T Rex Family

T Rex Family

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Feeding the Giraffe

This past week was our last before our little guy joins the ranks of school age children. We had a great time going to parent orientation. We braved quite a storm - flash flooding and multiple trees fell down in our neighborhood. I am told the winds reached 60 miles per hour. So far we like everything about the school and are happy with his teacher. My hope is that we can keep this positive energy and momentum flowing the whole year through.

We wanted to take some time as a family and do a favorite outing - the zoo. I know we've blogged about the zoo a lot but we love going. It's been a while since we've fed the giraffes. It's been at least a year or more. Lil Sister started feeding them when she was still a little babe in the chest pack. It's been fun to see her grow up doing this and she was really happy to do it "all by me-self". 

Thus, I will post just the photos from the kids' feeding the giraffes. I do have to note, the kids were excited to see the baby snow leopards and Lil Sister was especially excited to see the baby monkey. I have to admit it was pretty cute, too.


Saturday, August 17, 2013


I wrote this a couple weeks ago but failed to post. Here it is - the kids' much anticipated trip to Build-a-Bear. They are still talking about it and still carrying their bears around.

The kids have been saving for the past 5 weeks for a trip to Build-a-Bear in our local mall. They have actually been wanting to go for a lot longer but until recently I had always said, "Maybe sometime." Well, we decided that if we all survived July (as I had several 4 day work weeks which are hard on all of us) then we could earn a trip. During the summer months I have been picking up extra work days while some of the other health care providers in our office take vacation. I have opted out of vacation this year and am saving all my time for maternity leave. It's made for some long weeks and actually in August I have all three day work weeks, but we would rather save ahead of time for my leave.

The kids have been great. We assigned monetary value to the stickers for various things. They would earn $1, $4, or $5 toward their bears. Then when it came time to pick out their items, they could spent their earnings. Each of them earned well over $50 toward their bears. Their efforts helping me jar pickles may have earned them a few extra stickers, too. Attitude is a big deal when it comes to earning stickers in our home. Joyfully helping a sibling clean up toys earns a sticker but grumbling while doing so does not, even if one is helping one another. And let me tell you, those kiddos joyfully helped their mother jar pickles. I was complaining internally at the garlic peeling but my little daughter was so happy to help as was her big brother.

Hubby was also home with the kids for a few extra days as my mom suffered gout - extremely painful and in her right big toe joint. I did not want her watching the kids for fear they would touch her foot and give her more pain. I was sad that she was not well but it was nice for the kids to have a few extra days with their dad watching them. I especially liked that on the days he had them and I was working, he would bring them by the office during lunch to eat with me. It was so fun. Even the office staff would join us and got a kick out of their stories. My little guy T can tell quite the tale and entertain most anyone. He told of the upcoming trip to Build-a-Bear and had everyone in suspense as to what he was going to design. In fact, recently during lunch some of my staff asked if I could post photos on Facebook showing what they selected. Now, I feel kind of weird posting photos of my kids at Build-a-Bear on Facebook but since this is our family blog site, I am happy to post here. 

We actually invited another family to join us. We've only recently gotten to know these friends. It's been a fast 7-8 months that we've been hanging out but it has been nice to connect with folks in a similar life stage, with similar values and educational background, similar parenting styles and philosophies, and kids that absolutely adore each other. T is so happy to have a friend with a peanut allergy and asthma. He finally can talk to a peer about his allergies and have that friend understand. They really are kindred spirits. I am not including photos of our friends but I did want to make note since the outing was made even more special because we could share it with them. When the kids woke up Saturday morning I was not sure what they were more excited about - Build-a-Bear or that we were meeting their friends there.

A few details about their bears. Both kids picked pretty basic bears - T's is a classic brown/black bear "like the Lego ones" in his book. He did not want anything fancy but wanted to use his money for two outfits rather than scents, songs, or a beating heart. He chose to name his bear "Peter" as in Peter from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Peter was given a knight outfit complete with sword and shield and the bonus light saber, too! His other outfit is Superman which he wears for pajamas like T's.  Lil Sister chose a classic bear made with soft pink fur. She outfitted her with a Rapunzel dress, hair, crown, pink sparkle shoes, and a pink purse. She wanted a fancy outfit rather than two outfits. (Plus, I was so happy there were not talking or musical gadgets chosen for her either.) They spent all their stickers and were happy to do so. They are already asking to go back - not for more bears but for more outfits. I am thinking some stocking stuffers are in order!

I had to include this first photo of the kids with their back packs heading to the activity. They were so proud and so excited you can just see the spring in their steps.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Profile Pics - 26 and 28 weeks

Up to the 26 week point, I felt like folks were just seeing me as an out of shape American versus someone who is pregnant. I do actually feel a lot like an out of shape person. I have not been able to lift weights, do Pilates, or ride the elliptical as I traditionally do 4-5 times per week. With my blood pressure still running low, the dizziness seems to over come me and I just cannot work out. However, I have finally found an activity which does make me feel great and I am hoping I can regain some of my lean muscle mass and strength.
Swimming. It has been wonderful. That awesome hormone "Relaxin" has really been kicking in and giving me a lot of hip pain. I found that doing stretching in the pool has made it so I am not hobbling around like an old lady. Plus, I've also been getting some aerobic exercise as well and I have not been getting dizzy in the pool. I have always told patients that swimming is a perfect exercise but I never actually subscribed to doing it for myself. With the kids being at the pool 3-4 times a week I have been getting in lots of laps and exercise. My hip rarely bothers me now and I am finally starting to get some strength back. Although, I have been getting some strange looks when I get out of the lap pool at the YMCA. Oh well, I might look odd but the laps sure do make me feel great.

Here are some photos of me about to get in our friend's pool. I am still pretty self-conscious of my body. We went to the swim and run shop this week for me to get a new suit. The floral pattern one is my new one. My other one still fits but I think I am stretching it out too much and I'd really like to be able to use it next summer. This new suit is actually a lap suit so it really stretches and gives. It was pretty funny at the swim shop when I was selecting my suit. I was in the size 40 section (normally size 32/34) and I was going through the clearance suits there. The salesperson came over and said, "Excuse me, but are you sure you want that size?" I assured her it was what I wanted. Then she politely said, "Maybe I could offer a fitting for you?" I then turned around and she saw my belly and we both got a good laugh. I'll never fit into this suit again but at $22 for a $90 suit. I was happy. And I don't have to spend $60 on a maternity suit. Honestly, I think it will get worn out in the next few months as much swimming as we're doing. T has 3 suits and they are all starting to look pretty worn.

By the way, both kids are still doing incredible at swim lessons so I will post some videos on their blogs. Just click on their individual photos on the left side bar and it will take you to their blogs.

So, I am finally feeling like I've hit the second trimester of feeling decent just to be done and moving into my third trimester. To put it in perspective, a bad day now is like a good day during my first trimester - yes, it was that bad. I am optimistic that things will continue to progress normally and uneventfully. Now if I can just stop feeling so grumpy. I think I need to make more time for my relaxation exercises as those seem to make me very calm and relaxed. It has not helped that we launched a new electronic medical records system at work this past week.

As far as our birthing class - we loved it. Honestly, the pressure of knowing I am not going into child birth with the looming thought of lots of drugs is somewhat empowering to me. Did I even mention how much needles scare me? I know, and I'm a nurse. The last couple epidurals I had to request the nurse anesthetist not even show me what the needle looked like. For now, we are still planning drug free including no pitocin (hopefully) or membrane stripping or amniotomy (breaking water). Because I have always requested pain meds and epidural I was not able to move around and had to be constantly monitored. I am actually excited at the thought of being mobile during child birth. We are still going to keep pain management as an option as it truly was a saving grace with the birth of our son but for now, we are quite dedicated to going as all natural as possible in a hospital setting.

I may discuss our preparations further as labor and delivery time gets closer. For now, I will post these photos as farewell second trimester...

The first three are 26 weeks (with and without suit) and the latter two are 28 weeks.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Pickle Canning 2013

It's no secret - I love canning jarred fruits and vegetables. As my husband says, I am an ant not a grasshopper. Recall that story of the ants and the grasshopper - the grasshopper sings and plays while the ants store food for the winter. Then come winter the ants sing and play and enjoy the fruits of their labor while the grasshopper freezes and goes hungry. At least the Disney cartoon portrays it nicely where the ants invite the grasshopper in and he plays for his food. I take my husband's words as a compliment that he thinks of me as an ant. In fact, I have been wanting to teach my little ones to also be ants also. 

Pickles are extremely easy and a good start. Plus, we are on an anti-artificial coloring diet and just about every type of pickle or relish one can purchase has yellow #5. I followed my classic Kosher dill pickle recipe that I first used 4 years ago. It's become quite popular. In fact, I texted my boss while I was picking up 40 lbs of cucumbers to see if he wanted any. He gladly took me up on the offer as long as I would share my recipe. Let me just say, 40 lbs of cucumbers takes a long time to jar/can. I made several jars of just pickles. Then some slices and spears with the same recipe. Then, I changed things up and used the larger cucumbers to make dill pickle relish. I am quite happy with the simple, easy and very tasty relish recipe. I went to child birth class smelling of dill relish (it was kind of distracting while I was trying to induce relaxation.) By the way, we finished our hypno birthing classes and are quite happy. More on that later.

The kids first canning experience was wonderful. They were quite the troopers. I arrived home from work and we immediately headed to pick up our cucumbers - they had just been picked. There were 40 lbs and there was no way we would get through all of those but we made a pretty good start that evening. With the promise of allowing them to stay up late, they were eager to help. They sorted, cleaned, peeled, and stuffed. T is a meticulous cucumber cleaner. Lil Sister was a fantastic garlic peeler. I think her tiny little hands can peel much faster and better than mine. Oh, note her hair is up - she was very proud to have it pulled back like mine as I always pull my hair up and back for canning reminiscent of my days working at the cannery. I think they enjoyed stuffing the jars the most. You can certainly tell from the photos which jars they packed compared to the ones I did. I am also showing a photo of a jar casualty that I had. For the first time in 15 years of canning I had a jar burst in the water bath. The bottom simply came off. It was sort of surreal to see. Luckily, nothing else was lost other than that jar and its contents.

The kids were quite tired from their canning experience. The next three nights they did not participate which was fine as I spent two nights doing relish and that was a bit more delicate and dangerous. Now a brief break from canning before I do a few peaches and am done for the season. I am really backing down from my canning this year as our food storage is looking good, I only need a few Christmas gifts, and I am just plain tired from working extra days, chasing the kids to all their activities, and growing a very active baby girl.

My kids are certainly off to a good start learning to be little ants!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Swimming Lessons - Session One Wrap

The kids just finished their first session of swim lessons. They rocked it! We were so proud. Tomorrow - Build-a-Bear (but that is another posting in and of itself). We promised them if they survived my long month of working extra days, performed well at all their lessons (swim and gymnastics) and did their lessons they could get their very first build-a-bear. Let's just say, I've been reminded many times today that tomorrow is the big day!

The "YWCPA" (as Lil Sister refers to the YMCA) does an awesome job. T took lessons with me there when Lil Sis was just a babe in my tummy - up to this point, that has been his only experience with swimming lessons. Hence, we are quite impressed with the progress he has made and the job the instructors have done. Plus, after class they get play time in the kids pool. All I can say it has been a totally positive experience and the kids are having a great time. We're signing up for another session. After that, we are actually dropping gymnastics. Lil Sister starts ballet/tap class in the fall, T starts school, and we may start evening swim classes to continue until baby comes in November. Then a break for the holidays. 

As far as skills, Lil Sister is doing good. Her confidence is growing but she is still cautious.  Honestly, I am quite fine with a cautious child around water. T - well, he is a rock star but as his teachers say,  he needs work on listening and following rules. As you will see from the photos, he was specifically told to go down the slide feet first. Note in the photo he switched to head down while going down the slide. He got into trouble over that one. Part of it is he is just a mischievous little boy testing the parameters, part of it is he really does need to do better at following directions. He regularly "swims fifty" which is a full 50 yards solo with his teacher at his side - he also has earned several colored bracelets for his efforts and skills. There is a reason he takes excellent naps after class. Since swimming is one of those perfect exercises and both kids love it, we are strongly considering continuing their lessons even longer. Plus, the Y has open swim days which allow the kids to go down the slides and swim and play in warm water until their little hearts are content. 

So, in a nut shell, lessons were awesome. We are all happy. The kids are progressing beautifully. And it has been a positive experience for all. The videos are quite short. My camera battery was running very low. I did capture Lil Sister going down the slide with one of her teachers but I missed getting T on video but you can watch him swimming after he is down sliding. It is a good example of his swimming skills especially with the strong current of the slide. (The kids do have to pass a swim testing before going down the slide solo.)