Friday, March 30, 2012

If I Had a Million Dollars...

The Mega Millions jackpot is at a record $540 million dollars. Holy hell, that's a lot of money. Steve and I never play the lottery but we've bought tickets and we're obviously going to win, so here's are some thoughts on how I could put that money to good use. After the typical boring retirement plans, college plans, investments, charity, blah blah blah of course.

I'd buy you a monkey. Haven't you always wanted a monkey? (obviously)

I'd turn our entire basement into our own mini Catch Air so Anna and all of her little friends could play whenever they wanted.

We would buy a bigger house with better entertaining areas, more bedrooms, and a better kitchen. And a saltwater pool with a super deluxe kid-proof gate. And enough land where the guys could go play air soft and not worry about getting arrested. Oh and some ATVs because Stevo likes those.

I would buy a cute little apartment in Paris where I could go and pretend to be French for a few months out of the year.

We would take a tour of the tropics, because I have always wanted to go somewhere where I can lie on the beach and have frozen drinks brought to me all day, and you can see all the way down to the bottom through the water.

I would hire a full-time housekeeper. Not just a cleaning service. An honest-to-goodness housekeeper. It would be amazing.

I would also hire a personal stylist because I never really feel like I dress myself all that well. And if you're going to be a multimillionaire you have to be dressed well, probably.

We really would go to Disney World.

We would buy a beautiful beach house because I have always wanted one. And it would be decorated to kitschy beach perfection and have all the proper beach toys.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

18 Months Old

My beautiful baby girl turned 18 months old a few days ago. 18 months!! I'm a little upset with ourselves that we didn't throw her a very merry un-birthday party, but hey, we've been busy. Next year though, we're totally doing it.

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Her play room always looks like a disaster. I swear I clean it but she's like a tornado in there so the organization efforts don't last too long.

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The weather has been beautiful here lately, so we've been spending a LOT of time outside. Anna has a little collection of outdoor toys, and she's also been having a lot of fun "helping" us in the gardens. Her assistance ranges from burying random objects in the dirt for us to find later to pulling plants out...yesterday Steve turned around to see her pulling an entire square's worth of onions out, haha! Kingsley likes having some company in the backyard too, and it's adorable watching the pup and kiddo playing together.

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Her language skills have exploded in the last couple of weeks. I love nothing more right now than hearing her suddenly repeat a word back to me for the first time and to actually understand what she's asking for (well, sometimes). Now she can say "nana" (banana), more, toe, fish, book, dog, bubble,  ball, cheese, shoes, Mama, Dada, and moon. She can also sort of say "Elmo". She will also moo if she sees a picture of a cow, and baas at a sheep...so cute!

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Anna also loves identifying body parts, it's one of her favorite games. I mentioned this in her last monthly update, but now she can also identify teeth, belly button, toes, and tummy. It makes her giggle when she starts pointing at my nose or hair and I name it. It makes her giggle even more when she spots my belly button!!

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One of our other favorite games right now is "fetch". I'll ask her to bring me a random object, and when she brings me the right one, she gets rewarded with delighted mommy squeals and big hugs. Particularly impressive fetch objects recently have been a strawberry, her pink pig magnet toy, her shoes, and her bubbles. She also gets to bring me all of the books she wants to read for bedtime...it's always interesting to see which ones she's picked out!

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I gave her an old, clean makeup brush of her very own - she loves primping in the mirror!

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Can you see how filthy she is? That was after a day of helping Daddy in the garden.


Bean is in 18-24 months clothing, and even a few 2T things. I'm not sure how much she weighs or how tall she is, but she has her pediatrician appointment on Friday so I'm looking forward to getting an update. As usual, she has a couple of teeth about to come in, so that's been rough.

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Another development that has been interesting although not so much fun is that she now gets truly scared at things, even things that used to not bother her! I tried to make a smoothie the other day while she was eating her lunch and she got so terrified at the sound of the blender that I had to turn it off. She also inadvertently turned on the shower in her tub the other day and that really freaked her out, poor baby. She is also not happy with the vacuum cleaner.

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Anna's favorite things right now are bath time and balls. As soon as she sees a ball, be it an actual ball, in a book, or even just any round object, she points and says "Ball? Ball? Ball?" She is particularly intrigued with a ball that Steve hung in the garage as a parking guide, especially if I give it a tap to get it swinging! And bath time is a lot of fun right now - I have several plastic cups in there that I had been using to get her hair rinsed, and she loves playing with those. She also loves splashing and spitting the water out of her mouth.

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And this isn't specifically Anna-related, but I just had a friend post this on Facebook and it literally had me laughing out loud. If you're the parent of a toddler you will definitely appreciate this!!

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Taking a break from the yard work to give Daddy a big hug.


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Standing at the fence until Daddy comes back.

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Happy half-birthday, Banana Bean!

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I was making breakfast when I hear Anna "feeding" Kingsley. Most of it went straight into the water bowl!

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Ridiculous

I may have mentioned that I'm feeling more hormonal and emotional this pregnancy than I ever was with Anna's. And recently, I've noticed some REALLY ridiculous things making me upset. Like full out tears, raging psycho upset. Or really silly things making me all weepy and teary. But, lest you think I'm in the middle of some kind of meltdown, I promise that 99.9% of the time, I'm very happy and content. It just turns out that pregnancy mood swings are no freaking joke, even if they only last for a minute or two!! So in the spirit of poking a little fun at the pregnant person, let's share a few, shall we?

And if you're super bored at work, you can play the game of guessing which of these makes me teary and which of these make me homicidal, haha.

Kroger not carrying my diaper detergent anymore.

TCBY not having smoothies, even though they are on the website.

The TCBY lady offering chocolate frozen yogurt instead of a smoothie, as if that was what I freaking wanted.

Downton Abbey.

Glee.

The Adopt-A-Puppy drive at PetSmart.

That stupid "Pumped Up Kicks" song, I wish they would stop playing it on the radio. Don't they know it upsets me???

The Hunger Games. If everyone could just stop talking about it for a few more months, I would really appreciate it, because y'all are being really insensitive right now.

Atlanta drivers. They've always made me a little stabby but it's gone to a whole new level. I was almost hoping the lady tailgating the other day would rear-end me just so I could go off on her.

Kingsley barking.

Weather.com

Anna refusing to get in her car seat.

Guys buying flowers.

Stevo buying me flowers.

Big hugs from Banana Bean.

I'll have to make this a running list until August because I'm sure there will be more!!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

How I Clean My Hardwood Floors

Anyone that's been to our house knows that we have hardwood floors on both of the main levels of our house. They do seem like a lot of work sometimes, but I feel that they are so much easier to get truly clean than carpet and I am very happy that we have them.

I've tried a LOT of cleaning products over the years with varying degrees of success, and three years later I've finally narrowed down my floor-care routine into something cost-effective, time-effective, and manageable. And most especially, healthy and safe for the pup and the kiddos.

1) Sweep - Just a regular broom and dustpan here, folks. Between the dog and kid and husband, a lot of dirt and leaves get tracked in (I guess I might track in a little bit too), so I have to sweep the high-traffic areas at least once a day. The kitchen gets swept multiple times a day sometimes, especially if Anna has decided it's fun to see how far her dinner can be tossed. Sweeping is by far the most important component of keeping your floors in good shape - all that grit and dirt acts just like sandpaper to your floors, so sweep it up!

2) Rubbermaid Reveal Mop - I bought this mop on the recommendation of a friend and I seriously love it. It uses washable microfiber mop pads, and you can fill the spray bottle with any cleaning solution that you like. I use a vinegar and water mix (1/4 - 1/2 cup vinegar per gallon of warm water) but I have also tried the Bona floor cleaner and that stuff is awesome too, it's just more expensive than the water and vinegar. The kitchen gets mopped pretty much every day, and the rest of the floors get mopped once a week.



3) Eureka Enviro Steam Cleaner - you want to make sure your hardwood floors are sealed before you use a steam cleaner, but if they are, this is a great way to deep-clean your floors, especially without chemicals or without having to get on your knees and scrub. I wasn't in love with this steam cleaner when I was trying to use it on a really frequent basis, because it's bulky and it takes a while to warm up, and the cord needs to be longer. But now that I'm only using it once a month-ish, it's really great. I bought this one vs. the Shark based on the reviews on Amazon but I've heard good things about the Shark too so you probably really can't go wrong with either one. Spraying the floor lightly with the vinegar and water solution right before steaming it also helps give it a cleaning boost.

 4) Swiffer - generally, I am not a big fan of the Swiffer products. I feel like the refills are expensive and I don't really think they do that great of a job...I much prefer microfiber cloths or even my old cut-up t-shirt cloths. That being said, the Swiffer is nice for the very low-traffic rooms like the sitting room and the dining room floors that need just a quick dust. Once my box of Swiffer pads is gone, I plan to use microfiber pads instead of buying more refills. Also, on a side note, you can find some very cool reusable Swiffer pads on etsy, or my craftier readers could probably make their own!

This floor care routine has made it easier to keep the floors clean on a daily basis, as the broom and the Reveal mop are SO easy and quick to pull out of the closet. Not having to deal with a bucket, or a gross sponge mop, or having to get down on my hands and knees to feel like I'm getting a good clean really goes a long way in helping me stay on top of the cleaning and to have a much better attitude about caring for my floors. And having a good attitude is half the battle with cleaning, right?!

If you have hardwood floors, what are your favorite cleaning methods or products? I'm always curious to know how other hardwood owners care for theirs!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

State of the Uterus Address

See what I did there? Heh.

As everyone already knows, I had my 18 week anatomy scan ultrasound on Monday and everything with the baby looks great. But then I got a voicemail on Tuesday, and I was a little surprised to see my doctor's name on the caller ID. She said that my placenta was lower than they like to see, and then she started throwing out phrases like "placenta previa" and "if I see any bleeding I need to go to the hospital immediately". Um, what? And then she tells me not to worry about it.

So of course I immediately do what all doctors love for their patients to do, and I google. And apparently placenta previa, although it's somewhat common in terms of complications, can lead to some really scary complications. Most placentas grow at the top of the uterus, but if you have placenta previa, the placenta grows at the bottom of the uterus and either partially or completely blocks the cervix. It looks like having to have a c-section with Anna might have been a risk factor for this, although it might have also been the luck of the draw.

I have been taking comfort in the fact that the majority of previas correct themselves, and my doctor will do another ultrasound at the end of my 2nd trimester to confirm whether or not it has corrected itself. And I also take comfort in the fact that everybody I have talked to that had placenta previa had it correct itself.

If it doesn't correct itself, it looks like the end-of-pregnancy treatment plan is bed rest (3+ weeks of bed rest with a toddler??) and a definite c-section. And just hope and pray fervently that I don't start bleeding before that happens. The risks of that happening in regards to the baby are terrifying to me. And I am really not gonna lie, the fact that I'm already faced with the possibility of a c-section again does not freaking impress me. Especially when you throw in some additional scary previa-related risks with the c-section. Please insert obscenity of your choice here.

Anyway, I'm trying my best to not really think about it, because my doctor was right - there is absolutely nothing I can do about it and it won't do any good to dwell on it. I am just putting my hope in the statistics and will put all of my positive thoughts and energy into the previa fixing its damn self. I was told not to lift anything heavy, and I'm on the official "take it easy" list in terms of exercising, but I can still do my prenatal yoga and prenatal Pilates DVDs as long as I feel okay, which is nice. I'm also not on an official pelvic rest right now either, but I will probably put myself on an unofficial pelvic rest plan just to make myself feel better.

So, when you find yourself thinking about my uterus throughout the day, because I know you do, please send good thoughts and prayers. I really am trying not to dwell on it and it will probably be easier to do that once the news isn't so fresh, but I am hoping this will all be a whole lot of worrying for nothing!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

One Batty Batty Ah Ah Ah

One of the other outdoor projects that we've tackled recently has been an attempt to remedy our atrocious mosquito problem in the backyard. We've pretty much never used our backyard because as soon as the weather is warm, there are SWARMS of mosquitoes, and no bug spray will deter them. Now that we've built our gardens back there, and especially now that Bean is old enough to play out there, we've really been motivated to get rid of those nasty little blood suckers.

I was, however, adamant that we not use a chemical pesticide in the backyard. I know that they can work well, but I definitely did not want the kiddos and the pup having that much contact with a poison, no matter what it's designed to kill. I also didn't want a bunch of pesticide sprayed near our beautiful vegetables that we're planning to eat. So after doing some research, I decided to invest in a bat house. Yep, you read that right.

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According to my research the common Georgia varieties of bats can eat anywhere from 300-1000 mosquitoes per HOUR. They stick to themselves and will not bother pets or children. And it's more likely that you will catch rabies from your neighbor's cat than it would be to catch rabies from a bat. The internet also assures me that it is not likely for bats to move from their bat house to your house, especially in a mild/warm climate like Georgia's.

I admit that I was a little hesitant to see the reactions of our neighbors. Steve had the honor of the first neighbor interaction when he was out hanging it, and our neighbor Suzette asked what the heck he was doing. He cringed but then told her, and he was very relieved when she got excited and said that they wanted to hang one too! I'm still a little nervous about the neighbor on our other side, but if we do actually get bats in there, his yard would benefit too. So...wish us luck with that.

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I chose one of the most highly recommended bat houses, and it's also approved by the Organization for Bat Conservation. It is a bit of a gamble, because apparently it can take up to a year+ for bats to move in. We have seen bats in this area though, so we're hoping some will move in quickly and start eating these stupid bugs!!

I'll be sure to keep you all posted if we have success with this or not...anybody else try a bat house?

Monday, March 12, 2012

What's Up, Doc?

I had my 18 week OB appointment today and everything looks great! The doctor said the baby is measuring more or less on schedule, the ultrasound pictures looked good, and we got to see the baby moving all around. Bean came with us to the appointment and she sat next to me on the bed and watched the baby on the screen - it was adorable! The only concern that we talked about with the doc is that I've been getting pretty dizzy recently - she said it was something that she wanted to keep an eye on, but she is hoping that some extra iron, extra hydration, and making sure to get some time off my feet will help get rid of it.

The baby was very active so it was hard to get many clear pictures, but here are some of the best:

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Baby fist

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Baby foot

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Profile with legs up and feet crossed

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Hand on head

And for the news that we are very excited to share:

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Anna is going to have a little sister - it's a GIRL!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Picture Post!

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Lunch with Kara at Panera

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She loves her puzzles

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Shopping at Home Depot. Also those are the pink glittery Disney princess shoes that she picked out all by herself.

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On our way to Jake's birthday party

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Sharing her water with Daddy

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Baking cookies for Daddy in our matching aprons. Oh and that's my new hair cut.

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Temper tantrum!

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My diva baby

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Playing with Zoey's very fun play house

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Doing some toy shopping at Buy Buy Baby. She already has that little toy house but apparently she needs four more. We ended up buying her new bubbles and a toy lawn mower, which she loves.

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Snack time!

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Who needs a swing set when you've got Daddy??