Friday, September 23, 2016

Transition TIme

Warning: rambling post ahead. Just needed to write tonight :)

I was going to wait to post because I was going to be a good blogger and take pretty pictures to go with it, but I'm feeling like a rebel so you guys get a post with old pictures from a year ago. Gasp! Hahahaha.

Besides, I love looking back at pictures to see how much Nicole has changed. Time, why do you have to be such a cruel, fast-moving thing?!?! At least I'll have another squishy newborn to mug on soon.


I love transitions, mostly. We're in the middle of one of my favorite transitions right now. I embraced and celebrated this new season whole-heartedly yesterday, complete with a chocolate pumpkin spice frappe from The Cocoa Bean, taking a walk out in the misty air in the morning with Nicole, and making our favorite hearty tomato soup to eat for dinner while we sat by open kitchen windows and listened to the rain. I already brought out fall decorations earlier in the month... but now I can "legally" put up Halloween décor, right?! Good, because I started today. #noshame

I love the autumn transition.

If we're buddies on snapchat (ashleykelly23 - let's be friends!) you probably saw me geeking out about all the fall colors up in Provo Canyon when Nicole and I took a drive up Squaw Peak road back on Tuesday. The dorkiness in my voice should give you an idea of my love for the season.


It's a season of other transitions for our family, too. We'll be transitioning to having a second child in just 4 short weeks, give or take a few days. My nesting instincts are really starting to gear up as I contemplate how I can make the transition easier for myself. I keep getting the urge to clean the whole house top to bottom and organize everything really well so I don't have to worry so much about cleaning and whatnot for those first few sleep-deprived weeks. I remember how little I accomplished when Nicole was a newborn. In some ways, I feel like the transition to 2 kids will be easier than the transition to having my first kid; I know a bit more of what to expect this time. I still want to make the transition easier in any way I can, though.

I haven't acted on those cleaning instincts yet because we're still finishing up our upstairs renovations, and I cannot focus well on everyday cleaning when there's a big project that needs to be finished. It nags me too much, not to mention I feel so scattered by the disorganized nature of a renovation zone, and by all the displaced furniture. The only thing left to do up there is paint one more coat in Nicole's room, so we should be done by tomorrow, we'll let the room air out all day Sunday, and then Nicole can move back in on Monday. Yay, we'll meet my goal of having renovations done before October!


Speaking of Nicole, she's going through a transition of her own right now. Even though the new baby probably won't be sleeping in the crib much for the first month or so, we decided it would be nice to transfer Nicole to her own bed before the baby gets here so she doesn't feel like the baby is kicking her out of her crib. We have a bed frame out in the garage ready to assemble once her room is painted. Meanwhile, her new twin mattress is on the ground of the spare room next to the crib... and she successfully slept on it all night last night! I've been telling her about her "big girl bed" daily for the past week, and when it arrived yesterday she was really excited about it, so we figured we'd jump right in to this transition even though the frame isn't assembled yet.

It went pretty smoothly: Doug put her to bed, and she was all of a sudden not so sure about this whole "big girl bed" thing, so she began crying to herself. It was so sad, this little not-even-2-year-old lying on this huge twin mattress and crying... so I came in and lay down next to her and assured her that it was okay, that it was scary to all of a sudden be in a new bed but that she was a brave girl, that the crib was right there if she needed it. She draped her little arm over my pregnant belly as we lay there, and I rubbed her back for a few minutes... then I kissed her, told her I'd be in to check on her in a little while if she still felt uneasy, and left. I didn't hear another peep out of her!


Then, of course, I went in to check on her right before I went to bed to discover that she had rolled off the mattress and was sleeping under the crib... I put her back on the mattress, but I'm pretty sure she rolled off again at some point during the night (she may have spent more time on the ground than on the mattress last night, oops), so I picked up a bed rail at Walmart today. I don't need this toddler falling out of bed all night. In any case, she woke up happy and proud of herself at her usual time of 7:00 this morning! Success! I lay in bed listening to her chatter to herself for about 15 minutes before she finally started politely knocking on her door and asking to come out.

In any case, she's sleeping on her mattress again tonight, and I just checked on her and she hasn't rolled off yet! ;)


So many transitions.

Nicole will have to transition to not being the sole object of mom's attention. Then she'll have to transition to using a potty chair. And then, and then, and then... wow, our lives are just long series of transitions. But I love it. As stressful as they can be, transitions push us to grow, adapt, discover... and they keep life from getting too stale and repetitive. I'm so proud of Nicole, and I hope I can handle the transition to being a mom of 2 with as much grace as she handled her bed transition!


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

A Day in the Life

Sometimes the days seem to melt together, but I do my best to make each one different from the next (for my sanity AND for Nicole's entertainment). So, to give you a taste of how life goes around this house, here's how my day went today:


7:15 - I'm roused by the sounds of a happy toddler shrieking from her crib in the room next door. I feel groggy because I couldn't fall asleep until well past midnight last night, so I let myself lie in bed and listen to Nicole chatting to herself for a while.

7:30 - I finally get up (bladder reasons, mainly... #pregnancyproblems) and then go in Nicole's room and sit in the chair in the corner and listen to her talk some more. 5 minutes later Doug comes in to say goodbye before work, toddler gets a fresh diaper, and then it's into her high chair for breakfast. I make a single-serving waffle recipe out of my Trim Healthy Mama cookbook, eat it, and get the breakfast mess cleaned up before Nicole's even done eating her small bowl of cereal. Slow eater, you guys. Very slow eater.

- My brother Johnathon emerges from the downstairs den (he's staying with us for the week, and I'm reminded once again that we really need to get a guest bed) as I'm finishing up cleaning. Nicole is very excited and forgets about her last little bit of cereal. It takes her 15 more minutes to finally finish the last handful, and by 8:30 she's getting a thorough wipe-down and is set loose to terrorize the house.

- While Nicole is distracted by playing with Johnathon, I go and get my exercise clothes on, gather up a warm outfit for Nicole, and get Doug's Frisbee gear together because he forgot it and wants me to bring it to work for him so he can play with his coworkers during their lunch hour.

9:15 - We (Johnathon included) are out the door and heading up to Bridal Veil Falls in Provo Canyon so I can do some uphill powerwalking while pushing Nicole in a stroller. Quite the workout, folks. It's a mere 10 minutes away, but by the time we get to the parking lot the car thermostat has dropped to 56 degrees, plus wind chill. There are trees changing to fall colors in every which direction. Nicole and Johnathon come with me a bit past the waterfall, and then I have him go back with her so that she can get out of her stroller and explore while I continue up the trail further. I get to finish my cardio for the day by myself in the beauty of early-autumn nature while Nicole gets to run around and feed giant fish by the waterfall with my brother. Win, win, win all around. Not to mention that I get nearly halfway done with hatching my 10 km egg on Pokémon Go. That's a plus. ;)


^^^A view of Provo Canyon from Sundance Resort. Just to give you an idea of the beauty we're working with here. Picture source here.

10:15 - We get back to the car and head over to drop off Doug's frisbee gear. While we're out, I run a couple errands to Target and Michaels. I forgot how dangerous it is to go into Michaels at the beginning of the autumn season. I want to buy the whole store. I resist. We also pop into a Halloween shop next door, but it's mostly costumes. I was hoping for décor.

- Today's T-Mobile Tuesday food item is a free 6" sub at Subway, so we stop there on the way home. Free food, can't resist. We don't get home until a bit after 12:30, which of course means that Nicole goes down for her nap late because she takes forever to eat her pesto panini and grapes. Such a methodical eater.

1:30 - Toddler is finally done with lunch. Straight into the crib for naptime. She babbles to herself for almost an hour before finally falling asleep. Sometimes, I don't get that kid...

- Naptime for Nicole = time for me to do whatever I want, pretty much. I wash my hair, make a hanging planter for my new Lemon Button Fern to hang by the piano (yay, another plant baby! What should I name her?!), get some laundry folded, make the kitchen sparkling clean, eat my favorite chips and dip combo for a snack... a pretty good afternoon, all while my brother got in some good video game time whilst singing a bunch of annoying pop song parodies. Weirdo.


^^^This is the plant of which I speak :D

4:30 - Nicole wakes up. Or rather, I go in and wake her up because if she sleeps any later than this she'll never go to sleep tonight. She rewards me with 15 minutes of snuggle time, then finally gets down from my lap to watch for daddy out the window. He gets home at 5 (pretty much on the dot) and he keeps her entertained until dinner is ready shortly after 5:30

- At some point in all of this, Nicole gets into our renovation-zone master bedroom and picks up hammers and screwdrivers. A couple pictures for this blog post seemed necessary before gently taking the pointy metal objects away and guiding the toddler back out of the room filled with paint fumes (despite the open windows and running fan). A bit later, she sticks a block and a little (empty) makeup bag in the downstairs toilet. 2nd time in her life she's pulled a stunt like that. She's feeling a little rebellious this evening, I guess.


^^^Waiting to open the door for daddy when he gets home.

- The boys head out shortly before 6 to go play Frisbee, and Nicole finishes eating only a minute or two later. After getting wiped off, she hangs around in the kitchen for a minute or so to watch me start cleaning up, then heads down to her playroom to entertain herself. Cleanup takes less than 10 minutes. It feels good to have a clean kitchen.

- Clean kitchen = rest of the evening to spend with Nicole, guilt-free. She turns on the TV as I come downstairs, so I sit down to watch an episode of Little Einsteins with her. She snuggles with me the whole time, and spends more than half of the time with her head resting on my 7.5 month preggo belly. Her little brother kicks her in the face a couple times, but she doesn't even seem to notice.

- After the episode finishes, we spend 10 minutes reading and then another 10 minutes cleaning up all her toys and books. When I say the words "Bed time!" she decides that it's a good time to play a quick game of chase-the-toddler-around-the-couch. I humor her for a minute, then scoop her up and whisk her away up the stairs. Or rather, huff and puff up the stairs. Let's be honest. #morepregnancyproblems

- PJ's, a quick game of chase-the-toddler-around-the-rocking-chair, brush the teeth, read one last book, and then she snuggles against my shoulder while I sing her a song. We say her prayers, then I cradle her like a baby and ask her about all the things she liked doing today. She smiles and plays with my hair and runs her hands on my cheeks. I only tickle her a little bit ;) Then it's into the crib, and the happy toddler settles down for the night. She still babbles to herself for an hour, just like before her nap. Every now and then I can hear the high-pitched whistle made by her sippy cup filled with water as she sips from it.

7:30 - Freedom! I light an apple-scented candle, flatiron my hair, do a quick 10-minute general house tidy-up, and get this blog post nearly all the way finished by the time the boys get home from Frisbee at 8:20.

- Doug heads upstairs to paint another layer on the walls of our master bedroom. (After this we'll just have to do edge touch-ups and paint the trim! And maybe the ceiling. We haven't decided yet. Then the carpet guy is coming to measure and give us an estimate on Thursday!) I get the blog post finished, except for these last couple points, which I type as the evening progresses:

- After prepping the blog post, I go upstairs just in time to help Doug paint along the ceiling/baseboards/doors. Once we're done (after 10 PM) we join Johnathon and settle down around the kitchen table with our laptops to play a good round of Age of Empires II (a classic game that I used to play with my dad and brothers all the time growing up). Standard difficulty so it'll be a quick game ;)

- It's still shortly after 11 PM by the time we finish. We head our separate ways to get ready for bed. I settle down with phone in hand so I can spend time browsing online and reading some scriptures until I feel drowsy enough to fall asleep. Who knows how long that will take. #MOREpregnancyproblems

- Hit publish on the blog post. Goodnight.


Thursday, September 1, 2016

Hello, How Are Ya?!


^^^The blurry result of trying to take a family selfie with a DSLR. Nicole was confused.

Well hello there, September! I love September because it means that my favorite month is up next. Eeeee, October! But that's a whole month away, and the first official day of fall is still 3 weeks away, so instead of obsessing over fall-related things let's use this first day of a new month to do a little "How are ya?" post! Just a quick update on each member of the family.


DOUG

Did I ever mention on here that Doug's whole company received notice of termination back in May? Yeah. That happened. And right after we'd purchased a house, of course.

Fortunately, he was able to land a great job fairly quickly. He started his new job at the beginning of August and loves it! We all love it! It's a less-than-10-minute drive away (so he can come home at lunch! And no rush hour traffic to worry about!), has a better salary, some great benefits, even paternity leave! If you ask us, losing his job was a blessing in disguise.

Aside from settling into his new job, Doug is looking forward to playing in the Orem Ultimate Frisbee League this season and is *almost* as excited as I am about fall. Almost. :P We've also both agreed that we need to watch more BYU football this year. I'm in such a nostalgic mood right now and miss my alma mater a lot. Doug is still reveling in the fact that he never has to do homework ever again and hasn't reached the point where he misses campus yet ;) You'll get there, Doug. I think.


ASHLEY

I feel like my previous post was a pretty good update of myself since my life centers around pregnancy these days, so I'll just share some random things instead.

If you didn't catch on yet, I'm very excited for fall. While we're on the topic, imagine how surprised and ecstatic I was when I walked out my front door 2 days ago and noticed some very familiar orange flowers blooming on a big-leafed plant growing right by our front door. Yeeeep, we have a pumpkin plant growing in our front yard! I'm guessing that the previous owners planted it... the plants by our front door/windows are all annual/perennial plants that they planted, and so I never know what's going to pop up.

It's almost as if that little pumpkin plant was saying "Hey! Guess what? Fall is nearly here, and now you get your own pumpkin plant! Surprise!" I think they're just miniature or pie pumpkins because they're not very big yet (about the size of my clenched fist) and I hope they mature before it gets cold... we'll see!

I made my favorite 5-ingredient stovetop fudge this week and it gave me heartburn. It was an ah-ha moment for me: I ate this stuff all the time during the end of my last pregnancy, and I had heartburn almost daily. Now I'm suspecting that this fudge was one of the main culprits. I never connected the dots before because who would suspect chocolate peanut butter fudge of causing heartburn?! So... as sad as it is... no more of my favorite fast sweet treat for the next several weeks. I can handle it since there are yummy fall treats I can eat instead! Besides, that fudge was NOT Trim Healthy Mama material. Ooops.


NICOLE

If you were to follow this happy toddler around for a while, you would very likely hear her say one of her favorite phrases, such as: "No, mine!" or "Two...One...Two...One...Blassooooff!" (blastoff) which we can thank Little Einsteins for. If you ask her what her name is, she'll say 'Bole. (That's pretty close to Nicole, right? Ha!) She's also starting to "parrot" what we say - she'll hear us say a word or short phrase and immediately repeat it, even if she doesn't know what it means. Cute, but potentially dangerous! Good thing we don't cuss ;)

Her favorite book is an Usborne lift-the-flap book that we can spend 15 minutes straight looking at because she points at every.single.thing. and asks "Wha dis? An' dis? An' dis?" although often she stops asking and just points while I say the name of the object. We also read the following books at least once a day: The Gingerbread Man, On The Night You Were Born, and a giant search-and-find book that's half as tall as she is.

She tried some seaweed at Costco today and loved it. Yep, seaweed. When she wants me to come play with her or get something for her, she'll take my hand and pull. Going on walks is one of her very favorite activities, and she says "Woooooow! Dere ih is!" (there it is) whenever she sees something interesting or sees a building she recognizes, such as the Provo Rec Center or Costco. When it's time to fold her arms to say a prayer, she tucks her hands into her armpits, bows her head, and sits there looking like a sleeping chicken.

Oh man, we love her. I've inadvertently started this tradition: once we do her bedtime ritual and say her prayer, I cradle her like a baby and ask her what her favorite parts of the day were. It's one of the only times she'll let me hold her like that, and it almost always ends with a tickle war, which I shouldn't do because it gets her a little hyper, but she loves it. It amazes me how there's so much personality in such a tiny body.


^^^I try to snuggle her and she just makes faces because she's a goofy goober. Basically. :D

BABY BOY

He hasn't been born yet, but he already has some personality quirks and preferences. For one thing, he doesn't wedge himself up in my rib cage like Nicole used to. He prefers to press his little bum and limbs outward against my belly instead of upwards to get comfy. On two different occasions I was able to feel a little foot (or maybe it was a hand?) when I went to poke at him. He quickly moved the foot away when I poked it, but I could totally tell that it was an appendage of some sort. He just doesn't like having his foot touched I guess, which is exactly how Nicole is. They're definitely siblings ;)

He still gets a ridiculous number of hiccups, is VERY active (I got nervous a lot with Nicole because I would go a couple hours without feeling movement... I never worry about this kid because he moves a LOT), and he really seems to enjoy ice cream. Me too, baby boy. Me too.

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That's the gist of things! I could write a long novel of a post about all of Nicole's little quirks and habits, but I chose my favorites. She really is such a joy to have as part of our family. From her daily piano recitals, to taking every opportunity she can to sneak into the master bathroom to weigh herself, steal Doug's toothpaste and floss, or climb in the shower to mess with our shampoo... she's so fun. I'm excited to add another little ball of personality to the mix.