Sunday, December 29, 2013

Spontaneous Pedal Boating

Blogging has been tough these past couple of weeks. I've been in Arizona since December 15th, and work kept me very busy that first week. Then the holidays arrived along with Michael, June and my in-laws, so there was plenty to keep me away from the keyboard. Now I have tons of things to post about but I only have my work computer to use, and I don't particularly want to upload my pictures to that. So I'll do what I can with the pictures I can add from my phone.
Now Michael's gone for Sacramento, and my parents are visiting Illinois family, so June and I have had a few days to ourselves. Yesterday morning I decided to take June down to Tempe Town Lake to spend the morning (with an ulterior motive of getting to try out the new Steak 'N Shake on Mill Ave) and asked JP and Kai if they'd like to join.
It turns out that there isn't much of a park for the kids to play on down near the water. We did, however, catch a glimpse of a bunch of rental pedal boats and made a spontaneous decision to rent one.
First order of business - stretch those hamstrings.
Second order of business - threaten young children with not going on the boat unless they put their safety vest on.
Third order of business - set sail. 

Also - pass under and then touch any and all bridges in the near vicinity.

And then, of course, the Steak 'N Shake.
It wasn't the full Steak 'N Shake experience, since it had a limited menu (no Chili Mac!) but it was still delicious. Burgers and fries and shakes all around, although one of our party had their milkshake taken away after refusing to eat lunch along with the chocolatey treat. (Won't say who, but it was the same person who tried to eat her ketchup by itself from her bare fingers.)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Polar Express

We really tried to make the Polar Express happen this year. First we looked at tickets here in Sacramento, but they had sold out in minutes. I started collecting ideas for making a homemade version. I then signed up for one in Phoenix during the days we'll be in town, then cancelled immediately upon realizing that the train left out of Williams, Arizona, which is an almost 3 hour drive away. No thanks.

So when we got a call from Michael's coworker that they had two tickets available to one of the Polar Express train times, we thought it was fate and jumped at the chance.

Two tickets...not three. So we had to pass June off as an under-two year old and have her as a lap baby.

It was actually perfect timing, since June's school just happened to have a Polar Express themed week last week where they read the book and did activities. So June was totally prepped to know the story and the gist behind the train ride.

The train ride itself lasted about an hour. They served us hot chocolate and cookies, played music and read the story over the intercom. They also had employees who came out and danced and pretended to be characters from the book/movie.

About 4 seconds after getting on board, we took a sip of our hot chocolate which was really just moderately warm and offered June a sip. She proceeded to spit it all out for being "too hot" and got chocolate all over her pajamas. Oh well. Who cares if all of our pictures thereafter show stained PJs?

When it was time for the train to slowly roll past Santa at the North Pole, June went into the seats across the aisle (the occupants of which were part of our group) so she could have a better view.

Unfortunately June was NOT as excited when Santa later burst into our train car right next to where she was located. She started screaming and asking for her Mommy instantly, it was the saddest thing. Which is why I felt bad for also thinking it was funny? I picked her up and an employee escorted us to another spot where we could sit without seeing the daunting Santa anymore.

After the train, our group of 8 adults and 6 small children went out to dinner downtown. It was likely the most fun we've had since we've been in town, getting a chance to socialize with others and do something different and watch June's excitement (Santa incident notwithstanding).

Now the question becomes "Do we dare try taking her to get a photo on Santa's lap?"

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Holiday Program

Friday evening was June's holiday program at her new school. I was so excited because June's school in Phoenix didn't do anything like this to celebrate the holidays, so this was the first time we'd see June in a school event.

Unfortunately, being amateurs, we didn't know that you have to show up super early to secure even decent seats, so we were way in the back.

I had wondered if June would be overwhelmed at the crowd. I had visions of her crying and needing to be brought off, or even of her just being hidden in the group and use hardly being able to spot her.

Those were unwarranted worries. 

First of all, she was front and center, and stayed up on her knees the whole time. (She's in the red sweater below.)

As soon as the curtains opened, we could tell she was searching the crowd for us. She got SO excited when she finally spotted us. (Or, when she spotted Michael, I should say. I was away from Michael, rushing the stage with the rest of the parents trying to get pictures of the adorable kids.)

Also, she was the hammiest holiday ham that has ever hammed.

I'm not sure that she actually sang more than a line or two of any song, but she clapped enthusiastically after each and danced around a little. This little move cracked me up when she pulled her Santa hat down over her face:

Afterwards she gave us hugs then immediately asked to go get a treat off the treat table. 

It was all really sweet and an adorable part of this season! Maybe next year we'll actually get her to sing her songs on stage! (We have had truly moving renditions of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" and "Frosty the Snowman" at home.)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

It's Looking Christmassier Around Here

We started putting up Christmas lights on the house on Thanksgiving weekend and finalized some touches this past weekend.

I'm so excited at how many people in our neighborhood decorate for Christmas. There's one little street where you turn into our neighborhood that every single house has lights. Some of them are conservative and tasteful, some are bizarre and loud and silly, but all of them are just awesome.

There was an instant where we considered not having a Christmas tree this year. I'm leaving town on Sunday and will be in Phoenix through Christmas. Michael and June come out to Phoenix on the 20th, so they'll only be here a few more days than me. My parents' tree will be the one we tuck presents under, so we considered if we'd even use one enough to justify buying one.

Well, June and I made an impulse buy while we were out at Home Depot on Saturday. We walked over to the 3-5 foot trees were, priced at $20, and picked the tallest one we could find.

Michael had to borrow not one but two drills from different neighbors since I forgot to ask the tree sellers to drill a hole for our tree stand.

Drill #1

Drill #2

One small issue...

Our tree is the twistiest, least-straight tree ever.

We propped it up on a little table to give it some height. This also allows us to have our tree displayed  in our big window like so many other houses on the street. (From the outside you can't even tell that our tree is small!)

Then we put up the Christmas Village for good measure. June is very much in a "I want to help you!" phase, so she helped with ornaments and village breakables alike. I'm trying to let her play because she really is careful and gentle with everything. Of course, having said that, it's only a matter of time before some poor ceramic horse loses a leg.

Afterwards we went outside to view our work. (And check out the effect of the green light Michael placed.) 

One last thing - we had our first fire in the fireplace on Sunday while we trimmed the tree. It really set the mood! Now we just need some marshmallows!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Pregnancy Updates

With all of the exciting and time-consuming things going on these days, I feel like my ever-growing belly gets less and less attention. It's definitely a stark contrast to when I was pregnant with June, when the growing baby was a central focus in my life.

Last time around, I took pictures every week or two to document how big my belly was getting. This time around, I think I have a total of 3 pictures of myself since I started really showing.

Last time around, I was able to nap and rest as much as I needed. I'd come home from work and nap on the couch until Michael came home, I'd sleep as late as I wanted on the weekends. This time around, I have a toddler to chase around after work, who gets up around 7 on the weekends. And that's aside from the huge to-do list I have for things that need to get done.

Last time around, I knew down to the day how far along I was. This time, if someone asks me how far long I am, I have to think hard about it and usually say, "Uh...around...29-ish weeks... I think?"

So here are some updates...

We have picked our medical provider here in Sacramento. We're with a huge medical group/insurance situation that has midwives as an option. I have opted to go with the midwives and will likely be delivering with one of them at a hospital that's about 15-20 minutes away. (There are OB-GYNs on call if needed.)

The plan is to go without pain medication again if everything works out as planned. I have my HypnoBabies CDs, but I've only gotten around to listening to the positive affirmations one while I'm in the car.

My due date has been officially moved to February 19, but I sometimes still say the 22nd out of habit. But since June came (what felt like) so late last time, my general feelings are, "Meh, the baby will be here when he gets here."

I'm 29 weeks along and everything is normal at this time. Appointments have been pretty uneventful apart from the confusion that comes along with transferring medical care halfway through a pregnancy (paperwork, etc.). I have gotten the approval to travel for the holidays!

My morning (all day) sickness stuck with me through until almost 5 months, just like last time. I do think that it was a little better this time that it was carrying June. I haven't had any cravings and I hope I actually get to experience some this time! For now, I'm in the phase of pregnancy that I really love. I've stopped feeling sick all day and can now brush my teeth without gagging, but I'm not so big as to be hugely uncomfortable yet.

I can't believe that the baby will be here in just a couple of months!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Moving Day

The day the movers brought all of our furniture to the new house was so exciting...and overwhelming.

At first I got excited with every new piece that they would bring in off the huge truck. Load after load after load of boxes later, I was thinking "Where did we get all this stuff?" and "Where are we going to put all of it?"

I nearly cried the first time I got to sit on our couch. The rental couch we had at the apartment was strangely shallow, meaning that as you sat, only about half of your thighs were supported by the cushions. I'm so used to being able to lay down across the couch, preferably against Michael while he gives me back tickles, and that was just no possible on this small rental couch. So when I first reclined back into our normal-depth couch, I whispered "Hello, Lover" and nearly died of happiness.

We were a little worried about June being under foot while the movers did their thing. She spent the first part of the morning eating snacks at the base of our kitchen table. After that was done, we opened a box in her room and let her have at it. It would be quiet for a while and I'd go peek in on her and find her reading alone in her room.

When the movers were done, we decided not to try to tackle anything right away. It was the following day that we came back and really tackled some of the boxes.

A lot of our rooms are mostly moved into right now, but we're far from being done. Our living room and kitchen are completely unpacked without a single box in them. The dining room has become the dumping ground of to all the boxes we aren't tackling yet, but hopefully we'll make some progress on that this weekend. 

We also still have plenty of furniture and rugs we need to buy to really make this place feel like home, so I hope we can get some of that accomplished before the holidays. I'll try to post some pictures once we get a little more settled!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Thanksgiving in the New House

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and holiday weekend!

On Wednesday night, we packed up most of our essentials from the apartment and made a late commute over to the new house. I'm glad we did because we would have been doing it the next morning. Instead we spent the morning in our pajamas watching the Thanksgiving Parade!

So...confession time. I didn't cook a single thing on Thanksgiving.

Our pots and pans were still in boxes. Our stovetop is covered with random items from some box that we don't know where to put yet. And we desperately wanted to be in our new house on Thanksgiving (instead of the apartment), so we decided to make it happen in the easiest way possible.

Michael picked up everything except the turkey at Whole Foods, including sides and pie. I went to a barbecue place on Wednesday night and got two pounds of sliced smoked turkey. 

The prep consisted of putting these items in the oven at about 11:30 to heat up in time for  a noon lunch.

(That's sparkling pomegranate juice in the wine glasses, FYI. In a sign of solidarity, Michael had juice with me and waited 'til later to have a beer.)

It was so good, of course. June was not as excited about the culinary variety and ate: the marshmallows from the sweet potatoes and a roll. And a few bites of turkey.

We didn't leave the house all day and instead enjoyed our new house, unpacked some boxes and watched football and the parade. It was a little quiet as far as Thanksgiving normally go, without having family around, though we did manage to Skype. If we couldn't be with our families in person, it was a nice, low-key way for us to spend the day. Especially since it was our first full day in the new house!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

J-U-N-E and the Bed-Jumping

When you're in a temporary apartment, with most of your belongings (and toys) locked away in storage, you sometimes resort to bed-jumping for entertainment. 

Moms may try to incorporate name-spelling in the name of "education," but it's all just about the bed-jumping in the end. (And the asking to watch the video you just starred in.)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Fall Cookies and the Princess Helper

June and I made these pumpkin chocolate chip cookies the other day after I saw the recipe pop up on a blog I read.

Since we're in our little rental apartment, it maybe "furnished" but that does not mean complete. I went out and bought a baking sheet because the one tiny one that came in the kitchen wasn't going to cut it. I also had to buy flour, sugar and all the other ingredients. (Man. I miss my fully stocked kitchen. And spices. Just having spices.)

I was the measurer and June was the pourer. We were both the stirrers because June - despite being THRILLED to be stirring - only wanted to go as deep as the first half-inch.

Yes, she's wearing her Belle dress. She loves it and would not be swayed by my warnings that it might get dirty.

Just as Natalie said in her blog, the cookies didn't really re-shape during cooking, so they kind of turn out in these unfortunate looking lumps. (I actually find them rustic and charming, so there.)

June could hardly wait for them to cool off, which meant that we spent about three minutes sitting on the floor, blowing on our cookies waiting for them to not be molten.

She had to go to bed almost immediately after that, so she only got to sample one cookie that night. (I might or might not have given her one for a special breakfast treat the next day, though. Don't judge! It's the season for celebrating, y'all!)

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Sacramento Zoo

We went to the Sacramento Zoo recently. It's pretty small (maybe a quarter of the size of the Phoenix Zoo), but still a cute way to spend a morning. Especially with the weather being as nice as it is.

We went right at the height of leaf-change, so I was loving the colors.

June decided that she was only mildly interested in any animals and was much more interested in the randomly placed little "rides" around the park. So while June climbed all over this one, Michael and I got to relax on a bench while intermittently asking her to share with any other kids that came along.

Without a doubt the highlight was the carousel at the end.

She's been talking about it since and frequently asks us which animals we'll choose when we ride the carousel again. Maybe next time I'll throw her for a loop and choose the stationary sleigh. (As if anyone would ever choose the sleigh!)