House · Pregnancy · Preparing for Baby · Toddlerhood · Travel

March and April 2016 – Springtime, Easter, and Baby Prep

Well, hello! I have a lot of catching up to do! Since my last post, spring has arrived, we’ve mostly been healthy, and I guess we’ve just been too busy for blogging. We’ve been working on plans for our house project that I’m not ready to publicize yet, and I entered the third trimester of pregnancy and have been working on getting the house ready for a new baby, too. I also finished (and passed) my programming class, which already feels like it happened a million years ago, and I have no idea how I found the time or energy for it!

Ari got a new, big farm puzzle as a gift, and he’s been really into doing his puzzles for the past few months. At first, he wanted lots of help, and sometimes it seemed like he was pretending he couldn’t fit pieces together because he just wanted us to participate, but now he can and will do them both himself. He’ll still invite us to join him, though, saying, “Let’s do my big farm puzzle. C’mon! It’s really fun…”

When we ignore his requests for help, sometimes he has taken drastic action to get our attention by throwing things or knocking a chair over. I told him that when he’s feeling lonely, instead of doing something like that, he should just tell us that he’s feeling lonely. So, one day in mid-March, he was working on a puzzle and requesting help (and not getting it), and next we heard, “I’m feeling lonely!” Couldn’t ignore that!

This picture is from the beginning of March. He set up his dinosaurs to look at his puzzle.

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My aunt visited and took me to the ballet! She also took this picture of Ari eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and grossing her out with his mess.

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Ari set up all of his animals very carefully and wanted them to stay in their places all day. He was so upset when Andrew knocked one over.

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He still loves books!

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March 12th, first movie theater experience… We were feeling tired and gloomy with some rainy weather and just wanting to sit in a theater so we saw The Good Dinosaur at OMSI. It turned out to be a lot scarier than we expected and Ari mostly sat in our laps with his face turned toward our chests. We felt pretty bad about that and we’ll do more research next time!

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At the beginning of March, I had my 2-hour glucose tolerance test and got almost exactly the same numbers as when I was pregnant with Ari. I was under the cut-offs for the fasting and one hour numbers, but just over the limit at two hours, so I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes again. I wasn’t too worried about it, though, because with Ari it was “diet controlled” without too much effort on my part, and he was born right on time, at an average size. They poked his heel to check his blood sugars frequently during our three days in the hospital after he was born, and at one point he was slightly low, so they gave him a little formula, but I don’t think he really needed that.

On March 8th, I officially entered the third trimester! This picture was taken on the 13th.

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The following week, I took my final exam for the programming class and then we had some beautiful sunny days and spent some time playing in our yard!

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Ari went through a phase of wanting to play with our Bananagram letters all the time and have us spell things for him. He also likes to put letters together and ask, “What does this say?” Usually it’s nonsense, but one time he said, “D-O-G, dog” and I looked and he’d spelled “GOD”. He also put “HAT” together and sounded it out properly (he watches a show called Alphablocks where the letters make their sounds). We also counted the tiles together when putting them away and I noticed that he’s able to count to 20 correctly now.

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Still growing…

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An outfit I was wearing a lot – mostly I just wore the dress, which is not actually a maternity dress but it has a nice pleat under the chest that allows the skirt to really expand over a big belly. I got the dress for a great price at Ross a long time ago and got a lot of use out of it this past winter!

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This jacket from Gap is also not designed for maternity but I’ve worn it almost every day. Early on, it really hid my belly (not that I was going for that).

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Ari got a haircut…

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And then it was Easter!

A.’s mom sent us this natural dye a few years ago and we finally used it.

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First Easter basket with edibles! Last year I was working on Easter and I don’t think A. celebrated it at all. This year, in spite of our normal objections to candy and sugar for Ari, we filled some plastic eggs with “Annie’s” bunny crackers, gummy bears, and jelly beans, and gave him some raisins and a little chocolate too. I got a pink bunny and Easter grass that Ari had wanted at the store on an earlier trip. He ended up being excited about the card, toothbrush, bubbles, raisins, and crackers, but he spit out all the candy! Now we can actually eat jelly beans in front of him and he doesn’t want any, hooray!

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We dyed some cruelty-free wooden eggs first:

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Then some regular hard-boiled eggs – white ones probably would have ended up more colorful!

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The wooden eggs turned out nicely, with the natural dyes:

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Our friends and their younger toddler daughter came over and we set up a small egg hunt in the backyard before it started pouring rain. Actually, shortly after we finished, it started hailing! Mixed in are a couple of photos of me with my baby bump.

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One basket for each kid, but Ari had them both a lot of the time…

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These photos are kind of out of order but it’s too much work to fix them…

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Napping and bedtimes have seemed to get especially hard with the time change and longer, sunnier days. He’s really been fighting sleep, so he’s been frequently skipping naps, then if we go for a walk or a drive in the late afternoon he often crashes and will sleep for hours if we let him, which ruins bedtime! Here he is, suddenly sacked out on a walk:

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April 2nd, 30 weeks pregnant:

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My parents were visiting and Ari was playing with my dad’s hat:

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We went to the park and Ari had stunned me by nicely sharing his new dinosaur sticker book with a boy who had run off with it while Ari was trapped at the top of the see-saw. When we caught up to the boy, Ari just watched him look at it, then when he got it back he asked me to peel some big stickers off to give to him. There are plenty of other times when he’s not so generous, but it was fun to see that he can be. These photos are from after the other boy went off to do something else.

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I was also surprised during this trip to the park by how brave Ari was at the playground (and in the tree below). He definitely goes through phases, and this time he was eager to climb on the equipment and slide down the the slides by himself, with me watching from a distance. There was one ladder type thing he wanted my help with, but then when I was sitting far away he went over and attempted it himself and almost completed it, but called for me when he got stuck at the end. It was fun to see him try something challenging on his own when he thought I wasn’t paying attention!

For these tree photos, I put him there and he was nervous at first but then seemed to enjoy it.

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On a walk one day, we stopped and watched this excavation for a loooong time.

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In early April, a friend visited from the Bay Area and we had more fun playground time. This was a wobbly little bridge so I was staying close:

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Ari uses the big kid swings now! (But he still needs to be pushed.)

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Visiting goats:

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Messy eating:

At the dentist:

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Visiting my parents at a nearby lodge/resort:

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At another playground with a friend and her 3-year-old – more independent climbing! On this thing below, he slipped once but caught himself and climbed back down by himself without even calling to me.

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He went up and down this slide without a word to me… I just happened to notice when he went over to it. (I try to keep an eye on him but I definitely hover less when I’m chatting with a friend and her kid is running around somewhere else.)

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The two boys did a lot of playing with sticks. They actually started out doing something like sword fighting… Where did he learn that?!?

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At the end of April, we made two trips north to visit my Grandma during a hospitalization. Ari was a very sweet boy, giving hugs and performing his little musical revues.

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We spent some time at the park up there, too.

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This beach is at that park. I was so excited to see that the tide was out; it was as good as that beach gets and when I was younger I used to dream about one day bringing my own children there to frolic in the tidepools and poke at the anemones. But Ari wasn’t so into fulfilling those dreams! We asked him to smile for these photos, but most of the time he was shrieking about not wanting his feet anywhere near the anemones or the seaweed and begging to be picked up! When we stepped onto the pavement on our way off the beach he said, “This is better!” City kid!

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Back home in between trips, I got a bonus day off work while Ari was at school, so I launched back into nesting mode and worked on what will be the boys’ shared room. I’m feeling almost ready now! We’re not going to bother setting up the crib yet because we’ll just start with the little bassinet by our bed. Ari never wants any sheets or covers or even his pillow, so I didn’t bother making his bed just for the photos.

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Under his bed, I keep a rolling cart of blocks (on the left outside the frame), a basket of balls, a tub of mostly extra blankets and baby clothes that probably won’t fit quite yet, the big tub of train stuff, and a little basket I’d purchased at the thrift store that day for Ari’s collection of plastic animals.

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Next to his bed are some floor pillows, sometimes some books, and his bedtime routine “list” that he loves to consult and follow before bed. Next to that, I put a little basket of baby toys.

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This is mostly a book corner, usually with library books on the table, and with his wooden blocks under the table.

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On another day when I had a few hours alone, I cleaned out the closet and set it up for extra storage and for Ari to keep things the baby can’t have.

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On top of the shelves I put his animal barn, his big puzzle (now he has that puzzle and a matching game up there), and the blue tub holding the remote controlled car and racetrack setup he got for Christmas. Some extra things that we’re not making available yet are up high, on top of the clothes hanger. On the shelves are his books, puzzles, and containers of small toys.

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Stuffed animals, musical toys, and some other toys are on the changing table shelves.

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Baskets on top of the dresser: the small one at the top left now has disposable diapers in both sizes, the one next to it (under the lamp) has creams and medical type things, I bought the big basket for keeping burp cloths and cloth diapers to be used as burp cloths, and the basket on the lower right has smaller cloths, Wubba Nub pacifiers, and other small dolls and toys for snuggling and chewing.

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The top drawer has newborn clothes, swaddling blankets, and cloth diapers.

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The second drawer has blankets, sheets, and the baby towel. The bottom two drawers, not shown, have Ari’s clothes (so he can reach them himself now) and some extra items.

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Next to the dresser we’ve been storing extra diapers and wipes, and I put the tummy time blanket and pillow and a baby carrier and the nursing cover there.

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Other places in the house where we keep kid things include under our desk…

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I put this musical lamb on my bedside table where it will be close to the bassinet…

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On these shelves in our “office” area…

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The easel…

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And this basket in the living room.

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When I was packing for our second trip to visit my Grandma, I got frustrated trying to find clothes that would fit. This is a maternity shirt!

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For the second trip, A. stayed home to work and I didn’t want to do the whole drive by myself, so Ari and I took the train to Olympia and rode up with my aunt and uncle. I brought along oatmeal packets and got cups of hot water to mix them into for breakfast and Ari gave me a nice break while he worked on his painting books (the Melissa & Doug “Water Wow” books with no mess!).

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On the way back, we were dropped off at the train station in Tacoma and got stuck there for over an hour waiting for a delayed train, and I kept Ari happy with cheese crackers from the vending machine. He was quite good for a two-year-old on a long travel day, but I still had a hard time when he got fussy toward the end, then he finally pushed the red alarm button in the bathroom after talking about it for two days and being told not to push it every time I had to take him in there. Then I had to wait for someone to come check on us and turn off the alarm. I was getting upset in anticipation of how hard it would be to get home, because A. wasn’t able to pick us up and I was way too tired to get us and our stuff home by bus but wasn’t looking forward to installing the car seat in a taxi either (involving digging around between the seats for LATCH attachments). As it turned out, I found a taxi driver with a nice clean car and he had three kids, too, so he did a good job watching Ari while I set up the seat and again while I got it out. I was glad to be home after that trip, though, and then I had work early the next day!

We enjoyed nice views from the train:

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Ari thought the dining car was a playground:

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I do want to say a little about Ari’s developmental stages even though this is already a crazy long post!

He’s gotten really into “choices” and sometimes gives them to us. He’ll hold up two fingers and say, “You have two choices, Mommy…” and offer two things that he wants. Or he’ll say, “What are the choices? They are…” and include something he wants even if I already told him it wasn’t a choice. When he didn’t want something one day, he said, “That’s not an option, Daddy.” It’s so hard not to laugh when he says these things! He’s doing a lot more negotiating and pushing the limits of what we’ve told him not to do and checking to see how we’ll respond, and it’s hard not to laugh at those times, too. It can be annoying but we’re both proud of him for his efforts. 🙂

Sometimes the things he says make me feel bad about what I must be saying to him too much. For example, he’s said to me, “The answer is no!” and “I can’t! I’m BUSY!” I’m trying to be more careful about the way I talk to him. I also just finished a really, really good book that I want to review here later, called How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen so Kids Will Talk. It’s my favorite parenting book so far and offers lots of good examples of ways to say things to kids, and times to back off and just say less.

I was impressed by Ari’s ability to speak up for himself one day in the library when a younger boy was trying to take his name sticker off of him. He said, “No! That’s MY sticker! I want it on my knee!” (Or wherever it was.) I was pleased that he wasn’t hitting, although I got closer to him in case he did start hitting. They do a lot of talking through conflicts at his school, and I’m so grateful for that! I honestly think his caregivers there do a much better job of teaching those social skills than I would if he were home with me every day. Plus I think that as a parent, with other parents watching, I often feel pressured to intervene when I think it would be better to let the kids work things out, and I think the teachers at school can be more objective.

He’s also been telling longer stories and making up songs, and it’s so fun to see what he comes up with! A new development with his talking that we noticed in the last two months or so is that he’s applying the rule about adding “ed” for past tense forms of verbs, which makes his grammar incorrect more often but is an important step in language acquisition. Now, instead of saying “did go” or “did throw,” for example, he says “goed” and “throwed”.

On my next post I’ll have more to say about how things have been going with my pregnancy! But right now I just have a few hours left of daycare time and need to do some cooking! I will say that I woke up two nights ago thinking I might be in labor and was very upset about how tired I was, rather than about the things left on my to-do list. So I think it’s time for me to switch my focus to RESTING and SLEEPING rather than getting things done. Except that I have a stretch starting Thursday of working about 61 hours in 8 days, then I’ll have a couple days off, then one more 13-hour day. But then I’ll be off work until after maternity leave!

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