Friday, July 27, 2007

My trip diary, day ten

Finally a blog about our day in photos!

We started out the day like every other. Tired. Lazy. Didn't get out of jammies until 1:00. Then things really started to pick up.

My mom and I played UpWords and drank diet Pepsi. We do this several times a day. I win the majority of the time. My poor mother is NOT thrilled. Look at those letters I get! Very sad.



Iris colored while we played UpWords.

Then she decided to take a break from coloring to snap some pictures.






After photos is was time to put baby Yellow to sleep. First she needed to be nursed.




Then she needed to be rocked and sung to (I got video of this, but I'm too lazy to get it on YouTube right now) and then I held on to her so she would stay asleep. Don't let the eyes fool you, she was fast asleep!



Then Iris came inside and colored some pictures of the doggies. I think this is her "best" picture to date. I absolutely love it!




Eloise got some smooches from two of my mom's dogs. She has three. The grayish one on the left is Alex. He is Lily's son. The one on the right is Lola. She is Alex's daughter. Not pictured is Ruby, Lola's mother. Ruby thinks Eloise is one of her puppies and treats her as such. The dogs are so cool because they are incredibly gentle with the girls.


After dinner we went to Frostie's. Yum. I love Frostie's sooooo much. Too much. My pants were fitting a bit snuggly last night, I noticed. Uh-oh. I got a butterscotch sundae, which I shared with Eloise, Iris got strawberry soft serve and I had them put whipped cream and a cherry on hers instead of on my my sundae. Grandma got blackberry and vanilla swirl in a cone. Everything at Frostie's is pink, pink, pink!







And that was it! Exciting, no?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

My trip diary, day nine

I am so thankful that Eloise is starting to sleep really well. Over the last few days she's developed a great routine (other than the havoc it caused when we went to Milwaukee on Tuesday!). Now she's napping great and every night I've been able to lay her down before I come to bed she hasn't woken up. Hooray! Of course, I am sure when we leave for Michigan on Saturday to spend a week at a cottage she'll be back to her sleep-hating self. We'll see!

On Wednesday my mom and I took the girls shopping. Or rather, we dragged them along. I picked out some things for my sister and Matt to wear for our family picture and a couple cute things for myself at Banana Republic. I normally don't ever shop there, but it was the outlet mall and I'm finally feeling decent about my body and I found a skirt and a top I really liked for a good price. We had to bribe Iris by letting her ride on all of the coin-operated cars that litter the pathways at the outlet mall.

My sister's son gave Iris his Spongebob scooter to take back to Grandma's house for the week so Iris has been having fun riding it up and down the walkway and the driveway. In the morning before it got too hot and muggy I was wearing Eloise on my back and walking with Iris down the street. She puts one foot on it and pushes with the other, never putting both feet on it at once. I guess it's fun for her, so I figured I don't need to bother showing her the "right" way to do it!

We can't wait for Matt to get here tomorrow night! I am pumping lots of milk so my parents can watch the girls while I drive to Milwaukee to pick him up. He has been sooooo busy at work the past week and will very, very much need some R&R when he gets here.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

My trip diary, days seven and eight

Okay, now time is starting to fly by! Whew! I can't believe we've been here just over a week already. The vacation is 1/4 over with. We've been having fun.

Yesterday was another lazy day. Most days we spend at least some time out in the yard playing in the sandbox and wading pool that my mom set up for the girls. In the late afternoon I decided we needed to get over to Shopko to buy some fun things to help keep Iris entertained lest she pilfer through any of my mom's things any more. We got lots of crafty supplies and a coloring book and a sticker book. That should make her happy, I thought. Oh, and two- TWO!- pairs of shoes (and honey bunny, when you read this and your eyes roll back in your head over learning that Iris has even MORE shoes, well, I'm sorry. I'm weak.). She then proceeded to throw a monster size hissy fit in the store because the cart was so full of all of the crap I was buying for her that there was no room for her to sit in it. Oh, the horror! She screamed all the way through the check out line. Yay. I was so mad because I thought she was being an ungrateful little brat and then I went oh, duh, she's three. She doesn't think like an adult. She just wanted to ride in the cart. We kissed and made up. All was well.

Then we met my folks at Culver's for some burgers, fries and custard followed by a trip to the park. Iris was thrilled that there were other kids there to play with!

Today the girls and I left after Eloise's nap to go to Milwaukee for the afternoon and evening. We first stopped at Beans and Barley, a store I used to work at 11 years ago. Sadly, I recognized a few familiar faces while we were there. Then we stopped at another grocery store because Beans didn't have the beer I wanted (more Spotted Cow!) and then we made our way over to my sister's house. We played and ate and drank wine and beer and talked. It was so much fun. My brother-in-law was so sweet with Eloise, carrying her around and helping me out. My sister spent some time alone with her, as well. I really am loving breaks from her because she is like super glue to me 99% of the time. On this vacation we have been more attached than ever and I'm wearing a wee bit thin. It's so wonderful to see her bonding with my family, people who love her dearly. I was in their kitchen washing the dinner dishes while I watched my girls play with my sister's family out in their back yard. It was so wonderful. Everyone so happy and enjoying their time together. I was having a moment of "I could TOTALLY live in Milwaukee!" and I wish that the city had more redeeming factors for me than just my sister's family being there. I'm still not sure that's enough to sustain our happiness should we decide to move there. But damn, if we were guaranteed plenty of nights like we had tonight, I'd be in heaven.

We left at 8:00 and got back to my folk's at 9:30. I was dead tired, as were the girls, but now I'm wide awake enjoying the stillness of the night when everyone is sleeping.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Iris and James


Iris and James
Originally uploaded by mama_milkers

I am finally starting to get some vacation photos up on Flickr. Please feel free to click on this photo or on the Flickr badge to the right to check them all out!

My trip diary, days five and six

We had another super fun day yesterday. Went in to Milwaukee to see my sister's family and their new home. I was feeling very sad about the sale of their old home. It might seem strange, but it felt a teeny bit like my home, too. I lived there for several months before moving out west and that was always the home I came back to. Sniffle. Well, their new home really and truly is fantastic. It's in a wonderful neighborhood and, like their old home, it has lots of charm and super cute details. It has a bigger yard, as well, which is very nice! I think we'll all like it there :) My sister and her husband have two boys who are four and almost seven. They played so well with Iris and even with Eloise! It was so neat to see them all together. It makes your heart melt, I swear! Eloise and I took a nap on the couch and my, that was lovely, as well. We got back to my folk's house super late and the girls and I headed outside to try and catch lightening bugs, but alas, they were sparse and we only caught one. Which we let go after about two minutes!

Today was a lazy day. We sat around all morning and played outside for a bit. Eloise took a nice long nap again, thank goodness! After lunch I took the girls to Culvers, which is a frozen custard place that is big here in WI. It was great. Well, until I decided to stand Eloise up on a chair and then look away for a moment during which she promptly tumbled to the floor and started howling in the middle of the busy seating area. Oops. Then we went shopping. I was due for a little retail therapy! Got some super, super cute stuff for the girls at the Gymboree and Little Me outlets and then headed home.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Weaned?

So, I'm not sure if this is too premature to speak of, but I think Iris may have weaned. She hasn't even asked to nurse since we got to Wisconsin. I am excited about this particularily because, A)I was feeling ready for her to wean, and B)In my heart I didn't want to force her, I wanted her to wean herself. I think she may have. We are doing the "don't offer/don't refuse" method although in the past few months I have re-directed Iris's requests a handful of times when I just couldn't muster up a nursing session. She didn't ever seem to mind.

Anyways, if she really is weaned, it's so exciting. What a milestone. We'll see what happens over the next few weeks before I start writing any lengthy memoirs on the subject, but I just wanted to share this!

My trip diary, day four

Today was the best day so far. Even though Eloise didn't go to sleep until well past 1:00 am last night. Even though she screamed bloody murder instead of napping this morning. Even though I was a zombie for most of the day. Today was the best day so far because we met Stephanie and her beautiful and charming children at the zoo in Madison this afternoon. Stephanie is one of those people who is like someone you feel like you've known forever. We just started chatting immediately and there wasn't any of that weird "first date" nervousness. Iris and her son James loved each other. Love, love, loved. It was too cute. Ruby and Eloise were a bit too little to interact too much but managed to paw at each other a bit. Ruby looked, to me, like a young Iris. Seeing the two of them next to each other one might think they were definitely sisters. I especially enjoyed that our children were all about the same speed. Wanting to do the same things, be them sweet or sassy, and I really liked that Stephanie seemed like a similar kind of mama that I am, which made her super easy for me to be comfortable around.

Although we were at the zoo, we didn't see too many animals. It turns out the most exciting parts of the zoo have nothing to do with animals. Who knew? We played in the grass, ate some snacks, enjoyed sno-cones and rode on the carousel. I got some great photos and will try to figure out how to get them on to my folk's computer this weekend.

Perhaps the very sweetest thing of all was that Stephanie brought the girls a ton of things to play with. A big box full of toys for Eloise and a back pack chock full of all kinds of things to entertain Iris. As Iris opened it she said "Oh my goodness!" and her face just lit up.

We hope to see Stephanie and her family in a couple of weeks and go out with both of our families.

Thanks Stephanie for pointing out Trader Joe's, as well! We got some bags of yummy food and I have renewed energy for the rest of this trip after such a fun day.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

My trip diary, days two and three

We're starting to settle in a bit. This year's trip isn't anywhere near as relaxing as last years. Thanks to a baby that pretty much hates to sleep and hates to be anywhere but in my arms or at least in my sight. I'm a little bit exhausted. At home she and Iris sleep in separate rooms, but not here, so I can't even go in to the bedroom and try to nurse her to sleep or deal with her at all because she will inevitably scream and wake up Iris. Sigh. Last night and tonight she wouldn't stay asleep. In fact, it's pushing 11:00 here right now and she's crawling around on the floor because, damn it, I needed a break from her and I just couldn't keep trying to rock her without wanting to throw her out the window. How many more nights until Matt gets here?

Yesterday we just tried to catch up with everything. We played in the yard a bit and, well, that was about the most exciting part. I went to a natural foods store to buy the girls some things they are accustomed to eating and I never thought I would say this, but man is it cheap to shop for organic foods in Seattle! At least you're not in no-man's land Wisconsin, right?

Today we ventured out twice. The first was a trip to the dreaded Wal-Mart. I hadn't been in one forever, partly because I have sworn them off and partly because there isn't one anywhere near where we live. Good thing. We bought fabric to make the girls some cute things as well as a case of diapers and the dresses the girls will wear when we get our family portraits done at the cabin the week after next. After dinner my mom and I took the girls out for ice cream. I love the place we go to because everything is just how I remember from the soft-serve places of my childhood. And it's cheap. Eloise had some hot fudge sundae, of course. Again, bad mommy, bad!

Iris has been, for lack of a better word, a total brat. It's so frustrating. I just realized tonight as I breathed a sigh of relief that she was in bed that it's probably because we really haven't gotten her out of the house enough to really get her energy out and everything in my folk's house is off-limits for her to touch. I've seriously sad "no" to her about ten million more times than I've been able to say "yes!" and I hate that. At our home everything is kid-friendly. There are very, very few things she can't touch so it makes the space easy for her to explore. There are also few toys here for her, so she's just dying for something to do, I think. My mom has some pool noodles on the dining room table that Iris wants to swing around the house. Try telling a three year old that a pile of pool noodles shouldn't be played with! Yeah. Exactly. We're meeting some friends at the zoo tomorrow, so that will really help. Hopefully I'll start catching up on sleep as Eloise gets used to the routine here and that will help my energy and patience, as well.

So far it's nice being here, but a little boring and a lot frustrating. I miss Matt alot.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

My trip diary, day one

I thought it might be fun to keep a journal of what we do with our days on our trip so that it can keep everyone up-to-date. I'll start with one of the least fun days of all time, the first travel day.

We had a mid-afternoon non-stop flight, which was nice. It was delayed an hour, but we knew that before we even left for the airport, so it wasn't too big of a deal. Matt helped me get the crew in to the terminal and all checked in and bid us a fond farewell as we stepped in to the line to get through security. It was pretty easy getting through security, surprisingly. The folks we dealt with were nice, which isn't true of some airport security I've been through. We got on the plane without incident, as well. Of course, that's just where the fun started. Iris is getting easier to travel with, but Eloise, well, I've been know to describe her as a 22 pound screaming ferret and she held true to that description yesterday. I had packed a ton of toys for her to keep her entertained and I'm pretty sure we went through most of them just while the plane was taxing down the runway. Fun stuff. A friend was sweet enough to borrow us her portable DVD player but all Iris wanted to do was press all of the buttons on it so that distraction was short-lived. I am soooo glad I went through the hassle of bringing it with us for her to spend 10 minutes watching it on the plane. Grrr. Eloise did manage to sleep for some of the flight, after I nursed and rocked her. I held her in my arms and attempted to appease Iris at the same time, not so easy. Once Eloise woke up she was DONE with the plane. She acted like I was pulling our her toenails when I tried to strap her back in to car seat. I ended up stuffing her full of cheese puffs (at least they were "natural"!) and one of her sister's suckers (yeah, nothing redeeming there). Eloise grabbed it from her sister and seriously freaked if I even looked at her like I was going to take it back, so yeah, well, my eleven month old polished off a cotton candy Dum-Dum.

When we landed a nice young gentleman helped me get my brood off of the plane and my folks were waiting for us at the airport. It took forever to get Eloise's car seat in the car. I don't understand why it's so difficult in some vehicles but a piece of cake in others. I was pretty pissed off by the time I even got it somewhat in place. There was an hour drive to my folk's house during which I stuffed Eloise full of more cheese puffs to keep her from screaming the whole way. She seriously hates the car seat and had spent more than enough time in it already, thank you very much.

Once here at my folk's house Eloise proceeded to point out every single thing that my mom had failed to child proof. Apparently clusters of breakable knick-knacks on low-lying shelves are pretty appealing to babies. Who knew? Of course, Iris had to tell my mom that this house is "the best house she ever saw!". Apparently the decorating scheme appeals greatly to three year olds. My folks re-decorate about once ever season so whenever we make a trip back here there's lots of new things to check out.

I finally wrestled Eloise to sleep just after midnight local time, which was 10:00 home time. Once the sun came up, just before 6:00 local time, she thought it was time to get up and play! Woo Hoo! It took over an hour to get her back down. Needless to say, I'm a bit groggy today. The girls are both doing really good, though. My folk's have three dogs and they are a bit over-whelming but are very sweet with the girls.

Today we are relaxing out in the million degree heat with 99% humidity. At least there is a breeze!

That's all I've got for now. More fun and exciting adventures to be reported on soon!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

(Two days shy of) 11 months!



I'm going to post this now since we'll be flying to WI on the 17th and, well, I won't have much time for blogging then.

Let's see. The theme this past month seems to be that Eloise hated everything. Mostly sleep. Not a fan of sleep. At least at night. I can get her to sleep fine, beautifully even, during the day, but once she senses that we're trying to put her down for the night she magically transforms in to a screaming 22 pound ferret and the wrestling match begins. Matt and I both are a little sick of this routine, but luckily for Matt Eloise will be 2,000 miles away for the next several bed times. I am sure he will crack open a beer every night in celebration.

She also seems to hate being out of someones arms for very long. Even if she is sitting next to you on the floor, she yanks on your pants and flashes you a quivering lower lip before breaking in to giant crocodile tears. It's quite sad. Well, it was for the first 100 times. Now it's just kind of annoying. Man, I sound like a terrible mama, don't I? I'm tired.

Other than that, she's still cruising furniture but isn't terribly interested in walking or standing on her own. She's soooo good at crawling I fear it will be a while before she walks. Everyone who sees her do her special patented crawl remarks "wow, she can move fast!". I don't remember many of Iris's milestones (bad mama, BAD!) but I do remember that she took her first steps at 11 months and was walking 100% of the time by 12 months.

She's also turned in to a bit of a brute, which probably comes from being the younger sibling to an older sister who pounds on her most of the time. She greets other babies by just trying to smash them and consequently making them cry. Yay! Guess who isn't getting invited to many playdates?

Eloise is babbling a ton. Non-stop it seems on most days, but her only legible word is still "mama". Mostly said when coupled with a quivering lip "maaaamaaaaaaaa".

As if you couldn't tell, 10 months was not my favorite. I'm sleep deprived but plugging along. We will spend the vast majority of Eloise's eleventh month in Wisconsin, so I'm sure I'll have a bunch of fun things to report for her one year update!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Apparently, I rock.

Stephanie from Built to Last thinks I'm a Rockin' Girl Blogger. Aw, shucks, mama! Thanks! I think all of the blogs I read (see my sidebar) are written by rockin' girl, uh, bloggers, so there you go. How easy was that? I'm bad about these types of things, though the little junior high part of me really loves the positive reinforcement of being recognized!

So, it was really, really hot here. On Wednesday it got up in the mid 90's. Yesterday is was barely warm enough to wear shorts in the morning but warmed up about eight billion degrees by the late afternoon. Today starts out 60 degrees and overcast. This weather is so weird. I am THE biggest baby in the world when it comes to hot weather. Ask Matt. He was making fun of me for being so whiney about it. However, it was he who suggested a trip to the mall to escape Wednesday's heat. Ha- HA! It's not too often you'll hear Matt utter the words "let's just go to the mall".

This afternoon we'll be heading to Matt's company picnic. We're all really excited about it. Is that weird? It's a really, really cool picnic, though. So many kiddie games that Iris is going to lose her mind. So much free food that I'm going to have to wear a muu muu. Reason #912 that gigantic corporations make such great employers.

We're looking forward to a fun weekend. Tomorrow evening we're all attending a friend's wedding and then Sunday will be spent organizing and packing for our big trip.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Mamamilker's Midwest tour!

Next week I'll be taking off for my blogging mid-west tour. There are lots of new friends to meet, for the girls as well as me!

A little preview of who we're hoping to see:

Stephanie from Built to Last. She lives pretty close to where my folks do, so we're hoping to see them once or twice while we're there. Possibly a zoo trip is in order? I can't wait to see our two little redheads next to each other :)

Jen from 2 in August. She is over in Michigan and we'll be seeing her while we're staying over there. She has a little guy the same age as Eloise so I am pretty sure the cuteness of each of our babes will be exponentially intensified when we set them next to each other!

Charis from Lostview Farm. I can't wait to get in her hammock with a cold drink in my hand. Ahhhh . . . .

And I still have yet to confirm any plans (hmmm, maybe it's time to go send another email!) but we're really hoping to see Ashlee from New Mama's Nest and Steph from Adventures in Babywearing.

Whew! I love meeting people in real life that I have known from the internet. I have made so many awesome friends through the time I have spent online and it's been so much fun, as well. That's one great thing about making friends online, wherever you go, you've got friends to see!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Overheard in our home this morning

Me: "Hon, would you like some coffee!"

Hon: "Sure!"

So, who do you think I was talking to? Turns out, this is a frequent verbal exchange I have with my three year old. Although I would love to make coffee for my sweet shmoopsy poopsy, Matt, he's not a fan, so it's just me and my three year old left to drink the coffee in this home.

Just so I don't have any angry parents replying, Iris take her coffe like this: about a quarter cup of decaf, a little bit of sugar and fill the rest of the cup with milk. Voila! Her way tastes pretty darn good, I must admit.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Ups and Downs

Today was filled with an amazing amount of ups and downs.

Down: It started last night at 11:00 when I went in the bedroom to comfort a hysterical Eloise who decided she was not, under any circumstances, going to go to sleep. By 3:00 am I finally gave her some Tylenol with the idea that if she was that upset for that long surely there must be a physical reason for it. She promptly conked out and slept decently until she was woken up at 8:30. No sleeping in for her!

Up: Eloise took a two hour morning nap.

Down: Iris was very sassy with me and lost the privilege of going to the wading pool after lunch. I argued with her for a good hour before deciding not only was she not going to the wading pool, but she was going to take a nap, too. Surely I was setting myself up for disaster by forcing her to take a nap.

Up: Iris DID nap, and at the same time as Eloise! I had a huge break where I laid on the couch and zoned out. It was fantastic.

Up: We made plans to meet a friend at the wading pool.

Down: We get there and it's actually pretty cold out.

Up: Amazingly, the water was warm, so the pool wasn't so bad.

Up: We went to dinner with the same friends at a fantastic Mexican restaurant. Iris and her friend had a blast sitting next to each other making funny faces and eventually dancing around next to the table.

Down: After dinner, as we waved goodbye to our friends, the car won't start. Damn it.

Up: Same friends come back to save us by trying to jump start our car and driving the girls and I, then eventually Matt (who stayed with the car to find a tow truk driver to pick it up), home.

Down: Car is towed to the shop.

Down: Now we can't go to Matt's parents for the weekend like we had planned. Matt is really, really down about this. I'm not as down only because I was very much dreading the long car ride with Eloise (aka the baby who HATES the car) and another night of bad sleep in a foreign room.

Up: Although Eloise's early evening sleep has been for shit the past many nights, she actually went to be at 8:30 tonight and is still fast asleep now, two and a half hours later. This is quite miraculous.

Up/Down: Now we're car-less and plan-less for the weekend. Whatever will we do? Time will tell!

Total Ups: 8
Total Downs: 7

The Ups win! It was an awesome day, after all!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

School

Iris's first day at her new pre-school was on Tuesday. She is just going for a few days this summer before and after our vacation, but we are hoping and praying and crossing our fingers that she gets in for fall. Apparently our fate is hanging in the arms of a family who is deciding if they want to send their child to pre-K instead of keep them at this school. If you have a moment, please send some lovely pre-K vibes to this family, allrighty?

So, this school. It just might be about the coolest school ever. It's very small, only a few children there on any given day. On Tuesday there were five children and all of them had younger siblings. Every single parent was carrying their babe in a sling. The father who was working in the classroom that day held their babe (who was five days older than Eloise) in a sling the entire time. The teachers believe in positive discipline and have created an environment that is safe for children to explore all sorts of things that they may not get to at home (like Iris). We were asked to fill out an information form so that they can get to know our family and Iris a little better. There were many questions about the child's birth, what their home life is like, what our hopes and dreams are for our child, things like that. What really struck me was that there was a question asking if our child is still breastfeeding. What makes this question particularly interesting is that this school is only for children aged 3-5. Also, today when we got there, another mama recognized me from an MDC gathering we were at last summer at the zoo. How cool is that?

I often think about homeschooling and if it would be the right choice for us, but honestly, if I can send my children to a school like this, I couldn't imagine a better choice.

I'm almost sad that Iris will have to miss four weeks of school while we go on vacation. This school truly is fantastic.

Monday, July 02, 2007

You're all going to hate me . . .

but I'm going to change the name of my blog AGAIN. Matt and I really want to use the title of this one for our private blog and I want to go back to a more mama-centered name for this one since it's more about my experiences as a mama versus a blog about my daughters. Get it?

So, that said, I don't have a clue for a new name. All of you smart, witty folks get your thinking caps on! A reader came up with this current name, so I have faith you'll come up with a new name, too! lol

And I won't be changing the URL, just the name, so you'll still be able to find me easily.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Pow!


Pow!
Originally uploaded by mama_milkers

Here is the shiner Eloise got from having a Little Tikes flashlight chucked at her face during a car trip yesterday. Sigh.