Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ugly Truth and Sweet Relief

Guess what my darling husband did for me tonight?

I should preface this by telling you that I had a meltdown as soon as CPV walked in the restaurant where we were meeting for dinner. I just couldn't take this ridiculous heat for another second. When Natalie and I left the house at 5:15, it was 90 degrees on the first floor and even hotter upstairs. Can you understand where a meltdown would come from in these conditions?

Anyway, back to the sweetness that is my husband's gesture. He suggested (and insisted) that I go see a movie - all by myself - so I could cool down and relax ... while he took Natalie to the pool for their own version of cooling off. I felt more than a little guilty leaving the two of them to fend for themselves against the oppressive heat. But I could take no more. And I have a fetus to think about ... that was the final justification, which occurred to me during the previews - which allowed me to enjoy my movie theater experience. That's right, I was indulging in air conditioned comfort while watching a chick flick, and I did it for my unborn child! But it wasn't quite enough justification for a double feature ... as tempting as that option seemed.

As you perhaps perceived from this post's title, I saw The Ugly Truth with Katherine Heigl. Basically, the guy is a jerk and she's a control freak. He helps her start a relationship with another guy because he's an "expert on what guys really want," and then he falls in love with her and vice versa. The ending - in the hot air balloon - is beyond cheesy; I'll admit I cried a little but I am blaming it whole-heartedly on the hormones.

It was the best two hours of my week. I was cool and relaxed and by myself. The movie was entertaining, a little raunchy, and made me laugh out loud a few times ... what more could I ask for?

In return, I brought home an Oreo shake for my sweet, sweet husband :)
UPDATE: Apparently my breaking point coincided with the weather's breaking point. The temperatures are finally back to normal with a forecast high in the mid-80's. My thermostat is resting at a delightful 73 degrees, and that's a whole heck of a lot better than 90!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Record Breaking Heat

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We spent the morning on the beach at a local lake. Then we spent an hour driving around - including a stop at Jamba Juice - in the air conditioned car. The relief was sweet but short-lived. We've been home for about two hours. Natalie feel asleep about 30 minutes after we got home. She was in her crib for a while, but the temperature upstairs is even warmer than the thermostat reads downstairs; and yes, that's 88 degrees. Now she's snoozing on the couch - while I type - with two fans blowing on us. And we are both still sweating.

Temperature records are being broken all over the NW. The news people actually seem excited about it. I watched for about 5 minutes, felt a strong urge to throw something at the TV, but decided that would require too much energy. And when it's this freakin' hot, there's no extra energy to expend. Just for the "record" ... temperatures in Seattle reached 103 degrees today. People are waiting in line for 12 hours or more to buy an air-conditioner. Hotels are turning people away. It's absolutely insane! According to the forecast, we only have to survive one more day of this oppressive, record-breaking heat.

Thankfully, Natalie and I have plans to be at a friend's house. A very sweet friend with central air. I am literally counting down the hours until 10 am tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hot, a Hat, a Belly Shot, and a Hottie

So how hot is it here in the NW?

It's hot enough for profanity ... like the kind of swearing done by sailors and SupahMommy.

It's hot enough that my thermostat - inside my house - currently reads 88 degrees. Thankfully it's a full 5 degrees cooler in the room where I sit typing with two fans blowing on me.

It's hot enough that I was willing - dare I say, excited - to pay $50 for a fan ... after going to three other places that were complete sold out of fans. I should also mention that my $50 fan is just 7-inches in diameter ... and ladies, we know that 7-inches really isn't that impressive ... did I really just think and type that?!

It's hot enough that little Natalie No-Nap made another appearance here today. I even gave her my 7-inch fan and her ceiling fan - both on high - but it's just too hot to sleep.

It's hot enough that Natalie is at the pool for the second time today. And we have plans to be back again tomorrow.

It's hot enough that anytime spent indoors today was spent either wearing only a tanktop and danties or my still damp swimsuit. Natalie sported the "no-shirt-with-a-stocking-hat" look that she's sure to make famous; kind of Ashton Kutcher-esque, no? (Isn't she adorable reading to her little bear?)

I passed myself in the mirror on the way to snap pics of Natalie, and I just couldn't resist taking a photo of my bump, my lovely baby bump! So here's the first belly shot, and don't you dare tell me you can't see it ... it's is so there! (And, yes, this is the tanktop and danties ensemble I mentioned earlier.)

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Did I mention that it is hot ... hotter than a baker's apron, fish grease, and this guy ...

Fairly certain this heat is making me slap-happy ... or maybe horny ... either way, I am heading for a cold shower ... maybe then it won't feel so HOT :)


Just letting you know that I've launched a new blog ...


... maybe you want to check it out?

I have a week's worth of posts ready to roll, and I'm working on next week ... frequent visits are encouraged :)

Oh, and feel free to let me know what you think ...
if you have friends with toddlers, please send them the link ... thanks!

The Gender Decision

Everyone knows that at 20 weeks - during an ultrasound - mommies and daddies are given the opportunity to find out the gender of their little bambinos.

I totally understand that for some mommies and daddies there is no decision to be made. Expectant parents tend to fall into one of two categories: "We must know so I can plan every last detail and make sure the nursery is super fabulous." or "There are so few surprises in life; why not be surprised?"

I guess I am somewhere in between. Because I really can't decide. I am agonizing ... just a little ... over this gender decision.

Just today, in three separate phone conversations, I was faced with this decision at point-blank range. My friends Missy and Laurie and my mom, all three of them, asked me specifically about whether or not I intend to find out the gender of Baby V 2.0. And I just don't know!

We did not find out with Natalie, and I was/am so very happy with that decision. I loved not knowing. I (secretly) loved knowing that the "not-knowing" drove my mom and several others crazy. I loved thinking she was a boy and calling her Jack (based on a hunch) for almost the entire pregnancy. I loved having her revealed to us at the delivery. I decorated the nursery in primary colors and the alphabet (with the help of family and friends), and I absolutely love it. I can't imagine Natalie in a pink nursery. I had neutral clothes for when she was first born and then a whole slew of pink arrived shortly after. Yes, that was definitely a decision I was happy with.

For me, the nursery is not a concern. Baby V 2.0 will take over Natalie's current nursery ... as clearly, it's gender-neutral. While the practicality of getting rid of the girl clothes does make sense to me, I am not in a hurry to part with Natalie's early wardrobe. I've heard the suggestion that it may be nice to prepare Natalie for having a baby brother or sister. Thus far, that's the most compelling argument. I can see that would cut down on some confusion. But really, she's a two-year-old, so I am not sure I'll base my decision on her.

I don't know how else to explain this ... I like not knowing as much as I like knowing.

Alright friends, strangers, ... if you are reading this ... what do you think? Give me your two cents. Share your experience. Give me advice. Help me make this decision!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Enough Said

Sunday, July 26, 2009

1st Trimester Highlights

Well, I am just past 18 weeks pregnant, but I forgot to post about my first trimester ... how's that for MommyBrain?!

Finding Out
We found out on April 29th, Chad's 35th Birthday. I took the test as soon as Chad left for work because I really suspected that I was pregnant … but I wanted to know before him because I had a plan. I had a dream that Chad opened a gift with a positive pregnancy test inside. That's exactly what I did and how I told him!

  • extreme nausea in the evening – starting at 3:00 and lasting until 9:00
  • Weight Gain = 0 lbs
  • could not eat dinner (or even make dinner most evenings); poor Chad and Natalie had to fend for themselves
  • tired, tired, tired – I took a nap almost every afternoon
  • craved chocolate milk, tater tots, strawberries, and apples
  • ate a bowl of cereal late at night – or just before sunrise
  • cried all the time and found my usual supply of patience for Natalie was running at an all time low – I really struggled with the guilt of that – guessing there's more of that to come, huh?

Ultrasound Craziness
I had three ultrasounds in the first 13 weeks, and each one was a little stressful.

  1. @ 7 weeks – I mentioned to my doctor that I was having twin dreams and feeling more sick than I remember with Natalie. This, of course, peaked her “Could this be twins?” radar. During the ultrasound (which had to be done in the less comfortable manner), she had a weird look on her face and called in another doctor. There was an additional structure … without a heartbeat. We'll never know for sure, but that structure may have been the beginning of a second embryo … or part of the yolk sac … or a even a shadow. My doctor assured me that the structure would be re-absorbed and didn't pose a concern. While I was a little sad, I focused on the great news of one little grain of rice with a beating heart and a place in mine!
  2. @ 9.5 weeks – Doctor Maplethorpe checked for the heartbeat with the Fetal Doppler. No heartbeat was detected, but that's not unusual at this early date. But because of the “weird” first ultrasound, Dr. M decided to follow-up with another ultrasound. The screen was turned toward me, and I could tell that there wasn't anything on the screen. Dr. M decided to take a look – in that less comfortable way again – and still there was nothing on the screen. I broke down at this point. She re-positioned the transponder three different times before pointing it down as far as she could – toward my tail bone. And just like that, I could see my little jelly bean. What a relief! We discovered I have a retroverted uterus, which also explains all the pain in my lower back.
  3. @ 13 weeks – Still no heartbeat detected on the Fetal Doppler. Because of the other two strange ultrasounds, Dr. M brought in the ultrasound machine – again! And again, I was a mess. I definitely thought we'd hear a heartbeat at 13 weeks. But my retroverted uterus and a very prominent placenta was to blame. The ultrasound revealed good cardiac activity but the fetus was measuring a little small – not enough to be concerned because as the doctor said, I don't make big babies.

With extreme nausea and crazy ultrasounds behind me, I am actually really enjoying my second trimester ... and setting my goals on weight gain ... this bowl of rocky road ice cream should be helping!

Meal Planning - Week 4

It's that time again ... time to plan ahead, beat the heat with record-breaking temperatures heading our way, so I'll be avoiding the oven, using the grill as much as possible, and eating lots of fresh salads.

I relied on my Kraft magazines this week ... everything looked yummy and simple.

Sunday - Hamburgers on the grill, leftover cheesy pasta, and sauteed zucchini

Monday - Sun-dried Tomato Grilled Chicken and Vegetables

Tuesday - Tuna Cakes with Feta and Strawberry salad

Wednesday - Grilled Kielbasa and Creamy Potato Salad Made Over

Thursday - Tacos

Friday - Pizza and Bacon Spinach Salad

Saturday - Someone else's turn to think about dinner :)

Check out all kinds of delightful Meal Plans at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

2-Year Check-Up & OB Appointment

Good news, our girl is healthy and happy! Yeah, I already knew that, too ... but I didn't know (and you don't know either) the all-important stats.

Check it out:

Weight: 29.1 pounds (at one year - 22 lbs. 4 oz.) - About the 75th percentile

Height: 36 inches (at one year - 31 inches) - The 95th percentile!

In other health-related news, the doctor ...

  • was not able to look in her eyes; Natalie was wagging both fingers and saying, "No eyes," from the moment Dr. Maplethorpe walked in the room
  • did look in her ears but not without a bit of a struggle
  • told me not to stress about the binky (but I continue to do just that)
  • diagnosed her constantly running nose as allergies but suggested holding off on treatment if it doesn't seem to be affecting her (she's sleeping, eating, not unnecessarily grouchy, ...)
  • looked at her eczema and proclaimed it to be very well controlled
  • was quite impressed with Natalie's verbal abilities

After our doctor's appointment, we stopped by Starbucks for a treat and then headed to our favorite park. Chad and I marveled at the difference a year makes!

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And, you can just call me a double-dipper because I scheduled my routine OB appointment for the same time - with the same doctor. I absolutely love our family practice. I love knowing that one doctor knows all three (make that four) of us and our health histories. I also love that they are willing to coordinate two appointments at once. Having Chad with us is the only way this truly works because, if needed, he can take Natalie out of the room and across the street to her favorite water fountain.

Anyway, here are the highlights from my recent OB appointment:

Gestation: 17 weeks 3 days

Due Date: December 27th

Weight Gain: 2 pounds*

Heartbeat: Yep, it's there this time ;)

Mishap (there's always one): As usual, the nurse asked for a urine sample, and with a bladder like mine (constantly in need of relief), I was happy to comply. Marched myself right in, grabbed a cup and a wipe, and proceeded to empty my bladder while holding the cup in one hand and the wipe in the other - neither of which ever served their intended purpose. I sat there - knowing I needed to give a urine sample - had a serious MommyBrain moment - probably thinking about how good it felt to pee - and didn't collect even a drop. Do you have any idea how ridiculous I felt? How hard I laughed? Almost hard enough to produce that deficient sample!

So my weight gain, or lack thereof, is stressing my out a little. Those two pounds represent my total weight gain for this pregnancy. Dealing with so much nausea, I lost weight in the first trimester. I guess I should feel relieved that - at least - I've put the lost pounds back on. But the doctor mentioned that the newer - much higher - dose of thyroid medicine probably has my metabolism in high gear. I am eating, and it seems like I am eating all the time. I even added Rocky Road ice cream to my list of craving this week ... yummy!

In fact, I am hungry right now ... post over ... mama needs to eat. Rocky Road, here I come!

Dear Kitchen,

I've talked about you behind your back long enough. I've sworn at you under my breath for the last time. Let's get something straight. I'm just going to put it out there. I am done with you. Time and time again. Day after day. You have exhausted me. Zapped my energy. Consumed my time. Minutes and hours I would rather be spending with my daughter or writing clever blog posts or just about anything else.

I am sick and tired of the piles of dishes that first have to be washed and then dried and then put away. Unloading that darn dishwasher of yours has become a daily requirement, and seriously I hate that chore with every ounce of my being. And the stupid "drying rack" that is constantly cluttered, what's that all about? Could your countertops, please, stay semi-clean for longer than an hour or two? Where do all those watermarks and spills and crumbs come from? I swear there's a team of counter yucky-uppers hiding beneath the surface. And what's up with your stainless steel appliances always looking like a crime scene - finger prints and smudges and, I swear, lick marks - every time I turn around? Oh, and how many times have I emptied your garbage can and recycling bin? It's always, always something, I tell ya!

Ugh! I am so over it. I am done with you. I am not coming near you for - at least - the next 12 hours because truthfully, I can't stand the sight of you. You disgust me and disappointment me and make me more than a little crazy. I don't need any more crazy!

Done Wiping Counters in the NW

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Who's that Girl?

Well, that's little Natalie No-Nap.

Reading books because after trying to fall asleep for an hour, mommy took pity on her and gave her a 30-minute playtime.

In nothing but a diaper because that's her new preferred way to sleep ... and no sense getting her dressed for the photo; she's heading back to sleep (fingers crossed) even as I type.

I am completely shocked that Natalie didn't take her usual 3-hour snooze this afternoon. She woke up at her normal time (around 8:00) and had an exciting playdate with her BFF Sahara until almost 2:00. Perhaps I missed that all-important nap window?

While I'm talking about sleep habits ... remember yesterday when I took the opportunity to mop my floors because Natalie was still sleeping at 8:30 am? Yeah, she didn't wake up - despite my attempts - until 11:00 am! Which meant little Natalie No-Nap made an appearance yesterday, too. Considering the fact that she slept for like 14 hours, I didn't even try to put her down. We shopped and played and went to the pool ... and she was great right on through to bedtime at 8:00.

Wonder what tomorrow will bring?

Spelling for Dummies

It's started already, Chad and I are communicating via the alphabet rather than with words.

Why? Because some words evoke certain reactions for our beloved two-year-old. And sometimes we just don't want to deal with those reactions, at least not prematurely. We want to check with each other before we start making announcements about our plans for the day or menu for the next meal or whatever.

So we say things like ...
  • Should we go to the p-o-o-l?
  • Seems like a nice day to walk to the p-a-r-k.
  • What'll you bet she'll actually eat her b-r-o-c-c-o-l-i tonight?
  • Let's have c-u-p-c-a-k-e-s after Natalie goes to b-e-d.

Delightful, right? Yeah, well, my husband is not a quick speller, and we're both visual learners, which means when someone spells aloud to us we have to focus really hard to put all the letters together and make a word. Bottom line, it's a strain on our brain.

Never ones to give up, we devised a new way of "spelling" around Natalie, and it seems to be working ... for now. Instead of spelling out the entire word, one letter at a time, we say the first letter and then the rest of the word. So pool is P-OOL. And park is P-ARK.

It's hilarious, and I can only imagine what the innocent passer-by must think of our attempt at spelling ... what a bunch of dummies!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Quad Screen

I am the worst at making decisions. Right now I am faced with making a decision about whether or not to partake in the Quad Screen for the baby growing inside me.

I declined this testing when I was carrying Natalie. Honestly, I probably would've done this testing if it hadn't been for Laurie's awful experience. She received false positive results and worried - needlessly - for almost two weeks before being reassured that all was, in fact, well with BBT. I remember many a phone conversation with her during that time, and it made up my mind. That kind of stress cannot be good for mama or baby.

I should also admit that I was completely naive during my first pregnancy. For the most part, I believed that once you conceived and took care of yourself, you were guaranteed a healthy baby after 9 months of womb-providing and many hours of labor. I have since met and read the blogs of countless mamas who did not share my same fortune with their pregnancies as I did with my first. I cannot even begin to imagine the depth of their sorrow, the pain of their heartache.

This reality has put a bit of a gray cloud over my head this time around. I can't help but worry ... which makes me wonder if the Quad Screen would be a good thing for me. Perhaps it would soothe my concerns, put my mind at ease, lift that cloud. But false positive results hold the promise of needless worry and stress. There's also the very real possibility that the results will not be false, but rather my worst fears realized. Am I ready for that?

Decision needs to be made by Thursday so I can get bloodwork before 18 weeks (on Friday). How am I going to fall asleep?

Colic SUCKS!

Guest Blogger: ChitownMomma

Why my dear friend, Laurie aka ChitownMomma, doesn't have her own blog is beyond me. I certainly enjoy what she writes and thought you might too ...

I also find it necessary to remind you that Laurie recently moved from TX to IL (no family nearby), is the mom of two ... under the age of two (for the next few days), and she is undergoing physical therapy on her nether-regions (perhaps she'll grace us with another post about that). In addition, she is experiencing colic through the lungs of her baby girl. You've gotta read this!

In Laurie's words ...

Let me just say, that colic. sucks. bad. I would even go so far as to say that colic sucks F*%#ING bad. And for all you non cursers out there, after you live with a colicky baby for a few weeks the number of f-bombs in your daily vocabulary will increase exponentially! So for the past month my adorable little newborn has wreaked havoc on our household! Yes, that new little baby, that I am supposed to love with my whole heart and soul has brought the devil into our house! Here is the lowdown of how our lives have progressed.

Week 1: Taylor arrives home, sleeps all the time. Life is good great! Big brother, Benjamin, is transitioning perfectly. Ah, what a fabulous family of four we have become.

Week 2: Life continues to be great. This two kid thing is WAY better than I had anticipated. Totally manageable.

Week 3: We started to experience crying at night. “Oh no!” we say. This is not so much fun. But babies cry and it will pass. We were such suckers!

Week 4: The crying starts to get rather intense at times. She just doesn’t seem to be consolable. It starts every night around 6, just in time for Daddy to get home. He begins to wonder why she hates him. Dinner time is no longer enjoyable. People whisper about this colic thing, but we aren’t believers.

Week 5: We now add a noontime crying session to the evening scream fest. Taylor is adorned with the nickname, “Little screamy.” People on Facebook joke about this nickname…we aren’t laughing. Where, oh where, is that sweet baby girl we brought home from the hospital? Oh, and the projectile vomiting begins…note to future guests. Sit on the futon with care!

Week 6: Let’s see what can sum this up? Hell on Earth, perhaps? During this week…

  • What used to be two separate fits of screaming gelled into one extended, miserable existence for our entire family. Pretty much from noon until 10 pm, if she was awake, she was screaming!

  • I cried every day - at least 3 times, for at least 3 min, for at least 3 days of the week - does that qualify me for some type of Rule of three for Colicky Parents???

  • Watched my toddler put his head in his hands and shake his head when she started screaming again.

  • Called my husband at worked and told him I no longer wanted to be a mom of two anymore. AND I was serious! (ahhh, the guilt of saying that one out loud!)

  • I drank a lot of wine and breastfed anyway (Ok, more guilt made me stop at two small glasses each night, but I never would have done that with my first child!)

  • I was on my way to having thighs of steel from all the bouncing that I did – on the exercise ball, with her in the carrier, while walking outside, in the steam filled bathroom. You name it, I have bounced on/with/in it!

Week 7: Here we are now. Took her to the Dr. yesterday and she said there is nothing medically wrong. How bad is it that I was disappointed? I was hoping for a little reflux or something so that we could give her some drugs and be on our way! Pathetic I know. Desperate times, people! The one good tip she game me was try something for 20-30 min, if it doesn’t work stop, put her down, walk away and let her cry on her own for 20-30 min. Keep working in 20-30 min chunks until the day is over. Let’s see, screaming starts at noon, goes to bed at 10, that makes for 20-30 chunks of time and I only have to suffer through half of them. It somehow makes it more manageable. Until I stop to think of my little nugget suffering through all 20-30 of them…

So to sum it all up, Colic. SUCKS!

Oh my dear friend, I am feeling for you. Hoping things get better. Praying that my little fetus doesn't give me this kind of run for my money because I don't have what it takes - I am admitting that up-front!

Birthday Celebration

La, La, La, La, Natalie's Birthday ... had a slight Elmo theme and was tons of fun!
We partied in the backyard, and I kept the decorations to a minimum: Happy Birthday banner strung between two trees with silver ribbon (Natalie loved seeing "yetters" in the trees), a bouquet of balloons, colorful placemats, SOLO brand Sesame Street plates (thanks to Laurie), and simple gift bags. I served a really simple menu: pizza, salad, and apple sauce but not much was eaten because of the Chex Mix, grapes, and juice boxes that were consumed before the pizza was ready.
Gift Bag Details:
  • The bags were brown with a handle - bought in bulk from Target for like $2.
  • I bought alphabet letter stickers in the dollar section and "stuck" each child's name to the front of the bag.
  • While in the dollar section, I also picked up a book (Colors, Numbers, Animals) for each kiddo.
  • To stick to the theme, I printed off Sesame Street coloring pages - free online.
  • And each child got an Elmo Take-And-Toss Sippy Cup ... but we didn't use them at the party because the Hansen Juice Boxes were such a big hit!
  • I also tossed in a tiny container of Play-Doh (Natalie's new favorite play thing.)
  • To up the sugar ante, I included a package of fruit snacks and yogurt bites
  • And the real crowd-pleaser ... those annoying noise-makers with the paper attached that blows out.
  • My goal was to spend $10 on 5 bags ... I was over budget by $5, but I really loved the final product :)
  • I don't know who started this birthday "tradition" ... I think it started with weddings, right? But I must admit that I do love to put together a little bag o' fun ... it's a challenge but I enjoy it!

Like I said, we partied in the backyard, so the slide, sandbox, bikes, baby stroller, and shopping cart, and rocks provided all the fun we needed. We even managed to get a photo of all five kiddos together! Oh, and the noise-makers; the boys, especially, LOVED those!

The two girls, Natalie and her best friend Sahara (aka See-See) were so excited to see each other. I just couldn't stop snapping pictures of them and their reaction to each other. It was so genuine and sweet ... smiles, hugs, and kisses!

And what birthday celebration is complete without CAKE? I made yellow cupcakes and iced them with chocolate ... because I was feeling a little adventuresome. On top of each, I put an adorable Elmo candy - I do not like the taste of those hard frosting thingies but the kids gobbled up. Faces were covered in chocolate and energy levels sky-rocketed! And boy was I glad I remembered to grab Natalie's big ... her little white tank top didn't stand a chance against her enthusiastic cupcake eating!

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Yes, my baby girl is officially two years old ... whether I like it or not. Her celebration was simple and basically easy and so much fun. Thank you to our sweet friends for making Natalie's birthday truly special :)

Hate - Love

Hate: Hearing my daughter awake at 6 am, even if she was babbling so sweetly, but knowing that 9 hours (three hours short) of sleep is sure to result in a grouchy girl.

Love: She feel back to sleep and is still snoozing at 8:30 am!

Hate: Mopping the floors, but I just did it anyway (because Natalie is sleeping and I've got a little energy), and now I ...

Love: the way my floors look after being mopped; I almost want to eat off them ...

Hate: Ugh! Why do people use that expression? It's so gross!

Hate: Paying almost two dollars for a bit of baked yumminess to go with my hot beverage of choice

Love: Starbucks is giving away pastries today, and my friend Laurie cared enough to send the coupon straight to my inbox.

Hate: Not knowing if I'll be able to make to my neighborhood 'Bucks by 10:30 am, when the free offer ends!

Love: The words linger, prosperity, sensual, delightful, wretched, and orange (when Natalie says it). That's what I was thinking about while mopping the floors ... am I a complete weirdo?

Love: An uninterrupted shower ... before noon ... better run before Natalie wakes up!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Broccoli, I'm a Survivor

Hip, hip, hooray! Natalie - of her own accord - ate broccoli tonight. In fact, she asked for it. Because it wasn't on her plate.

Hmmmm ... I am onto you, little girl. At least today, I have managed to outlast, outplay, and outwit you.

I am sure tomorrow will bring some new and interesting immunity challenge and perhaps a reward or two as well. I can only hope that I'll be up for it!

Give Me Your Best Shot - Two Year Old

I recently found this really great website, Better in Bulk. The blogger is the mom of a bunch and a lover of candy; I knew we'd get along within just a few seconds! She also has a passion for photography, and I am hoping I can learn a thing or two from her. Her weekly carnival is ...


... with a name like that and a photo like this, how can I refuse?

Impromptu Camping

A newly finished post from July 11th ...

Chad called at 10:00 yesterday morning (while Natalie and I were eating breakfast because my sweet girl slept until 9:30) and asked if we wanted to go camping tonight. Hold up. What exactly was my husband asking? Allow me to translate: Hi, honey, would you like to ....

  • Sleep in a tent - essentially on the ground - while pregnant AND with an almost-two-year-old?
  • Entertain an almost-two-year-old around a campfire, large rocks, and annoying bugs?
  • Pack enough food (and variety of food) to feed two adults and an almost-two-year-old for at least three meals and snacks in between?

My response, "Sure, I'll try anything once." We packed and headed out in the late afternoon. The campground and campsite were great, and the tent set-up was flawless. For dinner we roasted hot dogs and enjoyed fruit salad. Natalie played with her Little People, ate rocks, fell off the picnic table, ... basic toddler stuff. And we went for a walk along a mostly dry river bed before roasting marshmallows and calling it a night.

After about 12 hours in the great outdoors, Chad asked another question, "It's going to be at least five years before we try this again, isn't it?"

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Honestly, it wasn't anywhere near that awful. Here are a few of the more memorable moments:

It took Natalie about two hours to fall asleep in the tent. All three of us went to bed (or sleeping bag) at the same time. In hindsight, we should've done a more "normal" bedtime routine and got her settled inside the tent. And then we should've hung out by the campfire and enjoyed some alone time while she fell asleep. Instead, she wiggled around in between us and had a hard time going to sleep because of the excitement of having us there.

I had to relieve my bladder about a bazillion times. Hey, that's what pregnant ladies do; I couldn't help it! The walk to the "pit toilet" wasn't bad - in daylight or even dusk - admittedly, the name is awful and the smell not so nice either. But in the middle of the night, there was no way I was going to stumble around like bear bait! Not even with the headlamp that Chad provided. Thanks, honey, now I can look like a dork while projecting a 12-inch radius of light and signaling the bears to my exact location! And so at some crazy hour of pitch-blackness, I asked Chad to go with me - away from the tent - so I could squat and get some much-needed bladder relief. I figure two humans must be more intimidating to bears, right? Besides, I needed someone to watch my back ... quite literally ... my bare, white little backside! Following my lead in his groggy state, Chad managed to scoot to the door of the tent ... and then zipped it closed behind me! I was like, what are you doing? Leaving me out here to die? He, of course, assured me I would be fine - he was watching. Yeah, I wasn't' even slightly reassured. So I tiptoed about two feet and dropped drawers within maybe a foot of the tent. I really had to go, and brave hubby left me no option.

Meal Planning - I'm at it Again!

The trip to the grocery store - with my newly two-year-old - was a disaster. Let's hope my meal plan fairs better this week because I have all kinds of yumminess on the menu!

I am going to try this one more time ... this yummy recipe keeps getting bumped from my meal plan for whatever reason ... this week it was too hot to turn on the oven, so we barbequed chicken breasts instead.

The recipe calls for chicken, but BACON has been my biggest pregnancy craving, so I am making a substitution and making myself (and unborn child) happy :) I'll probably throw in a little cucumber while I'm at it ... yum!

UPDATE and SUGGESTION: I just thought of this Monday evening (better late than never), but it would've been brilliant. The bacon for this recipe was cooked in the oven ... and for the sake of efficiency and ultimately time-saving, I should've put the bacon in the oven last night with the meatloaves. Then the bacon would've been reheated tonight cutting my prep time considerably.

Tuesday - Outdoor Concert - Pack a Picnic

Top of my picnic list: bowtie pasta salad with fresh mozzerella, cucumbers, and red peppers. I think I'll serve it with hard salami, cheeses, and crackers ... and a big fruit salad. Oh, I can't wait!

Wednesday - Fish Sticks and Mac&Cheese

Both from Trader Joe's, so (hopefully) it's not as "bad for you" as it sounds! I'll probably throw together a salad (with cucumbers and bacon), too.

Thursday - Sloppy Joes, Chips, and a Veggie

Friday - Toss-Up

Depending on the weather, I will either make Gram's Chicken Pot Pie Updated ... which won't require another trip to the store but will require the oven. OR grill steak, potatoes, and veggies.
Don't forget to check out more fabulous Meal Plans at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Good News, Bad News

Good News: It's a gorgeous seventy degrees and sunny here in the NW.

Bad News: What could possibly be bad about that?

Good News: I just finished eating a delicious salad with tons of cucumbers and tomatoes ... and a super yummy corn dog ... and a glass of refreshing pink lemonade.

Bad News: Really, there's nothing bad about eating exactly what you (and your unborn child) want for lunch. But I can only imagine how many pounds I will put on if my crazy pregnancy cravings continue!

Good News: Natalie is able to put on her own shoes. At least she is able to put on the generic Crocs I bought her from Fred Meyer. And occasionally she can manage to wrangle one foot into one of her white sandals, too.

Bad News: We are not making an progress with her sneakers. Primarily because she isn't getting any practice. Potentially, this could be bad news once the weather takes a turn for the worse; the temperatures will drop and the rain will fall, and my poor baby girl will be parading around town in shoes meant for sunny weather ... because those are the shoes she can put on herself!

Good News: I got my meal plan done of the third week in a row and already made my "big" trip to the grocery store.

Bad News: Natalie accompanied me to the grocery store ... and threw four major tantrums in the span of an hour. Two of which took place in the store. One on the way home. And another as I was trying to get the groceries from the car into the house. The girl has only been two for - a grand total of - four days, and I am already seeing more frustration, more meltdowns, more tears, ... this can't be a good thing

Good News: Natalie is playing in her sandbox while I type this post.

Bad News: I just had to stop to tell her not to eat sand ... and then again to remind her that we don't stand on the picnic table ... and now I just noticed that her capris have fallen down to her ankles :) She tried pulling them back up but after a little struggle decided to take them off instead. While I blog, my daughter is sitting in the sandbox in just her diaper ... and asking to take off her shirt, too.

Guess that's all the news for now ...

Thursday, July 16, 2009


How to know when you've taken enough photos ...

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Currently in the process of deleting and editing almost 500 photos from our birthday celebration. It's a daunting task! Perhaps Natalie is right; enough photos already ... at least until tomorrow :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

What an amazing year!

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Happy 2nd Birthday, my sweet Natalie Helen

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

1 Day to 2

Seems like these days I am telling Natalie to be careful ... all the time. She's so adventuresome - wanting to try new things, push limits, climb higher, jump off, hang over, ...

But I have to say that I feel really fortunate because Natalie heeds my warnings with seriousness and only occasionally throws caution to the wind and does something precarious after I've told her to "be careful."

Our conversation usually goes something like this:

Me: "Natalie, be careful. You're up too high."

Natalie: "Fall?"

Me: "That's right, you could fall, and I don't want you to fall."

Natalie: "Hurt?"

Me: "Yes, if you do fall from way up there, it will hurt."

Natalie: "Kiss it?"

Me: "Oh, of course, I'll kiss it."

In my head, I can't help but think about the hurts that my kisses just won't heal. In my heart, I love knowing that my baby girl sees me as strong enough to make her feel better.

Monday, July 13, 2009

2 Days to 2

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Looks like the Birthday Girl just couldn't wait - two more days - to see what delightful gifts are wrapped inside that super cute star paper. She only got ONE open before I realized it was a little TOO QUIET in the other room. When Natalie was "caught red-handed" it was quite obvious that she knew she was doing something she shouldn't be. She looked up at Chad and said, "Sorry presents."

For the Record:
I love surprises. I love looking at wrapped presents and thinking about what could be inside. I would never dream of even peeking or shaking. On the other hand, my husband doesn't really like surprises and is well known for his sneaky present opening, gift guessing, and basic surprise ruining. Guess my baby girl "gets it from her daddy."

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Follow Me

You know how some songs just make you happy? This song makes me happy! Want the happiness to continue? Become a follower of my silly blog! I don't know where we're going and I have no idea how we'll get there, but FOLLOW ME! It's just a few clicks and I am sure there are delightful perks involved :)

Need further motivation? How about a little Uncle Kracker? Come on, how can you refuse?

Swimming Lessons - A Quick Update

After five days of swimming lessons, first let me say, that I was so glad to have two days off ... two days of locker room-freedom. If you're confused by that statement, perhaps you should start here.

Secondly, I must also admit that I am quite happy with Natalie's progress in the pool. She's learned to wait before entering the water, move her feet and arms in swimming-type motions, float "like a pancake" on her back while resting her head on my shoulder, and to go underwater ... as in submerge her entire head. Well, she doesn't actually do the submerging, I do but she let's me!

I was especially pleased to see our pool lessons in action at our neighborhood pool this evening. Natalie was able to apply all that she's learned in an outside setting. We also taught daddy everything that we know. She even asked to "jump" in the big pool with daddy catching her. In the kiddie pool Natalie was totally at ease and played by herself with me sitting on the edge - that's a first! Seeing her so confident in the water was great ... and makes all the locker room trauma totally worth it :)

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3 Days to 2

This day will further more be known as the Great Broccoli Showdown. And let's be clear, I didn't win this one. As I've mentioned before, Natalie is currently not eating fruits or vegetables ... with very few exceptions. Can you tell that I am a little perturbed by the situation? My inner control freak is going nuts with every failed attempt to get this almost-two-year-old to eat something more nutritious than Veggie Booty! After tonight's incident, I even pulled out the Deceptively Delicious cookbook, a gift from my thoughtful friend Tammy, with the best of intentions but a lack of enthusiasm when I realized that all of the recipes include at least 10 ingredients - that's not my kind of cooking.

Enough about my kitchen shortcomings and back to the Great Broccoli Showdown ...

The plate of food I prepared for Natalie had bits of chicken strips, ranch dip, pieces of focaccia bread, a slice of Havarti cheese, and one floret of broccoli cut into smaller chunks. She ate one bite of chicken, bread, and cheese, and then pronounced that she was "all done." With a full plate of food on her tray - a meal that I had spent time planning and preparing - I was more than disappointed by her feeble efforts.

Natalie: "All done. All done. All done."

Me: "Ummm. No my sweet girl you are not 'all done' - you need to eat two more bites of chicken."

She gave into that request and picked up two pieces of chicken and shoved them both in her mouth. After chewing for about 20 seconds, she spit her mouthful of chicken puree onto the plate. I was all but furious at this point. I was really letting her get to me.

Natalie: "All done. All done. All done."

Me: "Ummm. No, Natalie, you are not 'all done' - you need to try one bite of broccoli."

Natalie: "Noooooo. Noooooo. All done. Down. Down."

This is where things got interesting. I was not about to give up this little fight. She was going to eat a bite of broccoli and that was all there was to it!

At first I remained calm and repeated the choice she needed to make, "You may get down after you try one bite of broccoli."

And Natalie replying, "No. All done."

And my reminder, "If you don't try the broccoli, you may not get down."

This exchange went back and forth for a good two minutes when Chad said, "Well, you can't back down now." So true, so true.

In a weak moment, one I am not even remotely proud of, a moment I am fairly certain would qualify me for MckMama's "Not Me Monday," I picked up a piece of green mush and put it in her mouth while she squirmed and protested.

So not the right move. I know that. She cried and I felt awful and mean and sad. I wiped her face and hands, let her down from her chair, and hugged her close.

Broccoli is so not worth it!

Meal Planning - Two Weeks in a Row

Sunday - Salmon Bake with Pecan-Crunch Coating
This is the one I had planned for last week, but our impromptu camping trip caused a meal plan modification ... we ate hot dogs roasted over a campfire instead :) But I love this meal for a Sunday, so let's try it tonight with steamed broccoli and brown rice. Oh, here's the "promised" recipe from Southern Living's Easy Weeknight Favorites (a gift from a beloved student):

4 Salmon Fillets
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup soft breadcrumbs
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1 tablespoon parsley

Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper; place, skin side down, in a lightly greased 9-inch square baking dish. (I line it with foil for easier clean-up.)
Combine mustard, butter, and honey; brush over salmon. Combine breadcrumbs, pecans, and parsley; spoon evenly across top of salmon.
Bake uncovered, at 450 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily.

Monday - Enchiladas

This was once a staple in my weekly repertoire, but we haven't had it for a long time ... so I am bringing it back and hoping it's as delicious as I remember.

Tuesday -
Fresh Spinach Mushroom Frittata

Wednesday - Pizza Party for NHV's 2nd Birthday

Thursday - Picnic Dinner for Concert @ the Park

Friday - Marvelous Mini Meatloaves

Saturday - Dinner Out

Okay, I've got my list; heading to the grocery store now :)

Looking for more yumminess? Head on over to I'm an Organizing Junkie for a long list of other bloggers also planning meals ... how fun is that?!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

4 Days to 2

Kid's Hamburger - $1.99
Water* in a "special" cup - Free
This face - Priceless

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*Chad says an asterisk is required because I put a splash of lemonade in Natalie's water cup ... without paying for it. He's hoping I'll finally do a "double feature" with him at the movie theater ... a request he's been making for the past 15 years. It's not going to happen!

Friday, July 10, 2009

5 Days to 2

We took an impromptu (and one-night) camping trip last night. More details about that in another post. But I have to tell you that my sweet almost-2-year-old was fairly easy to entertain at the campsite. A container of Little People, a handful of books, and a baggie of crayons did the trick ... well, almost.

While we made dinner, Natalie decided she wanted - more than anything - to be in the back of the car. She was in there for at least 20 minutes. She sat in the cargo area and read books and then climbed into the backseat to chat with her baby doll (wish I had a photo of that). I kept checking with her to see if she wanted to get out ... you know, to play in the great outdoors.

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Once she did decide to get out - just as I was about to take the first bite of my roasted hot dog. Within about 30 seconds, Chad and I were wishing she would go back in!

She did take advantage of the opportunity to play in the great outdoors ...

climbing on every unsafe surface she could find,

getting closer to the fire than the 15-foot radius we established,

falling off the picnic table bench, running around with sticks,

and putting rocks in her mouth ...

to which Chad proclaimed, "This child won't put a bite of fruit in her mouth, but rocks - sure, why not?"

A Promising Start

It is a beautiful SUNNY morning here in the NW. I was able to wake up when I was ready - no alarm clock, no calls from the monitor. What a nice way to start a day! (Especially nice because I was up until 1:00 am working on a Shutterfly photo book of Grammy and Grampy's recent visit - it's fantastic!)

Anyway ...

Natalie is still snoozing ... it's 8:40 right now. She's been asleep since a little after 9:00 last night - a big thank you to daddy for making that happen because I was all out of patience.

AND - get this - I did not get a single "come get my binky" or "rock me" call last night. She slept all the way through; just like I've grown accustomed to!

Aaaaaah! Hoping the rest of the day is delightful as the first hour has been! Hoping the same for you, especially if you're a Follower of my silly blog :)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

6 Days to 2

So earlier today was tough. If you didn't read this post, you may not know what I am talking about ... but trust me, it wasn't pretty. Neither one of us - me nor Natalie - were at our best.

However, I did have the chance to spend some really sweet time - just the two of us - at an outdoor concert this evening. I packed a delicious picnic, grabbed a blanket and the stroller, and headed to one of our favorite parks. Tonight was the first concert in the summer series, and I am definitely looking forward to many more. Chad wasn't able to join us because he's not feeling well. At first, I was really disappointed not to be going as a family. But after hanging out with Natalie ... on this gorgeous blue-sky evening with big band music playing in the background and happy kiddos running/dancing all around and lots and lots of snuggles from my beautiful, happy daughter ... I wouldn't change a thing. It was a really special time for us, and I can't help but smile thinking about it now. I just wish I had taken my camera to have a visual reminder of a simple memory.

Here are the little snapshots I have of our time at the concert:
  • Natalie gobbled up hummus by dipping (and double-dipping) carrots, picked every pretzel out of her snack baggie, and refused to eat watermelon by saying, "No," with her mouth in a perfect O-shape.

  • She looked up at me and said, "No skueeze. In mouf." when I handed her a juice box.

  • Her enthusiastic clapping and "yaying" and dancing were appreciated by a small audience near our blanket.

  • Natalie practiced gentle by rubbing my face with such sweet affection ... and then she gave me a few harder taps just to test the opposite of gentle.

  • We shared a drumstick ice cream cone. After every bite, Natalie said, "More-more. Gain." She preferred the vanilla bites to the chocolate, which worked out great as far as I am concerned :)

I feel so blessed to have time with my baby girl. I just hope that tonight (and this post) will serve as a reminder to really cherish the few months we have left as just a mommy and her baby girl.

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