Friday, June 29, 2007

Tinkle tinkle

Yesterday I did a bit of re-arranging of the pile of crap in our main living area so I could make room for a shelf I bought at Goodwill that will serve as a shoe rack. The girl's Radio Flyer will no longer hold that honor! Woo Hoo! As I cleared space the box I have used to store all of Lily's things was put out in the room where the girls immediately started going through it. They pulled out her stuffed toys. Her bumper that she swam after in the water. Her frisbee. Her collar. As Eloise flung Lily's collar around I kept hearing the tags go "tinkle tinkle" and every single time I heard it my heart skipped. I don't think I'll ever forget the sound her collar made as she moved around.

I still, very very much, miss having her around. Every day I am glad our family is that much closer to having another dog in our lives. Every day I think about the permanence of Lily's death and how much it completely sucks that she's gone. You'd think after 9 months it wouldn't weight so heavily on me, but it really does.

I'm still not sure what I will do with all of her things. I imagine saving them for our next dog, but I don't know. Is that weird? I also thought about putting her things in a shadow box that we could display, though we already have a huge frame full of a bunch of her photos on the middle of our mantel.

The neatest thing is that from time to time Iris will just blurt out something she remembered about Lily. I love that Iris has memories of her, though Eloise doesn't. I wonder how long those memories will last.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Dropping naps

Iris rarely naps these days. Maybe once or twice a week. This may be eliciting gasps of shock and horror from some of my readers, much like it does from my friends in real life, but let me tell you, I really enjoy it!

Now, maybe you're thinking I must be a little nutty from my lack of sleep, but let me explain. First of all, Iris isn't cranky. She no longer melts down in the middle of the day if she's tired. Occasionally she will still at night, but gosh, I don't even remember the last time she did during the day. Other than her normal aggravating behavior, she's no different on the days she doesn't nap. That means I can actually enjoy being awake with her while her sister is sleeping. We can do things like talk, play Play-Doh or trains, clean up, watch tv, color, you get the idea.

Not napping in the afternoon also opens us up to a whole host of possibilities with our day. It's been quite a while since I've had to say "oh, sorry, we can't, Iris has to nap" which is something all of my friends are still saying about their children. I simply can't get our butts in gear to get out of the house and do anything in the morning, so knowing we have the entire afternoon free is fantastic. Eloise often gets in her long nap mid-morning, then we can all eat lunch and leisurely head out of the door. This works out super well on days we want to do something big, like travel to the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium for the entire afternoon or even something little like go to the wading pool.

Of course, I still have a babe who really should be napping in her own bed for two naps every day, but I can usually get by with throwing caution to the wind on a handful of those naps every week which means more often than not we are getting out and about.

Do I love those magical days when both of my girls are napping at the same time? You bet your ass I do. But, much like Ben and Jerry's, those are a rare (and deeply enjoyed) treat. Iris is now old enough, though, that if we are home in the afternoon and Eloise is sleeping, she can keep herself occupied if I need to just veg out or do laundry or clean. All of the things I would have done had she been sleeping, anyways, minus the guilt.

I suppose it's also been an easy transition because it wasn't like one day she just up and stopped napping-- it's been very gradual over many weeks. Not a big deal at all.

I must also say that the playground right after lunch time is an fabulous, quiet place to be :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I'm a returner

I am curious if anyone else is with me on this. I'm a returner. At any given time I have items around my home that are just waiting to be returned to the store. I often buy impulsively, which results in over-buying of items we don't need, or I will buy several things so I can choose what I like the best, knowing I will later return most of them. For instance, tonight I went shopping for stuff for the girls and I to wear to a wedding. I bought three dresses for myself. And three pairs of shoes for Iris. And two pairs of shoes for Eloise. Everything is going back but one dress and one pair of shoes. I had to get them all home to decide what to keep.

Recently I went on a returning spree to get back some money to help out when our fridge died and we lost most of our food. I had bought quite a few things we didn't need and I was very proud of myself to returning all of the items that I had wasted our money on in the first place.

One thing I'm not is a an asshole returner. You know the type, the ones who try to return stuff they've clearly used, or try to get money back for stuff they don't have the receipt for, etc etc. Like a good little girl, I save all of my receipts and I keep the tags on stuff until we decide to use it.

Part of me also just likes buying. I like going in to a store and picking out cute stuff for the girls, for example, but then I get home and think, hmmm, we really didn't need this. In that sense, buying and returning is like a bit of a hobby for me! Ha ha.

Anyways, I really am curious if I am alone in this compulsion or not. Let me know!

Exactly.

I stole this off of The Whole Family but it's amazing. AMAZING.

Iris contemplating the "Old McDonald's" menu


Iris contemplating the "Old McDonald's" menu
Originally uploaded by mama_milkers

Just testing out to see what I can do with Flickr.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

She finally figured it out

So we live in an apartment. We have no yard, so every time we want to play outside we go to the park or occasionally to a friend's house to play in their yard. I dream every single day of living somewhere where we can have our very own yard to frolic in and invite friends over to, but alas, we're still working on it.

Iris never seemed to notice that this is our life. She has lived here since she was born, so it probably never really occurred to her the differences between her home and her friend's homes. Well, until now, that is. One of her closest friends has a cool little play area in her backyard. A play house and a play structure with a slide. They call it "Emma Land".

Well, the other day Iris was playing with her friend in Emma Land and the next day she and I were talking about it while out on a walk. She said the her friend had a yard and was telling me about all of the things to do in her yard. And then she said "mama, and I don't have a yard." Oh, I almost started crying. Seriously. I so want a yard for these girls to play in. More than anything else I want in a home is a yard. Sigh. We're getting there. We're in negotiations, actually, Matt and I.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Baby steps

I am always trying to find little, easy ways to do more to help reduce our family's environmental footprint. More often than not, ease wins over environmentally responsible, but I think we're getting there.

A little over a year ago I made the switch to an environmentally friendly, home made all purpose surface cleaner. In a clean spray bottle: Mix one tablespoon of borax with two tablespoons of white vinegar. Then add sixteen ounces of hot water and shake to mix. Next add 1/4 cup of a liquid soap like Dr. Bronner's (I like peppermint) and voila! You're done! It's super cheap, it smells good, it's works great and it's good for the earth.

Another thing I've recently started is what some people call "family cloth" but what that means is using cloth toilet paper. You are probably thinking what I was the first time I ever heard of this, and that is "ew! gross! NO WAY!" But honestly, for me, it's not that gross. In fact, it's about a million times less gross than, say, wiping a messy stinky poop off of my baby's butt, and I do that several times a day. So, cloth toilet paper. Here's the idea. You can just cut up a few old t-shirts in to squares. Store them all near the toilet. When you go you just pat dry and throw the cloth in a pail. Much like you would do when using cloth diapers. Then you wash the cloths with the diapers. It's simple. Really, really simple. You can use them for only #1 if you're concerned about the grossness of washing cloth that has wiped a #2. Still you're saving tons of trees from the landfill and tons of money from buying the toilet paper. Even Iris is in to them! I was concerned because she loves the whole process of wiping and flushing and all of that. Anyways, she's diggin' it.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Deja vu!

Last night at dinner I was watching Eloise shovel fistfuls of spaghetti in to her mouth and I had a feeling I had been there before. It turns out, I sort of had!

Please observe, Eloise last night:



And Iris, at almost ten months (so a couple of weeks younger than Eloise is now):


Isn't that funny? That shirt has held up remarkably well! Ha ha.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Whew!

Well, Iris's third birthday was pretty exciting, but not exactly in a good way. I did not want to get out of bed this morning, as Miss Eloise has had two really terrible nights of sleep due to being sick. So, out of bed I rolled, but I was super excited to see my birthday girl! We gave her her presents, which she was thrilled about. She got a Color Wonder book and markers, some dress up fairy/princess costumes, some Curious George undies and a board game. She LOVES Color Wonder books and immediately sat down to start coloring in it.

Then I needed to force breakfast on her, the only thing she wanted to eat was veggie sausages so I got some out of the freezer. Hmmm. They weren't very frozen. In fact, they weren't hardly even cold. That's disconcerting! I thought Matt had left the door open, so I grumbled about that and went to work throwing some of the stuff out and transferring some stuff to the fridge.

Eloise took her normal nap and then the three of us got ready to get on the city bus so we could go in to Fremont for some lunch and a treat. We ate at Baja Fresh, which is my favorite fast-foodish Mexican place and then Iris had the world's smallest and most expensive ice cream cone at Cold Stone Creamery. We walked around for a little bit before heading back home on the bus.

When we got home I realized the freezer still wasn't cold. Hmmm. I called the landlord. Then I realized the fridge wasn't too cold, either. Sure enough. When Matt got home I got a thermometer to put in the fridge and it was at 50 degrees. I dragged Iris to the store to get two big styrofoam coolers and some ice. Matt and I went to work throwing out an amazing amount of food (I had just went to Costco last Monday and to the grocery store last Friday) and cooking up what we could. I apologized to him for assuming the warm freezer was his fault. Silly mama. Turns out the whole thing really is dead and hopefully the landlord will be here bright and early to replace it. What a stress! Not a fun way to cap off a birthday, let me tell ya!

However, all in all, it was an okay day. Iris wore her new princess dress everywhere, even on the bus and to lunch and to the store. She loved it! I can't believe she's three now. Sometimes when I interact with her I just think "what?!?! Where did YOU come from?" because she grows so much every day I just can't keep up. Her birthday is a good reminder for me to stop once in a while and catch up with her. To be more present with her and patient with her.

Happy Birthday my big girl!

Iris is THREE today!

At 2:26 pm (west coast time) Iris will officially be three years old. I can't even believe how much she's grown. Sniffle!

Then:


Now:


Happy Birthday Bubbies!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Ten months!

Today Eloise is ten months old! Holy freakin' moley!

Let's see. In the past month she has just gotten better at all of the things she stsrted doing last month. She is an amazing crawler. She can vary her style depending on the surface she's on and can get from one side of the room to the other in the blink of an eye. She can pull up to standing, cruise and climb. She has gotten much more interested in eating solids and has tried more things than I care to admit in a public forum. With Iris we did everything by the book. With Eloise, we pretty much giver her whatever we think she can actually chomp enough on to safely swallow. Oh, well. So far, so good!

The most fun things are that Matt is teaching her how to kiss, how to high five and how to wave.

Here's a couple of now and then photos for your viewing pleasure.

One week old:



Just shy of ten months old:



Don't ask me why she was so dark in the first photo. I have no idea.

Oh, and I have't forgotten it's Father's Day. If you have access to our private blog come on over for my post on my daughter's fantastic dada!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Art

A few weeks ago Iris and I finished an art project that we had started some time ago. It is a mobile! On a hike through the woods last spring we found a stick that we were going to use for our mobile. Then a week or so later Iris drew a bunch of circles on paper, but I wasn't sure what to do with it. I started cutting it out and it ended up a big blob shape. I looked at it and realized it actually looked like a mushroom cap, being that I'm a fan of the look of mushrooms, I went with it and cut the rest of her drawings in to mushroom caps. We then cut the stems out of brown paper and Iris helped me laminate them. We punched holes in them and I strung them all up and tied them to the stick and voila! A mobile! A little while after the project was finished I finally hung it up and it's right over her bed. We all really like it and I'm so pleased with how it turned out. It's hard to get a good picture of it because it's always turning, but here's the best shot:

Friday, June 15, 2007

The good, the bad and the ugly

Today started off well. I had decided the girls and I would have a lazy day at home, which was a nice choice for a dreary Friday, I think. Last night I was reading a (complimentary) issue of Parenting and there was some great advice in it, I think. You won't find me saying that too often about such a mainstream magazine, but it's true! They had a piece about things you can implement with your children to make life go a little smoother. One of the many challenges we have in this home is getting Iris to use her "nice words". Almost 100% of the time she will demand things of us. "I want a snack!" "Give me my Play-Doh!" you get the idea. We have tried many different tactics to help her choose nicer ways of saying things, but it never sticks. Today I tried a Parenting tip, which was to tell Iris that I didn't understand her. This morning when she demanded a snack I looked at her and I said "I don't understand". She looked at me, and said it again, like maybe I hadn't heard her. "I. Want. A. Snack." "Hmmm, I don't understand." I responded. "Can I please have a snack?" "Oh, yes, of course!" We did this a couple more times. I hope it's sinking in.

Everything else went downhill after that, though. Iris refused to nap. Well, not only refused, but screamed at the top of her lungs that she wasn't going to sleep. Which, of course, kept Eloise from taking her afternoon nap. Then there was Iris spilling rice all over the kitchen floor. Throwing a mixing bowl at me. Coloring on the table, couch and the living room chair and, finally, peeing on the bathroom floor. Twice. The kicker, of course, was that Iris told Matt as soon as he walked in the door that we got a "DDD" (DVD) in mail as a suprise for him for Father's Day. Grrrr. We got it yesterday and Iris and I talked about it being a suprise. She managed to last 24 hours without saying anything. Oh, well. At least she didn't say what DDD it was, right?

I was ready for the day to end, let me tell you. Now Eloise refuses to stay asleep for the night even though she missed one whole nap today. Oy! Not fun. Mama needs a stiff drink. Good thing Matt has the freshness to handle these girls this evening.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

More fun!

This morning I took Iris in for her three year well child visit. It was a great visit and Iris is healthy as can be and waaaay off the charts for her height and weight, although we already knew that!

After the appointment we went to Greenlake Park for a NINO meeting. We got there pretty late, but the leader, Jasmine, had just arrived, as well. No one else was there so we spent the whole time hanging out and our daughters ran around together and had lots of fun playing on the jungle gym together. I also ran in to Karen, who was the student midwife at Iris's birth. I hadn't seen her since Iris was a tiny newborn so it was really cool to chat with her again. She has two sons, her older one just turned five and he and Iris and Jasmine's daughter all ended up playing a little together, which I thought was cool since they ranged in age from just over two to just over five. Karen actually lives fairly close to me and neither of us is at Greenlake Park very often, so it was very random that we ran in to each other there. We're going to try and meet up again some time at our favorite park closer to home. Hopefully we will see Jasmine and her daughter again soon, too!

All in all, a very fun morning. Eloise doesn't nap when we're out and about so of course she crashed hard as soon as we got home. She enjoys playing at the park, as well, so I don't feel too bad about pushing out her nap so late so that everyone can play and get some fresh air. I must say that I love Seattle's early summer weather! It was sprinkling and cloudy early this morning and was cool enough at the park that we were wearing pants, long sleeve shirts and jackets. I'm such a wuss about hot weather, so this works well for me!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Adventure!

The girls and I decided to go on an adventure yesterday. We packed everything up and headed out to the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium right after lunch. Having never been there, we had no idea what to expect. It turned out to be an incredibly fun day.



When we got there we went straight in to the South Pacific Aquarium. We were in luck because just as we arrived the biologist was preparing to feed the marine life. The aquarium is 24,000 gallons and you can view it from the top or go downstairs and look in to the sides of it. We saw eels, shark, starfish, all kinds of stuff! After exploring the rest of the aquariums (there is a North Pacific one, as well) we headed out to see the Asian Forest Sanctuary. There we came up close with a Siamang.



Eloise was not impressed.


After the Siamang we walked over to find the zookeeper was going to feed the Sumatran tiger. Her name was Jaia (the tiger, not the zookeeper). The zookeeper was throwing balls of raw beef out for Jaia to eat. It was really cool to watch.



After the tiger we saw the elephant.



Then we got hungry for a snack so we found a shady place to sit down. Unfortunately there was already something else occupying the space.



The people sitting on the other side of us were throwing food at the peacock and tons of people started coming over to take pictures of it, so we moved over to the bench where we could enjoy a more peaceful lunch.



After our snack we went to play in the Zids' Zone. There were long otter slides, a jungle gym, a splash pad and a few other things for the kids to explore.




Of course, I couldn't say no to Iris getting soaking wet on the splash pad.




Guess who else wanted to get in on the action?


After Eloise was done I changed her in to dry clothes and helped her fall asleep amidst the commotion. She must have been pretty pooped because I was able to load her back in to the back pack while she slept!



After everyone was dry and settled in, we headed down to see a few more animals, like the red wolf and reindeer. Then we saw the puffins, otters and the most exciting part of the trip, the baby beluga whale named Beethoven. As we stood out on the deck the trainer came out and started working with Beethoven to do all sorts of cool tricks, including swimming over and spitting water at us! I didn't get many good photos, but I did get some neat video that I will have to upload later.



After that, it was time to head out. We had been there for four hours and the zoo was closing. It is built on a huge hill so I had to push the stroller with Eloise on my back all the way back up the hill. Talk about a workout!

The girls settled back in to their car seats.



It was already past our dinner time so I surrendered to the call of "Old McDonald's".



We didn't end up getting home until waaaaay past the girl's bedtime, but it was worth it. We can't wait to go back again!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sucker

I'm a sucker. And I'm feelin' lucky. In fact, I just won something at a drawing at a toy store last week (I don't know what yet, though!). So, when Steph over at Adventures in Babywearing announced the contest for a Mama Kanga gift certificate I was all over it. I sooooo want another sling!

Oh, and if any of you punks go to Steph's blog and enter the contest I'll send Iris over to break your kneecaps by ramming in to them with her tiny little shopping cart. Don't think I won't. I really want to win this. ;)

Friday, June 08, 2007

Fun stuff

So a while ago, maybe months ago, I contacted some mamas asking if anyone would like to form a group for our small children to do art projects together. I was thinking that the camaraderie for the parents (and children!) would be fantastic, plus we could pool our resources to make all of it happen. And then I completely dropped the ball. I didn't really follow up with anyone or ever make any plans. Then the coolest thing happened, one of the mamas I originally contacted invited us over to her home to partake in some finger painting. Today was the day of the toddler art session, where we met a new friend and her two daughters, another mama I have known since our older daughters were newborns and her two children, the host and her two sons, and then there was us. So, if you're counting, that's four mamas and eight children. Four roughly three year olds and four youngers.

It sounds like mayhem, and it was, but it was alot of fun, as well. I just love the chaos of lots of children running around and having fun. It was nice to see from friends I hadn't seen in a long time, as well. I was very sad to learn that one of them is moving to Los Angeles in a couple of weeks. We didn't see each other very often, very rarely, actually, but we have known each other for a while and it always felt like there was at least the possibility of being able to get together more. I may not have many friends, but at least I feel like I have the possibility to have more friends, if that makes any sense.

I hope that we can keep trying to get together for more art dates. Maybe this will be the kick in the pants that I need to keep the momentum going!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Date night!

Matt and I went on our second date since Eloise was born. We had alot of fun! Our friend Julia came over with her daughter to watch the girls. This ended up being a great thing, because Iris and her little girl are such good friends but they don't get to see each other very often. Eloise actually did really well! And by really well I mean she didn't whittle Julia down with incessant screaming.

Matt and I went to a private party for a charity thing. There was an open bar and yummy snacks. I drank TWO drinks-- yowzers! It's like I'm going crazy! We got our picture taken, too. That was about it. We were still pretty hungry so we went out for Thai food, our favorite, and chatted. I feel like the two of us, without children, is just lifetimes ago. We are definitely in the rut of being co-parents and not as in touch as partners. We try, I think, and we want to be more in tune with each other, we just are very attached to our girls and have alot on our plates. I think knowing that it's not forever, just for right now, and luckily we're on the same page about where we're at. But it was nice, for two hours, to have just the two of us and act like adults. Matt kept introducing me as his wife so I had to remind him that, ahem, my finger is still bare of one important rock, mister! The nerve! Just kidding. I didn't mind. It was cute :)

Moments

Sometimes I feel like I get so wrapped up in the normal, mundane things about every day life that I miss out on the special moments. Sometimes, when I just stop and watch my family, I can feel really blown away that this is the life I get to lead.

This morning, over breakfast, the girls and I were just silently munching away, and I stopped and looked left at Iris and right at Eloise and for a moment I thought, this is nice! Just sitting here. The three of us having breakfast. I am sure in twenty years when I am sitting at he table with my adult children I will look at them and see them as a tiny as they are today. Always my babies.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Tag! What's in your fridge?

Someone, who?, posted a picture of the inside of their refrigerator on their blog not too long ago. I thought it was really neat and I decided to make out of the idea. So, get out your camera, take a picture of what's going on in your fridge, then tell everyone about it (including, ahem, me!)

So, here's my photo (I cheated a bit because it's fully stocked from shopping)



Let's see. Some notables:

Across the top we've got free-range eggs, organic blueberries, Matt's favorite thing ever-- cucumber chips, organic strawberries (which I was POd to find half of them rotten today even though I just bought them yesterday!). On the second shelf is lots of dairy like yogurt and cottage cheese, free range chicken breast and left-overs. On the bottom shelf is watermelon, OJ and yes, gasp, that is a box of wine hiding behind the salsa. I mostly got it for cooking! In the drawer is tofu, veggie hot dogs and cheese. On the bottom left is veggies and on the bottom right is usually fruit, though it's almost empty right now. In the door is organic milk, regular milk and rice milk (for Iris, Matt and me, respectively) and various condiments. Not pictured is the 12 pack of Henry Weinhard's Summer Wheat that got placed all willy-nilly in the fridge after this shot was taken. Oh man, that is some delicious beer. I think it's my new favorite summer beer! it is reminiscent of Leinenkugel's Honey Weiss. Anyone from WI will know Leinie's :)

Okay, so that's it! I would love to see and hear what's going on in your fridge!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

So much to say

There have been all sorts of exciting things going on around here. I'll start with an anniversary-- the end of May marked my one year anniversary of quitting my job in medical records so I could stay home full time with my daughters. It's been a roller coaster of a year, but every single day I am so grateful that I can be home with them. I secretly don't ever want to go back to work, but I suppose I'll have to some day. I think my true calling is in family administration. Maybe I can go to work for another family once my own children are grown? Hmmmm. Matt and I both feel like it's important to have one parent home with our girls and we also feel so lucky that we can make that happen. Even though it seems at times like it would have been nice to have been more "settled" in life before our girls were born, I do think that being at this place gives us a little freedom and helps us be able to go with the flow in terms of our family's needs.

Last night Iris decided to play doctor with Eloise. Apparently, to Iris, playing doctor in involves gathering the pieces of her animal train and pressing them in to various parts of her sister's body. Legs working? Check. Shoulders? Check. She loaded up her doctor gear in her purse and proceeded to examine Eloise for quite a while before Eloise was tired of the game. It was very cute.

This week we went to the zoo twice! It was alot of fun, albeit busy. There are so many freakin' school groups at the zoo this time of year, but luckily we have a membership and are there so often that I don't get too stressed about not seeing much or moving slowly. The main thing we have to do every time is hit the carousel. Iris LOVES the carousel and she has graduated from the stationary horses to the ones that move up and down.

Lastly, today was the opening day of kickball for Matt's kickball team. The girls and I went out to support him and the team and it was alot of fun. Later today we'll be going to a party and will visit with lots of other children and friends. Ah, summer has arrived!