Monday, August 31, 2009


I've noticed a trend: I blog on days that I babysit. The boys play with each other, so I'm not really needed for entertainment purposes so much as when Nathan's alone. Yet, I can't really get into a major "useful" project (like cleaning or organizing), because I still need to jump in and break up skirmishes. Which is often: all three boys are learning about sharing - a tough lesson, because we have a hoarder ("I like these toys, therefore I will hide all of them so no one else can play with them."), the possessive one ("All these are MINE!" [guess who that is]), and a whiner ("I think he's going to take it, so I'm going to scream and whine like he HAS taken it!")
Can I just say I'm loving this early fall weather? (Don't like the amount of cloudy days, but that's what's keeping the temperature down.) I'm realistic; I know it will probably get hot again. But I'm hoping we're past the oppresive, suck-the-life-out-of-you heat. To show you how cool it is this morning: It's 9:30, and still only 55 degrees. I'm wearing pants, a long-sleeve shirt, a sweatshirt, socks, and slippers! I sleep so great at night with the windows open.
It's been wet the last couple of weeks. We haven't gotten storms (wind, hail), but just lots of soaking rains. Unfortunately that's wreaked havoc in my garden. It was slightly weedy before the rains, but now it's pretty much the Amazon. I could have gotten out there and gotten some weeds pulled, but I was afraid to while Paul was at work, for fear I'd get stuck, and my muscles not working like they should, not being able to get un-stuck. Imagining my fat self sunk up to my knees in mud in the middle of the garden trying to flag a neighbor down for help.... Not a pretty picture.
My fall peas drowned. They were just starting to put on, and sitting in water for over a week did them in. My spring beans are probably gone too, just because I haven't tended to them. But I don't feel too bad about them, because my fall beans look GORGEOUS! They are almost knee-high and are just starting to bloom. I don't know if we've ever had beans look this good!
The tomatoes finally started coming on strong. I've canned 21 quarts of plain tomatoes, and 7 pints of salsa (9 if you count the ones that didn't go into the canner, but went straight to the fridge for consumption). Since it's been cool the last couple days, it's taking the next round a while to get fully ripe, but I'm thinking in the next couple days I'll be canning again. Definitely making more of that salsa!
Paul is the Canteloupe King. I may have planted them, but he's been the one keeping an eye on them. From two hills, we've already harvested close to 20 canteloupe - and they are HUGE! Close to the size of a volleyball (or larger!), all of them. We're giving them away left and right... Even if Nathan and Paul liked canteloupe, there's no way we could eat all of them!
Nathan is well on the way to being potty trained. I have a hard time not feeling like I'm bragging, but I'm pretty sure this has been WAY easier than it should have been. My "method" was bare-bottom for the weekend (while we were home), training pants/underwear only all last week, and this week we're starting training pants or underwear with jeans/shorts over them. He tells us when he needs to go about 50% of the time, the rest is me remembering "Hmm... It's been an hour and a half, and he's drank a lot. Better make him go." In the last week, he's had 3 accidents, I think. Well, and 2 accidents that weren't pee, but those were easy to take care of because the pants caught everything, and it just had to be dumped in the toilet. Obviously we still diaper him at naptime and at bedtime. He does get up before he's asleep and ask to go potty, but I think it's more that he knows he'll be allowed to get out of bed than it is he actually needs to go. I know we'll probably have a set back when Baby arrives, but I'm prepared! (I think....) I just am so ready to get him out of diapers!
Speaking of Baby.... The room is all ready! We didn't paint this one - it already had wallpaper that was in pretty good condition, because it was the room of the previous owners' baby. Although the "genre" is pretty hodge-podge.... It has Victorian burgundy and ivory pinstriped wallpaper, with a farm scene border, and fleur-de-leis painted on the hardwood floor (grr - ruined the floor!) around the wall. (And they didn't go with any of these themes for decorating - all her stuff had fairies on it!) At least the colors all match. But our baby furniture looks really pretty in there! I think I'll go take a picture so I can show you.....
Not a great picture, but you get the idea.

The next two weeks I babysit the daughter of some of our friends, on Thursdays and Fridays (14 hours each day). Emery is 3 months old. I watched her last Thursday, and Nathan did surprisingly well with her. He had a bit of jealousy a couple times wanting to sit on my lap when I was trying to feed her a bottle, but otherwise was very gentle (one of my main concerns) and helpful (throwing away her diapers, and covering her up when she was fussy). Now when our own baby doesn't go home at night, it might be another story..... Although when Emery left he kept asking "Where's the baby?" and the next morning, that was the first thing he asked when he woke up. I was hoping to use this as sort of a "training period" for Nathan to get used to having a baby around and how to act around one. I'm glad he was instinctively gentle - my main concern was that Nathan would try to wrestle with a baby like he does with the cat. (I'm such a great friend - to borrow someone else's baby to train my son how to treat a baby before we get our own!)
Paul was looking at a 12-day (at least) stretch of working, but he unexpectedly got the night off last night - he found out an hour before he normally leaves. They were having trouble with "seeds" in the glass (tiny air bubbles), which means they can't use the glass. So they let everyone have the night off, and hopefully the problem will be fixed by tonight when he goes in. We got to watch a movie (I need constant reminders to tell myself I don't like foreign films!), and unfortunately, I didn't go to bed until 2. Nathan woke up at 6:30. Of course. (Paul was fine, because he slept all day yesterday, and gets to sleep all day today.)
And finally: I think we've decided on a boys name. I'm not sure if we're telling people the names we've chosen. I've told a few close friends, but I'm not sure about making it public knowledge. I'll ask Paul's opinion on it before I shoot my mouth off.
Well, this post has rambled long enough. On with the day.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Ready for Some Sunshine!

As much as I love getting ample rain in August, and as much as I love the cool weather - I'm ready to see some sun! It comes out for spurts, then we get clouds the rest of the day. It's hard to feel motivated to do anything but sleep on these cloudy days.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Potty Training

I don't know why, but we decided to start trying to potty train this weekend. Part of it was the fact that Paul would be home four days in a row to help, but otherwise Nathan was showing some signs - not all that they say to look for, but some. And - I'm just tired of diapers. And not looking forward to having two in them at once.
Actually, Thursday was the day that gave me the idea to try. Gross story:
It was a gorgeous day. When Nathan woke up from his nap, he wanted to play outside with the kittens. This is not a game this fat Mommy can play (involves crawling under the deck, usually). So I let Nathan run around outside while I sat inside next to the picture window and read a book.
Nathan's diaper had come off - I can't remember if I took it off, or if it got caught on something and fell off. But either way, he was pantsless. He had been running around giggling at the kittens, but then he started knocking at the door, "Mommy. Mommy! Mommy."
I thought he was playing, and besides I was at a good place in the book, so I didn't get up to let him in right away. I just answered back, "Nathan, Nathan!" After a minute or so I got up, and found that he had peed while waiting at the door. I felt bad, because had I immediately gotten up, we could have made it to the potty. We went and sat down anyways, then he went back out and played.
Not two minutes later, he was back at the door, knocking again, "Mommy, Mommy!" This time, I actually jumped up immediately and went to the door. I opened it and he held something in his hand out to me. What the.....
So apparently this time, he'd POOPED outside. I directed him inside and told him to go throw it in the toilet. He flushed it, and seemed pretty pleased with himself. I told Paul that evening when he got home that we were going to do a trial run of potty training this weekend to guage how "ready" Nathan was. The main reason we thought he was ready is because when he did run around without a diaper (which is more often than I care to admit), he could hold it for several hours at a time.
We decided since we really had no plans to go anywhere, and we live in the country, we'd try to naked method (which some "professionals" recommend, but I know it grosses other people out). Friday and Saturday were kind of hit and miss - he'd start going, then stop and realize what he was doing, and we'd rush him to the potty to finish. We had a tiny turd victory about noon, but a major turd disaster just before bedtime (he stepped in it).
Sunday morning, Nathan surprised me at church. I asked if he wanted to go with me to the potty. I needed to go, and I knew he'd throw a fit if I left the room. He said, "Potty! Potty!" So I took him to the bathroom (where luckily they have a potty chair), and he went! He stayed dry the whole time we were at church, even with a diaper on.
Yesterday (Monday), we had no accidents. He pooped at naptime, before he fell asleep. But no puddles to clean up.
This morning, I tried putting underwear on him (I thought the boys I babysit might appreciate that). I don't know if I waited too long to ask, or if he thought they were a diaper, but he peed in them within 20 minutes. I put on another pair, and asked him after a half an hour, and he went in and did a full "dose" in the potty. But he didn't want to put the pants back on.
I don't know if this signifies he's "ready" or not, but I know now I'm even more ready for him to be potty trained! Originally we thought we'd use this as a trial to guage, and then if he didn't act ready, we'd go back to diapers and not worry about it for another month or two. But I think we're going to stick with it. Even if he's only half potty-trained, it's still half as many diapers as I have to change. It will probably take us a year to get there, but oh well. (And I'm not delusional about staying dry at night.... I KNOW that's going to be a long time!)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

First Step

We took the first step towards getting ready for New Baby.... I brought down the infant car seat and took it apart and washed it and wiped it all down. (I'm going to actually need it while babysitting a friend's daughter next week, is why so early.) I really need to do that to Nathan's current car seat as well.
The car seat was SICK. I didn't realize how much Nathan apparently had spit up in it until I took the cover pad off.... Gross. But I sprayed it down to loosen up any crusties, then put it through the washer, meanwhile washing out the base. It came out looking like new, for the most part - except for some sun fading of the dark fabric. I adjusted the straps to the lower setting - I can't believe how small babies are!
Next step is tomorrow - Mom is coming over after work and we're mopping and wiping down the baby's room. I'm not sure it's ever been mopped up there, at least since we bought the house. We're working on getting rid of the "guest room" paraphernalia.... My brother took the queen size bed. My sister is going to take the antique mirrored dresser (which I love in that room, but it's definitely not kid friendly). My hope chest is going to have to stay up there for a little while longer, though. Then we have the pain-in-the-patoot job of disassembling the crib in order to move it 10 feet across the hall. Grr. But it won't fit through the doorways.
I don't know what I'm going to do when there's actually a baby in that room.... Nathan has taken up going exploring after he wakes up in the morning. Often he won't say anything, I just hear his little feet pattering across the floor of the baby's room (which is right above Paul and I's bedroom). He likes the mobile and the baby tub that are up there. Not only can he now open the bedroom doors, but he knows he can go through the shared closet/attic between the two rooms. The other day at naptime, I heard him pattering around, and walked up the stairs to get on to him. I opened the baby's room door, and he wasn't in there, but the attic door was open just a sliver. I walked over to it and found Nathan hiding inside. You can't tell me that at this age they don't know right from wrong, and know when they've done wrong!
And in other news: a friend, a relative, and a neighbor are all having girls. Does this up our chance for a boy? I don't know. I usually think we're having a boy, but then I'll have a random day where I have a really strong feeling it's a girl. Like I told you: anticipation is a weakness in me. I don't deal well with it.
Enough procrastinating. I have GOT to clean some house.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Nathan's Favorite Movies

At this point at least:
Milo and Otis
Gulliver's Travels
We did nothing to influence his choices - trust me, he's got a whole array of Baby Einstein, Veggie Tales, and other movies. But these are the ones he consistently asks for and will actually sit and watch the majority of the movie.
The reason I defend that we didn't influence the choices was that these all were favorites of Paul or I when we were growing up. I guess it goes to show that they don't make movies like they used to.
I haven't really let him watch many newer animated movies. Even though they're marketed towards Nathan's age, I think a lot of the new ones are just a bit too intense for any kids under 5. I think that they make cartoons hoping to draw a wider age group than is typically thought of as "cartoon watchers." I've tried to be vigilant about previewing movies before I let him watch it. I don't want a scary scene to be cause for nightmares later. And I also try to explain bad attitudes - with a "They weren't being very nice, were they?" But it's hard when the boys I babysit bring a movie to watch that they love. (They brought Bolt a few months ago, and I thought the beginning chase scene was scary!) But I guess the upside of this is that with three of them in the room, they distract each other and there's not actually a lot of focused movie watching going on.
I try not to use the television as a babysitter, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to get things done. We probably watch too much tv and movies, but I can't steep myself in guilt.
Anyhow. I was amused when I realized that the classics never go out of style.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

10 Weeks to Go

I can't believe that I'm 3/4 of the way there! (Possibly closer if I get my wish and the baby comes early.) This summer has really flown by - how is it possible that August is already half gone?
My friend Carrie came over this week and took some pictures of me. She wanted to try out a couple new things, and I was her gineau pig. Check out all of the photos here. They are really very good.
If I'm really honest, my belly isn't that big. I feel huge, but I think that's because I "popped" so quickly - which is normal on a second pregnancy. Also, Paul pointed out (or at least agreed with me when I mentioned it) that part of it is that my back is swaying forward a lot, which makes my stomach pull out further. I'm surprised I haven't had more back problems - the constant pain I had in my lower back a few months ago is gone now. Thankfully! I'm also sleeping better, at least this week.
I'm still working on shaking this cold.... I feel good, and then have a coughing spell where I feel like I hack up half a lung. Not to mention the nose-blowing. But at least I can breathe now.
I canned 7 pints of green beans yesterday. My spring planting just keeps on plugging along - I keep thinking they're about done, but then they put on new growth and bloom again. I have been getting about a half a mop bucket a week. My fall beans looks GREAT! Hopefully they'll produce better. And my fall peas are putting on... Once I weeded out the grass, the stand didn't look nearly as good, but they're still better than this spring's. I'm going to try to get them picked this weekend.
I have zucchini to freeze today - we've been given some, and Paul doesn't care for it cooked (as if we could eat 4 large zucchinis anyways!). So I'm going to shred it and freeze to use in bread this winter. I also have kitchen recovery to do (from canning yesterday), and a massive pile of laundry that's been sitting here all week.... I'm tired of digging for socks. Since It's only 10 AM and I already want a nap, I think I'm going to have to put on a pot of coffee.
Paul has worked 6 days this week (60+ hours). They don't have air conditioning on the packing floor, so a day in that heat is pretty tiring (though his office and the break room have a/c). He has tomorrow off, then starts 30 straight days of production. He said they will probably get days off in there, but he doesn't know when or how many. So by the time I get my husband back, it will be time for baby! (Not quite, but a whole lot closer!)
Only 10 weeks! I can't believe it's coming up so soon!

Monday, August 10, 2009


Childrens' videos that have previews on the beginning that don't allow you to fast-forward through them or skip to the Main Menu are ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS. There is nothing worse than needing a little Mommy time, and having your son lose interest in the movie he's picked out before it even starts.

Along these lines - DVD boxes that have the little tabs on the side are one of my favorite inventions. Nathan still hasn't figured out how to get into these, which makes my job much easier.

I Just May Die Before I'm Well.

I don't know how someone (Paul) who has mild sinus symptoms can pass on to me a full-blown cold.
There is nothing more miserable than a summer cold, in my opinion. Not only do you have the misery of being congested, but in Kansas, when you step outside you have the added symptom of humidity to deal with. It is virtually impossible to breathe.
Now add to that, I'm 7 months pregnant and not supposed to take any cold medications. Nothing is approved to take, but there is a very short list of medicines with "no known complications" or something like that.
I described trying to breathe to Paul yesterday as "trying to breathe through a straw". (What I have is probably bronchitis.) I can still breathe, but it feels like I can't get the air in fast enough. Then add to that a stuffed up nose (most of the time, and always when I lay down), and near panic can set in - especially in that time just between awake and asleep. Add to that being pregnant, not sleeping well anyways, and waking up at least twice to pee every night....... Oh - and this hernia area that pooches every time I cough (I have to press my hand over it or else I regret it). If it wasn't for the baby in my belly, I'd say just to shoot me.
I did give in and take some Robitussin Saturday night (which is on the probably-okay-but-we-can't-really-say-for-sure list). It did help me sleep and start to cough stuff up. But then Baby didn't move as much Sunday, which freaked me out. Although I got to thinking about it..... That's probably not because of the medicine; if I'm struggling to breathe and feel like I'm not getting enough oxygen, I'm sure baby is too - so he's probably sleeping it off. Still - I decided to forego medication last night.
I did remember a home remedy Paul's mom told me about when she has sinus issues. We did this last winter when we all had colds, but I'd forgotten about it. She uses a candle warmer - the kind where you burn a tea light in the bottom and melt the wax chips or scented oil in the top - and puts water in the top with several drops of tea tree oil. I tried that last night, and by the time we went to bed, it did seem that I was breathing better. It got worse again overnight, but this morning I started the tea tree oil again and my chest and nose seem to be more open - I could actually taste my breakfast! (Which was blackberry cobbler... Mmmm....)
So... It worked for me! I got this tea tree oil from an online company, but I noticed that our Walgreens has started carrying it recently (a different brand) in their little "natural" section (natural shampoo, lotions, toothpaste, etc). I'd recommend giving it a try. I'm not anti-medicine, but I do think that our bodies do best when we allow them to heal themselves (builds up immunities). And I don't think medicine (like Robitussin, Benadryl, etc) or herbal treatments really help us get well any faster - they just make us feel less miserable.
Munchkin is calling. So I'll end here.

Hairy Baby?

So I Googled heartburn and pregnancy (I've been having a lot of it this time). I found more "old wives tales" - these say that if you have heartburn your whole pregnancy, your baby will be born with a lot of hair.
It turns out this one is true! At least in one study: In a 2007 study at Johns Hopkins, 64 women were surveyed throughout pregnancy. Of the 28 that reported moderate to severe heartburn, 23 of the women had babies with "above average hair thickness."
I wouldn't call what I've had severe heartburn, but Rolaids have definitely become my friend. When I was pregnant with Nathan, pretty much the only thing that gave me heartburn was pepperoni. But it seems like several times a week something will give me an uncomfortable feeling, and it's usually not even anything spicy. So we'll see about this baby.

Paul and I were talking last night.... Sometimes not even genetics make sense in how your baby turns out. Dark hair is a dominant trait/gene. Paul and I both have dark hair - 3 of 4 of our parents have dark hair. Nathan ended up with light hair. Brown eyes are the dominant trait - if one parent has blue eyes (me), and one parent has brown eyes (Paul), the child is supposed to have brown eyes. Nathan's are blue. (Although, in this case, 3 of 4 of his grandparents have blue eyes, so I wasn't surprised.) Paul and I both have freckles, which is su - 3 of 4 of our parents have fair skin and at least some freckling. Nathan appears he's going to have dark skin like Paul's dad. (I know it's probably too early to tell on that for sure, though.) We did call it on him being hairy, though - Nathan didn't have a lot of hair when he was born, but now his little legs are very fuzzy. I call him a hobbit (I'm mean). So far, no evidence of flat-footedness, either (something Paul and I both have) - I'm glad of that.
I think each child is a wonder and totally unique. I am amazed at what God can put together. I can't wait to find out how this one hidden inside me turns out.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Boy or Girl?

I have no regrets about not finding out the gender of our baby, but the anticipation is killing me! (I don't do well with surprises of any kind.) I've been trying to determine based on "symptoms" - but according to wives tales, I could be having either one. I had read something about fetal heart rates - boys hearts beat faster, I thought. This baby's heart rate has been in the 140s; Nathan's was always in the 150s. This seemed a little more scientific than the "dangle your wedding ring" trick. But I looked it up, and the articles I read said that this is not true - there is no difference except during labor (when girls' hearts beat faster).
As I've said before, I think it's a boy just based on how much he moves - ALL. THE. TIME. But Paul's mom pointed out it could be a "red-headed girl with a temper" - something she'd know about (Paul's sister is a redhead).
We have a girls name settled on. We're still working on a boy's name. Paul has one that he likes, and I like the sound of the name, and any possible nicknames, but have two problems with it: the meaning (I'm big on meanings - probably because my name means "a ewe"), and the fact that it's been in the top 10 most popular baby names for the last 5 years (another hang up of mine, probably because no matter where I went, there was another "Rachel"). Although I don't think I've met any little ones with this name. I don't know - I may go with it, because Paul is so dang stubborn he's probably not going to let go. And I've been researching some alternate meanings, and when you look at it that way, the meaning doesn't sound so bad.
Sorry to say all this and not tell you what the actual name is. I want to have it settled first. We told people we were considering "Quinn" for a boy's name with Nathan, and so many people blurted out "But that's a girls name!" Umm... Actually it's not. It's been a boys name a lot longer than it's been a girls name! (It's Paul's middle name.) So we used it as Nathan's middle name as well. I just don't want people's opinions this time (although I have mentioned it to some friends and family).
Anyhow. That's today's dilemma. The doctor's appointment went well this morning. She's happy with how everything's going. I'm still not happy with how much weight I've gained. I'm trying to eat healthy, but some days it's just too dang hard.
I'm sick with a cold (thank you, dear husband and son), and it's 100 degrees out. That makes for a bit of misery/wanting to sleep. Not to mention how wonderful it feels to cough when you have a the beginnings of a hernia - being afraid that your guts might pop out the weak spot in your belly. Also, I fell off the stage at church this morning and twisted both ankles - well, twisted one, banged the other (the one that already is permanently purple). So that makes for even more wanting to be lazy.
After wallowing in all this self-pity, I am now completely unmotivated to clean the kichen, and feel fully justified in going to take a nap.

Monday, August 3, 2009


Nice to know my belly is good for something other than balancing a plate on when I'm snacking.


Last Thursday morning, Nathan wanted to go out to play. I wrestled with the door (our front door sticks) as he pleaded, "'Side?" As I looked out the front door, I noticed something dead and furry at the end of our sidewalk in the driveway. I thought, That dang dog drug something dead up into the yard again! He's always finding possums or rats or other gross things.

I picked Nathan up and went out to investigate. As I got closer, he pointed and said, "Cat!" Sure enough, it was what was left of our Mama Kitty - a head and front foot. Totally graphic (luckily no blood). But it didn't disturb Nathan.
We have no idea what killed her. We're 99% positive it wasn't our dog... They've lived together for four years with no problem. We're thinking she got killed by a wild animal (coyote or bobcat), and Hercules either found what was left of her, or he scared off whatever killed her and brought back what was left to let us know. He had woken me up barking his head off and howling about 5 o'clock that morning.
So that leaves us with orphan kittens. We have found a home for one of them, but would really like to get rid of at least most of the rest. One or two cats is all this farm needs - we don't want to turn into a cat farm! If you want one, or know anyone who might - PLEASE let us know!

Clockwise from bottom left: Pinky (boy), Tippy (girl), Orangey (boy), Cucumber (girl - has a new home!), Callie (girl), and Mozerella (girl).