Such a Smartie Pants

EH continues to amaze us every day.  Even though he's not growing physically nearly as quickly as he did during his first year, his intellectual developments are far more profound and - in my opinion - much more exciting.

Although there have been a few instances where he would do the traditional toddler babbling and we had no clue what he saying, for the most part he communicates using real words.  Considering that he's not even two yet, this is really impressive to me, although I suppose it could be really common and I just don't realize it.

He knows his numbers up to 10 (usually skipping 9 though, in his excitement to yell "TEN!") and during quiet moments you'll suddenly hear him starting singing the beginning of the alphabet (A B C D E....) to the actual tune, usually one octave higher than I think he should be attempting.  It's little things like that that make me realize his little brain is always working... always thinking.

A few weekends ago we were asking him to name people.  He knew most people around the table, but when it came to one of his half-aunts that he hadn't seen in a long time until that weekend, he paused.  "What's her name?" we asked.  He didn't answer and we forgot about it and kept eating breakfast.  But five minutes later, he quietly said, "Amy."  DH and I looked at each other in amazement - it appeared that EH had been thinking about what her name was that entire time!  We were so impressed.

In the morning, he says, "Hi Mama," followed quickly by "Pee in potty?"
On our way out the door he says, "Sherrie's house!" excitedly and then asks "Milk?"
If you ask him what he wants to eat, he'll almost always say "Chicken taco."
Today he said, "Go downstairs" as we were heading to the car.
He says "Broom," when he wants his broom, and "sweepin'" when he's using it.
He stops and looks at the pictures on our wall and names the people in them that he knows.
When Murphy is barking he says,"No bark!" or "Bad boy!" and shakes his pointer finger.
When he wants to read a book, he asks "Book?" and then commands you to "Sit. Down." Pointing at the ground where you need to sit.
If you sneeze, he'll say "Bless you." If you say "Thank you" in response, he'll come back with "Welcome."
If you give him something, he'll thank you directly (and then usually also add "welcome" after that.)
When he wants to go outside, he asks "Outside?" and once there usually starts with "Swing?" or "Slide?"

And the most exciting one that just happened recently!?!?  He can SPELL HIS NAME!
Isn't that awesome?
And, I can tell you, oh so cute... 

Yelling "Ooouuuuuut" - He did NOT like being in the pool at first

These are a just a few examples of the interactions that we have with him each and every day.  It's really quite remarkable.  Although he has been known to throw a tantrum or two when he's hungry or if he has a poopy diaper but doesn't want to tell (almost every time he's playing outside, because he doesn't want to have to go back in to get it changed), for the most part he is an amazingly happy baby, and I think that part of that is because he can communicate with us, and we understand him.

It's starting to look..

More like a kitchen!

Although with a countertop installation date of July 18 we still have a few more weeks to go...

Have you heard?

This is what my kitchen looks like these days. It's looked this way since Monday. Will continue to look this way for many, many, weeks.

I have done what I consider to be an impressive job at not being overly whiney about the fact that I have no stove, no kitchen sink, no indoor location to prepare food.

Oh, you hadn't heard? Our "kitchen" is now on our porch.  Bet you can't wait to see a picture of that!

Paying to lose - DietBet

After some quick and rewarding weight loss a couple of months ago, I once again fell off the wagon and pretty much gained it all back (all but 2 pounds.)  

But then summer weather came to Pittsburgh, and I started pulling my summer clothes out of the bins from the attic, and oh my god, they were all too tight.  How embarrassing.  EH is nearly two years old - can I keep blaming my weight on him when he's 8? 15? 30?  Probably not. 

So I had to think about what my main motivators are.  First and foremost - at this point, at least - the greatest motivator is fitting into the majority of my summer clothes that are currently snug. But I'm also motivated by money, and so I decided to try something new. 

Enter DietBet - a social networking website where you join "games," put up money up front, and then try to lose 4% of your current weight in 4 weeks.  It's basically online gambling for weight loss.  

I am not one to usually like gambling, but the odds are completely within my control, and that I do like.  I started with a low-stakes game requiring only $20 to join, and with only 66 other "players."  The pot is $1,320.  As long as I lose my 4%, I am considered a "winner" and I will get my $20 back.  If everyone else also "wins" then getting my money back is all I get.  But it's unlikely that everyone will win, and those who "lose" don't get any money back.  Basically, the pot of $1320 is split between all of the winners. From what I can tell, an average of 50% of the people win.  If I am a winner in this bet, and the 50% average occurs, then I'll get $40 back instead of my original $20.  The possibility of doubling my profits - albeit small profits - is an exciting motivator for me! 

There are a couple of things working against me.  

First, 4% is actually a LOT of weight - 6.5 pounds for me!  That's 1.6 pounds per weeks!  My goal has me on track to lose 1.3 pounds per week, assuming that I am 100% committed to eating at or under 1500 calories PLUS exercise 7 days a week.  I am certainly not there.  But I know from the past that I sometimes lose more weight than what they say I will, especially early on, so we'll see how that goes. 

The second thing working against me is that because I joined the game at the last minute (once I decided to do this, I wanted to start immediately - I might as well start the game at my highest weight!) I weighed in at 8 p.m. in the evening.  As most people know, nighttime is not the best time to weigh yourself. My morning weight is usually pretty predictable and reliable, but since I have never really weighed myself much in the evenings, I'm not sure that the predictability will stand.  On top of that, my weight will largely depend on how much I ate or drank that day, which can be scary.  BUT, it was necessary.  I wanted to start immediately AND I know that I will never have enough time in the morning to put on my "weigh in" outfit, set up my full length mirror in a location with good lighting, get my code word for my scale picture, AND upload the pictures within an hour of taking.  I can barely get the out the door on time as it is, and I wake up between 5 and 5:30 a.m. each day. (Today I "slept in" until 5:40 and it felt amazing!)

The third, and final, thing that I have going against me is that DH is going to start renovating our kitchen soon. This means that we won't have an oven, or a kitchen sink for pretty much the entire duration of my four week dietbet period.  Our meals will be limited to things we can cook on the grill or in the slow cooker, or eating out, which of course is not a good option when one is on a diet.  Eating healthy during all of this is going to be my greatest challenge by far. 

An official weigh in includes two pictures, and you have to follow these rules: 
Photo #1
Shorts and a t-shirt or tank top (and you must wear the same outfit for your weigh-in and weigh-out photo)
Entire body must be in the photo, including your face
You must be standing on the scale that you're going to use for photo #2

Photo #2
Your feet on the scale
Showing your weight
A piece of paper displaying your "secret word" must in the frame

Your secret word is a random word that they give you at the time of your registration.  I suppose that's how they ensure you're real.  Your random word expires if you don't upload your picture shortly after registering, so you can't use the same photo for multiple weigh-ins. 

So, today is the first day of my Diet Bet and we'll see how it goes! (Probably not well, today at least, since I am off work today, currently sipping a cappuccino as I read this with thoughts of going to Chipotle for lunch in my mind.) BUT I plan to exercise and if I have a moderate dinner I should be good to go for tomorrow without gaining, at the very least!  I'll let you know how it goes!