Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Heading into the Homestretch

Three weeks. That's it. Just three weeks left at most until baby girl is here. 

33 Weeks

37 Weeks
(taken today)

(Interesting fact about these photos: Neither the shirt or the dress pictured above are maternity clothes, just some regular clothes that happen to double well as maternity. I could NOT wear these clothes this late in the game when I was pregnant with Grady. Based on that and also on how much more this baby has room to move around than Grady did, it seems like I have a smaller baby this time. This is fantastic news, considering Grady weighed more than 9 pounds. Woo-hoo! Let's hope! P.s. If it looks weird to you that I am not looking at the camera...I'll be honest...I get puffy pregnant face and I would rather not document it.)

I have been in a complete panic as of late, realizing how little time I have. I like to be prepared. Really, really prepared, as much as possible. In all situations, I try to think ahead and anticipate potential problems or situations that may arise and plan for them in advance. So of course I have this huge pre-baby to-do list that I made months ago. I have been frantically trying to get through, feeling like there is no way I can have everything done in time.

Grady was induced at 41 weeks, so I told my mom it was okay if she came a day or two after my due date. I assumed I had plenty of time, but now I'm not so sure. I have gestational diabetes this time around and the doctors don't really want me to go past my due date. Over the past few weeks I've started to get the feeling that she is going to come early (which could be totally wrong, of course). This has terrified me. Matthew will be right in the midst of midterms and I am panic-stricken at the thought of being home alone with a baby and a toddler and a body still recovering from birth. 


Over the last few weeks, as I studied my scriptures, a few things hit me pretty hard. I was reading in the Book of Mormon in 1 Nephi 17 last week. Talking about the experience of his family having to travel through the wilderness for eight years, Nephi says: 

"And it came to pass that we did again take our journey in the wilderness; and we did travel nearly eastward from that time forth. And we did travel and wade through much affliction in the wilderness; and our women did bear children in the wilderness.

And so great were the blessings of the Lord upon us, that while we did live upon raw meat in the wilderness, our women did give plenty of suck for their children, and were strong, yea, even like unto the men; and they began to bear their journeyings without murmurings.

And thus we see that the commandments of God must be fulfilled. And if it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish them, and strengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them; wherefore, he did provide means for us while we did sojourn in the wilderness."

I find great comfort in this scripture. If the Lord helped these women have the strength to bear and feed babies in the wilderness, while enduring many hardships, surely he cares enough to help me. I feel that we have been commanded of God to have this baby join our family and, as the last verse says, He will always provide a way for us to do what He has commanded us to do, so long as we are obedient.  

Then yesterday I was met with this passage from Isaiah: 
"But, behold, Zion hath said: The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me—but he will show that he hath not."

I had kind of a "duh" moment. The Lord has never left me on my own. He has always provided a way for things to work out, usually a way better than I had thought of on my own. He is not going to leave me alone now.

Last night I went to get my hair cut, one of the things on my to-do list. My hairdresser asked me if I felt so ready for the baby to come. I told her how NOT ready I felt and how I just have so much to do. She asked me what I still have to do. I thought about it for a minute, picturing my list in my mind, and I realized, feeling a little dumbfounded, that there is nothing else I need to do. Though there are still plenty of things to do on my list, they are all things that Matthew or my mom could do for me if I don't get them done in time. 

And then it was like something just sort of clicked in my brain. I went home feeling so light, so at peace. I have been terrified and wanting this baby to stay where she is for so long, but suddenly I feel completely okay with her coming anytime--even now if she wants to. (I told Matthew this and he was in complete shock...haha) I can still do more, but I am prepared enough and everything is going to be okay. For now I want to let go of those things a little bit and focus on spending special time with Grady in our last few weeks alone together. I am ready to turn it all over to the Lord and just trust Him. And it feels so good!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Playing Pretend

Over the summer I've noticed that Grady is reaching the age where he can play pretend and he's starting to get how to do it.

This makes me really, really excited. Like to a nerdy level. 

Playing pretend was pretty much what I spent my whole childhood doing, and I love it. Also, I'll be honest, playing on the floor with baby toys gets old pretty fast, so I am ready to change it up. The past few weeks I've been all over this playing pretend thing, like a crazy person (Matthew can attest).

At first I spent a couple of days trying to come up with ideas for exactly what we could play and how. I kind of had a few, looked on pinterest a bit, but wasn't getting very far with it. Then one morning I woke up around 4 a.m. just bursting with so many ideas that I never went back to sleep. I ended up having to get up and write them all down. Like I said...nerdy level of excitement here. Since then I have been going nuts trying to create all kinds of pretend play activities. And I have to say that my life as a mom just got so much more fun! Not only that, but I am kind of hoping that if I can teach Grady how to do more creative play that he'll be more able to play independently when the baby comes. Maybe? I can hope, anyway...

Anyway, since it was hard for me to come up with ideas at first, I thought I would share some of what we've done, in the hopes that it will help somebody else. Annnd also because I am just excited about it! :)

Doctor Kit
The day Grady had his two-year-old check-up at the doctor we went to Target. He was riding in the cart and holding my keys, when he started pointing them at different parts of his body and saying, "Check belly...check ears...check toes...etc." Since it was fresh on his mind and memory, and he was already playing doctor on his own, I decided to make him a doctor kit. I found some ideas online and just kind of scrounged around for what we had that might already work. Here's what I came up with: 

I made the stethoscope out of an old headband with felt glued to the tops for the ears. I attached the bottom piece with a ribbon. The bottom piece was an old plastic spool-type thingy that used to have medical tape on it. (I saw another idea online to use bottle caps for the bottom piece of the stethoscope, which I almost did instead before I found the thing that I did use.) I made some band-aids out of felt, then threw in some cotton balls, a popsicle stick/tongue depressor, some plastic tweezers and an ace bandage from a first aid kit, and a baby medicine syringe to use for giving "shots."

Then I packaged it up super fancy in a plastic tupperware. 

Sooo...nothing too fancy obviously, but it cost nothing and he has had so much fun with it. We have spent a lot of time examining his stuffed animals. Usually somewhere partway through each examination he starts examining himself instead. He also likes to give check-ups and shots to Mommy and Daddy. This one has been lots of fun. And his favorite part of the kit? The cotton balls. Go figure!

Side note: I was at Dollar Tree two days ago and they totally have doctor kits! Sigh. Oh, well. So...heads up, if you want one and don't want to make it yourself, you know where to go.


Felt Food
Grady loves to play pretend with food. He loves to pretend cook and pretend eat. One of his favorite games he made up is "lunch." He has me sit on the couch with him and tells me that we both need to put on bibs (or pretend to, that is). Then he says a prayer and hands me a bowl and we "eat" our food. Then he says it's time to take off our bibs and has us pretend to wash our hands and face. 

We were talking about how he loves to pretend to make food with some of our friends the other day. One of them asked him if he likes to make pizza and I thought--genius! Let's make pretend pizzas! So the next day I cut up this little pizza out of some felt that I already had. I decided to make some cookies with frosting and sprinkles too. He LOVES these too. He pretends to roll out the pizza dough with our little pizza roller and he pretends to put both the cookies and the pizza in and out of the oven (beneath the piano bench) with a hot pad. They even kept him quiet for awhile at church!


Grocery Store
Okay...I'm super excited about this next one! (And all of them, let's be honest)
I was at the thrift store last week and found this old toy cash register, that was probably made in the 70's, for $2.

I bought it and cleaned it up and started saving food boxes and bottles. We have been rearranging furniture in preparation for the baby, so this little book shelf suddenly became available to become our grocery store. We don't have a toy grocery cart, so we use that little pink basket that came with of our play food. I found an unused sticky hook and a recycle-able grocery bag to hand on the side for him to pack up his groceries in at the end.

I have this little zipper pouch that I got from the doctor's office (it says "Similac" on the tag, so it must have come with some formula coupons or something...I don't remember) and put it to use as a "wallet." In the wallet are an old Costco card and some money made with construction paper.

He loves to "swipe" his credit card.


Trash Truck
This next idea was one I came up with on my own and I think it turned out pretty cute! Grady loves to watch the trash truck come and dump the big trash bins, so I thought it would be fun to make him his own pretend trash truck. We have a little walker toy that can fold into a sort of bike that you push with your feet. I tied a box to the back and filled an empty oatmeal container with clean crumpled up paper and tissues to serve as the trash can. (I suppose you could decorate the box and the oatmeal can, but meh.) He will put the can on the stair landing, drive his truck over, get off and dump the trash in the back and drive away, all while saying, "Beep! Beep! Beep!" Oh and he likes to wear his hat to make it feel more official. :)

This morning he decided his trash truck could double as his car when he played grocery store so that he could load his bag of groceries in the back.

I had the idea that we could play garden and pretend to plant/pick food or flowers. I was still trying to form the idea and figure out how it would look when I found this blog post where a lady made her daughter a garden box. Below is a picture from the blog:

I thought the idea was super cute, but also looked super time intensive! She painted a box to look like wood, sewed little dirt pillows, and sewed together little felt vegetables, each with lots of detail. I liked this idea, but wanted something easier (plus, I can't sew). Here's what I came up with:

I bought a little plastic tub at the dollar store and five sheets of brown felt from Walmart for 23 cents each. I loosely rolled each sheet of felt into a tube shape, hot gluing the beginning and the end edges so they would stay closed. Then I trimmed each tube to fit in the box and placed them inside to act as my "dirt."

Then I googled clipart pictures of some different vegetables that grow in the ground. I copied them into a word document, sized them how I wanted them. I printed two copies of each vegetable, with one of them rotated so that I could glue them together and have a two-sided picture, if that makes sense. Then I printed them (the most expensive part of the project, since we don't have a color printer-ha!), cut them out and glued them together and laminated them for durability.

And I found this at the thrift store, which I thought would make a great little watering can.

I haven't showed this one to Grady yet, so we'll have to see how it goes.

I'll stop there for now, but I have some more ideas in the maybe I'll share again another day.
Happy Pretending!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Grady Turns 2!

Last week our little buddy had his 2nd birthday. The day before I told him, "Tomorrow is your birthday! We are going to make you a cake and some of your friends are going to come over." 

Matthew told me he didn't think Grady understood what tomorrow means, so I probably shouldn't have told him and gotten him excited. The next morning, however, when Matthew went to get Grady from his crib, the first words out of his mouth were, "Gady, happy birthday! Chopup (chocolate) chips, cake, brownies!"

I guess he understands after all. :) 

Matthew made him some pancakes for breakfast, and even let Grady add in some "chopup chips."
This alone made his day!

Grady's current love is yellow trucks. As in construction vehicles of all kinds. (Even if they are another color they are still "yellow trucks," just maybe a "blue yellow truck" or a "red yellow truck," etc.) He has loved them for awhile, but ever since traveling to the land of road construction (North Dakota) in July, he has reached a new level of obsession. He LOVES to see them and points them out in the car shouting, "YEWOW TRUCK! SHOVEL!"
Never before was I aware of just how many construction vehicles there are out and about all the time, but now that they are on my radar they seem to be everywhere, which makes for one happy little boy. 7 times out of 10 the first sounds I hear on the baby monitor when he wakes up in the morning or from a nap are a groggy, "Yewow truck...shovel."

My mom was here visiting a few weeks ago and gave Grady his birthday presents early. One of them was a pack of five small yellow trucks and it hit the JACKPOT. 

These toys are the love of his life and his most prized possessions. He can often be found walking around holding all five of them. He quickly learned to recognize and call them by each of their names--bulldozer, dump truck, steam roller, backhoe, front end loader--and is aware of their whereabouts at all times. It takes a great amount of difficulty to convince him to leave the house without at least one of them. 

I checked out a dozen or so yellow truck books for him from the library around this time. He always dumps all five of his trucks on the couch before climbing up to read with me, so that he can hold up the appropriate yellow truck each time it is mentioned in a story.

So...naturally, we went with a yellow truck birthday theme.

He opened some more presents in the morning and got another big yellow truck from Grandpa Wright and some yellow truck books and a lefty baseball glove from Aunt Emily. This was the first time he has truly understood the concept of unwrapping presents and totally went for it, which was so fun. He also LOVED the birthday card that was sent and signed by all of my family living in Utah. He is still asking us to read it to him several times a day and loves to hold it.

That night we had 3 or 4 of his little best buddies and their parents over for a party. Of course, we had a  yellow truck cake. This cake was a family affair: baked by Grady and Daddy, frosted by Mommy. (Don't worry--I scrubbed and scrubbed those yellow trucks clean first!)

He LOVED it. In fact it was something of a challenge keeping him away from it before the party...

FYI, making orange cones out of construction paper (my mom's suggestion) = not as easy as it looks. At least for me...maybe there is an obvious way to do it, but those things took me forever!

Here is the birthday boy right before he was sung to by all of his friends, his favorite song ever, "Happy Birthday to You!" (He sings it all year round). He even blew out the candles in one try!

He was so happy and had a great time with his buddies, culminating with 3 of them gathering at the top of the stairs towards the end of the party and having a who-can-do-the-best-and-longest-little-girl-scream competition (When this kid gets together with either of his two bestest friends, they scream. Out of sheer delight from being together, I guess?)

He had such a happy day and has been talking about it ever since.
Happy birthday, sweet boy! You make our lives so, so wonderful and fun.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Kirtland Strawberry Festival...Round 2

I served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Ohio some (cough) years ago. I had never been to the state before, or anywhere near it for that matter. 

Oddly enough, I now live in Ohio.
And so does one of my companions! 

Annette and I were companions in the small town of Kirtland during the summer, where we gave tours of the church history sites there to visitors. Every summer Kirtland holds a Strawberry Festival (basically just a small town carnival on the grounds of the high school that includes a booth selling strawberry shortcakes). The summer we were there, we were sent to volunteer at the festival for a day and were put to work serving strawberry shortcakes to customers. Since we are both here, for the time being anyway, we decided we'd best revisit our old stomping grounds together. Once we realized that the Strawberry Festival was coming up it was a done deal. So we packed up our little families and each drove a few hours to meet up there for the day.

We met up in Hiram, Ohio first to do a tour of the John Johnson Farm. Annette served here, but I had only been there once before, so we were both excited to go there.

Just before we started a tour, a church member, Melissa Goshe, who I had become friends with while serving in Kirtland showed up. She had been in Hiram for work and realized she hadn't done the tour there in ages, so she stopped in and ended up getting there just at the right time. Definitely not an accident! It was really fun to see her and have her join us on our tour.

Next we drove to Kirtland. We got lost on the way and Grady got motion sick and threw up in the car...but we made it there eventually!

Grady had NO interest in participating in the family picture. He screamed and twisted and ran away, so we gave up. We did get a nice shot of just me and Matthew, but I thought this one was worth remembering.

Me and Annette

Annette's sweet family

We found out at both places that going on a tour with toddlers is not exactly the easiest thing. All I could think to myself was, "Oh my gosh...we are so those people now! The ones on the tour with the screaming kids." We eventually figured out a tactic that worked: switch kids. When they were being held by someone who was not their parent, they would freeze up, be quiet and behave. (Poor Annette and Richard got the raw end of the deal because Grady is way heavier...)

After our short tour we headed up the road to the festival, where we got dinner and Grady tried his first carnival ride. We thought he would love driving in that little jeep.

Aaaaand. Nope. He cried about half of the time. He was so concerned about the jeep right behind them, which would slam into theirs occasionally. He turned around and stared at it most of the time and every time it would hit them he burst into tears.

And of course we had to get our strawberry shortcakes! It's hard to believe it's been 8 years since that summer. Makes me feel OLD. 
Still, glad for the fun memories, both then and now!

P.s. They still have sister missionaries serving the strawberry shortcakes. :) 

Summer So Far

Here's some of what we've been up to this summer so far, in pictures.

Grady's stylin' BFF stayed with us for a weekend.

Cute smiles like this to remind Mommy and Daddy of why we keep this little stinker around. ;)

Grady's "water table." has been a life-saver for playing outside in our non-backyard area on hot days. And he loooves it.
(And how cute are those little feet in flip-flops?)

Breakfast on the Farm in Plain City.

Grady got to meet lots of animals.

Most of which looked like this: tightest possible Daddy hugs for protection. (He likes animals from a distance, it seems)

He was not afraid of the tractors, though, and had to touch each one.

We went back to the splash pad for the first time since last summer. We were excited to see how Grady would like it, considering he couldn't walk yet the last time he was there. We were certain he would run through it like a mad man and have the time of his life.

Nope. After about 5 minutes he cried. After much coaxing he was persuaded to enjoy it from the comfort and safety of Daddy's lap. (Do we see a theme going on here?) Luckily I took him back there this week and he was much more brave.

Shirts getting stuck on that watermelon head.

Lots of rainy days.
I read something online about toddlers loving "sensory bins," or tubs filled with different textured or themed objects to sort. I tried it with some dry beans (or "beanies" as Grady calls them) and mini pom-poms. I thought maybe if I spread out a blanket and explained that the beans only stay on the blanket it would help create some sense of a boundary. 
 I'm an idiot for thinking that would work.
After about five minutes beans were being flung everywhere (I did make him pick them all up, at least). This kid is just not into fine motor activities--he has no patience for it. He would much rather jump and run and throw with his whole body.
Or, should I say, he's a boy.

So...instead, when it's sunny, baseball. Lots and lots of baseball. 
Or base-a-ball, as pronounced by Grady. 

He and Daddy keep up with the KC Royals every day by watching the game highlights on ESPN. Grady loves to cheer and shout, "Go Royals!"

And dirt. Any dirt he can get his hands on. I take him to the playground and he just plays in the dirt. Ha.

 Matching Daddy.

 Being sooo messy with food.

This one with the yogurt reminded Matthew of Polynesian war paint.

And then there's me. Just, you know, growing a baby. And getting ginormous.

17 weeks

24 weeks