So, I totally feel like I should be taking a nap right now while Natalie does, but I'm going to try to squeak out a quick blog.
The last four days have been warm! The last three days, Natalie has gotten to play outside for an hour or more. (We probably will today, too, as long as it doesn't start raining again. Might take the old crappy stroller for one finally short walk. Mike is supposed to pick up our new stroller on the way home from work). She loves outside. She gets upset whenever we force her to come in and if I leave the storm door open, she keeps going back to the screen door wanting to go out. Mostly, she runs around the yard. But she's enjoyed picking up a handful of pebbles and then carrying it around. Also, a favorite is getting chased around the shed. She's dug in the dirt some. She likes picking up the ball we have, though no kicking or throwing yet. She saw a bug for the first time and almost killed it trying to pick it up several times. She loved it! We've also taken her on walks down to the corner. She is very interested in the water drain, though letting her stand on it makes me nervous.
Its so nice to go out without having to worry about coats and to not have to drag Natalie to get her to hurry up because its cold. But, while an hour outside is enough for us watching her run in circles, she would love to stay out all day, so its a little sad in that aspect. I can't wait to see her reaction to all the new things spring brings. I had been waiting to point out a bug to her, and expect more bugs, plants, and flowers will be equally interesting for a while. As of this morning, we have some green in the yard. Its mostly just some weedy stuff and the grass perking up a bit, but its still exciting considering 10 days ago we got 9 inches of snow! All the snow is gone except for the huge banks.
To make things even better, Mike has been amazing since he returned from his trip. He has done the dishes twice, did most of the backed up laundry (though not the folding), took Natalie out grocery shopping, and made dinner once. On top of that he's done more diapers to make up for being away. Its been nice having him home, not just because he is such a good household pattern, but because, go figure, I like having him around, and its great see Natalie happy playing with him. I'm a little sad that we are going away mid week next week without him meaning more time apart, but we have to take advantage of these opportunities while we still can (i.e. before the new baby arrives).
Natalie and my visit to the aquarium was almost canceled because my friend needed to change the day. But, I decided it was more important to go to the aquarium with my closer friend and Natalie than to do all that driving and staying over just for a quick lunch with college friends I haven't seen in years. Hopefully, I'll be able to catch up with them some other time when its more convenient.
Also, this trip looks to be well places to do some serious changes around here. In the last few days, Natalie has started to lay down on the floor for me to change her diaper. Previously, I had only done a few diaper changes on the floor at home, but she seems to like it. This looks like a good time to move the changing table out of her room and start doing all changes this way. (Though, the more I think about it, I'm not sure how much I'll be using it for the new baby. Well, I guess all middle of the night changes, first thing in the morning, before and after naps, bed time, and anytime we are doing one parent - one child. That's a lot of changes, really. But, I see a lot of those day time changes happening on the living room floor so that I don't leave Natalie alone to cause mischief. I guess it will depend on how she reacts, like everything else). But then, late last week, my sister and I put Natalie's mattress on the floor to change her sheets after a leaked diaper. Natalie thought it was awesome, including pretending to sleep on it. This seemed like an indicator that she might like her big girl bed. So, we've decided that while I'm away, Mike will move the crib aside, and assemble the toddler bed. Her new Kia-lan sheets are on there way, and should be washed and ready by the time we return from our trip. I'm so excited AND anxious over her reaction to her new bed. But, I like that we will have the crib still there. If she gives us a lot of trouble, we can move the mattress and have her sleep in the crib. Also, starting the transition in mid-April will give her even more time to be used to her bed by late July when we want to disassemble her crib and tuck it away for a few weeks. So, lots of changes on the horizon for Natalie.
This weekend we also made big strides in getting the new baby's room ready. The "office" is now officially not an office as all the old items are now moved and stored downstairs in the new office. In looks rather nice too, considering its a barely finished basement storage room. Mike hung pictures up on the walls and the bookcase really make it look nicer. We have a huge stack of stuff for the upcoming Relay for Life yard sale. I just keep finding more things. For example, I went through all the stuffed animals in the house yesterday and found some that I just don't ever see passing on to Natalie. (One of the fun pieces of this operation was Natalie finding and falling in love with two small Care Bears and my Rainbow Brite doll). I also moved out of storage the Bumbo, infant seat, and baby tub and they are now stored in the new baby's room. Along with a bookcase, clock, lamp, and rocking chair, its starting to look like a baby's room when you walk by, though we certainly aren't finished yet. We need to clean everything and replace the closet door, not to mention finish providing it with furniture. A dresser looks to be the only item we'll need to purchase.
Thursday is our ultrasound. Its rather early in the morning. I'm hoping Natalie will be a trooper and put up with the car ride so early, then be good during the ultrasound, and then put up with a car ride home. Mike is supposed to work from home that day, so we can't really dilly dally around too long to help break things up for her, but maybe we'll be able to do it a little. I'm very excited to find out the baby's gender. At the moment, my heart is set on another girl. The only reason being it seems all around easier. We have all the clothes, and Mike's mom keeps saying how boys never sit still, even for TV. But, we will be happy either way. I really would just like to know for sure which it will be so that I can stop saying "the new baby" and start creating an identity for our new child. Knowing the gender will let us settle on a name and allow me to start telling Natalie which type of sibling she is having. It will let me start visualizing our baby and our future together. Of course, there is a little piece of me that is scared that we will find out there is a problem at the ultrasound, which makes me more anxious about going, but also wanting it to come to just find out. Thursday morning seems very far away right now.
Well, I'm going to try to read and nap now. Natalie could be asleep for another two hours or fifteen minutes.