Sunday, January 27, 2013

Recent Happenings

On Thursday afternoon, Benjamin came home from school and informed us that he was going to lose his first tooth that night. He was anxious to get on with his bedtime routine, and soon brought me a piece of floss to tie around his tooth. Wiggly teeth sort of make me squeamish, but I really tried to get a loop around that tiny tooth. Finally he gave up on me and disappeared into the bathroom. Minutes later we heard him exclaim, "I lost my tooth!" Sure enough, he had wiggled it out on his own.
He was a little nonplussed with the tooth fairy's dollar that she left during the night though. Apparently she's a lot more generous with some other kids in his class. Oh, well!
 In other tooth related news, Peter still has his! It's pretty solidly in there, and no visible blackening anywhere so far. I don't have a picture of the tooth, but I do have one of Gandalf the White playing Angry Birds on the kindle. This picture just makes me smile.
 On Friday night, as Paul and I were finishing up watching a show in our room, we heard someone pushing something down the laundry shoot. We came out to discover Nora back in her bed, trying to rearrange her blankets. She had thrown up and was just trying to take care of her business (and apparently trying not to bother anyone). We spent a long night with her, cuddling and cleaning up multiple incidents. She is a sweetheart, and is especially sweet when she is sick.  The next day she seemed her normal, cheerful self again and even wanted to work on her princess puzzles. She's getting really good at them!
Also this week, I discovered an awesome breakfast that works with my gestational diabetes. I'm so used to eggs and meat, that something a little sweeter was like manna from heaven. I used this recipe for Cream Cheese Pancakes and made whipped cream (sweetened with just a little Truvia) and strawberries to top it off. Not only was it filling and completely satisfying, but when I checked my blood sugar an hour later, it was lower than what my fasting limit needs to be at!
I'm still trying to decide how I feel about using artificial sweeteners. I guess I use them with a lot of moderation, which I think is fine. They can be really nice to have around!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Winter Weekends

This winter hasn't been too bad so far. We've had our share of really cold days and one snowfall, with just enough for a snowman and a snowball fight before it all melted.

 We've found ways to keep occupied when there isn't any snow and it's just plain cold outside. We got out toothpicks and marshmallows one Saturday morning, and had a great time building things.

Nora is a genius baby! Just kidding. Hers were all the sticky toothpicks lying on the table.
I've gotten back into a project groove lately (it always seems to hit around this time of year). I finally got two scriptures printed to hang up in our forgotten corner next to the fireplace, and spray painted some frames we already had lying around. Here they are, hanging behind me for my 30 week shot. I'm not sure what it is, but I'm feeling huge this time around. Always a nice feeling when you know you have 10 more weeks of this to get even bigger. I failed my one-hour glucose test, so my doctor spared me the three hour test and regular hospital monitoring, and is just having me do what I did in previous pregnancies with gestational diabetes. I'm cutting back carbs as much as possible and checking my blood four times a day. So fun! Also fun are the compression hose I've been wearing every day for the past month to keep my newly formed varicose veins in check. At least it's winter- because those things sure keep you toasty!
We had beautiful weather today, which allowed for lots of play time outside. The boys played frisbee, football, baseball, and Benjamin even learned how to ride his bike without the training wheels! I think we'll be needing to find him a bigger bike in the near future.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Nora 2.5

It's funny how differently you can perceive your children at the same age. I think with Benjamin, I always felt (and probably am still guilty of this) like he was older than he was. I know I've done the same with Peter, almost lumping him in with whatever Benjamin is doing. Plus, Peter became a big brother before he was even two, so I've always expected him to be big. Somehow, Nora has avoided all of this. Maybe it's because she's the only girl, or maybe it's because she's had a little more time as the baby of the family, but somehow she's always remained little in my mind.
I'm starting to realize how mature she is becoming, and how much she is capable of. Even at two and a half, she is becoming her own little person.
Her hair has been kind of straggly for a long time, and so I finally decided it was time to cut it. I have no problem doing my boys' hair, but girl cuts are not yet in my vocabulary. So I took her to a kid friendly place, and paid close attention to what they were doing. We'll see if I have the confidence to try it myself next time. I'm not sure I want her to have any cognizant memories of wearing a cape that says "Sassy Diva." :)
She sat perfectly still the entire time, just looking around at all the glitter and pink. I was just a little bit sad watching those big chunks of strawberry blonde dropping away.
 And just like that, she looked so grown up:
 She picked her own bow and lollypop on her way out...
...and enjoyed being admired by her older brothers and Daddy.
 Also this week, she has started using the potty. She really wanted to buy some princess underwear, so I went ahead and got her some to try. Although she hasn't fully committed, she's starting to get the concept and the mechanics down. She's done a great job on her own, running to the bathroom when she needs to and has only had a few accidents. And she refuses to receive any sort of adulation for her successes. :) No stickers, no cheers.
I have been in full blown nesting mode lately, trying to figure out how to transform our modest three bedroom home into a comfortable place for six people. So partly for my own sanity (to configure the new layout) and partly because Nora has been asking for a princess bed, I went ahead and found a toddler bed for her (I still need to make a princess pillow or something so she'll believe it's really a princess bed). She hasn't had any issues with it so far. She takes her naps and goes to bed without getting out at all!
The nicest part is that when she wakes up in the morning, she no longer yells across the house, "Mommy! Get out!" She just comes out at the regular time on her own, and into our room to greet us.
Nora seems excited for a new baby sister, and appears to grasp the idea that she's in my tummy right now. She likes to explain to me that the baby is "getting bigger and bigger and then she comes out!"
She's a compassionate little girl, and if she senses that I'm at all irritated by something she did, she'll gently take my hand and pat it, saying cheerfully "It's OK, Mommy!" And somehow, it just is.  She's a wonderful little girl, and so far, I'm really loving her at two and a half.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Last Randoms from the Trip

 Here's the last of the pictures from the trip. While staying at Grandpa's apartment, there were lots of light saber duels. Snow White even got in on the action.
 We also "celebrated" Paul's birthday. :) We found a small candle for him to blow out and shared a yummy ice cream cake.  We also had delicious seafood for his dinner right on the bay.
 One of Paul's favorite places- Ruby's Diner. A balloon guy came over to give the kids their own creations. I love how my boys usually choose a sword or a light saber when they could have their choice of anything.
 Nora wanted a butterfly.
 Peter's light saber was  green and black and Benjamin's was blue and silver. We came back to Ruby's again the last day we were there, and were humbled to find out that the older couple sitting near us (who had left shortly after our arrival) had paid for our meal without our knowing. There really is so much good in the world!
 Another mandatory stop, In-N-Out. Nora wanted to learn how to do her own top buckles on our way out. Now she does it every time we get in the car!
 How do I explain this one? Peter just started saying "Soy baby! Soy BABY!!" one day and would ask us what it meant. We just shrugged at his non-nonsensical phrase, but the boys latched onto it and soon became "soy babies."  The concept evolved into Soy Baby Heroes.  And these are their poses:
 We drove by the Newport Beach temple numerous times, but also wanted to see the L.A. temple and visitors center. We drove up on Sunday afternoon as the sun was setting, and got to see the Christmas lights turn on while we were there.
 I love the L.A. temple. Especially the inside.
 I was also impressed with the visitor's center right by it. There were lots of interactive things for the kids to do, and a pretty decent sized creche exhibit.
We loved driving along the Pacific Coast Highway whenever we could. We even spotted a rainbow, although it was hard to capture.
The kids enjoyed the bus ride to and from the airport to the car rental place. When we first got into our rental car though, Peter flat out refused to get in. He kept saying it wasn't our car and that we needed to go back and get ours.
The kids loved having their own suitcases to pull around at the airport.
Nora felt so grown up.
Flying home on New Years Eve was fun. We had a quick layover in Arizona, and landed back home at about 11:30. There was a 100 year old woman celebrating her birthday that night on the plane, and as we came out there was snow falling, with an inch or two on the ground. It was a memorable way to ring in the New Year!
I felt like this was a good trip for our family. I think with the dynamics of different ages and stages and the impending arrival of another little one, it was good for our little family to reconnect and build on our relationships. We're incredibly grateful that we could do it! 

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Toes in the Sand

It's been six years since I've seen an ocean, but we remedied that while we were in California as much as we could. I feel like a part of my soul has been dying, living so close to the geographic center of the US. Peter and Nora of course had never been, and Benjamin's "memories" were from when he was ten months old. It was like seeing an old friend again.
Peter at Newport Beach, climbing the "booby trap" wall. 
It was not an especially warm day. The wind was crazy strong!
That didn't stop the boys from getting a little wet though...
...or Nora from getting soaked up to her waist. She was pulling Paul further and further in.
Poor girl was pretty cold on our walk back up to the car, so she needed to be carried at an arm's distance.
The next day, we found a playground with tons of sand, which seemed to satisfy the kids for a a few hours while Paul went shopping for a new phone.
It was much warmer that day, and there wasn't any wind. Perfect for bare toes.
When we got to Legoland a few hours early, we decided to make the most of it and check out the Beach in Carlsbad.
I was amazed at how different San Diego County felt from Orange. It was really beautiful, and a lot more "real" feeling.
We took a walk along the road, trying to find our best route down to the shore.
We found a bank of smooth rocks, and collected a bunch to take home with us. I still need to find the right jar to put them in.
The boys had a blast just throwing rocks. Peter, who had been having some rough moments throughout the trip (mostly involving wanting to go home) told me that he wanted to stay here forever.
Nora wandered down onto the sand for just a minute, but was down there just long enough to get soaked. Paul tried to rescue her, but ended up getting just as wet. They had to dry out in the sun for a while.
Later that day on our drive home, we stopped by a national park beach. The kids were fascinated with all the mussels on some of the rocks.
And we spotted some tide pools with sea snails and anemones.
But the real highlight on this beach was "Mordor," which the boys spotted just along the horizon.
The fiery reds of the sunset and the dark clouds just over a distant island really did look the part.
I already sort of miss the beach, but I'm so glad we went. I think we made some great memories there.