Adelie and Staley's World

Adelie and Staley's World

Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve Events

Generally the events associated with New Year's Eve involve parties and late nights and staying up until midnight to say good-bye to another year and hello to the promise of what the next year holds.

Unfortunately, our New Year's Eve events of the day involved more hospital and less party.  My pregnancy with Peanut has been cruising along uneventfully, just the way I like it.  Yesterday I started having contractions.  Nothing regular or strong, but contractions nonetheless.  I rested, drank fluids, and they still stuck around.  I slept well last night and was a little unnerved to realize that they continued to linger this morning.  I called my doctor for a little reassurance, and unfortunately that's not what I got.  Due to the holiday, my doctor's office was closing early but my doctor really felt like I needed to be seen.  So Zach rushed home from work, his mom came over to watch Staley, and Zach and I headed over to the Labor and Delivery triage at the hospital.

After an hour and a half of monitoring and some tests by the doctor, it was confirmed that I was indeed having contractions but was not in preterm labor.  The verdict:  Go home, rest, drink lots and lots of fluids, and come back if the contractions continue or get worse.

Although that may not have been my first choice of how I wanted to spend my New Year's Eve day, I can't help but feel so thankful.  Thankful that Peanut is still doing well and staying put.  Thankful that I have a husband who will rush home from work, stay with me and entertain me in the hospital, insist that I stay here on the couch while he watches our daughter, and keeps bringing me fresh refills of my water.  Thankful that my mother-in-law is always so willing to help out, even at a moments notice.  Thankful that my parents offered to bring over dinner to make sure I continued to rest and relax.  Thankful that we have insurance and the ability to pay for medical care so that I don't have to weigh out whether or not my medical needs truly warrant attention.  Hospital visit may not have been top of my list of what I wanted to do on New Year's Eve and extra medical bills may not have been my choice of how to spend a little extra money before the new year, but all I am is thankful.  It's a good reminder as 2012 comes to a close that I am so blessed.  So my New Year's Eve wish for you is that you have a moment to stop and reflect on all the ways you have been blessed in 2012...and to hope that 2013 is just as good.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Good-bye Christmas

Last night after Staley went to bed, Zach and I took down our Christmas decorations.  So this morning, as we were getting ready to go down the stairs for breakfast, I warned Staley that our Christmas tree was gone.  As she walked down the stairs, she began pointing out all the things that were gone.  "The garland is gone.  The tree is gone.  The angel is gone."  Since she seemed to be taking it all in stride, I joined in and pointed out, "Look.  The stockings are gone too."  At that, Staley looked like she was about to burst into tears and asked, "Where are my toothpaste and toothbrush?"

After reassuring Staley that her new toothbrush and toothpaste were still safely living in the upstairs bathroom, she was fine.  But really, how traumatic it would be to think that when Christmas was over, all the new things you had just gotten would be whisked away with the decorations.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Technology

I don't know why they call it a smart phone, because all it does is make me feel very un-smart.

I am not a technologically savvy individual.  I can check my e-mail.  I can google information.  I can post on my blog.  But if the computer doesn't do what I think it should do, I'm at a loss for how to fix it.  I don't download new software or problem-solve network problems.  When I call the computer help line at work, most times they just tell me something simple like restart your computer or click on this icon, and it fixes the problem.  But can I figure that out on my own.  Apparently not.  So why, oh why, did I think that I could figure out a smart phone???

Zach and I both got smart phones for Christmas.  I wasn't sure I was ready to say good-bye to my trusty flip phone with the keyboard, but Zach convinced me that it was time to join the 21st century.  In my first hour after activating the phone, I messed up my contacts list, set up my e-mail incorrectly, accidentally called someone (twice), and downloaded what I thought was a free app that actually was going to charge me $9.99/month.  Not a stellar start.  While Zach was whizzing away downloading apps and loving his new phone, I was struggling to set a ringtone and was still figuring out how to actually answer my phone. 

Since the rocky start to our relationship, my new phone has been growing on me.  I have made phone calls, answered phone calls, texted, checked my e-mail, and even downloaded 3 apps.  I set my speed dials (although still haven't figured out how to actually use them.)  Zach helped me rearrange my home screen, and now my phone even tells me the outside temperature wherever I am.  I know there are TONS of things that my new phone can do, many of which I'll probably never figure out.  It still makes me a little nervous that my phone seems to be tracking my every move.  I would like to think of myself as a progressive individual who embraces change and keeps up with the times, but I've realized that I'm not that cool anymore.  I like the status quo.  I like consistency and reliability and the comfort of the familiar.  So although I've moved on into the 21st century (at least in the phone world), I think part of me is still clinging to the 20th.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas

Our tree is shedding needles and dropping ornaments, our recycling is loaded down with empty boxes, the playroom has been rearranged to accommodate the new toys, and all 3 of us took a 2 hour nap today.  I think it's very clear.  Christmas must be over.

Our Christmas holiday was fast and full, exhilirating and exhausting.  We started off on Sunday evening with the extended Sancken family Christmas, followed it up with a Christmas Eve celebration at the Bradfords with Zach's immediate family, enjoyed a cozy Christmas morning at home with our little family, and then rounded out the fun at my parents for the Walles Christmas bonanza on Christmas evening.

If you ask Staley what she got for Christmas, she probably won't tell you about her new kitchen and accessories or her princess castle or her new baby dolls or her bowling set.  Generally, she tells people that she got toothpaste and stickers.  We could have saved ourselves money and wrapping paper and the 4 hours Zach spent putting together the kitchen because the toothpaste, chapstick, and stickers in her stocking apparently provided enough excitement.  We started Christmas morning with stockings, and Staley didn't even want to unwrap her presents.  She just wanted to brush her teeth.  (Aunt Melissa must be so proud!)  With a little coercing, she did open her presents and has had a great time playing with her new toys.  When she finally walked into her playroom and saw her new kitchen, her eyes lit up and she exclaimed, "Look!  A kitchen!  A real kitchen!" She whipped us up a yummy Christmas morning breakfast of chocolate cake and bacon, baked together in a pot in the oven.  I'm sure she'll share the recipe if you ask.

Staley also got to experience the joy of giving this holiday season.  Zach took her Target and told her she could pick out anything in the store to get for me.  (Brave man.)  Apparently they walked up and down multiple aisles until Staley spotted a display of loofahs.  She immediately said, "This!  I want to get this!" as she proceeded to pick me out a very special orange loofah.  Being less brave than Zach, I took Staley to the Everything's $1 store and told her she could pick out something for Zach.  She immediately found a Cinderella puzzle that she thought Daddy would love...until she spotted some bubble bath in a heart-covered bottle.  We took that to the check-out, where she then changed her mind once again and decided that he would like some casino playing cards.  In the end, I think she picked a winner.  I will admit.  I got some nice things for Christmas, but my orange loofah may be the best gift of them all!

Spending time with family is always a highlight of any holiday.

Staley with her Bradford cousins

Staley and her two older Bradford cousins

Staley with her Walles cousins

Spending a little extra time with Uncle Ethan on Christmas Eve morning was another Christmas highlight.

Staley checking out her stocking loot.

Staley with her new Dora toothbrushes and Little Bear toothpaste.  Score!

Baking up a yummy Christmas morning breakfast.

My little chef (in her super-cute apron that Aunt Melissa made)

We had a very merry Christmas.  We move forward from another Christmas with special gifts and new memories and the joy of giving to others...and very clean teeth.  We wish the same for you!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

 
Joy to the world!! 
May you celebrate the birth of our Savior surrounded by those you love!
 
 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Christmas Equation

Helping Mommy bake
 
+

cookie cutters
 
+

frosting and 'frinkles'
 
=

one happy little girl.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

All I Want for Christmas...

...is a fever and a cough???

Unfortunately for Staley, that is what has arrived for her these few days before Christmas.  She woke early Friday morning with a fever.  Her fever stuck around all day yesterday, although couldn't seem to keep my little gal down.  She was her happy, active, playful self all day.  (Well, her happy, active, playful self that needed a 3 hour nap.)  And today, she woke up still hanging onto her fever and adding a little croupy cough to the fun.  Still happy.  Still active.  Still playful.  Just now happy, active, playful, fever-y, and cough-y.  Of course, today was supposed to be the kick-off to Christmas with Zach's family.  But because sickness is NOT what we want to be giving out for Christmas this year, our Sancken holiday celebration had to be postponed.  Not exactly the way we wanted to kick off our Christmas celebrations, but I'm not going to complain.  As I think about the children and families that will be spending their Christmas at the hospital, the individuals who will be alone this holiday season, those whose only Christmas list is to be healthy or housed or loved or safe, the families who have to face this Christmas with presents for their lost child still under the tree, all I can do is pray for them...and feel truly thankful.  I am blessed.  Our Savior has been born.  And no fever or cough or postponed celebration will ever change that.

Let It Snow

Staley has never experienced snow.  Last winter was so mild that we never had a true snowfall (and Staley probably wouldn't remember it anyway.)  She has several books that talk about the snow and the fun things to do in snow, so Staley has been enchanted with the idea.  She was SO excited about the snow as I was picking her up after work on Thursday evening.  "I getting snow on my coat.  I getting snow on my hat.  Mommy getting snow on her coat.  Mommy driving in the snow."  And since then, she has been asking to play in the snow.  So today we bundled up and headed out.

Ready to go.
(I do think the pink light-up princess boots from Uma may have bolstered Staley's extreme desire for it to snow.) 
 
I think the idea of snow might be a little more enchanting than the snow itself.  Staley's books expose the fun of sledding (we don't have one yet) and ice skating (not quite ready.)  They show large, perfectly shaped snowmen (snow didn't pack) and snow forts that look like castles (not going to happen).  Her very favorite snowy day picture is when Goose makes a larger-than-himself snowgoose.  (Again, my artistic abilities and the snow consistency made this dream an impossibility.)  Snow angels sounded like a good idea until Staley realized that she would have to lie down in the snow (decided against it).  We did make a few crumbly snowballs, but Staley's mittens made it hard to hold onto anything.  Although she still insists that she likes the snow, I'm afraid her 15 minutes of snowy day bliss might not have lived up to expectations.
 
First steps into the snow.
 
So this is what snow feels like.
 
Staley's winter wonderland.
 
 




Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Letter

Disclaimer:  Many of you have probably already received this Christmas letter, and there is still a batch on it's way.  However, because this blog is as much for Staley and our family to remember our day-to-day moments, I wanted to include our Christmas letter in the blog.  To keep you from thinking it was a waste of time to check a blog that is posting old-news information, I have included a new Christmas-y Staley photo at the end of this post.  Enjoy!  :)


The Christmas Letter 2012
A literary work by Staley

My life is very busy.  I have toys to play with, cats to pet, naps to take, Tupperware to remove from the cupboards, songs to sing, baths to play in, and I’m still expected to be in bed by 7:30 every night.  In the midst of all that I have to accomplish in a day’s time, now my mom expects me to write a Christmas letter AGAIN!  I know last year’s letter impressed a few readers with my grasp of the written English language, but now that I’m almost 2, I’m worried it will be more difficult to live up to the expectations.  But because it was either writing this or putting away all the blocks I just dumped out in my playroom, I’m going to give it a go.  (At least with letter writing, I get to play on the computer.  And trust me, I dumped out A LOT of blocks.)
We’ve had a very good year around here.  Last year, I was just a baby.  Now I’m a big girl.  I’m fast.  I’m adventurous.  I’m talkative.  I’m opinionated.  I’m social.   I’m happy (although, for the record, I’m always happier when I’m getting my way.)  I love playing with my friends and my cousins, reading books, pretending, swimming, playing toys, singing, and keeping Mom and Dad on their toes.  And, of course, I’m a huge Chicago Bear’s fan.  Mom likes to keep track of everything I’m doing, so she writes about me and puts pictures of me on our family blog.  If you want to know more about what I’m up to, you can check it out at http://ezsanck.blogspot.com.
Mom and Dad have lots of favorite things, but I am at the top of the list.  Mom still works 2 days/week at the Children’s Hospital in Peoria as a pediatric occupational therapist, and that gives me time to play with my friends at the baby-sitters.  Otherwise, we have lots of fun playing at home and going on outings together.  Dad works all week, so he just has to live vicariously through my stories of trips to the zoo, the pool, music class, the grocery store, and the library.  He’s sad to miss out, but he really likes his job as an accountant at State Farm and always finds time to do fun things with me when he gets home.  Dad also finished his MBA in June, so now he’s not in class every other week-end anymore.  That’s a bonus for me!!!  He’s still on the Eureka City Council, teaches an accounting class, fixes things around the house, and makes the best pancakes ever.
Jake and Elwood are my best friends.  They sleep a lot and stay out of my way when I’m running around, but I love to pet them and share my toys with them and give them treats.  I give them lots of love.  Someday maybe they’ll reciprocate.
I got to go to the beach for the first time this year.  We spent a week in Pentwater, MI with my aunts and uncles and cousins.  Sand is awesome!  Water is awesome!  Staying in a house with my cousins is awesome!  To sum up, Pentwater was awesome!  We also went to St. Louis, Chicago, and Madison, WI.  I haven’t met a zoo, aquarium, Children’s Museum, or hotel pool I didn’t like.
Oh, and I forgot to mention that by April, I’m going to be a big sister.  I love my baby dolls and I like playing with other kids, so I’m guessing I’ll like having a baby brother or sister.  I don’t expect life to change around here for me too much when the baby comes.  It’ll probably be like having a new toy, only better.  Right??
Well, I think that about covers what happened around here this year.  Hopefully Mom has picked up all my blocks by now.  I think I’m going to go dump them back out.  I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

With love,
Staley (and my parents too)

Merry Christmas!!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Great Nap Experiment

Hypothesis:  Staley no longer needs an afternoon nap.

Experiment:  Staley will skip her afternoon nap, and we will observe the results.

Most recent date of experiment:  Yesterday

Set-up: 
1.  Put Staley down for her afternoon nap.
2.  Staley will happily talk and sing in her crib for over half an hour.
3.  Attempt quiet music, dancing, and lying in her room.
4.  After over an hour with no nap in sight, give up and get Staley up.

Observations:
Staley proceeds through the 4 stages of No-Nap Syndrome.

Stage I:  Utter Happiness
Upon discovery that she has won and nap-time is over, talking, smiling, laughter, and energetic happiness ensue.

Stage II:  Mellowing Out
Staley will proceed to melt into the couch while eating her snack and watching her snack-time television program.  Eyes become glassy, movement is limited.

Stage III:  The Second Wind
In order to combat the mellow tiredness, Staley will become overly active.  Attention to toys and activities is limited, and Staley will instead run aimlessly, do laps around the dining room table, and stay in constant motion in order to not fall asleep.

Stage IV:  The Melt-down
When active pursuits are halted (aka:  sitting down for dinner), bring on the melt-downs.  Make room for sensitivity, tears for no reason, and the inability to deal with even the smallest of disappointments.

The result:  Bedtime occurs at 6:15 instead of 7:30.

Conclusion:  Staley still needs her afternoon nap.

Future Experiments:  Staley decides that this experiment is worth repeating every month or so.  The results are always very similar, but Staley is determined to prove her hypothesis.  Here's hoping that after this current trial, her scientific curiousity is satisfied for a nice, long time.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Math Lesson

Staley and Zach were playing together in the play room and had this little math lesson.

Zach:  (Holding up 2 cards)  "How many cards do I have?"
Staley:  "Two."
Zach:  (Adding another card in his hand) "I had 2 cards and I added 1 more.  Now how many do I have?
Staley:  "Three."
Zach:  (Adding yet another card)  "I had 3 cards and I added 1 more.  Now how many do I have?
Staley:  (Thinking for a second)  "Plenty."

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Fallen Angel

Staley Milestone #582:  Staley was put in time-out at her baby-sitters for the first time yesterday.

I think it's starting.  The limit testing.  The boundary pushing.  The I'll-keep-doing-it-if-I-want-to-do-it-even-when-you-tell-me-no.  The bossiness.  The demands.  We are entering THAT phase of toddlerhood.

So far, Staley has been such an easy toddler.  I'm not one of those parents who is afraid to correct or punish my child.  I have high standards for her actions and obedience.  I don't think her easy toddlerhood has anything to do with a fear of telling her 'no' or a reluctance to discipline.  She's just been easy.  If we tell her to do or not to do something, she generally listens.  If we give her a consequence, we follow through.  Usually a related consequence works to curb her behavior.  Standing up in the bath?  Bath time is over.  Playing with her fruit?  No more fruit.  Being rough with her toys?  Toys are taken away.  It's been pretty simple...so far.

Recently, Staley has had a fascination with time-out.  This is the discipline method employed by her baby-sitter, so she has become familiar with time-out by watching her friends do their time.  Lately, if Staley gets reprimanded at the dinner table for playing with her food, she will say, "I get in trouble.  I sit in time out."  We'll ask, "Do you want to sit in time-out?"  Her reply is always "yes."  The other night at dinner, continued food playing and yelling at the dinner table resulted in an actual time-out.  She didn't like not interacting with us (and she didn't get to zoodle after dinner), but otherwise she seemed unphased.  And yesterday, when I picked her up from the baby-sitter, her baby-sitter mentioned that Staley had been disruptive during circle time after repeated warnings and had to sit in time-out.  She also mentioned that Staley seemed pretty pleased with being put in time-out.

And so here we are.  We have the beginning of some limit testing and boundary pushing...and a little girl who apparently likes time-out.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Rebel...with a guilty conscience

I am a rule-follower when it comes to parenting decisions about Staley.  Part of it is because she's our first child and I'm still trying to figure it all out.  Part of it is because I work in a children's hospital and see what can go wrong when some of the 'rules' aren't followed.  Part of it may be my controlling tendencies.  Whatever the reason, I follow the rules.  We followed the new-food-every-3-days rule when starting solid foods.  Staley was on her back to sleep until she figured out how to roll herself over.  Hand washing.  Water temperature regulation.  Breathable bumpers.  Absolutely no co-sleeping.  If there was a checklist for following baby rules, I'm sure I'd get a gold star.

Until today.  Today I broke a baby rule.  And not just any baby rule.  I broke a carseat rule.  I am a carseat safety technician.  I have spent the last 10 years keeping up this certification by checking other people's carseats and making sure they are installed and used correctly.  I have always been a stickler about Staley's carseat and carseat use.  The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a new recommendation a few years ago that children should ride rear-facing in their carseats until they are 2 years old.  (The previous guideline was 1 year old and 20 pounds.)  Staley is currently only 23 months old...and I turned her carseat around.  (I will now pause while you gasp in shock and disapproval.)  And it wasn't even for a legitimate reason, like her surpassing the rear-facing weight limit for her carseat or anything like that.  We took Staley to the Festival of Lights tonight, and I wanted her to be able to see the lights better.  That was my reasoning.  I blew off the AAP recommendation because I wanted my child to have a better Christmas-light viewing experience.

Staley loved facing forward.  Her legs weren't shoved up against the back of the seat.  She could see so much more of what was going on around her.  It was much easier to hear what she was saying.  And so...I think we're going to leave her seat facing forward.  And I'll be honest.  I'm feeling a little guilty.  I may only be breaking the rule by 1 month.  In one month, the AAP will say, "Sure.  Turn her around.  Perfect timing."  But for this next month, I'll be driving my daughter around with a little more caution...and a guilty conscience.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

My Christmas List

Most years, I can come up with at least a few items I want for Christmas.  Clothes or books or something for the house.  My Christmas list over the past several years hasn't been lengthy, but it hasn't been blank either.  This year, I struggled with a Christmas list.  Sure, there are things I want.  But the things I want can't really be wrapped up nicely under a tree. 

My Christmas List
1.  I want our house projects to be completed before Peanut arrives.  We are in the process of finishing our basement, which will then house our office so our current office can be a nursery.  Having that all completed prior to bringing home a baby in April would be so nice. 
2.  I want Peanut to continue to grow and develop into a healthy and happy infant.
3.  I want to feel confident that I have the ability to parent both a newborn and toddler...at the same time.
4.  I want more time.  Time to complete projects and organize rooms and clean out closets and spend time with friends without taking away from my time with my daughter, my husband, or my sleep.
5.  I want new toys.  For Staley, yes.  But also for me.  I'm so excited about what Staley will be getting for Christmas, partly because I know she'll love everything she's getting and partly because I'm getting tired of playing with her current toys.  One of the downsides of a January birthday is there is a long hiatus before a surge of new toys occurs again.  Staley and I are both ready.

This is my Christmas list for this year.  So if Santa can figure out how to make all that happen, I might reconsider my stance of believing in him.

And really, when I already have this...

 
how could I possibly need anything more???

Friday, December 7, 2012

Silly Me!

Staley and I were playing with a book that has a magnetic puzzle piece to correspond to each letter of the alphabet.  We had taken out all the pieces, and were in the process of putting them back into the book.  As we were nearing the end, we couldn't find one piece.  Looking around, I asked, "Staley, where's the octopus?"  Staley's reply?  "In the ocean."  Silly me!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Experiencing the Magic

Christmas time is here!!!!  I love Christmas!  It's one of my favorite times of year.   I still experience the wonder of Christmas, and I'm so excited to see it through the eyes of my child.  The lights, the music, the decorations, the cookies, the joy, the giving.  I believe in the magic of Christmas, in celebrating the birth of our Savior with joy and love.  I can't wait to share this magical time of year with Staley.

We kicked off our holiday season in style this year.  On Friday evening, we drove to Monticello to take a ride on the Polar Express.  A train ride, hot chocolate, cookies, music, dancing, a conductor who punched your golden ticket, a visit from Santa, your very own bell...what's not to love?!

According to Staley, Santa getting too close is what's not to love.

But other than a little short-lived Santa sadness, Staley was all smiles and laughter.

Pretty pleased with her golden ticket

A little family trip to the North Pole.

Holding tight to her new bell.

And I must still believe, because I heard her bell ringing throughout our car ride home until one tired little girl fell asleep.  And because one tired little girl insisted on sleeping with her bell that night, it was the sound I awakened to in the morning as well.

The Polar Express was the kick-off, but our holiday festivities were just beginning.  On Saturday, Staley got to enjoy a Santa visit and photo ops at State Farm. 

This Santa was tolerable...

...but the rocking horse was way better.

State Farm Santa also gave Staley a $10 gift card to Toys R Us, so we followed up our visit with a trip to the toy store.  We gave Staley some pretty cool $10 options to choose from, but she found a tiny stuffed kitten for less than $1 that she decided was what she wanted.  Her deciding factor?  "It's just my size." 

And to top off our Christmas extravaganza week-end, we also went to pick out our Christmas tree.  Staley was quite taken with the flocked Christmas trees, but unfortunately for her, she was out-voted. 

Notice the 'just her size' kitty in her right hand.

Celebrating Christmas has always filled me with joy.  But watching Staley experience the wonder of Christmas...well, nothing can compete with that!





Friday, November 30, 2012

Brothers and Sisters

Today at lunch, Staley and I had this conversation.

Staley:  "Where is my brother and my sister?"
Me:  "You don't have a brother or a sister yet.
Staley:  "Yes, I do."
Me:  "Really?  Where are they?"
Staley:  "In there."  (Pointing to the living room.)
Me:  "What are their names?"
Staley:  "Jake and Elwood."

I guess they do live here and have been a part of our family since before Staley was born.  At this point, it's the closest thing she has to siblings.  Of course, they are cats and both boys, but other than that, Staley wasn't too far off.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Learning about Homonyms

Homonym:  In linguistics, a homonym is, in the strict sense, one of a group of words that share the same spelling and the same pronunciation but have different meanings.

Staley and I stopped into CVS this morning so that I could pick up a prescription.  In the Christmas aisle, there was a Nutcracker Ballet musical scene.  I let Staley push the button and watch the ladies in tutus spin around in circles while a short portion of the Nutcracker music played.  She was intrigued.  We watched it twice on the way into the store, Staley told the pharmacist all about it as she was ringing up my prescription, and then we watched it again on our way out of the store.

As we were driving home from CVS, Staley started giggling in the back seat and saying "two crackers, two crackers."  I thought she had found some left-over snacks hidden in her carseat.  Then she said, "Cracker is a horse.  Cracker is dancing ladies."  Staley had discovered that cracker can have several meanings.  Cracker IS the horse owned by our friend, Libby, and ridden by Zach's cousin, Emma.  And the Nutcracker is, in essence, dancing ladies.  (Or, according to Zach, the Nutcracker is two hours of his life that he'll never get back.)  Either way, Staley had her first lesson in homonyms.  I'm just surprised that she forgot about meaning number 3:  her favorite snack food. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

She Says...

Last night at dinner, Staley was sitting in her highchair while I was putting the last few things on the table.  I placed Staley's plate with her veggies in front of her, and then I put a bag of pretzels on the table.  Before I had said a word and before Staley had taken a bite of her dinner, she said, "I want pretzels.  Mommy say eat veggies first."  That little girl has got me figured out.

Today, Staley and I were driving around town doing some errands.  Staley said, "Mommy driving.  I riding in carseat.  We going fast like gazelle."  I'm not sure how 'fast like gazelle' translates into speed limits, but hopefully it's around 30 mph.

When Staley is looking at something that she doesn't know what it is, or looking at book that she doesn't know the title, she will ask, "What's that look like supposed to be?"  I guess there's nothing wrong with combining two questions into one to save a little time.

Staley has a pair of gold, glittery dress shoes that her Uma bought her.  She LOVES those shoes.  Anytime I ask her to go get a pair of shoes before we go somewhere, she always chooses those ones.  This morning, as we were getting ready to run our errands, I told Staley to go get her tennis shoes.  She responded with, "No.  I wear my sparkly glitter shoes from Uma."  And so, my fashionable little girl wowed today at the library and the grocery store in her pink courderoy pants, her striped sweater, and her gold glitter shoes.

Staley is still figuring out relationships.  She knows her grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins.  She knows her friends.  She is beginning to figure out that people can hold several different titles in her life.  On Thanksgiving morning, she was looking for "my friend Grandpa."  Today at lunch, Staley told me, "Mommy, you are my favorite sister.  And Elliott is my favorite brother."  I guess we still have a little work to do with those terms.

Not a day goes by that I don't hear something amusing from my little girl.  She keeps me smiling, keeps me laughing, and keeps my heart filled to the brim.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Just Kickin' It

Peanut Milestone:  At 21 1/2 weeks, Zach can feel Peanut kicking.  After spending the past several weeks exclusively enjoying the sporadic reminders from Peanut that he/she is keeping up a strict exercise routine, now Zach gets to join in the fun.  Hooray for shared enjoyment!  If only Zach could share in the enjoyment of multiple night-time bathroom breaks and rapid weight gain, then we could really engage in some pregnancy bonding.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thankful

Zach and I have so much to be thankful for.  Our families, our friends, our stable jobs, our home, our health.  But topping the list of things we are thankful for...

...our amazing baby girl.
 
And, of course, Peanut too.  We couldn't be more blessed...or more thankful.  God is good!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Story of Peanut

When I started this blog almost 2 years ago, I wanted to tell Staley's story from the beginning.  I wanted to remember all the little moments and big moments leading up to her arrival.  I wanted to remember my pregnancy with her, those precious 9 months of wondering who my little baby would be.  I wanted to make sure that one day, when Staley could go back and read my words, that she would understand how much she was truly loved right from the start.

For Peanut, my desire is the same.  Although the story will be different, I want Peanut to know that he/she is a blessing that we hoped for and wished for and prayed for, a miracle that we thank God everyday for giving to us.  We are only at the halfway mark to meeting the newest addition to our family, so this story will be a work in progress.  We'll call this Chapter 1:  Our Little Miracle.

Obviously, Staley's story began with the heartbreak of infertility.  The beginning of her story took us a long time to reach.  Since that time, there has been a surgery and medication changes that we hoped would resolve some of the issues that we faced when trying to start our family.  Nevertheless, we weren't sure what path we would have to take in order to add to our family.  At my routine doctor's appointment in April, when learning of our desire to add to our family, my doctor recommended returning to our fertility specialist.  He made the referral, but when they called to make an appointment, I asked if we could wait a bit before scheduling.  The farthest out they were scheduling appointments was in August, so I made an appointment for then.

As August approached, Zach and I continued to discuss our options.  We weren't sure if we wanted to go through the in vitro process again, primarily concerned about decisions we might have to make if we were successful and ended up with frozen embryos.  We went back and forth, determining that we would use this appointment to discuss all our options with our doctor and then make some decisions after that.  A few days before our appointment, I realized that I was in a gray area with my body's cycle.  Zach and I thought it made sense to take a pregnancy test before the appointment, just in case, but were both convinced that it would be negative.  We were wrong!  Miracle of miracles, we had a positive pregnancy test.  We cancelled our appointment with our fertility doctor, and made one with the ob-gyn instead.

My ob-gyn didn't want to see me until I was 8 weeks along.  In that time, Zach and I didn't tell anyone about our news.  We didn't even discuss it between ourselves.  I waited nervously, preparing my heart for the worst.  At our 8 week appointment, they did an ultrasound that showed a baby with a healthy heartbeat.  As soon as we saw that heartbeat, I cried with joy.  We then shared our news with our parents and siblings, waiting for our 12 week appointment (and another strong, healthy heartbeat) before sharing the news with other family and friends. 

The first trimester went by smoothly.  I was tired (of course), but Staley's 7:30 bedtime and my 8:30 bedtime gave Zach plenty of time for reading, internet, and television shows and movies that I didn't want to see.  I had a week or two of some mild night-time nausea, but otherwise it was smooth sailing.  I was certain I felt baby movement at 14 1/2 weeks (while waiting in line at Express), but my doctor told me that the earliest baby movement is usually felt around 16 weeks.  I still believe that Peanut was enjoying our shopping experience, but between 16-17 weeks was when those first, beautiful, reassuring flutters and tickles were definitely felt. 

My pregnancy with Staley was very easy, and this one has been the same.  The primary differences are that I have less time to dwell on every little change in how I feel (and therefore, some decreased worries) because more of my time is consumed with keeping pace with a toddler.  My doctor's appointments are much shorter since I don't come armed with a list of questions and worries each time I visit him.  And my ability to keep this pregnancy a secret was much harder, not because of my mouth but because of my body.  Apparently if you don't do anything to strengthen your ab muscles after your first child, your second one pops out there for the world to see much, much sooner.  (I actually had a few gutsy individuals ask me directly if I was pregnant when I was only 9 or 10 weeks along, before we were even sharing the news with those close to us.  Yikes!)  I graduated into my maternity clothes around 18 weeks, although I probably could have squeezed into my regular clothes a little longer.  But I had the maternity clothes available and I now know how comfortable they generally are, so I embraced the new wardrobe without hesitation.  Elastic and stretch and work pants that feel like pajamas are not something I'm going to turn down.

Our 20 week ultrasound last week was another milestone in Peanut's journey.  Each doctor's visit, each heartbeat I hear, and each kick I feel makes me smile with relief.  And an ultrasound that affirms our baby is healthy and growing and developing just like he/she should is a true answer to prayers.  Each week brings us one step closer to meeting our baby that I already love with all my heart.   

And I'm not the only one.  Peanut is already surrounded by so much love.  Our families and friends have expressed so much excitement and support.  Peanut's cousins are eagerly awaiting his/her arrival.  Big sister, Staley, talks regularly about the baby.  And, of course, Zach and I couldn't be more thrilled.  We have plenty to do before Peanut arrives, like a nursery and a name, but we also have a few more chapters in this story before he/she is here.  So we will continue to pray and wait patiently to meet our little miracle.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Great Expectations

Staley has always been a happy, social, interactive little girl.  As she gets older and spends more time with other kids, it is becoming evident that she also has a sweet, gentle, and caring nature.  She is so good about sharing and taking turns, even with her favorite toys and snacks.  She loves to give hugs and is concerned when someone is crying.  These are all traits that make me certain Staley will excel at being a big sister.

The prospect of being a big sister is exciting for Staley, in the limited understanding she currently has of it.  The other night, while getting ready for bed, Staley was sharing with us her expectations of being a big sister.

Staley:  "We are going to have a baby."
Me:  "Yes, we are."
Staley:  "I be a big sister."
Me:  "You will be a great big sister."
Staley:  "I play ring-a-round-the-rosy with the baby."
Me:  "That will be fun."
Staley: "I share my princesses with the baby."
(Her princesses are some of Staley's most prized possessions.)
Me:  "That will be so nice of you."
Staley:  "The baby wants to hold my bears.  We take turns."
(Her bears are another of her favorite toys.)
Me:  "It will be so nice to share and take turns with the baby."

So far, Staley's expectations of being a big sister include playing together, sharing, and taking turns.  I'm all for it!  Let's hope she doesn't change her mind before April.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Keeping Me Humble

I watched my almost 4-year old nephew, Elliott, yesterday morning for a few hours.  Kids just have a way of keeping us humble.

Elliott:  "Aunt Ellen, your belly's getting kind of big."
Me:  "Why do you think my belly is getting big?"
Elliott:  "You're probably eating too much food."

Okay, so I can't really deny that fact.  Makes me rethink polishing off the Halloween candy and that package of Zingers that were calling my name in the vending machine at work.

A little later, we were playing grocery store.  Elliott had a 'scanner' and was telling me how much things cost.

Me:  "How much does this apple cost?"
Elliott:  "One dollar."
Me:  "How much does this banana cost?"
Elliott:  "Two dollars."
Me:  "How much do I cost?"
Elliott:  "Five dollars."
Me:  "How much does this bag of candy cost?"
Elliott:  "One hundred dollars."

So in Elliott's eyes, I am slightly better than an apple and banana, but my value falls well short of candy.  Nothing like a 4 year old's honesty to keep things in perspective. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Dealing with Infertility

Infertility is not something that's generally openly talked about.  It may be whispered about by co-workers, wondered about by acquaintances, and shared in private moments with friends.  But infertility doesn't generally make the list of topics to bring up at a party or discuss over a casual dinner with friends.  I don't want to use this post to share all the intimate details of our months and years of struggle to have Staley.  I won't expound on the physical, financial, and emotional toll that infertility takes on an individual, and a couple.  (Although for anyone who is going through infertility, I am more than happy to share my experiences, and to let you know you are most definitely not alone.)  What I want to do is provide some guidance for those who have never gone through infertility.

Before we started trying to start a family, I was close with several individuals who struggled with miscarriages and infertility.  Looking back, I know I didn't come close to understanding the gravity of what they were going through or the best way to be there for them.  I remember thinking they were doing fine because they were going about life with a smile in place.  I am sure I unknowingly said things that were insensitive, possibly even things that made them bite back tears.  Not because I'm mean.  But because I didn't know.  Couldn't know.  But now I do know.  I know what it feels like.  I know how it hurts.  I know what the waiting and hoping and disappointment can do to a person.  I can't help someone else feel it, but I can tell you what helped me during that time...and what hurt me.  What I needed, and what I dreaded.  The truth is...you can't make it better.  But you can understand a little bit more.

Infertility is everywhere.  Whether you are aware or not, I'm sure there is someone in your life (a friend, a family member, a co-worker) who is going through this struggle.  As more and more people became aware of what we were going through to start our family with Staley, we heard more and more stories of people's own struggles.  Their losses.  I am now so mindful of my words and actions in group settings and around others, not knowing who is carrying a hidden pain.  And so, I always keep a few things in mind.

1.  Don't ask married couples when they are going to have kids...or have another kid.  Since Zach and I waited 6 years before trying to start our family, we were definitely used to the question.  But when it comes on the day you got news of another negative pregnancy test or a failed procedure or even just when you are in the midst of hoping that the next month will be the month, that question hurts...and is hard to answer.  And how do you answer when someone jokingly says, "What are you waiting for?"  Because I'm guessing they don't want to hear, "Well, I'm waiting for the daily hormone injections and the timed ovulation and the egg harvesting and the test tube conception to all come into alignment."  So just don't ask.

2.  Other people's joy in pregnancy can be hard.  I cried way too many tears over the pregnancy announcements of co-workers, cousins, acquaintances, friends.  As petty as this sounds, I just wanted it to be me.  I had to lock myself in a therapy room at work and walk out of a family gathering when an unexpected pregnancy announcement took me by surprise.  I stopped attending baby showers.  I stopped going to large gatherings of people.  I even e-mailed a close friend before attending her get-together to make sure no one's pregnancy would take me by surprise while I was there.  For the first-time pregnant couple, coming up with a big, surprise way of sharing your news with others seems fun.  (I know...Zach and I discussed how we would surprise everyone with our first pregnancy news, which never came to fruition before our loss.)  So share the news with sensitivity.  It's good news for you, but might not make everyone smile.

3.  Words of advice are generally not helpful.  I appreciated the advice from those who had gone through infertility about physician recommendations, what to expect from various procedures, how to administer the scary-looking IM shots.  But advice and stories from others who hadn't been there were not helpful.  If I heard one more story about a couple who adopted, got a dog, or stopped trying and then got pregnant, I was going to scream.  At one point, I told Zach that the next person who told me to "relax and stop trying, and it will happen" was going to get kicked in the shin.  And I was only kind of kidding.  As much as the stories of hope from other couples may seem like a good idea, at the time, it's just one more story of success that isn't mine. 

4.  What is helpful is knowing that people care.  A text, a card, an e-mail, a phone call...those were helpful.  Knowing that people knew this was tough, and they were there for me was helpful.  A single rose and a card that said, "We love you" from my mother-in-law and sister-in-law after a failed in vitro attempt made my devastation ease just a little bit.  I didn't need wise words or advice.  Just someone to say, "I'm sorry.  This sucks.  It's unfair.  I'm here for you.  I love you."  That's what helped.  For family and friends to understand that I may cancel dinners and decline offers to go out and skip baby showers and opt out of holidays and not take their phone calls, and to give me permission to do that without guilt.  That helped.  To ask how I'm doing and be okay if that question is answered with tears or an in-depth description of my last invasive procedure.  Those were the things that helped.  "Relax and stop trying."  Not helpful.

Infertility is the hardest thing I've gone through in my life.  I can call it a 'journey' now because I'm on the other side, but at the time it wasn't a journey.  It was a deep, dark, depressing, oppressing pit.  I knew God had a plan for our family, but at the time, it was hard not knowing what that plan was.  But now I'm here, happier than I have ever been.  I'm willing to share our story with anyone it would help, but don't use our story to try to encourage someone who is in the pit.  Just tell them, "I'm sorry.  This sucks.  It's unfair.  I'm here for you.  I love you."  That's what helps.




 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Peanut


We are pleased to officially introduce you to Peanut.

Age:  20 weeks, 2 days (gestational age)
Due date:  April 1, 2013
Size:  Similar to a small cantaloupe
Likes:  Spending time with Mommy, napping, kicking
Dislikes:  Lack of scenery, poor acoustics, decreased leg room
Gender:  We have it narrowed down to 2 possibilities.
Favorite big sister:


Growth and development:  Right on track.

We thank God for good news at our ultrasound today and for blessing us with this addition to our family.  Peanut, you are already so loved!! 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Zoodling

Every person has those games or activities that are a special part of their childhood.  Some of these are passed on from parents to children in the hopes that the joy can be shared.  In the same way my mom taught us how to play 'Kick the Can' and my dad shared his innovative baseball card game with us, I hope to introduce Staley to 'Spoons' and the secret code I invented as a child (and still remember with surprising accuracy.)  Some childhood activities are simply universal, like tag or bubbles or riding bicycles.  And then, there are those activities that are generation specific.

Zoodling is one of Staley's generation-specific activities.  I never zoodled...just like I never pretended to check the weather on a computer or text someone from a cell phone.  But times change...and so do childhoods.  And zoodling is Staley's current childhood addiction.  Staley LOVES to zoodle.  She asks to zoodle multiple times each day, and gets the most excited expression on her face when we actually say 'yes.'  Telling her she is done with zoodling does often result in tears, but the joy she gets from her 10 daily minutes of zoodling is hard to resist.

What is zoodling?  Zach downloaded an app on his Kindle called Zoodles.  You enter a child's age, and it loads pages and pages of songs, video clips, and games that are appropriate for that specific age group.  I'm not sure that zoodling is a Webster-approved verb, but when Staley first started playing it, she would ask to 'zoodle' and the verb stuck.  In the few short weeks that we've had Zoodles, Staley has gotten scarily good.  She uses the touch screen efficiently to navigate from one page to another, choose the option she wants, and participate in all the games.  She can bounce back and forth between tabs for games, art, and books effortlessly.  She knows how to start and end the various games she plays, and can locate a specific game/song/video that she wants.  I know it's how this generation is being raised, but watching my not-yet-2 year old expertly navigate a touch screen electronic device is a little unnerving.

Staley zoodling with Daddy
 
I hope that Staley learns to enjoy Kick the Can and the baseball card game and Spoons and secret codes.  I look forward to sharing some of my childhood activities with Staley, and I just hope that she embraces them with half the enthusiasm she has for Zoodles.  


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Pretending

Pretend play is a big part of our everyday routine.  Staley loves to pretend, everything from watching a parade to going to school to playing at the park to giving her stuffed animals medicine and changing their diapers.  She asks for help setting up all 26 animals from her Little People's Zoo so that she can lead them in music class.  She will give them pretend instruments and sing to them.  The other morning as I was getting ready in the bathroom, Staley was having circle time with a few bottles of shampoo.  I love how her imagination works.

Yesterday, Staley wanted to play 'Halloween.'  She put on her Halloween costume, and then pretended to put Halloween costumes on Yellow Bear, Pink Bear, and Blue Bear.  Pink Bear was also Wonder Woman, while Yellow Bear and Blue Bear were Peter Pan (which was her cousin Liam's costume this year.)  Then she pretended to pick up a bucket and trick or treat.  I went behind a door so she could knock on it.  Staley knocked and said, "Trick or treat."  I pretended to hand her some candy.  Staley replied, "No.  Real candy."

Pretend is good, but some things are just better when they're real.  And Staley is right--candy is one of them.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Time Change

I like my sleep.  Always have.  Where the average adult probably needs 7-8 hours of sleep at night, I think my body functions best on 10-11.  I always cherished my days off as days that I could sleep in and let my body get the rest it always seems to need.  I'm a great napper.  I can sleep anywhere.  Falling asleep--no problem.  I don't really think I have an internal clock.  If there was an Olympics for sleeping, I'd definitely be in the running for the gold.

Staley was a great night-time sleeper from the moment we brought her home.  I think that was God's divine wisdom, knowing that I'd be a much better mother with some hours of sleep under my belt.  For the past several months, her night-time sleep patterns are like clockwork.  Asleep by 7:30.  Awake between 7:00 and 7:15.  (On the rare occasion, 7:30 or 8:00.  Oh, those are glorious days!)

Last week, however, Staley started several of her days around 6:30 instead of 7:00.  I was hoping it was a fluke.  And then...the time change.  We pushed back Staley's bedtime and naptime to help her accommodate to the change.  Her bedtime and naptime schedule have still been going fine.  But now instead of our like-clockwork 7:00-7:15 awakening, she has been waking up between 6:00 and 6:30.  Everyday.  Days I work.  Days I don't work.  I'm not one of those moms who gets up early to shower, get ready, meditate, work out.  Nope.  On my days off, I wake up when Staley wakes up.  7:00-good.  6:00-not so good.

I'm telling myself it's the time change.  I'm convincing myself it's the time change.  I'm HOPING that it's the time change.  Because that means that Staley will adjust, and our schedule will return to the way it was.  The other option would mean entertaining the thought that Staley's sleep schedule has changed, and that 6:00 is the start of our everyday.  I'm not ready to entertain that thought.  So...it must be the time change.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

C is for...

Staley had an early fascination with letters.  She has refrigerator letters and bathtub letters, and she has learned to recognize most of her upper case alphabet.  Lately, however, her interest has taken a new twist.  She has realized that letters represent things, and so she always wants to know what letters 'are for.'  She knows that 'S is for Staley.'  She has tried to build on that knowledge, with amusing results.  During bath time, she will pick up a letter and tell us 'T is for Daddy.'  Or 'X is for Mommy.'  Or 'O is for Grammie.'  Sometimes she will pause, as if asking us to fill in the blank.  The other day while playing with her refrigerator magnets, she held up the 'c' and asked, "C is for... (waiting for my reply.)"  I answered with "C is for Cade,"  to which she promptly corrected, "No.  C is for...Olivia."

She may not have the full concept yet, but you've got to admire the self-assurance.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Proud...Mostly

One of the things I really appreciate about Staley's new baby-sitter is that learning time is built into each day.  Staley participates in circle time, but as the second youngest at her in-home baby-sitters, she is learning right along with her 3 and 4 year old friends.  Recently they have been learning about the months of the year.  Staley will periodically tell us what month it is, and she's been very interested in learning about what month each person's birthday is.  'Liam's birthday in?'  'Mommy's birthday in?'  She will tell us, "Staley's birthday in January."

At lunch today, however, Staley surprised us.  We were eating, and out of the blue Staley said, "January."  Then she said, "February."  Then "March."  She proceeded to name all of the months of the year in order through September.  We had no idea she could do that.  I was surprised...and very proud.

Of course, it wasn't five minutes later that I had to tell Staley to stop gagging herself with her spoon.  I guess all of our moments can't be proud ones.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Few Perks

Staley started talking early in life, and she just never stopped.  Staley is talking (or singing) from the minute she wakes up in the morning to the time she falls asleep at night.  She has so much to say, and I love to listen to the running narrative of what is going on in that little head of hers.  I love how well she communicates, but I've definitely identified a few of my favorite perks.

1.  I always know when Staley is awake and when she is asleep.  I know there are children who lie quietly in their cribs as they are falling asleep or after they wake up.  Not my girl.  I can pinpoint the exact moment she falls asleep and the exact moment she wakes up by whether or not she is talking.  We probably don't still need to use the baby monitor, but we do...mostly because I enjoy listening to her commentary as she is going to sleep and after she wakes up.

2.  I never have to wonder where Staley is.  She is not often quietly in another room doing something she shouldn't be doing.  I always know where she is because wherever it is, she's talking about it.

3.  I never have to wonder what Staley is up to because she is telling me.  She hasn't yet learned that if she's doing something she's not supposed to, she should probably keep quiet about it.  Nope.  She's giving me a running commentary of her misdeeds.  'I playing on stairs.'  'I send message on Mommy's phone.'  'I standing on chair.'  'I dumping my water.'  Yesterday morning, I was in the shower and I heard Staley say, "I standing on my potty."  And sure enough, I looked out the curtain to see her proudly standing atop her potty chair in the bathroom.  I don't have to be watching her constantly, because she's letting me know when she's doing something she shouldn't.

4.  I generally don't have to guess or wonder what her tears are about.  She can let me know if she hurt something or wants something or even if she's crying for no reason.  This morning, Staley was crying when Zach got home from his run.  Concerned, he asked her what was wrong.  She responded with, "I play on stairs.  Mommy say no."  Yup.  No need to be too concerned about that one.  Or the other evening, Staley was crying because she wanted to read more books before brushing her teeth.  I asked her, "Are the tears really necessary?"  Staley answered with, "No.  Just drama."

5.  Staley can help us know what she is up to when we are not there.  She generally can share what she played with or talked about in circle time or the art project she did at the baby-sitters.  She loves to give us up-dates about her time with her cousins or her grandparents.  These cousin or baby-sitter up-dates also often include if someone cried, got in trouble, or got messy.  Although I know that her day-by-day summary isn't always 100% accurate, it's nice to know that she can share what's going on in her world when we're not there.

I love my talkative little girl.  She continues to amuse me with the things she says and astound me with her ever-growing vocabulary.  There are so many things I love about my baby girl...and her talking is just one of the perks.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Potty Up-date

About two months ago, I mentioned Staley's emerging interest in using the potty in this post.  After her first true success, Staley made some great progress.  For about 2-3 weeks, she would regularly pee in the potty once or twice a day and would poop in the potty about every 2-3 days.  Sometimes I would ask if she needed to go and sometimes she would initiate on her own.  We'd also do some sitting without any success, but I was sure she'd be potty trained within the month. 

Shows what I know.  After those beautiful 2-3 weeks, Staley began to lose interest.  She rarely asked to sit on the potty, and generally didn't want to try when I asked.  I didn't want to push her and make things worse, so instead I upped the ante.  I added M&Ms to the mix.  I told her that she'd get an M&M for sitting on the potty, and more M&Ms for going pee-pee or poo-poo on the potty.  With the added incentive, I was sure we'd pick up where we left off.

Shows what I know.  Multiple M&Ms are great, but Staley is happy with her one M&M.  Sure, we've had a few successes, but generally Staley will ask to sit on the potty a.) when she's trying to get out of something (naptime, bedtime),  b.) when I am trying to get her downstairs for breakfast/lunch/leaving the house and she wants to keep reading books, c.) when I am taking a shower and Staley would prefer that I be keeping her company, or d.) when she wants an M&M.  (You'll notice that when she actually needs to go didn't even make the top 4 list.)

So that's where we are.  Staley still almost always lets us know when her diaper is dirty, and occasionally lets us know when her diaper is wet.  She still sits on the potty, but not with the regular success that I would hope for.  I know she's still very young.  I'm not worried.  I'm not pushing it.  We have plenty of time.  But I had assumed that potty training with Staley would be quick and easy and hopefully done by now.

Shows what I know.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween

Staley enjoyed a full (several) days of Halloween celebration this year.  She was so excited about wearing her crown and her tutu.  She practiced saying 'trick or treat' and 'happy Halloween, everybody' around the house, in her crib at naptime, and sitting in her high chair at meals.  She knew that people were going to give her treats, and that was definitely something to look forward to.

Last week-end, Staley enjoyed the Pumpkin Patch Party at our church with her Walles cousins.  Her favorite part was the cake walk.  It took us about 15 rounds of 'walking on the numbers' before Staley won some cupcakes, but I don't even think the cupcakes were the highlight.  Apparently walking in a circle is great fun!!

With her cousins before the Pumpkin Patch Party

Staley got to enjoy a little extra costume time on Halloween.  She wore her costume to music class, the nursing home to visit her great-grandmas, the shop (where she enjoyed showing off for Brandon, Greg, and the rest of the guys), and the grocery store.

Staley with her friends and teacher from music class

And, of course, trick or treating was a highlight.  Because Staley has a 7:30 bedtime, our trick or treating window was relatively small.  To help out, we split trick or treating between two nights.  The Eureka relatives kindly allowed some early trick or treating on Tuesday so that we could visit a few neighbors on Wednesday. 

Ready to go (with her bucket in one hand and yellow bear in the other)

Trick or treat!

Getting treats is so exciting!

With this Halloween fun, Staley also got her first taste of a candy bar and her first experience with Skittles.  What a wonder(woman)ful Halloween we had!!!



Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Mini-cation

Mini-cation:  A shortened, condensed version of a vacation

Before Staley, mini-cations were a typical part of Zach and my yearly routines.  It wasn't uncommon for us to drive up to Chicago or down to St. Louis on a whim for a week-end away.  Jetting off to Washington, DC for a long week-end visit happened several times a year.

Staley is a great traveler, but mini-cations now require a lot more forethought and planning.  Packing takes twice as long.  Do we have enough diapers?  Blankets?  Books?  Toys?  Did we get the stroller?  Pack and play?  Snacks?  Instead of winging it, leaving whenever we are ready and doing activities on the fly, we now have to plan drive time and activities around naps and bedtime. Finding hotels with pools is a priority, and hotels with suites so that Staley can sleep while we stay up is a bonus.  Staley loves to travel, and we love to travel with Staley.  It's just different now.

But different can be good.  And we had a great time this past week-end on our family mini-cation to Chicago.  Zach and I had tickets to the Bear's game on Sunday and because a.)  the game would be occurring during Staley's naptime,  b.)  we didn't think 3 hours sitting on our laps watching a football game would hold her attention, and c.)  cold and windy might not be the best elements to keep our child out in for hours at a time, my mom came with us to watch Staley during the game. 

Staley happily talked and played on the ride up to Chicago on Saturday.  She was too excited to nap when we got to the hotel, so we passed on naptime and enjoyed time at the aquarium instead.  The highlights for Staley?  Watching the sea lion do tricks, checking out the jellyfish, watching the aquatic show, and finding the seahorses, crabs, penguins, and starfish.  On Sunday, Staley enjoyed time swimming at the pool with Grammie and napping while we went to the game.  Then she got to swim AGAIN with Daddy while I did a little shopping with my mom.  The weather warmed (and the wind calmed down) on Monday, so we enjoyed time walking around in the city.  We visited the children's section of the Chicago Public Library and spent some quality time at the Disney store.  My tired little girl then slept the whole ride home.

Waiting for the show at the aquarium

Taking a break from swimming time with Grammie

Go Bears!!
A last-second Bear's comeback victory made sitting in the cold for 3 hours well worth it.
 
A mini-cation can wear a girl out!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Let's Hear It for the Boys

Staley likes boys.  All boys, but specifically older boys.  Slightly older boys.  Much older boys.  It doesn't really matter to her.  In Staley's eyes, boys are great.

Staley has grown up around boys.  Her two Walles cousins are boys.  One of her Bradford cousins is a boy.  Her first daycare had her holding her own with 3 boys.  Her current daycare has more boys than girls.  Staley has been surrounded by boys throughout her early life, and there's just something about them that captures her attention.

Staley LOVES her cousins.  All her cousins are great, but the two that Staley talks about the most are Cade and Elliott.  (Her two older boy cousins.)  She loves her friends at the baby-sitters.  But the one that she talks about on the way, the one she talks about during the week, the one she ALWAYS says good-bye to first as she is leaving is her baby-sitters 8 year old son.  In music class, there are 3 little girls and 3 little boys.  Who does Staley always bring up when we are talking about music class?  The boys, of course.  And one of Staley's favorite things to do is visit Uma and Papa's shop.  There are several  young guys that work at their shop, but Staley has grown especially fond of Brandon and Greg.  When Staley pretends to talk on the phone, it's usually to Brandon.  When she walks in the front door of the shop, before even asking to see her Uma or Papa, it's usually Brandon she is asking to see.  When we ask who she wants to pray for at night, Brandon and Greg are often at the top of the list. 

Greg came over to our house for dinner the other night.  Staley was SO excited.  He had barely walked in the door, and Staley was showing off for him.  She gave him a play-by-play all evening of what she was up to.

"Greg!  I washing hands."  "Greg!  I twirling."  "Greg!  I eating corn."  "Greg!  I running."  And then, after dinner, Greg (who is a fire fighter) gave us a private tour of the fire station.  Staley got to look at all the fire equipment and sit in the fire trucks.  As if Greg wasn't already pretty great in her eyes, that was just the icing on the cake.

Pretty tickled to be standing so close to Greg
 
Right now, I think Staley's enchantment with boys is cute.  I think it's great to grow up knowing how to relate with both boys and girls.  I do want her to feel comfortable and act like herself around both genders.  However, if I'm still seeing this attachment to older boys in 15 years, I'm going to start to worry!