Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Play kitchen

This thing is so awesome it deserves its own post.

Some of you know that we had been planning since the spring to make Ella a play kitchen for her birthday. I had found this neat idea where you repurpose old cabinets or media centers into a pint-sized kitchen. We scoured garage sales over the summer and fall, but still couldn't find exactly what I had in mind. I was about to give up and find plans to make one from scratch when Jim had the idea to use some old Ikea cabinets we had hanging around in his Man Cave.

I realize now I forgot to take a picture of what they looked like before they became a play kitchen. I'm sure if I look through my photos I can find one where they are hanging around in the background.

Anyway, this is what they look like now:

Front view

Top view

Here's what we did (I say "we" because I served as artistic director): 

-Sawed the cabinets in half (the part that is the fridge was the upper portion)
-Flipped one of the bottom cabinets around to become the oven
-Cut a piece of plywood to connect the two bottom pieces
-Cut a hole in the plywood for the sink portion (the sink is just a cheap brownie pan)
-Cut a hole in the oven door and installed a piece of plexiglass 
-Added in a cheap oven rack
-Installed the sink hardware (this was the most expensive portion- I think Jim found it for around $15 at K-Mart)
-Painted the whole thing to match the table and chairs Jim made for the playroom
-Painted and installed the burners, which are cheap wood circles from Hobby Lobby
-Made and painted oven knobs. The circular portions are again cheap wood circles from Hobby Lobby; the raised portion Jim made with a jigsaw. 

There you have it. Ten steps to transform an Ikea cabinet to a play kitchen. I'm sure if Jim were writing this post he'd give you a lot more detail. 

I think it came out awesome. And I certainly like the cabinets better like this. 

Here's a little video of Ella on her birthday seeing it for the first time. 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Merry Christmas!

I'm pretty zonked out still from the combination of Ella's birthday and Christmas, so here's a quick post with a picture* of us looking festive. 

Hope everyone had a fun holiday, and if you didn't, well, that's what eggnog is for. 

*The picture that was taken for the Christmas cards I never got around to sending out because I'm lazy it's more eco-friendly to simply post a picture here. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Today you are two

My darling, wild girl,

Today you are two. I stop and think about this, and all that comes to mind is, "Where have the past two years gone?" I swear the last time I looked at you, you looked something like this:

Then I blinked, and you looked something like this: 

And then I blinked again, and realized you have entirely left babyhood behind. 

There is so much I want to say to you about this past year. I know you won't understand it all and if I tried to tell you, you would interrupt me after a minute or two with a request to instead sing a song or read or drink an imaginary cup of coffee or play doctor or some sage observation like that sometimes pants don't have pockets. 

More than anything, I am proud of how loving and nurturing you are. I watch you take care of your sister, your baby dolls, the younger kids in play groups, and sometimes even your mama. As you grow older, I hope you will continue to be kind. You have taught me the importance of random hugs, because everyone needs to be reminded that they are loved. 

Your dad and I are constantly in awe of your inventiveness and problem-solving. Can't reach the ornaments on the Christmas tree? Well, get a hair brush to extend your reach and bat them down. Not enough toys at your grandparents' house? Nothing quite like taking the hinge off the door. Right now you are very into playing doctor. You don't have a doctor kit, so you decided to make yourself a stethoscope out of a necklace, use my makeup brush holder for your blood pressure cuff, a makeup brush as a tongue depressor, and a bubble wand as an eye-examiner thingy (yes, the very technical term). I know as frustrating as it is for me to have to search the house for my brushes, this aspect of your personality is going to serve you well for the rest of your life. In the rare moments when you are sitting still, I know the wheels in your head are turning and you are busy trying to figure things out.  

I love watching you be silly. Throughout the day you will decide to spin in circles, or make funny faces, or do stuff that I have no clue what it's all about but the giggles tell me you clearly are having a blast. Your infectious laugh reminds me not to always take things so seriously. 

I am so excited to see what you will be up to in this next year- knowing you, some of it will be mischief. I am sure this next year is going to fly by as quickly as the first two. In the midst of our hectic, crazy, chaotic life, I hope you always know how much I love you and how even when I am ready to pull my hair out over hearing the words, "Uh oh Mama!" I am savoring these days with you. 

Happy 2nd Birthday, my sweet big girl! 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

(Really late) 2 month update

I clearly suck at doing things in a timely manner. Here is the super late update on Marian.

Weight: A whopping 11lb 7oz, putting her in the 70th percentile. She weighs literally half as much as her big sister.

Height: 22 1/2 inches, which is the 75th percentile.

Diapers: She's outgrown most of the newborn cloth diapers, although the prefolds/covers still fit. We're still doing disposables at night.

Clothes: She's in a mix of 0-3 and 3-6 month clothes, which seems crazy to me because Ella is such a peanut. I finally gave in and packed away the newborn clothes, which makes me weepy. But I needed space in the closet (my girls seriously have too many clothes).

Sleep: Marian is starting to get into more of a schedule with her sleep. She takes two pretty decent naps during the day and then a whole lot of catnaps in the evening. Most of the time she doesn't settle down until 9pm or so, then wakes up for one more feeding around 10. Then we have one wake up in the night, normally around 4am, then she will sleep until 6:30am or so.

Feedings: Still nursing around every 2 hours during the day. Thankfully she seems to have outgrown whatever food sensitivity she had.

Milestones: Marian showed her disdain of tummy time by rolling over a few days shy of turning two months old. Jim still claims the time she rolled on the bed counts as her first time. Either way, she is now rolling.

Other fun stuff: It's been a lot of fun seeing her start to be aware of the world. She loves watching her big sister play and be crazy. She's started giving us a lot of huge gummy smiles and giggling at things. She is a big snuggle bug and likes nothing better than cuddling up on us. 

Morning story time

Reading together. 

Tummy time aka the worst. thing. ever

Hanging out on the boppy

Big gummy smile

Oh hi. Am I cute? I didn't realize. 

They love each other so much. And yes, Ella is in a Halloween costume.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Shaving cream fun

The past few days have been snowy and cold here. Well, snowy for Oklahoma. I'm not opposed to going out. Except that apparently our town has not heard of this magical thing called putting salt or sand down on icy roads, and most people here either drive ridiculously fast for the conditions or drive absurdly slow while taking up two lanes.

Okay, end rant.

Anyway, we are all getting a serious case of cabin fever. I had exhausted all my usual activities when I happened across an idea for shaving cream fun in Parents magazine.

Here's what you need:
-Shaving cream
-Food coloring
-A baking sheet
-Crazy toddler

Yep, that's seriously all you need

I plopped bits of shaving cream onto the baking sheet and added a few drops of food coloring to each. Ella then stirred them in.

It's very serious business

Then I let her go to town. She played with it for at least an hour.

The bigger the mess, the bigger the smiles

If you are really ambitious you can talk about what happens when you mix different colors together. 

If you are like me, you will take advantage of the time to have a few moments of peace and consider it learning by osmosis. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Snow day photo dump

First snow day of the winter. Ella had a blast.

That face. You can tell she is up to no good. 

Parenting fail: when you try to get your toddler to catch a snowball and instead nail her in the face.

Jim put her to work already

Shoveling with Daddy

Warming up with some hot cocoa 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Christmas has come early

The 50th anniversary special of Doctor Who airs today! Literally, it is like Christmas has come early because normally we have to wait until the Christmas special before getting our Who-fix in between seasons. To say I am excited is an understatement. I may or may not be contemplating having us all get back in our Halloween costumes again. 

She's got her spot on the couch already

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The many faces of Marian

I attempted to capture the elusive baby smile. This is what I got instead.

"Oh hi. You wanted me to smile? Fat chance, Mom." 

Showing off her many chins and chubby baby cheeks. I love chunky babies! 

"I'm working on a surprise for you."

"The surprise is poop."

Getting sleepy. 

Big baby yawn. 

Jim decided to make her play air guitar. Clearly she thinks her parents are nuts. 

Taking pictures was exhausting. 

The stank face I got when she woke up and realized I was still snapping photos of her. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The moon incident

I have a special talent as a parent. It seems I have a knack for taking everyday items and turning them into objects of terror for my toddler. Like the moon.

The other evening, Ella started to show a lot of interest in the moon. I thought it was a great learning opportunity. I talked to her about it. We looked at pictures in an old issue of National Geographic. I let her watch some neat little video clips NASA had produced. As the grand finale to this little lesson, I took her outside to look at the moon. She went off to bed rattling off the facts she had learned. I was one proud mama.

Fast forward to 4:30am. We woke up to her screaming bloody murder. All Jim could get out of her was, "Moon up high. Moon very scary."

Yes, I somehow ruined the moon for my toddler. If anyone can explain to me how I managed to do this, I will buy you a drink.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

One month update

I can't believe it's already been one month since's Marian's crazy wild birth. Here's a quick update on what she's been up to in the past month.

Weight: As of last Thursday, she was 9lb 3oz. If I had to take a guess, she is at least a few ounces more, if not closer to 10lbs.

Diapers: We are using a mix of cloth and disposable right now. She still needs to chunk up a little bit before fitting into the one-size CDs and I can't figure out a way of padding the newborn ones enough to keep her dry through her big stretches of sleep. Until then, she goes in a disposable at night.

Clothes: She has outgrown all of the newborn clothes and is firmly in 0-3 month clothes.

Sleep: For the most part, Marian is a really good little sleeper. Most nights she'll sleep for 5 hours at a stretch, sometimes 6. Depending on when we go off to bed, that translates into a wake-up around 3 or 4am. After that big stretch she is back to being up every few hours.

Feedings: During the day she nurses about every 2 hours, then cluster feeds in the evening. Marian is more sensitive to what I eat than Ella ever was, so I've had to cut some foods from my diet. I'm glad we figured this out fairly early because once we did, her sleep significantly improved.

Daily activities: Part of the beauty of being the second child is Marian has quite the busy social schedule already. She gets dragged along to music class, library story time, and various play groups throughout the week. Considering she sleeps through a lot of them, I don't know how much she is getting out of them, but I'm sure she will appreciate it more as she gets older.

Milestones: I got my first gummy smile from her at 8 days old. She also rolled over once from belly to back, but I'm pretty sure that was more to do with the fact that she was on the bed and Jim was sitting on it too, making it slightly inclined. For now I'm calling that a fluke thing rather than a true milestone, especially considering she hasn't done it since.

Personality: Marian seems to be a lot more laid back than her sister ever was. Most of the time when she is awake she is calm, quiet, and serious. She is curious about what is going on around her but is content to sit back and observe everything.

Just chilling with her buddy George

Mommy and her photo taking are not very interesting

Doing some tummy time

Getting pretty good at holding up her head

Saturday, November 2, 2013


In true nerd fashion, we all dressed up as characters from Doctor Who. Pretty sure the girls are going to hate me when they are older. I figure I only get a few Halloweens where I can force them into whatever costume I pick. Ella was a very crabby TARDIS, Marian was a sleepy Melody Pond, Jim was the Eleventh Doctor, and I was Amy Pond.

Marian as baby Melody Pond. Mainly I decorated her stroller since I didn't think she would be particularly agreeable to wearing a costume this year. 

Very cranky TARDIS

No smile so I settled for a glare

Slightly happier after trick-or-treating

The Doctor and the TARDIS
Ella was not overly thrilled with Halloween at first. Before we went out, she had a bit of a temper tantrum because 1. She had decided to use her nap time to strip naked instead of sleep 2. Marian got to be in the stroller and Ella had to *gasp* walk (yes, go ahead and call child protective services on me) 3. I dared to try and take pictures of her 4. It was incomprehensible to a toddler that the huge bowl of candy sitting out on the counter was not for her consumption. 

After we actually got out of the house she got into the swing of things pretty quickly. She still didn't understand why we weren't going into any of the houses and kept on trying to go inside. We made it to a fair number of houses before both girls decided they were done. Possibly the best part of trick-or-treating with a toddler is we were home in time for me to go through her candy, take out all the stuff we don't like, and then hand it out to all the unsuspecting children who stopped at our door. 

Hopefully all my readers (you know, both of you) had a great Halloween too!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Pumpkin patch

You know you live in BFE when a visit to your local pumpkin patch involves driving a few miles out of town and going to someone's backyard (I can't make this stuff up). It probably was for the best because I'm not up yet to dealing with a huge commercial pumpkin farm, and because it was free, I didn't feel bad about not staying overly long. Ella had a fun time looking at all the pumpkins, although I suspect the appeal was more in that we had read about Curious George visiting a pumpkin patch. Marian was less than impressed. 

Family photo. Best of multiple attempts. 

Ella was fascinated with the bumpy pumpkins

Little pumpkin with the pumpkins

Love the mischievous look on her face 

Not quite sure what I was doing here but thought it ended up being a sweet picture

Unfortunately our nice family morning ended up with Ella puking all over her crib during her nap. I would rather deal with any other form of illness than puke. I thought we were going to have a massive meltdown at bedtime because all her stuffed animals are now in the wash. Not a peep about her stuffed animals, which is how I know she must really feel crummy. She did, however, try to tuck her little pumpkin into bed.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

It's a....

GIRL! Marian Ivy was born October 6, 2013. 7lb 12oz, 20 and 3/4 inches long.

Remember how in my last post I said I didn't think Schrodinger was inclined to come out any time soon? Ha, joke was on us. I wrote that post around 9:30 that night. We finished watching the football game (they lost) and turned on Doctor Who. Jim got me an ice cream sundae and I said to him, "If I end up actually going into labor tonight I'm sure I'm going to regret eating this." We stayed up until 12:30 finishing the serial we were on and went off to bed.

At 2am I woke up with stronger contractions than I had had to date, though they didn't seem particularly strong to me. They were coming fairly close together- 2-3 minutes apart- though they were only lasting about 30 seconds each. Regardless, around 2:40 I told Jim to call our midwife, Sarah, and our doula, Brooke, and have them start driving over, since we knew it would be about an hour or so before they would arrive. We fully expected them to come over, hang out for a while, and have my contractions stall out, as we had had several false alarms like that with Ella.

After he called them, Jim filled up our jacuzzi tub for me so I could relax a bit. My contractions weren't that bad but I definitely had to breathe through them. Between contractions I just sat back in the tub- the jets felt amazing. Meanwhile Jim worked on getting things ready for the delivery. He got the bed all set and started working on setting up the birth tub. While he was in the midst of getting the birth tub blown up, I started to feel really nauseated. He brought me over the trash can and I puked. After that point I told him to forget about the birth tub for a bit because I needed help with the contractions. They still weren't terrible but emotionally I didn't want to be alone and I needed him to coach me through them. In retrospect I was in transition at this point.

I remember asking Jim what time it was because I kept on thinking that I just had to hold on until Brooke and Sarah arrived. It was around 3:50 at this point. I told Jim I wanted to get out of the bath and go use the bathroom because the contractions were picking up and I thought I might not want to move again for a while. I sat down on the toilet and immediately felt like I needed to push. Jim told me in no uncertain terms that I could not give birth to the baby on the toilet and he helped me move to the bed.

Right at this point Brooke arrived. Jim told her I needed to push. She threw on some gloves and they got Sarah on the phone. Sarah was still about ten minutes away and suggested they help me onto my left side, as this would slow things down. I was on all fours at this point and when Jim tried to move me I'm pretty sure I yelled at him to get his hands off me and that I HAD to push. Everyone was super calm, despite the craziness. Sarah asked Brooke and Jim what they could see of the baby. They weren't quite sure, but they thought they were seeing the cord.

As soon as I heard the word "cord" I started to panic a bit and started swearing. Cord prolapse is one of those rare complications and even though it was statistically unlikely, I had been scared of it happening. They told me I had to get this baby out NOW and I got down to work.

Turns out, they actually were seeing her head, which became apparent with the next push. One push after that and her head was out, and then with another push she was born. Marian was delivered by her dad at exactly 4am. She came so quickly that her head was still completely round.

I picked her up and held her against my chest while we all had a "holy shit did that just happen?!" moment. It was about five minutes before any of us thought to check whether she was a boy or girl.

About ten minutes after she was born Sarah finally arrived. Things got a little dicey at this point because I was starting to lose a lot of blood. Sarah had been willing to wait for my placenta to deliver on its own, no matter how long that took, but with the amount of blood loss she decided we couldn't wait any longer. She gave me a shot of pitocin to help my uterus contract and hopefully get things going, and Brooke and Jim helped Marian latch on and nurse. After a few minutes my placenta started to come out- except for one piece that was stubbornly hanging on. Sarah had to manually extract that piece before my placenta fully delivered. That was a thousand times more painful than any other aspect of labor or delivery, but it stopped my bleeding. Even though it was horribly painful, I never felt frightened or worried because everyone was so calm. Sarah later told me that with the amount of blood I lost she would have normally sent me to the hospital and it was only because I was lucid, calm, and talking to them throughout the whole thing that she allowed me to stay at home. I think I was so high on the after-birth endorphins that it would have been impossible for me to be anything besides alert.

Other than the placenta issue my labor and delivery were a dream. Marian's birth was absolutely incredible and I felt amazing afterward. I got everything I wanted with it. I felt completely in charge and in control of everything, and just trusted my body to do what it was meant to do. Marian's birth made me feel strong and empowered- the way every woman should feel after doing the most awesome thing she will ever do.

Still not quite sure about this whole being out of the womb thing

Big sister Ella loving on Marian

It's exhausting keeping your parents up all night

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Happy due date to me!

40 weeks pregnant and Schrodinger is still holding residence in my ute. Lots of contractions but it doesn't seem like s/he is inclined to come out today. We spent the day brewing beer because I thought for sure that making the kitchen a mess would ensure I would go into labor. Well, beer is brewed, kitchen is clean again, and no Schrodinger. Oh well. It's given us a chance to watch baseball, hockey, and now college football. I can't fit in really any of my clothes at this point but I'm still rocking my awesome Northwestern socks today to cheer on my Wildcats. Maybe if they win it will convince Schrodinger to come on out. 

Yes, that is a dog hiding under the couch. Poor Crilly has no idea there will soon be two children to torment...er, love on her. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The joys of taking a toddler into a public restroom

I try to avoid public restrooms like the plague. But between being hugely pregnant and having a potty-training toddler, sometimes they are unavoidable.

It's bad enough trying to cram yourself, your toddler, and your fifteen-ton diaper bag into a tiny stall, all the while keeping up a litany of, "Don't touch the toilet. Don't touch the floor. Don't touch the garbage. Don't flush the toilet yet. No I don't need the entire roll of toilet paper. Don't try and crawl underneath to the next stall. STOP DO NOT OPEN UP THE DOOR CLOSE THAT DOOR UP RIGHT NOW" while trying to do your business.

You know what makes it worse?

When your toddler decides to narrate what you are doing. Loudly.

In Ella's world, all bodily functions are called "poo poo." Doesn't matter what you are actually doing. And recently, she has started to grasp the difference between "big" and "little."

What does that mean for using a public restroom?

My toddler likes to loudly announce to everyone else, "Big poo poo Mama!" over and over.

On top of that, she likes to inspect my underwear and proudly tell me, "Mama undies dry!" As if I too, occasionally pee my pants. Then she looks up at me expectantly until I confirm that yes, mommy's undies are dry.

Now on top of the ick factor of using a public restroom, I get to add public embarrassment.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

I made it!

To October, that is. 

No matter what, Schrodinger will be here by the end of the month!

I'm still feeling pretty good. Yesterday was the first day I woke up and thought, "Okay, I'm ready." Even so, I'm nowhere near as miserable as I was by this point with Ella and I don't care if Schrodinger wants to keep residence in my ute for a bit longer. Mostly I'm excited to get to finally meet this little person. Hopefully my next pregnancy update on here will be to say that the baby has arrived!