Friday, June 28, 2013

18 month update

A little late, but I thought I'd still do Ella's 18 month update anyway. I still can't believe she is now closer to two than to one. I look at this wild girl running around and wonder where my squishy newborn went.

Stats: Crazy girl hasn't managed to put on any weight since her 15 month appointment, staying steady at 20 lbs and change. Meaning she has gained a whopping 2 lbs since she was 9 months old. I swear she eats! Although she is still in the peanut club for weight, she is in the 90% for her height- 33 inches.

Clothes/diapers/potty training: She is all over the place in terms of clothing size, mainly because of the big height/weight disparity. At least it's summer and she can get away with running around half naked (or, as she would often prefer, completely naked). Shirts and dresses are a mix of 12 month and 18 month, pants and shorts are mostly 18 month, and pajamas are entirely 24 month and 2T (!).

She is now almost exclusively in training pants or undies when we are at home, although she still wears a diaper for bed and will for a while longer yet. I've tried taking her out with only the training pants and even if she uses the bathroom before we leave and goes while we are there, she gets busy playing or looking at stuff and forgets to tell me she needs to go. So for now if we are doing more than running a quick errand she's still in a diaper. I'm sure all the potty training gurus think I'm messing up the process by taking her out in a diaper. Whatever. She'll get it when she gets it.

Teeth: With the oh-so-fun eruption of her first year molars, kiddo is up to 12 teeth. More than halfway through the baby teeth!

Food: I'll be honest, she's definitely not the world's best eater but by no means hugely finicky. She still can't have any citric acid and we found yet another food that is off the table- watermelon. Pretty much her favorite thing to eat right now is cheese, and she will take my hand and drag me over to the fridge when she wants some.

She also takes after her mama in that she loves to cook. Every day she helps me with some aspect of preparing food, whether it's stirring or putting the veggies I chop into a bowl. Now, if only I could get her to wash the dishes too.

Frustrations: On Ella's end, I think she gets frustrated that we don't always understand what she is saying. Part of the difficulty is that a lot of her words sound similar. For example, trash, dress, grass, and giraffe all sound almost identical. I have to use a lot of context clues to figure out what she wants. It's hard when she adds a new word to her vocabulary because oftentimes it's a week or more before I can figure out what the heck she is trying to say. For a while she kept on saying something we thought sounded like, "Hodor" (Game of Thrones fans will recognize that). Turns out she was saying, "color" and she wanted her art supplies. Oops.

On my end, the climbing wears me down. I turn my back for two seconds and she is on the table or counters. She also wants to walk a lot when we are out in public, but tries to dart away. I may have to get one of those toddler leashes.

In the past few weeks I've tried doing time out with her. She thinks it's a big joke. Either she runs away giggling or sits there and laughs at me. Yesterday I told her if she didn't help pick up the mess she had made she was going in time out. She looked at me and preemptively sat herself down. Clearly I'm a very stern parent.

Cute/fun stuff: I don't know how I can pick and choose from all the things she does, but here are a few of my current favorites.

-I love how excited she gets when Jim comes home from work every day. No matter what she is doing, as soon as she hears the garage door she stops everything, yells, "Dadadadada!!!!" at the top of her lungs, and races to the back door. She stands there waiting for him and even knows she has to stay behind the door mat so he doesn't accidentally hit her with the door. Once he comes in the house, she helps put up his lunch box and demands he take off his shoes.

-When the mood strikes her, she is very affectionate and gives lots of kisses- not only to me and Jim, but to her toys as well. She also has figured out the whole "boo boo" thing and demands about a gazillion times a day that I kiss the little scrape on her leg.

-She loves to color- or as she say, "holor." I have a cabinet in the kitchen full of art supplies and she goes in there multiple times a day to make beautiful scribble drawings for me. Sometimes she even tells me a certain one is for Daddy and makes me put it at his place at the table. Some days she also gives herself temporary tattoos with the markers or acts like they are makeup and gives herself some interesting shades of toddler lipstick.

-She's started tucking herself in at night. The past few nights when I've gone in to check on her she has her blanket over her, always in the same spot in her crib. One step closer to being ready for a big girl bed.

-She is still very into music. She loves songs that have motions to go along with them, like "The Wheels on the Bus" or "The Itsy Bitsy Spider." Recently she has begun to imitate me when I sing her the alphabet. Her version goes something like, "ABCEEEEEEEE." Gotta start somewhere, right?

There are a gazillion other things I could mention but in the interest of time and space, and knowing that not everyone else finds them as endearing as I do, I'll stop myself. Happy 18 months, little girl- we can't wait to see what the next 6 months bring.

Being silly and dramatic- "Mom, stop taking pictures of me!" For future reference, I could have posted the picture of her climbing half-naked on the counter, so Ella, your teenage self can thank me. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

40 Week Challenge: Week Two Update

This week I sucked big time. I'm blaming potty training, as it was almost impossible to get anything done when 99% of your brain is focused on if your child is going to pee her pants. Here's what I did manage to get  crossed of my list:

-The pantry: I feel like this one was almost cheating because I had about 75% of it done already. I had started organizing it when we moved it, got sidetracked, and never returned. Basically all this involved was pushing myself to finish a project I had already started.

-Junk drawer in kitchen: I cleared out all the junk. Spoiler alert: there was a lot of it.

-Clean oven, stovetop, and microwave: Pretty much self-explanatory. Also, am I the only one that thinks of Sylvia Plath every time I have to clean the oven?

-Half bath: All of Ella's bathroom reading material got put into a basket so I don't have to walk over her gazillion books every time I need to pee.

There you have it. I'm running out of little things on the list, which means at some point soon I will have to force myself to tackle the study and guest room projects. Cue thunder and lightning.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Potty Training Hell

I decided I needed a bit of self-flagellation, so this past week I started potty training with Ella. In case you have never gone through potty training hell before, here is what you need: 

-A lobotomy 
-Lots of booze (read: don't attempt this while almost 25 weeks pregnant)
-The willingness to read the same book over and over and over 
-A fondness for being enclosed in small spaces 
-The ability to put on your game face and act cheerful every time your toddler puts even a single dribble of pee in the toilet

Seriously, though, she is doing much better than I expected. We're on day three and today she only had one accident. I still have her in a diaper for naps and bedtime, despite the potty training book I read telling me I would ruin the process, because I know she is not capable of holding her bladder for 12 hours at night. Heck, I can't even hold my bladder all night, pregnant or not. Plus the fact she is still in a crib means it would be pretty much impossible for her to get over to the bathroom if she woke up and needed to go at night (read: mama ain't dragging her ass out of bed). 

Despite the fact she is doing so well, it's been way more mentally taxing than I anticipated. The past few mornings I've woken up and thought about putting her back in diapers because it would be way more convenient for me. I know I need to bite the bullet and see this thing through to the end. But man, it would be better with booze. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

40 Day Challenge: Week One Update

Here's how I did during week one: 

-The master bathroom: I managed to find two grocery bags full of stuff to throw away. I also consolidated things like the travel toiletries into one little bag so the next time we go on a trip I'm not digging through everything trying to find a 3 oz tube of toothpaste. Then I bought drawer organizers so I can see what beauty products I actually own. I'm a little embarrassed to admit how many multiples of things I have. I'm sure it's due to the fact everything was tossed into drawers/makeup bags and since I had a hard time finding what I wanted, I assumed it was out and bought more. Now not only can I see what I own, but I have room underneath my sink, an almost empty drawer, and more shelf space in the linen closet.  

-Ella's closet: I put all the winter clothes/clothes she has outgrown into storage and organized all the clothes that are too big by size/type. The goal of this was two-fold. By putting way things that aren't seasonal, I don't have to sit there and argue with her that she can't wear fleece pants when it's 100 degrees outside. Then by organizing all the new clothes for next fall/winter, I can have a better sense of what she has enough of and what she actually needs. The problem I still face: ignoring the siren call of baby gap. 

-Magazines: I went through our gigantic pile of magazines and put all the ones we don't want anymore into recycling. Then all the Brew magazines Jim wants to save went into magazine racks. 

-Recycling: This is my most hated chore, which is why it made it onto this list. Our town somehow used to do trash pickup twice a week (we're now down to once a week) but we have to haul our recycling over to the center. I think it's a huge pain and discourages most people from actually recycling, which is a rant of mine for a different time. In any case, Jim loaded it into the car for me and since that meant I couldn't get anything into my trunk, I forced myself to drive over there. 

-Back patio: Technically Jim took care of this (hey he got to it before I could!). We had a little family activity of finally finishing planting seeds in their pots, then Jim hosed off the patio and furniture and put the gardening tools/potting soil away. 

How I feel after week one: Honestly, for all the work I feel I did I don't feel like I have much to show for it. I'm sure it doesn't help that the only big task I took on was the bathroom. Oh well. Hopefully I'll feel more accomplished at the end of next week. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The results are in...

...and Schrodinger is 100% genetically normal! I'm also not a carrier for any recessive syndromes! Woohoo!

Schrodinger isn't completely in the clear yet. Hopefully our next scan will show the spot has shrunk significantly or isn't there at all. We are so beyond relieved, though, that it is looking more and more like there isn't a true health problem.

Hopefully the biggest problem Schrodinger has to deal with is an older sister who is currently convinced she is a monkey. Or sometimes a bird. But mostly a monkey.

Oh, and just for the record- when the nurse called me with the results she said she could tell me the sex of the baby. I was very, very, very tempted to have her tell me but I refrained (partially due to the fact Ella was having a tantrum while I was on the phone). Only 16ish more weeks to go!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The 40 Day Challenge

Every so often my house starts to drive me completely insane. I become this crazy person obsessed with cleaning and organizing. Usually, though, I burn myself out halfway through one little project or become bogged down with searching for ways to better organize things or products that will help keep everything in order.

A couple of weeks ago, I got the organizing bug again. Bad. While browsing Pinterest for nifty ways to make my life better (because that clearly was a more productive use of my time than, ya know, actually cleaning), I came across a pin entitled "40 Bags in 40 Days." Basically, the idea is to pick out 40 areas in your house to clean, spend one day cleaning/organizing/purging stuff from each, and at the end you will have a cleaner house and less crap to boot. A lot of people do it over Lent but as I don't want to wait until next spring to do this, I'm starting now.

There are two reasons I'm a little obsessed with organization and purging unnecessary stuff from our lives. The first is I simply don't like having a lot of "stuff." We still have our fair amount of crap and stuff tends to start accumulating quickly so I figure the more I can get out of my house, the better I can deal with everything that comes into it.

The second reason is I have a hard time keeping myself organized. I can't blame it (entirely) on having a toddler, but she does exacerbate the problem. Most days I feel completely scatterbrained and I know it will get worse with two kids. I am trying to motivate myself now, before Schrodinger is born, to have a good system in place so things will be slightly less chaotic and I might have a fighting chance at salvaging some sanity.

Here, in no particular order, is my list of the 40 things I want to clean/organize in the next 40 days:
  1. Master bathroom (linen closet)
  2. Master bathroom (under my sink/drawers)
  3. Pantry
  4. Fridge/freezer
  5. Guest room closet (part 1)
  6. Guest room closet (part 2- yes it's bad enough I need two days)
  7. Laundry room
  8. Car
  9. Playroom
  10. Living room bookshelves
  11. My desk
  12. Study closet
  13. Ella’s bathroom
  14. Crawlspace
  15. Magazines
  16. Cookbook cabinet
  17. Bins in study
  18. My closet
  19. Recycling
  20. Spice cabinet
  21. Entryway closet
  22. Ella’s closet
  23. Dresser drawers
  24. Bonus room
  25. Junk drawer in kitchen
  26. Mudroom
  27. Garage (workbench)
  28. Garage (miscellaneous)
  29. Jim’s clothes
  30. China cabinets
  31. Kitchen utensils
  32. Baking cabinet
  33. Miscellaneous cabinet in kitchen (this is where we put stuff we don't know where it should go)
  34. Back patio
  35. Ella’s art supplies
  36. Clean exterior of kitchen cabinets
  37. Clean oven, stovetop, and microwave
  38. Butcher block (where we tend to dump everything)
  39. Filing cabinet
  40. Half bath
I won't do daily updates because honestly that would be tedious for me to write and even more tedious for you to read. I'll try to do a weekly accountability check-in to let you all know how it's working out for me.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars

A while ago I found a recipe for homemade granola bars on Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts but never got around to making them. Recently, though, Ella has been on a big kick with helping me in the kitchen so I decided since it was a fairly easy recipe to make, we would finally make them. They came out super yummy and definitely are both toddler and mommy approved. The only downside is you have to store them in the fridge, meaning they aren't exactly something to toss in the diaper bag. 

The recipe calls for mini marshmallow bites. I searched in several stores around here and couldn't find such a thing. I ended up using regular marshmallows and tearing them into small pieces. Not quite as aesthetically pleasing, but I'm guessing a similar end result. 

Helping mix everything together (and taste testing while she's at it)

The finished product. You can see the big chunks of marshmallow. 

Enjoying the fruits of her labor. 

The recipe, as found on Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts:

1/2 c peanut butter
1/3 c honey
1/4 c coconut oil
1 1/2 c old fashioned rolled oats
2 tbsp wheat germ
1/2 c flax meal
1/4 c mini marshmallow bites
1/4 c mini chocolate chips

Line an 8-inch baking dish with foil and set aside.

Heat peanut butter, honey, and coconut oil in a small sauce pan until melted, stirring frequently.

In a bowl, mix together oats, wheat germ, flax meal, and marshmallow bites. Pour in the melted peanut butter mixture and stir well to combine. Put the mixture into the baking dish. Press down gently with a greased spatula. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top and press in gently into the bars.

Let set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Store in the fridge.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Hyperechoic Bowel Syndrome

This past month has been crazy busy with going out of town for 2.5 weeks, my grandmother being in the hospital, my sister getting married, and then coming back home to recover from everything. Honestly, though, I could have found time to keep this blog updated. I simply haven't felt like writing much because on top of everything else, we've been dealing with Schrodinger having a potential health problem.

About a month ago, we had our anatomy scan and had left that appointment thinking everything was completely fine. A few days later I was in my OB's office to start my lovely series of injections to hopefully ensure I don't go into preterm labor like I did with Ella. I expected only to see the nurse, get shot up, and be on my way. I was surprised when my OB came into the room instead. He told me he had been looking over the images from our scan and was concerned about something he saw on the baby's intestines- that Schrodinger has something called hyperechoic (also called hyperechogenic) bowel syndrome. Basically it means on the scan, Schrodinger's intestines show up brighter than the surrounding bone- which is not how it should be.

The OB wanted me to see a specialist down in Tulsa to go for a more in-depth scan and to discuss any potential issues. I tried to stay calm and take this all in as my toddler dumped out the contents of the diaper bag on the floor around me. My head was swimming with a million questions. What exactly did this mean? How common is it? Does it mean the baby will need surgery after I give birth? Will we have to travel to Tulsa to the bigger hospital and better NICU to deliver? Is this something that will affect the rest of Schrodinger's life? And the biggest, scariest question that I hardly dared think- does this mean Schrodinger is going to die?

Unfortunately my OB couldn't give me many answers, other than it could mean absolutely nothing or a wide variety of problems. He actually had never seen a case of it, in all his years of practice and the thousands of babies he's delivered.

Of course, even though I should know better, I jumped on the computer and started consulting Dr. Google, where I came across lots of scary possibilities. Down syndrome. Cystic fibrosis. Trisomy 18. Infections. Bowel obstructions.

The best part about it all- I had to wait almost a month to get in with the perinatologist down in Tulsa. It's bad enough worrying there is something wrong with your child. But it's a thousand times worse having to wait and wait and wait with that possibility.

We finally had our appointment this past Thursday. While we didn't get bad news, we didn't get good news either. The results of the scan were inconclusive. The spot on the bowel is still there- bright enough that now that we knew what to look for, we could see it ourselves. On the plus side, Schrodinger has no other markers for any of the other big bad scary possibilities, and there is a 60-70% chance it is absolutely nothing. The chance of Down syndrome is still at only 0.5%. The perinatologist told us that while hyperechoic bowel syndrome is also associated with cystic fibrosis, usually it doesn't show up on scans this early in the pregnancy. She feels it's unlikely that Schrodinger has some sort of infection because he/she would be sick and have other symptoms.

That basically leaves us where we were a month ago- not knowing much of anything. It's beyond frustrating. They are doing genetic testing on both me and Schrodinger to rule out a lot of possibilities (they are testing me to see if I am a carrier for any recessive syndromes, and if so, then they will test Jim). The cool thing is instead of doing an amniocentesis, they can pull some of Schrodinger's DNA from my blood and analyze it that way. We should get the results of those tests sometime this week. In a few weeks we have to go back for another scan to see how the spot is doing. Hopefully it will be shrinking.

Right now I go from feeling great about everything to feeling completely despondent. Some days I'm able to focus on the good statistics and the high chance of there being absolutely nothing wrong. Other days I can't stop thinking about all the bad stuff. The good thing about having a toddler, though, is she doesn't give me a lot of down time to dwell on everything.

Hopefully later this week when we get our genetic results I'll be able to post a happier update. As consolation for making it through all of this, here is a picture of Schrodinger. I'm a little biased but I think Schrodinger is very cute already.

Only 1 lb and already giving my mom and dad grey hairs