Saturday morning, we packed up and headed to my parents house. Even though we had a way head start, we still were rushing around at the last minute since there are so many things that have to wait until the last minute to be done (like Natalie's diaper, making her snack for the car, putting shoes and coats on, etc). The trip down was uneventful, besides me being already to start my new Moo Baa La La La needle point and forgetting a needle. We ate lunch and got settled in at my parents. My sister and her husband showed up soon after. My brother stayed home because he was sick. Technically, we were gathering for my mother's birthday, but we didn't make much of it. I had a hard time knowing what to get her, so we decided on getting her a gift certificate to a local restaurant. But, when we went there, they were out of gift certificates. So, I told her what we had planned and we hope to get one when we visit in a few weeks for Mike's cousin's confirmation party. For dinner, everyone else had pizza so that my mom didn't have to cook and clean up. Natalie wouldn't touch the pizza Mike cut up for her, but slowly gnawed down a huge piece of crust and ate all the veggies I cut up for her out of my salad. We also realized that she will drink a lot of milk if I give it to her out of her old cups, so we've switched back to using two a day (one for juice and one for milk). After dinner, there wasn't much time before Natalie went to bed. Then, we went out with my sister and her husband to a bookstore that is closing soon. I bought three books (one for Mike's birthday, one that is supposed to be a gift but I think I might keep it at least for a while, and one just for me). Overall, we weren't impressed with the clearance sale. Everything was 30 - 40% off, but that still left almost everything remotely good at $10 or more. I had hoped to get board books for Natalie or the baby or even to tuck away as baby shower gifts, but the children's section was messy and only had crap left. After getting back to my parents', we stayed up later than we should have watching TV.
Saturday into Sunday was the time change for day lights saving time. So, we lost an hour of sleep. So, going to bed at 1130, was like 1230. But, Natalie didn't notice the difference and got up a decent time. I then managed to get her to snuggle with me on the bed for about an hour. I was worried my parents were sleeping in and didn't want to disturb them. But, it was my father who banged on the banister to tell me that it was already 730. So, Natalie and I got up officially and had breakfast. About 8, I went to make sure Mike was up. We had been invited to breakfast at IHOP with his mom and assorted relatives. So, we rushed around a bit and got out of the house in time to get there by 9. (I didn't realize until that night going to bed that I left my phone at my parents' house in the rush. But, my sister left a bunch of things behind, too. Must have just been something in the air). Breakfast was nice. We hadn't seen Mike's mom since August when she left for Texas, so seeing her was obviously the highlight, but Mike's uncle and his girlfriend were there as well as Mike's aunt and cousin. Natalie enjoyed eating a little bit of everything Mike got (pancakes, french toast, and eggs), as well as a tiny bit of the sub par fruit I got (I didn't share my bacon). We stayed talking in the restaurant longer than we should have since another big party was waiting, then we talked out in the parking lot for a while. Mike chased Natalie around the courtyard of the neighboring motel.
Next, we went back to Mike's aunt's house. Mostly, we took turns chasing Natalie as Mike's mom and aunt talked. Mike's cousin started watching Natalie, then Mike and I took turns. She had a lot of fun playing with cat toy balls with bells in them (just like we have here) and some Nerf darts. The time change had Natalie off for lunch and she refused to eat anything. But, she started to drag not too long after noon, so we head out. She slept the whole way home pretty much. Sunday night, Mike made an easy shepherd's pie for dinner and we mostly unpacked and hung around.
The next two days, Mike went to work and his mom and I followed Natalie's regular routine. Monday we went to play group and Tuesday we went to the library for story time. I was a little disappointed that on Monday neither of the little girls Natalie plays with were there, not just because Nana didn't get to see them play together, but also because that was the second time in a row there was no one her age to play with. Monday afternoon after Natalie's nap, we also went to Walmart to go shopping for food for the rest of the week. We just barely beat Mike home. Mike's mom showed us how to make lasagna using the rice noodles we bought. We liked it, but wished we hadn't just had zesty sauce in the house. We have two huge bags of it now in the freezer. That night we watched Invictus, which has been here from Netflix for about two months. Tuesday, after the library, we quickly ran into Shaws to get a few things. I was a bit worried about delaying Natalie's nap and lunch, but she was fine. She fell asleep in the car on the way back and I was going to transfer her to crib, but Mike's mom's voice woke her up. (As silly as it is, I wonder if she woke her on purpose. The only complaint I have of her stay is that she seems so loud compared to us. She isn't afraid of her phone or voice or anything waking Natalie up). Natalie took a while to fall asleep for her nap, so she got up a little late. That night I made the fish we got at Shaws for dinner and we watched The Haunting in Connecticut.
Wednesday was the first day Mike was home from work. The morning went by pretty regular. We decided to Natalie to the mall to run around, but we got going kind of late. I was worried about her being up later than usual and pushing back her lunch, but everything worked out. Actually, most of that morning I felt very irritable for no real reason. We had a little bit of trouble of Natalie wanting to take things from stores (toy cats in the toy store and a pair of shoes in the shoe store), but she recovered pretty quickly. Mike's mom and I went back to the toy store and she bought her one of the cats as a present. It has become of almost equally status to Kitty (the Ty Purrz tiger). Wednesday afternoon went by as usually with Natalie napping then playing. We went out to Friday's for dinner that night, so we left right around 5. We had a little trouble distracting Natalie until the food came, but she didn't scream or bother anyone. She loved her macaroni and cheese and ate a fair amount of my broccoli, too. A former student was sitting near us with her family and boyfriend. I smiled at her on the way out. I often wonder what former students think of seeing me around like that. I never really saw my teachers in the community, expect for the very rare occasion that the shopped at CVS and I was the cashier. Anyway, after we got home, there was a little time before Natalie's bed time. Afterward, we watched Unthinkable. I slept through a fair amount of it, but saw the most important parts.
Thursday was our big outing day. We got up and ready so we could leave at 9. We drove into Portland. Natalie slept a little bit in the car, which worked to our advantage later. First, we stopped by Mike's work. A few months ago he switched to a new building and I hadn't seen it yet. Its very, very nice. Mike's co-workers are almost all women, so they loved seeing Natalie. I had deliberately dressed her well so she would be cuter than usual for them (besides a green shirt for St Patrick's Day, she had pig tails that were a huge hit). After seeing all the coworkers and Mike's desk and the rest of the building, we went next door to the Children's Museum. We had brought Natalie there before on New Year's, and it was just as much fun this visit. Natalie loved the toddler play area, and checking out the other kids. We also went to the cafe, grocery store, vet, gas station, and stream displays. She got to pet a ferret and see some turtles in a tank. She thought a stuffed fox was a kitty. She ran around leaving us all tired. In fact, we were there until almost 1!
When we got back to the car, she started to get a little cranky. We gave her a snack, and a drink, and her kitties. After a short detour at Target for me to get the kids in Florida gift cards, we went to Wendy's for lunch for the adults. We had planned on Natalie to be asleep, but she hadn't settled in yet. In fact, she got pretty upset watching Nana eat, but luckily I had a few more snacks for her in my bag and Nana gave her a couple fries. Once we were on the move again, she fell asleep and Mike took the longer route home so she could sleep longer. When we got home, she was still asleep and I was going to sit out in the car with her since the weather was so nice, but she woke up. After her lunch, we went for a walk down to my neighbor's. There is a little dead end there so its safe for her to run around without holding our hands. My neighbor came out and talked to us as Natalie had a ball stomping in a huge puddle, getting her pants wet up to the knee and her sneakers soaked. We've decided that rain boots are a priority on the shopping list. That night was Mike's mom's last night here. She showed us how to adpat a pot roast recipe so we can make one in a slow cooker that I can eat. We had that for dinner. After Natalie went to bed, we were going to watch a movie, but I fell asleep on the couch around 8 before anyone made a move to go downstairs. They stayed upstairs, too, watching TV until 10.
This morning, they got up at 5 so they could get her to the airport about 6. I got up briefly to say goodbye. I had been sleeping poorly before then anxious about the alarms going off and then over sleeping. Even after they left, I only got maybe another hour of sleep. So, this morning we were both pretty tired. Mike got Natalie up right after he got back, and I got up to give her breakfast. He got back in bed for a bit, but got up when she was crying when I was getting her dressed. (She's really started to like carrying around 3 or 4 little toys at a time and gets upset when you make her put them down or when she drops them. In this case, it was so I could get her arms out of her pjs). Mike then took a shower, and then I got ready for us to go to the library. Natalie was her usual self at story time. She hung close to our legs during the actual songs and books, but loved running around before and after. We had extra time on the meter, so we let her run around the park a bit. She got her shoes all muddy and her new pink pants dirty, but she had fun. She also grew attached to two rocks we had to take away when it was time to get in the car. Upon getting home, she had lunch and then started to nod off at the table. Currently, she's been napping about an hour and Mike is catching up on TV shows on the DVR.
The next two weeks look to be pretty ordinary. No doctor's appointments or trips. Mike has two presentations at work, but they should be less stressful than the one last week. Mike's birthday is Tuesday, but will just be us and not a ordeal. In fact, I have to finish buying him a present. The end of two weeks from now things speed up again. We got to the cousin's confirmation party, then Mike goes on his trip and my sister comes up for the week. In that week, both Natalie and I have a doctor's appointment. Then, the following Thursday, we have our ultrasound where we should find out the baby's gender!
The weather the last two days has been awesome! About 60 and sunny. We haven't needed coats and its been so nice to be outside. I'm sad knowing its going back down to the 40's starting tomorrow. I'm really hoping that by the time we are in mid-April we will be in some real Spring weather and I'll be able to take Natalie out in the yard to play on walks in our new (yet to be purchased) stroller. Also to look forward to in April is a trip to the Aquarium in Boston with friends. It looks like we will be going mid week, so I'll be driving down and back to MA alone, and wrangle Natalie on my own. I'm hoping I won't have to also take her on the train and T alone, too, but we will see. It seems like it might be a bit too much for me alone, even when not pregnant. Our friend's baby is only about 6 months old, so he isn't as much as handful yet.
As far as the pregnancy is concerned, we are at a high point now. I'm probably feeling the best now that I will feel until the new year! My nausea is pretty much gone and I've been able to stay up until 9 or 10 multiple nights in a row. Other than a little heart burn, I have no other symptoms. I've had some headaches, but those are probably more related to the crazy weather changes. I'm showing just enough for people to believe I'm pregnant, but not for me to be uncomfortable. In fact, I'm finding my maternity jeans way comfortable, and all my other clothes I expect to fit well for a long time yet. I'm pretty sure I've felt some quickening (the terms for the very early fluttery fetal movements), but it is hard to be 100% sure. I hope to feel this good for a couple months before we start to head down hill with poor sleep and general discomfort.
Cool things Natalie has been doing:
- I'm keeping a chart of her first 100 words (then I'm going to force myself to stop counting). We are at about 90 words. Newest additions include her friend from story time's name, Nana, apple, broom (like a car noise), fly, (butterfly), sun (sunglasses), and choo choo (for a train).
- Also in the relem of language, Natalie is making sentence more. Mostly, she is saying hi and bye with a name attached. But we also swear she said "I see you" to a lady playing with her at the museum, and said "That's icky" while playing with Nana and laughing at her pile of dirty laundry.
- Most recent favorite books include No, David, Brown Bear, Little Quack's Bedtime, and Dinosaur vs. Bedtime. She will say roar to say she wants the dinosaur book. While she still likes the roaring, her favorite part is the Blahs the adults say. She will say no when she brings me No, David. In Brown Bear, she can say bear and she usually laughs at the purple cat.
- Natalie appears to be singing. Sometimes we can kind of figure it out. For example, Patacake was accompanied by patting and rolling and the goodbye song from the library has clapping and tapping.
- Natalie is not shy around other kids and their parents (say at play group, story time, or the music class we visited). But she clings to our legs when she meets even one new adult.
- Natalie is experimenting with counting. She knows to say two, three after one, but doesn't say one. Sometimes she will say four. She tries to count things we've counted together, but doesn't quite have the hang of it. Its still very cute and awesome.
- She likes to hold toy cars and go broom, but won't roll them on the floor. She also likes balls, but can't catch or throw. If she wants to throw it to you, she hands it to you instead.
- Getting a little better on getting food on the spoon, but it falls off on the way to her mouth.
- Not sure if I wrote this one yet. She initiated a game with another child for the first time. About three weeks ago, she played in the tunnel at play group with another little girl. Then about a week later, she tried to get her other friend to play peekaboo with her in the tunnel the same way.
- It seems like every day she does something that is so cute or makes me think she is so smart, but I can't remember them all. :(