminds me of the many times post-baby that I tried to fit into my jeans ... but failed miserably ... until just after her first birthday. Yes, baby girl, I can related to just how hard it is to let go of things that no longer fit :)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Something I've Never Done Before

I made apple cobbler today. Not a single ingredient came from a box. And the results are delicious. How about that? Before I give you the recipe and a funny story, allow me to explain WHY I made an apple cobbler today. You should know up-front that this story involves Costco.

This story begins ... many years ago, I had to revoke my husband's Costco membership. I didn't have a choice. The man came home with a case of canned green beans! We don't even eat canned vegetables. And we were living in a tiny little apartment at the time. Seriously, our pantry space consisted of like three super narrow shelves. I should also mention, this was the "last straw" of several other cases of bad judgement when it came to Costco purchases. And, so that was it. I took his card. He was no longer allowed to shop at Costco.

Last week, I went to Costco while hungry. I know, I know. My mistake; I completely admit that. I bought more fresh fruit than we will ever be able to eat ... including a pound of blueberries and 18 apples. Upon seeing my purchases, my darling hubby quickly reminded me of the "green bean incident." I was appalled that he would even think to compare the two! And I swore to make sure every last one of those apples ... and blueberries ... would be eaten. I did manage to eat a lot of "raw" apples, but eventually had to resort to baking. Not something that I enjoy. Not something that I am good at. But desperate times call for desperate measures ...

A quick Google search later, and I found a recipe with few ingredients and simple measurements from Who knew there was an entire website dedicated to apple recipes?

3 large granny smith apples, peeled and sliced

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 large egg
1/2 cup butter, melted

Put apples in the bottom of a lightly greased 8x8 inch baking dish.Mix flour, sugar, cinnamon and egg until it looks like coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over the apples.Pour melted butter over the entire dish. Bake 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.

Here's that funny story, I mentioned.
The only cooking mishap to report ... I EXPLODED that 1/2 cup of butter in the microwave. Tossed the stick in the bowl. Popped it in the micro. Pushed the "Ez-On" button - my personal favorite - twice. Walked away to mix other ingredients. Heard this obnoxious POP and knew that couldn't be a good thing. Ugh! What a ridiculously slimy, greasy mess. But the microwave did get a much-needed cleaning :)

Now, I am off to find a recipe for a whole lot of blueberries ... muffins perhaps? Oh, I am feeling so Betty Crocker :)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Meal Planning - Let's Try This Again

So my good intentions fell a little flat on this one ... it's been three weeks since I posted a meal plan, but I am giving it another try. I can do this!

This week's meal plan ... in no particular order:

  1. Gram's Chicken Pot Pie Updated ("homemade" with a store-bought pie crust)
  2. Panera Bread Company (just being realistic!)
  3. Homemade Pizza (I'm going to try the Trader Joe's pizza dough)
  4. CPV's special spinach and cheese scrambled eggs and whole wheat English muffins
  5. Trader Joe's Pasta Medley (a vegetarian entree that I supplement with turkey sausage)

Not bad. There's decent amount of variety here. Here's hoping that I can maintain my sanity and sunny disposition between 5 and 7 each evening this week :) What's cooking at your house?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Craft-Tastic: I'm at it again!

Spoiler Alert: If you are Laurie or Debbie and your package hasn't arrived yet and you don't want to see your surprise for the first time here in blog-world, .... Look Away! Run! Don't come back here until the postman does his job!
Yes, I got crafty again. Well, first I got super procrastinatey and then I finally broke down, made several repeat trips to Michael's, busted out the scissors and gluestick ... and got myself a little crafty! All in the name of L-O-V-E for my dear friends and their adorable bambinos :)

This is the scrapbook page I made for my dear friend Debbie's Book of Love for her triplets: Hayden, Morgan, and Landon. If you don't already know Debbie and her fantastic story, you should hop on over to The Growing Cunninghams and get to know her and her adorable, newly-one-year-old triplets. The page has this great polka-dot background in fun, bright colors. I used adhesive letters to spell out "Love from the NW" across the top. A reminder of the fact that many miles separate us, but we are sending H, M, and L lots of love everyday :) I also included two photos - one from our visit last August and another from our recent visit in April. I then attempted to "introduce" myself and tell the triplets "how I met their mother" and express in some small way how incredible I think their mommy is ... no easy task, especially with limited space for text. Down the side is a little scrapbook doo-dad that just called out to me at the store - its bright colors matched perfectly and the animals/botanicals seems "naturey" just like the NW. I hope this page is a delightful addition to the Book of Love!

Now, on to the canvas. Just 8 inches square but when blank very intimidating. And I have no one to blame but myself. See this little project was originally conceived in my pregnant mind when I needed a way to decorate a nursery for a baby who would remain "gender anonymous" until arrival. My friend Laurie, also pregnant at the time, loved the idea and decided to do the same thing for her little-boy-on-the-way ... except she used two specific shades of blue and an off-white. Now, pregnant with her second - a little girl this time - she decided to do it again. She asked friends and family from all over the country to paint a letter on canvas - this time using pink, green, and cream. Well, the idea of painting another letter just wasn't inspiring. I set out to find scrapbook paper that I could decoupage to the canvas. Initially, I envisioned myself wielding an exact-o knife and saying lots of curse words ... all in the name of love. Instead, I fell in love - thanks to my friend Carrie, who introduced me to the Cricut, a freakin' incredible, ingenious, very addictive machine that all scrapbooker/crafty-type person really should own. I brought my paper to her, she helped me select a fun, girly font, and that darn machine went right to work cutting these beautiful V's from the fun, girly paper - the paper that was exactly the right colors for Laurie's nursery. How fabulous is that? I got the V's home and got around to putting it all together. First, I painted the entire canvas the darkest pink color. Then, I cut strips of what was left of the piece of striped paper. I spaced out the strips so the color showed through. Laid the V's on top - the larger V is "the back" of the cute paper and the smaller cursive V is the cute paper itself. Oh, and as the final - very fun - step, I used MOD PODGE to glue it all in place; it dried totally clear and everything was firmly in place. Now, I am just looking for excuses to use the Mod Podge! Anyway, here's the finished letter V ... for Valentine or Vivacious or Vivid or Vagina ... no, not vagina - definitely not vagina :) Love you, Laurie and Baby Girl T!

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Friday, May 8, 2009

Dad at Work: New Lyrics

Since NHV came into our world, hubby and I have been inspired to rewrite a few songs to better suit our parenting needs. By pure coincidence, it was exactly one year ago today that I posted about this same topic and the songs are hilarious. Click here if you'd like to read that post.

Well, tonight my funny husband did it again, and this time I was cracking up because the song is a total flashback and the lyrics are poop-related.

The Original:
Ain't nothing gonna break my stride
Nobody's gonna slow me down
Oh no, I've got to keep on moving
Ain't nothing gonna break my stride
I'm running and I won't touch ground
Oh no, I've got to keep on moving

Our Silly Version:
Ain't nothing gonna break this stench
You're stinkin' up the whole damn house
Oh no, I've got to change your diaper
Ain't nothing gonna break this stench
Can't hold my breath any longer
Oh no, I've got to change your diaper

Alternate Version (aka the one I like better)
Oh girl, you really smell foul
You're stinkin' up the whole damn house
Oh no, I've got to change your diaper
Oh girl, you really smell foul
Can't hold my breath any longer
Oh no, I've got to change your diaper

FFF: Happy Mother's Day!

This week's FFF theme is Mommy, and it only seemed fitting for me to take a little stroll down memory lane ... to the day I "labored" my beautiful girl into this world!
Not sure I would say this is the day I became a mommy, but the photos bring back truly wonderful memories and they certainly evoke some strong mommy emotions. It's amazing how the human mind just blocks out the pain. Guessing that's the best way to ensure mommy's will do it again, huh?!
Anyway, I can really only remember JOY ... and that stupid IV in my hand was driving me crazy ... and I was really, really hot - hotter than I had ever been in my life. Most of that four and a half hours of my life are such a blur; other moments are so crystal clear.
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Be sure to head over to Kiss the Frog 4 Me to see more of this week's great Mommy photos.

If you're interested in more of my labor story, this is from the journal I kept of Natalie's first year:

Your Birthday

At about 8:00 pm on July 14th, I was in the loft above our garage when my water broke - what a surprise! With a bit of panic in my voice, I yelled to your dad - he was in his workshop - “Babe, my water just broke!” As I expected, he was shocked but also calm, and he immediately came up with a plan. Call the doctor, take showers, and pack a bag. So that’s just what we did. While I showered, daddy started putting all kinds of things in a suitcase - books, CD’s, clothes, snacks, … none of which we needed, but I’ll get to that. And then while daddy showered, I called your Auntie Heather and our friend Liza; it was so good to hear the voices of friends who had been through this before. I must admit, I was getting a little nervous at this point.

In the car on the way to the hospital, I called Grammy to tell her the exciting news, and that's when it really hit me ... "I'm having a baby!" I started to cry - tears of both happiness and nervousness. I was about to become a mom and talking to my own mom gave me a sense of calm. Grammy was very surprised and a little sad; she was disappointed that you were early and she wasn't here to go to the hospital with us.

I had 5 hard contractions on the way to the hospital; to be honest, they didn't hurt as much as I expected.

We didn't really hurry to the hospital because we assumed that many hours would pass before you actually arrived. That's why daddy packed so much stuff! But it ended up that he barely set our suitcase down before "things got interesting" and a very short time later you were born.

To my shock and surprise, I was already dilated 7 centimeters; more than halfway to being ready to push! The nurses asked me if I wanted something for the pain - an epidural - but I looked at your daddy, which made me feel very brave, and decided to give birth naturally.

Doctor M arrived at about 11:00 pm. I pushed until 12:36am on July 15, 2007.

Those first few minutes after you were born are kind of a blur for me. I look back at the pictures that daddy took, and I am so glad to have them. He really captured the excitement and chaos ...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Under the Sea Adventure

Natalie and I spent a delightful morning with our good friends Megan and Alison. They introduced us to the Aquarium, and we have to say, "Thank you very much!" for that.
Natalie had a great time. And she continues to mention the octopus almost hourly. It was pretty cool - even I have to admit that! We've looked at the octopus photos on the computer at least half a dozen times. Taking pictures inside the aquarium wasn't easy; there was very limited natural light and flash-photog wasn't allowed. But I did my best. Another challenge, getting Natalie to look at the camera when there was so many other, more interesting things to see.

Making our way to the outdoor exhibits, I had the chance to snap a few of these. The outfit is new - courtesy of a fabulous clearance rack at the Children's Place. She loved the freedom of being able to run along this (well-protected) boardwalk. And I loved that she ran toward - rather than away from - me.

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Friday, May 1, 2009

Fruit Strike and an Apple Today

Natalie has been on a fruit strike for the past three or four months. What's a mama to do?

Bananas & Pears

Before & Now: These are tried-and-true fruits in her repertoire; she eats a banana a day, pears less frequently

Before: She gobbled them up and asked for more.
Now: Can't stand to have them on her tray. Not whole. Not cut in half. Not frozen. Not red. Not green. It's like Green Eggs and Ham, I tell ya!

Strawberries (and Blueberries)

Before: She devoured so many I was sure she'd turn red (or blue).
Now: Behaves as if she's being tortured if I put a single one on her tray.


Before: Again, I feared she would turn red ... and her chin often did.
Now: It put it on the plate and she eats it reluctantly - sometimes.


Before: The first thing Natalie projectile vomited was pureed peaches. I decided that meant that she had an intolerance for peaches. Not a stomach bug or something rational like that.

Now: I still won't give her peaches.


Before: I've always given her apple sauce, but never actual bites of apple because they terrify me as a choking hazard.

Now: Natalie grabbed an apple while we were shopping at Trader Joe's today. I was hesitant to let her have it, but she was very persistent. [persistent - verb (in this case) - pitching a fit in the middle of TJs if I even put my hand near her apple]

We finished our shopping but she wasn't done gnawing on that darn apple - and I couldn't have her chowing an apple in the backseat while I drove. So we found a bench, sat and enjoyed a truly beautiful afternoon here in the NW, and shared that apple. She seemed like such a big girl eating that apple and offering me bites. Tears in my eyes! Sad to see her growing up. Happy to see her adding a fruit to her "will eat" list :)

B & W: Capturing Fun

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Lunch Date

I had the privilege of watching our buddy Owen yesterday ... while his daddy went to work and his mommy laid poolside in Florida. If you detect a smidgen of bitterness, you'd be right.
Since O arrived right at lunchtime, I whipped up some grilled Havarti sandwiches and tomato soup (the extent of my mid-day culinary skills) for all three of us. And the ensuing meal led to lots of laughs ... and a bath.
Owen is such a cutie pie, and it was so cute to see Natalie and O eating lunch together - having their very own toddler lunch date. Natalie strapped in her highchair and Owen sitting "like a big boy" at the table. I just had to grab my camera. While I was snapping these super cute photos of Owen gobbling down the delicious entree I had prepared ...

I happened to notice a little mischief going on in the background. It got really quiet; that was my first tip-off. Look closely. That fuzzy object, that's Natalie pouring her tomato soup over her head. As I peered up over my camera, she oh-so-appropriately commented, "Meeeeshy." So true baby girl, so true.

I should've stopped her right there, but I just couldn't help myself. And I happily captured the moment like the mamarazzi that I am!

Well, guess where we ended up? Yep, it was bathtime ... at 12:30 in the afternoon. I was only going to bathe Natalie because she was the one with tomato soup in her hair, up her nose, and basically all over. But Owen did not want to just hang out with some toys and books while I tended to the "meeeshy girl." He insisted that a bath would be tons of fun. This little lunch date ended with two naked co-eds ... an indiscretion I will encourage Natalie to wait until at least the third date to do in the future :)

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