Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend

It's Memorial Day weekend, a time to take a few moments and remember those who have given their lives for the freedom that we enjoy.  Our family has taken some time to do that.  We've also tried to take advantage of the 3-day weekend that H1 had to spend some time together.  H1 needed a haircut, so Saturday was spent in Williamsburg, first picking up the new bed for H4, and then the haircut, and finally meeting up with my friend Robyn and her girls for ice cream at Sweet Frogs.  Sweet Frogs has amazing frozen yogurt!  We also browsed through Barnes and Noble.  It's always fun to look at the books, even if none came home with us.

Sunday after church, we came home for hot dogs and working on the house.  We did take the late afternoon off to enjoy the warm weather outside.  H3 had a great time in her swimming pool and she was laughing up a storm the whole time.

A picture of the whole pool.  My parents gave her a slide last year and it fits perfectly into the pool!

She loves lining up the duckies alongside the pool, and playing with her watering can.  Most days she brings it out to the garden to help me water the plants.

We did finally get a garden hose for our garden.  Due to the distance of our backyard, we needed over 200 feet of hose.  H1 took some time today (Monday) to line it up nicely on the reel.  

This is one of my two hydrangea bushes that H1 and H3 gave me for Mother's Day.  I love seeing them in my backyard!

For dinner tonight H1 made his amazing hamburgers.  They are a turkey burger with pieces of mushroom and black olives mixed in, along with some ketchup and a number of spices.  These burgers are one of my favorites!  We had corn-on-the-cob to go along with them, and some potato salad that I made earlier today.  To top it off, I made cherry cheesecake fudge brownies.

This was a snapshot of our weekend.  Blessings!


Sunday, May 27, 2012

34 Weeks and Counting!

This past Friday marked the 34 week point for me in this pregnancy.  I can tell summer is arriving.  I've had a lot of swelling in my feet and legs, and some in my arms too.  Right now I'm really looking forward to holding little H4!

I was having H1 take a picture of my belly and H3 came over and kissed "baby sister" right as he was taking the picture.  So sweet.

This past weekend we bought a new car seat and stroller for H4.  The set we'd had with H3 got really worn out and would not have been usable for this little one.  We'd wound up selling it to a lady in our church who needed a back up car seat for her daughter last year.  I'm very thankful to have this new set!  H1 is planning to clean out the van and put seat protectors over the middle seats before re-installing H3's car seat and putting in the new one. 

We also bought a little bed for H4.  It's called a Snuggabunny Rock N Play Soother, made by Fisher Price. When H3 was born, she had horrible re-flux and for lack of a better alternative (financially), she slept in her car seat for the first 4 months because she needed the incline. I've been told these little beds can work really well for small babies that have re-flux issues.  Since the doctors have told us that we will most likely have that problem with H4 due to the cleft palate, I thought it would be nice to give it a try.  We set it up last night and I put it next to my side of them bed.  We'll probably transfer her to her crib upstairs after a few months, like we did with H4, but it's nice to have this ready for her arrival, whenever that will be!

H4's heart rate was good at my last check with my midwife this past week, which was a relief.  Nothing sounded odd and she wasn't sitting on her cord again.  My next appointment isn't until June 13th now, which will put me at almost 37 weeks.  I'll probably wait til them for any more updates or pictures.


Friday, May 25, 2012

A Little Bit More of May

We've had a busy month!  H3 seems to be pretty excited about her little sister coming soon.  She's taken to carrying around one of the ultrasound pictures and asking me regularly when "Baby Sister" will get here.  I tell her it's going to be 6 more weeks, and she's starting to try to bargain with me, saying "No, 5 weeks" or "4 weeks" or something along those lines.  It's kinda cute, though I'm sure this will turn into the lesson on the futility of trying to barter on time.

I've really been in the mood to make cookies lately.  I've made peanut butter oatmeal, chocolate with mint chips (H1's favorite, below), and just plain ol' chocolate chip.

Thanks to some dear friends of mine who let H3 stay with them for the weekend, H1 and I were able to spend a couple days to ourselves and celebrate our 7th anniversary.  At this point in pregnancy, I'm not able to do a whole lot, so we spent a Saturday seeing a couple movies in the theater (this was only the second time we've been to a theater in the last year) and then browsing through a few shops in Williamsburg.  We also happened to have giftcards to a few restaurants, so lunch and dinner were nicely provided for us.  Sunday we took a trip to Busch Gardens, which always makes me smile.  We had our honeymoon in this area 7 years ago and we went to Busch Gardens on one of the days.  

Again, I can't really do much of anything, so it was mostly a nice walk around, enjoying the beautiful weather and H1 riding a few roller coasters.  He hasn't gotten to ride anything this year so far, since each time we've been, he's been taking H3 on all the little kiddie rides.  H3 can ride a lot of them herself, but she likes company.  For those who don't live around here, the fun part about living close to Busch Gardens is that if you are a Virginia resident, you pay admission for one day and then you can go as many times as you want for the rest of the summer.  All you have to pay for is parking, though we upgrade one pass so we don't pay for that either.  If we visit 6 times, the pass pays for itself. With their new water-park area for little ones, it makes for a fun way to be outside during the miserable heat.

The last couple weeks have been pretty rainy, with spurts of sunshine and humidity. It hasn't been very good weather for playing outside.  Generally, H3 and I have still been taking our daily walks (about a mile in length) and spending just enough time outside to water my tomato, zucchini, and squash plants, and then hanging out inside for the rest of the day.  We've read lots of books and worked on a few crafts.  I've been teaching H3 how to read an analog clock and she is doing very well.  She doesn't have any issues with telling the hour, though we're still working on the minute thing.  I realized that I'll need to get a new clock or two (hoping to find a cheap one at a yard sale or something) that she can read easier than the main one in the living room.  My living room clock has an Eiffel Tower background and the whole piece looks antiqued.  I love it.  The problem is that it not only has Roman Numerals (which I'm pretty sure H3 is not ready to tackle), but the ticks that mark the minutes are also faded (purposefully).  I need to get a clock she can read easier.  Until then, we are working off of a little book that I'll post pictures of another time and some worksheets that I printed from a website.  She is also learning to read the digital clock correctly, though I'm not too sure how much of a feat that is.  She's been able to read the numbers on it for more than a year, it's just been a matter of having her understand that the hour is on the left and the minutes are on the right.

Summer is just about here!  Only 3 weeks of school left for H1!  I'm at 34 weeks today and really starting to count down.  I can't wait to hold this precious little girl and introduce her to her big sister.

Staying inside to avoid profuse sweating,

Experimental Lunch

I can admit that when it comes to food, I'm a bit skittish. When I've been in other countries, I have no problem eating the food in front of me, or any type of food at a friend's house here.  That's never an issue.  My dilemma comes when I am faced with the idea of buying something that I usually don't get and preparing it in my own home.  Today's case?  Kale.  I have avoided kale like the plague.  Frankly, it just looks completely unappealing sitting there on the shelf in the produce section.  Something about stiff, crinkly leaves and the promise of a bitter flavor has had me avoiding it.  Recently on Pinterest, I saw a recipe for Kale chips.  On a whim, I mustered a bit of determination and bought kale yesterday during my shopping trip and today I made kale chips for lunch to go along with my orange.  Though I will put less salt on them in the future, I have to say that I was pretty impressed.  I have serious doubts that H1 or H3 would even consider trying them, but I'll certainly try them again.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Rainy Day Fun

It's a gray and wet day here in this part of Virginia! At the moment, the rain is a cause for celebration. My garden is quite happy after so many weeks without it. In the meantime, it also helps for creativity around the house.

 After breakfast (oatmeal for me, pancakes for H3), we took a nice walk through our neighborhood. Our street has a nice sidewalk, and the houses along it are historical. Most are in beautiful condition and have lovely gardens. H3 loves to stop and spent all the flowers and look at the "ant houses." The search for ants does slow our walking progress down quite a bit, and though I do try to hurry her along a bit, I can't entirely squelch her joy. This morning, the end of our walk was in the drizzle. We had to jog home so we didn't get drenched.

 When we got home, I decided it was time to do some baking. H1 had been wanting a strawberry-rhubarb pie, and seeing as we had both strawberries and rhubarb, it was time to make a pie! H3 kept trying to steal my pie crust while I was rolling it out. She loves it. I let her have a little, and then baked some leftovers with a little sugar on it to go with her lunch. Anyways, here's the end result!

After the pie came out, I decided it was time for some banana bread.

Rainy days require different activities around here. H3 loves to spend a lot of time outside. I can't wait until we have a fenced-in yard, but for now I spend a lot of time out there with her. On days like today, I try to line up a few different activities to keep her occupied. We spent some time working on a puzzle, then up in her room, reading stories. While she was still playing up there, I came downstairs and laid out stamps and markers with paper and let her have some fun!

Thus far it's been a good, fun day. I've got dough rising now to make some rolls to go with dinner tonight. The plan for dinner is an Italian Sausage Bean Soup, with those rolls on the side. H1 and I will also split an artichoke. And then we have the pie for dessert. I'm not asking for H3 to eat most of the menu tonight. She usually eats whatever H1 and I are eating, but there are some exceptions: anything to do with salad or beef (neither of those go well with her stomach), and some of the odder vegetables. I can't picture her successfully navigating an artichoke, though I will still offer it to her. She is slowly expanding her eating habits, for which I'm grateful. Sandwiches are finally on the menu now, for the first time ever!

 When it comes to my family, I've learned to frequently praise God for the little things, like having the chance to be home and make meals for my family, and spending time with my little girl. I have to confess though that these last couple weeks have been rough. H3's potty regression (after having been potty trained for 8 months) has really started to wear on me. Still, we're taking one day at a time!


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Moments at Church and an Upcoming Tour

I had a neat moment at church today.  Most of this pregnancy, I haven't assisted in the nursery since I can't lift much as far as weight goes and it's hard for me to hold some of the kids we have back there.  This morning though, I stayed to help out because there were a couple of new kids and it seemed an extra hand was needed.  Our nursery is for ages 0-3, just for reference.  These two new ones were both around age 2.  I spend most of the time cuddling the little girl on my lap.  She seemed pretty timid with all the noise, and any time another child cried, she started as well.  Snuggling her close though, I could feel her relax and she even started to smile.  Something about this child just gripped my heart.  She was so precious.  I left the nursery feeling blessed to have been there with her.  Maybe this morning wasn't for me to be in listening to the sermon, as much as I love hearing Pastor Bill preach.  I think this morning was about me remembering that "the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

After church was worship practice, so H1 stayed for that while H3 and I headed over to a nearby park for a bit.  H3 really enjoyed spending some time outside.  It was a beautiful afternoon.  We picked up H1 at 1:15 and headed home.

Now, we're taking a few minutes to collect ourselves before heading up to St. Francis Hospital for our tour.  Since this is a new hospital for me, I registered for a tour.  During this time, we're supposed to get a good look at the labor/delivery rooms and get some more information on hospital policies. Since I'll be delivering with a midwife, there will be some things that differ between my midwife's methods and options versus one of the hospital's on-call doctors.  Either way, it's good for me to know what's there!  The tour is at 5pm, so we'll see how this goes!


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Look What We Found - Church/Community Yard Sale

This morning was our church/community yard sale. H1 and I arrived early (with a sleepy H3 in tow) to help set up. I should have taken pictures while we were there. It was huge, and crazy, and a little bit of everything. Most of the time I was helping out at our children's ministry table, so my time to browse was limited. H1 was able to look a bit more, but he was also assisting different people for most of the 3 hours we were there, not to mention trying to keep our energetic H3 in line. She's not very good at staying near us....

We did, however, manage to find a few things of interest and spent about $20 total. I'd have to say that H3 made out like a bandit, but I'll get to that in a moment.

First up is this little metal radio flyer wagon and a little Sleeping Beauty nightlight.  While H3 is not generally allowed to watch any of the Disney "Princess" movies, except for Beauty and the Beast and Tangled, she knows who each character is, thanks to her friends.
Next up is a little hot roller set. I do have naturally curly hair, though it's more wavy than curly at the current length. I'd been wanting to experiment with rollers, but never wanted to pay the price for a set. Now I can!
I found this adorable metal pot and pan set for H3. I'm really excited about this one! We have a plastic set, but it's getting pretty banged up after a couple years and this one is in perfect condition.
More stuff for H3. I was mostly excited about the little book for telling time and and puzzle in the middle. We got several other puzzles for H3 as well, all 10 cents each. H3 and I have been working on telling time right now, as well as months and days of the week, so I'm hoping this book will help out a little.
I found a shirt for me, barely used. Obviously this is for post-pregnancy!
One thing we've been needing for storage in our new house is a shoe rack, or rather a couple of them for both H1's shoes as well as mine. These three expand to twice the width shown. I'm looking forward to putting them to use!
Ok, I saved the best for last, or at least the one I'm most excited about (and H3). I have a sewing machine, but it's been put away for ages due to lack of space and I'm in no mood for trying to make fancy dress-up dresses at the moment. I'm also not in the mood to pay the $20 - $30 that Walmart and Target charge for them. Right now H3 has two that fit, both courtesy of Auntie Amber and her find at Big Lots. At the yard sale, a gal was selling an amazing amount of children's clothing and costumes. This one caught my eye immediately, and I have to confess paying $7 for it. I checked the dress over, no stains and it's a very highly quality sewing job. I inquired about it, and the lady told me that she paid $65 for the dress and her daughter only wore it once. Either way, I'm happy with my $7 purchase and H3 is thrilled beyond words!
In fact, H3 put the dress on as soon as we got home and has yet to take it off. It's fun seeing my daughter get so much enjoyment out of something simple!

 Well, that's the general scoop on the yard sale event. The youth group had a table set up where they were selling hot dogs and sodas to raise money for the summer missions trip. As I mentioned, I was helping with a children's ministry table. People donated items to our table and we sold them, with all proceeds going to our 11 and under classes. Specifically, a good portion will be going toward buying new Bibles for the 8-11 year-old class. That group of kids goes through a pretty in-depth Bible study and the Bibles we currently have in the classroom are pretty old with very small print and are hard for the kids to read. We're hoping to get something with a larger font and geared toward that age for study.

 Have a blessed Saturday afternoon! ~H2

Friday, May 4, 2012

New Dishwasher and Dinner Experiment

We closed on our home back in early March. The weekend we closed, the dishwasher in our new house flooded our kitchen floor. Ah, welcome home? Anyways, I put a call in to our home warranty company to get the ball rolling. I never thought that home warranty would be a big deal, so I didn't push for it. The gal who handled our mortgage really wanted us to get one though, and managed to write it in and have the sellers pay for it. It has taken almost 2 months to get this new one, but the benefit is that we got a top of the line model without paying anything for it. First they had to go through the motions of trying to fix the old one before finally ordering the new. The new one was put on back-order, but finally arrived last week. A couple days ago, it was finally installed!
I'm so thankful to have a new dishwasher. It might seem like a little thing, but it certainly saves a lot of time--and my hands! In honor of my new dishwasher, I experimented with a new fun dish that night. I made a regular cheese pizza for H3, but for H1 and I, I made 3-cheese and spinach calzones. They were sauce-less on the inside, so we dipped them in a marinara sauce. They turned out pretty good. When I make them again, I'm going to add feta, I think.
The best part about having a new dishwasher is the easy cleanup after all my projects! Yesterday, I made brownies for the men's group at church, and then H3 helped me make peanut butter cookies with little peanut butter chips pressed in the middle. So delicious! Praising God for the little things, ~H2