Wednesday, December 30, 2009

December in pictures

Our blizzard

Getting a picture of both girls smiling and looking at the camera is like hearding cats.  ...nearly impossible.  :)

This is a picture of Katen (left) at the same age as Ana (right) for comparison

Ana is much bigger since she wasn't a preemie and has more hair.

Ana's Growth Chart

Ana's Growth Chart

Birth: 7lbs,12oz  20 inches long
2 weeks: 9lbs, 10oz  21.25 inches long 50th percentile for height and weight

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We have a one month old and a two year old big girl

Ana is a month old and I don't know where the last month went! It's been such a whirl wind of holidays and visitors and getting to know one another. I think we're finally into our groove now though. Every family member knows what to expect and has settled into their new role.

Ana has really bad acid reflux, so she's sleeping in her swing and on me these days. That's about the only way that I can get two consecutive hours of sleep at a time. Even propped up in the swing, Ana still refluxes and the milk from her stomach comes up into her throat and nose and chokes her. She sputters and chokes and wheezes and screams until one of us picks her up and clears her airway. It's really pretty frightening sometimes. I look forward to the day when she grows out of it so that we can get some sleep, she's not in pain, and so that we can put her down for more than five minutes without her wailing. Katen was the same way at this age. Thank goodness she turned into a pretty cool kid eventually.

On the positive side, Ana is definitley more alert now and spends more time awake. She's smiling a little bit and is especially fond of her daddy. He gets the most smiles.  :) She'll also coo a little bit if you catch her in a good mood.

Katen keeps herself busy while Ana eats by sitting next to me reading books, playing with toys, or coloring. The tag jr. and little touch leap pad have been wonderful for nursing time as well. The interactive storybooks are great at keeping Katen's curious mind engaged!

She's also learning some new songs. In her playlist is:  Row, Row, Row Your Boat,  ABC's, Little Teapot, 5 Green and Speckeled Frogs, the "Hot Dog" song from Mickey Mouse, and a few random songs that her toys play. It's really cute to hear her playing along and singing to herself. So sweet!

Christmas was a good one. We had another huge winter storm so we weren't able to make it to my family's Christmas but we did go the night before to attend the church service. I always enjoy singing the Christmas songs. Ana did okay. She only fussed a bit and then fell asleep for a while. Katen did okay until the candle lighting began. Everybody got a candle and passed along the flame. Of course Katen wanted a candle too and I flinched more than once as she whizzed past the family members in our pew narrowly escaping having her wild curly hair catch fire. Oy! Shortly after that "Mamo" Deb took her out to run back and forth across the church kitchen. A nice lady even gave her some cheese. Ha!   (Mamo is Katen's word for Grandma.) After church the drive home got a little yucky with slick roads and more snow falling but we took it slow and made it safe and sound.  All of our other Christmases were great too. It's always good to see family and share some yummy food.

Here are some of the funny phrases Katen is throwing around this week. It seems like each week she learns something new. 

Oh Wow! (this has been one of her favorite phrases for a while now, only second to "Yeah." which she says to nearly everything. )
das Dangous (dangerous)  -not surprisingly we have to tell her not to do things because it's dangerous a lot
Okie Okie (okey dokey)
obendit  (open it)
bouce (bounce) she bounces everywhere, all the time! I'd blow out a knee.
Ana's kankey  (Ana's Cranky)   :)  Ask Katen how Ana is doing and that is what she'll tell you.
No way!
Way cool!
Bic girl  (big girl)
Das Mossy (that's messy)
... and I'm sure there are others I'm forgetting. I love her little "toddler-ese" language.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Oven funny

Katen loves to help me cook and now has a couple of play ovens of her own. One of them is inside her little play cottage and she invited me in for some "tea" tonight. She put her teapot into the oven (not on the burners), warned me that it was hot, and then proceeded to whip out her snow mittens to take the tea out of the oven with. I had to laugh. :)  Very resourceful.

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Welcome Ana!

On November 25th at 2:41am, Katen's little sister, Ana Elise made her arrival.

Contractions started around midnight and right away were about 3 minutes apart. We decided we'd better get to the hospital since labor was short with Katen's delivery, and arrived at the hospital shortly after 1am. We could tell the nurse was skeptical that I was truly in labor because we were pretty calm. She decided not to put an IV in and told us she'd "check back in an hour to see if anything happens." By the time she checked back I was almost ready to deliver and really working through a lot of pain. By the time they finally got the paperwork to us that we needed to fill out in order to put the IV in, Mike had to fill them out because I couldn't. As soon as the IV was in, my OB arrived and broke my water. Immediately I felt the urge to push, so in two pushes Ana arrived. (If she hadn't had such broad shoulders it would have been one.)

Ana weighed 7lbs, 12oz and was 20 inches long. Due to the fast delivery, her face was bruised and swollen but she's still qite adorable. She's got some light brown hair and looks a lot like her big sister at this age.
After begging the OB and Pediatricians, Ana and I were released from the hospital a day early so that we could be home for Thanksgiving.

Recovery has gone extremely well and Katen is great with her little sister. She's very gentle and a big helper. Katen has been a little extra naughty trying to grab some additional attention but now that Ana is two weeks old, even that is starting to fade. Each familly member is starting to settle into their new role. So far, so good!

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Oh the weather outside is frightful...

We are recovering from a pretty wild winter storm today involving near record amounts of snow, frigid temps, and high winds. Thank goodness for a warm home and good company!

This is adapted from an article in our local paper---

There was nowhere to hide from the monster low pressure system coming out of the west. After a small two-inch dusting Sunday night, the state braced for a blizzard. The record December snowfall started on Monday night, and piled up over 16 inches before moving out. Then came the winds. Gusts of up to 50mph formed drifts, morphing cars and houses into giant snow mountains. Nevermind the wind chills reaching -20 and highs in the negative numbers.

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Halloween Fun

This is some video of Katen waiting for trick or treaters to come to the door. She was pretty excited to give out candy!

This is Katen at the zoo. They hold a trick or treating event every year and it's absolutley perfect for toddlers.

We also visited the pumpkin patch on a rare warm day. Mother nature decided to skip fall this year and move straight from summer to winter. One day it was 70 degrees and the next it was 40 and threatening snow. Go figure!


Going Bye Bye. What's missing?

(Click the > button in the lower left hand corner of the video if it won't automatically play.)

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Dancing with the Elephant

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Casting Call - help us out by voting.

Gap is holding a nationwide contest to find the next faces of babyGap and GapKids. We've entered Katen into the contest and need your votes! You can vote using the following links once per day until November, on all three pictures, so be sure to go back daily if you'd like! ...and tell your friends!

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Where's the ball?

I had to share this quick story before I forget. At least daily Katen does something that completely cracks me up and/or surprises me. Here's one example...

Katen was playing quietly with her toys. I was sitting nearby watching. She comes up to me and shows me a small ball.
She says, "Mine ball!"
I said, "yep, that's your ball."
Then she takes the ball, shoves it down my shirt really quickly, and then gives me this innocent look, looks all around with her hands up in question, and says, "Ball... are you?  (Ball, Where are you?)

I often make a game out of finding things by saying [whatever we're trying to find] ...where are you? until we find it. Now I guess she's caught on to the fact that sometimes I'm the one who hid it and wanted to play too. Ha!

When I pulled the ball out she acted all excited and said, "There you!!"  (she always forgets the "are" on the end)

Man I love this kid.  :)

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Friday, September 11, 2009

It's September... Already!

It's been a while since I updated. This month has been SO busy!!! We've decided to sell our little house and move into something that actually has enough room for two little girls and their parents. Of course we waited until I am in my third trimester of pregnancy to do this, but as of today, the house is clean, fixed, and the sign is in the yard. Let's hope for a quick sale! (11 weeks or less until baby arrives.)

Katen's language skills have really picked up lately. She's using sentences like, "Oh WOW you DID it!" and praises us enthusiastically for lots of things. Especially funny is when she praises us for using the potty. Ha!

Last night we were stopped at a stop light and from the back seat we hear, "Go Baby! Go Go!"

There are times where she makes up her own words for things though. Oops is usually pronounced "Bups!" and the word grandma is pronounced "Mah-moe."

Katen continues to sleep well in her new big girl bed. She's fallen out a few times but it doesn't really bother her. She just gets back in and falls back asleep. In the morning I hear her door creak and then shuffle, shuffle, shuffle.... as she walks into our room. She usually rounds my side of the bed and either climbs in with her lovies for a few minutes or indicates right away that she's ready for breakfast. Here favorite breakfast is "yogurt with the beebee on it." (most of us know it as Yo Baby yogurt. All of the cartons have a picture of a baby on them and she likes to point that out... every day.)

She's also graduated to a booster chair. One day she decided that she's just WAY too cool to sit in a high chair and freaked out about it. Since then she's been sitting at the table like a champ. Sometimes being such a big girl is tiring though. whew!

She's also been an excellent helper around the house. She's an expert duster and sweeper. She's been especially helpful as we fix up and clean the house.
Katen says, "Safety First!"

Here are a few more pictures...

                              It cracks me up that Elmo is drinking a juice box.
                              Nice of Katen to share. Notice the ladle over her shoulder?

                                   Shopping can be pretty exhausting!
Rocking the ponytail.  :)

Friday, July 17, 2009

A conversation with the Pickle

Here's all you ever needed to know about bird houses... according to Katen.

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Friday, July 3, 2009

Hot fun in the Summer time

Summer is really underway now and we've had so much fun! Here are a few summer pictures to show you what we've been up to...

Katen and Mommy sharing her craving of the week - smoothies!
These are the injections mommy is taking to keep Katen's little SISTER from coming too early.

I love this picture. Katen always hooks her toes into the tray of her high chair. I adore those pudgy toes!

Independence Day! The fireworks are loud so Katen plugs her ears.

First corn on the cob!

She's got a new set of wheels this summer.

Did I mention she climbs EVERYTHING!

Some of the other fun things she's doing include
-making sounds like an elephant. If you ask her what the elephant says, she puts her lips together and blows raspberries.
-blowing on hot food. At first she'd blow through her nose but now she's got the hang of blowing with her mouth. She moves her head back and forth across the tray to make sure she gets it all.
- telling you how old she is. She holds her little index finger up to indicate "one" if you ask her how old she is.
-pretending. She likes to have tea parties with Mom and Dad and pretends to eat and put her babies to sleep. She's a good mother... most of the time.
-opening the fridge. She has definite opinions about what she wants to eat these days.
Katen do you want cereal? no.
Do you want yogurt? no.
How about oatmeal? Pease!
-not enjoying her stroller. ugh! Katen now hates to ride in the stroller or in the cart for trips to the grocery store. She'd rather get down and walk but then she takes off in a dead sprint.
-filling and emptying things. Katen could spend a half hour just filling her bucket with pool water and dumping it into another.
-wearing bracelets. I think it's funny that she picked up on this fashion statement because mommy never wears jewelery. However Katen loves to wear her little round links (the kind you attach toys with) on her wrists. She's generally not found with any less than three in various colors. She even insists on wearing them to bed most nights.
Overall it's been a great summer. Katen's been having fun and the pregnancy is going well with baby #2 for the most part. We have lots to be thankful for!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Summer time classic

Katen got her first popsicle today. It's been so hot and humid that it just seemed like a fun thing to do. I dressed her in her art shirt (knowing she'd be covered in drips) and we headed outside. She loved it!!! ...didn't need all that sugar but she loved it.

Oops again!

So after we got her first shiner out of the way, Daddy and Katen were playing in the living room and she came into where I was folding clothes crying. I thought she was upset because she was teething. It was definitely an "I'm hurting" cry, so I gave her a few teething tabs and rocked with her a little bit. She calmed down right away but the second I put her down she started crying again. I noticed she was not moving an arm and Daddy told me that she might have hurt it. They were playing and just like we always do she was swinging by her arms at one point. This time however her elbow popped out of joint.

We ended up taking her to the Emergency room because she seemed to be in a lot of pain. I could only imagine what they were going to say with a bum arm and a black eye on top of that. The Dr just laughed and said that was typical of a toddler and that we didn't have the characteristics of a child beater. Whew! He was able to pop her elbow back in a matter of seconds and she was able to move it again immediately. However, now until she's 5 years old, we cannot let her hang by her arms at all because she's predisposed to the same thing happening again. It's actually very common and is called Nursemaid's elbow. Go figure that our little dare devil would have this. She's constantly hanging on things.

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Little pickle got her first shiner a couple of weeks ago. I guess it was inevitable since she's such a mover and a shaker. She literally runs from the time she wakes up until I put her in bed at night. No need for a gym membership at our house. Whew! Anyway, Katen was getting down from the couch and thought her feet were on the ground but they weren't and she lunged forward hitting the side of her head on the coffee table. The sound was absolutely awful and as tough as she usually is, she immediately started screaming so we knew it hurt pretty badly. Daddy ran to get an ice pack while I tried to console her. Looking back I have to laugh a little because I told Mike to grab an ice pack out of the freezer door. He comes back in a flash ...with a bag of frozen chopped onions.

Huh? I looked at him and said, "Ice pack. We need an ice pack. These are onions" to which he replied, "I know but this was faster and I'm getting the ice pack now." Ha! Gotta love Dads under pressure. :) Keeping an ice pack on an active toddler is nearly impossible though. We sure tried but didn't have much success.

In the end, Katen is okay but I think the coffee table is still pretty shook up about it.

An unlikely visitor

A few weeks ago Katen and I were outside (playing in the rain) and she kept pointing to the privacy fence and saying "cat!" "Cat!" "CAT!" with a huge grin on her face. I kept telling her, no there's a DOG in the neighbor's yard... until I see a face peek up between the fence and the deck. It's a racoon!!! I think the whole neighborhood heard me scream. I ran over, snatched Katen up and ran inside. I guess the raccoon was intrigued because shortly after, we found it peeking at us though the patio door. Helllo I see you!

Aren't these things supposed to be nocturnal?

We were kind of hoping it would just go away but two days later, on a Sunday morning, our furry friend was still hanging out with us. The raccoon had been peering in our window, pacing the deck and yard, entertaining our kid (or was it the other way around?) and finally on that Sunday morning it started foaming, shaking, and vomiting all over. That's when we decided it was time to call animal control. (we were going to wait until Monday)

I felt pretty bad seeing the policeman go after him with a rifle, since the critter did seem pretty friendly and just plain confused, but a little too friendly...and sick. The cop didn't end up using the gun. I won't go into detail but the raccoon is now dead and gone. R.I.P. "Baccoooon." It is nice to be able to go into our back yard again though.

"Mom it's playing on my slide!"

A new set of wheels

Katen got her first bike trailer this summer. Now she can go on bike rides with mommy and daddy. It's got pockets for snacks and even a drink holder. What more can a girl want? We think she looks pretty spiffy in her little helmet, don't you?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

18 mos - A look back at Signing

Recently several people have asked me about our experience with using baby sign language. My answer is always that it's been awesome and so very helpful. We've avoided so many meltdowns simply by being able to communicate. Signing is proof that children truly do understand way more than we think they do. They may not be able to use words because their vocal cords aren't ready yet but their motor skills are well developed by age 1, and by using signs they can show us they understand so much more than you'd imagine.

At about 6 mos we started signing with our little pickle. I found that learning the signs myself from online animated dictionaries was much more helpful than reading a book on the subject. Books seemed to leave too much of the signs up for interperatation. Animations show you exactly how to make the sign correctly. The first signs we chose to teach were "more," "all done," and "milk." She caught on within a few months of being consistent with showing the sign and saying the word every time we used it. This was despite the fact that Katen was in daycare at the time and was not signed to during the day. (So working moms and dads, you can do this too!)

After mastering 2-3 signs we'd move on to learning a few more. At about the age of 12mos I noticed a huge (and I mean huge) breakthrough. When it used to take Katen a few mos to learn a sign, she'd now learn them in a few weeks and soon she was learning them in a few days. Now at 18mos if you show her a sign and use it a few times, she's got it and she'll use it. She now knows over 50 signs with "eat, drink, sleep, more, all done, and help" being the most helpful in my opinion.

Now that Katen is a year old, we let her watch Signing Time videos and they really increase her confidence and help reinforce the signs she already knows. She feels really good when they say a word and she immediately knows the sign. Generally we don't park her in front of the TV for those though. We watch it with her and discuss the signs, etc. We also pick up and use a lot of the songs that they use with their signs. I'll admit that some of them are really catchy!

If there's any advice I can give, it's to BE CONSISTENT and DON'T GIVE UP. It may take a while at first for the baby to repeat the sign (they understand them well before they use them) and you may have to watch very carefully for any effort to come close to making the sign from your baby. When they do, applaud their effort, repeat the sign, letting them know you understood, and make a big deal about it. Your child may also make their own version of the sign. That's fine! Still repeat it using the correct sign. They'll know you understand.

I really feel like we'd have a very frustrated toddler on our hands if we hadn't started signing at an early age. Pickle is very independent and really has a need to be understood. By signing together it feels like there's a deeper connection because I can understand a little more about what she's thinking or feeling. Most kids don't learn about feelings until they're older and able to verbalize. However we've been able to begin working on emotional intelligence well in advance of that. This ability, again, will help keep temper tantrums at bay. Obviously there are still temper tantrums but now they usually revolve around mommy saying that horrible word, "no." Oh the horror!

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Pass the Salad please

We've been so lucky to have a good little veggie eater that I thought it might be a fun project to plant a garden this year. We seem to have a huge population of "bunnies" in our yard though so we had to get a little creative.

Katen and I picked out some large containers and hauled a bunch of soil onto our back deck to get the project started. I drilled some drainage holes in the tubs and we were ready to plant.

We're hoping to have yellow squash, two kinds of bell peppers, spinach, lettuce, blueberries, carrots, green onions, beans, two kinds of tomatoes and watermelon.

So far things are looking pretty good. We have a few sprouts...

tomatoes blueberry

Spinach Squash

Everything else is just tiny little sprouts... except for the watermelon. No sign of watermelon. Maybe it's a little slow.

Here's the whole "garden."

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