Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Out of the Mouths of Babes

It's amazing to watch how much your kid starts to better comprehend things, and even more fun when they can use their vocabulary. Our kiddo is quite the talker and I thought I'd share some of the things he has said over the past year. Sometimes he impresses me, sometimes he shocks me, and sometimes he just plain makes me laugh.  It's really just neat to see his progression.

20 months
- As his punishment ended, he said, "bye, bye timeout."

21 months
- Said, "all done, vacuum" when he saw it, because he hates when I vacuum.
- When the dogs finished their business outside, he said, "Come on, guys!" and beckoned towards them with his hand.

22 months
- When I held a drink up for him so he could drink through a straw, he got mad and wanted to do it himself. He motioned with his hands and said, "set right here" so I would put it down and he could pick it up himself.
- Says, "excuse me" when you're in his way.

23 months
- He saw me in my fuzzy robe and didn't like it and said, "take that shirt off."
- Told Meezy to "hush" a few times.
- To a boy at daycare, he said, "stop pushing!"
- I pulled out one of his art projects and he said, "I did that."
- When he woke up with a full diaper, he said, "Too much water."
- Saw Meezy open the messages app on his phone and said, "no texting, Dada."

24 months
- Meezy had a Conan clip playing on Youtube and he exclaimed, "It's Conan!"
- Tells me sometimes, "don't sing, mommy."
- Wanted to watch Thomas and said, "Remote! Where are you?"
- Will see Meezy and say, "How are you, dada?"
- When I was leaning off the bed to reach for something, he said, "Be careful."

25 months
- Got in the car and said, "Go see Opa.  Go see Oma too."
- When he's grumpy in the morning he says, "Don't touch Dutchie."
- Saw me change a lightbulb and said, "Mommy, that's awesome!  You did that!"
- Saw me yawn and said, "You're tired."

26 months
- I had the jelly and bread out and he asked, "Where's the peanut butter?"
- He woke up crying one morning, "I need ice cream! I need donuts!"
- Got water on his pants and said, "I hurt my pants."
- When he's hungry he says, "I want to pick a snack."

27 months
- Our dog peed on the floor and he said, "That's not nice, Pitties (her nickname). I go get a towel. I gotta clean it up."
- Likes to ask us, "Who's making that noise?"
- I spilled water on him and he said, "It's okay. It was an accident."

28 months
- Says, "I'm just being shy."
- When I reprimanded him, he went to Meezy and said, "Mom talked to me LIKE THAT."
- I told him Meezy was working and he said, "Daddy's not working; he's playing poker with friends."
- I was wearing a sparkly shirt and he pointed to it and said, "I want to wear that."

29 months
- When we discuss whose turn it is to put him to bed, he says, "I'ts mommy's turn. It's daddy's turn tomorrow."
- When we walked outside, he said, "Hey, it rained today. The table is wet. The chair is wet."
- When I let him sleep in my bed when Meezy was out of town, he said, "My daddy's not here.  I love my daddy."
- When reading a book to him, he said, "You missed a page."

30 months
- Says, "Don't see me, mommy" when he's pooping.
- When at the car wash and the machine went from back to front of our car, he said, "Whoa, we going backwards!"
- When he heard a classmate crying, he said, "I cheer her up in a minute."
- Saw a book he hadn't seen in a while and said, "Oh, I forgot this."
- After he cried and there was a tear on his cheek, he said, "I have a cry on my cheek. Cry went in my mouth."
- When Meezy and him were playing together and Meezy wanted to do the game a certain way, Dutch got exasperated and said, "I'm trying to do this, butthole."

31 months
- Was playing with his cars and said, "Get outta here! It's an emergency!"
- Told me, "Don't play with me. Go watch TV. I'm gonna close my eyes."
- When his nose is running he says, "My nose is running out."
- Told me, "I'm so excited to see you!"
- When Meezy sneaks into his room in the mornings so he can lay next to him and then Dutch wakes up, he asks, "You sleep in my bed, Daddy?"

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Yep, Still Pregnant

I feel a little bad that I'm 26 weeks into this pregnancy and I've barely written about it at all. Honestly, though, I've barely written about anything over the past few months.  My life has been one stressful day after the next.  We have had repair contractors at our house every single week for as long as I can remember.  We've been dealing with plumbing issues since April and HVAC issues since July.  When our plumbing repairs are finally resolved, there will most certainly be a post about it. They have disrupted our lives tremendously and are costing us a fortune.  But, enough about that for now.  Let's do a little catch-up.

This pregnancy has been quite different from my pregnancy with Dutch.  I started out with a ridiculous appetite, I think because I was having really bad "morning" sickness.  Putting food in my stomach helped relieve some of the discomfort, but that meant I ate way too much!  I gained weight quickly and felt like my belly popped out immediately.  Luckily my doctor prescribed something that really helped with the sickness, which in turn decreased my food intake.  I felt dizzier and clumsier more often in this pregnancy than before.  I had the same insomnia and horrible heartburn/reflux that I remembered from last time, but they seemed to arrive much earlier in this pregnancy.  My insomnia is getting better, but the reflux is a daily occurrence.  I often feel like I can't quench my thirst throughout the day.  I will go to the fridge multiple times and attempt to drink milk, tea, water - anything because I feel so thirsty.  That does mean I end up drinking tons of water every day, though, so it's not so bad.  I can't say I "crave" anything - didn't during the other pregnancy either - but I do find myself wishing for candy every now and then.  It's not like a "I have to have this right now" feeling, but more of a "it would be nice if there were skittles in front of me right now" feeling.

Other symptoms include feeling fatigued quickly and going to the bathroom constantly. I remember the excessive bathroom breaks last time around, but again, I feel like that started later in the pregnancy.  I was already suffering this time at 19 weeks.  It's ridiculous.  I'm up at least 2 times a night to pee, and a zillion times during the day. I will literally go to the bathroom, go sit back down at my computer, and five minutes later feel like I could pee again. The worst is when I get the feeling of needing to pee and then can't remember if I just went or not. Man, pregnancy brain is sweet. I'm experiencing some sciatica, but it hasn't been too horrible so far. For about a week at a time, I will get this really sharp pain where my pelvis and spine meet, after I've taken a few steps.  Then it'll be gone the next week.  A couple weeks later, it will resurface.  I'm not getting the shooting pain down my legs or the numbness or tingling I experienced previously from the herniated disk, so I'm hopeful this pain really is just related to the pregnancy.  I was running for the first few weeks of this pregnancy, so I'm optimistic I can get back to that (pain-free) after this pregnancy.

Lastly, my weight.  I know women don't like to talk about this, but let's get serious.  It's on most of our minds.  I'm not embarrassed to say I struggle with my weight and I wish I was 15 pounds lighter before getting pregnant again. Being a mom and having back problems that restricted my exercise meant I didn't get into the shape I wanted to, though. I just see that as motivation to try harder after the second baby. I'm 5'7 and my starting weight was 148.5lbs at 4 weeks pregnant.  That looked like this:

What's funny is that I felt at the time that I needed to lose weight, but I look at that picture now and go, "Damn, I was skinny!"  Lol.  Here's a picture from 12 weeks:

You can definitely see the changes that took place on my front side during those 8 weeks. I forgot to weigh myself and write it down, but I had probably gained 7-10 pounds at this point. Here's what I looked like at 20 weeks:

I can admit that I don't look too big, but unfortunately the numbers on the scale told a different story. By 20 weeks, I was up to 167lbs, which meant a total weight gain of 18.5lbs at that point. Considering some people have gained just a third of that at the same point in their pregnancy, you can see how disconcerting that can be.  I haven't taken my 26 week picture yet, so here's the one from last week:

It is what it is!  I'm definitely getting larger and feeling more uncomfortable. My weight is around 174.5lbs now, which means 26 pounds gained.  I'm not a petite person, and I make large babies, so this weight gain was to be expected.  But, I'm hopeful I can keep it under control and not gain more than 40lbs total.  I gained at least 45lbs with Dutch, probably closer to 50.  I was able to get it all off in about 5 months' time, but if I can keep my weight gain to 40lbs or less this time, maybe it'll be a little easier!  I'm not gonna lie, though, making big babies is not so bad. I can feel this baby move constantly, very clearly.  I like that he's large enough that I can really feel all of his movements.  It's a nice reminder throughout the day of what the bigger picture is in all of this.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Mo Ranch 2014

Every couple years, my Dad's side of the family gets together for a family reunion at Mo Ranch in Hunt, TX. It's actually not too hard to coordinate, because his side of the family is (unfortunately) quite small.  My Dad is the only remaining living member of the original family of 5 that emigrated here from Holland many, many years ago.  One of his brothers had 3 sons before he passed away, so those cousins and their families, and my dad's three daughters and our families, get together with my parents for a fun weekend.  It's a very laid-back place, where you get to roam around and choose from an array of activities like fishing, swimming, sand volleyball, tennis, hiking, riding the rapids, or going down the famous slide.  The funny part about this year is that Mo Ranch is very slowly renovating their rooms, and Meezy and I happened to get one of the only already renovated rooms! Nobody else in our group got one, yet we paid the same price.  Lol!

It's so nice for all the cousins to be together in one place at the same time, because we're usually spread out across Texas in different cities.  Our kids have an awesome time together too!

Jill, Joanna, Janet, Nick, John, Charles

The cousins and their spouses

All our kids!

We typically eat our meals in their main cafeteria, but on Saturday nights, they always do a BBQ by the river.

Doesn't matter how pregnant I am, you know I'm not going to pass up tennis and sand volleyball.

Dutch was hesitant about the long catwalk suspended high above the road.  He cracked me up with his timidity.  It was going to be quite a long journey if we hadn't intervened!


In my opinion, the coolest thing about Mo Ranch is the slide that terminates into the river.  Here's Meezy going down the slide:

Now imagine it without the protective guards along the side of it.  When I was growing up, that's what it looked like!  Those extra guards are a fairly recent addition.  I rode it when it was way more terrifying!

Since we go every two years, it's fun to see the changes taking place in our family between trips.  Here's Dutch and I two years ago, and again this year:

Bye, Mo Ranch.  We'll see you again in two years when we are a family of four!

Pensacola Beach Trip 2014

With baby #2 making his arrival later this year, Meezy and I decided we needed to try and get a vacation in while we still could.  We threw around the idea of having a getaway just for the two of us, but after talking with a cousin who told me about the great trips they take their toddler on and how fun it is to see him experience new things, we decided we should do a family trip.  Since Dutch had never gone to the beach, we started researching destinations with beautiful beaches.  Galveston was out, because I've been there many times, and I'm just not a fan of the beach there.  We thought about Destin, but the more I read about it, the more popular of a tourist destination it seemed to be becoming, and it is a little further away from us than other beaches.  We decided on Pensacola Beach.  The drive seemed manageable, online reviews were good, and we found an affordable hotel directly on the beach.

Dutch LOVED the beach.  From the first moment we took him out there, we knew we made the right decision.  He giggled like crazy when we took him in the water and would love to run away from the tide as it inched toward his feet.  He also thoroughly enjoyed playing in the sand and his favorite part seemed to be knocking down the sand castles we would build!

We tried to take a dolphin tour one day, but after heading out on the water for about 20 minutes, the captain decided to turn the boat around because the water was getting too choppy and dangerous.  It actually wasn't too bad, because we got a free boat ride and Dutch seemed to enjoy it.

One day we found a food truck/bar on the beach for lunch, and it was perfect for entertaining a 2 year old. After he ate, he enjoyed time in the sand while we got to leisurely enjoy our food!

Many of our afternoons looked like this:

We also threw in a visit to a children's museum and enjoyed some pool time:

All in all, it was a great experience for our family, and Dutch was a trooper on the extremely long car drives. I'm so glad we were able to take a few days out of our busy schedules to enjoy time together.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Not Enough Ladies, Too Many Mans

Well, we got gender confirmation on baby #2!  At 18 weeks, we got a very clear sonogram picture confirming we're having another boy.  I think I was leaning towards wanting a girl, but giving Dutch a brother will be a great gift.  He needs a little playmate who can hang with him. The kid has loads of energy, typically at like 9:30 at night.  He runs, he yells, he crashes his cars, he rides his bike around the house, etc. I don't think he'd know what to do with a sister! The main benefit, of course, is the fact that we get to reuse all of Dutch's baby stuff again! Whew.  No need to obtain a whole new wardrobe or accessories catered to a girl. The new baby will inherit Dutch's nursery and all the furniture, and we'll work on furnishing a whole new room  for Dutch.  I'm having to give up my current home office setup, but such is life!

I'm not gonna lie - when I heard we were having another boy, I got a little overwhelmed. There will be 3 males in the house!  I'm severely outnumbered.  It made me think of a Flight of the Conchords song. (Make sure you have a sense of humor before you proceed with watching this.  Also, NSFW lyrics.)

My favorite lines:

"You guys are dorkin' up my vibe with all the dicks."
"Not enough ladies, too many mans."

Monday, July 7, 2014

Outdoor Living Remodel

We enjoy having a pool in our backyard, but that was the extent of our outdoor amenities. The sun beating down on our uncovered patio was brutal, so we knew we needed to provide some shade and comfortable seating.  We wanted an area for lounging before or after being in the pool and an area appropriate for outdoor dining.  This is what we had before:

It was nice for laying out, but the smaller chaise lounges weren't very comfortable, the pillows faded quickly, the heat was scorching, and it wasn't a convenient place for eating. Once we cleared all the furniture out, here's what we had:

The area was a good size, so we decided to get a pergola installed. We used Lawnmaster through Home Depot.  We liked their options and thought they were affordable.  Once we met with a rep and decided on the features, they sent us renderings for approval.  After we signed off on those, installation was scheduled. That process took about 5 weeks, in total.  They told us it would be 3-4 weeks, but whatever.  The actual installation was done in 5 hours, so that was nice.  The crew was efficient, answered all my questions and provided suggestions, and cleaned up after themselves.  I was happy with their work! Here is the finished product:

It's a 12x14 Deluxe Pergola with upgraded stripping.  That means we got more wood slats on the top, so that it would provide more shade.  I love the red stain on the wood and the end-cuts on the headers. We had them start the first header at 7'6" high instead of 7' so that we could add a fan or misters later, and it wouldn't feel too close to your head.

Now that the pergola was installed, we needed furniture!  Considering how long it took us to pick out our indoor dining furniture, I was dreading this task.  I looked at a few stores in person, and then checked out a lot of sites online.  I came across Chair King in Plano, and decided to stop by there on the way back from an appointment.  They were about to close, but I got a good feel for how many options they had and figured it would be worth a return trip on another day.  When Meezy and I found time to go the next day, I realized there was a location closer to our house. We drove there instead and discovered the store was closing that next weekend.  The inventory was quite limited, but they were offering 50% off!  Score!  We had figured we would spend a few thousand and get a small table with 6 basic chairs.  Thanks to the sale, we were able to get a huge table with 8 upgraded chairs.

The table comfortably seats 8, as shown, but this is with just one of the leaves installed.  If we have more guests, we can add the other leaf (that is stored conveniently under the table), and have room for at least 2 more.

The end chairs are upgraded swivel chairs.

    The side chairs don't swivel, but they're all sturdy with nice, decorative arms and fade-free fabric.

I'm so glad we went to the location that was about to close, because we either would've spent double on this set, or not gotten the one that we really wanted, to save money.  We put the new stuff to use immediately, with a family meal on Friday night - homemade pizzas!  I'm looking forward to more outdoor fun this summer and fall.

Project Costs:
Pergola: $3,900
Furniture: $4,200 (total also included a large serving cart, not pictured)