August 31, 2010

City Mall Fun

One unique aspect of our current living situation (coupled with the newly potty-trained child) is that we are at least twenty minutes from, well, anything, thirty or more from town, and have I mentioned yet that we have to take our car seats in and out of the vehicles? What this means is that there isn't much exploring going on and therefore I don't know very many places to take Miss Thing for out-of-the-community fun.

We have ventured to City Mall, a relatively new completion only twenty minutes away. There are shops of all kinds from everywhere and two whole floors with play areas and arcade games.

We've gone to the play area twice now, the second time being our first no diapers outing. Yay for no accidents. Also, thanks to Miss Amanda and Adam for putting up with the bathroom trips. Here are some photos of our time there:

The main attraction is a blow-up bouncy house/slide combo complete with sea animals for riding and squishing.

Here she is with her friend K, whom we have missed while she's been in Australia.

Miss Thing desperately wanted to slide like her friends, but refused to go up the ladder until all other children left the area. Thankfully this did occur, and up she went. It was tough going, but once she figured it out, she was following Adam up there over and over again!

Of course, she does not go down on her tuckus; nope, we choose the tummy. It makes her happy, so it is fine with me!

On our second visit, she finally braved the trampoline area. There are four small trampolines on a raised surface. The nice thing is that they only let one child play on them at a time, so each has their own area and there is no bonking of heads.

We may have found out those were the rules after breaking them, but hey, now we know.

By the way, jumping is serious business.


At the end of visit one, we all went to the City Market (small grocery store; big for here) to pick up a few items before we headed home. Miss Thing and I were done first, so we headed out to the lobby...

...where who did we meet, but Mortimer..erm..Mickey Mouse!

Is it really him!?! Why, yes it is!

(This is as close as she would get, but hey - she sat with him and let him touch her, so that is great.)

We took one final shot of the girls with Mickey before leaving.

At which point my child began crying.

Um, yeah.

Parting is such sweet sorrow.


August 30, 2010



Take One

Take Two

Take Three


August 27, 2010


- I've been up since 6 am.  I know.  This does not seem like any sort of so-called un-Godly hour, but 'tis.  Might not be so bad if my body would allow me to fall asleep any time before 2 am.  Alas, this is my plight.  Every night I 'go to bed' between 9 and 10:30 and then I do not sleep.  For those of you who believe that this is the baby preparing me...let's just say that I am well aware of the coming torture that is a child who never sleeps (see: my first child) and so I could really do without the 'preparation'.

- I do not normally get up at 6.  If I can help it, anyway.  If I do it is usually because of, you guessed it, child number one.  She is still asleep.  Go figure.  I had Rocket Man wake me, in the middle of some (finally) much needed shut-eye so that I could make doctor appointments with a couple of fine physicians in the states.  One of the finer points of living half-way around the world.

-  Also, yay for sentence fragments in lieu of the real thing.

- Yesterday:  home-made (bread-maker) bread; home-made (and hand-made), from scratch (just in case you didn't get that part) biscuits.  Declared yummy by all who ate them which is a good thing for my first time making them.  Also, sliced, tenderized (Mama, you're hitting!  Mama use a hammer.  Mmmm, I LIKE beef, Mama.) divided and frozen beef for stir-fry.  The same, minus the tenderizing, was done with veggies for same.

- Lately: 5 loaves of bread-maker bread, most frozen; chicken breasts cleaned, divided into single portions (12) and frozen; more than 100 meat-balls made, divided and frozen; two batches of beans soaked, slow-cooked and then (you guessed it) divided and frozen.

- I'm not done.  I've got 1 or 2 more batches of beans to cook, 8 more servings of stir-fry meat and veggies to conquer, and then I'm going to attempt some pizzas.  As in home-made crust/pizza, not the frozen ones from the store.

- We are not pizza snobs here at casa crazy-pants; please do not misunderstand.  In fact, I went shopping this week and also purchased five boxes of piccolinos (small round pizzas, 9 per box) with prosciutto and cheese on them - they are one of our favorites.

- Surely this will help Rocket Man with the 12 weeks, count 'em, that Miss Thing and I (and baby2) will be back in the states without him (longer than that, really, but he'll make an appearance or two).

- Assuming he doesn't eat it all in the first three weeks.

- Must. Exhibit. Restraint.

- Yay.

- Fragments.

August 17, 2010

Hooray for.......

Notice anything different about that picture?  Granted, it is mostly hidden.  If you take a peek beside her right foot you might notice that there is no thick padded absorbent item where one would normally be.  Oh, no my friends, those are UNDERPANTS! of a Minnie variety.

Yup, I'm going to talk about it.  If you don't want to know, then please feel free to not read.  I will tell you that there are some funnies at the end, but you could even skip to those if you like. goes.

Last Monday I decided to start potty-training.  We'd introduced the potty before, mostly because it arrived in our air shipment and she saw it and wanted to know what it was.  She would sit on it and go, but it wasn't real so much as it was luck (I had her sit on it after naps and in the morning when she would naturally need to use it).

About a week before our sea shipment arrived I tried for quite possibly the worst time ever.  We were having a few sleeping issues, for one.  Either she'd get us both up early or I would be unable to fall asleep until the wee hours and therefore I was not in a great mood for something that requires a lot of patience.  You know, like training a little one to put the proper things in the pot.  Added to this was the fact that Rocket Man was out of town for a week...and basically the worst time ever.

I only tried for a day.  It was very clear that she wasn't ready: she could not get her own pants off, for one, which can impede the process.  Also, she absolutely knew what was expected and also that she wasn't/couldn't do it and so basically she was just really upset and frustrated all day.  It was not a good thing.  I put the potty away completely and decided that I'd wait until our sea shipment arrived and we had put it all away.  I also wanted Rocket Man to be in town before we tried again.

This brings us to last Monday.  I have an Elmo video that talks all about potty-related things.  Now, my child was only exposed to the little red squeaker a very tiny bit before we came overseas...and I've only seen him on the television a few times here.  Mostly she liked Mr. Noodle.

That Mr. Noodle...he is so SILLY!

The fact that Mr. Noodle is nowhere to be found did not bother her a bit.  Oh, no, there is someone even better in this video: Elmo's Daddy.

She LOVES him.  I referred to him many times this past week and there may have been a couple of days where we watched Elmo's Potty Time...well, enough that I had the songs stuck in my head when I tried to go to sleep.


Monday morning we watched the video together and I explained/reiterated things taught on it.  Then we put on some training underpants and began.  After about 3 wet underpants, I decided to just take them off for a bit.  The morning was not very successful.  That afternoon, after her nap, we had some success.  Finally she stopped going  on the floor mid-stream, ran to the potty and 'finished' on there.  That was all I needed for the reward.

What, you might ask, is the reward?

Well, for my child, it is a 'teddy-bear treat' - A.K.A. Gummy Bear.

People, it is all about the reward.  It must be something they want.  A lot.  Muchissimo.  Also, it is different for each kid.  I have a friend whose son only found interest in all things potty-related once she told him he could blow bubbles in the house if he got it in the pot.

Moving along...later she had an actual success on the potty with no accident precluding it.  As soon as I gave her a treat she said "Let's do it again!", ran to the potty and put the rest of what she had in there.

Methinks she was ready.

Day by day we got better and by Saturday she was going to the potty all on her own, pulling her own pants down, etc. without any prodding from us.  Things have only gotten better since and we no longer get treats for liquid.  I can even report that today, finally, she went poo in the pot as well.

Obviously this does not mean that there are not any more accidents or that we are done learning.  Overall, though, she'll just announce "I need to go potty." or not, and then head off to take care of things.  Today she even impressed the nanny, who was clearly surprised that she went all day with no accidents.

Good times.

Now that you've read through all of that...JUST what you wanted to read about today...I shall share a few of the more interesting moments:

Day One:

I have shown her what to do, we have had a mini-sit on the pot with no...production...and we've watched the video, etc.  She is playing and gets into a little house (you know, the ones that are made of fabric and pop open?) and is playing when suddenly she shouts "I need to go potty!!!" (while already going of course) and stands up and tries to RUN to the potty.

She is moving fast...

...and so is the house.

Day Five:

While number one is going quite well, there is no number two success.  We're talking on the webcam with Guga and Papa Jim and Miss Thing has again entered the little house.  She's talking and playing and then comes out to tell me "Pee-pee in my pants."

Except it isn't exactly a liquid.

I don't know this of course, and tell her to hurry and take her underpants off and then go sit on the potty.  She yanks and pulls and finally gets them off and PLOP.

Oh, yes.

Right there on the floor.

Just what her proud grandparents wanted to witness.


We've just finished dinner and are cleaning everything up.  Chica announces to the household that she needs to go and does her thing.

About five minutes later I notice that the underpants are still off.  I mention this to Rocket Man and he heads over to take care of it and takes a peek into the potty...

...where there is no receptacle for 'catching' the business.

That's right people, I forgot to replace the bucket.

Not that it stopped her, of course.

Thankfully this particular potty does not open up to the floor, so it was easy to clean.


Throughout the week of training:

Miss Thing:  "Let's go GET that teddy-bear treat!"

Rocket Man: "I don't think I've ever seen her butt-cheeks as much as I have this week."

Me:  "All that tells me is that you haven't changed nearly enough diapers."

Perhaps we can begin to remedy that with little being number two in a few months.

Thanks for reading.  Apologies if you really didn't want to know.  I hope you could chuckle at a few of the stories at the least!  Hopefully tomorrow or the next day I'll have some new photos of Miss Thing and I can tell you some more about some of the other things she's been learning/doing.

August 12, 2010


  • I've used my bread-maker a few times.  The bread is way yummy, but if I eat a bunch of it there will be problems for sure.  Hopefully I can make a bunch and start freezing it for Rocket Man so that while we are home for forever he'll have some to eat.  We'll be gone for about sixteen weeks, though and he eats a loaf a week easy...I doubt I will make that many.  Luckily it is very easy to use, so he should be able to make some on his own as well.
  • Wednesday night I made meatballs.  They were fabulous.  I am planning to make a bunch of those and freeze them as well because dude, I could eat them whenever.
  • Tonight I made Fettuccine Alfredo with shrimp for those of us over three feet tall.  Everyone loved it, even Miss Thing.  I had to tell her we would keep what was left in her bowl and she could eat it tomorrow in order for her to get down from the table.  Messy meal indeed.
  • While making said pasta, I happened to leave the baggie with the parm-regg in it on the counter...where my child got it.  I hear "Mmmmm, yummy!" about three times before I turn around to see her taking bites off of the chunk.  Awesome.
  • Soaked beans today for some slow-cooker goodness tomorrow.  Let's hope they turn out yummy since I want to freeze some of them as well.
  • What?  We are two and a quarter people; we don't eat that much.
  • Except for Rocket Man, who always eats dinner and then immediately (as in, before I can clear the table) makes himself either a bowl of cereal or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
  • For reals.
  • A baby gate is up to block Miss Thing into her room for the night.
  • I plan on having a backup sound machine ready for those of us who enjoy sleeping at night.  You know, just in case there is some screaming later.
  • Miss Thing has a set of alphabet cards.  One animal whose name begins with each letter.  Y is for Yak.  She is really into singing right now.  One of her daily songs is "The Wheels on the Bus",   although she is way more interested in the people/animals on that bus than the bus itself.  Did you know dogs, cats, cows and elephants ride the bus?  Apparently so.  Also, she rides the bus.  So we sing about Mama, Daddy and her.  I've told her that she goes "yakkity, yakkity, yak".  Surely you can see where this is going:  "W is for wolf."; "X is for X-Ray fish."; Y is for [Name] goes yakkity, yakkity, yak!"
  • There is no better example of the fact that learning occurs when you can attach something new to something you already know.  Thank you, Dr. Sochinski, for continually drilling that one in.
  • HAMSters, unite!
  • You will only get that if you were a music major at VT...
  • Apologies.
  • Making the implicit explicit.
  • Again, sorry.
  • We're getting closer to purchasing a ticket for our flight home.  We are weighing price versus ease of travel/travel time.  I will be even more huge and I will be taking the screamer with me, so I vote for ease and short travel time.  We'll see if I can justify that with the price...
  • Let's hope so 'cause dude, it is gonna stink no matter what!
  • My brain is turning off, which must mean that I don't have anything else to say.
  • Riiiiiight.
  • Perhaps I'm tired from all of the NOT SLEEPING.
  • I'm out!

August 11, 2010

Sleep Battles; Part Eleventy-Billion

I was able to catch a whole two hours of sleep last night.  More, if you count the umpteen 30-second intervals of sleep I garnered in-between the many "Mama" moments once my child awoke at 6.  I don't really think that they count, but some people might.  Yes, I didn't go to sleep until after 4:00 a.m.  This is because I still wasn't asleep until almost 1:00 a.m. at which time my child awoke.

To everyone who likes to say that she is preparing me for number two, I would like to inform you that that is a big fat load of hooey.  Number 2 is doing a fine time of keeping me up at night what with the kicking and the peeing and so forth.

This behavior also has nothing to do with things we are doing during the day because it doesn't matter what we do during the day.  Some days she gets up, some days she doesn't, and the same daily activities can go with either one.

How long is it now that this has been going on?  My brain is rather fuzzy and I am not sure.  I think it is a three week plus event.  Which means that I haven't slept for three weeks.

This is the same child who didn't sleep for the first year of her life; it would be nice if that were over.  Apparently not.  If this keeps up and the second one is like her I should be dead within weeks of giving birth.  Either that or the second one won't make it because of my no-sleep induced blunders.

What exactly has been going on?  Let's see.  Getting her to go to bed is hit or miss.  Sometimes she goes down fairly well (as in I only have to go back in once) and other times it can take hours.  Last night it took an hour.  I could deal with this if she was sleeping through the night.  Of course she is not.  Sometime between 1:00 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. she wakes up, turns the light on in her room, turns the sound machine off and exits her room in order to come and whine in ours.  About?  Nothing.

Once up she is either up for the day or she wants to sleep in our bed, which is not working because it is synonymous with sleeping stuck to me.  I already have to deal with two people, I absolutely do not need a third.  Plus, even if she sleeps like that I do not.  So again, not working.

Now, if she couldn't get her door open, I would be happy to leave her to her own devices in her room.  There's nothing to play with and it is rather boring in there.  She could fuss and complain and so forth and eventually she'd just give up and go back to bed.  Granted, it might take a few hours and perhaps cause lots of crying, but that's no skin off my back.

Before everyone gets all up in arms about that fact, please be aware that quite frankly I don't care what you think.  You are not me; you do not have my child; you do not know her like I do, nor do you deal with her every day.  I could go on.  Suffice it to say that what works for me might not work for you, but that is why life is so grand: we are all different.  And there is nothing wrong with that, a fact that I wish more people could comprehend.

Unfortunately, she can open the door.  Why?  Because they are not doorknobs, but handles.  She just barely has to get her weight behind it and open it comes.  Also, there are no locks.  Believe you me, if I had that option I'd use it.  The only way to keep her from opening the door is to literally stand outside of her door and hold the door shut.

Which is exactly what I did last night from 1:30 a.m. until 4:00 a.m.  This is after I spent 30 minutes helping her back into her bed, doing the night-time thing again, and saying "Five Little Monkeys" about eleventy-billion times.  None of that is working.  It hasn't been working the whole time so I haven't a clue why I keep doing it.  I'll blame the I'm -a-stupid-person induced by pregnancy.

I told her I was done saying the monkeys, we weren't reading any more books and that she had to stay in her bed.  This caused much screaming and crying.  I am fairly certain that for lack of another way to deal with the feelings she was opening her drawers and throwing things out of them.  Either that or she would throw her animals off of her bed.  Since I was holding the door shut from outside, she had to do something, right?

I finally got tired of the get up and turn everything on/off behavior, so I took the lamp out of her room and told her I had to remove it because she kept turning it on and we don't do that in the middle of the night.  This meant that the next time she got out of bed she decided to press buttons on the oscillating fan that is in her room.  She managed to turn it off, and then immediately freaked out about it.  Once she calmed a bit I went back in and told her that if she touched the buttons again I would take the fan out.

She didn't turn off her sound machine even once after I took the lamp out because she didn't want to lose that one.

Imagine that.

Anyway, it went like that for two and a half hours.  I guess she either finally accepted it or wore herself out because she finally fell asleep at 3:40 a.m. which allowed me to get in the bed and fall asleep around 4.  And then she was up at 6.

What a fine night.

I am sure that tonight we'll get to find out if she's accepted the "Don't get out of bed at night" message or if she just got tired of fighting and fell asleep.

I just can't wait.

Walking around like a zombie and feeling like crap is exactly what I was hoping to do this summer.