Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Worth Repeating Wednesday

"I never imagined anything like this."

"That's life," Pierce responded gently. "It happens a little at a time, until you can't go back. No point in regretting what no one could foresee."

--From "Eclipse" by Richard North Patterson

Friday, September 25, 2009

Potty Training: The Reality

After returning from New Zealand, I started thinking about potty training. (Well, technically, I started thinking about it again, because I thought Cate was showing signs of being ready about six months ago.) I decided with Cate's interest in the potty and the upcoming arrival of Ben, it was a good time to try again. So far so good ...

We started at the beginning of September, and for the first time, Cate started waking up with dry diapers after most of her naps and some overnights. Good sign! So she spent some time in Pull-Ups, getting used to visiting the potty frequently, but free of any pressure to perform.

She caught on quickly. And she knows to be proud of herself (OK, so, maybe my excitement rubbed off on her!) and raises her arms and says, "I did it!" Sometimes we go to the bathroom together (oh, the joys of being girls ...) and she'll say, "Mommy did it!"

[I had a bowl of M&Ms ready as incentive, but they weren't really necessary. Sometimes she'd ask, and I'd give her two M&Ms if she went, but most of the time she went and then left the bathroom to get back to whatever she was doing.]

I was surprised with how well she went when we were out ... Murray State's football stadium, Kroger, Wal-Mart, friends' houses, Lowe's and church. There were a couple days were she was more stubborn about going ... anywhere, even at home.

After a couple weeks of Pull-Ups, I decided to put more emphasis on panties. She wore them around the house and then if we went out, I'd put a Pull-Up on top, mostly for my sake. Then after a few days of that, we went to panties all of the time, except during naptime and bedtime. And that's where we are now.

She has started telling me when she needs to go, but I still take her consistently throughout the day, although not as frequently as I was a few weeks ago. We still need to encourage her more about pooping on the potty. Right now it's more about noticing when she's going to go and leading her into the bathroom.

After listening to other friends' tales of potty training their kids, I'm thankful for Cate's cooperation. The whole process seems to be moving along in the right direction. (Having a toddler in panties and a baby in diapers seems like a much better combination than two in diapers!) In my limited experience, waiting until the child is ready seems to be the biggest factor in deciding when to start. I'm glad Cate and I have figured this out together. Here's to hoping for success to finish out the training process!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thursday's Thought

People ask if Cate is excited she's getting a brother. Truthfully, Cate has no idea what getting a brother is going to be about. We talk about having a baby. She knows his name is Ben. She knows he's going to wear the tiny diapers she noticed in her closet the other day. Most of the time she talks about giving him hugs and kisses, although she did mention throwing the baby the other day, and I quickly explained (again) that she has to be gentle with any baby.

Earlier this week I did some baby laundry as I was sorting the clothes people have been kind enough to give us. Cate must have decided she wanted to help because I found Greg's sock drawer opened with these little pairs of socks laying there like they belonged.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Where are you, fall?

We're trying to convince Mother Nature that it's time for fall. I love summer, but having a taste of fall made me ready. There is something refreshing about having seasons change. We tried to have a bonfire with some friends Saturday night, but, again Mother Nature wasn't on the same page. She decided to rain on our bonfire. Before we moved our fun inside, we enjoyed being outside ...
After watching the Wildcats manage not to give the game away, Cate was still in the football spirit!

Then Luke had the girls chasing him ...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thursday's Thought

Why didn't anyone tell me about Seriously ... who wouldn't want this big box of 216 diapers (size 1), 184 diapers (size 2), 770 refill wipes and 360 clean-and-go wipes (that's the red box you can barely see ...) to just show up on the porch? OK, well, I had to pay for them, but, still, no shipping, and here they are! And, yes, I'm brand loyal. Although, I've come around to Huggies, at least with size 5 diapers in recent months, but now we're back to Pampers with Easy-Ups.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Moving ...

Not long after Greg got going on Cate's new room, we decided we're actually all going to have new rooms. Yep. In fact, the new rooms are going to be at a new house. Well, not new, but new-to-us house.

Like we needed something else to do this fall.

We are signing a contract Saturday and [hopefully] will move in a month. I'm not-so-secretly hoping to be in by the end of October. You know, in case Ben decides to come early. Even if he [hopefully] waits until closer to his due date, getting settled in a new house before he comes wouldn't be a terrible thing!

Greg had seen this house earlier this year, like in February, but another family was willing to pay more. So I never saw the inside, even though Greg told me multiple times he thought it would be good for us. We had in the back of our minds we'd move sometime, but we had talked more recently about finishing our basement so we could have another bedroom that way. Then the lady who owns the house, which hasn't been occupied for awhile now, contacted Greg again last week to say that the other family isn't able to buy it anymore. She wondered if he'd be interested. Buying and selling houses is his business, you know.

Little did she know just how interested he was!

So he took me to walk through it, and we both could see our family there. The layout is more functional than our current house. It has four bedrooms and 2 1/2 bathrooms. The other things I love are how the smallest bedroom (which will be Ben's room) is right across the hall from the bedroom we're going to have. Then there are two other [huge] bedrooms upstairs -- one for Cate; another for guests. Upstairs also is a long storage type room that we're going to finish so I can have the half-scrap, half-play room I've been dreaming about. The back yard is nice, but even better is the fact the house sits across the street from the park and next door to Greg's grandparents' house. We'll also be in walking distance of three friends' houses and the library.

If you promise to keep in mind that the outdated wallpaper is coming down, the floors are going to be recovered and we'll have our own furniture, I'll show you more ...

Oh, yes, closets. There are lots of them, and they are spacious. Especially if you've ever seen the [lack of] closets in our house now.

This is going to be Ben's room. [It's on the main level.] Those two windows look out to the front yard.

Pardon the wallpaper. That will be our room. [It's on the main level.] It's actually a little bigger than it looks because there's an armoire behind where I'm standing and a walk-in closet in the other corner. The big windows look out to the back yard and the smaller window overlooks the driveway.

This will be Cate's room. [It's upstairs.] The twin beds may stay, but those comforters certainly will not. That counter goes the whole length of the room and there is an identical cabinet and shelf in the corner not pictured. Those those doors on the back left is a spacious closet that really is like a small room.

This is the unfinished storage area upstairs that we are going to make into a multi-purpose scrap + kids' play room.

Kitchen. Adequate cabinet and counter space.

This the den that is off the kitchen.

This is the formal living/dining room. Even though we're not sure how we're going to use it yet, we're happy to have the space!

Wednesday Worth Repeating

The God of the Bible is the master of surprises: frightening clouds of smoke and fire, earthquakes, windstorms and firestorms, donkeys that talk, pillars of salt, oceans splitting apart, using a little boy to kill a giant, the Messiah in swaddling clothes and dying on a cross. No one can follow God and be comfortable for long.

--Mike Yaconelli, an author and theologian, as quoted in "The Patriarchs" by Beth Moore

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lighting Up

I knew Cate would love this shirt when I saw it at the local consignment sale last night. And I didn't mind spending $3 on it. It isn't every day a girl gets a shirt that has Ariel's hair randomly lighting up. In fact, the shirt makes Cate light up, figuratively.

And, for the record, I found many other bargains for both Cate and Ben as well as niece Milla and nephew Jaxson.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thursday's Thought

Yes, we're getting ready for Ben, which also means we're getting ready for a room transition for Cate. We're not painting what will be Ben's room because we figured it was enough to worry about re-doing the guest room, which will become Cate's room. We picked out a color [Fountain Mist] that is in the butterfly comforter [specifically the butterfly wings] that is going on her really-big-girl bed.

For those of you who have been to our house, a couple guys who work with Greg carpeted the hardwood stairs and built in an armoire/cabinet/shelf because the room doesn't have an actual closet.

Meanwhile, we found Ben some bedding that will look good with the green [specifically Mint Ice Cream] walls and black furniture he's inheriting from his big sister. You can see it if you click here.

More photos to come as we make progress.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Not yet, buddy ...

Ben is anxious to meet us, apparently.

His birth mom was having some contractions last week [at 28 weeks], but, thankfully, the prescribed medicine seems to be doing its job. She had a check-up this morning at the hospital. For the 90 minutes or so she was attached to the monitor, she didn't have any contractions like she had the week before.

The up side of her being monitored this morning and visiting the doctor's office yesterday [for a scheduled check-up exam with the ob/gyn] during a power outage was that I was with her so we got to know each other better. I continue to appreciate her attitude toward adoption and the way she's taking care of herself and Ben.

Worth Repeating Wednesday

Their friendship was a story of stories told, going all the way back to childhood. Sarabeth could still remember the summer day when Liz's family arrived on Cowper Street, when she and Liz were eight. Liz's first story, told that afternoon as the two of them sat on the curb eating Creamsicles: during the long drive across country from Pennsylvania, her little brother had thrown up seven times.

--From "Songs Without Words" by Ann Packer


I've been thinking about nines for the last few days, trying to come up with a subject for my 9.9.09 post. But I haven't really come up with anything.

I asked Greg about well-known nines. He mentioned nine innings of a baseball game. It also should be noted we were watching a baseball game when he said this.

Then I thought about nine lives of a cat. But, you know, I'm allergic to cats and they don't really have nine lives. So, needless to say, that thought didn't go far.

What about the ninth president of the United States? William Henry Harrison. Yeah, I don't much about him, really. Now I just have that song in my head ... "George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson ... "

That U.S. presidents song always makes me then think about "Fifty nifty, United States, from 13 original colonies ..." Hmmm ... the ninth state: New Hampshire. Yeah, again, not much to say there. I haven't been there. I do have a friend who went to college there.

So, yeah, nines. Nothing is really coming to me.

I don't even care that digitally remastered versions of The Beatles songs came out today. Wouldn't have even mattered if it was The Rolling Stones.

I worked at a newspaper when it was 7.7.07. I guess nationally lots of people got married. It was a Saturday. But I never found a great local story. Truth be told, I probably got distracted by some breaking news. Drama with some local government or court case. Something far more interesting to me.

Now I'm a stay-at-home mom. My 2-year-old daughter can count to nine. Well, really, past nine.

I do like multiples of three, for some reason, well, really, no reason. Nine qualifies. Maybe it just means today is going to be a good day.

EDITED ... because I really need to add that I just learned (at 9 p.m.) that September and Wednesday each have nine letters!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

NZ: The Detour Home

We had an overnight layover in San Francisco on our way home from New Zealand, so we had an evening to explore. It's no secret San Fran isn't my favorite city, but, still, it helped keep us awake until we crashed in our hotel beds. (Oh, and, yes, we knew we were going to have this layover.)

NZ: Castle Point

After going to the South Island for six days, we had a couple days left with Cassie and Zac on the North Island before we headed home. We didn't know what to expect at Castle Point, but we took a day trip there. It's on the eastern coastline, overlooking the seemingly-endless Pacific Ocean.

Cassie and Zac were just walking and I decided to snap this picture.
Good thing. Turns out it's one of my favorite from the whole trip!

As you can see, definitely worth the drive.

Friday, September 4, 2009

NZ: Milford Sound

That's Mirror Lake, which is on the wayto Milford Sound.
And that's one of my most favorite pictures from the whole trip.

We took a bus ride to Milford Sound from Queenstown, which is a four-hour drive. The last two hours are filled with particularly beautiful scenery ...

The bus was built for trips like this! All the windows made viewing the gorgeous scenery even easier. In addition to the windows, the back seats are built up higher so allow more visibility.

The water in this creek was so pure that it was drinkable.

Once at Milford Sound, we took a scenic cruise on the fiord. [Doesn't that word take you back to elementary school geography? So, to refresh your memories, like mine needed, a fiord is a long, narrow inlet with steep sides, created in a valley carved by glacial activity, as Wikipedia words it.] Needless to say, it was magnificent.

Everybody was pointing and ooh-ing and ah-ing ...

That's Mitre Peak in the center. It's the most famous peak
around Milford Sound, and probably in all of Fiordland.

And not only was it beautiful. We also saw dolphins, seals and a penguin just living their lives.

[Yep, more photos are out there. Check my Facebook album.]

NZ: The Rest of Queenstown

So, we bungy jumped and rode fun boats in Queenstown. We also did some site seeing and shopping. On the south part of the South Island, the snow-capped mountains in and around Queenstown are beautiful. We stayed in a condo (although the Kiwis called it an apartment ...) right in the heart of the town, meaning we had great views and easy access to stores, restaurants and entertainment.

[More pictures of Queenstown, and, really, our whole trip can be found in my Facebook album.]

Garden Girl

Cate helped GranGran and Granddaddy pick pole beans (aka green beans) the other day while I was catching up with bookkeeping at the office. Apparently, she was interested only in holding the bucket at first. But then the bucket got heavy and Granddaddy showed her what to do. At this rate, she's going to be a professional gardener. First blackberries, now green beans.

And what great grandparents ... they even took pictures!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Thursday's Thought

Taken with my iPhone tonight at Murray State's season opener

It's football season! And Murray State was ready, putting 66 points up against Kentucky Wesleyan. Oh, OK, so its a NAIA school, but, still ... a nice way to start the season.

NZ: Shotover River

Greg and I are on that boat while Cate was hanging out
with Grandmom, Cassie and Zac, who rode first.

Queenstown is all about adventure. So, after bungy jumping, we rode in a jet boat. I mean, seriously, a jet boat, the name itself is intriguing enough, especially for someone like me who loves being on the water.

Basically, it's like an over-sized jet ski that has seats for 14 people, including a professional driver. The boat goes fast [I believe our driver said we were reaching 70 kph, which is like 45 mph.] on top of shallow water and can make quick 360-degree turns while riding close to rocks in the river canyon.

Like a roller coaster on water, the ride was fun. Plus the scenery was beautiful.

Shotover River near Queenstown

Cate looks like she's trying to ask Zac what they're doing. I'm pretty sure he's thinking, just smile, Cassie thought this was a good idea. And I'm glad she encouraged this because it cracks me up!

[You can see more pictures from our trip in my Facebook album, even if you aren't a FB member.]

Brother Sandwich

Cassie + Cate enjoyed the ride down in the Queenstown gondola.

My sister's initial reaction to our decision to name our son Benjamin Lucas Taylor was that we named him after a gross sandwich. BLT. Um, no. I mean, yes, those are his initials, but we didn't chose those to be his initials because we like or dislike bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches. Even so, Cassie likes to talk about BLT, and she especially did while we were visiting her on the other side of the world.

Meanwhile, Cate is into saying whether someone is a boy or a girl. [Those he/she and him/her pronouns are tricky, which is what prompted this boy/girl conversation with a 2-year-old.]

Keeping all of this in mind, here's a conversation that happened between Cate and Grandmom at the San Francisco Airport while we were waiting for our time to board the plane ...

Cate: Cate is a girl. Mommy is a girl. Daddy is a boy. Grandmom is a girl.

Grandmom: What is Ben going to be?

Cate: (Thinking ...) A sandwich.

Like Cassie said, hey, she's a quick learner. Thanks, Aunt Cassie for the lessons you teach my daughter!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Worth Repeating Wednesday

... the people you love can surprise you every day. ... maybe who we are isn't so much about what we do, but rather what we're capable of when we least expect it.

--From "My Sister's Keeper" by Jodi Picoult

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

NZ: Yay Duck!

Needless to say, Cate was into feeding the ducks. In fact, she was so into it that we went twice and on one of those days we had to go buy another loaf of bread.

This was in Palmerston North, where Cassie and Zac live.

And one more video ...

[There are many more pictures of our time in Palmerston North, as well as other beautiful New Zealand places, so browse through my album on Facebook. Even if you aren't a Facebook user, you can click on the link to get to the pictures.]

NZ: Things I Thought While I Was There

* Things [food, drinks, clothes ... ] really are more expensive here. Good thing we had the benefit of the currency exchange.

* Telling the difference in New Zealand and Australian accents seems impossible, but Cassie claims it is a learned skill.

* I need to appreciate our heating and cooling systems more than I do. And my dryer.

* Coke is worldwide. So is McDonald's.

* Gallons, miles and Fahrenheit make more sense to me than liters, kilometers and Celsius.

* Although New Zealanders [better known as Kiwis] drive on the "wrong" side of the road, they got it from the British, so maybe we really changed things and now think we're right. More importantly, I am glad we decided words like c-o-l-o-u-r didn't need that extra letter.

* Not having pennies and nickels really is a good idea. [If paying with cash, they round so you can use 10-cent, 20-cent, 50-cent, one-dollar and two-dollars coins along with larger bills. If you use credit card, they charge the exact amount.]

* Black and navy blue and brown do not all look good together in one outfit.

* There really are a lot of sheep in New Zealand. In fact, the exact ratio is about 10 sheep to every one person.

* Most foods can be made into a tasty pastry.

* Encouraging recycling by charging for disposable grocery sacks and curbside garbage bags isn't a bad idea.

NZ: Bungy Jumping!

Yes, I jumped off a bridge [with my husband]. Many people seemed surprised, a reaction which sort of surprised me. And for you "Bachelor" fans, it's the same bridge from which Jason and Molly jumped. The Kawarau Bridge is 43 meters [141 feet] above water and is considered the original bungy jump.

I was surprised with how smooth the actual jump is. The free falling at the beginning is crazy, but fun. And then bungy cord works its magic, and all the bouncing back up and swinging back and forth is incredibly smooth. Yes, I'd do it again, although I don't think another experience would compare to this one.

Oh, OK, so you want to see the jump in motion ...

[Cassie + Zac jumped too. Because of their height difference, they had to go separately, which wasn't their original plan. There are pictures of them, and other parts of our trip in a Facebook album.]