Friday, January 30, 2009

Pre-School Winter Party

Corinne had her preschool Winter Party today, which Papa got to come to with us. They are learning about the planets and space right now, which I think is a pretty impressive curriculum for preschool. Corinne even knows about things like Saturn's rings, Jupiter's red spot, and the "planet with a million moons" (I'm not even sure which one that is). Anyway, here is a song that they all sang for us during circle time. She is doing so much better with following along with what the rest of the class is doing (sorry for the focusing problems. I don't know what my camera was doing).

Just squinking out with the planets.

Inside the space ship

Even better: Inside the spaceship with 2 friends, and totally OK with it!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Potty Time

We have started really working on potty training with Miss Corinne. She had been extremely resistant to the idea all year, and there never seemed like a good time with school starting and so many changes in her routine. She just didn't seem ready, sometimes actually preferring to stay in her poopoo diaper and getting extremely agitated when the potty was mentioned. Also previous attempts on our part had been a little bit on the half-assed side (like putting her in underpants and then forgetting to remind her to use the potty for, oh, several hours). But faced with the prospect of having two kids in diapers in another month, we decided it was time to get serious. While there are definite advantages to not having to worry about your kid's bodily functions when out and about, it was just getting too expensive, and she's already in the largest size of Pampers.

So for Christmas Corinne got a special timer that you can set for any amount of time. It looks like the kind they use for presidential debates, where it goes from green to yellow to red (works great for Time Outs and to curb stalling tactics, as well. I highly recommend it). We set it for twenty minute intervals and whenever it went off we asked her if she needed to use the potty. At first we gave her candy just for sitting on the potty, so strong was her aversion to it. Then she just got candy for going. Being the smart cookie that she is, she quickly figured out that she could do one teaspoon of peepee every ten minutes or so and spend the day in a sugar induced Utopia, so we created the Potty Chart. Every peepee equals a sticker and three stickers earn her candy. Poopoo gets you automatic candy. (Note my delightful poopoo drawings on the right hand side of the chart)We've had a lot of luck with this system in the peepee department. She has started holding it for long periods of time and will ask to use the potty even if she is wearing a pull-up. We've only done one poopoo in the potty, which was so huge in size and accomplishment that I almost took a picture of it (it was easily as big as our TV remote), but decided that that was really too much information for most people (as if this blog post isn't TMI already). She tends to poopoo at night, and we can't seem to convince her to wake us up when she has to go. She has had only had one accident, and that was because she got up from the potty mid-pee to see what was happening on the television (yes, our potty is in our living room. What of it? You're just jealous) We've filled up one chart already, and I'm thinking when I make the next one that four peepees will equal candy, and then five, until we wean her off of the candy altogether. I'm sure we will have some regression when Apple comes, but at least we're barely using diapers at this point and for the next month I will enjoy it immensely. Next up: weaning off of the beloved Boobah (pacifier).
(Like father, like daughter.)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Mmmm, sushi

One of my playgroup mom-friends, Meghan, gave me one of world's most thoughtful gifts: sushi, only it's made out of chocolate and frosting and swedish fish, a LoserInc-favorite trifecta. This is a pregnant woman's dream, and as good as the real deal, just in a desserty sort of way.

This is just a sampling. The rice is rice-crispy treats. There's some peanut butter in there, too.

PS- This makes up for the fact that a certain Loser-Family dog, who shall remain nameless, ate an entire pound of homemade chocolates off the coffee table some time between 6 and 7:30 am on Wednesday morning. The entire day Thursday was spent vomiting up foil wrappers and pooping out what looked (but didn't smell like) chocolate fondue. This is classic "older sibling acting out for attention" behavior.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Monday, January 5, 2009

A Whole Lotta Catching Up to Do

So today I had all these plans to go to Home Depot and Babies R Us and other assorted errands. But then I slept like crap last night and woke up to slippery roads and icy walkways and said, you know what, the hell with this. I made the executive decision to take the whole day off and be completely unproductive. It's Corinne's and Pete's first day back to school/work after the vacation, and while I hardly worked hard during the vacation, we were busy and fairly productive and damn it, I'm pregnant and if I need a day to just lay around, I'm entitled! I honestly don't remember the last day that I had no plans, no places to go, no cookies to bake, no room to paint, no shopping and gift wrapping, no decorating, no toddler entertaining, no cleaning, just a whole day to myself to just waste and not feel guilty like the baby might come tomorrow and then I'll really pay. So here I am. I dropped Corinne off at school, came home and enjoyed a leisurely bagel, then promptly slept on the couch for two hours. Now I'm up and feeling much better and decided that I was long overdue to update the blog. I was going to enter the posts separately and back date them, like they've been written all along and just awaiting a final edit before publishing, but who are we kidding? So here is a summary of the highlights of the past month, all in one lazy, rainy day, half-assed post.

On Pregnancy
I am now in the throes of being "very pregnant". I am 32 weeks pregnant (I think. I can't get over how much less obsessed I am with this pregnancy, to the point where I have actually lost track of what week I'm in, and had to go to the calendar and count backward from my due date. Second child syndrome already. Sorry Apple, I'll make it up to you. I promise to at least take a lot of pictures of you, and your mural is better than your sister's) I am large and bloated and tired. I am not sleeping well at all for any combination of the following reasons on any given night: 1) heartburn- the worst I've ever had. Like, I thought I might be having a heart attack the other night. I had the burning in the throat and occasional burping throw-up into my mouth with Corinne, but this is lower in my chest and not as quickly relieved with Tums. 2) Back pain- something about having a bowling ball in your belly puts a lot of strain on your back when you lay down at night, and "The Wedge", the beloved, passed around from expectant mom to expectant mom triangular pillow just ain't doing the trick this time around. I now sleep with a pillow between my legs, the wedge under my belly, and now sometimes a pillow behind my back. Laying on my back is sometimes more comfortable than my side but as soon as I have two teaspoons of pee in my bladder or any gas in my intestines or any food in my stomach, that doesn't work either. 3) Whistle nose- I HATE when I can hear myself breath. That is why I need the white noise machine at night. Pregnancy is somehow responsible for all one's mucous membranes to soften up, including one's nose. This means snoring that Pete has equated with a chainsaw and that I often wake myself up from. And when I'm already awake due to the above mentioned reasons, my nose is all whistley and stuffy and just really annoying. Here is the pattern that has developed: I fall asleep on the couch around 9 from the shear exhaustion of not sleeping and doing such strenuous things as climbing one set of stairs or getting up from the couch. I can usually fall asleep once in bed (see update on our wonderful new bed below) but I wake up in an hour or two with a back ache. I decide to get up and pee to relieve as much abdominal pressure as possible. In the bathroom I realize my throat is so dry from snoring and I drink more water. Upon returning to bed I spend the next 15 minutes snorting, blowing and sniffing to clear the whistles out of my nose. Ten minutes after settling in, my back hurts again and I begin the turning-over process of shifting pillows and my own large self. Now my nose drains to that side and begins to whistle again. At that point I usually fall asleep, only to wake up almost exactly a half hour later to repeat the whole thing again. Sometimes I end up wide awake, my thoughts jumping here there and everywhere, in which case I have just been getting up and going downstairs to lay on the couch where at least I have back support behind me and where I can let late night episodes of Leave It to Beaver and the Twilight Zone drown out my nose whistle.

Ode to Our New Bed
I cannot begin to say how much we love our new bed. Prior to this Pete and I, two adults of 6 feet in length and 5 feet, ten inches respectively, shared a full sized bed. And a cheap one, at that. One with a creaky box spring that alerted the whole neighborhood whenever one of us rolled over, and with a mattress that sheets would just not stay on. By morning one whole side of the fitted sheet and mattress pad would be off and bunched up underneath us. I grew to hate this bed and finally convinced Pete that it was likely the root cause of his persistent, medication- resistant insomnia. When one of us was awake and tossing and turning, we both were. And with my pregnancy, that was becoming an every night, most of the night thing. There were a couple nights around 2 am where we practically did rock-scissors-paper over who got to go sleep on the couch.

We decided that for Christmas we would forgo presents to each other and have our parents give us money instead of gifts and put it all toward a new bed. And so we did, and it was one of the best decisions we've made to date. One we're wishing we had made years ago. We went and picked out a king sized bed (in fact, a whole new matching bedroom set, because we're adults with a house and one kid and another on the way and we were still using a hand-me-down bureau and the dresser that I got when I was, I kid you not, five years old from Montgomery Wards. And also the giant bed takes up most of our not-so-big bedroom, so we had to furnish the rest of the room with that in mind.) We got ourselves "sleep tested" and fitted with a fancy mattress and had the whole shebang delivered to our house the week before Christmas. It was effortless, too. We were worried the king size mattress wouldn't fit up our stairs but the movers were pros and got that thing in there in under ten minutes. I got a chance to clean the hell out of our bedroom (with its 6 years of cat and dog hair) just in time for holiday houseguests. Corinne inherited our old bed in place of her toddler bed, which will now serve as our guest bed when needed, and voila, a happy family. I equated our first night in the new bed to be on par with my wedding day and the birth of Corinne. It was that good. It doesn't creak or shake, the sheets stay on, the blankets don't end up all on one side or on the floor and I can go the whole night without ever touching Pete at all, if I so choose. Pete has slept through the night every night since, as I'm sure I will too, once this baby is out of my belly.
Look how big!! (Not sure if that's dust floating around, or spiritual orbs. And yes, now we need new lamps.)

Ode to Freecycle
On the topic of our new bedroom, I just have to give a shout out to Freecycle. If you haven't heard of it, do check it out. I think they're all over the country. For dumpster divers like Pete and myself, it is the best thing since sliced bread. I get daily emails with listings of stuff that people in our area are giving away for free. There's some good stuff, too. My friend has acquired not one but three of those little plastic outdoor playhouses that normally sell for $100 on up (I'm currently waiting on a response about a new-in-box breast pump). There's also some crappy stuff, which I have noticed tends to get snatched up right away. Anyway, I posted the above mentioned 30 year old Montgomery Wards dresser, mirror and night table and immediately got 3 responses. The people who ended up with it came the very same day, helped Pete carry it all downstairs, and told me that their daughter will get another 30 years use out of it. I was happy to see it go to a good home and not a landfill, plus it would have cost us about $20 to have the garbage truck pick it all up. I got rid of our headboard and an old bike the same way. I've had less luck with our old dishwasher, lawn mower and air conditioners, but I'll keep trying.

Ding Dong, the Room is Done

At last, Apple's room is finished. The mural is complete (took about 6 weeks, off and on), the closet is finished, the rug is in, the crib had been assembled. If Apple were to come tomorrow, which I really hope she doesn't , at least we're ready. Aaaaaahhhhhhhhhh. 'Nuff said.(just a reminder of the closet, before)

What I Did for My Christmas Vacation

It seems like Christmas was so long ago, such was the whirlwind of our vacation week.

Corinne was so into Christmas this year. She really gets it now. And as a huge fan of the holiday myself, I was happy to indulge her with all the traditions: excessive decorating; ad nauseum shows, movies, books and music; cookie baking; gingerbread house decorating; card sending; present wrapping; advent calendar opening, etc. We made a total of I think eight different cookie recipes, for a total of about 32 dozen cookies, half of which were given away as Christmas gifts to various people, mailmen and teachers and half which were consumed in the days following Christmas (thank God I tested negative for gestational diabetes!) This year Corinne was totally into Herme, the elf from Rudolph who wants to be a dentist. She really digs him for some reason. She has a little stuffed animal of him and he had to stay out once the decorations were packed away. It reminded me of when my sister cried about packing up our plastic light up Frosty when she was five or so (sorry Erin!) I understand, though. It's kind of sad when it's all over. So much build up for one day. Then again, I'm always relieved when it's over, too, and I love having my house back to normal.

Anyway, My family all arrived on Tuesday the 23rd and stayed through Friday the 26th. On Christmas eve we hosted the annual Swedish Smorgasbord for 19 people. This was our third year running the show and Pete and I are starting to get it down pat (except we had a communication breakdown and ended up with no ricegreinsgurt. Sorry Sue!) Corinne did much better opening gifts on Christmas morning this year (it's been too overwhelming for her in the past) and she got lots of great stuff (and not too many presents this year- good job Mimmie and Papa). We got a new Blue Ray DVD player from Auntie Vic, which was great since our DVD player had broken and we were using a little portable car model that only plays at full volume.

The rest of the vacation week we kept ourselves busy. On Tuesday Pete had to go into work, so Corinne and I went to a short ballet demo at our library. Corinne was really good for it, sitting quietly and watching intently. At the end they took questions from the kids. Most asked things like "does it hurt to stand on your toes", or "I like to dress like a ballerina". Corinne surprised me by raising her hand. I asked her what her question was and she said "I like whales because they're so cute!" Hmm, maybe that was her own interpretation of the dancing. Who knows what goes on in that head.

On Wednesday we took the train into Boston to the aquarium and had a good time. We were there for four hours, which is a record for us. Corinne really liked the penguins; I think she could have watched them all day.

New Years Eve Pete and I did the usual- sushi (only cooked ones this year, though. Another pregnancy sacrifice) and Twilight Zones. We were both passed out by 10pm. New Years Day down came all the Christmas stuff, also a tradition. I love Christmas, but once it's over I want it all gone.

On Friday we went to the Ecotarium in Worcester (we had tried to go there on Monday, only to find that it was closed). It was a nice place- we hadn't been there before. It's part zoo, part science museum, part children's museum, and even a little train, which we rode in the freezing cold. Again, Corinne really liked it and we were there most of the day. I think next up will be the children's museum in Boston. We'd been waiting to make sure that Corinne could handle it and it seems like she's ready.

The weekend we spent hanging around and getting some stuff done around the house. Pete organized the basement and took Corinne sledding. It was a productive yet relaxing weekend of quality family time. I love when Pete doesn't have to work.

So that's the last month in a nutshell and now I'm all caught up and can go and chillax again :)