Hulaisms-21 Months

Just another random language update post. Hula Girl is getting better and better at pronouncing things and although it’s wonderful that she’s becoming more understandable to others, I’m so sad to hear some of these words working their way out of her speech.

  • Dah-doo (doggie). I am 100% positive she hears us say “Dog-gie” but she still says dah-doo. I can ask her to repeat, and if I say dog, she’ll say, “Dog,” but if I say doggie, it’s always, “Dah-doo.” I’m pretty sure this one will be around a while.
  • Mummy (tummy, bunny, coming). Multi-functional word, listen carefully for context. The best is when she says something like, “Mummy mummy nown ide on mummy!” (The bunny is coming down the slide on his tummy!)
  • Eek (work). Daddy goes to eek every day. So does Grammy. And Ama. Today Hula Girl decided that it’s best for Daddy to go to eek so mommy can stay home. I concur. I also agree that work can be correctly identified as “eek.”
  • Boo-bee (Pooh Bear). Sounds really silly when she’s running around the house yelling, “Boo-bee! Boo-bee! Are you, Boo-bee?” (Pooh bear, Pooh bear, where are you, Pooh bear?)
  • Bibby (crib).
  • Doh-oy (door, drawer).
  • Dode (closed).
  • Opee (open).
  • Ome ome didee did (Home again, home again, jiggity jig!). LOVE hearing this every time we pull into the driveway!

Along with losing some sweet phrases and words, Hula Girl has started getting really into the alphabet. I mentioned a while back that she’s in love with her alphabet flash cards. She’s kind of over them, but what she does with them now is pretty cool. She’ll go to the fridge, grab a magnetic letter, rush over to her alphabet cards, and rifle through until she finds the matching letter. The cool thing is that her alphabet cards are lower-case whereas the fridge letters are capitals. Then she’ll run over to me and show me, “Two K! Two K!” or whatever letter she grabbed. She knows all letters by sight, and can say most of them now. If I tell her to find a “J”, she will find it easily. If I ask her, “What’s this letter?” she can usually tell me what it is. Her favorites are A, I, J (for Jesus), K, O, U, V, and W. She has exceptional pronunciation on W- “bubble you.”

Her signing is coming right along. Yesterday at dinner I quizzed her on all the signs she’s ever learned- she got 98% correct. I showed her some signs and she told me the words, then I told her some words and she showed me the signs. The only ones she didn’t remember were “hot,” “nap,” and “day.” But she still remembered over 40 signs. Impressive!

*Allow me to clarify that her signs are not perfect by any means- they’re still very amateurish as she’s still a toddler and is learning fine motor coordination. But they are great approximations, and I am able to figure out what she’s saying a lot of the time, just as with her spoken words.

She still talks all day long and enjoys nursery rhymes and songs. I will often overhear her during roomtime, speaking the words of a nursery rhyme or singing along to her songs. She even does this when she wakes up in the mornings and from naps. It’s pretty much super cute. Yesterday, the thing that made her laugh the most was the personalized version of “Little Jack Horner” that we composed during breakfast:

Little [Hula Girl] Irish,

Sitting at the table,

Eating her breakfast down.

 She put in her thumb,

And pulled out a strawberry,

And said, “What a good girl am I!”

Okay, so it doesn’t rhyme. But she did accidentally pull out a strawberry with her thumb, and it reminded us of “Little Jack Horner” and his plum thumb, so we made up our little ditty. Every time I said it throughout the day, she would laugh and laugh on the word strawberry. Love it.

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Another Potty Post…

…and hopefully the last for a while!

Hula Girl has been doing an awesome job with the potty. She is still unable (and unwilling to learn) to pull her undies up and down on her own, so she spends a lot of time bare-bottomed. But that’s okay. We’re heading into summer, and I don’t mind that cutie little tushy roaming around the house.

Haha, there is one time she actually requests to put on her undies- when she goes down her slide. Otherwise her little cheeks and thighs just stick to the slide and she can’t go down without a screech like nails on a chalkboard. Too funny.

However, there was one last hurdle we had left to deal with. Roomtime.

For those of you who are unaware of the concept of roomtime, here’s a little breakdown. Roomtime is a set time each day during which Hula Girl spends time alone in her room. She plays with her toys, she listens to music, and I frequently (every time) find her reading books when I come up to get her.

The purpose of roomtime is manifold. First, it teaches boundaries. I put out specific toys and books for Hula Girl and she plays with those only. She is not allowed to ransack her room (or her dresser drawers). Second, it teaches focusing skills. Because I set out a limited number of toys, Hula Girl has to make the best of it. She can’t flit from toy to toy, growing bored. Third, it gives Mommy a break. No explanation needed on that one. Fourth, and to Hula Girl’s great relief, it offers a set time during the day during which Hula Girl is free to think for herself and spend her time as she pleases. She can choose to play with the toys I’ve chosen for her. She can choose to read books. Heck, she can even choose to lay down on the floor and take a nap (and yes, she chooses to do this occasionally). But there is no one there telling her what to do, or how to use this toy, or what that picture is. Her imagination is free to roam, and she can talk to herself or her toys and process through emotions, ideas, new words, or whatever, without fear of being judged. Because, even though I’m a stellar mom who should win the World’s Best Mom award daily (ha!), I still can’t get through a day without judging her. Meaning, I tell her if what she’s doing is right or wrong. Who wants that all day long?! Yay, roomtime.

Ahem, back to the potty training hurdle- roomtime.

Because roomtime means 30 minutes of unsupervised (I do listen over the monitor) time in her room twice every day, I was afraid to leave Hula Girl in there alone with her potty at such a young age. I have heard horror stories of kids who have decided to play with their poopoo and smear it all over everything. Also, the one and only time I tried it prior to resorting to diapers during roomtime, we ended up with a poopoo trail across the room. She had started to go on the potty, but got excited to tell me about it, and ran across the room to knock on the door to get me to come in. So…. poopoo trail.

For the past month and a half, I have just put her in a diaper during roomtime. But then we hit a couple snags.

First, she stopped going peepee in the diaper and would only use it for poopoo. Then, she’d be bursting to go peepee by the time we got downstairs. I thought it might be kind of unhealthy for her to hold all that peepee (it is a LOT by that time) for the potty.

Then, her regular diapers started giving her a bad rash. We have switched around and tried three different brands since (including just using her ULTRA stinky cloth ones), but everything I put on her has given a rash. (Interestingly enough, her nighttime diapers do NOT give her a rash. So weird.)

So for the sake of her bladder and her skin, I opted for bare-bottomed, potty-in-room roomtime today. And do you know what she did!?

My crazy amazing girl went poopoo and peepee in the potty, and left it alone until I came back for her. No mess, no fuss. Perfection on try #1. This girl blows me away.

Of course we celebrated by having a “special treat” of 2 chocolate chips. Then we called Grammy, Ama, and Daddy to share the excitement. All of them were  impressed, as they should be. They know what a big step this is for us.

I want to take a moment to note that I do not (consciously) expect perfection from my daughter. She is, however, a very sensitive girl who is compassionate like none I have ever seen toward other children and who can’t stand to see anyone (including herself) fail. If she sees another child fall down, she reacts with sorrow, “Oh, nooooooo!” If she sees me make a face, she’ll ask, “Mommy cry?” I have said it before, and we see it more and more, she is sensitive. I think this quality in her causes her to hold back until she’s sure she can do something before she tries it. She is also a quick learner, which means that she can try (and succeed) at almost anything very soon after observing it or thinking it or being asked to do it. Just thought I’d clarify so that people don’t think I push her too hard. In fact, I rarely push her at all, except when it comes to table manners. Boy, oh boy, does she need some help with her table manners… but that’s another post.

 

It’s a Boy!

Yes, my friends, Gelato is a 15-ounce, active, “textbook” baby BOY. He is measuring right at 21 weeks, which is, by the way, how far along I am today. He is a mover and a shaker!

We went to our ultrasound appointment early this morning. It was in a different office than our regular OB/GYN visits. I thought this was strange since our regular office has an ultrasound machine. But apparently the ultrasound tech is someone they have used forever, and she lives an hour and a half away, so she drives down only on Thursdays, and only goes to that particular office location. Weird. I know I don’t exactly live in a thriving metropolis, but our city is large enough that one would think another ultrasound technician might possibly be available. Oh, well.

When we arrived at the office, I had two thoughts: 1. Um, this place is like, a hundred years old. And not in a good way. In a really, really gross way. Like, couldn’t they at least wash the bricks? and, 2. Why are there two nurses standing right outside the front door smoking? Don’t they know they work in an OB office? If one of those two nurses ends up being my ultrasound tech, I will be livid.

Fortunately, the chimneys moved away from the door when we pulled up. And when we got inside the scary decrepit building, we found it had been remodeled inside (at least in the waiting area- the back hallways left much to be desired). And the ultrasound technician didn’t smell or sound like a smoker. So we were good to go.

I laid back on the table and she squirted about half a bottle of really cold jelly on my belly. She mentioned that the cleaning staff always turns off her warmers, which is why the jelly was so cold for me. I just likened it to cold lotion and wasn’t too concerned about it. I mean, really, it could have been warmer, but I was just relishing in the fact that I wasn’t breathing secondhand smoke during the whole appointment. She could have pulled the jelly out of the freezer for all I cared.

When she switched on the screen, the first thing we saw was a nice, strong heart beating. It’s so cool to watch your baby’s heart beat in an ultrasound- you can see all four chambers. It actually looks like the inside of a bread machine while it’s in the “knead” cycle. At least that’s what I think. We saw a lot of his heart, his stomach, etc. The technician did a lot of measurements. All his measurements are exactly 21 weeks gestation, so we’re pretty much spot-on with our original due date. I was actually kind of hoping for him to be a bit bigger since I feel bigger and look bigger this time. To no avail.

The ultrasound tech kept getting so excited because Gelato was giving her such great poses. She kept saying over and over, “These are textbook images! These are perfect shots!” I was  thrilled to hear that not only were the images perfect, but the heart rate (145 bpm), amniotic fluid levels, and measurements were perfect, or “textbook,” as well.

And then we got the money shot.

There's no mistaking this one, folks.

Yup. Even if we went with our original plans and tried not to find out the gender, there would be no way we’d have walked out of that room without knowing that this kid is a boy. He flashed us so many times during the appointment. Funny thing is, he would not turn his head so we could see his face. We got a lot of good profiles of his face, and I was able to see his little sinus cavities and trachea and all that jazz. We even got to see him sticking out his tongue and opening his mouth like he was belting out Adele’s latest hits. But he just would not look at us straight on. C’est la vie.

Along with the help of actually seeing what I’m feeling, I realized that I haven’t been feeling Gelato’s kicks. I have been feeling his punches. He was even bending his arm like he was flexing it for us (and that kid already has some MEAT on his arms- I think he’s going to end up being even bigger than his sister)! I guess we’d better invest in a good punching bag and some boxing gloves now. And maybe a kangaroo. (If you don’t get that reference, you’re too young. After all, I’m barely old enough to get that reference.)

Jonathan is, of course, thrilled. He was really hoping for a boy. I was pretty sure Gelato was a boy from the very beginning. I just knew. My dad wasn’t surprised at all. He said, “I know it’s a boy. That’s what I’ve been telling you guys all along. But no one listens to me!” And Auntie Jenn (aka Nay-Nay) said, “!!!!!!!!!” and then “I’m an uncle!” 😉

We bought Hula Girl a stuffed blue dog on our way home this morning. She is now permanently attached to her doggie toy, referring to it as “Brother Doggie.” I am 100% positive she has no clue what we’re talking about when we say, “It’s a boy!” and “You’re going to have a brother!” She’s like, “Whatever, Mommy, I have a Brother Doggie, and he’s coming everywhere with me.”

We are excited to continue down this road of parenting. But now I’m kind of freaking out. I mean, I know how to raise a girl now. But a boy!? What am I going to do with a boy!?! It scares me to think on it too long right now. So in the meantime, I will just focus on the things we have to get accomplished before meeting this new little boy:

  • go through all of Hula Girl’s old clothes and decide which ones I can part with and which ones will be made into a quilt for her me
  • wash, sun, and sell all of Hula Girl’s old clothes that I can part with
  • de-stink and sell all of Hula Girl’s old cloth diapers 
  • clean out the office/craft room
  • yard sale (yes, this is a verb) like mad all summer long looking for great deals on baby boy stuff
  • choose a new type of cloth diapers that won’t hold the stink so much and buy them
  • decide on a nursery theme
  • find a crib and dresser/changing table that we like
  • thoroughly clean my house, especially our bedroom, the kitchen, the bathrooms, and the nursery
  • make some freezer meals

I think that’s a short enough but detailed enough list to keep me going for a while. I plan to accomplish everything by the middle of July. That way when Gelato comes along, everything will be prepared for his arrival.

As an aside, I am getting REALLY excited to spend some nice relaxing quiet time with this little boy while nursing him. Nursing is 100% my most favorite activity to do with my baby. I’m so excited to rock him and hold his squishy little warm snuggly body in my arms. Yay!

Talking about Jesus

Hula Girl’s latest obsession has been her “Bible Stories” book. She calls it her “Bah-bo boop.” Her favorite pages are those on which a baby is found. The stories of Baby Moses, Samuel and Hannah, and Jesus’ birth are those stories.

She used to open the book to “Baby Mo-ee” all the time. That was before we got to the story about Samuel. Then when we learned about “Baby Mam-wah,” that was all she wanted to read. Then we read about “Baby Dee-duss” on Friday, and she has been absolutely enthralled with that story ever since. I often come in after her independent playtime to find her looking at the picture of Baby Jesus. She will point out the sheep, the cow, the donkey, the pig, Mary, Joseph, the star, and finally, “Baby Dee-duss.”

She also listens to kids’ praise songs during her independent playtime. Her favorite of these are those songs which mention Jesus by name or the words “Bible book.” I will occasionally come in after independent playtime and find her dancing to the songs. She actually knows the words and “sings” along. Since she doesn’t know how to make her voice go up and down, her singing is pretty funny. She raises her eyebrows, cocks her head to the side, and gets a look like, “Isn’t this the greatest thing ever?!?!”

Anyway, today we went to the Y. On the way home, she said, “‘Bout Dee-duss?” This means she wants to talk about Jesus. I, of course, obliged. We talked about Jesus and how he made Hula Girl and is there to help her pray to God. Then we sang many rounds of “Jesus Loves Me” and “Jesus Loves the Little Children”- it was quite fun!

During lunch she decided that she wanted to talk about Jesus again. So we talked about how Jesus is God’s son and why God sent Jesus to earth. We finished up our discussion by talking about the upcoming holiday of Easter and how it’s a surprise party for all of Jesus’ friends- “Jesus is Alive!?!?!!!!!” (This is, after all, the reason the Easter Bunny comes. He comes to leave surprise presents for children to help celebrate Jesus’ aliveness.) 🙂

I think it’s wonderful to share the stories and truths of Jesus with my little inquisitive girl.

As a side note, Hula Girl has currently been down for her nap 45 minutes, and has yet to fall asleep. She was bouncing all around in her crib, practicing her counting and naming her family members. She was using all kinds of tones and pitches in her voice. Then she pooped (I went in, changed her diaper, then told her to lie down and go to sleep). Now she is alternating practicing using her whisper voice and her loud voice. This ought to be a fun afternoon. Let’s hope she can fall asleep eventually!

Whew!

I was ready for naptime today.

I had my OB/GYN appointment this morning. The card on my fridge reads “Tuesday, March 20, 8:20 a.m.” Jonathan likes to go to all the appointments with me. He is really involved with his children. My mom usually comes and watches Hula Girl during appointments so that she doesn’t have to sit and be bored in the office. However, my mom also works on Tuesdays, so she wasn’t able to watch Hula Girl today. That meant that Jonathan took some time off work in the morning so that he could be here with Hula Girl when she woke up, to get her ready for the day and feed her breakfast. We figured that I’d be out of my appointment by 9, so he would have plenty of time to get to work by 10.

Ahem. We figured wrong. I showed up, signed in, and the normal receptionist was not at her desk. A different one was there, but she said, “She’ll be back to check you in in just a minute.” Okay. Then she decided that she could actually just do it herself. She looked through a folder for my paperwork and then looked on the computer screen for a schedule of the day. I wasn’t in the folder or on the screen. What?!

The first receptionist came back and tried to find me. I still didn’t exist. But then they pulled out my file and found that I was scheduled for an appointment last Friday. Um, that’s not what my card said. Furthermore, since I didn’t show, I was going to be charged a fee for a “No Show”. At that point, I said, “Um, the card on my fridge says my appointment is today. At 8:20.” And the first receptionist said, “Well, the doctor has a well-woman check scheduled at that time. We can put you in at 8:40.”

Fine. I’ll stay an extra 20 minutes.

8:40 rolled around, then 9:00, and finally 9:20. Seven other women were called out of the waiting room into the back while I waited. Seven. I went up to the desk and said, “I’m sorry, I must be having a pregnancy brain day. Did you say 8:40 or 9:40?” She smiled at me and said, “8:40, but of course we have to get in all the patients who were scheduled and who were here before you.” I had to bite my tongue at Snarky Receptionist Girl. Then I told her, “Well, my husband will have to bring my daughter by on his way to work then. Please let him know that he is free to come find me when he arrives. I’m sure I’ll be in an exam room by then.”

So I called Jonathan and told him to bring Hula Girl over since I would certainly not be ready to leave anywhere near on time.

Finally I was called back, at 9:35. I was weighed (ugh, pregnancy makes you gain weight at a crazy rate), and then the nurse took my blood pressure. She apologized for the confusion with the appointment and made it clear that the person who was doing the scheduling was let go since she had a habit of scheduling appointments but not writing them in, and then just trying to remember all of them at the end of the day. Apparently I’m not the only one whose appointment was mixed up.

After the nurse left, the doctor came in and checked the baby’s heartbeat. Everything’s good. I told her that I could actually see Gelato moving around in there, which I thought was weird for only being 20 weeks along. She thought it was great and said, “You’ve got a feisty one!”

I left the office and met Jonathan and Hula Girl in the parking garage. We swapped cars and then Hula Girl and I left to go to storytime. We didn’t make it to the 10:00 one, but we did make it in time to see some of our friends come out as we were heading in to the 10:30.

Hula Girl did not participate as she normally does- she was much quieter and clingier. I thought it was quite weird. Then I realized she’d been up kind of late last night. We put her to bed at 7:45, but she talked to herself until almost 9. (It is common for kids her age to start staying awake long into the night and generally does not signify anything is wrong. However, it does mean that parents need to be sensitive to their lack of sleep and try to make up for it in naps and early bedtimes.)

By the time we got home from storytime, she was throwing mini tantrums left and right. And then… it happened. The tantrum of tantrums. Over what? Stuffed animals.

Hula Girl has specific “upstairs toys” and “downstairs toys”. We rotate them frequently so that she can have a new set of toys to play with in different areas of the house, but she knows that most downstairs toys stay downstairs and most upstairs toys stay upstairs. Today, however, she decided that she wanted to climb upstairs to independent playtime with all of her downstairs stuffed animals: moose, tiger, elephant, doggie, Valentine Bear, Pooh Bear, teddy bear, and Elmo. Instead of having her struggle and fall down the stairs, or hand me all those silly things, I told her, “Why don’t we leave most of  your animals downstairs to rest and wait for you. You can take one animal and Mommy will take one more.”

She was not okay with that idea. She kept trying to climb the stairs with this huge load of plush critters and when I’d pull her down again she’d get madder and madder. Finally she threw them all down and flopped on top of them, screaming her lungs out and crying the hugest tears imaginable. This lasted for about 2 minutes until I picked her up along with her two favorites, Pooh and doggie, and carried all three of them upstairs.

When we got to her room, she fell down on the floor and screamed and cried some more. I got very involved in watching the wind whipping the scrubby grass outside. It was so interesting that I even forgot that Hula Girl was there until she calmed down. 😉

We had no further meltdowns between independent playtime, lunch, and nap. But I am beat. And it’s only halfway through the day!

*I was talking to a new friend of mine, Chelsea, who is also pregnant, at storytime. I told her we were late because of the scheduling snafu. She said she’s experienced the same thing at that office, and that they’re generally really slow anyway. We both mentioned that we’d considered switching offices due to their really really slow staff and long waiting room times, but we both know that there’s really no other choice in this area. So, here’s to always scheduling on a day when my mom is free!

Soil Test Results

Whenever you’re planning to add plants to an area where you’ve previously had rocks, dirt, landscaping, or weeds, it’s important to make sure you know the composition of your soil. This will help you when you’re choosing the fertilizers you use and it will also help you determine which kinds of plants will thrive in your space.

As you may know, we’ve decided to add a lawn and a large garden in the backyard this spring. We’re also planning to do something in the front yard, but that’s priority #2. We were completely unsure of our soil’s composition as we just moved here in October and therefore haven’t seen the growing season. We have very little evidence that anything can actually grow here. There are quite a few tumbleweeds blown up against our fence, and there are cacti out in the empty fields next to and behind our house. There are also a lot of short scrubby looking grasses, but nothing else worth noting. We also know that the climate is a huge factor here- it will get over 100° every day all summer long and we’ll likely get torrential rains each afternoon during June, July, and August. Neither of these things is exactly “good” for growing things.

Anyway, we want to do a lawn so that Hula Girl can run around barefoot and not step on a cactus, and so that we can have picnics outside. We’re also wanting the lawn so we can run through the sprinkler- what’s more awesome than that?! We want the garden because we love fresh veggies and the pickin’s around here are slim. Grocery stores charge an arm and a leg for fresh produce, and what’s available in Walmart is… well… if you don’t know the Walmart produce department, you’re better off. I am searching for a local farmer’s market, but it’s looking like the closest one is 45 minutes away.

So, in anticipation of our lawn and garden, we did our soil testing this weekend. Jonathan and Hula Girl went outside in the backyard and dug up numerous soil samples for me while I went grocery shopping. Then when I got home, I played chemist with a soil test kit from Lowe’s. You can actually find a place to perform the soil tests for you, through a local co-op or gardening organization, usually, but again… slim pickin’s around here (i.e., these types of things don’t seem to exist, even after extensive research and numerous phone calls). Store-bought in-home kit, here we come!

I followed all the directions carefully, and here are our results! Our soil is:

  • low in nitrogen
  • low in phosphorus
  • high in potassium
  • generally balanced in pH levels (7.0-7.5)

We also tested the physical components of the soil and discovered that we have a clay-like soil that doesn’t drain well. When water hits the top, it runs off easily, and the soil packs down into hardness after getting wet once. (Recall the aforementioned torrential downpours each afternoon all growing season…)

What these results mean for us:

  • We need to purchase a fertilizer that has larger amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus than potassium. When you look at a bag of fertilizer, there is a series of numbers listed, like 5-10-5. This is called the N-P-K and it shows the ratio of nitrogen to phosphorus to potassium content in the bag. So we’re going to look for something like 10-5-0.
  • The reason we’re looking for double the nitrogen is that we’ve got such clay-like soil. To amend this issue, we will have to add quite a bit of organic matter (basically, POOP) in order to “fluff it up” a bit. When organic matter decomposes, it eats away at the nitrogen in the soil, so we’ll need to add extra nitrogen. Hence, we’ll need to buy a 10-5-0 fertilizer. Capisce?
  • We do not need to add lime to raise our soil’s acidity, nor do we need to add aluminum sulphate to raise its alkalinity. Score. However, we do need to keep an eye on the pH levels since we are adding organic matter. As it decomposes, organic matter tends to decrease soil pH levels. We may find ourselves needing to add some lime later on this summer. I think we’ll test every couple of weeks or so, just to keep up with it!

We’re planning to go ahead and buy a garden tiller, like this one.  We’ll use it throughout the summer as we mix in different fertilizers and stuff, and keep our garden soil loose. But before we even get started with that, we’ll have to do a large amount of amending our soil (adding compost and fertilizers). Last summer we did it all by shovel. However, this summer, we definitely want to rent or borrow a more powerful and efficient tiller for preparing the ground for the sod and/or seeds. We will have to put organic matter and nutrients 6-8″ deep into the soil in order to give our lawn a healthy base. This will also help our garden plants grow deeper roots and have healthier soil with which to produce delicious veggies all summer long. Mmmmm….

Anyone doing any soil testing or amending? Any hints/tips for us before we “dig in”?

Hiatus Over (It’s a Long One!)

As pointed out today by Chelsea, I have not blogged in a while. Funny thing about pregnancy brain is that I really truly thought I hadn’t blogged in 3 days. But then I realized it’s actually been two weeks. Oops. Guess I’m a bit behind. I was napping some days, but other days I was reading a book series. Now I’m reading The Help just because I’ve heard it’s good. Yes, reading frequently distracts me from other things in life, like this blog.

Let’s see… what have we been up to around here?

The weather has been absolutely fantastic for the past week. Punxsutawney Phil was wrong wrong wrong when it came to our outlook this spring. We definitely got maybe a couple extra weeks of winter, but we’re certainly in spring mode now. All week long the temperatures have been in the 70s and  the skies have been sunny and cloud-free. It’s even been less windy- dare I say mildly breezy- all week long. Hula Girl and I have been taking advantage of this weather and we’ve been on the go!

Monday was our trip to the YMCA, where Hula Girl splashes around in the Pirate Pool. Unfortunately the Pirate Pool was closed. I think they replaced all the water in the pool and the water temperature was only 78°. Brrr. So we kicked around the big pool and the lazy river, but Hula Girl was very sad that she couldn’t run around and splash as she normally does.

Tuesday was storytime as usual. A funny thing that happened here was that Hula Girl and I got a chance to practice her obedience. We were headed out the door of the children’s section to the checkout machines. She started to run. I called her by name and said, “Come here.” She did not listen. So I got out the big guns. “Uh, oh.” Yes, it took those two little words spoken in an almost-singsong voice to get her to stop in her tracks and turn to face me. Then I said again, very firmly, “Come here.” She smiled, came running over to me, and hugged me. I knelt down to her level and said (whispered), “When mommy says, ‘Come,’ you come. Say, ‘Yes, Mommy.'” She said, “Ye-thhhh, MO-mmy!” Then we walked on, holding hands. The librarian watching the whole scene smiled and said, “She’s so obedient!” Why yes, Ms. Librarian Lady, she is. Thank you for noticing. We’ve worked HARD to keep her that way!

Wednesday was our hang-around-the-house day. Hula Girl woke up Wednesday morning with a runny nose. She had also woken up numerous times in the night just kind of whining. Great, she’s sick, I thought. I was quite disappointed. We played outside a bit and played inside a lot (with the windows open). I put her down for her nap early, and lo and behold, she slept for… 1 hour, tops. Greeeeaaaat… I will say that Wednesday provided me one of the more pleasurable experiences in my week. When I put Hula Girl down for her nap that day, I put on a swimsuit, slathered myself in sunscreen, and laid out on my balcony overlooking the reservoir and read a book. Those of you who know me in person are thinking, How long did that last?! Yes, it was totally unlike me, and I will rarely do it. But it seemed like a great idea at the time. And I’m pretty sure I got some good vitamin D. After all, I was using the horrible sunscreen left over from last summer. (I will try to find the post and link that one here soon.)

Thursday dawned and Hula Girl didn’t seem so sick after all. She only had a few whining sessions the previous night, and was silent after 10. No runny nose, just slight congestion. Therefore we deemed it necessary to have a visit from Grammy, who accompanied us to the park. Oh, the glorious sunshine.

Today we had another bum-around day but we also visited the playground at the elementary school near our house. Have I mentioned that schools around here are on a 4-day-a-week schedule? SO nice for their teachers, but really, how do the kids learn anything?! Their year is not very much longer than traditional school years. My neighbor tried explaining it to me one day by saying that her kids are in school longer each day. Based on the times she provided me, her kids are in school exactly 6 hours less each week than my students were when I was teaching. I can’t imagine teaching everything I taught with 6 hours per week less time to teach! So, maybe not so nice for their teachers. Hmmm… Anyway, we visited the playground here and Hula Girl got her kicks swinging and sliding and collecting rocks. Cool.

As far as generalities for Hula Girl go, she’s getting so much more grown-up these days. She’s talking much more clearly, she’s attempting to pronounce words accurately (hence the Ye-thhhh, Mommy!), she’s able to name and identify all her colors. We’ve been working on letters and numbers here and there, and her letter flashcards (index cards on which I wrote the letters of the alphabet in purple marker; high-tech stuff only in my house! lol) are her favorite possession. Of course, this morning she tried to wash the “o” and now it’s a blob. But she loves those flashcards. She has really been great about using the potty. We have had some accidents here and there, but we’ve cut out all rewards for going potty. She stopped asking for them, and I am not going to remind her. 🙂 I think her new reward is getting to wash her hands. She would spend hours standing on her step stool in the bathroom, washing her hands and toys, if I let her. Sometimes I turn on the water in there (she can’t reach the faucet- just the water stream) and tell her to wash her hands because I need a few kid-free minutes in the kitchen. She’ll poke her little head out the door and say, “Hi, Mommy! Wah-ans!” (Wash hands!). She’s really quite proud of herself. And let’s face it, water’s fun.

My pregnancy is going well. Yesterday marked 20 weeks. So, halfway there… or MORE than halfway if I get my way. I’d like to deliver a week early this time. Hula Girl was induced on her due date and arrived one day late. I want to feel what it’s like to actually go into labor. I’m doing some research on natural birthing methods. I’m not sure I could actually handle it all-natural (I mean, that epidural really made things easy last time), but I kind of like the idea of at least going through most of labor in an upright position (unlike last time, when I was forced to lay on my left side for 14 hours straight). Actually, now that I’ve written the last two sentences, I think I will just do a separate post on that topic once I have done more research and have more to say about it.

As far as the pregnancy goes, some fun things have been happening. I had already been feeling Gelato moving around in there for a few weeks, but now Jonathan has been able to feel it from the outside. And today as I have been sitting here writing this post, I have actually seen my stomach move a few times when Gelato’s given a particularly hard twitch. None of it actually hurts yet, so I know Gelato’s still quite little.  I actually threw up this morning out of the blue. I haven’t had nausea for weeks, but after gulping half of my glass of supercold water, I just had to do it. So weird. I felt fine afterward, so I just took it more slowly the next time around.

I have been having some aches and pains in my back and hips. I have also been hot. I am kind of not looking forward to our summer here, where it’s expected to be in the 90s and 100s every day from May to October. But my plan is still in place to laze around in the baby pool in the shade of the house every day while Hula Girl naps. Maybe the nice breeze/wind will help cool me off a bit, too.

Okay, I will be posting more frequently again. Pinky promise. Then you won’t have to read mountains of information all at once. 🙂

We can make a Difference.

Friends, family members, and random people who just stopped by:

PLEASE take the time to view this video. It is a child’s only hope.

The Pirate Pool

Oh yes, Hula Girl has found her place in life, at least for a season. This morning’s visit to the YMCA was slightly delayed due to the untimely need to have our pictures taken for our membership access cards. Therefore we were actually there when the little kids’ pirate pool was open, and Hula Girl had a blast.

The water in the pool is 14 inches deep. There are waterfalls, fountains, and “bubblers” everywhere. There is a huge “pirate ship” in the middle of the pool, which features a tunnel through its lower decks and a water slide from its upper deck. Hula Girl climbed all the way up to the top, where she was “steering” the ship. Then she discovered some jets that squirt streams of water across the top of the water slide. Then she discovered that if she tries to drink from those jets of water, she slides down the slide face-first and struggles to get her head above water at the bottom. Yes, quite scary. Fortunately I was right there and lifted her up quickly. Her reaction? Sputter, sputter, blink, blink, shake head, “[Hula Girl] WAH NOWN IDE INEE PAH-POH POOOOOO!” (Fall down slide in the pirate pool!) Yes, she yelled it at the top of her lungs.

Then she ran around in the water, slipping every now and then, yelling, “[Hula Girl] WAH NOWN INEE PAH-POH POOOOO!” She was giggling with maniacal glee each and every time. She even went over to the smaller slide repeatedly just so she could emulate her head-first plunge into the high seas and shout about it some more.

She talks of nothing else. I can’t wait to take her back!

Nice Days and 2012’s Summer Garden!

I skipped posting yesterday because my mom came to visit us for the day. Hula Girl couldn’t have been happier to have her Grammy here. We went to the park in the morning (it was 65 degrees and beautiful outside!) then we came home for lunch, and Hula Girl took her nap. After she woke from her nap, she and Grammy played “golf” with Hula Girl’s toy broom and some small balls we have around the house. Oh yes, that was a screaming-laughter kind of good time. 🙂

Today is another gorgeous day, but it’s so windy! Faithful readers (all three of you, haha!) know that it’s pretty much always windy here. I am getting concerned that it will be super windy this summer. That will mean less fun out in the backyard. I mean, Hula Girl won’t be able to play happily in her sandbox if the wind keeps blowing sand in her eyes. It will also be bad for our lawn and garden- we’ll definitely have to install a drip-system for our garden so the water doesn’t evaporate as soon as it leaves the hose.

Jonathan raked/shoveled away about 400 square feet of rock in our backyard this weekend to clear the patch for our lawn, and he’ll also have to rake/shovel another 400ish square feet of rock so our garden can have a place to grow. Our landlord agreed to pay for sod so that Hula Girl can play in grass this summer. It will be nice for her, because we’ll have a lot available outside. We’ll have the baby pool, sand box, grassy area, basketball hoop, picnic table, slide, lawn mower, wheelbarrow, hula hoops, balls, chalk, and wagon in the backyard. I am even planning on giving her a tiny patch of space in the garden and letting her grow something there (with a lot of help from me). I am excited that she’ll have a grassy area to roll around in, and that we can set out blankets to have a picnic. It will be nice when the backyard is not just a rocky expanse. I totally understand the point of it where we live- I mean, cacti grow here really well, so I’m betting grass will consume a lot of water and fertilizer. But it will be totally worth it when we can go barefoot in the grass and run through the sprinkler!

And yes, we’ve decided to have a garden again this year. We’re going to be scaling back as far as size, but we’re really doing a lot of research about our soil and all the additives we’ll need to use. We’re planning to rent/borrow a rototiller to get that extra compost/fertilizer down deep before we plant, and we’re going to install a drip-system so we can water better. We’re also going to be using mulch to cover the ground and there will be two sections of garden that we’ll cover with a trellis or netting so they’ll be partially shaded. I think last year’s garden would have had much more success for us if we had provided a bit more shade, a bit more compost, and a LOT better watering. It just gets too hot here to rely on the twice-a-day sprinkler-style watering. Things sure sizzle around here; the mulch should really help provide some insulation.I also think the mulch will come in handy when we have our monster thunderstorms. Less erosion=happier garden.

We have not sat down and decided exactly what things we’ll be planting this year, but I’m sure of a couple of items: strawberries, tomatoes, basil, sweet peas, green beans, zucchini and summer squash. Provided that we have space and that Jonathan agrees, I’d also like to do some lettuce, broccoli, kale, green onions, watermelon, cantaloupe, and pumpkins. I’m thinking we could even do the large squash and melon plants out in the front yard. Maybe we’ll put in a few raised beds out there. We have a lot of bare ground in front of our house, and it gets sun all day long. Great place for squashes and melons!

I’m also considering putting some native plants in the front of the house. I looked up a few grasses and flowers that are suitable for this environment (aside from cactus varieties), and there are quite a few options. I have started calling garden centers in the area, but no one has any good leads so far. You’d think that in this harsh environment, where it’s ridiculous to think of growing pretty much anything, native plants would be wanted. But apparently everyone loves those pansies. And petunias. Silly.

Oh, and I’m also going to do a vertical herb garden with a cheap over-the-door shoe holder. We have a nice spot that gets lots of morning sun and afternoon shade, and relatively little wind on the balcony outside our bedroom. I’ll be doing simple herbs there like mint, catnip (for Riley), wheat grass (also for Riley), basil, oregano, etc. The nice thing about it is that cats and other animals can’t get to it, and it will be fun to look at some fresh greenery every morning when I go outside to do my Bible study before I get Hula Girl. Maybe I’ll even throw in a few flowers, just to pretty it up a bit! 🙂

I will be doing a lot more garden research in the next week, and we plan to start some seedlings next weekend. I am beyond excited for that! Any gardening tips and/or plans of your own? Share, share!

 

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