Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 kicked ass, bring on 2008!

I am looking back on an amazing year with a champagne-induced sleepiness as well as a headache, so bear with me.

2007 was amazing all around. Yes, we hit some bumps in the road, but that's pretty normal for any year. Nothing majorly terrible happened, we all have our happiness and health, and in fact the year was filled with plenty of highlights.

The only real lowlight I can think of is that I was hit with some crazy anxiety in early 2007, but you know, as far as issues go, it wasn't so bad. It was really good I had a huge support system, a great doctor and a great therapist and I'm doing soooo much better now. Some people drag this kind of stuff out for years without really knowing what's going on or getting the right kind of help, so I'm very grateful it turned out to be something manageable.

Our 2007 highlights:

The big trip this past summer to WI and MI. Yes, there were some rocky points, but you know, when I look back, I only remember the insanely fun stuff. The parts that make you think "ahhhh, summer vacation rules". Iris still talks about our vacation, the cottage we stayed in, the cool stuff we got to do, it's awesome. I hope she remembers that trip forever as her first real vacation and all of the fun she had. Matt and I got in a whopper of a fight at one point, which, of course, sucked, but it also made us step back and realize how incredibly strong we are and one big fight didn't throw us off track.

My 30th birthday surprise party and subsequent marriage proposal. Ah, a night I will always remember. Matt pulled off the greatest surprise ever given to me. I can't believe he (and everyone else involved!) did such an amazing job. If that wasn't enough, he pulled me aside and asked me to marry him. Does a night really get much better than that?

Every single amazing milestone with Eloise and Iris. It seems like every day they are both doing something new and completely mind-blowing. When Eloise has a new word it's like she invented that word and should get a damn Nobel prize for her genius. Iris constantly has new stories, new songs, new drawings and new insights on the world. Sometimes when I quietly observe her going about her day I almost die from my heart exploding of sheer joy and pride. How did I manage to bear a child who is so creative and smart? Yes, my children are crazy sassy, but when I look back on the year, I don't remember that stuff. I think it's the parental amnesia that keeps us all going and that helps many first born children have any sort of prayer of having siblings.

In 2007 Matt stopped drinking AND smoking, two things I honestly thought he would never do. I couldn't be more proud of him and his accomplishment and how hard he works every single day to stay sober and healthy.

I must admit I'm a little nervous for 2008 as I always keep in the back of my head that things could fall apart at any moment. Ah yes, the pessimist rears her ugly head! We have a wedding to look forward to next summer which will likely make the year completely unforgettable. We'll see what else the year has to offer!

Happy New Year All!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Matt at dinner


Matt at dinner
Originally uploaded by mama_milkers

Matt and I enjoyed an amazing dinner at Oceanaire tonight. It's amazing what a little night out will do for re-kindling a relationship. We had adult conversation, didn't have to ask anyone to keep their voice down or stop throwing food and enjoyed a very, very expensive and delicious meal courtesy of an extremely generous gift card.

I remember the first night Matt and I went out alone together after Eloise was born. She was a few months old by that point. It felt so strange to try and connect on this whole "new" level, but now we really look forward to the time away and make the most of it.

Oh, the irony

Yesterday I was going to sit down and write a blog post about how poorly behaved my littlest sweetie is when it comes to having friends over for a play date. You see, we had a couple of friends here for a little bit, a friend of Iris's from school and his little sister. Eloise was less than a stellar hostess as she walloped the little girl and pretty much just made her cry as much as she could. Of course, I had hoped I could sit back and smile as the kids happily played, but instead I realized that I needed to stay right on top of Eloise to keep her from doing too much more harm.

Well, here's the kicker: today we all went for a play date over at Matt's bosses house, as she has a little guy the same age as Eloise. Guess who was doing all of the crying there? Yep, Miss Eloise. Every time she got poked or pushed she broke down sobbing. It was so interesting to see her go from the brute to the fragile little flower.

In other news, Iris has been impressing us all over the place with her smartypantsedness (and yes, that's a word!). Last night I was playing a little game online (this game, if you're looking for a good way to waste time!). Iris wanted to help, so I had her clicking on the touch pad buttons on the laptop. We decided to check out some other sites that had fun little kid games and headed over to Sesame Street. Iris was able to use the touch pad on the lap top and move the cursor around and click on things. She could play most of the games completely independently! Matt and I were so surprised she had the coordination to figure it out. Laptop touch pads aren't that easy to use, either. I had thought that eventually we would get a real mouse for her to use, but I just thought it would be a while before she got in to it. Nope!

Also, this afternoon she was looking at a drawing someone from her school made and asked "why is there a trapezoid on there?"

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas gifts from Grandma and Grandpa

I wanted to put these videos up for my parents to see the girls opening the Christmas gifts they sent. My mom knit the girls matching sweaters and they are sooooo adorable!




Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

I wanted to put some videos up for my family (and of course anyone else who thinks it would be interesting!).


Here the girls are coming in to the living room to see what Santa brought. Sorry about the lack of light in the first two. It didn't occur to me to turn on the light. D'Oh!

They didn't notice the kitchen set until we pointed it out, then they immediately went to check it out.

Iris is helping Eloise open one of the gifts she gave her. Iris picked out a baby doll with a binkie and a kitty on her clothes and a notebook with kitties on it. See a theme? Eloise LOVES kitties. If you listen closely you can hear her say "kitty!".

We had a really fun morning. The girls slept until their usual 8:00-ish and Iris led the way in to the living room to see what Santa had left for her and her sister. Eloise was excited, as well, but since she didn't know what was happening she didn't quite have the build up of anticipation like Iris did.

I especially liked that there wasn't an insane pile of gifts like there was last year. Almost every single thing they got this morning went with the theme of the kitchen set, so although there was a lot of little parts, it made for something cohesive. There are several family members we haven't had the joy of meeting up with, either, so those gifts will extend the celebration out a bit, as well. I think last year it worked out that everyone mailed their gifts to our home and so there were that many more gifts on the pile.

This year we also let the girls open a few presents before the big day to help spread it out, as well. I think that was a smart idea, as well.

Every year that I spend away from my parents and brother's and sister's families I feel pretty sad. Christmas is so much fun at my parent's house and getting to see all of the extended relatives on my mother's side is just a blast. My parents try to make me feel better by reminding me what a pain travel is at this time of year and how bad the weather can get, but still, I wish we were all there to join in what I remember being the most magical part of growing up.

And the real Christmas miracle today is that it is SNOWING! We got one dusting of snow this season so far and that's it. It hasn't even gotten cold enough to snow, actually. Right now big fluffy white flakes are falling and the neighborhood is quiet. Hopefully some of it will start sticking and we can all pile on our winter gear and head outside!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Playing Candy Land


Playing Candy Land
Originally uploaded by mama_milkers

Iris and her friend actually plated this the whole way through, though I think they kept switching who was red and who was yellow. It was so sweet I thought I was going to melt.

Eloise doing what she does best


Eloise doing what she does best
Originally uploaded by mama_milkers

We met some friends at the Everett Children's Museum a week and a half ago. It was a good time, actually, despite what this picture might indicate.

Christmas jammies


Christmas jammies
Originally uploaded by mama_milkers

For some reason Iris decided she no longer liked her Christmas pj's after wearing them countless times already. We bribed her in to wearing them again with the promise of taking her picture with her sister. Of course, she's just staring at the television and couldn't care less about the photo.

Merry Christmas!


Digging for China
Originally uploaded by mama_milkers

I thought you might enjoy this one :)

'Twas the afternoon before Christmas

And here we sit like on any other day. Fun!

Matt went to work this morning, because apparently corporate America opens their offices on Christmas Eve if it falls on a weekday. Who knew?

My friend Melissa and her son came over this morning and we exchanged the kids gifts. Melissa is a thoughtful gift-picker-outer and gift-maker so the girls were thrilled. Of course, in just under an hour Iris already broke something from her sister's gift. Did I expect any less?

Speaking of gifts, I feel compelled to point out my annoyance at parents who seriously control the kinds of things that other people are allowed to give their children as gifts. I do realize that some people have serious philosophical objections to guns or something, but it seems like it's really gone overboard, in my opinion. Parents not allowing anything battery-operated, plastic, or "made in China". It's crazy. You know what I do when someone gives my child a gift? I thank them profusely for spending their hard-earned money and time in picking out something they think my children would like. Of course I am happy to lend suggestions to those who specifically ask for ideas on what to give my kids but I would never refuse a gift that they are given. I am sitting here even trying to think of one thing I wouldn't allow them to have and I don't think I can. Obviously something that is dangerous, like if they were given a toy that could easily break or is sharp, but that's about it. Oh, I'd draw the line at lewd or obscene clothing, as well.

We are lucky in that the people who are so amazingly generous enough to give our children gifts tend to not choose things like Bratz dolls or machine guns, but even if they did I doubt I would not allow them in our home. We do have to pick and choose the toys that we keep in storage and regularly send seldom played with toys to Goodwill simply because of a space issue. Unfortunately the gigantic stuffed horse Great-Grandma got Iris a couple Christmas's ago has rarely seen the light of day given that it takes up like half of the living room. Someday we'll have space for it, though. Iris may be 13 when that happens, but, damn it!, she'll have her stuffed horse!

I just really had to get that off my chest because it is one little thing that annoys me to no end, especially during the holidays when people give out of the goodness of their hearts. I hate the thought of the message being passed along to children that if a toy or piece of clothing doesn't fit in to a very rigid set of rules then it's not acceptable when all gifts should be received with gratitude.

I feel better now that I vented.

Tonight after the girls go to bed Matt and I have a huge amount of Santa's work to do. Toys have to be put away in storage to make way for new toys. You think Iris will wonder if the real Santa did all of that moving himself? Hmmmm. Things need to be wrapped and set up. The kitchen set pieces need to come up from storage. If we had a whole night of uninterrupted time to do this it would be fine, but Eloise's sleep has been deplorable at best, so one of us will likely be wrangling Santa's duties alone while the other wrangles a screaming toddler. Fun! Happy Holidays!

We are going out to dinner tonight, though, as is a tradition we started last year because it works really well. You know, no dishes to do or meals to cook. Sweet! Christmas Eve tacos anyone? Feliz Navidad!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

What the heck?

Iris has such confusing behavior. I often find it hard to know how to help her because I just can't figure out what is going on in her brain.

She's been acting extra confusing ever since she was sick several weeks ago. Her latest thing, since the sickness, is that she always talks about being sick or not feeling good. She wanted to come home from school early one day ;ast week because she didn't feel good. She rejects the idea of going to play at the park or visiting friends or going to the store because she's "sick". But she's not sick, is the frustrating part. So, I suspect it's something emotional (which I touched on in a post about her coming home from school last week), yet I don't have a clue how to reach her or figure out what is behind it.

Her other thing, which has gotten worse lately, is that she has a very, very sensitive sense of smell. I have noticed that some things don't bother her, like the candles that I burn almost daily, but bad smells really upset her. For instance, last weekend we went to a birthday party and as all the kids sat down to eat she wouldn't sit on any of the upholstered chairs because she didn't like the way they smelled. She was practically hysterical about it and we left the party with her very upset. Today she was going to accompany me the to the store with a promise of a treat and getting to look at toys but she flipped out when she got in the car and it smelled bad. To her credit, it did smell a little bad (I later discovered some old milk spilled on the floor) but it was barely noticeable to me. To her it was bad enough to cause a breakdown and a refusal to come to the store even after I restated the promise of a treat and toy browsing.

The biggest bit of confusing behavior was exhibited clearly this evening. Her very good friend came over to spend time with us so her parents could go to a party. Her friend plays lovely with other kids, is a great listener, is all around a pretty "good" kid. We had zero problems with her. This is the same friend who came over last Friday and laid down with Iris for the evening, her parents picking her up close to midnight.Anyways, it was the same routine tonight, but the friend was a little apprehensive about being in Iris's bed because last time Iris would just not stop talking and was keeping her awake. The three of us made an agreement that if her friend asked her to stop talking and she didn't, then I would put her friend in my bed for the night. Probably not 10 minutes in to the night I hear a squabble on the monitor and the friend is crying, Iris is yelling, things are a mess. Iris had whacked her friend with a book and was being very, very loud. Her friend wanted to go lay in my bed and I couldn't blame her. After the relocation I went to Iris's bed and sat down with her, explaining we had an agreement that she didn't keep so I had to mover her friend to my bed and that it's not okay to hit or yell at our friends.

I mean, what the hell?!?! I sort of get being a jerk to your parents or to your sister, but your best friend? Why would you hit her and yell at her, especially when you wanted more than anything for her to come over and play with you and sleep in bed with you?!?! I don't understand the behavior at all. Of course, Iris's impeccably behaved friend fell right to sleep in the new bed while Iris sat up in her room and made all kinds of noise for maybe a good hour before going to sleep. Mental note: no longer invite children over who are better behaved than mine. It makes my kids look bad.

I try very hard not to compare her to other children, but I couldn't help but think, um, gee Iris, look at how much nicer your friend treats other people!

At school on Tuesday I was the working parent and Iris got in several altercations with other children. More than any other child did that day. She fought over toys and over details of the space ship the children were building. She pushed and hit other children. It was really overwhelming for me and I was very glad the teacher was there to sort things out. I could stand back and, frankly, take some mental notes while she handled things.

I joked with Matt tonight that when our girls are seven and nine they will have no friends because Iris will be too mean to other children and Eloise will just beat other children up.

I thought that kids learned not to be assholes to other kids when they realized that other kids won't want to hang out with them if they act that way. So why hasn't Iris learned this? Is she still too young? Most of the kids she knows are older than her by six months or more. Is that enough of an age gap to really make a big difference with this sort of thing?

Ah, if only I knew.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Bursting with excitement

Iris is sooooo excited for Santa to come. I love witnessing the magic through her. Maybe, just a little, I'm re-living my own childhood by instilling the joy of Santa in her. I remember being beyond giddy in the days leading up to Christmas. It's like you couldn't even get any more excited or you would burst open.

We were supposed to travel this weekend to see Matt's family, but because the mountain pass we drive over is going to be quite snowy/icy over the next few days, we're staying put at home. We're all pretty bummed. Even though visits to my future in-laws are stressful they are also alot of fun. We were going to make cookies, open gifts, eat yummy food. I wouldn't sleep, of course, because Eloise hates sleeping normally and when she's away from home it's even worse, but it is worth it every few months to have a nice visit. I'm not sure what we'll do over the next few days to fill our time before Christmas. I thought the trip would be a great distraction for Iris, we have been talking for a couple of weeks how Santa will come on the night we get home from Grandma and Grandpa's house, and now? Now we just sit and wait! I made sure to explain to Iris that Santa was still coming here even though our plans changed. Iris demanded to know who put the ice on the roads so we couldn't get to Grandma's house.

I wish it would snow! We've only had one paltry little snowfall so far this season and I'm ready for more! It gets almost cold enough, but that's all we get. Cold and blah. Give us the snow!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Making my lists

I like to write things down. I like to keep lists and spreadsheets of information that is important to me to remember and refer to. My newest obsession has become writing down my food intake, though I'm quickly starting to feel like maybe this is where I step over the line in to "wee bit crazy".

For example, I am freakishly obsessed with our families finances. I keep a budget, track expenses, give myself little variations of smiley faces depending on how good I did at spending money each day (sadly, this actually is true!). In short, I'm crazy over it. It's good, though, because I've really gotten a handle on our family's spending, but it comes with a price.

So, this leads me to think, do I really want to go down that road with my food intake? Giving myself a food allowance, tracking what I eat with happy smileys next to my good days and sad smileys next to me bad ones? You know, I don't think I do. Even if I am watching what I eat, I still want to enjoy it. I want to eat a cookie in bliss without writing down the calories/carbs/fat/protein that is in it. I want to maintain a healthy relationship with food that doesn't require list keeping.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Sweet!

I don't think I've been writing too much about it on this blog, but I've been working pretty hard on losing weight over the past couple of months. So far I've lot about 5 lbs. My jeans, which I sized down back in September, are getting loose on me and I got a smaller size today and they fit! I'm so beyond excited. I mean, I should say they fit other than my jiggly tummy doing the muffin top thing. Yummy. I hope that with my continued dedication to yoga (focusing mostly on my abs) will slowly whittle that down. We'll see. I have five more months to reach my goal of being my "wedding size" by the beginning of summer. Hopefully it will be as easy to lose the next 5-10 lbs as it was to lose the first 5!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sixteen month update!

Tomorrow Eloise will be sixteen months old! She has been a lot of fun and a huge pain in the ass all at once this past month.

Some highlights:

She is a fantastic dancer. Her latest style involved putting one arm up in the air and the other sort of waving around at her waist. This has become her signature move and is sort of reminiscent of playing air guitar. She loves when music starts and will just stand in front of the stereo and dance. Please observe:



She hates sleep. Matt and I have tried transitioning her to a new night time routine, but it's wearing us out as it takes her close to two hours for her to fall asleep. No, we're not letting her cry-it-out, but rather a modified version of the famous "no cry sleep solution". A wise mama on MDC suggested maybe she just isn't ready for the change? Now why didn't I think of that? Oh, right, cause I'm freakin' exhausted.

Eloise experienced her first real snowfall. Last year it snowed here a few times, but she was always snuggled up sleeping in a sling the one or two times she was out in it. Per Matt's report, she tried ducking to keep the flakes from hitting her. To her credit, the snowflakes were amazingly large!



She has gotten really good at climbing on and rocking the elephant she got for her birthday. It wasn't such a hit at 12 months, but now? She loves it!

    We have successfully failed (or passed?) the two eliminations Eloise and I did. Neither wheat nor dairy seems to be affecting her cough. Of course, a smart mama from Iris's preschool suggested Eloise might actually be allergic to both of them and you wouldn't know that unless you eliminated them both at the same time, not one after the other. Oh, dear. I'm going to pretend I know nothing about this idea. I really do wonder if her coughing is a reaction to something airborn and would like to get an air purifier before too long.

    Both of the girls (and their parents!) survived The Plague a few weeks back, marking the first time Eloise has been sick with more than a minor cold, so that was exciting. Turns out taking care of two sick children, plus a sick fiancee, is totally do-able for me. Thanking my lucky stars The Plague was very gentle with me!

    That's the main selling points of the past month in Eloise's life. Riveting, eh?


    The elves in Santa's workshop have nothin' on me!

    This afternoon Matt took the girls over to a friend's house so that I would have time to put together the kitchen set they are getting from Santa (and my parents). I started working the second they left the house and finished moments before they walked back in the door two hours later. Whew! A refrigerator, stove and sink. All look great, except for a small chip in the front of the refrigerator door, which was like that when I took it out of the box. I can paint over it.

    I'm so excited that Christmas is just over a week away. Santa is bringing surprises for everyone in the family!

    Friday, December 14, 2007

    You're broccoli!

    Right now, as I type, Iris is lying in bed with her dear friend, trying to go to sleep. They are chatting back and forth and over the monitor I hear Iris say to her friend "you're broccoli!" and her friend says "I'm not broccoli, I'm banana!" Ah, the hilarity of three year olds. We'll see if either of them actually fall asleep. At least they're having fun!

    Today the girls and I met some friends at the Imagine Children's Museum in Everett. We had never been there before and it really is a sweet little museum. It was really nice because there were hardly any people there so the kids really got to race around and do whatever they wanted to. I have such a hard time wrangling both kids and trying to chat with anyone else, but it was okay. Neither of my children harmed any other children, so that was a plus!

    After the museum we went to the outlet mall and I spent some money I shouldn't have, but it sure was fun! We raced home and got here moments before Iris's friend showed up.

    Tuesday, December 11, 2007

    Queen of the beans

    Recently I figured out how to cook dried beans. You would think, as someone who was a vegetarian for 13 years, has a nutrition degree and loves to cook, I would already know how to do this. Sadly, I didn't. I decided to give it a go, though, knowing I could utilize my trusty crock-pot in this new endeavor. I must say, cooking beans from scratch is pretty damn fun. I have made some pinto bean mush already,but no worries, as I turned it in to some tasty refried beans! It's amazing how much money you save, as well. Canned organic beans are expensive. Even from Trader Joe's. And they're not that yummy, either. I have caught myself sneaking cooked garbanzos on more than one occasion. Even without salt they are delicious!

    On another note, last night my good friend emailed asking if Matt and I could watch her daughter on Friday night. She asked if her daughter could stay late and go to bed with Iris? Well, I was so excited when I got her email I about fell over. Every day Iris asks if this little girl can come for a sleep over, so she's going to freak when we tell her that her friend will be laying down with her when she goes to bed. I think my friend probably thinks we're a little cuckoo because both Matt and I immediately wrote back very enthusiastic emails saying we'd love to have her here. Who gets that excited about babysitting?

    Monday, December 10, 2007

    Ahhhh . . .

    Both of the girls were in bed by 8:20. We've been transitioning Eloise to going to sleep without being rocked and some nights are a huge struggle still. We lay by her in the bed until she's out, but this can often be quite a chore. The night before last I took a turn, then Matt, then me again. It was exhausting. Tonight, though, she was out in just over half an hour. Sweet! Then I got to read a bedtime story to my darling preschooler. Iris was a gem today. Not perfect, but pretty darn close. I never expect her to be perfect, but I love when she's easy to get along with and I don't have to constantly keep her from smashing on her sister. The girls played together so amazingly well this afternoon, too. At one point they were both in our tiny bathroom and I heard Eloise laughing so hard she was gasping for breath. When she came running out of the bathroom with bubbles on her hands and face, I knew there was a mess in the works, but how can you deny such joy? It was an easy mess to clean up, after all, it was soap!

    Matt asked me what I thought helped Iris have such fantastic days. Honestly, I wish I knew. How much sleep did she get? How well did she eat? How was school? What kind of mood am I and her sister in? There are so many factors. If only we could hit the perfect combination every day!

    In other news, I found out today the girls may have been exposed to chicken pox. Honestly, I'm crossing my fingers they get it. It's such an incredibly long incubation period (about 14 days), so we'll wait and see. It would mess up the holidays, for sure, but hey, we'd get the whole thing over with! I'm always amazed when a child comes down with CP without the parent knowing how (as was the case with the child we spent time with). So many children are getting vaccinated for it these days, it's amazing children are still naturally contracting it. And thank goodness they are!

    And in even other news, a school mama told me today that she wanted to set up a playdate with us. After we got home from school I made a point of emailing the mamas I wanted to try and get together with over the next few weeks. I'm so glad things are working out!

    Sunday, December 09, 2007

    Weekend wrap-up report

    Whew! Another weekend flies by. It was a good one, although I feel like I saw Matt about as much this weekend as I usually see of him during the week. We were both on different agendas, I guess.

    Yesterday I took Iris shopping with me and we had alot of fun. We went to a popular shopping area and I was bracing myself for mayhem, but it really was no worse than a regular Saturday would be. We parked right in front of a David's Bridal store and I was like, "hey Iris, let's go check out the dresses!" We walked in and right away I knew I was in the wrooooong place. We ooohed and aaaaahed over the flower girl dresses and quickly browsed the bridesmaid dresses, but that was it. I love how gorgeous wedding gowns are, but it's just not me. Then we stopped at Michael's, had lunch at a taco place, picked up a few ornaments at Kohl's and then headed home. Matt bought us Indian food for dinner with the money he made the night before at a show, so that was a deeeelicious end to the day.

    Today Iris and I battled the crowds again to grocery shop. I slept in quite late because Eloise has been up all night nursing the last few nights, so we got a late stop to our shopping. This evening we all went to a potluck for the families at Iris's school. It was really a nice time! I was nervous, considering I feel like an outsider sometimes, but I had alot of fun. One of the other mamas wanted to set up a playdate with me and another mama told Iris we could have a playdate with their family. Hoorah! Hopefully all of my whining and moaning is putting some vibes out in the world to make something change? Who knows. But I'm going to try and keep the momentum going.

    Our Christmas shopping is almost completely done, which I am excited about. I have been trying to sell some stuff we no longer use on Craigslist and have been applying that money towards our Christmas purchases, as well. It's nice to get through another holiday no deeper in debt than we started the season in. Iris has been asking so much about Santa Claus, and Christmas, what trees and lights are for, why people are out ringing bells for money, etc etc. It's so much fun to talk to her about all of it and watch the magic grow. We are totally fostering the idea of Santa Claus in her. I know alot of people who aren't doing that with their children, but we are okay with it. It was the way Matt and I were raised and we really enjoyed it, nor did it cause us any kind of trauma when we finally learned the truth, so we're comfortable passing the tradition along to our children.

    Okay, this post is getting long and scattered, so I'll sign off for now!

    Thursday, December 06, 2007

    Giving a little

    Every Christmas season our family tries to give a little bit to organizations that help families in need. We have found it is pretty easy to do, even if we don't have money laying around begging to be given away. On the Mothering.com message board a group of parents started the Holiday Helpers and members of the Mothering community can sign up if they need a little help for the holidays then anyone who wants to can help out by giving just about anything. Last year we donated several things to the cause and this year we helped out a bit, as well. Matt donated his booking fees to Toys for Tots from a fundraising show they held and we also gathered up some new toys we had been saving up all year. Today on the Mothering boards someone mentioned
    this deal for $5 off Polly Pockets. The girls and I drove around to different stores and bought several of the dolls that were $4.99. For the cost of the tax and a couple of hours cruising the toy section of stores, we were able to get a few more toys to donate.

    It's nice to be able to do something even though we often feel like we're barely getting ahead, ourselves. Whenever we step back and realize how much we really do have, we see the ways that we can share something with others.

    It's also St. Nick's Day, for all of you who know what that is. The girls were thrilled to find that St. Nick had filled their stockings with all kinds of goodies. Iris was also thrilled to be able to keep on of the Polly Pocket's for herself. Of course, now she's totally pissed off that it's made for hands a little more nimble than hers and she can't get any of the clothes on the poor dear. Ah, the fun!

    Tuesday, December 04, 2007

    Updates

    I talked to folks in person, on the phone and online about my playdate issues. I think I've come up with a few things I can do to help the situation a little. Unfortunately curling up under the covers and not coming out until my daughters are 20 isn't an option, so I get to face all of this fun head-on.

    Thank you so much for everyone who read my blog and took the time to contact me with your kind words!

    Monday, December 03, 2007

    Can they see our invisible scales?

    I'm having a pity party today. It's a chronic problem of Iris and I (or just I?) that we don't get invited to playdates. At first I thought (read: hoped) it was the mamas of the preschool co-op we used to attend, but now that we're on our third preschool with completely different parents and children, it's obvious the issue is with us (or, really, just me).

    Today it was getting on my nerves because our school is very, very small. On the way out of the door today two mamas were talking about the playdate their kids were going to have after school. It made me really sad. I'm glad Iris didn't hear them talking because it would have made her sad, too. She is constantly, constantly asking to have playdates. It's so hard when there just isn't anyone to call when Iris wants to play. I often take her to the park, but on rainy crappy days, there's nothing to do. I know this isn't her issue, it's MY issue, I just don't know how to fix it. I do ask other parents to have playdates. I have at this school and I have at the other two schools. The parents I've asked basically didn't respond. ALL of them. I just don't know what to make of that. Only one mama has asked to have Iris and I for a playdate. Unfortunately her daughter doesn't go to school on the same days Iris does, so the girls don't really know each other. Maybe I should email her about getting together again, though. One thing that is nice is that at school whenever there is a child having a birthday party they invite all of the kids (not too hard since there's only 12 kids in the whole school). We always, always go to these. It makes me feel at least a little bit better that Iris can see some of the kids outside of school, even if it's very infrequently.

    The whole thing makes me really sad, actually. I felt like crying the whole drive home from school but I didn't because I knew that it would be upsetting to Iris. I guess I figured coming home and writing about it would be the most helpful thing to do to get out my sadness and frustration.

    I wish there was a way to make people give you honest answers, like "sorry, we don't want to play because your breath smells" or something. It would be easier to take than just being ignored like you're a leper. I wish there was a way to expand Iris's friend base even though I'm apparently completely unlikable. I wish every single day when Iris asked to play with a friend I didn't have to say no, that there weren't any friends available to play with today :(.

    Saturday, December 01, 2007

    At 1:07 pm PST

    It started to snow here!!!!! We don't get that much snow, especially right where we are, so it's pretty darn exciting when it happens. We bundled the girls all up and Matt is walking down the block with them. Eloise's eyes practically fell out of her head when she looked out the window! She looks so funny toddling around in her sister's old snow boots that are a size or two too big for her. Oh, well. They do the trick!