Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Does Anybody Actually Like Doing Hard Things?

A couple of friends recently transitioned their little ones to toddler beds. They talk about how hard it is to get the little guys to stay in the bed and still take naps and go to sleep easily. We, however, had such a different experience with Rhett. He stayed in his bed, never getting out. It's as if it didn't even occur to him that he could get out on his own, and we certainly didn't show him that he could. Only recently has he started getting out, but it's not a regular occurrence. This transition was just so easy for us.

Given this was so easy, I knew something else that was easy for others was destined to be hard for me. When I read that my friend Angie's not-even-two-year-old daughter was changing her own clothes, my jaw totally dropped. We've been working on this for a couple of weeks and it's SO HARD. Seriously, it's taken about 45 minutes from our daily routine because he takes so long to do it. He'll try pulling his arm through the sleeve, it won't work, and then he'll claim it's too hard and beg me to do it for him. This process goes on for too long, in my opinion. It's so frustrating because I know I can do it but I also know that I don't want to be changing a seven-year-old's clothes. I know, I know; I'm sure it wouldn't get that far. But I'd really like to put a check mark next to some big transitions before Betamax arrives. And dang, this was just not something I anticipated as being hard for us. How come nobody warned me?! Or maybe I'm the only one who struggles with this. Anyone want to give me a heads up for anything else hard heading my way? You know, other than the adding a second child to the mix.

Speaking of big transitions and check haven't read anything from me on the potty training front. That's because we have nothing to report. We've been talking about it for a long time and Chuck bought a kid toilet months ago (many, many months ago, actually). I've read enough to know that it's best if you can wait until the child is ready, so even though we talk to him about it and read books about it, the kid has been adamant about not using a big toilet. Before his birthday, he would say that he'd start "when I am a big guy," which translates to, "when I am 3." On his birthday when we confronted him about this, this was his response: "Can we not do that today?" Sigh. I guess he still has nearly one year of being 3 to accomplish this task. I do anticipate this being hard but man, do I really want it done. I really don't want to buy diapers for two kids. Although, after his three-year check-up last week, the doctor seemed not at all concerned. He said to drop all talk of it and just wait until summer. Fine with me...I'll be at work!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Something Funny's Going On...

Some funny times in pictures...

Why I will never buy potatoes in bulk again.

I think this is awesome. Would anyone dare wear these glasses in a family picture? And I mean, a family picture in which everyone wears them? I want to. I really, really want to. I also really, really want to make a onesie like this one, and I think I actually have the guts to do it.

Our weeping tree. Because I waited too long to take the picture, it looks like nothing. This stump of a limb (that was lost during the storm we missed while in UT), has been "bleeding" water this week. We've had some rain which the tree has been drinking like mad, but the tree doesn't quite realize it lost a body part, so the water is leaking out of the stump. We've also had some cold weather. So when we woke this morning, the leaking created an ice stalactite about 8" long. Of course, then the sun came out and melted it away.

This outfit. Do you think it's as "What Not to Wear"-worthy as Chuck does? I only wore it on a dog walk around our neighborhood on a quiet, Sunday afternoon; I promise. I've been living in this thrifted sweatshirt, by the way. It's so comfortable and big and warm. I love it. But don't worry: I think I've worn it in public like once. Okay, maybe twice.

Oh yeah! I have a follow-up from a previous post.

5. How we wash our body in the showers. For 6 years of our 6.25-year marriage, Chuck used only soap and his hands to wash his body while showering. To me, this is definitely NOT okay. The body needs something rough to wash away the oils and dead skin. When I tried some internet research, I came upon this gem from WikiHow titled "How to Take a Shower." I would switch steps 1 and 2, but that's just me. But notice, a washcloth is a "Thing you'll need."

Friday, March 25, 2011

Rhett's Birthday Part 3: The Homemade Gifts

The birthday shirt. Given the boy's obsession with street signs, I knew that's what we had to do. I used his favorite signs (no parking, deer crossing, stay to the right of the median) and a couple others. The back of the shirt has dinosaurs because he wanted those too. You know, because the themes totally match. I'm thinking I'm really going to have to make him a "buggy crossing" sign shirt now.

Celebratory garland cut from Dr. Seuss books obtained at the thrift store. Idea from the super cute Kate at mini-eco. It was my first time using my sewing machine to sew paper.

The cute fish. I wish I could find where I found this originally, but no such luck. I think he's really going to enjoy these.

This one's obviously not for Rhett, but for baby Betamax. There are only a couple of things we need, and this is one of the things I want. I bought the flannel ages ago, but wanted to find a non-blanket use for it. It's perfect. I love the bugs. I followed a tutorial over at the fun oopsey daisy. Thanks to Alison and her guest poster Heather!

And then there's this one. Sigh. Last fall Chuck participated in a fantasy football league with some friends from church. He won! What did he win? Tons of money? Fame? None of those. Rather, this silly plaque with his team's name (excuse the hint of vulgarity). What do I have to do with it? Chuck wanted it personalized a bit so I cut out the Redskins vinyl sticker with my Silhouette and put it on the plaque. How much must I love Chuck if this thing is actually displayed in our house?!

This is not a crafting project...yet. But I got this maternity dress and like it, but don't love it. I think it needs something more. But what? Applique? Yo-yos? Fabric flowers? Ruffles? What?!  Please hurry. This belly is getting bigger by the second.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Rhett's Birthday Part 2: Actual Day

The day started out with some fun paper garlands and a new play tunnel. Once his eyes adjusted to the lights, he was so excited to begin his day! Pretty much the theme of the day was trying to get him to stop playing with whatever toy was new and get him to move to the next thing. And so it was with this tunnel. He loved it and didn't want to eat breakfast because he just wanted to keep playing. We even got Bruno to go through once we enticed him with dog food.

We spent the morning doing normal things: playing and then some grocery shopping. Chuck took the day off (!) so he got to help in all endeavors. It was really great having his help and plus, we both like him and it was great that he got to spend the entire birthday with us. After grocery shopping we had a short break before our next thing so we took advantage of the dry weather (we woke to a thunderstorm) and did a birthday photo shoot. Does this picture look familiar? It should. See here and here.

After nap, we did some weeding until it was time for Rhett's local grandparents to come join our party. We started by opening gifts. Rhett loved every single thing he was given, except maybe the clothes. And the big boy underwear. But otherwise, everything was a home run. Have I mentioned how much he loves "bug cars?" Well, he does.

I made him a fishing game that he seemed to enjoy. He'd catch the fish and then deliver them to his grandpa. I need to make some sort of creel now.

His three-year-old fingers and hands weren't quite able to get it, but he did get better the more he fished!

After presents we ate the meal he requested: noodles with white sauce and cupcakes and ice cream for dessert. We also had asparagus, but I'm pretty sure he had only the required two bites and focused on the noodles.

He was blowing out candles before we had a chance to even sing to him, so we had a few different takes.

It was a great day. And now I have a three-year-old! Hooray for growing up!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Rhett's Birthday Part 1: Hershey!

We left for Hershey on Friday afternoon as soon as Chuck got home from work. This being D.C., we hit a bit of traffic, but that's to be expected, yes, even at 3:00 p.m. We arrived, had dinner, and checked into the hotel, which was right on Chocolate Avenue. Rhett was soooo excited to see all the street lights that were shaped like Hershey kisses. Staying in the hotel was an interesting experience. Since we didn't have a suite, we shared a room with Rhett. Let's just say he had a bit of a hard time falling asleep while we were there, even with us hiding under the sheets! It was really entertaining and soon enough everyone was sleeping.

We got up early (of course) and were at Chocolate World as soon as it opened.

The first thing we did was take a ride (think slow tea-cups) to get the history of Hershey's. Rhett loved this. He's still talking about the singing cows. At the end of the ride, we got our first free chocolate of the day. We couldn't make him wait and dealt with chocolate fingers immediately. (We did this ride a second time right before we left, too. That's how much he enjoyed it.)

After doing some silly Hershey's kiss thing, we did the "design your own chocolate bar." That was fun. We got to choose a milk chocolate (Rhett's choice), dark chocolate, or white chocolate base (my choice). Next you got to choose your fillings (Rhett chose chocolate chips and chocolate cookie bits--surprise), and then you got to choose whether or not it had sprinkles.

Then you got to see it get made. Here are our bars coming down the assembly line.

And here they are going through the cooler.

While the bars were cooling, you got to design your wrapper. Most of it was from a pre-set bank of images, but Rhett picked everything for his bar, including the pink wrapping. When it was done Rhett was so excited, but we wanted to make him wait a bit before eating.

Of course they have a huge shopping area where you can buy everything they make. Most of it was the stuff you see in stores, so we didn't see the need to buy much. But I couldn't resist these long Twizzlers to bring to the Young Women.

When we could wait no longer, we sat down and gave Rhett two bites of his Rhett-designed bar. He loved it. If only I had this kind of bribe every time I pulled out the camera.

Our second-to-last stop was to see some funny 3D movie of Hershey characters. Seeing as this was not only Rhett's first 3D movie, but his first theater movie, it was interesting. He was just not sure about it at all. He was sure he didn't like the water raining on him; nor did he like the tremor-like shaking of the theater. We were all happy it was only 25 minutes long.

Because we had time, we continued on to Amish country when we were done with the factory. Rhett could NOT stop talking about seeing buggies (our fault, yes, but still). Thankfully we finally saw a couple and could feel good about going home. And now our boy has a new favorite sign. I think it's just a little too late to make it on his birthday shirt, sadly.

We had a great time, and were reminded of how much we like road trips, no matter the distance. If you're thinking about going to Hershey, it's definitely do-able in a day; we just happen to like staying in hotels. Next: birthday festivities!

I have to add that this morning, after opening one present and just sitting on the couch, Rhett said, "Well, happy birthday," in a kind-of deadpan voice. It was awesome.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Out of the Mouth of Rhett

Me: Rhett, you can't have more toast until you finish your egg and strawberries.
Rhett: But I want more toast.
Me: When you finish all your toast and strawberries, I'll give you another piece of toast.
Rhett: But I don't like strawberries. All I like is bread and chocolate.

[We spent the morning like this: me cleaning the kitchen, while Rhett tried to entertain himself. Then we went to a consignment sale for kids' stuff. It was not the most exciting day for a 2-year-old. That all changed once we bought some Girl Scout cookies, which Rhett had never had before.]
Rhett: This is the bestest day EVER, Mom!
Me: Why? Nothing special happened.
Rhett: But I get to eat a Girl Scout cookie! [Note: This was before he'd even tried it.]
Me: Would you rather go to the zoo or eat a Girl Scout cookie?
Rhett: I would like to go to the zoo AND eat a Girl Scout cookie!

Rhett: I hope we don't see any animals. [We were on a hike in the wilds of suburban D.C.]
Me: Why not?
Rhett: Because they might pee on us.

And its relative...
Rhett: Is there cinnamon in here?
Me: Maybe; I can't remember. Can you taste it?
Rhett: I don't know. Is it spicy?
Me: Well it's a spice, but it's not hot.
Rhett: I don't like spicy or soggy or animals that poo on us.
Me: What animals poo on us?
Rhett: Animals that we don't know.

And I have no idea where this came from, but he started talking about how his belly is big and that's he's fat. What?! He didn't seem concerned at all about it, but still. Then he went on to tell me that I have a fat belly too. Ha. Chuck corrected him by saying that I'm round, not fat. (Thanks dear.) So later that night while telling him his "stories," he told me that I hurt him with my big, round belly. And to think, all of this at only half-way of pregnancy. Just wait and see how round I'll get, little man!

Me: I'm a mean, mean momma from outer space! [Botching a line from "Little Shop of Horrors."]
Rhett: You're not from outer space, Mom.
Me: I'm not? Where am I from then?
Rhett: [After thinking] God and Jesus sent you to me.

We're off to Hershey and Chocolate World for the little man's birthday!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mars and Venus

Now that I have to get used to living in a house with only boys (boy husband, boy children, boy dog), I need to accept some of the differences between men and women. For example, last week I said a poop joke. Chuck was surprised, but I reminded him that I was soon to be very outnumbered and had better get used to it. (Don't worry; I don't plan on repeating that. It didn't feel good.) But here are some ways I've noticed in which Chuck and I are very different and I can't tell if it's just the difference between him and me, or gender differences, or what.

1. The laundry. Up until a couple of weeks ago when he was "grounded" from laundry (I'm still not sure what I meant by this), every single piece of clothes that he wore ended up in the hamper. Regardless of whether it was dirty, into the dirty clothes it went. This was frustrating to me on so many levels. First, I have to wash and fold all of it (I won't even mention how it's always inside out--whoops, too late). Second, the washer, while good for washing, it's not good at preserving. Clothes don't last as long when they're repeatedly laundered and we don't have a large clothes budget. Third, as garment wearers and those not involved in regular heavy sweating, I don't think it's even necessary to wash something after being worn only once. Garments, yes; everything else, generally not. And fourth, I think this stems from laziness more than anything, he'd rather throw it in the dirty clothes and have it come back washed and folded than simply hang it up when done wearing. What about you? Do you find men do this more or no?

2. Finding things. Oh my. I can send Chuck to the pantry to get something I KNOW we have in there, and he will stand there for 2-3 minutes before returning to me with the report that it's not there. I sigh, walk back to the pantry, only to see it sitting where it has sat for nearly three years. We both laugh because this happens so often (and not just with the pantry), but is this a gender thing or no? He claims that he's looking only in the "one" spot wherein he expects the object to be. I, however, look all over, in addition to that "one" spot.

3. Multi-tasking. Let me be blunt: Chuck is mostly incapable of it. I find it amazing that Chuck, Rhett, and I can be sitting at the dinner table and Rhett is repeating something over and over that he really wants Chuck to hear, but Chuck is so engrossed in something else that he doesn't hear him. I, on the other hand, can brush my teeth, make my bed, and talk to Rhett all at the same time.

4. Letting things roll of ones back. I cannot do this; Chuck can. I fight being easily offended and letting little things hurt my feelings (What?! She unfriended me? My day is ruined!), but I'm not very successful. Chuck, on the other hand, is a champ at this. Nothing truly fazes him and it's very hard to hurt his feelings. (Which is why I know I can write a post like this; he could not and get away with it.)

I'm sure there are more, but that's all I have. What do you have?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Happy Pi Day!

I don't think there was ever a time when I was embarrassed by my math skills. I never pretended to be dumb to impress boys because really, outside of math, I don't know much. But with math, well, let's just say I can calculate a tip or a sales price like that! (Yep, that fast; I'm already done.)

So it was really exciting to have a husband who can follow and even mirror my math logic. In fact, this is one of the first things that I found attractive in him. So it shouldn't be any surprise that we celebrate Pi Day around these here parts.

Remember, pi is approximately 3.14159... (click here for more digits), hence the reason today (3/14) is Pi Day. We celebrated it last year with Becky's Amish Oatmeal Pie (which was totally yummy and totally different, by the way). This year I wanted easy and I wanted ice cream, so we're eating the oreo pie. I think it will make everyone happy. Especially when we have leftovers for breakfast tomorrow.

Anyone else getting their pi on today?

P.S. I made these Saturday/Sunday, because, you know, we need more treats in our house right now. They're pretty labor-intensive but so worth the effort. Now I need some good coconut-heavy dessert recipes. Anyone have any suggestions?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Room Switcheroo

I can't believe that I can say that our three-bedroom house is too big for us, but I can. And secretly (or not-so-secretly really) it makes me happy. But now that I know that Fetus/Skeletor/Betamax is a boy, we have more bedrooms than we need. We have three bedrooms: one for us, one for the boy children (I'm a firm believer of sharing rooms), and one for...what?

Currently this extra room which we call the "Goon Room" (nope, can't explain that one although I think it has something to do with Little Bunny Foo Foo), is our "guest room." Too bad we never have guests, huh? Since my friends who used to live in North Carolina moved back to Utah and since Emily moved back to Colorado from New York, no one ever comes to visit us. Of course my retired parents could, but they seem to think trips to St. George and Alaska are more fun. (Did it work, Mom and Dad? Did I shame you into coming out here more?) My sister has four kids and flying and driving seem like an awful lot of money and work. And when Chuck's family visits, they all stay with his parents. (And yes, that includes times when all six out-of-town families come at th same time.  No one wants to be left out.) So what to do with this spare room?

I don't need a craft room; I have my crafting space downstairs and I like it there. We don't need a playroom nor a storage room. Laundry is downstairs. Don't even suggest having more kids. I'm at a loss.

I had a brainstorm the other day that we should turn it into a library. You know, like with desks for when the boys do homework (yes, yes, I know this is years away, but I'm a planner); a place where we all can read and keep our books. It would be a fun, comfortable room. Kind of like a study, but not so serious or dark. I'd put comfortable chairs, a big table, and all our books in there (which would be an upgrade from having to rotate Rhett's books between his room and the Goon Room closet). What do you think? Would you or your family use a room like this? What would you want to see in it?

P.S. Right now, I like the name Max, amongst others, for the new little one. Seeing as though Rhett is a nickname from the end of his given name, we were discussing names that have Max at the end (rather than Maximus or Maxwell). The only one I came up with is Betamax. Pretty awesome, right?

P.P.S. Whoa. I had no idea that Little Bunny Foo Foo had so many versions! I'm liking the one where his head gets chopped off, although that may have a too-mature theme for my little guy. Maybe when he's 3.

P.P.P.S. Remember when I blogged about us getting pregnant and our struggles to do so? I thought I was being silly for spoofing TLC's "A Baby Story" or "A Wedding Story" by calling my series "A Conception Story." Turns out I wasn't. Can you believe this? I'm just shocked. Shocked I tell you!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

And the Fifth Ultrasound Said...

Boy! If I wasn't too lazy or if I didn't think all the pictures made the baby look like Skeletor, then I'd scan an ultrasound pic for you. But sorry, Skeletor he was. We weren't too surprised at the outcome because the 12-week ultrasound said the same thing, but it's still nice to get the double confirmation. Now we can get serious about his name. I have to start working on his Christmas stocking before the pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel stops me from everything requiring dexterity (and to finish the stocking I'll need a name).

Given this will be Boy #2, let's assume that he'll be able to wear Rhett's clothes. What else will we need? Right now our list is: crib mattress (Rhett is on his toddler bed) and double jogging stroller. What am I forgetting?

For now, no running (too wet, too cold). But tomorrow I get to try out my new pregnancy workout video. I'm pumped. Thanks for the recommendation Cousin Nicole! And to those of you who recommended yoga videos, thanks. I have one of those already; I just wanted something that would get my heartbeat up just a bit more than yoga does.

And just in case you forgot, I give you Skeletor...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Finally, We Did Stuff

Friday morning was a bit slow around here, so I thought I'd create a funny "Rhett" out of fabric...thus birthing the "fabric rhett." (We are sooo creative around here.) I got the idea from this fantastic list over at the totally cute "Mini-eco" blog and we had a good time playing with him. Guess which one I decorated and which was done by Rhett. Pretty much he only wanted to bulldoze the shapes from the guy. He did have fun picking out some eyes and stuff, so that's good. And always with the frown, that kid. He loves him some frowning.

Also on Friday I made some banana chips. I hope to add them and coconut for a yummier-to-me trail mix.

Saturday we made it to pug group. Always good times there. But that night was our "Iron Chef" competition. Last time the group met our special ingredient was nutmeg. Chuck and I got the drink so we did eggnog. Turned out not too badly! Saturday night's special ingredient was pistachios and we were randomly assigned the main dish. Yikes--the pressure. But I found this recipe for a white pizza with pistachios and It. Was. AWESOME. I'm not sure if I can attribute its awesomeness to the recipe, my stellar homemade pizza skills, or the use of the Bosch mixer, but dang it was good. Poor Chuck with his dislike for onions had a hard time eating it, but everyone else seemed to enjoy it. Plus, everyone else's food was really great. Plus plus, Chuck's mom offered to babysit so we could go to faraway Virginia and not worry about late bedtimes (especially important when there's no nap on Sunday due to church). We had a really great time.

And no, I can't not take a picture of this kid wearing the vest. Especially when he puts on the matching chef's hat.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Parenting Surprise

WARNING--This post mentions some material that may be hard to read, especially for parents.

When Rhett was first born, everything was a surprise. Before birth, we expected the sleepless nights a newborn would bring. Too bad you can't imagine the reality of those nights, nor their repercussions, until the child arrives. Before birth, we expected to love our son. Too bad you can't imagine the magnitude of the love you'll feel for your child the second he/she is first laid on your chest, when you've only first met them. Everything about being a parent is so emotional and so completely indescribable to others.

But one of the most surprising things about parenting has been how emotionally distraught I get reading when tragedies that befall other children. Before birth, I would read the stories and feel moved. But after birth? Most times I can't even read the articles, and if I do, 97% of the time I end up in tears. That fire last week in a day care center that killed four children...all because the provider left seven kids alone while she went to Target? Tears. A report I read in yesterday's Post about a mother being charged in the death of her son...whose body was found in an oven? Tears. And it's not just tears as I read the articles, but even just thinking about these events waters my eyes.

A couple of years ago, the Post's humor writer wrote a feature story for the Post's Sunday magazine about people who leave their kids in the cars, and then forget them. (He won a Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing for the article. If you can stomach it, I suggest you read it.) You can guess that this does not end well. Poor Chuck kept telling me to STOP READING and I almost had to because of the crying, but I felt like I couldn't. I felt like I needed as much information as possible on this so I could avoid it in the future.

I've thought about this phenomenon, and wondered why the feelings are so much more intense now that I have Rhett. The only way I can explain it is that maybe, when I read these articles, I imagine Rhett in those situations. My perfectly happy, silly, funny, tantrum-y boy...a boy who deserves nothing but pure love and the occasional snickerdoodle. (I only add that because I made them yesterday and was reminded of how much I love them. I could eat all the dough. I could all the cookies. I won't even admit to the number of these I eat when they're fresh.) So picturing my sweet boy having something indescribably bad happen to him, nearly makes me want to puke. And if Rhett doesn't deserve this, then no child does. Ever.

And just in case you're wondering how I get over it, here's the remedy: just read an article about how the NFL players and their owners are fighting because they want more money. You know, because they don't make enough. Just like that poor, poor Charlie Sheen who only makes $2 million an episode. Talk about hard lives!

Forgive me if I've written about this before; every time I read a new story I want to blog about it.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Random Thoughts

I wish more was going on, but alas, more is not. It's that, at least for us, this is a boring time of the year. It's too cold to be doing much exploring outside, and there aren't very many picturesque holidays to document. All will be resolved this month, hopefully, but until then, you have to deal with my boring ramblings. (And truly, I hope you all know that stuff is going on; we're not twiddling thumbs over here all the time. We're just busy with stuff not worth writing about. You know, things like eye doctors that can't seem to get a left-eye prescription correct. Or like how regular clothes don't fit and maternity clothes are too big. You know, those kinds of things.)

What's worse: wearing jeans to work with frayed hems but otherwise pants are in decent condition, or wearing jeans to work that have in-tact hems, but are grass stained?

Given a 12-week ultrasound predicted boy, what's the probability that next week's 18-week ultrasound will also say boy?

As a part-time working mother, I found this post at Feminist Mormon Housewives so interesting. I feel so lucky that I've never received any negative comments about my part-time work from fellow church-women nor from church leaders. Having my job certainly didn't keep me from my current calling. In fact, I'm hoping my job will lead me to my next calling: Ward Statistician! Wouldn't that be awesome!? But really, no one has ever said anything negative to me about it, unless I'm a complete dunce and I missed it.

While it's big news here in D.C., do others know that I, and the other quarter-million federal employees, might be out of work come next Monday or on Monday the 21st? If the House of Representatives and President Obama can't agree on a budget, then the government can and will shut down. This means I will not go to work until they agree. The last time the government shut down was in 1995 and it lasted three weeks. Whoa. Update! The shutdown is on hold for two weeks due to a continuing resolution. We'll have to see come the 21st.

Until the next time I post random meaningless comments (which will probably be Friday), goodbye.

P.S. Does anyone have any suggestions for good pregnant lady DVD workouts?