Monday, December 10, 2012

White flag

We've raised the white flag on potty training....for now.

Natali was frustrated as were we. Gonna hold off and try again in a few weeks. She knows when she needs to go #2...but not #1.

I still can't get over how fast her speech is developing. Everyday she says new and longer sentences.  Two years ago this month she wasn't even crawling. Now she walking, conversing, climbing, making longer a baby. I still hold her like a baby sometimes....but it's getting awkward.

Speaking of time going by, this will be our last December in our current house. The Byrds are flying south.....about 3 miles south.

We are moving into a new house in the new Viridian community in north Arlington. We are going from 1960 square feet to 2700 square feet. New house will be 3 bedrooms plus a game room, study and a media room. Should be interesting. Should move in next May....which by then.....Natali better be potty trained.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Conversations with my daughter

Natali is chugging along great.

We've started potty training again. It's going decently. Her day care teacher thinks we will have her trained by the end of the year.

In preparation we picked up the carpet in the living room to avoid any stains and bought a 10 pack of toddler underwear.

We're in it for the long haul. We used the "Potty Boot Camp" book.

She let's us know when she needs to go while wearing a diaper. While wearing underwear.....not to much.

On a more positive note Natali is speaking in fairly complex sentences. When in the car she often says the following:

" Let's go home."

"I want to go home and see doggies."

"I want to go home and see mommy."

"I want to go home and see daddy."

"I want to go home and eat dinner."

"I want to go home and each lunchable."

"I want hot dogs and carrots for lunch."

Not bad for barely a 2 year old.

She has other sayings. We are almost to the point of having real conversations with Natali.

Beyond that she has adjusted well to her new bed. She hasn't fallen out once and really enjoys having steps.

With the new bed came a new camera. The old camera was wired. Worked fine for a crib. Not for the bed. The new one is wireless. I bought a Foscam 8910W from Amazon. Great Infrared performance. Easy to watch via an app on our Ipads.


Finally we stopped by the Dallas Zoo today. It was a bit cold. I forgot to bring her jacket so I had to dress her in two shirts. She had a great time with the goats....she hugged a particular white goat several times.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Big Girl Bed...part duex

So tonight is Natali's first night in her real big girl bed.

Previously we converted her crib into a mini big girl bed.

In that bed she did pretty good. She rarely got out...even during naps.

In her real big girl bed....well she has to get used to it.

During her attempted nap she balanced on the railing. As you can's a very high railing. Nap cancelled.

Now it's night...she's walking around a bit. Looking out the window she could never look out before a bit. Not sleeping.

Hoping the night goes well.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Getting older....but regressing

Natali is getting older. Yeah I know it's part of life.

A few months ago she was apparently the "prime time" for potty training.

Natali was all into her Elmo potty training video, she was able to identify when she needed to go and she would TELL us when she needed to go.

Not any more.

Her new thing is to go number 2....and not say a word. This has resulted in diaper rashes at daycare. She came home with a pretty bad one on Friday.

I know we just need to do it. I've read "The Potty Boot Camp"


I'm waiting for Kelli to read it so we are on the same page. Pun intended.

Daycare is potty training, but since she's only part time it only helps it we do it here as well.

Still waiting on her new bed. She is doing quite well in her current bed though.

This weekend we went to The Little Gym for a birthday party for two of her daycare mates.

Natali went to The Little Gym earlier this year and it did not go well .

For the first 10 minutes she clung to our legs. Then she walked around a little...not really playing.

This time she was shy for about 3 minutes. For the rest of the time she ran around and played. She didn't play with other kids much. She tried to by mostly following the other kids and mimicking them. Progress!

During the pizza and cake part of the party they had water and juice for kids. Natali used to really like apple juice (we used Simply Juice half water and half juice). Not much lately. All she wants is milk or water. Never ask for juice to the point where we haven't purchased juice in months.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Our funny daughter

Natali has been climbing out of her crib for a while. Her new big girl bed is on order. In the mean time Kelli converted her crib to a toddler bed. Natali has adjusted well...but still climbs out...instead of GOING OUT OF THE HUGE make ya laugh!



Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Screaming rewarded with a balloon and a sucker?

Natali had her second dentist visit on Monday. Just like last time I took her instead of Kelli. I have weekdays off while Kelli works weekdays. The dentist is closed weekends. Bleh.

I prepped for the visit by letting Natali sleep in. She woke up on her own around 7:05AM instead of her normal 6:00AM.

Breakfast and Ipad. We left the house at 10AM. Appointment was for 11AM.

Stopped by an electronics store first. The store is on ground level on the east side of an elevated highway. This would come into play later.

In the same parking lot at this store is a frozen yogurt place we visit about once a month. As I pulled into the parking lot Natali said, "Ice Cream please".

I told her maybe later after the dentist.

After the electronics store we headed to the dentist.

Arrived early. Natali went into shy mode.

Dentist saw us early. I had Natali in my lap. The dentist sat facing me. I then placed Natalis head in the dentist lap. Screaming ensued.

The Dentist brushed, counted then placed a flouride goo on Natalis' teeth.

Natali was screaming and squirming the entire time.

Once done she got a balloon (she LOVEs balloons!) and a sugar free lollipop.

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On the way home we had just passed the ice cream parking lot which is NOT visible from her or even my seat. Natali said ,"I want ice cream,"

"How about a Lunchable instead?" I offered.

"I want ice cream." she replied.

Fine....I exited and made a u turn.

The frozen yogurt place was closed as it was just 11:30AM.

There was another place Natali got her Ice Cream.

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Natali really is an intelligent child. I remember talking with my then 3 year old niece Haley and how we could have complete conversations  Natali is rapidly approaching this level. I know every parent thinks their child is a genius....but Natali really is pretty smart.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A 2 year old with 21K Airline Miles

It's been a while since we've posted. Busy month.

Natali has 21,000 "real" American Airlines Advantage miles. She's just 4000 miles away from Gold status. We have no more trips planned...but it would be funny for a year old to have Frequent Flier status eh?

Natali has a lot more "non rev" miles. Not sure how many.

Our most recent trip was to Frankfurt, Germany. Long flight. Almost 10 hours there....and 11 hours back. A long time on an airplane for an eternity for a 2 year old.

We are travel experts though.

Natali's previous longest flight was to Hawaii at 8 hours.

She did ok on the way to Frankfurt. A little fussy but not bad.

For the 8 days we were there we gave in on the pacifier usage. She was in a strange comforted her. The time change was rough on us but it seemed to bother her the least . Frankfurt is 7 hours ahead of Dallas.

Natali did great all week. Minimal fussiness even though we were out and about all day long. We used the stroller some places and the backpack other places where strollers didn't work. We toured castles, a cocentration camp, car museums and more.

During the night she slept in our bed most nights. At one hotel she had her own bed. We are happy to say she did VERY well.

I thought she would be a little uneasy...nope. She loved it. We will be buying her a real "big girl" bed soon.

For the flight was rough.

Natali slept the first hour or so. That was it.

About 8 hours in she turned to me and said ,"I want to go outside please." She was done being in the plane.

Her Ipad helped a bit...she walked around a bit. The last 15 minutes when the Ipad went away was rough.

She slept when we got home. The next two days were rough on her...and us....jet lag.

Before our trip I penciled in a trip to Japan next year. It's off the table now. The flight is almost 14 hours long to Tokyo. To long.

The trip to Frankfurt was likely her last flight in her car seat. Next time we will use the C.A.R.E.S harness. It's the only FAA approved child harness. The car seat will be checked.

More soon.

For now some photos from our trip.

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Swimming Lessons

Natali has been taking swimming lessons once a week for the last three months.  I take her to a place called Emler Swim School.  They have several locations throughout the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.  They are more expensive than the city lessons, but the pool is indoor, which was very important to me for several reasons.  We can do lessons year-round at an indoor facility and I don't have to worry about the weather.  Our first lesson was back in early June.  We did a free trial lesson and Natali cried the entire time.  It was pretty awful, but I signed her up anyway.  Darren came to that first lesson and he was ready to pull her out of the pool in the first 5 minutes.  He hasn't been back since.  He didn't quite understand my need to get her in lessons at such a young age, but I think it's extremely important for her to have an appreciation for water and to know how to not drown.  While we don't have a pool at home, we do travel a lot near water and 2 of my siblings have pools in their backyards.  I want Natali to be able to enjoy herself in and around the water.  So, after that first lesson I was more determined than ever that she would do those lessons.

Natali was in a class called "waterbabies" and the kids could be as young as 6 months old.  Her class was mostly kids in the 1 to 2 age range though.  The parents are all in the water with the kids and we did a lot of songs.  The goals of the class were to just get the kids comfortable in the water and to be able to start moving through the water on their own, mostly by kicking, and to be able to hold on to the wall and move along the wall and even pull themselves out of the water.  All of these things together would hopefully allow the kids to be more comfortable and not drown if they ever somehow fell in.  Theoretically Natali could move to the wall if she fell in and at least know how to grab it and hold on so she wouldn't drown.  This is something that every child should learn.  By the end of the 12 week class she was supposed to be able to hold her breath underwater for 10 seconds.  I was really skeptical about that last part.  Our first "official" class was the next week after the trial lesson.  Natali did not want to go at all and she cried for the first 5 minutes.  She finally calmed down though, I think when she figured out we weren't going to leave.  Of course she didn't really want to do anything during the lesson and she clung to me like it was a life or death situation, but I was just happy to have the crying stop.  Progress was made!

As the lessons continued each week got a little better.  Natali started to get comfortable and enjoy herself.  She really liked the songs and even started singing them throughout the week when we were just around the house.  The underwater part was difficult though.  We started off just having her jump to me without putting her head under.  Then it progressed to just putting her mouth under, and then the next week she went fully underwater for the first time for 1 second.  That really shocked her, but she did it and then kept progressing from there.  I didn't think it would happen, but by our last lesson on Friday she actually did go underwater for 10 full seconds and she came up smiling!  I was extremely proud of the progress she had made.  I have of course signed her up for the next session.  I was expecting to just put her in another session of the waterbabies class, but after a lengthy discussion with her teacher we decided we will try moving her up to super waterbabies.  I am very nervous about this transition because I will not be in the water with her anymore.  I did get the opportunity to watch a little bit of another super waterbabies class and it made me a bit more comfortable about it.  I decided to go for it.  I signed her up with the same teacher so the transition will be easier.  She has an excellent teacher so I'm glad she will get to stay with him.  Of course, if it doesn't work out in the new class we can always step back and do the first class again, but I think it will be fine.  I'm excited to see how it goes.

While I wasn't sure at the beginning of this whole thing, I am extremely happy we stuck with the lessons.  It has been a fun and valuable experience and Natali is better off for having gone through it.  I think the first week or two in her new class might be a bit rough, but we will get through that too and she should be able to do a whole lot more in the water by the end of it.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Swimming along

Natali has completed her first swim class.

Kelli and Natali have been going to swimming classes on Fridays for at least two months. Maybe more. Kelli knows more....but she's just about given up on blogging.

For the final class Natali did great. She was able to hold her breath for 10 seconds! She starts her next class next week...Advanced Water Babies.

I've accepted the fact that Natali is no longer my baby....she is a toddler.

Her speech is getting more and more advanced. Much like the two of us...Natali is hard headed.

When she wants to she will speak fairly clearly and concise. Other times she just mumbles.

As Natali gets tired she actually gets more coherent. She has counted to 14, all the ABCs, full ABC song, Happy Birthday song and more....all when really tired.

Natali is now in a preschool classroom. This means no more sippy cups at school and the start of potty training at school.


Friday, August 17, 2012

Fire Truck!

Natali got a Fire Truck from her Grandpa Byrd. She loves to play with it....and dance to the music!


Monday, August 13, 2012


I've been busy flying lately. I was home to celebrate Natali's 2nd birthday.

She KNEW it was her birthday. Natali walked around saying "It's my Birthday!" and "Birthday Cake".

We had a small party. Just us, her grandmother and our good friends Eric, Angela and Marin Bridges.

Natali got a Minnie Mouse rolling backpack from Kelli (Natali LOVES pulling it around) and a mini-trampoline (with a safety bar) from me.

I'll try to post more later...and more often.


For now.... Click on the photo for a full size...uncovered view!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Going retro

We took our first family road trip yesterday...and it was a marathon.

My dad lives down in Houston. Even since October 2007 Kelli and I have flown down to see him. Natali has always flown down to see him.

Most of the time we fly up and down the same day. We have stayed the night at least once.

Yesterday some friends of ours were having a birthday party for their 3 year old. They just moved to Houston from the Dallas area.

We discussed the benefits of driving vs flying. Complicating things was the fact that I had to work tonight. If we stayed the night in Houston it would be a very long day for me traveling and then working later.

The last flight back to Dallas on Saturday nights leaves at 6PM. The party started at 3PM. Not a lot of time to enjoy the party. Flying wasn't an option.

I gassed up the car Friday night. At 5:01 AM I picked Natali up out of bed, changed her diaper and put her straight into her car seat. We backed out of the driveway at 5:04AM.

We thought for sure she would sleep....nope.

Long 4 hour and 30 minute drive. Non-stop. My 2004 Prius average 47.8 MPG while driving 75 MPH (the speed limit on most of I-45). If I had gone 65 MPH I would have easily cleared 50 MPG.

Early lunch with my dad. Natali had a ton of built up energy after having being strapped in for almost 5 hours.

We left his house just after noon with the intention of driving around so Natali would nap. It kinda worked.

Natali napped for just over an hour.

At the birthday party Natali was her normal self....being super shy. It took her about 30 minutes to warm up to the people at the party.

Our friends hosting the party, Chris and Wendy,  are on the shorter side, thus their son is on the shorter side. Natali is a good 3-4 inches taller than the birthday boy, Liam. Another toddler there is 2 1/2 years old and is a good 5-6 inches taller than Natali. Kinda odd seeing the oldest kid in the room being the shortest.

After Natali warmed up she had a good time.

Wendy is very detail oriented and had lots of activities for the kids. In addition to having lots of toys around they all painted boxes, made their own magnetic picture frames and of course she had cupcakes in addition to birthday cake.

We left the party at 6PM. Natali watched Little Einsteins and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on her Ipad for most of the ride home. We thought she would fall asleep. Nah. Not until we turned the Ipad off did she finally doze off. We did get 49.5 MPG on the return trip. I attribute the high MPG due to less AC usage (the Prius uses an all electric air conditioning system) and more highway driving vs stop and go driving.


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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Just a few weeks away

Can you believe we are just a few weeks away from Natali being 2?

Everyday she is changing. Sometimes I want to squeeze her tight to keep her from growing up.

Her speech and use of words is rapidly expanding. She often forms 2-3 words sentences and has started to use "Thank you," and "Welcome". She mastered "Please" a long time ago.

She is still very shy in public and meeting new people. Last night we went over to a friend of mine from work. He is also a pilot and is a bit senior to me. Another family came over with a 1 year old and 6 year old (the dad was also a pilot with my airline).

Natali was VERY shy at first. After about 40 minutes she warmed up to everyone. She played with the 1 year old quite a bit (the 1 year old weighed MORE than Natali...he was a boy though). At the end of the night Natali hugged everyone goodbye. Very cute.

The baby chair she's been using since she started eating solid foods still works...but Natali doesn't want to use it.

Natali has been climbing onto regular chairs for a while. Tonight for dinner she REFUSED to sit in her baby seat and instead sat in a regular chair. Guess we need to buy a booster seat eh?


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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Thursday, July 5, 2012


Natali has become clingy lately...but only with me (Darren).

I think it's because....every few days I leave. A few days later I come back. Natali has picked up on this pattern.

She is very happy to see me when I first get home. The next day things are normal. The day after that though...she becomes aware that I might be leaving soon.

Natali will follow me room to room...even when Kelli is home. She will randomly stop whatever she is doing and hug me or sit in my lap.If I am sitting on the ground she will walkup behind me and rest her head on my shoulder. Clingy.

Yesterday I was sitting on the ground when Kelli sat next to me and hugged me. Natali did not care for that and walked up and told Kelli "Back" and tried to hug me. We all then had one group hug.

I leave on a trip tomorrow....and I know Natali is aware. Each day her clinginess has gotten worse and worse. She knows I'm leaving.

At first I felt bad about leaving so often. I then did some math.

The average middle class Dad works 5 days a week. Thus he only sees his kid after work and on weekends.

I work 3 days a week...sometimes 4 days...but rarely every more than that. Thus I see Natali 4 full days a week while the average Dad sees his kid just 2 full days a week. I win. Kinda. The average full Dad is home every night. Eh.

As far a milestones. Natali can count to 12 out loud, can make all the sounds of the ABC song thru Z. She REALLY knows the letters A,B,C,D and W by sight. Natali is a whiz on the Ipad. Still not potty trained...but she knows when she goes and what it's called. She can climb the super high bed, couch and ladders. Finally she can adjust the timing on a 1975 Ford F100 just by listening to it idle.

It's almost been two years since Natali was born. Crazy how fast time has gone by.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Another flight done

Natali racked up a few more flights this month.

We took a quick family trip to Disneyland. One of the perks of working for an travel.

This was Natali's second trip to Disneyland. Her first was when she was just 3 months old.

Natali was able to actually enjoy the rides this time. She has a "It's a Small World" app on her Ipad along with LOTS of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episodes. She was very ready for the trip.

She saw Mickey Mouse as soon as we walked into the park. Her eyes locked on him. The line was too long to see Mickey that time, but we did get a photo the next day with him.

Our first ride was indeed "It's a Small World". Natali was all glassy eyed the entire ride. Her head shifted left, right up and down during the ride taking it all in. It was a neat feeling seeing her smile with glee.

In addition to Disneyland Natali was able to play with some of her cousins. Her cousins are 6,5 and 3 so they aren't too far away from Natali's age.

The second day was spent at California Adventure. We all went to see a live action play featuring Disney Cartoons. When Natali heard the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse song she got very excited. Seeing the life size puppets of Mickey Mouse and the gang made her even happier.

Getting home was interesting. The direct flight from LAX to DFW was full. I could of course jump seat...but not Kelli and Natali. It complicated things since we checked bags. When we check at least one of us must go with the bags.

I first planned on Kelli and Natali going LAX-DEN-DFW.  I would go direct LAX-DFW and meet them at the airport. On the way to LAX (at 3:30AM!) that routing turned bad. I had Kelli find a new way. The new way was LAX-AUS-DFW. I then decided we would all go together.

Well the first flight departed an hour late which made us miss the connecting flight. Thankfully there were just enough cabin seats for them on the next AUS-DFW flight as I had to take a seat in the cockpit. There were no window seats available. This was an issue as child seats MUST not block access to an aisle...thus are normally stationed at windows. This meant Natali had to sit in a regular seat.

Kelli said it freaked Natali out a bit at first. Thankfully it was a short flight.

It's hard to believe Natali is almost two years old. In addition to another year on this earth...we will soon be forced into paying for her more often as many activities are free for 2 and under! Ha.

I've lost track of how many flights Natali has been on...pretty sure it's over 50.

Finally photos from the trip.

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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Zoos make great places to wear out kids

We have a family membership to the Dallas Zoo. Natali and I go about once a week. Free parking + Free addmission + Lots of walking = great for the both of us.

Natali knows many of the animals names. It's huge zoo so we don't always get to the whole zoo each time. If you live close to a big zoo and have a toddler I highly recommend a membership!

Natali had a first swim lesson yesterday. She has been in a big pool a few times, most notably while in Hawaii. She has a smaller pool here that she plays in often.

At the swim center she was terrified. I think it was mostly all the strange faces. Natali was THE screamer. The only screamer in the group of about 7 toddlers. Kelli was in the pool with Natali.

Natali screamed for most of the 30 minute session. There were moments of happiness...then she saw me....and screamed more. She alternated between screaming "all done! all done!" and "outside! outside!". The pool was indoors.

She will have to continue screaming as Kelli signed Natali up for weekly lessons through the end of August.

Finally a few recent photos from the zoo and her swimming lesson.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Communication meltdowns

Natali is still amazing the both of us.

She has started to use multi-word sentences such as "I see the park", "Go home get gogurt, see doggies" and, "When will Obama leave?"

That last one took Kelli off guard.

Sometimes though her desire to communicate causes a meltdown because she doesn't have to words to say what she wants. It's frustrating for her and me. She will make sounds and look at me waiting for a response. Since I have no idea what she wants I have to start guessing. She repeats her request with gibberish. Tantrum ensues.

Natali has been forward facing in the car for a while. Most of the time she is just observing the ride, listening to her Elmo CD (we all listen to the Elmo CD!) and talking.

I find it interesting just how much she observes. When heading to the park...even a mile or two away she will say, "Go Park?"

As I make the final turn she gets very excited and says, "I see it! I see the park!"

Similar things happen as we head home.

Potty training is going slowly. Kelli and I talk about taking the challenge on full steam....but then forget about it. We had a great 3 day weekend to do it. Nope.

Natali announces when she goes #1..sometimes before she does it. As far as the other she only announces AFTER she does it. She will "request"...ok she DEMANDS to go sit on the potty every now and then. Sometimes the small potty...sometimes the big potty. It's a learning process for all of us.

We are doing a pretty good job of managing her Ipad use. We find it interesting Natali only associates the word "Ipad" with her Ipad. When we take it away she has zero desire to use ours. She uses it about an hour in the morning and about an hour in the evening.

She spends about 40% of the time watching Elmo/Mickey Mouse/Yo Gabba Gabba (all locally stored on her Ipad), 20% of the time watching baby videos of herself  (also locally stored) and 40% of the time using her apps (Educational and just fun apps). She has memorized almost all of the food flash cards and a few of the animal flash cards.

Natali knows the sounds of most of the ABC song and can count to 4...sometimes 5. We sing the ABC song when we brush her teeth. One full time for the bottom set and one full time through for the top set.

Finally, this website is officially 5 years old. Five years ago this month we decided to have a kiddo. It was a very rough road. Many have had it worse, but it was worth it.  I don't want to go down that road again (Kelli still wants to) as one perfect, crazy, tantrum throwing child is enough for me.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

My turn with the potty

Natali is pretty easy. I've been around a few kids. I know we have it easy.

She loves Elmo...currently....I might hip her to something different soon.

On her Ipad (yeah our 21 month old has an Ipad....remember we are raising a geek!) she has several Elmo videos along with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse videos.

One of her favorite videos is Elmo's Potty Time.

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Kelli has more experience with potty training Natali than just happened that way.

Over the last week Natali has watched that Elmo's Potty Time at least 4 times. She knows "Pee Pee and Poo Poo". She even knows what the words mean.

This week is Father and Daughter week as I have the whole week off. It's the Daddy and Daughter game daycare this week!

Several times a day while home she has said "Pee Pee, Poo Poo , Potty" and pointed toward the restroom. Off we go, I plop her down on the her potty and she then says , "Daddy Pee Pee!" and points to the toilet. Fine...down I sit.

Up until tonight we both just sit there. Tonight AFTER her bath I was drying her off when she pointed to her potty and again said, "Daddy Pee Pee Potty". Ok I put her down...she directed me to go as well.

Natali sat there for a moment and I could tell she was trying to go. She squirmed a bit.  Sure enough out came the pee. She waited a few more moments and waved her hands "all done." Nice.

So far we've only had #1's no #2s. Not bad for a a kid basically training herself through Elmo videos. I am somewhat confident she will be trained by age 2. Small baby steps.

Also of note nap. They are slowly going away. I'm going to miss them.

Monday, April 30, 2012

I love being a dad

Being a parent means experiencing millions of tiny moments. Moments of happiness. Moments of terror. Moments of disgust. Millions of moments.

Most of the moments occur between parent and child and are rarely ever shared.

I was really unsure if I would like being a parent. I knew I was a pretty good husband. I enjoyed being a husband. But could I be a parent? Would I enjoy being a parent?  Could I be a...dare I say it... a dad?

Natali is quickly approaching 2 years old. It's crazy to think how fast time has gone by. This blog is approaching 5 years old. Those who've read this for a while know the difference in age is due to a few bumps on the road to becoming parents.

Anyways back to the moments. I enjoy them all. The happy ones just as much as the disgusting ones. Okay that's not true the happy ones are a little better.

Tonight a happy moment occurred....just between Natali and myself....but it filled me with such joy I felt the need to share it with you.

I put Natali to bed and she was restless as normal. I watched her toss and turn on the camera for about 20 minutes. I decided to go pick her up and rest in the recliner in her room. The room was dark and cool. Just the sound of the white noise machine in the background.

As she laid on my shoulder she gently patted my shoulder then rubbed it....the same way I sometimes pat her back and then rub it in a circular motion. Natali then raised her head and just looked into my eyes. After a few seconds she laid back down and patted my shoulder again. I couldn't help but smile. Another moment of happiness.

I love being a dad.


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Ipad as a learning tool

Natali REALLY likes the iPad we passed down to her. She has quickly learned how to use it for entertainment and learning. In addition to playing her Elmo and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse videos she plays a few educational games. Normally she is 5 out of 5 on getting the right animal on this game (main app is Phone 4 Kids) She did make one error this time.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Night, Night

Natali is improving her speech and social skills daily....which is a good thing.

Her latest thing is to put us to bed.

At her day care the kids are spread around the room on mats. We will be in her room playing and Natali will say "Night , Night Daddy" and wait for me to lay down. She will then place a blanket on me.

Natali will then grab her dolls and spread them around the room while carefully placing a blanket on each one and say " night night baby". I'm guessing this is how the day care employees put her to bed for nap time.

She will then go around her room moving dolls and blankets around. If I try to sit up she will point at me and say "no! no! night! night!"

Whenever she is moody...which happens more and more...she makes sure we know she can be independent.

Natali has been feeding herself for months. Every now and then we can help, but she really likes to do it herself.

More and more often Kelli and I have to leave the area while Natali eats. Natali will put up her hand and say "back! back!" instructing us to back away while she eats. Cute...but annoying.

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Over the weekend she took her 47th and 48th flight...I think that's her current number. We flew down to Houston to visit my dad.

Kelli and I find it interesting how Natali and her grandpa interact.

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Natali is very standoffish with new people. She has never been that way we her grandpa. She hasn't seen him in about 5 months but was totally at ease. Quite interesting. When Natali interacts with her Aunts (who she has spent more time with) she is always quiet and reserved at first. ...maybe it's the afro?


Thursday, April 12, 2012

First Dentist Visit

Natali had her first Dentist visit this week. It went was quick.

The dentist we went to was recommended to us by a friend for being great with kids.

Kelli filled out all of the paperwork ahead of time. Since I typically work 3 days a week I was able to take Natali without having to take time off work.

New patients are only seen after 11AM. Natali normally takes a nap around noon. Her appointment was for 11:30AM. Yeah.....about her being in a good mood.

The dentist met us in an office type room...not the normal patient setup.

We talked for a bit while Natali sat in my lap and clung to me. After a few minutes the Dentist had me place Natali's head in her lap. Natali began screaming. This helped the Dentist look at her teeth and apply fluoride.

I was told that if we want to give Natali juice (even diluted juice) we should only give it to her with meals and not let her walk around with it. Fine.

Her next visit is in 6 months.

Beyond that Natali has started using two word sentences. "Go Bye Bye" "Come Doggies," "I'm coming", "Yogurt Please", "Brush Teeth" "No Obama".  It was either "No Obama" or "No more".....pretty sure it was the former. Ha.

While watching NBC Nightly news we learned we have our car seats installed incorrectly.

We assumed we could use JUST the latch system in the seats meaning just one latch on each side of the seat. I had seen the top latch on the back of the car seat, but thought that was for a different kind of car. Nope. Sure enough on the back of our seats (We both drive Prius's) there is another LATCH anchor. Oops. Done. The story showed how far forward the car seat can move in a collision. Yeah about that reading the manual thing. I know I read the manual when we bought the seats. Eh.

I've noticed most of my friends who have had their first kid are already on their second. Just cranking them out. One friend has a kid younger than Natali and is expecting their next November 3rd. Wow.

I'm still in the "one and done" camp. Kelli is indifferent.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

She loves the camera

We went to the Fort Worth Childrens Museum Day (For Bank of America customers!). Natali is 3 days shy of 18 months old....she loves the camera!

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Friday, March 30, 2012

Her Jukebox

Every now and then Natali will dance in the kitchen to music from her magnet toy. She will dance to each little tune....they are very short so she has to hit the button over and over again. It's cute.




If on an Ipad....its not working via the is a direct link

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I miss my baby

Natali is no longer a baby....she's a full grown...toddler.

It kind of upset me the other day. I miss having a baby. Being able to hold her in my arms whenever I wanted. She resist being held like a baby now. She walks, talks and thinks for her own.

Every now and then though she plays the baby role.

Yesterday she woke up a bit early from her nap and was upset. I was a bit tired myself. I picked her up and she put her head on my shoulder. I then sat down in the recliner in her room, stretched out and we both relaxed. She half napped, I just closed my eyes. It was nice to hold her close in a quiet room.

She also plays the baby role when she sleeps. This morning I went to wake her up (it was an hour past her normal wakeup time) and she squirmed around and tried to ignore me as I rubbed her back. Seeing her curled up in a ball squirming around reminded me of how she looked just a year ago.

We are both a bit sick (Natali coughed a lot overnight, so I let her sleep a little extra as I don't think she slept well) so after the nap we went to have ice cream. I got her a small bowl for herself. She did a decent job eating without me helping. Toward the end of the bowl she got distracted by other people/kids in the shop and let the ice cream drip down on her shirt.

In a few months Natali will be two years old. That's normally when parents switch toddlers from a crib to a bed. Natali might not make it till two.

She has started to attempt to climb out. Every time we have intervened and stopped her. Don't know how many more times we will get lucky.


Each time she is simply trying to get something she dropped...normally her pacifier (she only has it too sleep) but sometimes it's her socks.

Natali is definitely a smart kiddo. She's learning the alphabet fairly well. She has about 8 letters down solid.

For a few weeks Natali has been TRYING to play the "mommy/daddy" game. When I won't let her get her way she will call, "mommy! mommy! mommy!" even if Kelli isn't home. When Kelli is home and she won't give Natali her way Natali will call, "Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!". We don't give in though and the tantrums have gotten much shorter due to our standing firm.

Oh and don't take my missing Natali being a baby as a statement that I want another kid. I'm still standing by my "one and done" motto.

Finally....Kelli and I have now been married for 7 years. Seven years. If someone told me seven years ago that I'd be an airline pilot and the father of a toddler I would have laughed at them...and gone back to my cubicle.

Amazing how time flies....and situations change.


Monday, March 19, 2012

It gets better

We have our good days...and we have our bad days.

Natali has really started expressing herself lately. Not always in a bad way. She's just being more authoritative.

For example she got used to having a coat on when we left the house. So whenever we leave she will say "coat"....and insist we put on her coat....or we aren't leaving the matter how warm it is outside.

After the coat on she says, "zipper". Yes we have to zip up the matter how warm it is.

I took her to the park on a 74 degree day last week....and she was wearing her coat.....only for a few minutes though.

This is just one example of her insisting things go her way. There are more....many...many...many more.

We aren't going to have that "bratty only child". Kelli and I both stand our ground every now and then....tantrum be damned. Natali is good at throwing a tantrum....Oscar worthy.

She will straighten her body out if we try to pick her up, fling her head back and scream. When we leave her on the ground she will roll around and cry...tears more often than not. We don't budge.

Kelli and I bought new Ipads. Kelli gave her old Ipad to Natali. I bought a pink and white Otterbox case for it. Otterbox cases are heavy duty cases that can withstand being dropped, kicked....toddler'd.

Natali was already really good at using the Ipad. Now she is really good. I put her favorite video on the Ipad titled, "Elmo's Word - Babies, Dogs and More". Kelli and I have watched this video at least 10 times. Natali has watched it more than that. She still likes it.

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Now that she has her own Ipad all she wants to do is watch that video. I tried hiding the Video app...she just swiped to the next screen, found the icon, opened it...and said "Elmo please".

We have limited her Ipad use to about an hour a day. She protest....we deal.

Feeding time has progressed as well. Natali wants to feed herself......we can't help.  The days of us holding the spoon are over. Thankfully we bought plastic shirt bib things that protect her clothes as she is still learning.


We've used the Pampers brand of diapers from day one. They are good....and expensive from the store. Thankfully they were REALLY cheap on recently.

Now they are only slightly cheaper than going to the store. Problem.

I tried Wal-Mart brand diapers. Eh. They are ok for day time....but not night time.

I then tried Target brand diapers. Eh. They are also ok for day time....but not night time.

Guess we will stay with Pampers. Maybe mix the at day and Pampers at night?

Finally, brushing Natali's teeth has gotten much easier.

No longer do we have to hold her down and listen to her scream. All we have to say is, "Natali it's time to brush your teeth."

She then walks into the bathroom and stands on her toddler stand (which is also a toilet). We then sing the "ABC" song while brushing her teeth. No crying. No fussing. Just peaceful brushing. It's so much nicer.

It gets better.

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Dentists and Potty Training

I saw a news story on the Nightly News last night about more kids getting cavities these days in their baby teeth.  The story cited several reasons for this and said the key to prevention is good teeth brushing habits and visits to the dentist starting at a year old.  We are very good about brushing Natali's teeth.  She gets them brushed twice a day just like we brush ours.  For a long time it was a big struggle with lots of crying every time, but more recently Natali has come to accept teeth brushing as part of her routine.  I think it helps that she is big enough now to stand on a stool at the sink while we brush them and she likes to watch herself in the mirror.  She hasn't cried during brushing for a few weeks at least.  I hadn't even considered taking her to the dentist though.  My pediatrician hasn't mentioned it either.  After I saw that news story though, I posted a message about it on Facebook and got a lot of good responses from friends, mostly saying they started their kids going at 2 years old.  Then my sister posted saying she had just taken my niece for the first time at 4 years old and she has a cavity.  She wishes she had taken her earlier, so it might have been prevented.  That was enough for me to hear.  I have another good friend that recommended an excellent pediatric dentist so I think I'm going to call tomorrow and make Natali an appointment.  She is on my dental insurance this year so there really is no reason not to do it since it's free anyway.  I will post how that goes after our appointment.

In other news, Natali went to the bathroom on her potty today!  It was her first time and I was so excited about it!  Now Natali is only 19 months old and I am in no way trying to push potty training before she is ready.  However, we have seen for a while now that she recognizes when she needs to go.  It is very obvious before bath time.  She will often say poo poo and hold herself then pee right in the bathtub.  Thankfully its only been pee and I've never had to clean a brown tub.  We have a training toilet for Natali already only because my sister and niece were at our house once during her potty training time so we went out and bought one.  My sister had a terrible time potty training my niece, and she wasn't totally trained until after she was 3 years old.  I know every child is different, but I have always hoped Natali would be easier to train.  It turns out she may be very easy.  I wasn't even going to think about toilet training until Natali turned 2, but since she seems to recognize now when she has to go I thought I'd just sit her on the toilet and get her used to it and see what happens.  I tried it tonight before her bath.  She sat there for a minute but didn't go, so I praised her for sitting there then just put her in the tub.  Then, right before bed time we went in to brush her teeth and I just decided to try it again.  I put her on the little toilet and she sat there for a minute doing nothing so I asked her if she was done.  She just said "no", so I let her sit some more and about a minute later she started peeing.  I was so excited!  She got a lot of praise for that.

Of course, now I don't know what to do next.  Do I start seriously working on potty training at home?  Do I just put her on the toilet randomly and not really try too hard with it for now?  If Natali were always home I may actually try a bit harder with it, but she spends 3 days a week at daycare and she isn't in a class that does potty training yet.  She is absolutely not ready to move up to a bigger class, so if I work on potty training at home and then she doesn't get it at school will it somehow mess it all up?  I have no idea how to proceed on this one.  I guess I will have to do some reading up on the subject.  If anyone reading this has any great advice or resources on potty training I will gladly accept any and all suggestions.  This is completely new territory for us and we have no idea what we're doing. :)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Travelling on an airplane with a baby

Kelli and I have travelling with a baby down to a science. Almost.

When we first started we thought we were good. We were still better than average....but not as good as we are now.

We used to use our regular (read heavy) car seat on airplanes. Our regular seat is a Britax Boulevard CS. Very nice seat. Heavy duty...and very comfy for Natali. But it's very heavy.

There had to be a better way. Kelli did the research and found this Combi seat that is lightweight, comfortable and fits down the aisle of the plane while attached to wheels.


Wheels? Yes! Kelli found this wheel set up that attaches to most car seats. She found the GoGo Babyz Travelmate . This

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Did it to myself

I'm a geek....I love technology. It was only natural to use technology in raising Natali.

Natali has been around the Ipad since she was born. Kelli and I used an App called BabyGeek to track Natali's diapers and feeding for the first few months. Natali has been playing with the Ipad herself since she was 4-5 months old.

Over the last month Natali as REALLY gotten into the Ipad. How much so? "Ipad, Ipad, Ipad!" is spoken by her daily.

Kelli and I each have a folder labeled "Natali" on each one of our Ipads. Natali knows how to find her folder, open it and then open each app.

Natali knows how to turn the Ipad around if it opens in the wrong orientation. She knows how to exit an app and she is REALLY good at swiping. The Ipad is very toddler friendly.

I tried to get her to use the HP Touchpad I bought for her that I loaded Android onto. Nope. She has a few apps....not into it.

The Ipad 3 comes out this week...or soon anyway. I plan on buying one (I can expense it since I can use it in the cockpit at work!) and give Natali my old Ipad. Yeah....that's right I'm giving an Ipad to an 18 month old. Kelli agrees though as she's tired of sharing her own Ipad.

Since the last post we all traveled to California for a wedding. Natali's grandma bought her a new butterfly dress and shoes. Natali has several butterflies on her walls and it's one of the many words she has mastered. She looked very cute.

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Accidental learning

Natali has been using an Ipad since she was 4 or 5 months old. Back then it was just tapping and swiping. None on purpose.

Around 7 months she was pretty good at tapping. She played one game called "Itsy Bitsy HD" for months. It was simple and fun.

Over time she has become more and more comfortable with the Ipad. She knows how to close apps, swipe to different pages of apps and the most important thing is...she knows which folder has "her"apps.

Kelli and I each have Ipads. We have some of the same apps in the "Natali" folder. There are some differences. I have an Elmo learning game Natali loves and an app called iTot Cards, which is a flash card game.

Natali has been using iTot Cards for about 3 weeks off and on. iTot Cards has flash cards for letters, numbers, shapes, food and more. Natali has been using (thanks to my helping) the food flash cards the most.  As she swipes a photo of an item appears and a female voice says what it is.

Most of the time Natali is zipping through the cards quickly. I thought for sure she was just playing....until yesterday.

Natali was sitting on my lap playing with the Ipad. She opened the iTot Cards app and then I clicked on food. She then swiped to a card, turned to me and said ""Pasta". I looked down and saw it was indeed pasta. She swiped to other cards and said the following words ; Cherry, Carrot, Bread, Chocolate (not great pronunciation though), Banana, Salad, Sandwich, Ice Cream, Cereal, Orange, Juice, Apple, Milk, Pizza Peas, and Egg. She stopped at each card and turned to me before saying the word. I was stunned. She really was learning.

I spend 10-15 minutes a week looking for new apps for her. I read reviews online and try out an app or two if they have a free version in addition to a paid version.

I wish more apps were both Android and iOs (Apple) as the tablet I bought for her (HP Touchpad running Cyanogendmod) is Android. There are a few great apps, but few of the exact same apps.

Maybe the Easter Bunny will buy her a Ipod Touch?

Sick , but happy

Natali got sick at school last week. We think Hand, foot and mouth disease.

The first day was horrible. Fevers and a nearly inconsolable child.

Now she is just a little cranky. We only see one sore on her tongue and a small bump on each palm.

What always makes her happy is the park. We took a quick trip to a city park yesterday.

Natali loves too swing and was bothered they were all being used when we arrived. Thankfully it wasn't too long of a wait.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A 2nd child?

Darren says all the time that Natali will be our only child.  He seems pretty adamant about it, but I remember once upon a time he was adamant that we weren't having any children at all.  Look how that turned out?  It took us 3 years and a couple of miscarriages to get Natali, and I am so happy that we didn't give up.  Natali is such a good kid.  We are very lucky to have her.  When we first had her I was totally on board with having just 1 child, but as she gets older my mind has started to change.  I really would like to have 1 more.  That being said, I definitely want to wait until Natali is older.  I have thought about it and I think the ideal time would be sometime in 2014.  Of course, then I consider our finances and how much even part-time daycare costs and wonder how other families manage.  We make a very comfortable living right now and adding another daycare payment plus baby expenses would push it a bit.  I really don't think we would seriously consider it unless Darren were already a captain with a much larger salary, but that could change too.  All of this would of course be dependent on Darren changing his mind.  If he doesn't then Natali will be an only child and I will be fine with that too.  I am happy just to have her.  It's not an issue I will push too hard on because I would hate for Darren to just give in and not really want it.  He is aware of my feelings on this matter, so we will just wait and see what happens down the road.  I do remember how much I hated being pregnant, but Natali was absolutely worth every uncomfortable minute of my pregnancy.  I think any other child we have would be just as great.  I have 3 siblings and am constantly reminded about how glad I am to have them all in my life.  I would like Natali to have that experience too.  However, if she is an only child I am comforted by the fact that she has such wonderful cousins that we are able to see on a regular basis.  Hopefully they will continue to be close as they age.

On another note, Natali had her 18 month check up yesterday.  She is 25.6 pounds and 33.5 inches.  I have been comparing her stats from this check up and her 15 month one to my stats at the same ages and they are almost exactly the same.  I find it interesting that for now she seems to be on track to be exactly my height when she grows up.  I am 5'3".  We'll see if she continues on the same track or maybe gets a bit taller than me.  I will be totally happy if she is at least my height.  Any shorter is too short. :)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

No more tears!

The older Natali gets...the less she cries. She isn't cry free. Natali has started throwing tantrums every now and then. I letter her cry herself out. It's somewhat funny as she will stand up...walk around the room crying...get distracted...stop crying...then walk back toward me crying again.

She has stopped crying altogether though whenever she is ready to leave her crib. Instead she just calls me.

"Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!" she beckons...over and over again. It's cute...and much less annoying than crying.

We are 100% sure Natali is right handed...for now anyway. She is like most of the world...and unlike Kelli who is left handed.

Natali is pretty good at feeding herself with a spoon. She is at the point now where it's either her way or she's not eating. Thankfully I bought some plastic overall shirts from Ikea to protect her clothes.

Most of her teeth are in. We had a very easy time teething. Very little crying or mood swings.

She still enjoys reading. I've memorized most of the books in her collection so we stopped by Half Price Books this morning. It's kinda funny the only books I buy are for her...all my recent purchases for myself are digital.



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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Natali on TV

The photo is a few months old. This ran last week on the Dallas news.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Travelling to Hawaii with a toddler

We survived Hawaii!

First...any parent contemplating holding their toddler (2 and under don't technically need a seat) for a flight more than 2're nuts. Don't "hope" for an empty seat either. Flights are very full these days (again I work for an airline)....not likely.

The flight out had 25 open seats...which were promptly filled by non-revenue (employee/employee guest) passengers.

Natali and Kelli had seats together on the 2 side (the plane was 2-3-2). I had an aisle seat a few rows up. They had real tickets, I was a non-revenue  passenger.

On the flight out Natali wasn't happy. We thought she would sleep as it was her nap time. Nah.

Kelli installed the child seat to be forward facing. Natali , despite my best attempts at keeping her a baby, has been growing. Her feet can now touch the seat infront of her. Once the person infront of her leaned was on.

Kelli fought with this issue for a while and became quite frustrated. About an hour into the flight I offered to swap seats. Kelli was very grateful. I then sat down...examined the issue...and turned Natali's car seat sideways with her legs facing me. Problem solved...for now. For the next flight it could be an issue. I think I might discuss with Kelli using the CARES harness for Natali and checking the car seat. The CARES harness will keep Natali further from the seat in front of her while securing her to the seat. We'd likely have to practice using it at home to get her used to it.

Once in Maui everything was good. Natali adjusted to all the family members in the house quite quickly. At it's peak there were 16 other people in the house besides us including 3 of Natalis' cousins.

There is/was an ongoing naming system with grandmothers in my family. Growing up I had a great great grandmother named "fat mama". My great grandmother was "mama eerie". My grandmother was "mama dear". My mother passed away before getting her "mama" name.

Natali has always been very good with my mother in law. While in Hawaii Natali really bonded with her. Natali calls Kelli "mommy". She began calling my mother in law, "mama". Natali says them very distinctly. I'm hoping for "mama yankee" but will settle for "mama peggy" or "mama richmond" or even just "mama".

Natali was very adamant about being held by "mama"....just about all the time. She was very insistent when any of her cousins was near "mama".

After a full week in Maui it was time to come home. Once again they had real tickets...I was non-revenue.

We left on a Wednesday. Normally a slower travel day. The flight was overfull. I had to non-rev to Honolulu on Hawaiian airlines (free for me as a pilot) and then grab a seat on a flight from there home. Natali and Kelli of course went straight home.

Lucky for Kelli Natali was tired and slept most of the flight (it helped it was an overnight flight). from the trip. My mother in law rented an amazing house for the week. The house was named Prince of Polynesia....fancy doesn't even begin to describe it.

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Friday, January 6, 2012

Natali Spinning

Natali's new thing is spinning. The other day in the kitchen she spun out of control....caught on a surveillance camera.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

All done....more....all done....more

All of us were sick in the last two weeks. First Natali, then me...finally Kelli. Kelli protested the most though by repeatedly stating she wasn't she was coughing and wheezing. She finally gave in.

All on antibiotics. Getting better.

I often sit back and think about our little family and just how good we have it. I'm not saying we are perfect (Kelli is a Democrat and I am a little nutty), but overall we aren't too shabby.

Natali is just about the easiest kid to take care of. Her biggest issue in my opinion is her love of reading. Seriously. She will bring book after book to us to read to her.

If we are sitting on the ground she will go find a book, bring it over, say "more", hand it to us and then sit in our lap and patiently wait to be read to. It's a great thing she enjoys reading...but I think it's a little extreme. She will sit through 3-5 books in a row. Rarely interfering. She's already picked up on a few words and pages. She knows just when to say "pop" when reading The Hungry Caterpillar for example.

Beyond that she's easy. She never protest at nap time or bed time. Often she will say "nite nite" and walk toward her bedroom on her own. The other night she fell off her chair, stood up and started screaming "nite nite! nite nite!"  She knew she was tired.

Natali still gets a little flustered when she can't communicate what she wants. She has this cute thing she does when she's tired and frustrated. She will be eating a snack and say "all done" then immediately say "more, more"...then "all done, all done!" then "more, more". Yeah. She also loves to say "all done!" then grab one more bite as we pull the tray away from her.

She will be 17 months old in a few days....17 months. Goes by fast. I look back and photos and videos of her and just sigh.....she's getting so big.

It wasn't easy for us to have Natali. To those that stumble upon this blog and are having trouble....keep trying. It took 2 miscarriages before we were successful. Keep trying.

All done for now.....more? Probably not. Natali is too intelligent as is.....don't want to risk having more than two people more intelligent than me in this house.

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