Tuesday, July 24

Last week's excitement

This picture was taken from our front porch last Thursday morning. No, thankfully, it's not one of our cars but our neighbor probably has one pretty bummed friend! James and I both woke up at 3AM Thursday morning to the sound of a constant car horn. James looked out the front windows and saw a fire inside the car. He called 911 while I went and got Kate (whose bedroom windows face the street straight out from this car). I didn't know if a car could explode if a fire were to go on long enough, but I didn't want to find out with my child 30 feet away! James tried to inform the neighbor, but he and some friends were partying in the basement and didn't hear the doorbell (or door James' pounding!). They finally realized what was happening and ran out to try to extinguish the fire (which was now raging through the roof and a window) with a garden hose. They quickly saw the futility in this attempt and the fire department arrived on the scene. They put out the fire, but could never get the hood open to check the engine compartment. Note the banged up hood where they pounded it with a sledge hammer and pried with a crowbar for about 10 minutes. After the fire was out and everything had died down, James took Kate out to see the fire truck and we had to watch it out her window for a while before going back to bed. James' comment the next morning about all the excitement was "I think it's time to move."

More pictures

James and I have gotten into Sushi lately. I know most of you are turning up your noses, but it's good - yes, even that made with raw fish (though raw fish is off limits to pregnant women). James has even tried to make it a few times, and it's turned out pretty good. Anyway, our grocery store now carries fresh sushi, so we have it at home a little more often. Kate likes to play with the accoutrements. (No, she's not really eating Sushi - she tried it but didn't like it).

I've mentioned how Kate likes to help out - her latest favorite chore is dishes (though I try to avoid her help with this one). The other day James was hammering nails in the deck and Kate decided she needed a hammer to help Daddy hammer the nails.

James decided a few weeks ago that we need to compost. He researched on the internet how to go about it and dug a hole in the corner of the yard where he placed a bucket for our compost-able items. I'm all for recycling and I'll save scraps in a jar, but I don't touch the bucket - there are supposed to be worms in there! Anyway, Kate's second favorite chore is helping James stir the compost in the bucket. She's always wanting to go check on the bucket.

Saturday, July 21

Carefree Friday

Whew! I sure did pack this month with activities. On Mondays, I take Kate to The Little Gym. She loves it and comes home sweaty and tired (and I have to keep up with her, so it gives me a work out, too)! The balance beam is her favorite, next to anything she can climb over or jump off of. With all of the fun things to do in the room, it's difficult to keep her with the group during the warm-up. On Wednesdays, Kate has swim lessons, which I've written about already. They're pretty exhausting too. Thursdays are Kate's day to go to Mother's Day Out at church. They play in the sprinklers and have a fun time with a short nap. I usually have errands or housework to do, so it's typically not a relaxing day for me either.

Tuesdays and Fridays are our free days. Tuesday, we went to the Children's Museum in Oak Ridge. I had never been before, but Kate had been with Nana and Grandfather while we were in Hawaii. It was a lot of fun and her favorite thing was the "Dollhouse". This is a kid-size house, two-stories, with a kitchen and a living room (complete with front door and doorbell) and two rooms upstairs. Kate attached herself to a family with three kids (one her age) and we had to tag along with them for the rest of our tour. After exploring the museum, James met us for a picnic lunch at the picnic tables outside. Kate had to play on the playground and we were sufficiently hot and tired when we left.

So, Friday I decided to take it easy so we could both recuperate. It was a lazy rainy morning and we watched a little TV had several snacks (see below), colored with markers, played with the US puzzle (see also below), ate some lunch, played pretend nap on the floor (Kate likes to do this with a pillowcase used to cover her mat at school) and napped. It was a nice relaxing morning and I thoroughly enjoyed doing "nothing" with my daughter. After naptime, Kate wanted to play outside but it was pretty hot, so we broke out the pool and she had fun filling it with water and just playing around. To top off the day, I got to spend some time with my girlfriends over dinner and coffee. What a great day!

Here are some pictures I took yesterday, primarily for Grandpa's enjoyment.

James bought Kate this puzzle of the United States a few weeks ago. We both had these growing up and he found a cheap one and picked it up. It is now Kate's favorite thing to do (besides watch Blue's Clues). We usually work this puzzle 2-3 times before nap and another 2-3 times before bedtime. She's gotten to where she knows where many of the pieces go and can even pick out certain ones from the pile - like if I say "Can you find Michigan?" she picks it out of the pieces and puts it in its place. I know Grandpa will be proud!

These next pictures are of one of our snack times. I feel like I should explain. When we went to Louisiana in April, James's uncle gave us some pickled okra when we left his house. Neither of us have ever had it, and although I love okra, it doesn't sound like it would be great pickled. Gotta love those deep southerners. Anyway, we couldn't refuse and brought some home. Well, Kate saw the jar in the pantry yesterday and was begging for pickles, so I thought "Why not? This should be fun!". She ate two pieces. I don't know if it was so much that she liked it or that she was getting a kick out of entertaining me, because I was laughing pretty hard at the faces she was making. They were SOUR! She dropped a piece on the floor and Mattie wouldn't even eat it. I didn't think you'd believe me, so I included the jar in the pictures. Again, I know Grandpa will be proud.

What a nut. I really had a fun day.

Monday, July 16

Where, oh where has my baby gone?

Saturday night we decided to switch Kate over to her "big bed". She's been talking about it for a while and going into the guest room and pretending to go night-night in the big bed, so we went for it. I'm glad James pushed for this because I might have continued to put it off. She was just so content in her crib - always went to bed very easily and only climbed out once (after we got home from Nana and Grandfather's house, where she was climbing out of the porta-crib). We went through only 30 minutes of her getting out of bed and crying. Finally, I let her take a book to bed with her and she went to sleep on her own. We completely avoided laying down with her, as this is not a habit I wanted to continue. She's gone down fine ever since, even at nap time, but she does like to take a book with her. I can't say I really blame her. I've done that for as long as I can remember! Here are some pictures we took last night of Kate and her new bed.

Kate and Daddy reading her favorite book... about using the potty.
Seriously, where did my baby go???

This was what I got when I asked her to smile...

I'm so proud of her for doing so well with the bed switch! I just hope potty training goes as well. Kate likes to use the potty and sometimes she'll tell me when she wants to go. This isn't all the time, but usually when we're changing her diaper. So, I'm hopeful! But, if I didn't have another baby on the way, I might be getting a little depressed by all this growing up she's doing!

Thursday, July 12

Swim lessons

Well, we had our first swim lesson yesterday. I have to admit, I was a little disappointed afterward. Kate loved the water, which dissuaded my fear that she would inherit my aquaphobia. She even had a good time - for the first 15 minutes. Then she was looking for something else to do. I couldn't keep her entertained enough to enjoy it for 30 minutes. The problem was, we were in the big pool, so I had to hold her the whole time. Kate is way to independent (okay, THAT she did get from me) and active for me to hold her for 30 minutes. She could only kick and blow bubbles in the water for so long. She started fussing at me, wanting to play on the stairs, sit on the side, see what was going on in other parts of the pool - anything to get out of my arms. The teacher asked if Kate was getting cold, and I told her I thought she was just bored. I got an incredulous "Really??" reply. She didn't know what to say.

In short, I think the class would have been great for Kate this time last year. Maybe we'll get some water wings for next time and see if we can get her to do a little more on her own. She did start to blow bubbles in the water, which she wouldn't do before yesterday, so I don't think the time spent was a total waste. I'll keep you posted on our progress.

PS - I just realized I haven't posted any pictures in a while, so I'll try to do that next time.

Monday, July 9

Where has the summer gone!?!

Wow has time flown this summer! With all of our trip planning and then being out of town, I feel like the summer is just starting, but it's already half gone. Most of you have heard about James and my fabulous trip to Hawaii to celebrate our 10th anniversary. If you haven't seen pictures yet, I'll be sending them soon! I'm trying to decide on the best medium for that.

We traveled over the Fourth of July holiday to North Carolina for a long overdue visit with James's extended family. Thursday we spent with "GG" (Kate's great-grandma) and Aunt Martha in Graham, NC. We had a great visit with them for a good part of the day. The next day we planned to head to the beach, but we were tired after all the traveling and visiting and we had already pushed Kate to the limit as far as sleep deprivation, so we stayed around Cary for most of the day then met up with James's cousin Robin and her family at nearby Jordan Lake. We saw the new baby, who Kate calls "Baby Shelly", for the first time and had a great time playing in the water with Frankie. Kate loved it! It was really good to get the cousins together to play. After a few hours of water fun, we headed to Robin and Todd's house for dinner and more playing and Nana and Grandfather met us there. We were all pretty pooped that night! Saturday, we decided to take it easy and recuperate before heading home on Sunday. It was a great trip, and it's fun to watch Kate in so many new situations (for instance, she really enjoyed our "pic-ic" lunches while traveling) but I'm looking forward to getting Kate back on a normal, if busy, schedule. In addition to our other scheduled activities, we start swim lessons this week, so I'll keep you posted on how that goes.

On a side note, Kate is growing up so fast! She's climbing out of the port-a-crib, using the potty (sporadically for now), really singing ABC's, singing along with her children's cds (I can't get enough of her singing - so cute!), and her vocabulary has officially outpaced our translating abilities, causing some frustrating situations for everyone. In some ways I can't believe she'll be two next month, but at the same time, she's really not a baby any more.