Month: April 2009

  • Potty Training.

    They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Soooo…


    …need I say more? :)

    [These little undies were robbed from little dresses. I went into the store to actually buy  some training undies, and much to my shock, a pack of 3 Strawberry Shortcake undies were $8!! I thought to myself that there is surely another thing I can use... so the little dresses with pantaloons have been put to much use.]

    I’ve been in one of those what-else-can-I-get-done-before-the-baby-comes sort of mindsets recently. There are all sorts of things that have been wondrously checked off my lists (checking things off lists just thrills me to pieces, in case you don’t know. If I do something noteworthy that wasn’t on my list, I will actually write it down just to get the satisfaction of immediately crossing it off! Silly, I know, but oh the wonderful feeling! :) ).

    Soo, when I was talking with my friend, Shelly, a few weeks ago, and she was telling me about potty-training her then-20-month-old, I was inspired.  I had been thinking that it would be nice to have Zoe’ trained before the baby comes, it would be one less thing to try to change later on, but I hadn’t attempted it yet. The talk with Shelly was all I needed. :)

    When Zoe’ awoke from her nap that afternoon, I excitedly told her that from now on we are going to wear panties!!  I explained to her that we do not want to make the panties wet, no no, we certainly do not! They are sooo prettttyy and we want to keep them nice and dry! So she needs to tell mommy when she has to go potty.

    She looked at me with her gorgeous blue eyes and seemed to understand all that I was saying. I was tickled pink. It seemed as if she was already trained, such a smart little girl I have. She already understood!

    Two soaked pairs of underwear and two wet spots on the carpet later, and no successful potty stops, I decided to call it a day. Hey, there’s always tomorrow, you know?!

    Well, “tomorrow” came the following week. Or was it the next? One of those weeks when I was just at home for most of the time. And wow, I found that my days were suddenly soooo long and sooo short at the same time! Setting the timer every 15 minutes for the first day made it seem like we had an eternal timer beeping. Spending my entire day at the toilet, is all I can remember. You just can’t get much done in little minute segments! The following day was a little better, 30 minute intervals, which gave us both a little more, um, space?!

    She did very well with it, considering that her mama suddenly started making her pee in the pot all the time, without much warning. We pulled all kinds of tricks out of our bag, since the every-few-minute segments seemed to bore her to death. We saaaaaang sooooooongs, we read booooooooks, we giggled and ticked and laughed, we said flashcard verses, we cheeeeeered and claaaaaapped and shouted “HURRAY!!!!” when the right thing was deposited in the right place. Oh yes, we were very dramatic, we were. That seemed to help things a lot.

    And now, several weeks later, our little girl is potty-trained. Well, if you take out the nap-times and night-times. We still wear more securely waterproof things on her then. But she has been doing so well, and will come frantically running to me for every little potty break! :) So very cute, but makes her seem so grown up already…

    Hopefully all the training sessions won’t have been in vain when the baby arrives. :) I’m holding my breath a bit on that one! But for now, we enjoy dry undies, less money spent on pampers, and a happy little family… :)



  • Easter and Treasures


    A little late on the update, but it’s been a busy week preparing for the 1st annual School Yard Sale/Pancake Breakfast fundraiser…

    Also been a busy week of potty training. I had to launder little undies this morning, because all 9 were used up in 3 days. So, right now there is a colorful, fluttering display on the clothesline. Quite darling, I must say! But not so darling when they get thrown in the washbasket one right after the other… Maybe I’m tackling this too soon?? But I’m on my “nesting instinct” rampage so – watch out, potty-trainable child! :)


    We spent Easter Sunday lunch with Ben’s family  and Daniel & Anita – a lovely day, a  yummy picnicky-type lunch of grilled burgers with all the trimmings, baked beans, potato salad, and fresh strawberry pie for dessert!

    Before lunch I asked Ben’s sister, Laurie, to take a few pictures of our little family. It seems that I am the one behind the camera 99% of the time, and Ben and I rarely get pictures taken *together*! Even the whole weekend we were in Charleston a few weeks ago, we had not one family picture! So Laurie kindly obliged and did a lovely lovely job!

    Some of these are very similar but I couldn’t decide between them, so hence the many picture post! [p.niss - don't say you weren't warned. :) )]

    Our little Easter family… Zoe’ was much too excited and distracted with her little friend, Blake, being nearby that she didn’t want to pose or look at the camera.


    this pose got a little uncomfortable with the little baby under my ribs… !!


    it was a windy day - as you can tell by my daughter’s dandelion-seed hair!! :)


    love this next picture of Zoe – complete childhood bliss!


    another one of Zoe… the little tiara she’s wearing is the same thing I wore on our wedding day – a string of rhinestones. she looked like a little fairy in her creamy dress with a sparkling headband!


    my dear husband and me!



    a few maternity shots. 36 weeks – already!! this pregnancy has gone by so so fast… there have been many times that I’ve had to re-count where I’m at with my weeks, and many times I’ve been 2-3 weeks ahead of where I thought I was!


    With nearing the end of my pregnancy, I’ve been so blessed with some verses from Scripture…

    One that I loved when I was pregnant with Zoe, that I’ve kept coming back to with this pregnancy, from Isaiah… “[The Lord] will gently lead those who are with young…” Such a precious, tender promise! In those days when I feel overwhelmed and exhausted, the Lord is a gentle God I can run to… This pregnancy has flown so fast, and I’ve been so busy with a precious, busybody toddler, that I do not feel emotionally prepared for this baby. I’ve been praying that God would do that, prepare my heart and our little family, for the arrival of a new member.

    Some days I feel a bit of stress with the upcoming arrival of this baby. I know it will mean staying at home more days than I do now, not being able to go as much. But that doesn’t look at big to me as does the question of how can I love another child like I do Zoe’? I have been blown away by the amount of love that I have known for Zoe’, didn’t know it was possible for a mother to love her child so fiercely! And now I wonder how I can love two children! I have heard from other parents that the love is there for the second child, and the third, and the fourth, and however many enter the family! And I believe that must be the case, but it just feels like my heart isn’t big enough for this!

    But I can rest in the promise that God will gently lead me. He who knows all things and is in complete control will also be with us through this transition…

    The other is one I don’t ever remember reading before, but that jumped out at me from Psalm 17:14b…

    “You [God] fill their womb with treasure…”

    Wow, I needed that beautiful reminder. In these last days, when I feel large and uncomfortable, having trouble sleeping well at night, I need to remember – I am carrying a treasure! One that is worth every bit of discomfort, every sleepless hour, or anything I feel like I’m just enduring right now…

    I remember when I was pregnant with Zoe’, a friend of my mother’s told me when she was pregnant she always thought of herself as a treasure chest! That was such a beautiful mental picture for me, that despite my distended stomach and me wondering how much bigger can I get??? that there is a beautiful treasure and reward that is coming…

    So, here’s cheers to the treasure chest! :) And not only mine, but all you other expectant mothers out there!



    and some of Zoe with the Baby Bump… I think she may be finally understanding, maybe just a little bit, that a baby is coming. She likes to lift up her shirt and point to her “bebe”! Even daddy has a “bebe” according to Zoe! :) Oh, and she loves to wear a bandaid across her belly button – just like mommy!

    Giving some love to the Baby…


    with my baby, who will not be my baby much longer!


    And I just had to throw this one in here - Blake and Zoe’ were having so much fun together that afternoon! This little wagon was such a great entertainer, they played together for the longest time! Even after they’d fall over the side, they’d climb right back in and keep playing!


    a lovely weekend to you all!


  • Weekend Getaway


    Today is the 2nd sunshiney day, after  3 rainy days in a row. We’ve had so much rain I was beginning to feel like I lived on an island. A very small island Entirely Surrounded By Water. Beach-front property. Lake-side retreat. Whatever you care to call it. I was told we received 5-6 inches of rain on Saturday, and it has rained a total of 15-20 inches in the past week, so my husband tells me. Reminds me of my childhood and growing up in rainy season in Belize. I love it! But today the sunshine is back and that is wonderful as well!

     Our yard literally had inches of water standing in it, and our poor chickens were perched on anything above ground they could find. Had we known everything, Ben would not have advertised the chickens in the paper this week – people are not going to find them very appealing when they’re very drenched and have mud hanging onto their feet…


    Catching up on pictures from the past week…

    I returned home from Florida on Monday evening. Was home for a busy 3 days, then went off for the weekend again – this time with Ben! We had thought we would do an early anniversary event [our anniversary is in June] due to the Baby arriving in May. This way I wouldn’t be too large and uncomfortable getting out and about, rather than wait several more weeks or until Baby arrives. But because I only returned on Monday, Ben had not spent much time with or seen much of Zoe’ and hated to leave her behind, so we ended up having a little family getaway rather than a “honeymoon!”  That was okay. We had a lovely time.

    At least most of us did. We stayed in an absolutely gorgeous hotel,  with all hardwood floors. And since Zoe’ doesn’t walk anywhere, only runs, she had so many tumbles and head-crackers we were all getting rather concerned for her safety. Especially when she hit her head on the corner on a stool and got a huge egg on her forehead. Thankfully it didn’t split open, something I was afraid of that would leave a permanent scar, but she reminded us of her “otchie!” many times over the next few days.


    there were gorgeous old brick walls on two sides of the room



    Ben and I had been in Charleston 2 years ago – and I was about 6 weeks from my due date with Zoe’! So this was kind of a daja vu, I again was 6 weeks from my due date. So in two year from now…. :) ))

    We took the stroller instead of bikes this time, and walked around for hours. Zoe’ did really well, I guess there was enough of action and people and horses with carriages that kept her enthralled… She loved this candy shop with oodles of barrels of candy and display of gelato…



    we had to keep a close eye on Zoe’ in this store… she would have pocketed/eaten half of the candy had we turned our backs for five minutes! :)






    We both love looking at old houses and architecture. I am slightly amused by it, because Ben declares himself a country boy at heart, while I adore cities. Looking back at our first year of marriage, I am amazed that we lived right in the middle of a city because of Ben’s love for the country and wide open spaces. But we both loved our year there and often talk of it with very fond memories, Ben included! One of our favorite “dates” to do there was walk around the old historic part of the city and just look and admire it all. A very cost efficient date, to be sure! :)

    the old city food market, now a tourist trap attraction


    just some of the old architecture and iron works around the city…







    ‘south of broad’ is a term used to say ‘the really rich people in charleston!”




    I forget what kind of trees these were –  sycamore maybe – but I loved the surprise of the rather contemporary look in the midst of the old city…




    So going to Charleston was a great getaway for us. A few days before going we tried to decide if we really wanted to go, because sometimes it seems more relaxing to just stay at home than pack up and leave, especially with a baby. BUT we both knew that if we’d stay home we’d end up working on some project around the house or yard, and even though we’d be at home, we wouldn’t just spend time together. Also, going away like that makes memories. We probably would not remember the weekend several years down the road had it just been “normal.” And while I do like normal at times too, it was time for some memories to be made again! :)



    this house and old oak tree look like they came from Gone With the Wind or something!



    there were so many gorgeous old houses and gorgeous flower gardens and gorgeous place everywhere I could not take it all in!





    We did a little impromptu photo shoot of Zoe’ while we were there. I’ve been wanting to take her 18-month pictures for about 2 months, but at her age taking them by myself is next to impossible. Her daddy was a wonderful distraction to her and I’m sure we made an amusing scene – daddy jumping up and down and waving arms and yelling calling her name repeatedly as she raced from one side of the stairs to the other, mama frantically snapping pictures as fast as the camera would take them.

    And sad to say, not as many turned out as I expected, even with the multitudes of pictures. I thanked Ben for helping me as we walked away, and he only raised his eyebrows and said, “Yeah…we only shot 500 pictures [definitely an exaggeration!]” as if to say, “I’m so glad I’m not involved in a photo shoot every day!!” :) I do get a little camera-happy, I’ll admit. “But hey,” I reminded him, “We save sooo much money by taking our own pictures!” That was a very happy thought for him indeed, and he seemed not to mind the photo shoot nearly as much as before.







    we spent hours walking around, and zoe’ did so well! when she got tired we just gave her her precious bunny and pacifier and she would go to sleep in her stroller!


    and some special daddy/mommy/baby time…






    have a lovely weekend!



  • Four Generational Trip to Florida


    A little over a month ago, my mother called me with a proposal. What if she would fly to Jacksonville, FL, and I would pick her up from there, then we would travel together to Sarasota for a week with my grandmother [her mother]? I thought it was a wonderful idea, since I had wanted to spend some time with Grandma but didn’t know how I would be able to drive down by myself with a little toddler, Ben not being able to take off of work for an extended amount of time. So Ben and I talked about it, and decided that it was a great plan!

    I left rather in a whirlwind, on a Monday morning after having a good weekend with overnight guests for several nights, drove to Jacksonville, and from there to our final destination.

    This was such a special week for all of us – four women! I suppose Zoe’ counts in the ‘women’ category! But especially special since I no longer live in the same area as my mother and grandmother. My mother is the firstborn of her family, I am the firstborn of mine, and Zoe’ is the firstborn of our little family. Zoe’ is also the first great-grandchild on my side of the family, and I was thrilled that Zoe’ would be able to spend some time with both Nana and Grandma Susan.

    At Millie’s Cafe, one of the best breakfast joints in all of Florida – at least in my opinion!


    I feel like I’ve gotten to know my grandmother as a friend only in the past few years. My grandfather and I were always so close, and then when he passed away several years ago, I realized I wanted to learn to know my grandmother in the same way as well. She is a dear, soft-spoken woman, although she can be a firecracker at times you least expect it! :) She has been amazed at how pregnant women are on the go so much these days. In her generation, expectant mothers spent 6 weeks at home before the due date, and 6 weeks at home afterwards! I remember when we were living in PA for a few months around the time of Zoe’s birth, and I actually happened to be at my mother’s house when my contractions began. Grandma walked in and I was talking to her when I suddenly had a strong contraction. I was bent over, trying to relax through it (and I was just about to head to the birthing center, for those who care!), and Grandma was in sheer amazement that I was *there* at my mom’s house and *not* at the hospital! I explained to her that I *was* going to leave directly, with someone else driving me, but she just shook her head and walked off, declaring to her, “It’s just a different generation!” And though I was in the middle of a contraction, I just burst out laughing at her chagrin!


    I was excited to be spending time with both of them, and was just as excited that Zoe’ was going to learn to know both of them much better. At her little age, she has remembered them for some time when I speak of them, but I think they were more faces to her than actual people. So a full week spent with them was wonderful! She fell in love with both of them, and would ask for Nana in a croaky morning voice as soon as she woke up! So precious!

    It was a simply perfect week to be in Florida. The weather was warm, but not hot. So we spent a few days at the beach, enjoying the beauty of it all. After two days at the beach, Zoe’ started asking to go! “Beach? Beach?” she’d say. She was a little daredevil, had no fear of the water or waves or anything. When she’d go out too far and the waves knocked her down, she’d come up sputtering but giggling, and go in again. I had to keep a close eye on her.

    I found this absolutely darling little swimsuit at Target… Love how it looks like a little dress!





    And crocs… I was never a big fan of crocs, but when springtime came this year, and Zoe’ was getting her shoes so dirty outside, I was delighted when I found this little pair. They are simply wonderful outside! When they get dirty, all I have to do is hose them down and they’re ready to go for the next time out. And since we’ve seen how great they are, both Ben and I now have a pair! But only for gardening. I still declare I will not be seen in town in crocs!


    Bare feet bliss…



    We spent several evenings at the park as well. Or perhaps I should say, my mom and Zoe’ went to the park several evenings. Mom would tell me to stay and rest my pregnant body while she played with Zoe’. That won Zoe’s heart like nothing else!

    There are few things that make this little girl as happy as a playground! Giggles abound here!


    The underducks are her favorite, and she giggles until she almost can’t laugh anymore!


    My mother, fearing for Zoe’s safety, as she climbed to the top and slid down the curly slide on her own initiative, thinking it was hilarious that Nana was so concerned about her.


    We ate most of our meals in Grandma’s home, so simple but so delicious!

    Salad with Italian Chicken Strips


    Grandma’s newly-remodeled living room, with a gorgeous oil painting by my uncle Freiman Stoltzfus!


    Some parting shots… It really is hard to know how to pose gracefully when you’re very pregnant…

    The Four Generations, which my mom and grandmother proudly told anyone that cared to know! :)


    Nana and Zoe’… Zoe’ cried for literally about an hour after we said goodbye at the airport!


    Dear Grandma Susan! A wonderful hostess for our week’s stay!


    Me and my darling girlie


    And on the way back to Jacksonville, we stopped and got Zoe’ what I think is her first ice cream cone! She’s had ice cream before, but not a cone to eat as she pleases. What a happy little child she was!


    Of course I had to stop and help her out a bit, which was really just an excuse to have some myself!