Sunday, August 31, 2008

Botanical Gardens

Yesterday we finally ventured downtown to see the magnificent Missouri Botanical Gardens. It was never too high on my priority list of places I wanted to see, but we all loved it. Wednesdays and Saturdays are free, so after going there with Benjamin and a few of our friends mid-week, I convinced Paul to come back with me on Saturday. We actually hit it on the busiest day of the year during the Japanese Festival, but we got there early enough where we didn't have to battle any of the crowds. We had a good chuckle seeing all the interesting types that Japanese culture attracts gather in one place, marching in parades and selling tie-dyed kimonos and Japanimation t-shirts. But it really was cool being there for the festival. So much cool pottery to lust after!
It was a really hot muggy day, so we didn't last too long. We got to see the Chinese garden, a Victorian garden and the huge Japanese garden. There are also a lot of cool mosaic sculptures throughout that were part of the "Niki" exhibit. Some of them were open for kids to climb on. Benjamin had two things on his list that we needed to do: feed the fish and play in the water (in the children's Mark Twain garden). We really only scratched the surface, so we'll have to go back soon. Only problem is, now Benjamin will always expect to go to the old familiar spots.


Paul and Benjamin in front of the Chinese garden.
Benjamin found this stick in the Chinese garden and could not be parted with it. Isn't this a cool stone table?
There was a quarter dispenser with fish pellets. Benjamin was happy to pick up what others dropped and feed them to the fish.
We spent a long time feeding the fish. They're giant golden carps, with huge gaping mouths.
Paul and Benjamin crossing over a nice brook in the Japanese Garden.
Nikigator.
Benjamin in the Nikigator.
Benjamin had a blast playing in the water area with the other kids. That's Charley next to him. He and Benjamin were the same age. It was cute to see them interact.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Ultrasound

I guess we're just going to have to resign ourselves to not finding out. Another ultrasound, and we feel less sure of what we're having than before. The ultrasound machine must be really old, because the images there have always been bad. I remember at Utah Valley, we could tell at 24 weeks that Benjamin looked just like Paul from his ultrasound. It's hard to tell what anything is this time, let alone facial resemblance.

As disappointed as I am about not finding out, I was probably more disappointed to learn that I have gestational diabetes this pregnancy. I failed two of the four blood drawings, which is just enough to put me into that category. My sister Rachel also had gestational diabetes with her second pregnancy, so I guess I'm not too surprised. I'll have to meet with a high risk pregnancy OB to be closely monitored. I'm mild enough where it should be managed with diet, but I'll still have to prick my finger several times a day to make sure I'm on track. I certainly don't want the baby to be much bigger than Benjamin, who was 8 lb. 8 oz., and that's likely to be the case if I'm not careful.

But I have found some silver lining to this. First, I have 9 weeks (at most) left of this pregnancy, and after that, I can eat all the ice cream and simple carbs I want. It's not like I'm a diabetic for life. And second, I'll have to have at least one more ultrasound to chart the baby's growth. I feel like the ultrasound machines there have to be higher tech...Maybe (and I'm not crossing my fingers this time) we'll get another shot at finding out. So does anyone want to have an ice cream party in 9 weeks? :)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

This Week

Benjamin is now proudly wearing big boy underpants (when he feels like it). Most days he does really well and keeps them dry, and other days we'll go through about 4 or 5 pairs. Ironically, it's the days when we're home all day that he does worse, which is just the opposite of what I expected. I was initially afraid to go anywhere unless we had at least one change of clothes with us. But he's been doing pretty well.

I think we may have inadvertently cured him this weekend of ever wanting to wear diapers. For the first time in a long time (because we weren't in the mood to go all the way down to Walmart during rush hour) we ended up buying cheap diapers at the drug store. He would not wear them. He wanted the "Mickey Mouse and Pluto diapers." So his only other option has been his underpants.

Paul was gone from Monday through Thursday of this week. He was in Chicago for the Monsanto Pre-Harvest Meetings. The company's fiscal year is drawing to a close, which means we've been here for a whole year now. It was this time last year that we moved to Missouri, Paul started his job, and we closed on our house. But it kind of feels like we've been here forever.

While Paul was gone, we made the best of our time by going to the playground, the zoo and the library. I watched lots of gymnastics, and was happy to see Nastia win the all around gold (Shawn's great, but it kind of bothers me that she's had all the endorsements and media support). I even got re-amped about some crafty projects I've had sitting around here for a while. We were sure glad to have Paul back, though! It's really lame having your best friend gone.

Towards the end of the week, I had to start a three day "diet" prior to a three-hour glucose tolerance test for gestational diabetes. It was hardly a diet, as I had to carb-load and add sugar or dessert to every meal. It was pretty gross. Then this morning I went in fasting to get my blood drawn four times at hourly intervals. Fun, fun. Especially the part where you have to stay there for three hours and not eat anything. But I got some good reading in and met a really nice lady who wants to come to church tomorrow. I really hope I don't have gestational diabetes, although I think I do have a slightly higher chance based on my genetics. We'll see when I go to my next doctor's appointment, which is Tuesday, which is ALSO the day we just might find out this baby's gender! Hooray!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Vote for your favorite...or at least the least offensive?

Well it was fun while it lasted, but it's just too blasted humid to have facial hair in these parts. But what fun is shaving if you can't enjoy the progression. Here are a few photos of the shaving stages, like the descent into the inner circles of the Inferno, asymptotically approaching creepy old man offering candy out of the back of his painted van status. It was really hard to keep a straight face for any of these photos, they're so bad. Be sure to vote for your favorite/least offensive in the poll to the right. Benjamin keeps asking where Daddy's beard went. We just sigh and tell him it's in a better place.

Full Beard

Ball Player?

Handlebar

Greasy Stash


Zoobie

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

29 Weeks

I’m now 29 weeks pregnant, and we still don’t know the baby’s gender. I had an appointment with my doctor yesterday, who agreed to schedule me for an ultrasound to “measure” the baby in two weeks—so on August 26. When she said that, a voice inside my head was screaming, “Don’t you understand the torture I’ve been going through all this time not knowing? Couldn’t you conceivably just bring me back there right now and check? Do we really need to set up an appointment for that?” But the more calm, rational, grateful side of me thanked her for letting me schedule another ultrasound in a few weeks. We are just hoping the baby will give us a good view this time!

I’ve had a pretty normal pregnancy so far. I have had a lot more pain in my hips and pelvis this time, which is apparently normal for second-time pregnancies. So I ended up sucking in my pride a little bit and getting a pregnancy support belt. It’s helped a lot. I can actually function semi-normally now. I no longer wince at the thought of going for a walk, and I’m not running to the bathroom every fifteen minutes. My lower back feels a lot better too. I know I wasn’t as in shape going into this pregnancy as I was with Benjamin. I wish I were. I kind of wonder if needing more support this time has something to do with that.

Watching the Olympics Women’s Gymnastics these past few days has also made me wish I were in better shape. Mind you, I was never good, but I really loved those days on the high school gymnastics team and the classes I took at BYU. The beam and bars were my favorite. It won’t be long before I can twist my back, do a cartwheel, and maybe even do a simple back-hip circle on a bar. Well, maybe a little longer than eleven weeks from now, but I’m still excited for that day!

Oh…so Paul finally shaved the vacation beard. Look forward to some really amazing pictures of that great event.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Daddy Song

I'm so glad when Daddy comes home, glad as I can be!

Clap my hands and shout for joy and climb upon his knee,

Put my arms around his neck, hug him tight like this,

Pat his cheeks and give him what? A great, big kiss!
video

Benjamin sure loves his Daddy! There have been phases where Paul has to re-win his affections every day after work, but these days, Benjamin is all about Daddy.

If you're wondering if this is Benjamin's normal wardrobe these days, the answer is yes and no. He is very good at keeping his clothes on throughout the day, but now that we have frequent potty visits, we have a lot of naked time in between. He did great today! He kept his diaper dry all morning and most of the afternoon! I'm learning to remind him constantly, and he's starting to become more aware of when he needs to go before it's too late. I'm proud of him. He really is growing up!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

WAY.

Benjamin's new favorite word these days is "way," as in "way hot," "way nice," "way yucky," or my favorite, "way yummy." He called me into the kitchen the other day, saying "Mommy! WAY yummy!" He was eating a peach, and wanted to explain to me just how good it was. He'll attach it to other adjectives too. I think we must use it when we describe things as "way too hot."
So I can't attest to the accuracy of this story, but supposedly my first words were "No WAY!" He hasn't figured that one out yet, though. I guess I was a lot more stubborn as a child than he is.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Grocery Store Victories and Summer Days

I have to say, I usually hate grocery shopping. I always seem to have a sick feeling walking out of the store, even though I know I haven't bought anything too frivolous (we're looking into getting a Sam's Club/Costco membership, which I think would actually save us a ton). I mean, we eat pretty healthy and modestly. I'm no where near as good as my mom was at making cheap meals, but I still think we're pretty good. So I definately noticed when grocery prices started to inflate. I think everyone did!
Yesterday, however, Paul and I emerged from our grocery trip feeling pretty triumphant. It's funny how just a few cheap things will do that...first, GOOD cheap peaches! One of my favorite fruits! I love peach season, especially when the prices are great. Second, (and this may sound silly after telling you we're such healthy eaters) a $2 huge box of our favorite cereal indulgence, Peanut Butter Cocoa Crunch. It was actually a lower price than the smaller box, which confuses me, but I'm not complaining. And third, cartons of Tropicana Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice, not from concentrate, for $0.99. Yeah, less than a dollar! So we stocked up and bought the last three. I would drink this stuff every day if it wasn't usually almost $4 a carton! Such good stuff.


Benjamin and I had fun the other day finger painting outside, then going for a dip in the wading pool afterwards. I got some cute pictures.
Making footprints with tempera paint can be a little slippery. Benjamin really went to town! He made about ten finger paintings. I think I might collage some of the best pieces to preserve his 2-year-old chubby little handprints and footprints.
Clean up wasn't too bad, since I made sure to add a little dish soap to the paint. And Benjamin, I just plopped in the pool.
While he hated going to a public pool a few weeks ago with some friends, Benjamin loves playing in our wading pool. The water gets pretty warm, so it's refreshing but not too chilly.
You can kind of see the stubby corn plants along the fence in the background that have been manched by bunnies during the past few days. I think Paul's most recent count of survivors was about 2 ears....out of 24 plants. Sad, huh!
I set his little basketball hoop up next to the pool. It's way more fun to play outside when you aren't wet from your own sweat.