Sunday, March 28, 2010

Johnston Family Easter

We had a lot of fun at the big Johnston family Easter dinner at my cousins Angela and Andy's house.  There was lots of great food and TONS of Easter eggs!  The damp weather threw a little bit of a damper on the little kids' hunt, but they were more than happy to hunt in Angela's basement.  We got a break in the rain to give the "big kids" time to hunt outside.  We had a great time!  Here are some pictures of the big event.

My Big Egg Helper

Oh my gosh, can I even describe how much this picture means to me?
No, I don't think I can.

You see, these pictures are of Katie Anne helping out big time.  She stuffed 30 of the 36 Easter eggs we were taking to Easter at my cousins Angela and Andy's house for our big family celebration today.  We all three laid down after lunch to take naps before the big event (Saunders and I actually took a nap, while Katie Anne just "played quietly in here" for 1.5 hours, according to her), and we were a little pushed to make it to the Easter party by 4:00 after our alarm went off at 1:00.

So, while I put on my makeup and fixed my hair and Saunders took his shower, our precious little person did one big job for us - putting candy inside almost all the eggs.  (I showed her how to do 2 of them to start, and she said her fingers got tired after 30 eggs - I believe it - so I finished up the last 4.)
It was such a huge help because it let me check one thing off my pre-party to-do list: 
get my myself ready-check 
get KA ready-check
make 24 deviled eggs-check
make lemonade-check
bake 24 oatmeal and 24 peanut butter cookies- check
stuff 36 eggs-CHECK!  
I had so much to do in the 2.5 hours I had before we needed to leave, and Katie Anne's being such a big helper saved me probably fifteen or twenty minutes.  Plus, she was so focused on her work and so pleasant about doing it that it added a little lift to the hustled mood as well.
The no-nap afternoon came back to bite her a little bit, and she threw a fit when we told her we had to leave (she literally threw her shoe in Angela's basement... "Who throws a shoe?  I mean, honestly?" - Austin Powers).  She was so exhausted that she cried herself to sleep in the car on the drive home, and she hasn't done that in a LONG time.  However, after all this quality work on Easter prep and her whistle-while-you-work attitude earlier in the afternoon...
I was willing to cut my big egg helper a little slack.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Egg Drop!

This morning, we headed over to Dellinger Park for the big Egg Drop.  It is a giant egg hunt - they were expecting about 8,000 kids - and the eggs are dropped out of a helicopter.  In addition to the hunts (there are 8 separate times/ages), there are bouncy houses, giant slides, food vendors, etc.  Katie Anne has been looking forward to this for the last week or so, and she was SO excited this morning!  Unfortunately, Saunders had to work and miss it, but Gigi and Granddad were able to go with us, and we had a big fun time!
The hunt is divided up by age, so Katie Anne hunted with kids 4 and under.  We were one of the first ones onto the baseball field, so she had a great place to start the hunt.  It was a long wait - both in line and once we got on the field - but Katie Anne didn't mind because was so excited!  She was very patient during all the waiting, and she did NOT like the little kids that kept darting out and trying to grab eggs before the hunt started.  Here's her face as she told me, "Mommy, those kids are NOT staying with their mommies."
I think she was worried that they'd get all the eggs, but the church who sponsors the event - Oak Leaf Church - had a little security force standing along the edge of the grass, and they made the kids get back in line and put all the snagged eggs back.  So, Katie Anne was very pleased with that!  
Finally, they did the big countdown, and Katie Anne dashed off into the distance.  We'd discussed a little strategy that she'd run as far as she could and not grab the early eggs so she wouldn't get trampled, and that's just what she did.  She dashed way out into the field and made quick work of the eggs on the ground, picking up 13 eggs.  Then, she stopped and said, "I think that's enough.  Let's leave some eggs for the other kids."  I was so proud of her!
 It actually turned out to be a great strategy.  See, the eggs she was hunting ... they were actually empty.  (She knew that, by the way.)  The way the hunt works is that the kids just hunt for fun, then everyone trades in their empty eggs for one big scoop of candy at the candy tent.  So, Katie Anne's generosity in leaving some eggs for the smaller kids actually bought us a sweet place in the candy line since most kids were still hunting.  She had no problem dumping all her freshly gathered eggs into the bag - I'd kind of worried that she wouldn't want to give them up, but she marched right up and dumped her eggs in.
She was so excited to get her big scoop of candy!  She had such a great time!
After a few minutes hopping around in the bouncy house, we headed to Zaxby's for a big lunch.  Now, our expert egg hunter is sound asleep - that was a big morning for a little person!  
Here is a slideshow of a bunch more super-cute pictures from today.

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Birthday Party Prep Begins...

And of course, what's a party without a proper outfit?
Can you guess the theme of her birthday party?


My parents got Katie Anne a subscription to that childhood classic - Highlights Magazine!  This is actually a subscription for the early childhood version of Highlights called High Five - it's a magazine made just for preschoolers.  We just received our first two issues, and Katie Anne absolutely loves them.  We enjoyed reading through the magazines together in the evenings earlier this week - the magazine has short stories, puzzles, rhymes and fingerplays - and Katie's Anne's favorite part - a little game to do!  We love "Turtle's Birthday Party" and have played it several times.  The game calls for it to be played a little like Go Fish - you're trying to match an animal with the three things he/she needs for the birthday party (a candle, a gift, and a party hat).  Instead, we modified it a little bit and just used it as a sorting game, and it was a lot of fun!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Celebrating the First Day of Spring!

Today, Katie Anne and I had a total fun morning together.  We wanted to kick the start of spring off right!
We started with almost two hours of playing and swinging at the playground...
Then, Katie Anne got to pick our restaurant for lunch - Chic-fil-A!  It was packed, but we snagged a table and chatted over our nuggets.  She got her own little ice cream cone and loved it!
Sooo tasty!  An ice cream cone is the perfect treat in this great weather.
Katie Anne was being such a big girl that I even let her finish her ice cream cone in the car - a first!
That's some major momma trust right there...
She did great - no spills!
We are so ready for springtime!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Bounce 'N Beans

Tonight, we went to Bounce 'N Beans for an event hosted by The Bridge.  Saunders is friends with the pastor Eric Lee, and he invited us to bring Katie Anne to their kids' night out.
I was a little nervous about going to Bounce 'N Beans with Katie Anne at almost halfway through my pregnancy.  The last time we went (which was last summer), Katie Anne needed help on every single slide.  She loved it, but she couldn't climb up any of the ladders to go down the slides by herself, so I had to climb behind her and help/carry/shove her up to the top.  So, I warned Saunders that he was going to have to be the helper this time because there was no way I was getting in a bouncy house.
Well, what a difference half a year makes!  Katie Anne needed no help in any bouncy house.  No help at all.  She ran around the whole place like a big kid, climbing ladders, shooting down slides, bouncing hard, flipping around, and just having a ball!  My poor camera was no match for her speed, so I didn't get any great pictures of her, but I thought the one I posted of her flying down the giant slide just showed how fast she was going and what an awesome time she had!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Finding her final treat from Lucky the Leopard-con
All ready for school!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Pregnancy Dreams

One thing I distinctly remember from being pregnant with Katie Anne is the vivid, crazy dreams that I had.  This pregnancy has been no different: every time I wake up (which is often... sigh), I wake up in the middle of some crazy dream that seems so real that it's hard to realize I'm still in my room!  Last night, I had four crazy dreams that all seem related to the new baby.  If my grandmother Nana were still alive, I'm sure she'd know exactly what each of these dreams mean because she loved to try to tell you what your dreams meant.  But, since she isn't, I thought I'd blog about them and see what you all think they're all about - and because some of you are in them!

Dream 1: I dreamed about the baby itself for the first time.  (It was a healthy baby boy, by the way.)  When I was in the hospital, Saunders and my mom told me to go on home with the baby and they would pack up everything and bring it home.  Well, a few days after we got home, I asked Saunders how much the baby weighed when he was born.  He said, "Um, I don't remember."  I asked my mom, and she didn't remember either - so I asked for the card off the basinette from the hospital.  Turns out, they'd forgotten it... along with everything else from the hospital!  They left everything in the hospital room, including my camera!  I was FURIOUS.  I called Kennestone, but they said they'd thrown everything I'd left in the room away.  Then, I was just totally depressed.
Interpretation:  This one's pretty easy to figure out.  I greatly fear losing control.  All of the things related to the baby's birth are important to me, and I really fear losing those things, pictures, etc.  Obviously, this would never happen - my mom would rather leave her own right arm at the hospital before she'd leave my camera behind, and Saunders knows I would destroy him if he didn't bring home every little relic of the baby's birth from the hospital.  However, I'd recently got some very scary budget news about work - including that my entire maternity leave may be unpaid - and I think that I'm really worried about not being as in control of this maternity leave preparation as I was last time.  I don't even know what grade I'll be teaching next year, I don't know what day school will start, I don't know if I'll be furloughed during pre-planning, I don't know if I'll be paid during my leave... all this uncertainty is obviously making my subconscious very nervous!

Dream 2:  I dreamed Saunders and I ran a boarding house - not in our current house.  It was very big, institutional, and white.  Today, Katie Anne and I were supposed to wake up someone who was living in the basement - it was actually a guy named Chris Meadows that I graduated high school with - at a certain time.  We went in his room to tell him to get up, and he started freaking out because it was way later than when he'd told me to wake him up.  When I realized what time it actually was, I realized that I'd missed my OBGYN appointment that I'd had scheduled.  (I really do have one scheduled for today.)  I started freaking out that I'd missed it.
Interpretation:  I don't know.  Maybe a fear of not getting everything done or not taking care of my responsibilities?  Maybe I'm worried about forgetting things.

Dream 3:  I was trying to get Katie Anne to swim practice at her old teacher Mrs. Tonya's house, but I didn't have a car.  So, I put us both on my old bike and pedaled us there.  It was very cold, foggy weather.  When we arrived, Mrs. Tonya pointed out that I'd forgotten Katie Anne's swimsuit, so we had to pedal back home to get it.  When I got home, Erin Jolly was there.  She offered to drive us back to swim practice (in her old silver Civic that she sold several years ago), but she didn't have a real car seat - only Ella's infant base was in her car.  But, Erin told me that she had a life jacket that we could use as a restraint.  So, I put Katie Anne in the life jacket and wove my seat belt through it.  We decided that Erin had to drive really carefully so we didn't get into trouble.  Well, Erin ran a red light in the fog (crazily, the one right beside my school), and we got pulled over by the police in the parking lot of my school.  The police officer was not impressed with the improvised life jacket car seat, and I got arrested.  Sitting on the curb in the parking lot waiting with Erin and Katie Anne for the police officer to decide what to do was SO real.
Interpretation:  I don't know.  This was weird!  Obviously, forgetting stuff was a theme again.

Dream 4:  I was trying to get Katie Anne - who was her current self - ready for school, but all the clothes in her closet were her old baby clothes.  All of them were 6-12 months clothes.  I kept trying to put on those little onesie/dress front things I loved to dress her in when she was little.  Of course, they didn't fit - I knew they wouldn't, but I kept trying them anyway.  Katie Anne kept saying, "Mommy, this is too little!  I'm too big for this!" and I kept telling her, "I know, but I don't have anything else for you to wear!"
Interpretation:  I don't know.   Trying to keep KA from growing up by putting her in baby clothes?  Afraid the baby stuff will take over and I won't have anything for KA?

What do you think about all these crazy dreams!?  And, I better get off the computer and go... so I won't be late for that OBGYN appointment since I'm obviously worried about it!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Spring Cleaning ... and New Year's Resolution Check -In

Okay, since the year is already pushing into month #3, I thought I'd give a check-in on my progress on the New Year's Resolutions I made at the beginning of the year.  So far, I'm doing really well on these resolutions:
1. Playing more games with Katie Anne.  We play a lot Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders, and Spill the Beans.  She's getting really good at Chutes and Ladders and Candyland, but the balancing of Spill the Beans still eludes her a little.
4. Brushing the dog's teeth.  I haven't done it every week, but I've done it a lot.  Abby does really well with it and takes it like a champ... Ginger tries to clamp her little mouth together and not let me open it, but I crack it open anyway.  They both like getting the breath spray in their mouth!
5. Planning meals ahead of time.  I have been doing better planning ahead and buying all the supplies for our meals ahead of schedule.
6. Read more books for pleasure.  So far, I've read about 5 books for fun this year!
7. Sewing. I've made Katie Anne a little outfit out of kite fabric... all I've got left is the ruffles on the pants.
8. Taking my prenatal vitamins every night.  Now everyone knows why this resolution was an important one, right?!?  :)
9. Wrinkle prevention.  I've kept up with my little scrub, exfoliate, moisturize routine every morning and night.

Today, Saunders and I got a big jump on my number 10 goal of cleaning out the deep, dark recesses of the house.  Today, we tackled what was actually the February project- reorganizing the kitchen cabinets and laundry room storage.  I didn't get it done in February because the first trimester of this pregnancy actually kicked my butt, but we got motivated and did it today!  (*Actually, we were kind of forcibly motivated.  Last night, we heard a big crashing noise in the kitchen.  We couldn't find out what it was, and we thought Ginger must've jumped into the window.  However, this morning when we opened a cabinet, we realized that the shelf bracket had broken under that shelf that was storing all the glass baking dishes, and we were lucky that they hadn't broken!)

It took about four hours - yuck - but we got it done, and it looks SO much better.  We are both very happy that this big chore is done!   Even Katie Anne got in on the cleaning action and cleaned in her little kitchen:
(No pictures of us cleaning because we were also still in our pajamas, and we're not as cute as her.)

We got rid of a lot of stuff - mostly our big mismatched collection of Gladware containers - and have a big stack of stuff to donate.  We've got room to grow, which is always good when reorganizing.  I'm going to buy a new set of storage containers, so we've got lots of room for that.  We've got lots of room for the bottles and stuff that we'll need for the new baby, too.

You can see some before pictures on the New Year's Resolution post, and here are some after pictures!
 What was formerly known as the nightmare cabinet - all clean and empty!
Bowls, plates, and seldom-used bakeware on the high shelf
Cups and glasses
Katie Anne's dishes and mixing bowls
Coffee mugs and supplies
Shiny pots and pans... this is the hardest cabinet to keep organized
A bit of a catch-all ... baking things, mixing bowls, and the colander
The laundry room got a reorganized look, too.  Now, the counter is cleared off so it can serve its purpose - folding clothes!
The shelf above the counter holds some seldom-used kitchen stuff... big casserole pans, mugs that match our dishes, little ramekins, etc.
The shelves over the washer and dryer are my favorites... laundry supplies near where they're needed, dog stuff nice and neat in the red bins, and boxed kitchen stuff on the top shelf.

Hooray for a big job being FINISHED!

5 Pounds of Gummy Fun

For Valentine's Day, Saunders and Katie Anne surprised me with a giant five-pound gummy bear.  I totally and completely love gummy bears - one of my favorite candies!  Unfortunately, I had such morning sickness at the time that I was too afraid to conquer the massive gummy bear, so it's been waiting for me until I felt like I could handle it.

Well, yesterday afternoon, I thought that I was man enough to finish the drill.  So, I decided to take on the challenge!

How do you eat a five-pound gummy bear?
One bite at a time!
This is a giant gummy bear, and I was unsure how to approach it.
I decided to cut off a part of the bear's foot to start.  It seemed like that was the most humane option.
Feeling strong at the beginning of the challenge!
Making great progress on piece number one.
Ready to make the second cut, so I went with foot number two.
Whew, halfway through the second piece, I started to lose focus and stamina... tried to watch Project Runway to keep my mind off the eating challenge, but it wasn't working.  I tried telling myself, "Pack it down, Kobayashi!"  But, I was getting weak, my jaw was hurting, and I could feel myself falling down on the job...
Finally, after finishing piece #2, I just had to admit defeat and give up.  I had considered myself to be a strong entry into the field of competitive gummy bear eating, but I let myself down and actually consumed a very small amount of the bear:

I guess this is like the time I challenged my dad and Jillian to the milk chugging contest, and I got completely schooled by both of them.  I again overestimated my own pigging out abilities.  I guess I'll just have to train harder.
Saunders and Katie Anne have joined in on the challenge, and they're picking away a little bit at a time on the remainder of the feet.  Hopefully, they'll have more endurance than me!