Monday, November 30, 2009

Until next year, NaBloPoMo...

It is 9:45 on the last night of November and I am spent. Still haven't kicked this first trimester stuff completely out of the water. I've got lots of things I'd like to post or talk about, but they'll have to wait.

It's been fun posting everyday and reading everyone else's. But as usual, December is a welcome break. (haha)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Halls: Decked

We came home from the remainder of our holiday festivities today (visiting my Dad and Sue) to unpack and catch our breath from the whirlwind of a week. Oh, and we'll just put up the Christmas decorations while we're at it.

Five hours later, after much bulb twisting and a quick trip to Meijer for new lights, we are decorated. I always enjoy this activity, and this year was special because it's the first Christmas in this house. Upon opening The Box, I found from after-season clearance in January: outdoor lights in anticipation of having more of a place to hang them, a pop up Children's book, and lots and lots of holiday window clings. (I'm tucking those away for the 4:00 hour this week) We also purchased our annual Hallmark ornaments yesterday, and we had a good time figuring out where new things will go in our house. I'll post more pictures this week.

Katy was thrilled beyond belief during the entire process. I think she might be confused and thinking that today is Christmas. But we'll straighten her out. She was thoroughly annoyed that all of our lights, indoor and outdoor, were only "yellow" (white) instead of "colorful." So when we discovered the need for new strands for the tree, guess which kind we got? And guess who said, "Mommy, I LOVE you!" spontaneously in the car on the way home?

Christmas is enjoyed on a whole new level with small children. The joy in their faces. It's indescribable.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Past Novembers: 2008

After a long and painful trip to the ER, a 7 month old David had his finger tip reattached. It was a bizarre accident that healed so amazingly quickly I could not believe it.

Disney cruise with Brian's family!

We don't very often have beach pictures in November.

One of the things that I remember most fondly about the trip is how much Katy loved the characters. She waited so patiently and so excitedly in line to see every. one.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Past Novembers: 2007

Katy is 18 months old, and starting to do crazy crazy things related to severe stranger anxiety.

I'm 21 weeks pregnant with David.

And here's our first look at our baby boy's face! I started to ponder what it would be like to be a mom to a son.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Pulled It Off

We did it. We had Thanksgiving dinner. Everyone ate, the food was good, it was good to see family, and there were no major catastrophes. In fact, that was one of the better turkeys I've had (my mom did it for the most part). We'll just keep fingers crossed that we didn't send anyone home with leftovers plus a cold to go with it.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! We certainly have a lot to be thankful for, this year and always.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Past Novembers: 2006

By November 2006, I had just started this blog. But most of you probably weren't reading back then, so a little recap should be ok. And of course, once you have a baby, the number of photos in your monthly folder increases exponentially.

Katy is 6 months old, and she's getting a bath during a visit to Oma's house. It's crazy to see this picture and see that with some extra hair and a little less cheek, she looks the same today.

We took Katy down to the stadium to tailgate for the Michigan game. I remember drunk students yelling from their porches, "Way to go bringing a baby to the Michigan game - woohoo!!!!!" And this was at 9 in the morning.

Later we watched the game and Katy played the ever-important role of dotting the I in O-H-I-O.

Katy gets a little cuddle time with Grammy during Thanksgiving in KY. Busy month!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Forgive me if I'm a bit distracted. The kids and I are all in various stages of colds (the kind that come with fevers), we had 5 family members here this weekend for an awesome but tiring visit (pics later when my SIL sends them to me, I was too lazy to get the camera out), and I'm kinda freaking out about this Thursday. I'm hoping and praying that we'll be well enough to still have my family over and not send them home with germies. And I'm kinda whipped by this cold, so I haven't had the energy to get much together yet. Thank goodness Brian is taking a half day tomorrow and my mom will be here tomorrow night. See, I feel better already. It'll be ok.

In fact, "kinda whipped" is a good description of how I've been feeling for the past 7 weeks since we found out we were having this little one. About 12 hours after I took a positive pregnancy test, I was flat on my back with The Flu (swine or otherwise, who knows, but it was rough nonetheless). So were the kids, and a week later, so was Brian. About the time I got over that, the nausea started. About a week into that I had a period of 24 hours where I could not stop vomiting. At the time I thought it was pregnancy, but now I think I had the stomach flu. The only positive thing about that was that it made me appreciate my baseline of just "feeling like crap," because at least I could get out of bed and keep things down. The good news is that for the day to day nausea and tiredness, this first trimester has been the best of the three that I've experienced. I don't feel well, but it's not nearly as bad as previous times. I'm SO thankful for that. And it's starting to dissipate now, and I'm 11 weeks tomorrow. (As opposed to my first pregnancy, where it lasted until about 19 weeks)

So it hasn't been the most fun first trimester, but we are really excited to welcome number 3 to our family next summer. My due date is June 16th, about 4 weeks after Katy's fourth birthday. If this baby takes after the older siblings, s/he will be born on June 17th. (Wouldn't that be crazy if I had 3 babies on the day after their due date?)

There's lots more brewing in my head, abouts boys and girls, transitions with each new kid, ideal family size, etc. But we'll save those for another day. Lots of time until next June...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Something about a new baby

A few weeks ago, my friend Kate had her 2nd baby, a tiny little girl named Maggie. When she brought Maggie and Frank over for a playdate (she wanted to get out of the house - don't think I made her drag them over to see me!), Katy could not have been more excited to see the new baby. She had been aware of the "baby in Miss Kate's tummy," which had come out. She couldn't leave her alone, exclaiming about how tiny she was and wanting to hold her. When I snapped this photo, I hadn't asked her to look up and smile, but this was genuinely the look on her face. She said to me, "Mommy, I need a tiny baby. David is too big, he isn't tiny."

So I said, "Okay, how about next June?"

I'm partially kidding. I actually didn't say this to Katy, because next June is a really long time to wait for a new baby sibling. But in fact, we ARE expecting baby number 3 in June 2010.

So there ya go, let's discuss. I really need to discuss.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Past Novembers: 2005

Thanksgiving, 2005, at Brian's mom and John's. We had been married for 4 months, I was about 15 weeks pregnant. I had clipped this project out of Family Fun magazine (which I got for work) and we helped our neices make cookies that were supposed to look like Indian Corn. I remember that it was a TON of work, with which they were minimally able to help, and I think we ended up pitching most of the cookies because they were so rich you couldn't eat them. Oh, well.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Past Novembers: 2004

Finding pictures from a certain month several years ago can be a random experience. Brian and I had been engaged for a couple of months at this point, but this is the only picture from November 2004 that's even worth posting.

This is me and Brian's best friend Joey at a retreat center in Indiana. Two things come to mind when I see this picture. First: Joey cracks me up. He is from the hills of Kentucky and he is just good people. I have laughed until I've cried at his stories, he's got a gift. And his t-shirt in this picture says "Cricket Eating Contest, 2004." That's for real, an event that he actually participated in, and that story involves bodily functions that you'd rather not hear about.

The second thing I notice about this picture is that I am thinner in this picture than I was in high school. I had done Weight Watchers that year and had reached my goal sometime that summer, I think. Then in October, right after I got engaged, I got mono. Really bad. I missed a MONTH of work, I was in the hospital for almost a week, I got pneumonia as a secondary condition. It was the most awful experience of my life. The only bonus: I lost 11 pounds. And that was UNDER my goal weight. I think I weighed that much when I was in maybe 7th grade?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Past Novembers: 2003

For the next few days, I am going to share a couple of photos from past novembers, starting with the first year we were apparently taking digital photos: 2003.

As you may remember from my life story, Brian and I weren't dating at this point, but we were really good friends. During every OSU home game in the fall, there would be a big group of people at Brian's house before, during, and after the game. Some people would go to the game, some would go tailgate, then afterward we were back at his place. Food, drinks, and football. This picture is my friend Susan (she and I lived together at one point), Brian, and another girl that I can't remember her name (she worked with Brian and then moved out of state).

This picture is my friend Nancy (who has since moved to Kentucky, *sniff*), myself, and Charity, who lives next door to the old place and has always been a good friend. We were all going to the game that day, hence the bundling. Also, I'd like to point out what Brian's place looked like before we got married. Can you believe that we sold those couches on craigslist for $50 a piece? Who the...?
There are pictures of the guys from this day, too, but I was trying to find one with Brian and I in them.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Katy, Version 3.5

I've been waiting for this day for a whole year. Today Katy is three and a half.

This past year, in particular the past 6 months, has been challenging in the area of parenting my favorite preschooler. And on several occassions from several different moms, I have heard: "Two and a half to three and a half is the hardest. It will get better."

So I've been counting down, and today's the day. All of my troubles are over!!

Stop laughing.

Okay, okay, I know I can't expect a dramatic change today, but I am optimistic about this milestone. The terrible twos had nothin' on turning three, in my opinion. And I definitely feel that she is getting more and more reasonable. Six months ago I wanted to pull my hair out, and that is not the case (as much) today. Katy is, and will probably always be, an intense personality. She runs on all cylinders at all times, but she is learning to focus her energy. And her emotions are not SO intense that she's incapable of reasonable negotiation.

There are still many challenges ahead, I am sure. (like our recurrent pooping battles, in which we are enduring another round) But hopefully we're headed in the right direction.

Of course, David will be two and a half in 10 short months. *gulp*

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

In the Year...

These are the kinds of random things that I think about. I remember back in 1999, I was wondering what the abbreviated version of the next decade would be. For example, we'd refer to graduating in "ninety-five" or being born in "seventy-seven." It would seem so formal to have to say, "I'll get my master's in two thousand and three," but too short to say, "I'll get my master's in three." I think I asked someone and they said we were going to say "aught-three." Which also seemed weird. I was picturing us all with our noses in the air as we talked about "the blizzard of aught seven."

So of course now we say "oh-three." I talk to clients for work, who are referring their young children for therapy, and everyone gives me their date of birth, "four, ten, oh-six," etc. So recently I was wondering, what about the next decade? We'll lose the "oh." But it still seems too short to say, "we bought this house in eleven." Doesn't it?

So last night I was watching the news, and the announcer was talking about the Guantanamo Bay prisoners being moved by "April twenty-ten." is that it? We'll say "twenty" first?

Jury's still out, I think.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Jammie pics

There's just something about kids in pajamas...

Here's Katy with her new Princess Tiana sheets. (Does anyone else think it's strange that we had an African American president before we had an African American Disney princess?) Katy isn't really princess-obsessed, but it looks like it here: those are hand-me-down Belle pajamas. And she picked Princess Tiana from the line-up at Target - I needed a set to put on her bed while I wash the other princess sheets, which she won't let me take off. So now we have two sets of princess sheets. But those are one of the only princess themed items that she has.

David, on the other hand, IS Buckeye obsessed. He found these OSU rain boots (garage sale - holla!) and wants to wear them all the time, even with footie pajamas. If he sees anything with Brutus or any other OSU symbol, he'll point incessantly and say, "buck-EYE, buck-EYE? boo-tis? boo-tis? fuh-ball? fuh-ball?" Until you say, "Yes, David, Buckeye. Brutus. Football."

Monday, November 16, 2009

MAJOR accomplishment

I guess back in the 60's, they didn't make garages like they do today, where you can easily park 2 cars inside and still have workbenches and bikes all around. I suppose they also didn't drive minivans. But the garage at our house is tight. Of course, I'm very thankful to have a garage at all, the first in my adult life. But even if we took every single item out of there, it would still be very tight to put 2 cars inside. So our goal for this winter was one car. And it took quite a bit of organizing, rearranging, pitching and storing. But alas...

It's actually so much effort to get it in there, and so tight to get the kids in, that I will only pull in when it's the dead of winter. Otherwise it's just easier to park outside.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Party like it's 1996

Today the kids dug out a hand-me-down cassette player with microphones, and the first cassette that I could get my hands on was Jock Jams, Volume 2. If you were gettin' your groove on back in 1996, you'll remember some of the lyrics that my small children danced to today:
(Note: I did a couple of searches to find the correct lyrics for these songs, and OMG! I had no idea! But this is a family blog, so I'm only including the lines that you will remember)

I like to move it, move it,
I like to move it, move it,
I like to move it, move it,
You like to...MOVE IT!


1,2,3,4...get your woman on the floor
Gotta gotta get up to get down
Gotta gotta get up to get down

Ain't no party like a west coast party 'cause a west coast party don't stop
(note: I prefer a Scranton party)


If you DON'T wanna PARTY then YOU should GO HOME!
We got Dis N' Dat, an' Dis N' Dat has got it goin' ON!


I say boom boom boom, now let me hear you say wayoh (Wayoh)


I'm kinda buzzed and it's all because
(This is how we do it)
South Central does it like nobody does
(This is how we do it)
To all my neighbors you got much flavor
(This is how we do it)
Let's flip the track, bring the old school back.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The mind of a three year old

In the car:

Katy: Mom, why does that sign tell us to go up? We can't go up!

Me: What? Which sign?

K: OH! Maybe it means to go straight. Don't turn this way or that way, just go straight.


Seeing a picture of our family opening Christmas presents:

K: Mommy, whose birthday is that?

M: Nobody's birthday. Don't you remember? At Christmas we give each other presents.

K: Who gets to open them?

M: Everyone. You will get some, and mommy, daddy, and David. We give some to others and we get to open some.

K: (excited) Is Christmas TODAY?

M: No, it's next month.

K: Oh, yeah, the next time we change the calendar.


Pulling into parking lot of Chinese Restaurant:

K: Mommy, what does that sign say? Oh, it says, "the rice place."

Friday, November 13, 2009

Thanksgiving: Freak Out Level 3

Have I mentioned that I am hosting Thanksgiving this year?

I know. Isn't that huge?

I am hosting my mom's side of the family, which I believe will be 15 adults and 4 children, on Thanksgiving Day. I have absolutely positively no idea what I'm doing.

I'm excited to have everyone over, several of them haven't been to the new house yet. And it means a little less travel (we'll still going to my dad's later in the weekend). Plus others are bringing things, so I won't be making the entire menu.

Prior to today, I was of the "I'll figure it out" mindset. But then last night I saw this commercial for Target about this woman who's hosting her first Thanksgiving. And she's going to Target! To get everything she needs at an affordable price!

Huh? Everything she needs?

So today I've been making this list in my head:

What exactly are we going to eat?

How much turkey do I get for 15 people?

Don't I have to get it in time to thaw it or something?

Do I even have 15 chairs?

Do I have 15 matching plates?

Do I have a decent tablecloth?

What time should we eat to avoid tired-child meltdowns?

Are there any Thanksgiving desserts that are chocolate?

The good news is: my mom is coming the night before, and she has prepared many a Thanksgiving meal. But tonight I'm going to make a list so the freak out level doesn't keep notching up.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Q & A wrap-up

Last of the questions:

From bluedaisy:

"How do you like your new house/neighborhood overall?": We really like it. I feel like this house is home, perfect for us, not too big, not too small. I love so many things about it. Others are future projects. And we love the community that we've moved into. They just passed a school levy (lots of communities are having trouble passing theirs lately), has a great rec center, and lots of nice activities like parades and a great little downtown area with shops and restaurants. We like the location, too. If there's been any disappointment at all, it's that our immediate neighborhood doesn't have as many young families as I would like. BUT on my cul-de-sac alone there are four homes (owned by older individuals) who are actively talking about selling. It seems like young families are moving in gradually, and I do like having a variety of life stages represented in a neighborhood.

"What is the division of labor like in your home?": In general, I do the cleaning, shopping, and laundry. We share the cooking. Brian does lots of fixing, yard work, other large home maintenance stuff. But Brian is also really good at helping me with "my tasks" if I get tired or behind. There are a couple of things that I HATE to do: clean the bathtub and mop the kitchen floor. I've been known to talk Brian into doing these for me here and there.

From Pam:

"What toys have been a big hit for a 3 year old?": Hmmm...since Katy turned 3, she is really into games, crafts, and pretend play. Some of this might be a girl thing. She loves sticker books, markers, and board games. She likes to play "store" and "doctor" and "library." She likes to draw, ride her bike, and pet every dog that doesn't run away from her. Oh, and she still loves to be read to, and she'll read to herself some, too. So it's funny, but most of the playing she does isn't as much with "toys." Others with 3 year olds, same for you? Are boys different?

From Kelsey:

"What's the best concert you've ever been to?": I'm such a dork. Even though I could take the cool route and say it was the many times I saw Dar Williams (those were awesome). But I think the concert I enjoyed the most was Billy Joel. I went with my 2 closest friends in college, and we were all huge BJ fans. We drove an hour to Syracuse and sang every song at the top of our lungs. We coincidentally sat right behind 3 other people we knew from Ithaca whose ride had dumped them. So all 6 of us squeezed into my tiny Nissan for the 90 minutes of traffic on the way back. Those were the kinds of things that made college college. By the way, Brian isn't a big music fan in general, but he loves Billy Joel and we listened to it in the convertible that we rented on our honeymoon.

And finally, my childhood friend Jen wants me to reveal my nickname from the days of 'yor: Her family nicknames everyone, and when I was still in preschool I was dubbed Moly Bolkerschnietzel. Moly for short. Moly rhymes with holy, not holly. There were only a handful of people who used it, but I answered to Moly for many, many years.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

This week: Busy

It's amazing how little things can add to up to feeling super busy. Here's what's been going on with us this week:

*I'm volunteering at Katy's school Tues/Thurs morning to help with child care for the other parents who are doing vision screens. It's nice to be able to help out. Katy passed her screen.

*Every year in the middle of November, Veteran's Day takes us by surprise with a day off for Brian. Today we went swimming at the local rec center (which has an awesome kiddie area pool). Katy amazes me, she is close to swimming - underwater - already. I really think that if we give her the opportunity, she'll be swimming across the pool by summer. What a fish, totally opposite of me. David has been timid in the past, but he did great today. He went down the slide over and over (it's like a playground slide into the water, and he has to go by himself - no lap sitting!), walked around in water up to his chin, jumped off the side with help, and had a genuinely good time.

*Katy's been having some tummy issues on and off for weeks now, they seem to be related to gas and constipation (sorry, future Katy, if that's embarrassing!). I'm trying to figure out how to help her, sometimes she's doubled over in pain. Any tips?

*This evening we roasted hot dogs over a fire in the backyard for dinner with neighbors. Fun!

*I've been debating, along with the rest of the county, about whether to get the kids the H1N1 vaccine. The only place it's been available around here is in "clinics" put on by the state health department, and most of the reports I've been hearing are waiting in line for HOURS. And I just haven't been willing to do that. Plus, I'm about 50% confident that we already had the stupid thing back in early October when we were all flat on our backs for a week. But then yesterday afternoon we were riding bikes and neighbor told me of a clinic that was going on right now, for another hour, it's a 30 minute drive, and there was *reportedly* no wait. So on a whim I decided to throw the kids in the car and try to make it. At five minutes before closing, I was on the phone with Brian in tears because I still hadn't made it to the place, was lost in the semi-dark, and was frustrated that I had gone that far and wasn't going to get the shot. But thank the Lord, the clinic was open an hour longer than my neighbor thought, so we did make it. There was a line, but it moved quickly and the whole process took about 40 minutes. I'm relieved to have it done, but then you're supposed to get the kids a booster in a month. I hope it won't be as much of an ordeal for the booster, but who knows.

*When we were at Home Depot last weekend, we got suckered into having someone come out to "test our water" for free! Plus you get a $20 HD gift card and a chance to win a new refrigerator! It will take 45 minutes! We made an appointment for 8pm last night. The guy showed up at 8:40. He then proceeded to engage us in the most hard core sales pitch I've ever heard in my life in which he tried to sell us a $7,000 water purification system. But here's the best part: do you know what time he left our house for that 45 minute water test? ELEVEN O FIVE PM. I was looking at him at 10:40 with a huge mess in our kitchen going, "what can I say to you to get you to leave my house right now?" I'm not sure that was worth a $20 gift card.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Potty training reflection

Bluedaisy asked if after all the potty struggles we had, if there was any one thing that really "worked." Eeesh, that's a tough one.

Now that we have one kid who is officially potty trained, I feel like it was a muddled mess and I'm not ever sure how I would start on the next one. So I can't give a nice neat paragraph about the best way to potty train. But here's a summary of what I learned:

*It's such a trial and error thing. What works wonders for one kid may or may not work for another.

*I do think there's a time when they are ready, and you can put all your effort into training them before that time and you might even be able to be half-trained, but it'll be like pulling teeth. We did one really strong effort and 2 weeks later I was cleaning up more accidents than potty bowls. It was just more than I could handle at that time and for our family, we had to take a step back and go back to diapers. I really don't think it set her back for the next time we trained.

*Depending on the child's personality, it might just be a long process. I was convinced that every child could do the whole "potty training in a day" thing at some point past age 2. And lots of kids can. But also, some kids just struggle, or they're stubborn, or they go through phases where they're in the mood to do it and phases where they're not. Don't feel like a failure as a parent if you do a big potty push and it just doesn't work.

*One thing I am proud of: we got through potty training without purchasing one single Pull-Up. I didn't want to, out of principle, because I think they are SO STINKING OVERPRICED. We used diapers at night before she was attempting to get up and go potty in the night. Then when she was having occassional accidents at night but was trying to get up and go, we started using plastic pants over those thick training panties. We did have some accidents, but now she's dry at night (knock on wood) and doesn't need the plastic pants. But again, I know some kids have a really hard time night training and wear pull-ups at night for years, so that's obviously a different situation and you would have to buy them. I did not do anything at all to train her at night, I can't take credit for it. We were fortunate in that way. (But there's a little part of me that thinks, "Take THAT, Pull-Ups!")

*I do think that I got to a point with Katy where I was aware of her skills, and I knew that her accidents were a choice that she was making. Prior to that, I think she just wasn't getting it.

*I like what my pediatrician told me at her 3 year well visit: "You can force kids to do a lot of things (even come to the pediatrician), but you cannot force them to go potty." Next time I hope I remember this, that it will happen in time, just keep chugging away at it. Not my favorite parenting task.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Life before kids...

Giselle asked several questions related to life leading up to having kids, which I think I can answer in a brief history-type of post. It never occurred to me that some of you who read wouldn't know all of that. So those of you who have known me forever may want to skip this one...

I grew up in the Dayton, Ohio area with my parents (dad was a cop, mom worked in the business world) and my sister Melanie who is 8 years younger than me. I had 3 grandparents who lived in the same area, too. I had a good childhood and a great group of friends in high school. I had no idea what I was doing when I left for college.

I wanted to study occupational therapy, and I found a 5 year Master's program at Ithaca College in upstate New York, over 10 hours away from home. It seemed like a nice school and they offered me a scholarship, so I went. The first 2 years were pretty rough. I had no idea what it was going to be like to be that far from home. I had trouble making friends (the way they do dorms there didn't encourage the typical cohesiveness), and the schoolwork was challenging, too. Things weren't going well at home, either. During my time at college, my parents separated, divorced, both remarried, and moved. Of course now, 10 years later, everything is good, but at the time it seemed like the end of the world.

Eventually, though, I found my niche in Ithaca and loved it by the time I graduated. I had to do 3 internships for my degree. Each was 8-12 weeks and you were encouraged to travel. So I spent 3 months in Gastonia, North Carolina, outside of Charlotte, and another 3 months in Richmond, Virgina. Part of me went to these places thinking that I might like to live there long term. Warmth, fun cities, closer to the ocean. But what I realized after those 6 months was that I wanted to go home. By this time my Dad and Sue were living in the Dayton area, and my mom and Greg were living in the Pittsburgh area. I had one internship left, so I arranged for it to be in Columbus, Ohio, right in the middle, where I would live with my friend Cindy, who was getting her MBA at OSU at the time. (so no, Giselle, I didn't go to OSU, but it's a common mistake - everyone in Central Ohio assumes that every college graduated living in the city went there).

I think within a few weeks of living here, I knew I would be here long term. It just felt familiar, although I had never lived in this city before. I kept running into people I knew at Target, and there was lots of fun stuff to do. I liked my internship at Columbus Public Schools, and I ended up working there for 5 years (after working another job for 10 months waiting for an opening). That job was a good fit for me in many ways, too.

Also within a few weeks of living here, I met Brian at a Halloween party at my cousin's house (she was going to vet school at OSU at the time). He was having a Bible Study at a coffee shop and I was interested in something like that, so I started going. We became friends. At first it was casual friends. But then everyone who knows us is laughing because it got a little ridiculous. It was four years before we started dating. By that time we were literally best friends - spending time together nearly every day. It was one of those things where everyone we knew was going, "what is UP with them? Why aren't they dating?" But when we did start dating four years after we met, it was just over a year before we were married.

We got married in July. I was still working for the school system so I had the summer off (glory days, although the summer I got married was the only time I didn't get a seasonal job). So I spent the rest of the summer setting up our household and went back to school at the end of August. By mid-September, I started to get nervous. Finally I got a pregnancy test and Brian was telling me it would be negative. I'll never forget the two of us standing over that test in the bathroom, looking at the box in silence, until Brian said, "Well that's huge." So no, we weren't planning it. I had been married for 9 weeks and found out I was 5 weeks pregnant. Yikes.

Of course we were beyond thrilled (and those were some fun phone calls to make - lots of shocked friends and family), but it made for a challenging first year of marriage. I was super sick, overwhelmed at the thought of parenthood so soon, still getting used to being married. Oh, and trying to decide what to do about work after motherhood. I was emotionally attached to my job but there was no part time option, so I was pretty sure I was going to say goodbye.

So that brings us up to Katy's birth. I'll leave the question about ideal family size for another one. If you're still reading - wow!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Birthdays = eating and shopping

Today is Brian's 35th birthday. We had a nice visit with his mom and John this weekend and went out to dinner at a real restaurant - sans kiddos! It was a treat. Then today Brian and I took the kids out to our favorite BBQ place for lunch, and we sat on the patio - on November 8th! And we weren't the least bit chilly. The weather was so great.

And Brian's folks took us to Home Depot for the best birthday present ever: a leaf blower. I remember Brian and I literally laughing at the thought of owning a leaf blower back in the spring as we moved in. We said, "How about we start with a rake?" But look, we didn't even make it through the first fall. I can't even tell you how many hours we've spent out there moving leaves - that leaf blower will be worth every penny.

Also at Home Depot, we did the free Kids' Workshop for the first time, which Katy loved. She built a bank shaped like a Firehouse, and she's been playing with it ever since. Those things are pretty cool.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

The Name Game

Jen asked how we came up with the names for our kids, and if we have names picked out for any future kids.

My mom's name is Kathleen (that's her middle name - her mother and grandmother also went by their middle names) and she's been "Kathy" since she was a child. When I was growing up, and even to this day, sometimes my Granny would lovingly call her "Katrina" as a little pet name. And ever since I was in high school, I had thought, "I would love to name a daughter of mine Katrina, then I could call her Kate." I liked the name and it had some family meaning.

Then Hurricane Katrina happened in August of 2005, and 2 weeks later I found out I was pregnant (more on this later). As I'm sure you remember, the coverage was awful, and my friend Cindy was living there at the time, so I was getting personal reports as well. All of the sudden, naming a baby Katrina the following spring didn't seem like a good idea. Kind of morbid.

But I still liked Kate, and not only is my mom's name Kathy, but as it turns out, Brian's mom's name is Kathy Ann (she also goes by Kathy). So we thought it would be a nice way to name after both of our moms with a modified version of both of their names. We both really liked Kathryn, so we decided on that. I like the full version, and part of me hopes that she'll use it when she's older. I intended to call her Kate, but while she was still in the womb, Brian started calling her Katy. It just stuck, and before I knew it, she was Katy. We did have a back and forth debate about whether to spell it Katy or Katie. We decided on Katy because it made sense with the spelling Kathryn and was a little different, since Katie is a somewhat common name.

Katy's middle name is Faith, because we felt like the whole pregnancy during the first year of marriage was a faith experience. I like the name so much, that before I found out that David was a boy, I was wishing I hadn't used it for Katy because I would like to use it as a first name.

As for David, the story is a little shorter. Brian had told me even when we were dating that is he ever had a son, he wanted to name him after his late father. His name was David and he went by Dave. So when we found out that David was a boy (after 4 granddaughters on that side), we quickly decided on that one. I like the full name David, especially. Then we decided that his middle name would be Richard, which is my dad's first name.

So basically, each of us came into the relationship with one name on the table that we wanted to use. If we have any more kids, it'll be a blank slate. Which would be crazy. I have a few girl names in my head that I like, but not a single boy name comes to mind. And I have no idea what Brian thinks. So that's where we are!

Friday, November 06, 2009

The Ups and Downs (ha ha) of a Laundry Chute

(Thanks for the questions! I'll definitely enjoy answering those when I have more time than I do today!)

When we were looking for a house, I had a two page handwritten list of things that we were looking for. When we found this one, it literally ticked every single box except for one: I had written "convenient laundry." In my mind I was thinking of first-floor laundry, which would be a dream come true compared to the 3 flights of stairs I was climbing at the old house. But at least this house had a laundry chute, I figured. That fixes one direction of the flow.

So I've enjoyed the laundry chute overall. It has an opening in the guest bathroom on the first floor (which fixes the problem of "what do I do with this dirty dish towel?" when you have basement laundry), and an opening in the kids'/guest bath on the 2nd floor. So I don't throw everything down there, but it helps.

For the past couple of weeks I've been feeling like we're running out of clothes quickly and I've been doing laundry quite frequently. Then one day I went to put something in the 2nd floor laundry chute and couldn't open the door. Turns out there's something stuck there. Oh, weird, I thought. Well, I'll just pull it out.

So I pulled out everything I could reach and there was still more. I called Brian, who could reach more than I could, but there was still more. I got a swiffer handle and tried to push down on the items, hoping to loosen them enough to fall, but they wouldn't budge. Something, or some things, were seriously jammed.

At this point we had already retrieved a full load of laundry worth from the chute, and there was still more. Brian went to the basement and built a long handled tool with a hook on the end and began digging up into the chute. At one point we thought that surely we had gotten it all. But I put something in the 2nd floor of the chute and it didn't fall to the basement. So no, still more.

Several hours later, we had retrieved about 2 full loads of laundry worth of clothes that I hadn't seen in a couple of weeks. No WONDER I've been doing laundry so much - half of our wardrobe was hanging out in the laundry chute! The worst part is that 2 of Katy's brand new shirts that she had worn once were completely ruined from being moist for 2 weeks. It was disappointing to pitch those, but at least that's the advantage of clearance shopping: I know I didn't pay more than a dollar or two for them.

I'll be more cautious in the future, but what are you supposed to do? Run down to the basement every time you put something in to make sure it made it all the way? That kinda defeats the purpose...

Thursday, November 05, 2009

You got questions?

So it's November 5th and I don't have anything interesting to say that I can think of. So I'm going to take a cue from a couple of other bloggers and take requests. Do you have any questions you'd like me to talk about or topics you'd like me to cover?

If nobody has any, I'll be really embarrassed for asking. And I'll be back to making stuff up!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Dance Class Finale

I mentioned a while back that Katy was taking a casual dance class. It has been a really good experience that I have enjoyed for several reasons:

1) It's at a local church, on stage, so we're able to hang out in the santuary and watch.

2) No dress code or pricey recital outfits like studio lessons (which I might do if she's older and shows a serious interest, but didn't want to do at age 3).

3) About a third of the cost of studio lessons.

4) Katy has had a blast doing it.

5) A few mom friends are in the class, so I've enjoyed their company on a weekly basis.

So for the last class in this series, they did a little performance for us. I took a video to show here. It's a good 5 minutes, so I'm sure only some of you will be interested in watching. But yes, my child is the only one not wearing a skirt (she refuses). And yes, that's my child standing off to the side complaining that she's tired for the first half of the performance (she does better the 2nd half). And yes, she was still quite proud of herself at the end. Just makes me glad I didn't pay $150 for a recital outfit so she could do that in front of 300 other parents. Oh, well!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Roasting S'mores

My sister's firepit needed a temporary home and we were happy to provide one. With all the new yard waste, Brian was anxious to get a fire going, and Katy was anxious to roast marshmallows and try her first S'more. You can take the boy out of Boy Scouts, but you can't take Boy Scouts out of the boy.

Monday, November 02, 2009

The Yard

We've been feeling the pressure lately to start to make some progress on our "half-acre wooded lot" that we purchased along with our home. The previous owners, according to neighbor reports, liked to leave the yard "rough." So probably about half of the backyard was overgrown with bushes, small trees, poison ivy, and whatever else grows in that type of area. Our goal is to get rid of everything but the big trees and plant grass so that we can use the yard for playing. (and maybe eventually planting, but those of you who know me know it will be mostly playing)
So for a little jumpstart, Brian took advantage of some tree guys who were desperate for work in our neighborhood last week and in afternoon we went from this:

I feel like it doesn't look like much, but this took 4 men with chainsaws and a wood chipper FOUR HOURS to complete. Which means it would've taken my husband weeks and weeks. So we were thrilled.
Then Brian spent the entire Sunday working through the former wooded area and cleaning it out of leaves, sticks, and other interesting objects (a hose, a baseball, several flower pots), trying to get it down the the dirt. The results were this:

That pile of leaves stands about my hip height and covers the entire sidewalk and the grass on both sides. It extends the width of our yard. Plus there are 8 yard waste bags and one trash barrel full. AND the city already picked up a leaf pile that was probably 1/3 the size of this one.

And at our old house, we literally did not even own a rake. Didn't need one. But hopefully the fruits of our labor (well, Brian's labor) will be baseball and soccer games on our lawn for years to come.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Trick or Treat '09

(Here we go, it's November 1st. Let's see how we do!)

Katy has been looking forward to Halloween for months, and it did not disappoint. Based on David's reaction this evening, he would've been looking forward to it, too, if only he had known. In past years, we have gone trick or treating with our former neighbors and friends, Brooklyn and Co. This year they came and joined us in our new neighborhood, and we also joined forces with our new neighbors. This family has been such a blessing on our street in the past few months. (Can you believe we've lived here for 5 months?)

On Thursday, Katy had her Halloween party at school, which included a "parade." To be honest, the kids looked a little confused as to why they were walking around the gym in front of their parents, at school? But she had a blast, of course. My mom made her fairy costume this year. At school we opted for a smaller pair of wings so as not to bother her classmates.

Our trick or treating troop for '09 included: Mary (dog), Brooklyn (cat), Katy (fairy), Caroline (bride), David (lamb), and Maddie (zebra). This is the same lamb costume that Katy wore 2 years ago, and it got so many comments that I had to use it again.

Maddie insisted on walking the whole time, which means that poor Stephanie was always a few houses back. But she had fun!

Katy and her new bud Caroline. They're in dance class and AWANA together, and of course they have a dynamic relationship like any 3 and 4 year old would have.

Brooklyn sporting some impressive face painting!

At the end of the night, the kids picked a couple of pieces of candy to enjoy and basked in the glory that is Halloween. Katy squealed with excitement after she left every house. And David got the hang of it very quickly. Saying, "pees" and "date doo" with cues. He wanted to walk up to every door and would often drop his "buckek" somewhere along the way. He was sweet as pie and I could've squeezed him all night. And after the costumes were off and the candy was put away, Katy sighed several times and said, "That was fun, trick or treating."
A good night. A good night indeed.