Monday, November 18, 2013

October - Minus a few things

So, there are a few things that I will post as their own blog now that I'm getting caught up somewhat, but here is what our month of October looked like for the most part.

At the beginning of the month I snapped this picture of Mckayla as she moved into 2T clothing and started looking more and more big to me.

I know, that's a random place to start, but that's what happens when you follow the order of your pictures...  The next thing to mention was that I had my birthday the beginning of the month.  I was still really struggling with my morning sickness, and wasn't having a fantastic day as a result, but Steve came home and pushed me to get out of my sick funk, so we went to dinner at Applebee's with the girls to celebrate.  We ended up having a fabulous dinner as a family and I was glad he helped urge me out the door that night.  I know it's dark, but this was Mckayla showing off her "hat" over and over at the restaurant.  
That night Steve and I also agreed it was ok to spill the beans about Baby Bennett #3.  I was starting to get laughed at by my boss at work that it wouldn't be a secret much longer - what happens when you work in a swimsuit.  And I have to admit, it was a gift to myself to be open about how terrible I was feeling and why and not try to pretend I was feeling great all the time or just stopped caring bout little things like getting out of sweatpants when I took Ellie to preschool.  We decided to announce by mentioning that it was really strange to be pregnant two birthdays in a row - some people got it, and others not so much.  We had to post our ultrasound the next day to clarify...
We also got a surprise back as when I texted my sister, Jennifer, about the baby, she texted right back.  It seems that our pattern of having our babies together continues, and they just keep getting closer in timing.  She is exactly 3 weeks ahead of me in due date, so this baby should have a new cousin waiting for it when it arrives.

The next big event for October will actually be it's own blog post, and that is that Steve and I decided to take the girls on a weekend vacation.  Starting in October I was working Saturdays to help out with a gap at the pool, and wouldn't have another weekend off till Thanksgiving, at which point we knew it wouldn't be great traveling weather and we'd already be traveling a lot to visit family.  By the time we got back to traveling weather after the holidays, we figured I would be very pregnant, so we took the opportunity to take a mini vacation from the 11th through the 13th.  More on that later.

On the 16th, our growing Mckayla girl decided that "hat" wasn't enough for her anymore, and added "touch" to her vocabulary.  Soon after she would say "dance" although that word seems to have disappeared a few weeks later.  Don't worry, she still likes to dance, she just doesn't say so anymore...
(Completely unrelated picture that I love of Mckayla enjoying Ellie's Rody.)

Also on the 16th, Aunt Jennifer and her children Wyatt and Aubrey and Aunt Julie all came down for the day.  It was fun to have the cousins play together, even if I was awful and just enjoyed the time talking with my sisters, made food for way more people than I was used to, and felt nauseous all day instead of taking pictures.  Well, I did grab a few snapshots, but not of cousins playing.  Instead, I took the amazing pictures of Mckayla being hilarious and making faces at the camera after wearing her chili instead of eating it for dinner.  She had recently decided she would only eat things she could feed herself, even if that meant her dumping spoonfuls of food on her lap in the process.
Laughed till I cried after taking this picture.

On the 18th we finally made it out to pick apples for applesauce.  We went back to our favorite local orchard, Ray French, and Ellie had an absolute blast being a "helper".  I couldn't even get clear pictures of her she was moving around so much in excitement.  We picked some 60+ lbs of Fuji apples, and it's a good thing Fuji's keep since they are still in our basement!  I promise I'll get them done....

After that, on the 19th I came home from work and started decorating a cake.  My folks and Aunt Julie came out and celebrated Mckayla's upcoming birthday with us for the day.  I made my first birthday cake flying solo without my mother-in-law's amazing support, and insanely decided to attempt my first ice cream cake as well.  I have admit though, I'm dang proud of how it turned out.  I used to kind of loath this tradition because I was so intimidated by it, but I am slowly growing into some confidence and am always so proud of what we make for the girls' birthdays!
 This was Mckayla's main present from us, and of course we know we'll get lots of use out of it for both girls in years to come, as well as much contention.
 Photographic evidence I was there.
 I love the way our girls love reading, and their Daddy.
 So, this is my very enjoyable progression of Mckayla eating her first cake.  She was not real keen on the cold initially, but then dug in - literally trying to eat the whole piece at once, and eventually made sure to mop up every last morsel she could - and then painted herself in it with tired eye rubs.  It was awesome!

Around this same time, I started to feel increasingly human, so Mckayla and I started going to story time at the library again while Ellie is at preschool one day a week.  She loves her books these days and does really well for the first part of it, even if she is squirmy by the end.

On the 22nd, we celebrated Mckayla's actual birthday, and I have to admit, did a whole lot of nothing for it.  We'd intended to take the girls out for ice cream or something after I got home from work, but I think we went to a school volleyball game to support Steve's school instead, and then the girls were so tired it wasn't worth the trouble.  Someday Mckayla might forgive us for this enormous slight and undeniable resulting emotional scarring.

The girls also got sick the beginning of that week.  Initially everything just seemed like a fever with nothing else and eventually bad cold symptoms, but by Thursday night Ellie was just lying around crying although Mckayla still acted happy as a clam.  When Ellie was still emotional Friday morning and then told me her ear hurt, we went straight to an urgent care clinic to get them both seen.  Turned out they both had bronchitis and Ellie had a double ear infection.  Talk about feeling like mom of the year....  But, they both responded well to their medication, and were much better after a few days.  Ellie was completely over her illness within a few days, but Mckayla seems to like to hold on to congestion for weeks after an illness has passed and follows that pattern currently.

The nice thing was that on Halloween (all Halloween festivities are in another post as well) Mckayla had her one year well check, so we got a follow up with her pediatrician who said all was going well, despite her continuing rasp.  We also found out that she continues to be enormous at 26.6 lbs and 31.75 inches tall.  As usual, the doctor just commented on our daughter's being all Steve's, and showed us that Mckayla is off the charts on height, high on weight (but proportional and fine that way) and that she has her own head circumference curve she's creating off the charts around 98th percentile or so.  Yeah, Ellie is big for her age and Mckayla may make Ellie the runt of our family...
Our happy girl on Halloween with a cute little ponytail before heading out to become a sad little pin cushion.

We also had another fun doctor's appointment just a few days earlier.  This one was for Baby 3.  It was just a routine test they do between 12 and 14 weeks now to look for signs of Down-syndrome, which we tested negative for, but the fun part is you get an ultrasound out of the deal.  So here is our best picture of Baby from October 29th.  I could not stop smiling while I watched our baby move its hands and feet and roll over in my belly (in typical Bennett baby fashion, mostly keeping its back to us).

Oh, and we are officially on countdown to December 19th, when we find out if Baby brings us to 3 wonderful little girls, or starts Steve's antics with a son.  We are EXCITED!

Sunday, November 10, 2013


September started off with lots of excitement here, some good and some bad...

On September 3rd Ellie had her first day of preschool.  She loves it.  We knew she would.  And she does.  She goes to a small class with 6 children that go to Fun Beginnings Preschool.  It's a little preschool run out of the house of Ellie's old nursery leader in our last Ward.  Ellie's best friend Addi from that ward is in her class and is how we found out about this preschool.  The girls are so excited to see each other every day, which makes me happy that Ellie has a friend at school.  I didn't get Ellie to stand still and do any posed pictures before her first day, but here are some pictures of Ellie's first day of preschool.  You'd never guess she was excited....  And she still loves her "O the Owl" backpack. (she thinks it's O from Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood...)

That same day, we woke up after a HEAVY rainfall here.  And by later in the day, I had several spots in the carpet where the water pooled up around my foot when I stepped there.  Fun.  So, we called the landlady.  To make a long and frustrating story short...  Over the next week we found out water had been getting in for some time, we just didn't notice because it was in low traffic areas in small amounts, so we had some mold on our tack-strips and our carpet pads were soaked to the point of needing to be replaced in large chunks.  So, over about two and a half weeks we dealt with: carpet cleaners assessing damage, handymen who were sure the problem was wrong, replacing carpet but not the underlying issue, having carpets cleaned, more rain, new wet spots, more handymen looking at the issue, new rain gutter diversions, trenches being re-routed around the house, an unhappy landlady, more trenches, and FINALLY we have had no wet carpets for the last month and a half.  But I have to admit, we don't have a lot of confidence and we still check under the carpet after big storms.  One of the most frustrating parts of the carpet fiasco was that it all happened just after I'd torn the basement bedrooms apart to switch Ellie into a different room in preparation for her getting a twin bed soon and the girls sharing a room a few months down the road before the new babe comes.  So, our house was torn apart, Ellie couldn't have her new room, and to top it all off the girls now had to share the nursery upstairs while the basement was torn apart.  The girls loved it.  They laughed and played till Mckayla gave up and laid down, ignoring Ellie each night.  Then in the morning whoever woke up first would sit there and talk to the other till they woke up to play.  We considered just keeping the girls together, but.... after the time sharing rooms, they were both a little exhausted from not getting near as much sleep.  Hopefully they don't play as much down the road when we combine them for real.

Admittedly, I was also extra impatient and grumpy during all this because part way into the basement water issues I started getting some definite morning sickness.  Oh man, morning sickness.  Like, you only feel slightly nauseous laying on the couch but if you do so much as move you feel awful morning sickness.  Unfortunately, my body's reaction to nausea: sleep through it!  So I felt awful, was trying to stay still, but staying still made me doze off since I just wanted to sleep anyway.  The girls may have gotten lots of cartoon time.  After suffering through continuing issues for a few weeks, we eventually called the doctor towards the end of the month and got a prescription that didn't completely solve the issue, but definitely took things down a couple notches so they were bearable.  Between the medicine and food control - I always have to constantly eat snacks when I'm pregnant because an empty stomach while pregnant spells major nausea for me - I was able to do better and start to function at least some of the time.

In the midst of getting all the carpet issues figured out and just before the nausea started, we also headed to Spokane for a quick weekend trip.  My Dad had an old twin bunk-bed frame that all of us girls used that he'd been holding onto until someone could use it, and because it sits low to the ground, we decided it would be a great first "big girl bed" for Ellie.  We also took the opportunity to bring down a spare crib that he had in storage as we knew we'd need two cribs come spring time since Mckayla won't be big enough for the toddler bed we have just yet.  We bought Ellie a twin mattress while we were in Spokane too, so we just figured we would make one big trip of new bedroom furniture.  The girls also enjoyed their first experience with Grandma and Papa's new play structure.  Mckyala loved the swings - which Ellie still hates - and Ellie loved the slide.

While we were up visiting Grandma Sun and Papa Rose treated us with a trip to the Spokane Inter-State Fair, and we had a lot of fun going with them and Aunt Julie.  The first several pictures are of Ellie enjoying the petting zoo they had set up.  Grandma Sun bought some food to feed the animals and I loved watching Ellie shrink back and smile as the animals tried to eat out of her hand.

 Ellie was fascinated by the longhorn in the petting zoo.  This girl has no fear of creatures great or small...
 The fair also had an exhibit with all sorts of exotic pets out for people to see - large monitors, sugar gliders, etc.  Ellie spent a lot of time here watching the baby alligators.
 This was me trying to get Ellie to pose in the cutouts... right before she fell and scraped her knee... which led to a huge meltdown.
 Luckily Grandma and Papa came to the rescue with orange soda.  We got her some bandaids and cleaned up the knee, she enjoyed her soda, and we all enjoyed sitting for a little while.  Our entertainment was mostly provided by Mckayla's fascination with Papa Rose's watch, and her and Daddy's great fun.
 I love the way our girls and their Daddy love each other.
 After soda everyone headed to the train the fair had.  Grandma, Steve, Ellie, and Mckayla enjoyed the ride around the loop they had.
 Lastly, it was time to try and win a souvenir before heading back for a looong nap after such an exciting day.  We helped Ellie choose an "everybody wins" type game and the worker was really nice to help Ellie out.  Ellie even won a large(er) prize.  She picked out a white polar bear wearing a scarf which still sits on her bed every night as she sleeps currently and we call her "fair bear".  She had a great day.

As much fun as the fair was, our real adventure came Sunday evening on our way home.  We had heard rain was coming, but that we should miss the storm.  Unfortunately, that was true for the Spokane area, because we would leave Spokane while the storm was still to the West of them - while we drove West.  At first the trip was just really windy.  Then around Ritzville we suddenly hit 60 mph wind gusts in a farming community and the dust storm came out of nowhere.  Before we knew it we couldn't see the lines on the road anywhere around us and heard the change in the sound as we started to drive off road.  We stopped, and Steve got out to try and see where we were with regards to the road, not wanting to go off into a ditch, but needing to get off the road so nobody hit us either.  The visibility was so poor that Steve was crawling on the ground feeling for the pavement trying to see where the fog lines were.  It was terrifying.  He did find out that we were just off the road and safely in a dip to the side of the road, with no peril to the side of us.  So, we waited.  And we prayed for safety and peace.  The answer to our prayers came in the calm that the girls had the entire time we were in the storm and as the storm progressed on the rest of our drive.  After a few minutes, rain began.  We said a prayer of thanks, knowing that the rain would settle the dust out of the air so we could drive again.  As soon as we had some visibility, we slowly crept down the road, being able to see that Semi's were stopped just up the hill from us, and the dust had blocked their lights from just a short distance away.  We also saw as we started creeping forward how fortunate we were in that a car was just a short ways behind us, with 4 or 5 cars just ahead of us and other vehicles off to the side after hitting each other.  We were certainly watched over and protected in that storm.  The rain did settle the dust out, and then began to pummel us.  That wasn't rain, it was RAIN.  Bringing it's own visibility issues and slippery, muddy roads, we were still grateful for it.  And the lightning.  Oh my goodness that was a SHOW.  Because we were literally IN the storm, we were surrounded by the most bright, loud, fantastic lightning I have ever seen, and it was everywhere.  All Steve and I could do was make incredulous sounds and laugh at the sheer intensity of what was all around us.  And once again, we were grateful for the girls happily watching their Disney movie with not a care in the world in the back seat despite the constant flashes and deep booms of a storm that is on top of you.  It was an eventful drive.
This is a picture that was in the local paper of the dust storm we were stuck in as it hit Tri-Cities.

We got home safely.  Another prayer of gratitude.  And then admittedly, some murmuring on my part as we unloaded furniture into a newly wet basement which was coated in a thick layer of the finest dust imaginable.  I went through buckets and buckets of water washing everything down over the next few days, but that's alright.  We were grateful for the furniture, for the safety in which we arrived, and the eventually dry basement later in the week.

Not all of September was the month of Nicolle's bad attitude though.  I promise.  As much as I may document the ups and downs on this blog so we remember them, a lot of fun was had in September too, beyond our few hours at the fair...

Here are a couple pictures of our girls enjoying a nice day at the park at the beginning of the month.  I can't believe how big they are getting!

On the 11th Ellie started her little girls dance class.  She so wants to be a ballerina/dance and we were excited that at 3, she was now old enough to join a class at one of the local dance studios.  We found one that goes month to month (which we felt wise with a 3 year old) and she loves her classes.  They do a little jazz, a little cheerleading, some hiphop, and some ballet.  It's an hour long class and it's 3-5 year olds after all, so they do a lot of short activities in class, including some coloring at times.  Here she was before her first class, so excited to be wearing ballerina clothes (our special contribution to the experience) before her first class.

Then on the 18th, after all of the carpet issues, we finally got to put Ellie's big girl bed together and she has been in it ever since.
She has only fallen out a few times, contorts herself in a bigger bed in all sorts of fun ways, and we have only seen her on the monitor sleeping on the floor once.  It honestly has been a wonderfully painless transition.  She loves being a "big girl."  Here she was napping one day when I had to go get her.  You can see her "fair bear" and the rocket bedding she was most excited about getting for her big girl bed.

Other fun things from September.  Mckayla was there, I promise.  In fact, thanks to a spray bottle we broke her - except for the occasional "kiss" of biting.  Unfortunately, Mckayla thinks that me using my "big Mommy voice" or telling her no sternly, blowing in her face, anything that worked to discipline Ellie at this age really - is funny.  And she smiles and laughs and claps at me.  But, the spray bottle on a mist is just enough shock to get her attention, even though it doesn't really do much.  That was exciting for me since at one point I had 3 or 4 bruises between my arms and shoulders.  She loved biting the fabric on my shirts at the shoulder and would often get me too, and then eventually decided biting me was acceptable without the fabric as well.  Ah babies...  Random cute pictures of her from the month because I feel guilty there's so much Ellie in this blog...

Even more exciting than a soft-ending to biting (if anything can be more exciting) was that on September 28th, while visiting my friend Kelly and her new baby girl Madison, Mckayla said her first real word.  She'd been babbling mamamama and dadadada and such, but those still aren't real words like Mama and Dada yet.  Nope, her first word - "Hat."  I know, random, and you're jealous.  We're positive it's because she associates it with Steve and him always wearing a hat.  At first she just repeated it, but after just a little while she was pointing to her head and saying "Hat."  So, unless she thinks hat means head or hair, she gets it.

The other big exciting event from September was that on the 25th we got our first glimpse (and reassurance that all was well) of Baby #3.  Our doctor's office always does an early/dating ultrasound to see exactly how far along you are.  We were sure of how far we were, and were right, confirming our due date of May 10th.  But, it was still fun to see the tiny baby - which doesn't look much like a baby at that point - and a huge weight off to see for the first time that perfect little developing heart beating.  The little brighter white spot is its heart.

So, that was our September.  A couple big frustrating and/or scary things, but lots of fun firsts which is what parenting is all about, right?