Thursday, February 28, 2013

an overdue announcement...

It could be much worse in the overdue sense but still...

Baby Nielsen is on his/her way!  Coming August 1st (or thereabouts... I dare ya to ask me what I think about due dates!)... so that makes us 18 weeks today.

I didn't intend to make this such a prolonged announcement... and honestly, most people who see us regularly have already figured out that I'm pregnant (duh)... but we've just been... busy.  Toddlers do that to you... even with their early bedtimes and required naps.  When they're up and awake, they are moooving (and getting into everything!) and when Corbin-o finally crashes in his crib for the night, I'm catching up on everything else- or crashed on the couch (more accurate as of late!)

But so far its been an easy pregnancy.  Mr. Incredible has commented a few times that he forgets I'm pregnant (thanks!  Working hard over here!) and if I'm being honest, up until a week or so ago, there were times I would forget too (like when I licked the spoon of raw cookie dough... oops).  But there's no forgetting now, I'm afraid, as my newest parasite is busy practicing ninja kicks and back flips and getting comfortable on certain painful nerves.  But nothing too bad.  I do think we created a ninja or a gymnast or something that likes to spin but that's all kind of fun right now.

So my coffee intake has decreased dramatically... I've added a daily vitamin cocktail...

My daily number of trips to the bathroom has exponentially multiplied (though not all night...yet), and Nora has morphed into my 'super companion,' refusing to sleep anywhere but right next to my side of the bed at night and following me around all day.

Nora's nightly crash after Corbin goes to bed...
When I came home from my first prenatal appointment, I stuck the ultrasound pic on the fridge (the one that looks like an inkblot test... not the cute ultrasound pic where you can actually see the baby's head and oh I don't know arms and stuff).  We started talking to Corbin about his new baby, pointing to the picture and my tummy.  He repeated "baby?" several times and when asked where the baby was, he would point to either pic or tummy.  A day later we pointed to the ultrasound pic and asked, "Corbin, who's this?"  To which he replied, "Norman."


He said Norman.  I'm pretty sure he's never heard the name Norman before but whatever string of sounds he put together came out exactly like Norman.  Mr. Incredible and I both heard it and our jaws hit the floor.  If you recall, Corbin also named our reindeer, 'Ralph' so this isn't that far off base for him.

I should note, we will NOT be naming the baby Norman.  Norman Nielsen?  Oi!  And it could be a girl!  Norma?  Sorry Corbin but I don't think so!  But for now, we're ok with calling him/her Norman.

Also by the way, we will end the "him-slash-her" debate next week!  Like last time, we'll find out the gender as soon as possible so we can begin the excruciating (for us) task of picking a name.  It would be nice this time around to just 'pick a name.'  But I'm not so optimistic :(  Many a marital spat was born over my list of baby names and Mr. Incredible's absolute veto power (arghh).

So that's the news.  Feel free to start your name submissions or gender guesses... we can use all the help we can get in the name department and I love a good poll/vote!

And thanks for reading this self-gratuitous dribble that I call a blog!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

At Home: Gardening

Family Adventures: The World Famous San Diego Zoo

Did you know that's the official title?  "The World Famous San Diego Zoo."  According to our GPS at least...

We went on a family adventure to the zoo this weekend.  It was beautiful San Diego weather and despite being kinda crowded, we all had a fun time.  This was Corbin's first time really recognizing and interacting with the animals so that made it even better.

First stop was through all the monkey enclosures.  Corbin 'ooh oohed' along with them all!

You can't tell they're related- can you?

We also visited the Children's Zoo and let Corbin run wild with the most exotic of creatures:

Corbin calls them 'Dotes.'

It took him a little while to warm up to the 'Dotes' but once he did, he tried feeding them 'dit' (translate: dirt) and was quite happy with himself.

(btw- Dotes don't eat dit)

I should pause and take a minute to point out the most perfect article of clothing that could ever possibly be created for my son.

That's a grey fedora with CARS on it.  He loooooves his new hat and is very particular about when it can be taken on and off. (off in the car, on in the stroller and when he's playing...etc, etc)

We visited a few other animals, had lunch on the corner of the zoo where the tour buses drive by, and then headed home for a nice long afternoon nap (yay!).

This was Corbin-o-s preferred mode of transportation while at the zoo:

More zoo trips in our future for sure!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

No Stress Toddler Valentine's Day Party

I threw a fun Valentine's party for Corbin-o's playgroup.  I've finally learned that parties for a bunch of 1 year olds requires simplicity!  Simple decorations (because really only the mom's care about that), simple foods that little ones and grown ups will like, and simple activities with really low expectations set for them.  Here's what we did:

Simple decorations- heart-shaped doilies and paint chips in reds and pinks stapled into a banner...

My little helper checking out the food ahead of time...

All manner of heart-shaped food: pb&j, strawberries, crackers and dip...

My biggest project and favorite part: a baby/toddler-sized table that I made... with chalkboard paint for the top!  I decorated beforehand with a v-day inspired chalk drawing.

I didn't anticipate that the kiddos would all climb on a table that was their size... but it didn't break and everyone was having fun so we went with it. (remember what I said about low expectations?!)

Personalized Valentine mailboxes (dollar section from Target) with chalkboard hearts (use latex paint to prime if you paint chalkboard paint on anything metal)....

A simple painting craft- abstract toddler art ;)

And a photo shoot set up in the corner...

Required group shot that Corbin always ruins...

And that was our no-stress Toddler Valentine's Day Party!

Monday, February 11, 2013

chasing afternoon sunshine- photo tips

After a rainy weekend, we enjoyed some time out in the backyard before sunset.  Corbin-o was just happy to be outside and played along with an impromptu photo shoot while I took advantage of the 'golden hour' for photographers.  

All these photos were taken in about 30 minutes in the same location.  By changing our position, we were able to use the natural sunlight to change the look of the photos.  Here's what we did:

These few shots were taken in full shade.  We have a 6 foot tall fence that filters sunlight quite nicely in the late afternoon.  Corbin's face is pretty evenly lit but we used the natural shadow from the tree to shade the left side.

This one was in full sun.  Corbin sat on top of our picnic table and the sun lit up his whole face/body.  I shot from down low to get a better background and to get different expressions from Corbin.  I've noticed that when I'm shooting little kids, they will interact with me (and take better photographs) if I'm willing to lay on the grass, stoop down, climb up over them, etc.  Not only does it compose the photos in an interesting way, it usually gives me great natural expressions and smiles.

Next we sat on the bench with bright sun light coming straight from the west.  It was a little later in the day so the sun was getting close to setting.  Still bright enough for great light but not the harsh light you get at midday. 

By turning his face, we were able to get that backlit 'glow' in his wispy baby hair.  We could have actually accomplished this a little better had we turned his back to the sun a little more (and if we had a slightly more willing model- hehe).

That was about all Corbin-o could handle cooperation-wise. So we had a swing time with Dada (or Da-Dee as Corbin has started calling him).  

High five!