It’s been a crappy few days

It’s been a crappy few days.  I don’t know why.  But it has been.  My younger daughter had a throw up episode that scared me – she threw up 5-6 times in a span of 30-45 minutes.  And it wasn’t spit-up; it was violent vomiting.  She hasn’t been sleeping well, which has left me pretty tired.  I yelled at my husband in front of my kids.  My older daughter scraped herself up pretty bad on my watch.  I failed with dinner this week.  My floors need to be mopped.  I lost my temper with my bigger baby.  My husband is frustrated with my housekeeping.  I have no friends because I don’t reach out to people.  And to top it off, I’ve been eating pretty crummy food and eating a lot of it.  So I’m also frumpy and doughy.  lt’s a terrible feeling to think you’re bad at all the things you’re responsible for and the stuff you’re responsible for actually matters.  I’m tired and I’m frustrated and I’m ashamed of myself and I just feel awful.

But there’s always a silver lining.  My big baby told me she loved me on her own.  And kept saying it, every time I told her I loved her.  And when I said “I love your hair!” she replied with “I love YOU!” and when I told her “I love your face!” she just said “I love YOU!”  And I believed her.  And my little dumpling sat up from lying down all on her own.  And I sat her in a swing at the park for the first time.  Her big sister was so proud!  That makes me feel better.  And my husband has a short week this week.  And his ideas and abilities are starting to be recognized by his peers.  AND we bought him some new shirts – he didn’t make me return them or anything!  And Miss K. has not cried a single time I dropped her off to school.

At times like these, I always remind myself that I can’t change what’s done.  All I can do is impact what will happen next.  So I’m gonna make myself make a list of things to do and I’m going to start crossing them off.  Maybe I’ll even add a to-do that involves making myself look better.  And some yoga.  All of those should help, right?  What do you do to climb out of your crappy days?

BUT-insky

In the last few days, I’ve read a couple posts that talk about how we are too hard on ourselves and how we should just stop beating ourselves up.  And last weekend I was talking to a dear friend and she was commenting on how self deprecating I am.  It got me thinking about whether or not these negative thoughts were good for me or if they were just defeating.  In general, a little self criticism isn’t harmful.  It’s good to push oneself.  But I tend to take it a little too far because after any accomplishment, I add a “but” as a qualifier.  I am really good at using that “but.”  I can justify things amazingly well (I ate that whole cake BUT I really needed to plump up my rear end) and on the flip side, I slay any accomplishment that I have with a BUT:

  • I did six loads of laundry today BUT I didn’t iron shirts.
  • I swept and mopped the whole house today BUT I didn’t dust so it’s not perfect
  • I managed multi-million dollar budgets BUT anyone could do that
  • I made dinner tonight BUT it was only pasta
  • I ran a marathon BUT I was really slow
  • I gave Super S a bath today BUT I didn’t give her a massage
  • I read Miss K six books today BUT I didn’t do any crafts or projects with her.
  • I support my husband BUT actually I’m a really bad wife
  • I called my mom today BUT didn’t ask about my grandma
  • I got a lot of compliments on the speech I gave at my bestie’s wedding BUT I still forgot to say a couple things

I could go on all day.  Really.  It’s a problem.  I was reading this post by the The Bloggess and I loved how easily you can change your perspective and feel good.  So I decided to do what she did and re-evaluate my statements and do what I don’t do enough of – say just a little and leave it at that.

  • I did six loads of laundry today BUT I didn’t iron shirts.
  • I swept and mopped the whole house today BUT I didn’t dust so it’s not perfect
  • I managed multi-million dollar budgets BUT I didn’t really have to stick to the budget
  • I made dinner tonight BUT it was only pasta.
  • I ran a marathon BUT I was really slow
  • I gave Super S a bath today BUT I didn’t give her a massage
  • I read Miss K six books today BUT I didn’t do any crafts or projects with her.
  • I support my husband BUT actually I’m a really bad wife
  • I called my mom today BUT didn’t ask about my grandma
  • I got a lot of compliments on the speech I gave at my bestie’s wedding BUT I still forgot to say a couple things

Well, shit.  That feels a lot better, doesn’t it?  I would never, ever, ever dismiss a friend’s accomplishments in this way and yet I do it to myself a million times a day.  That’s pretty crappy.  One of the companies that I follow on Facebook (I’ll let you guess which one.  Here’s a hint: I talk about them all the time.  Here’s another: it rhymes with beebliapers.) asked for people to give a kind word or short phrase about themselves and I came up with “understanding.”  What’s your kind word?

And then while thinking about this blog post, I realized I had something wonderful to state that I don’t have anything to cross out of.  This next statement makes me so happy and fulfilled and thankful and leaves me with a tremendous sense of well-being.

My daughters are happy and healthy.

PERIOD.

The List – A Sad Update

When I first started this blog almost two years ago, I put together a list of things I wanted to do to make our lives greener, healthier, better.  Some of those things I’m happy to say worked out.  Some didn’t.  Some I made progress on and slid back.  So I figure it’s time to revisit the list and set some priorities so we can live a better life.  Here’s where we are:

Items I’d say are Done:
1.  Recycle more, throw away less
2.  Reduce the number of one-time use bags we use
3.  Stop using SLS based shampoos and soaps
4.  Begin using a natural toothpaste
7.  Use primarily cloth/hybrid diapers until baby is potty trained
15.  Switch to cloth wipes

Items that were improved upon but have since slid back:
5.  Eat homemade dinners at least four nights each week
10.  Limit fast food to once a month
11.  Limit soda to once a month
12.  Reduce the amount of high fructose corn syrup in my diet
13.  Exercise
15.  Drink more water

Items that were never addressed:
6.  Reduce our water consumption
8.  Reduce electricity consumption in the house
9.  Compost

I think pretty much everything on the section where I slid back will make an appearance on a new version of the list.  I’m pleasantly surprised that I made progress on most of what was on the list.  I just need to go back and fight gravity to make that second section come true and stick.  I do wish I had conquered more and stuck with it.  Stay tuned.  A new list is in the works.

the little engine that could

The Cars

It’s happening.  I think the automobile industry in our country is starting to evolve (finally).  Ever since my husband got us our Nissan Leaf, I am so much more aware of hybrid vehicles, alternative fuel vehicles and basically anything that is breaking the mold on the traditional gasoline based car.  There are a few that I think are noteworthy:

The Nissan LEAF

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After almost two and a half years of driving our LEAF, we still love it.  It has made us believers in electric vehicles.  My husband says he hopes to never buy another gas fueled car.  I love it too.  Compared to my gas guzzler, the car is quiet, odorless, and smooth.  Whenever I drive the LEAF for more than a day, I find my car to feel so effortful.  Thank you, Nissan, for bring electric vehicles to the masses!  The only part that makes us sad is the inevitable degradation of the battery over time.  We’ve never been stuck by the side of the road without fuel and it’s really exciting to see how many of these are on the road these days.  These are clean burning cars – think of all the pollution we’re saving!!!  Now if we could just get more charging stations…

Tesla Model S
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This car is soooo hot.  If it were a person, I would have a crush on it.  I really like the way the car looks and I LOVE how I see them all over the place here in Orange County, California.  Seriously.  I mostly drive in my little town, going to the grocery store, montessori and maybe Target and Costco and yet I see at least three of these everyday (be still my beating heart!)  These come in a couple versions that give a range of 208 miles and 265 miles per charge.  We could easily go to San Diego and back!  No range anxiety here!  And the company is doing extremely well.  They’re posting better than expected profits, are paying back their debts faster than expected and are all around awesome.  They have a great plan to put charging stations in strategic locations that will help facilitate longer range trips in their cars.  That you can use FOR FREE.  So cool.  And like all electric vehicles, we’re saving the earth’s limited resources (well states like California that primarily use wind power to generate electricity are.  Areas that use coal are still using a limited resource) The car is pricy though…the most basic model starts at $63k.

FedEx Electric Delivery Trucks
I’ve also been seeing these guys driving around town:

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How great would it be if FedEx was able to phase out its existing fleet and replace it with these?  And then UPS followed suit?  And USPS?  And DHL?  And OnTrac?  gDiapers (yes, they work their way into ALL my posts, it seems) uses a carbon footprint neutral shipping method offered by FedEx.  I wonder if it includes using these guys?

Google Self Driving Vehicles
Although this doesn’t have to do with electric vehicles like the others in this post, I found this awesome.  I was at Target in the Bay Area and saw a Lexus SUV with a crazy contraption on top.

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(Apologies for the not fabulous picture.  I took it from my car with my two girls in tow)

Anyway, the car had a sign that said it was a self driving vehicle, apparently one of the many over-the-top amazing things that Google is playing around with and developing.  While the technology itself is quite amazing, when you stop and think about the possibilities with the application, it’s mind blowing.  The cars are likely to be more efficient and safer, which means they could completely change the way we use cars today.  Maybe communities could share them to take kids to school.  Or employers could offer vanpool type services.  Or they could replace the way cities offer public transportation.  Or maybe they make owning your own vehicle obsolete.  Exciting stuff!

And now here are some of my favorite songs by The Cars.  Because it’s my blog and I can post what I want regardless of whether or not it’s truly relevant.  I love you, 80’s music.

Tips for a Successful Make Your Own Pizza Party

Months ago we had a party and we did a “Make Your Own Damn Pizza” theme for food.  I think the idea was good but I learned some things I’d do differently if I were to do it again.  I thought I had taken pictures while preparing for the party but can’t seem to find any of them.  Here’s the scoop:

We had about 20 people coming over, including six kids (all but one were toddlers).  Since we had a bunch of kids, we were planning on starting and ending relatively early – started at around 5:00 and ended at around 10:00.  I decided I wanted to do individual pizzas rather than larger pizzas and since I was 8+ months pregnant, I didn’t want to mess around with trying out new doughs.  So off to Trader Joe’s I went.  I estimated that I could make three pizzas with each packet of premade dough so I bought eight bags (a little extra for good measure), which allowed for 24 pizzas.  I bought the plain, wheat and herbed crusts and planned on par-baking the crusts ahead of time so that when it was time to make the pizzas, they would cook up quickly and no one would have to wait long.  So I took the dough out of the bags and set them on the counter to bring them to room temperature and started prepping.

I cut pieces of parchment paper to sit under each crust so that it would be easy to slip the crusts in and out of the oven.  I also took out a few markers so that we could write people’s names on the parchment paper so we’d know whose pizza was whose.  Ultimately since we only had three pizzas in the oven at a time, it wasn’t hard to keep them straight.

Once the crusts were warmed up, I started separating them into thirds and spreading them out into pizzas.  Ideally I think they’d be about 8 inches in diameter and thin.  The goal with baking them before the guests arrived was to make it so that the cooking time  was as short as possible when the guests were there.  I used a fork to poke holes in the crusts to prevent them from puffing up too much.  My oven and pizza pans were large enough for three pizzas in each batch.  I preheated the oven per the package instructions and figured half the cooking time should suffice.  Basically you want the crust to be cooked but too crispy or burned.

A few batches in, I realized that the crusts were WAY too thick and uneven.  And even though I had poked holes in the crust, they were puffing up because they were just too thick.  So I started separating them into fourths instead.  Definitely use flour or cornmeal when spreading out your crusts.  It’ll help keep their shape and make it easy to work with.  I found myself tired and frustrated during this process because I couldn’t quite get the crusts right.  Lesson learned: definitely do a trial run with your family first!  I ended up throwing out a bunch of the crusts because they were too thick and doughy and we actually had waaaay too many crusts for the party.

While the crusts were par-baking, I started prepping the toppings.  I had emailed our guests and asked if there were any specific requests.  We had kids, meat-eaters, vegetarians, vegans, spicy eaters…I wanted to make sure everyone had an option that would be satisfying and yummy.  So I offered three types of sauce – typical red pizza sauce, pesto, and barbeque sauce.  I also offered a few different cheeses – mozzarella, parmesan, and vegan shreds by Daiya.  Then I tried thinking up combos that would be good and offered a bunch of toppings – red onions, pepperoni, mushrooms, jalapenos, pineapple, olives, chicken, basil, tomatoes, garlic, and canadian bacon.  I luckily had a small tastings bowl set that allowed me to put out a little bit of each topping with spoons in each bowl.  I had larger bowls and spoons for the sauces and cheeses.

We made the rest of the party a potluck so our guests helped out by bringing salad, appetizers, and desserts.  We picked up some wings and called it a meal!  When it was time to start making the pizzas, my husband manned the oven and took the pizzas in and out of the oven.  Our guests just topped their pizzas as they liked and in eight minutes, voila!  Dinner!  It was fun.  While one set of pizzas were cooking, the next set of people were topping theirs.  I still think the idea is a good one but I would definitely do the crusts differently.  I’d make less crusts, I’d make them thinner, and I’d practice first.  And if there was a smaller group, I’d limit the toppings to prevent waste.  So in summary:

Tips for a successful Make Your Own Pizza party:
*Pre-bake the crusts before your guests arrive
*Keep the oven on so it’s always ready
*Have appetizers in case there’s a wait
*Give plenty of sauce and topping options – it’s more work but it’s more fun too!
*Have a designated helper to grab a few people at a time to make their pizzas, explain what to do and give people ideas on what to put on their pizzas
*Have a designated person to man the oven
*Use pre-cut parchment paper underneath each crust for ease of transport in and out of the oven
*Keep the crusts thin and use a fork to poke holes in the crust so it doesn’t puff up too much.
*Conduct a trial run to see how large of a dough ball you’ll need to create the most appropriate crust thickness as well as how long you’ll need to par-bake.
*Come up with a few killer combos as suggestions for people
*Put post-baked toppings (Such as parmesan, hot sauce, red chili flakes, basil) in a separate place than the pre-baked toppings.  It just helps with the flow of traffic.
*Keep the kids out of the kitchen when the pizzas are cooking.
 

Daddy and His Girl

I am a lucky ducky…for a lot of reasons.  One reason is because my husband was able to take FIVE WEEKS off for paternity leave when we had our second little bub.  This made a huge difference because I really think it helped Miss K. feel secure among all the changes that our family went through.  And he was fantastic with her.  He’s probably her most favorite person in the world (and actually, the converse may be true as well).  He made her breakfast, took her to the bathroom, washed her hands, helped give her baths, fed her, and took her all over the place.  The two of them were off on an adventure virtually everyday.  I think it really built up his confidence in his ability to care for our kiddo.  The only regret I have is that his hands were so full with Miss K. that he didn’t get the chance to bond with Super S. like he did when Miss K. was a newborn.

Because he loves her so much and he has such a zest for life and because he has such energy to expose her to new experiences, he took her to all kinds of places and I wanted to capture this because I know one day soon we’ll forget (hell, I’m already forgetting).

Aquarium of the Pacific – The dynamic duo’s first trip was to the Aquarium of the Pacific.  It was a relatively quick trip but Miss K. loved playing on the boat in the kids area and called the huge whales “mama whale and neeni whale.”  Awww…

Train Ride – Daddy took Miss K to ride the trains twice, both times from Irvine to San Juan Capistrano.  It’s a quick trip with only a couple stops but it’s just right for a two-year-old.  The second time her friend, Shane, and his parents joined.  The first time they came home with some delicious cookies.

TrainRide

Mt. Baldy – Daddy wanted to show Miss K. what snow was like so they made a quick morning trip to Mt. Baldy.  He picked the right day because the snow couldn’t have lasted for long.  The next several days were sunny.  Miss K. came back and reported that she saw snow and snowmen!

San Diego Zoo – We have an annual pass to the incredibly wonderful San Diego Zoo.  So while it may not have been the best thing to do, all four of us trekked down to San Diego and checked out the zoo when Super S was just a few weeks old.  We saw orangutans swinging on ropes, hippos in the water, and took the sky tram across the park.  We were only there for a couple hours but Miss K. loves animals and really enjoyed it.

Library – Daddy also took Miss K to the local library to check out some new books.  Miss k loves books and therefore loves the library.  They got her a library card and picked out a stack of books.  And when it was time to return them, they did it all over again.

Woodbridge lakes to feed the ducks – Miss K. likes to feed the ducks so her dad took her to walk around the lake and feed the birds.  It’s crazy how many birds there are and she has no fear!

Parks – These two went to several parks, including William Mason park.  One day we walked around and a lady was kind enough to give us some bread to feed more ducks.  And we saw turtles in the water!  Miss K. kept wanting to visit one of several tot lots.

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Park2

 

Why does this picture of my bub and her dad make me cry?  Maybe because it so captures their relationship.  He’ll always protect her, educate her, hold her up when she needs it (and probably when he doesn’t), stand next to her…I’m so glad they have each other.
Park

Eric Carle’s Treasured Stories – In March Miss K went to her first live show at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.  The show brought to life some of Eric Carle’s most popular books – Brown Bear Brown Bear, What do You See?,  The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me.  The show lasted an hour and luckily Miss K was able to sit through it all.  She loved it and talked about the how the caterpillar got big and fat.

Pretend City – Miss K, her dad, her cousin, and her aunt all went to Pretend City and had a blast.  They danced, played with fruit and ran amok.  Awesome despite all the germy kids.

Visit to Grandma and Grandpa’s House – The biggest and most wonderful adventure the two shared was going to Northern California to visit Miss K’s Aaji and Abba.  They took a plane and made it through the whole trip with no potty accidents.  They picked fruit, blew bubbles, sang songs, played with stickers, and took a fun bath with her grandparents.  I think it was wonderful for both Miss K and the grandparents.  It gave them an opportunity to bond without pesky mom around and really, everyone loved it.

GlamorousMissSnectarineblossom

I remember once I stopped by my Dad’s office without calling him in advance to let him know I was coming.  I walked around his factory looking for him and saw him coming out of a room.  When he saw me, he looked at me as if to say “You came?  You’re here?  I’m so glad.”  I should add that I was 34 years old and pregnant so it’s not like I had that little girl spark.  When we found out we were having a girl, all I wanted was for my husband to feel the love that I knew my dad had for me inside of him and for my baby to have that same sense of security knowing that her dad loves her.  And I just knew Mr. Crunchycake would love our squishies more than anything.  And he does.

My husband really is a wonderful dad and this is very high on the extensive list of reasons why I love him.  All his hard work helped me recover faster and allowed me to ease back into the chaotic life of a mother and it let me bond a little more with our second squish than I would have otherwise.  I’m so glad he made the most of his time off with his girl.

Miss K’s Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Birthday Party

Well, this post is embarrassingly late.  We threw a birthday party for Miss K over two months ago and I never got around to writing a post about so I’m going to do it now.

20130113_of_0144(aww…I’m so preggy)

Miss K turned two.  Crazy.  Just crazy.  Since I was about a month away from her sister’s  due date, we decided to keep it simple and have it at a local kids gym called My Gym.  Since Karina now has interests (compared to a year ago when she didn’t really), I decided to pick a theme that she liked so we went with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  At the time she asked to watch the show every day.  We had MMCH plates, napkins, cupcake stand, cups, and goodie bags.  We had 16 kids and from what we could tell, they had a great time (score!)

We were very pleased with the folks at My Gym.  Basically all we had to do was pull up with the food and they’d take care of the rest.  They did an amazing job.  There were two “teachers” and they were able to entertain kids as little as 1 year old all the way up to seven year olds.They did a dance party, a maze, a puppet show,

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Rockers,

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a zip line,

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amazing swings,

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free play on slides, ball bins, etc.;

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parachute

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And the grand finale was a bubble extravaganza that all the kids seemed to be thrilled by

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We brought sandwiches in from Corner Bakery, as well as a big old salad, goldfish crackers, pasta salad, a veggie tray, fruit trays, chips, juice boxes, water, soda, mickey shaped chicken nuggets, and of course some treats.  We made cupcakes with Mickey Mouse ears, put them on a Mickey cupcake stand, and put a candle in the top one.  I used black, blue, and red polka dotted cupcake liners from Bakers Stock.  Awesome.  Seriously.  Also made Mickey shaped Rice Krispies Treats using a mickey cookie cutter and red circle cookies dipped in chocolate.  Lots of fun!

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I don’t know exactly what but Miss K. was going through something that week that she turned two.  She was very unhappy, throwing tantrums and crying a LOT.  The morning of the party, we had a couple meltdowns.  And she refused to put her shoes on or let me comb her hair until we got to the party.  I was concerned she wouldn’t enjoy her own party.  But she did and at the end of the day, that’s really all that mattered to me.  I just wanted to see this face:

20130113_of_0093 (and this one)

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(oh and this one too)

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A few of my favorite (baby) things

We have a baby due in a little over two weeks.  Eep.  Geez Louise.  I have to admit that we’re not exactly on the ball like we were last time.  I guess we have plenty of stuff for her (thanks to our first baby and my SIL/BIL having had a baby a little over a year ago) but I’m not nearly as well read as last time.  At this point the nursery is done, her clothes are washed and my hospital bag is (mostly) packed.  Well, it’s “packed.”  All our stuff is sitting on a chair in our room.  Need to put it in a bag and get a bag for hubster.  I feel confident yet anxious at the same time…This time I’m more concerned about handling both the newborn and the toddler (and making sure both of their physical and emotional needs are met).  The anxiety comes from feeling like I’m over-confident.  So I’ve been trying to sneak in some reading here and there as a refresher on breastfeeding, infant care, sleeping, etc.

Well, in thinking about all the preparations, I thought I’d do my short list of baby things I loved with my first daughter.  I’d love to hear what products you loved too!

gDiapers

gtweetOf course this had to be first.   gDiapers are hybrid diapers that allow you to use either cloth inserts or flushable/biodegradable disposable inserts.  I love that they’re baby and earth friendly, I love how they look, I love that they’re versatile, I love their company, I love that they prevented crazy up-the-back=blowouts and I love that they’ve served as a gateway to a greener lifestyle for us.  They’ve been a great money saver too.  I like some of their accessory products too, like their gTotewipes, babylegs, and gStyle clothing.  I think they’re all good quality products.  gRefills are made in the USA, so that’s a bonus too.

Angel Baby Bottom Balm

Along with cloth diapering comes the need to use cloth safe ointments for baby’s bottom.  IAbbb wanted something natural if possible too and was thrilled to find Earth Mama Angel Baby Organics‘ Bottom Balm.  It worked great for us, was safe for her cloth diapers, and I never worried about what ingredients were touching her most delicate parts.  Ya, it’s definitely pricier than say desitin, but I liked it.  It’s also safe for scrapes and cuts on baby’s delicate skin.

Aden + Anais Swaddle Blankets

aplusaWhile many swaddle/receiving blankets are made of 100% cotton, I loved these particluar ones because they were so versatile.  I used them to cover her stroller/carrier when she was sleeping, as a swaddle blanket, rolled up as neck support, as a coverup while breastfeeding, as a light blanket while travelling, and best of all as Karina’s lovey.  For a long while, the giraffe or monkey blanket was part of her sleep association.  These blankets are very lightweight and thin and I love how breathable they are.  So I picked up four more for baby number two!  Karina had two blankets and that was plenty, though.  Like the bottom balm above, the blankets are more expensive than the typical receiving blanket but I think it’s worth it.

Boppy Pillow

I had both the Boppy and the Brest Friend but found that the Boppy worked better for us.boppy  First, because the Brest Friend sat too high when placed on the arms of my rocking chair and secondly because we could also use it for tummy time.  I also have a snoogle and they  claim you can use it for nursing but I never used it that way.

What are some of your favorite baby products?

Happy 2nd Birthday to My Favorite Girl!

I can’t believe she’s already two years old!  The joy of so many of our days is getting so big.  I hardly remember our lives without her though.  Unfortunately I have no video this year…we…ummm…didn’t take nearly as many pictures this year as we did last year.

Lest I forget one day what she was like on her second birthday, here are some amazing things about her:

  • Miss K. is 33 inches tall and weighs about 24 pounds, give or take half a pound.
  • She knows her alphabet, can count to 11 (sometimes), knows her shapes, and knows her colors.  She can’t sing the ABC song all the way through but the amazing thing is we never spent any time teaching her lower case letters and yet she knows them all.  I think it’s Dr. Seuss’ ABC book that really worked for her.
  • Miss K. likes to sing now and can sing a few songs in their entirety – twinkle twinkle little star, five little monkeys jumping on the bed and slippery fish are some of her favorite songs
  • She tells people she loves them without abandon.  Now she says it unprompted and melts us all.
  • Miss K. is getting three canine teeth right now and once she’s done with that, I think she’ll have all her teeth but the 2 year molars.
  • Karina tries to jump every day but still can’t get airborne.
  • She is able to complete the sentences of many of her books and picks this up very quickly.  She “reads” Brown Bear Brown Bear to us, meaning she recites the  repetitious book on her own
  • Miss K. is almost potty trained.  She still wears a diaper at night but during the day, she’s been doing great with only the occasional accident.  She seldom has an accident outside the home and never poops in her pants.  We’re very proud of her.
  • She can put on her underwear, pants, and jacket by herself.  While she still needs help with socks, shirts and shoes, she’s getting close.
  • Miss K. is learning to drink from a regular cup.  She knows what to do but just gets excited and drinks too fast or impulsively pours out all the liquids onto the table for some reason
  • She pretty much feeds herself anything we give her.  She is able to eat her oatmeal, chili, toast, fruit, anything with her hands, fork or spoon.
  • Her vocabulary is pretty impressive.  She communicates well, in my opinion.  She’s able to form sentences and uses both the third person and the first person to refer to herself.
  • She says “bless you” whenever she coughs or sneezes, even in her sleep
  • She’s pretty zippy – runs fast, likes to hang off of bars, enjoys baths.
  • She knows everyone in her family’s name (grandparents, aunts, uncles, parents) and title
  • She loves loves LOVES going to Trader Joe’s.  Though she talks about it daily, the last few weeks have been particularly fun for her because she gets to use a little shopping cart there.  She actually goes and picks out groceries, talks about what we’re going to get next (eggs!  yogurt!) and puts the groceries from the cart onto the counter.  She also steers the cart back into its proper spot with the others.  It’s pretty adorable but it’s tough because sometimes the store is very crowded.  She stopped at the wines and meat sections yesterday, ready to pick some out so I had to let her know we didn’t need any.
  • Her favorite show is Dinosaur Train right now.  We try to limit her tv watching but she loves that show.  She roars like the dinosaur in the intro.
  • She does fabulously with her grandparents.  She loves all four of them deeply and talk about them.  She can spend the night at their homes without any real problems.  This is reassuring since we’re having a baby soon.
  • Speaking of which, Miss K. knows that there is a baby in Mommy’s tummy, knows it’s her sister and says she will help with all kinds of things.  She saw ultrasound pictures and said “Sister!  Sister!”  We’re hoping that she’s happy when the baby arrives.
  • Karina sleeps in her own bed.  Not a crib, not a toddler bed, but a full-on full sized bed.  The box spring is on the floor to keep her close to the ground.  We still stay with her when she’s falling asleep but I’m hoping to get her in the habit of falling asleep on her own again.
  • Karina’s favorite person on the planet is her Daddy.  She asks for him all day when he’s at work, is thrilled when he’s home, keeps him company when he’s taking a shower (and unfortunately even when he just wants to pee in peace), wants him to read to her at night, is devastatingly disappointed when her dumb mom comes in to greet her in the morning instead of him, and just wants to be near him all the time.  It’s really the sweetest thing in the world.  And I’m not going to lie, it’s a refreshing break for me when she wants only him to take her to the potty when we’re out and about!
  • Miss K. still loves books.  We read at least 3-5 books a day and she will happily flip through the pages of a book and occupy herself.
  • She loves fruit of all kinds (but especially loves papaya, blueberries, persimmons, grapes, and bananas), pizza, chili (she scarfed some down the other night in a shocking manner), french toast, yogurt, applesauce, cheese, breads of all sorts, pasta, dried cranberries and raisins, and crackers.  If she could eat crackers all day, she would.  Really.  It’s crazy.
  • I’m going to knock on wood with this one…she’s never had an ear infection.  Weird, right?  I’m so thankful!
  • Miss K. is infuriating in public bathrooms.  She seems to actually like going in there.  She wants to touch everything and then touch my face and mouth, she always wants to flush, she often squats down to look to see who is in the stall next to us (and what’s going on in there), she often takes a long time to go and pull up her pants, which can be hard on my back these days since I’m eight months pregnant.  BUT she pretty much always tells us when she needs to go and always wants to wash her hands afterwards (and then will sing a little song “Wash, wash wash, that’s what a Neeni does!”).  So I suck it up.
  • I think her baby sister loves her already.  It happens regularly that when Karina snuggles up to me and my stomach (especially at night), the baby will start moving.  In my mind, she’s trying to connect with Karina.  The thought of that makes me cry.

I love this little girl and am so very happy and thankful that she is in our lives.

Trick-or-Treat

Before I get too far into this post, I want to confess that I bought a rather large bag of candy to distribute at Halloween.  Not only that but I originally had a smaller bag but swapped it for one with more candy in it.  We just moved a few weeks ago and I don’t even know if we  will get many trick-or-treaters but I cringe at the thought of not having a treat for kids if they come to the door.

This afternoon I heard about this partnership between PopCap and the American Dental Association that got me all excited.  PopCap is a video game company that makes my favorite computer game of all time – Plants vs. Zombies.  It’s a fun little tower defense game where you have to defend your home from various zombies by planting awesome plants that shoot them down.  It sounds lame but it’s game perfection for me.  My daughter who’s not even 22 months yet says the word Zombie and actually kinda loves them.

Anyway, they are partnering with the ADA to “give away FUN instead of candy!”  Basically instead of handing out candy, homes can hand out free game coupons (worth $20!) and collectable trading cards.  How fun!  And how hygienic!  I love this idea.  I originally heard about this on NPR, where they were talking about a survey conducted by PopCap and the ADA that found that kids would be interested in something other than candy for Halloween:

The survey also found that 89 percent of the children said they would still enjoy Halloween – the favorite holiday of 65 percent of the kids surveyed – if there was more emphasis placed on fun and less placed on eating candy. Nearly all said they’d prefer a video game rather than candy while trick-or-treating.

Their campaign is called “Stop Zombie Mouth,” which is awesome.  I just had a little bit of candy and I think I have zombie mouth right now.  They made another ridiculously awesome zombie song too:

So clearly, the right thing to do here is to offer kids the vouchers instead of candy.  I am not a fan of childhood obesity.  I don’t want kids to have nurture the same bad sugar habits as I do.  But I just can’t do it…so I’m thinking for kids who look like they’re 7 or older, I’ll offer them either a voucher or some candy.  Weak, I know.  Kudos to PopCap and the ADA!