Friday, May 31, 2013

Unexpected Potty Training

I feel pretty goofy that this snuck up on me so rapidly, but Katie is kind of sort of really for real potty training.  Weird. 

She is 2 years and 2.5 months old.  Around her second birthday she started showing interest in the potty and very rapidly had her first successes.  She was excited to be like her big brother and big sister, I think.  After several weeks of letting her sit on the potty at bath time or in the morning between diaper changes, she was still excited and still having success.  But I, Lisa, haven't been feeling too hot and have been stalling. Shame, I know.  I have tried to encourage her to go as often as she would like, but we wear diapers in between and I don't follow her around to catch her every signal. 

Now that I'm officially out of the morning sickness, though, I thought that it might be good timing to focus a bit more on potty training.  So, I've been letting her take off her diaper (yes, she knows how) and sit on the toilet.  Our biggest hurdle to overcome is that she doesn't quite have the language skills yet to communicate her needs, other than "Go poh-ee!"  and "yuck!" and "bye poopy!' which are applied to pretty much all situations.  But, and trying not to be gross here, a few nights ago Katie had a bit of the runs during bathtime, and she kept telling me "Go poh-ee!" and I'd put her on the toilet and she made it every time.  No cleanup!  No problems!  I was SO encouraged.  The next day she took off her diaper and made it again in the potty.  I wanted to reward her with something very special, so I let her put on panties and she was so so proud.  While downstairs playing and showing off her big accomplishment to daddy, she had an accident, but she recognized it as being uncomfortable and not what she wanted, which is an equal success in my book.  We cleaned it up, and I decided to start trying, just to see how long we could go without accidents.  I've set a timer for every 30 minutes (but if nothing comes out then it gets shortened to 15 minutes) and every time that beeper goes off we run to the bathroom for potty time.  Lee and Anna are awesome cheerleaders and have been buoying up both Katie's and my spirits.  She is doing incredibly well.  I plan on slowly increasing the time between potty breaks so that she can just start to feel those urges to go.  And, I plan on several more months of vigilance and endless patience and Clorox.  But, I do have a renewed hope that I'll get a bit of a diaper break between Katie and #4!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Jumping for Joy

It was a total impulse buy.  I've thought about getting a trampoline or some other play set type thing for the kids to enjoy, but they're typically quite expensive and they are happy riding bikes... but then I was browsing Facebook and one of my friends had just barely listed a used trampoline for sale with the net and everything in very good condition, and I made an offer, thinking someone would outbid me.  I was very surprised when a few minutes later she said I could have it!  I then had to confess to Cody, who wasn't upset at all.  We went and picked it up last night and brought it home to surprise the kids.  They are super excited and don't want to get off of it, even when it starts raining (although they do get off when we ask them, it's just reluctantly).  I'm telling them that this is a gift from the new baby to them, so that mommy can just watch them play for hours and hours this summer while she rests.  The #1 rule of the new trampoline: no fighting.  Any fights at all and they have to get off for the rest of the day, no warnings, no exceptions.  #2 rule: you must ask permission before jumping.  No neighbors are allowed to jump without parental (both their own parents' and mine or Cody's)  permission and supervision.  And rule #3: No jumping in the rain or thunderstorms, no flips or other dangerous maneuvers, only walking when littles are on the tramp, and no bouncing off the net/running into the net/using the net at all... or, basically, be as safe as humanly possible.  I'm just praying for no ER trips. :) 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Gardening Insecurities and Triumphs

I've really never considered myself much of a gardener.  Maybe it's because I have my mother (whose weeds look like this) and sisters (one who forgets about her Southern California garden for a few weeks to find this, and one who can grow gorgeous plants inside her townhouse and even get them to bloom year after year [sorry I couldn't find the pic on her blog]) to compare myself to... yeah, they'll probably blush when they read that, but they are very talented.  Maybe I didn't think I could do it because the first few gardens I ever attempted to grow failed miserably and I couldn't even get daffodils to grow... Maybe it's just because I hate pulling weeds or because I've always had life get in the way and I've just lost confidence in myself... Maybe it's because our phoenix tree never rose from the ashes and I had to watch forlornly as my neighbor yanked it up by the roots with his bare hands this spring (earning himself a steak dinner because I bet him he couldn't do it... yeah, I'm kind of an idiot.  We built with him.  I've seen him carry 2 32 foot long I joists by himself... duh...) Anyway.  Whatever the reason, I've just thought I didn't quite possess the gene.

Last Fall, after we had set the sod and planted the trees and had a bunch of empty flower beds to fill, I went on the prowl for plants.  I just wanted things that would survive our alkaline, rock-studded-clay, and salty soil, in the shade by the fence and up against the house--a pretty tall order, I know.  But, my mom, grandma, and even my uncle and some friends were very generous in giving us starts of lots of plants.  You might even remember some of it and all the awesome things we found to plant.  We put them in last year, battled back some weeds, and prayed that even part of it would survive.  One thing we planted was some rhubarb from my Grandma's garden, which was pretty shriveled and sad looking when we put it in, and never looked alive at all through the remainder of the fall.  I was certain I had killed it.  We'd chopped the crowns into smaller pieces before planting, and I thought I'd just done it in.  The black-eyed Susans as well; they looked downright miserable after planting.  I had some hope for the daisies, but I was unsure about the hosta even though my mom insisted it was very resilient.  It just looked sick to me.  We even planted a big red-twig dogwood bush that had outgrown its place at my mom's house, but it took so much effort and root-hacking to get it out of the ground that a few days after I transplanted it, it lost its leaves and I was certain it was doomed to be a nice pile of sticks for us to admire. I hoped beyond hope something, anything, would survive the winter and renew my gardening faith in myself.

Winter came... cold and harsh.  I knew the tender perennials would be dead.  I have some hydrangea that I was unsure about, and our oak trees never fully lost their leaves--a bad sign.  In March it finally thawed enough for us to meander through the yard again.  Cody got to work building the raised beds and we brought in soil.  Since we had so much of the beautiful sandy loam to work with, we put it all over the flower beds that were still housing all those starts, burying many of them several inches deep.  All I could think of was, "Well, at least it was fun to plant, and the next round will be healthier because it has better soil now."

The last couple of months have felt like Christmas morning every time I go outside.  A leaf!  There's a leaf!  I can't believe it, a green leaf!!!  Oh my goodness, the trees have buds on them!  Well, except for the phoenix tree, that one doesn't.  But the dogwood does!  Look, look, a green patch of grass!  Amazing!  I think all of our daisies pulled through, can you believe it?  And look, I think, I think that might be a black-eyed Susan coming up.  Oh, and the ice plant and rock plant are greening up... and spreading!  They're spreading fast!  Look now, I think one of the raspberry starts is getting leaves on it, it's actually growing!  You're right, Lee, there IS a flower on the strawberries, that's incredible!  Quick, get the root stimulator, let's put our tomatoes in the ground!  The oak trees are leafing out and they look phenomenal!  Oh my heck, the hosta, it is poking up through all that dirt and unfurling.  Gorgeous!  And even... can you believe it... the hydrangea!  Just barely, but it has leaves on it; it survived!  Let's harvest the lettuce and radishes, wow they taste great!  Anna, yes you can have another helping of raw spinach straight from the garden without any dressing!  And today: I harvested my rhubarb!  From MY garden!  From my salty, alkaline, rock-studded-clay yard!  It grew and is huge and beautiful! 
First harvest of OUR rhubarb

Katie by the quakies and the pumpkin patch--already growing

Peas, radishes, lettuce, spinach

My herb box: basil, rosemary, parsley, chives

Cody's ice plant, each individual plant having tripled in size this year

The Canby Raspberries, leafing out
Our ward split last week and the Relief Society presidency of our new ward came by my house to meet me.  For the first time ever, when they asked me what my hobbies were, I said, "music, food and cooking, and gardening." 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

A mother's day gift for me!

On Mother's day, I was so surprised when I went to open the windows in the morning.  I opened the front window and there we 4 beautiful white blooming Spring Snow Crabapple trees.  Amazing!  Cody and the kids planted them the next day in our park strip by the street. I've been wanting this kind of tree since before we moved into the house.  They don't grow very big, which makes them ideal for the park strip, they bloom prolifically and smell like sweet honeysuckle, but don't fruit at all so no mess in the fall.  They have pretty waxy green foliage and are all around a great tree that does very well in our area.  But knowing that I wanted 4 I thought it would be an unattainable goal, or at least not feasible for several more years.  Apparently Cody found a good coupon for a discount on trees and when I told him I wanted something pretty for Mother's day, something that would make me feel special and valued and listened to, he knew exactly what to do.  I'm still shocked he went so BIG, though.  I certainly feel special now! 

 They started attracting butterflies and bumblebees before they even went in the ground.

The best gift of all, though, was having all the kids help in the surprise and their hugs and kisses and hand drawn cards.  I just love these awesome guys. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The ups and downs of parenthood

Right now, as I type, I have a 2 year old happily doing a puzzle by my feet, with her tongue poking out between her lips ever so slightly in concentration.  She smells of baby lotion and shampoo and is wearing cuddly soft pajamas.  In another room is a 4 year old playing with a dollie and putting on her pajamas as well, having had a shower earlier today.  In the last bedroom is a 6 year old who I was just about to reprimand for ignoring my calls for bathtime for the last half hour, when he came walking happily out of the bathroom, clean and wrapped in a towel and ready to put on his jammies... He'd listened the first time and I didn't even know it.  This is a beautiful moment in my house.  A soft breeze is coming in through the window.  The dishwasher is swishing.  It's quiet and happy.


A mere four hours ago I had a pile of dishes in the sink that was growing rapidly as I kneaded 4 loaves of sourdough bread, and while I was distracted by the bread I had a 4 year old rub her head in lotion and then cut off half her bangs (fortunately the underside, so there was still a layer over them and it's not very apparent), a 6 year old who has had the stomach flu for 2 days and keeps needing help cleaning the bathroom, and a 2 year old who will not stay in her bed and therefore had to be dragged, kicking and screaming, to her crib for naptime.  It was hectic, it was frustrating, it was hot, and I felt like I was just barely afloat.

What a difference a few hours makes. (and perhaps a plate of cookies from a neighbor.)  I need to remember that during those awful moments that I feel like I'm failing or that I'm inadequate or that I'm crying or screaming or both.  As my grandmother always says, "This Too Shall Pass."  It all passes. The chopped hair, the stomach flu, the potty training and naptimes, the ups, the downs, the tears and screams, and even the quiet soft breezes and baby lotion smells.  The trick for me, is to remember that these moments are going to be the memories I look on with fondness for the rest of my life, and not to let my own distractions fill my memory bank with TV shows and Facebook.  I want to think about these years and remember my kids--screaming and hair cutting and vomiting and all.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The House: 1 Year

This has been the best year of our lives. 

1 year ago on Saturday, May 5, we held our open house and moved into our new home.  That was a magical day for us, and has truly changed the way we live.  Having our own home in this fantastic neighborhood has given us a renewed sense of faith and hope and trust.  We've made lots of friends and renewed old friendships. 

We've had so much fun doing projects at our house this past year.  We loved the house when it was first done, but having the ability to change things, improve things, and just make our house a home has been such a pleasure.  Here's a recap of all the things we've completed in the last year:

Added a concrete sidewalk on the east side of the driveway to the garage entrance,

 Built a vinyl fence around the back yard,
 Put in a sprinkler system and sod in the back yard, and later surrounded the sod with flower beds and lots of beautiful plants (and pulled lots of weeds),
 Killed bugs...
 Planted trees and more beautiful flowers (and pulled more weeds),
  Added shelves and storage to the garage and painted it,

Added shelves to our cold storage room,
 Installed several new outlets upstairs, in the basement, and in the garage, and built a hidden shelf behind our TV in the living room for electronics,
 Added crown molding, chair rail, trim, and paint to the upstairs main living spaces, added trim around all the upstairs windows, and generally redecorated everything,
 Built raised beds in the garden space and along the fences, hooked up a sprinkling system to all of it, and filled them with gorgeous topsoil.  Then, added plants to lots of the beds including raspberries, strawberries, and the starts of a vegetable garden,

But the biggest thing we've done for our house in this past year is live here.  We've made memories, laughed, cried, been silly, danced to loud music, celebrated holidays, and taught our children here.  So, happy birthday house.  We're excited for the next year of more projects and more great memories, and many more years after that.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

1st Trimester

According to my projected due date of Halloween (Oct 31), I'm 13, nearly 14 weeks along now and nearing the end of my first trimester.

It's actually been rather surprising how quickly the pregnancy symptoms set in for me this time around. Within a few days of confirming my pregnancy, I started feeling nauseous in the morning, heartburn in the night time, and tired everywhere in between.  Some days have been unbearable--especially if I push myself too hard--but for the most part, I've been able to keep my food down.  The strongest symptom is the wildly sensitive sense of smell that makes day old pizza so reeky that I want to chuck my fridge out the window.  But, at about 1 in the afternoon, the switch flips and suddenly I'm starving.  That only lasts for about 2 hours before it's back to feeling gross, so I try to eat what sounds good, when it sounds good.  Quite often "what sounds good" has been french fries, gummy worms, apple slices, and fresh strawberries.  Since I craved fried foods while I was pregnant with Lee and fruits and vegetables when I was pregnant with my daughters, I'm not so sure what this disparity means.  Probably simply that every pregnancy is different and not to read into things too much, huh!

My first doctor appointment went well.  My labs and growth are all normal and the heart beat was good and strong.  I did feel pretty beat up afterword, though... a urine sample, pap smear/pelvic exam, and blood draw all in the same 45 minutes?  Yuck.  At least they were very fast and efficient and I didn't have to wait long amounts of time between tests.  But again, good news on all counts and things are going well.  I also found out that they now offer TDaP shots to women in their 3rd trimester and that the immunity can pass through breast milk to the baby.  This is great news!  The only thing I was ever so slightly disappointed with was the fact that since A) everything is going so well and B) my Dr. doesn't have an ultrasound machine in his office and C) it's expensive and D) everything is going SO VERY well, I won't have an ultrasound until the "big" one at about 20 weeks.  It's not a big deal, other than the fact that Lee and Anna have still been hoping and praying for twins and I kind of wanted to check on that.  I suppose we'll just have to be patient.

My last decent pair of jeans ripped.  I'm grumpy about it.  Since I don't want to buy regular jeans right now, considering I'm already growing and will continue to grow, I think I'll have to break out the maternity wear a bit early.  The pants because I can't just wear sweats and nasty old painting jeans all the time, and the shirts because I'll admit my normal shirts are starting to ride up and expose an embarrassing donut ring that I usually like to pretend doesn't exist.  So, here we go!  Into the 2nd trimester of shrinking shirts and pregnancy brain and general craziness!  We'll keep you all up to date with too much information and uncomfortable truths all the way to the end.  Mwahahaha!