Sunday, September 30, 2007
On Saturday we got up, got ready and went to the EMP because we had passes for free admission because it was Museum Day. Matt and I had been looking forward to it as there is so much cool stuff to see and a whole room devoted to playing with various instruments. We thought Iris would really dig it. Turns out we were dead wrong. She screamed and cried through the whole thing. Good times.
After we got home and relaxed a bit our friend Abby brought over her two littlest ones for us to hang out with while she took her oldest to a play. It was so much fun. The kids were about 18 months old and almost five years old. The apartment looked like a bomb hit it when they left, but you know, four kids in a small place, that's going to happen. I'm just glad we all had a blast!
Last night Matt and I watched "Knocked Up" and laughed our asses off. Go see it. Right now. I'll wait.
Iris decided she wanted to sleep with Eloise and I last night, so the three of us all snuggled in and it was a terrible, terrible night of sleep. Iris woke up every time I shifted or Eloise made a peep. Tonight she's back in her bed. Lesson learned.
This morning I asked Matt to take Iris to a friend's birthday party, which, bless him, he agreed to do. It sounded like a lot of fun. They had a "messy party" where the kids all stripped down to undies and played in paint, flour, noodles, coffee grounds, all sorts of stuff. When they were gone Eloise took an almost three hour nap, which was absolutely fantastic.
After Matt and Iris got home from the first party we all piled in the car and went to another party for a little friend's first birthday. The food was so yummy, I swear I ate half of the snacks. Also, the mama made the most amazing birthday cake I've ever seen. All from scratch she made a layered sheet cake and then on top was a whole farm scene. A barn made of gingerbread and covered in frosting. A pumpkin patch. A duck pond. A fondant fence. Seriously. The girl needs to go work for the guy from the show Ace of Cakes. Oh, and it was incredibly delicious, too. I hope they invite us back for more parties! I think my children behaved well. Of course, I wouldn't know, I was too busy stuffing my face.
As soon as we got home from party number two our good friends came over with their little girl, one of Iris's BFFs, for pizza. It was a nice little visit but I was dividing my energy between visiting and cooking/cleaning/baby-chasing so I'm not really sure what we talked about. It was the end of a long weekend. Now my butt is glued to the chair. It won't become un-glued until bedtime.
Here are all of us in front of the cafe after lunch:
All of the little ones in this photo were born in August 2006. I belong to a small but very active private message board that is all mamas of children born that month. It is the most amazing group of mamas I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. To date I have met five of the mamas in real life. My goal is to meet them all!
After lunch the mama on the left and her son had to get going, but the other mama/son pair and the girls and I walked down by the water to a cute little park and hung out and played. Bellingham is such a gorgeous city. We are seriously considering moving either there or Olympia, so it was neat to see the city a bit.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
This morning, in the time it took me to go in the kitchen to dish up some yogurt and cut up some waffles for breakfast, she had pushed the chair over to the table, climbed up on the chair, climbed up on the table and was proudly standing in the middle of it.
Okay, seriously folks, what is the remedy to this?
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
The school uses an emergent curriculum which I honestly knew nothing about before Iris started going there. All I knew was the school felt like the right fit for us and went from there. It's really neat to see the teacher play off of the children's interests and shape the day around them. As much as I wish I was cut out for homeschooling my girls, I'm just not. I don't have the patience or energy. I am so happy to have Iris socializing with a small group of children and work with a teacher and other parents who can help tap in to her interests and expose her to things that I may never even have thought of. I also hated school throughout my whole life. HATED. I would try to get out of it as much as I could and I would do as little work as possible to get by. I had no interest in most of it and I never, ever had a teacher who inspired me or made me want to do better than I was doing. I fear that I wouldn't be such a good role model for the girls in that regard. I'd be like "Oh, you want to watch tv all day? That sounds awesome! I'll grab the remote!" I think the best I can do for them is to involve them in the best schools I can and put the energy I've got in to supporting the school.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Matt was gone Tuesday morning through Friday afternoon and man, we were glad to see him when he got home! We were both pretty tired from our separate, but equalling tiring, weeks and spent the rest of the day sort of juggling duties while the other rested.
On Saturday we went to the Puget Sound Birth Center's annual picnic, which was a lot of fun. We got super lost on the way there, but surprisingly ended up right where we needed to be despite getting way off course. There was tons of good food and a bouncy house for the kids as well as all of the playground equipment for the kids to play on. We were excited to find that a classmate of Iris's was at the picnic, as well! What a small world.
Today Iris and I went to one of her classmate's birthday party. It was a blast. The little girl's parents are so amazingly creative. They planned a "Midsummer Night's Dream" theme so all of the children came dressed up in fairy-type gear and there was a very elaborate fairy gathering and treasure hunt that the parents led. The kids really enjoyed it. I have heard through the grapevine that the parents were theatre majors, which would explain why they were so amazing at staying in character (they were Titania and Oberon ((is that right?!?!)) ). The parents were even entertained, we stood around and watched the theatrics!
Most of the people from the party were families I knew from school, but being that we were so new there, I didn't know any of them very well. I have such a hard time in situations like that. I ended up tagging along with Iris (who couldn't have cared less where I was at any given time) trying to get her to play with me. What is my deal? Why am I so socially inept in group settings? It's frustrating. Last time I went to a party without Matt I vowed to always, always bring him with me whenever I go to things like that, but this time we were gone during Eloise's nap time, so Matt stayed home with her. I feel naked at social gatherings without Matt. I need him to rely on in those kinds of situations.
This afternoon we all went over to our friend's house and caught up with them and all of the kids played together. We don't see their family nearly enough, so it's always fun when we make time to get together.
And, poof!, just like that, the weekend is over. This time of year it seems like every weekend is packed. Next weekend we're planning on going to the EMP because Saturday the 29th is
National Museum Day and you can get free passes through their website to go to many, many different museums. Fun!
I'm doing so good on our "no spend" challenge, as well. 14 days this month, so far, I haven't bought anything that wasn't a necessity, like gas, groceries, medicine, etc etc. It's been awesome because we had enough money "left over" to purchase some big Christmas gifts without putting it on the credit card in addition to being able to pay some other unexpected bills. It might be a little tricky to keep it up next month since Matt and I both have birthdays (it is the first anniversary of my 29th birthday!) but other than that, I plan to keep up with this plan!
Thursday, September 20, 2007
- Use re-usable canvas bags at the grocery store
- Make earth-friendly all-purpose surface cleaners
- Use earth-friendly laundry detergent and dishwashing soap
- Use cloth toilet paper
- Turn off/un-plug electronics when not in use
- Use cloth diapers
- Wash and re-use ziploc baggies and pack lunches in re-usable containers
- Use cloth wipes to clean up messes (as opposed to paper towels)
Things I want to do better at or find a more earth-friendly solution for. Please provide suggestions on any of them if you have some!:
- Purchase/use cotton produce bags
- Use cloth menstrual pads or re-usable cups
- Find a more earth-friendly alternative to the wet Swiffer
- Find a good alternative to all of the trash bags we go through
- Try to totally eliminate the use of plastic baggies
- Find a better solution for putting a drink in Iris's lunch that isn't a toss-away juice box or smoothie/milk container
- Get some cloth napkins
- "Greener" light bulbs
- Re-chargable batteries
So, as you can see, we have a long way to go, but we're getting there. I find that the baby steps are a great way to make these changes because it isn't one total shock of trying to live differently. I would love to make bigger changes in our dependance on the car but it's so hard with two small children in a town that apparently doesn't give a shit about quality mass transit. As it is we only have one car and Matt takes the bus to work almost every single day. Not by choice, but he is doing a world of good for the environment by using the bus (kudos, honey bunny!).
This afternoon the girls and I met our friends for another walk around Greenlake. It was sprinkling/misting a bit, very typical Seattle weather. I love walking around the lake because it is such a great workout. I get to enjoy conversation, be outdoors with the girls and get my butt in shape at the same time. I feel like I'm finally making some new friends which is really exciting for me. I have the worst time making new friends. I wish I knew why, but it's really, really hard for me to connect with other people most of the time.
I'm trading babysitting with another family and at first I was a bit nervous about taking on the responsibility, but now that we've already traded once and I got some mama time out of it, I am thrilled with the set-up. I am excited that I can finally leave the girls and take some time out for myself once in a while.
So, I suppose I probably should have titled this post "The day that left me wiped-- and totally revived."
Monday, September 17, 2007
We were in the ped's office today because Eloise is coughing. And coughing. And coughing. Sound familiar? If you have followed my blog you might remember that we have had problems with her coughing pretty much most of her life. I was thinking about that last night as I sat up with her and was glad that it was one of the first things the ND at the clinic brought up when we got there. They are recognizing there is a pattern going on here. When the ND listened to Eloise's lungs she heard some wheezing and thought it might be a good idea to give her a nebulizer treatment in the office to see how she responded. It turned out that her lungs sounded clearer afterwards, so they recommended we get a nebulizer for at home and sent us on our way with a prescription and a new machine. We were kind of harried in getting out of there on time but I realized there were a bunch of questions about Eloise's coughing I never got to ask, such as, is there anything else I can do besides subject her to these apparently murderous nebulizer treatments several times a day? If you've ever given a nebulizer treatment to a little one, you know what I am referring to.
She is now walking 100% of the time and it's so much fun. She toddles all over the place. Her temper is also developing quite nicely and it though it's only in it's beginning stages, it appears that she might rival Iris in her ability to scream and through a fit. Joy! Recently she learned to point out a nose on a face. I remember how sweet it was when Iris started learning the names of facial features, as well.
The other incredibly fun thing is how much Eloise loves to dance. Any time she hears anything even remotely resembling music she tilts her head shoulder to shoulder and will start dancing away. She also does a young Iris move, which is standing there and waving one arm back and forth to the beat. I had completely forgotten that was also one of Iris's early dance moves.
And we finally have a tooth! A week or so ago the first one busted through on the bottom and another one is slowly making it's way out. Eloise has been crankier than normal the past few days, but I can't tell if it's teeth, coughing/breathing issues or just the general fun of being thirteen (months, that is!).
Sunday, September 16, 2007
After we got home and discovered that all was well on the homefront, we headed over to the Wurst Festival. We went last year and Iris really enjoyed the child-centered midway type games, so we made a plan to go again this year. I wasn't nearly as fond of the whole thing this time, maybe it was spending so much money on game tickets just for Iris to win a crappy prize? Who knows. The girls dug the music, though, you know, they are one and three, and Eloise has been known to dance to the sound of the dishwasher.
All in all a pretty fun day.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
We still have all of her things. In fact, they are all still sitting in the living room in a box. I'm not sure why.
If you would like to read more about Lily's life, please see this post I made on the day she died.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
I met my friend Meg and her two little ones for a stroll around Greenlake this afternoon. Her son and Iris both rode their Kettler trikes while their mamas tried to keep them from mowing down everyone on the walking path. This was actually easier said than done. We stopped at the playground and about fifteen million times along the way for snacks and other various adjustments. Iris and Meg's son get along famously and it's so much fun to see. Meg brought the prefolds that we dyed last weekend and they are sooooo pretty. I can't wait to start using them on Eloise!
Last night my dear friend Melissa wrote me an email with some fantastic suggestions about dealing with Iris's sassy behavior towards her sister. One of her suggestions was a good ol' family intervention. She has done with her 3 year old and thought it was really helpful, so I sort of did one tonight over dinner. I talked with Iris about how it makes all of us feel when she hurts her sister and discussed the ways that she hurts her sister as well as the ways that she makes her sister happy. Then we discussed the things that make all of us feel happy. I don't know, we'll see. I want it to be the magic bullet! Melissa is always full of wise ideas for me.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Monday was Iris's first day of preschool for the regular year. It was sort of anti-climactic because it was basically a continuation of the school she went to over the summer. Never-the-less, it was still a memorable moment. Here is Iris on her first day of school posing with her giant rolling Hello Kitty backpack:
Last night was the first parent meeting of the year. I enjoyed spending some time getting to know the other parents. It's a small school, only 12 children, so hopefully we will be close with some of the other families. We actually had a play date with another mama and her two children yesterday, as well. My girls made a fantastic impression, of course. Iris smacked in to her daughter while swinging around a pool from the swing set and Eloise kept trying to grab her little son and making him cry. Sigh.
Yesterday Iris also smashed her sister on the back of her head with a block, making her bleed and slam in to the ground. Next to the black eye Iris gave her sister back in June, this is the worst Iris has ever hurt her sister. We're kind of at the end of rope over here trying to figure out how to deal with this situation. We have tried things like talking to Iris, figuring out why she is hurting her sister, giving her time outs, taking away privileges, just about everything and nothing seems to be working. I simply can't have my eyes on her 100% of the time and it makes me really angry that she is so aggressive towards her sister.
Iris has been really in to drawing birthday cakes lately. Here is her latest creation:
She hasn't quite figured out 3-D so she draws the candles all going out the side of the cake. She has drawn quite a few of these but this one was the most finished, in my opinion.
She has been obsessed with birthdays! It seems that this past summer was full of birthdays and we have been talking about Matt and my (30th!yikes!) birthdays coming up this fall. I was also told that yesterday at school she and the parent helper made birthday cards.
I have been involved in a "no spend" challenge this month with a group of mamas from a message board. It basically means you don't buy anything you don't absolutely need (like groceries or gas). I have been doing okay but yesterday I found out about a co-op on Melissa and Doug toys where I could get things for 50% off and I couldn't resist. I ordered a few things for Christmas presents for children we know and finally settled on the kitchen the girls will get for Christmas, which is this one. I liked it because it had a lot of storage in it for all of the little kitchen things they will have. I have seen some other super cute kitchen sets, but most that were cheap enough for us to afford didn't have hardly any storage in them. I think we'll all really like this one and it will last them a long time, too!
Monday, September 10, 2007
There have only been two decisions in my time as a mama that I am 100% sure that I was absolutely making the best decision about. One was giving birth to Eloise at home and the other one was letting Iris wean when she was ready to. Sure, I had moments when I thought "ahhh! This sucks, I don't want to do this anymore!" but I still knew it was the absolute best thing to do, even if I didn't feel like doing it all of the time.
I am eternally grateful to the universe for blessing me with a beautiful, low-stress, complication-free nursing relationship with Iris. She nursed shortly after birth and with a few visits from the lactation consultant and a brief fling with a nipple shield, we had the nursing thing down pat. In the three years I nursed Iris I never had mastitis or any other nursing-related issues. I have learned that my experience is actually fairly rare, which made me even more grateful for what I have gone through.
I went back to work part-time when Iris was eight weeks old and began pumping enough milk for her to eat while I was away from her. I continued to pump for her every single time I worked until she was a year old. Her first birthday was such a monumental moment for me in that regard, I was so excited to have made it a full year pumping for her and I certainly never wanted to see a pump again for the rest of my life! She had also made it a full year without any formula, a goal I was thrilled to have reached. We moved her on to whole cow's milk at a year, but she still nursed when she wanted to. It wasn't until she was well over a year that I started nudging her towards night weaning, as well. My personal belief is that children should be allowed to night nurse as much as they need to until they are at least 18 months old, which was what we did. Around 18 months I started gently transitioning her to no night nursings.
When Iris was 18 months old I also became pregnant with Eloise. This proved to be a really trying time for me in our nursing relationship. I often felt like crap, my boobs hurt, I just didn't feel like nursing alot of the time. I knew it was important to keep up with, however, and so I did. During this time I realized I needed to start putting some regulations on our nursing sessions. Iris is an incredibly strong-willed girl and had taken to screaming at the top of her lugs if I didn't nurse her immediately whenever and wherever she wanted to. She was old enough to understand that nursing happens certain times of day while we were at home and that it wasn't polite to scream at me. We began nursing upon waking, before nap time, after nap time and before bed. Of course, if it was truly necessary, we would nurse other times of day.
Iris's second birthday came and went and we were still nursing. At this point I didn't really know anyone else in real life who nursed a child that long and it had turned in to something very private for us. I didn't really talk to anyone about it and only found a group of mamas in a similar situation online through message boards. As expected, Iris nursed the day her sister was born and continued to nurse practically the whole first year of her sister's life. I found tandem nursing to be both a blessing and a curse. I was glad that Iris knew I would still have enough milk to share with her, and thus help prevent her feeling like her sister was taking me over, but at the same time, I was stretched thin and occasionally found nursing two children exhausting. During this year we slowly cut down the nursings to just one a day, before bedtime.
We continued tandem nursing until July of this year when Iris just stopped asking to nurse before bed while we were on our vacation in Wisconsin. I did the "don't ask/don't refuse" method and it worked really well. After she hadn't nursed for a few weeks, however, she did ask to nurse again. I distracted her and that worked out well, it turned out all she wanted to do was buy some time before going to bed.
I wouldn't trade the last three years of nursing Iris for the world. I am proud of the accomplishment, I am proud that I've done the very best thing for her health (and mine!) and I'm proud of the attachment it has created for us. I hope that my nursing relationship with Eloise follows a similar path, I would be a very lucky mama, indeed.
I truly hope that our story might connect with a mama who is considering nursing past infancy, child-led weaning , nursing during pregnancy or tandem nursing to know that it really can be done and is an amazingly beautiful and mutually beneficial relationship. I am more than happy to field any questions on this subject if anyone needs any more information.
Sunday, September 09, 2007
After an early lunch Iris and I headed up north to a new friend's house for a tie-dying party. I met a mama named Meg from the MDC message boards last week Wednesday when she came to pick up some bottles I was giving away. She later emailed me to tell me that she discovered her sister was in my prenatal yoga class and was a mama whom I connected a bit with and really liked. What a small world! So, the next day I met them both and their children and three other mamas from MDC for a walk around Greenlake. Meg invited us to come up to her home on Saturday for some tie-dying action and I thought it sounded like fun.
So, I wasn't very confident of my actual tie-dying skills (and not sure I was hippy enough to pull it off :) ) so I decided to just dye all of the prefolds I have for Eloise. We met another mama there, who was pregnant and it was actually her due date!, and all chatted and dyed things and it was a really fun time. Iris played with Meg's son and they did really well. It was nice to not have to be on top of her every second. In fact, I would say I hardly interacted with her at all the four hours we were there. It was loverly! I had such a nice time working on a art project, being outside, talking with other mamas, enjoying Iris playing nice and not having a toddler (wha?!?! a toddler?!?!) to chase after. All in all, practically perfect. I suppose the only thing that would have made it more perfect would have been a cocktail in one hand, no? I wish I had brought my camera, as I was a bit transfixed by the bright cloth soaking in pails of dye. I took on the job of rinsing items out in the bath tub and my hands are a lovely shade of hypothermia blue now. Fun times.
When we got back home I whipped up a homemade pizza for dinner, which was super delicious despite being a little soggy. I looked it up online and thought that the reason for the soggy crust was not using a pizza stone or a mesh pizza pan, but a couple of friends said they have no problems with soggy crusts and they use a regular pizza pan, so who knows. Then Matt and the girls had homemade watermelon slushies for dessert while I had more of the homemade ice cream. I swear, I was freakin' Martha Stewart yesterday!
Friday, September 07, 2007
"No, honey, the squirrel isn't sleeping, it's dead."
"Oh. Well, is he going to wake up?"
"No, he's not. He's in squirrel heaven."
"Squirrel heaven? Is that right under the tree?"
Oh, crap. "No, it's in heaven, like, um, where Lily went."
"Well, but he's right there. Under the tree."
"Yes, his body is, but, um, his spirit is in squirrel heaven. Like his thoughts and stuff."
She watches him closely as I buckle her in to her car seat. Three crows have surrounded the dead squirrel by this point and are pecking at it, making the body jump about a bit.
"He's waking up!" Iris says, very excitedly.
"No, honey, the crows are just trying to move him."
So, yeah, I didn't exactly hit that one out of the ball park. It is hard for me to figure out what her level of understanding is. Sometimes it's actually much greater than I realized and sometimes it's much more shallow. I don't want to scare her with too much information, but at the same time, I don't want to confuse her with too little.
Anyone tackle the death idea yet?
We did a little bit when Lily died last fall. I suppose it was a little different then because she didn't see Lily dead. We just told Iris that Lily wasn't coming home and had gone to doggy heaven. She asked about Lily quite a bit at first, and actually still talks about her from time to time, but we didn't get in to too much detail about it. We read a book called "Dog Heaven" and it talks about what dogs do when they get to heaven. I presume that Iris thinks Lily just went off to live there. Sometimes I do, too, I suppose.
Everyone once in a while I get my head on straight and do weekly meal planning. It works out beautifully every time I do, so it's still a head scratcher as to why I don't do it every week. Tonight's menu was Chinese Chicken Salad and it was soooo good. Shredded cabbage with chicken slices and green beans, a yummy spicy ginger sauce and mandarin oranges, avocado, those crispy chow mein noodles and a few sliced almonds. Even Matt loved it, which is awesome as I'm always trying to sneak healthy stuff in to him without him really realizing it. Tomorrow nights menu? Homemade pizza made with Trader Joe's pizza dough. I have never made pizza like this before, but hey, I'm on a roll!
Today I took the girls to the park and it was the first time I have gone with them since Eloise has been walking quite well. She is so much fun! I don't know how I have already forgotten what it was like when Iris was that age, but sadly, I have. So, it's like everything Eloise does is brand new and exciting for me. She climbed up the stairs, walked over to the slide, sat down on it feet first and pushed herself off. When she got to the bottom she scooted off and was ready to go again! It was impossibly cute.
On Sunday afternoon Matt and I are going on our third date ever since Eloise has been born. We want to see The Bourne Ultimatum so in preparation we are watching the first two movies from the series tonight and tomorrow night. I'm truly an idiot when I watch movies like this, and though I like them very much, I need someone to sit next to me and explain the whole thing as it goes along. Oh, well. Matt Damon is still serious eye candy even if I don't know if he's the good guy or the bad guy!
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Both Iris and Eloise are in weird, difficult phases right now. Iris is pushing every single button she can. Buttons I didn't even know existed, in fact. I had always heard people telling stories about when their child gets in to the "why?" phase and, truth be told, I thought it sounded kind of cute. Um, no. It makes me want to gouge my eyeballs out. "Because mama can't see anymore, that's why!" And yes, I am that mama who says "because I said so". This answer, as you can probably guess, does not appease her (has it ever appeased any child who asks "why?") and so it goes on. And on. And on. Forever and ever. The whining is really fun, too.
Today took the cake, though. As we were going through the grocery store it honestly crossed my mind for a moment that if I started walking faster, creating more and more space between us, maybe no one would know she was mine? Oh, shit. People saw me come in with her, surely. No, in all honesty, I couldn't just ditch her like that, even though she was screaming and crying and whining and hitting her sister while simultaneously assuring me that she was a good girl and YES I CAN GO TO THE PARK!
Eloise, who hates life lately, likely on account of finally getting teeth, was actually a trooper through the eighteen million stops we made this afternoon. That is until we were getting our groceries bagged up and in her great fervor in flirting with the bag boy, swung her head around and smashed it on the handle of the shopping cart. She screamed all the way through the store, through the parking lot and while I was buckling her in to the car. Thank god for the bag boy who wheeled my shopping cart out for me and put the groceries in the car.
Our house is a disaster on account of not leaving the house until the late afternoon and, well, now it's time to make dinner. Sober. Damn it.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Today, however, I was desperate and needed the groceries to come in the morning and didn't want to shop for them myself, so I decided I could cough up the $10 delivery charge. Now mind you, $10 is still a deal if you have to drag two small children to the grocery store, but I'm pretty cheap and the charge was a little painful to accept.
Just as I was about to press the "order" button it occured to me, like a divine inspiration, that I could likely find free shipping codes online. Lo and behold, a quick google of "free delivery code safeway" turned up several websites with all kinds of codes! Not only did I find a free delivery code, but I also found a code that gave me $10 OFF my total bill. I'm not kidding. So, the groceries will be delivered to my (second story!) apartment door tomorrow morning while I am still in my pajamas. For free. And I saved $10 in the process. Sweet.
Anyways, this is my little PSA to say that if you want to order anything online, take a minute to see if there are any promo codes out there in internet land that you can use. You can thank me for this tip later by mailing me cookies with all of the time and money that you saved.