Tuesday, May 26, 2009

There are no words.

Low Tide

We joined some friends this afternoon to make a trek up to Carkeek Park so that we could explore the beach at low tide. It was very low over the weekend, as well, but we weren't able to get out to the beach to chat with the naturalists. If you're in the Seattle area a good chart for the tides is HERE and a schedule of when the naturalists will be at the beaches this summer HERE.

This is the bridge to the beach. It goes over the railroad tracks and the first few times I walked on it I was TERRIFIED!

Unfortunately Carkeek's beach didn't turn up nearly the same amount of exciting sea creatures as the Lincoln Park beach did last summer when I took the girls, but it was still very fun. It was nice that we went with friends, as well, because the beach tends to scare Iris a bit. Having a friend there helped her feel much more confident.

Eloise and her friend traipsed around stomping in tide pools and squishing their fingers in the sand. Everything is such a sensory experience for kids that age!

Um, hello. Isn't she just the sweetest thing ever?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Random picture post

I always think about how I don't like reading people's blogs that don't post many pictures. Even if the blog is freakin' hilarious, I get bored without photos. So I am going to try and do better posting pictures!

Of course, I don't have any more recent than a month ago. I need to get the pics off of my camera(s) D'Oh!

We tried to potty train Eloise this weekend. It didn't really work. Yesterday was okay, she didn't really pee too much on the potty, but also didn't have any accidents. She pretty much held it in most of the day. She did scream and freak out because she wanted a diaper badly like, really, REALLY badly. Today though, we had a 0% success rate. Every single pee and poop (three poops) was in her undies. Not a single one in the potty. Okay, okay. Message received. We'll revisit this at a later date.

This afternoon we went to a friend's BBQ. They have three kids and our girls adore them (I sense the feeling is mutual!) I really can't wait until we can host our own BBQs! Soon, very soon! Well, actually, technically, not that soon-- we go on vacation for three weeks ten days after we move in-- but you know, soon.

I was chatting with my friend about how lucky we have been, how blessed we have been, to be having all of our prayers answered in our house and the girl's new school. It is so amazingly fulfilling to watch the joy in our friends as we go through this process. To be surrounded by so much excitement makes this all so much more special for us. My dear friend Julie has asked to go and see the house, so we're going to do a drive-by tomorrow. Anyways, it's great to have a cheering section. To have people in our lives who feel like we deserve this, we've earned this and we've worked so hard for it. We feel that way, too :)

It's been such a gorgeous Memorial Day weekend here in Seattle and we've been doing our best to get outside a bit and soak in the sunshine. Maybe tomorrow we will trek over to a park on the Puget Sound and explore the beach as it's going to be a very low tide! I remember last time we went-- I took the girls last summer-- the girls were terrified of the crabs. We'll see how they do this time. When we were on Whidbey Island they both carried around dead crabs, so maybe they aren't as scared of them now?

Friday, May 22, 2009

So unbelievably blessed

Remember the last post I just wrote? This one?

Well, I have quite the update.

After some back and forth with the director of the school Iris and Eloise are, come September, both going to go to the school I was writing about! I am still pinching myself.

I emailed the director and basically laid it out for her, explaining how much we loved the school and how well it would fit in our lives and how perfect it was for us . . . but that we simply had a short-fall in our budget in terms of making it happen. I asked if they had financial aid left and also if they ever hired parents to work in exchange for tuition reimbursement. I mentioned that I would try to get a job to help pay for the tuition, but that I couldn't guarantee that would work out so I wouldn't feel safe signing them up not knowing there was for sure a way we could pay for it.

She emailed me back saying how much they would love to have us at their school and how I really seemed to "get" what they were doing with their philosophy on early childhood development. She said they didn't really have any financial aid left for next year and gave me a couple of suggestions for a school schedule we could afford. I thought about it and decided we would try to get Iris in to a public school and then maybe think about this school for only Eloise so I emailed the director back and thanked her for her problem-solving but that we were going to look in to public school for Iris.

Well last night I got an amazing email back. She said that they worked it out and would be able to give us a tuition discount, and it was enough to make it work for us! So now Iris will be in kindergarten there and Eloise will be going to three full days of preschool in September !

It is so bittersweet, though, as Eloise was slated to start in the preschool program that Iris is graduating from. It is truly a wonderful, sweet, amazing program. The teacher is beyond fantastic. She is one of the most patient, thoughtful, creative, loving people I have ever met in my life. I really mean that. Leaving that community of people will be heart-breaking because I adore them all so much. I was really looking forward to the incoming group of preschoolers. I had really felt like I found my groove there and everything was going to be amazing for the next two years. I could have left Eloise there and made it (somehow) work-- that wouldn't have been impossible, just very difficult. I don't think I would have considered switching her if the stars hadn't all aligned like they did in this situation.

Anyways, we're just happy as can be and are now waiting for everything to come through on our house. Yay!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Oh no.

I made a fatal error. You see, since we are moving to a different part of the city I needed to find a new school for Iris to attend next year. Yes, all of the worrying and touring and planning I did this Winter/Spring was for nothing. Iris won't be attending any of the schools we looked in to. Of course, we didn't know when everything with the house would work out, but still it's annoying.

So I brought the girls to see a small private school in our new neighborhood. The school was recommended to me by a parent of a child in Iris's class so I decided to check it out. We got there and almost immediately I knew it was a perfect fit. We checked out the preschool room, since I thought it might be worth keeping our options open for Eloise, as well, since her current school is going to be pretty far away from where we are moving.

The preschool room had lots of different areas set up for the kids and also had an outside space. Each classroom had their own garden, as well. The teachers in all of the rooms were on the young side and appeared to have a similar sort of vibe as Matt and I, which I liked. There was a kindergarten through second grade room, in addition to the three preschool rooms. There are going to be 17 kids in the K-2 class with two teachers (actually, each class has two teachers). Again, they also have an outside area with their own garden.

There was a huge space in the middle of the school building that is used for art and creative projects. Everywhere there was kid-created art hanging, which I love. I hate it when you go in to schools and everything on the walls is store-bought posters and charts and things.

There are also some fantastic logistical things about this school. It's less than ten minutes from our new house. I could bring the girls both at the same time and pick them up at the same time. Iris would go only four days a week-- which I LOVE the idea of-- and Eloise would go three full days a week. There are no required working parent days, either. There is alot of parent involvement, but nothing is required in the classrooms.

So this all sounds great, right? It really is. But as with anything, there is the price tag. It's out of our budget. Not by a lot-- this school is actually more on par financially with co-operative schools than with other Seattle-area private schools, but still, it's a bit out of range for us. I asked about financial aid and we'll see if that is something we qualify for. My other thought was with the girls out of the house three full days per week I can try and do some kind of work to fill the gap between the cost of school and what we can currently afford.

Anyways, I am just sooo in love. I have never even considered private school before for Iris, as I just didn't want to know what was out there because we wouldn't be able to afford it for the girls. However, I thought I could look in to this one due to it being a smidge cheaper, and I'm glad I did.

Now it's just working it all out to make it happen!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The great clothes changer!

My little Eloise is crazy about her wardrobe changes. Already today, let's see. Woke up in her jammies (which is a feat considering she has insisted on wearing her swimsuit to bed lately!), then I put her in an outfit to go and drop the dog off at the groomer. When we got home she took the outfit off and put on different jammie pants and a jammie shirt. Then she took them off to put on a mermaid costume. Took THAT off to take a shower, then upon getting out of the shower she put on a princess dress. Just took that off to put on a whole new set of jammies. It's just noon here and she's now been in five different outfits! Sheesh.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Consumed with home buying

I thought I would have enough fodder to keep up this blog as well as my new blog, but it turns out buying a house is pretty much all-consuming. If you would like to know what is going on on that front, feel free to check out my other blog: http://www.theunlikelysbuyahouse.blogspot.com/

I am sure you're just dying to see a picture, right?

Here it is! $300,000 of money well spent!

Ha ha. Just kidding. That house would surely be more like $250,000.

HERE is our house!

The inspection is tomorrow, so that is really that last BIG hurdle we have to get over in order to feel like it's really going to be ours. We have big plans. Big plans and no money (well, not after this deal goes through! lol)

So I've been spending my days at home dealing with house stuff and on my usual mom duty. We thought Matt's work craziness would have died down a bit after his big trip last week, but alas, it really hasn't. I like to call it "job security" but really it's just been more long days for him (and us) and that's just not that fun at all. I was pleased to hear that the employees at his company are basically being forced to take their vacation hours and he has alot. It will really come in handy with moving!

The girls have been pretty much great. I'm planning Iris's 5th birthday party, which is going to be very small and hosted at a party space at a local shop. The party is the weekend before we move, so there is no way we'll be set up to do a party in our apartment! I have really been enjoying listening in on their imaginary play. As time goes on they are getting better and better at playing together for longer stretches of time, but they can turn on each other in a heartbeat. Best friends to worst enemies and back again. Whew!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mommy!

I wanted to share the cards that the girls made for me for Mother's day. I'll start with Eloise's card. Her dad wrote "Happy Mother's Day" on the inside of it, but when asked what it said, Eloise responded "Happy Mommy!" I think I prefer her explanation :)

Iris decorated her card a little more thoroughly. The front has pictures of cheese quesadillas:
The middle has a picture of all of us going for a walk:

The back has a picture of me eating my Mother's Day breakfast:

They then gave me the best Mother's day present of all, which was helping to clean. Oh my goodness. I asked them once, and they cleaned up their legos and crayons. Yay for one less thing for me to do on MY day! Gotta love how these girls pull through.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Matt is on his way home. In fact, I expect him to come through the door any moment and the screaming of excited little girls, who are up waaaaay past their bedtime, will commence.

This has been the hardest solo parenting gig yet. I can't believe I made it through in one piece. There were moments of great, but many more moments of hanging on by a thread. Today was a disaster. While we were on our way to drive past a few houses Iris was counting away in the back seat. She got to 100 with very little help, but decided to try again. She asked me "what is after 30?" and I said "31" and clearly that wasn't the answer she was looking for because she got pissed and threw her Sigg water bottle at my head. While I was driving. It hurt, alot, and I absolutely freaked out. I had to pull over and I was screaming at her and shaking. I was so grateful that she fell asleep shortly after that so I could drive the next hour or so in complete quiet as the girls both slept. While they were asleep I came within inches of smashing in to a car on the freeway. When I thought I was going to hit the car I slammed on the brakes and closed my eyes-- for a split second. I KNEW I was going to hit the car, but I didn't. I can't even believe I didn't. Again, I was shaking. I was glad the girls didn't wake up because of the near-miss.

After we got home I was so short with the girls and so upset over squabbling and ignoring me (though frankly, I felt like ignoring me too). I don't think I've ever yelled at them as much as I have this past week. I have been doing so, so, SO good being more patient and mindful overall but this week I wasn't given a single break. In five solid days, no breaks. The girls even slept with me, which made for less than restful sleep each night.

Tonight I just broke down. I am so mad and sad and stressed and this all just sucks. Should it be this hard? I just kept thinking that I wish constantly that I had my own "village". A community of families that helped each other more. In times like this week, I am desperately in need, but other times I always feel like I have the energy to help others out. If only I knew families that craved that kind of give and take as much as I do.

Some of my mama friends from a little message board will write about being overwhelmed, how they wish they had some help more than they do. I truly truly wish I could be there for them. I wish I could go over and rock babies, bring big kids to the park, wash dishes and fold laundry and give these amazing women the break that they need when they reach the point I was at this week. I know how desperate and dangerous that place is and it sucks how many of us go through it without support.

So anyways, that's my rant for the night. I am looking forward to this weekend and taking some much deserved breaks. We're going to look at houses tomorrow, too, so maybe we'll find something perfect!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

I'm doing it! Sorta.

I am in the middle of several days without my hubby. He is in Orlando, probably doing laps in the giant pool surrounded by palm trees that he sent me a picture of with his Blackberry. Me? I'm neck-deep in small child insanity. To be fair, they aren't always like this. And to be more fair, I haven't had as much energy as I would like to be getting them out and wearing off their steam.

This is a pretty long stretch for me to get absolutely zero breaks from being on mom-duty 24/7. And the worst, the nail in the coffin, is not getting to go to yoga tomorrow night. I know, I know, cry me a river. It's just my only salvation and damn it, I NEED my yoga! Oh, well.

I did pretty good today, though. After getting Iris from school we came home and rested and then I came up with an idea to keep us all busy while staying in out of the rain-- we went to the indoor wading pool. We all had a blast! The girls were leaping off the side of the pool in to the water. It was three feet deep, but that's enough for them to jump and go under if they want. Eloise was getting all crazy trying to jump off backwards even. The girl is a fish, I swear! Both of them were swimming all over with life jackets on, but it feels like they could both be swimming without if they just had a touch more practice.

After we got home I made dinner and didn't have to break up a single fight while I did so. Ahhh. After dinner the girls pretty much made an entire batch of mini pumpkin muffins with little help from me. They loved it. And they are now calm, happy and the world is good again.

I can't wait until we have a house with more space and a yard. I can't wait for the girls to be able to race around outside any time they want to (or any time I want them to!). It seems like such a simple thing, but when you don't have instant access to outside space it becomes a very big deal.

We're planning on a pajama day at home tomorrow (since Iris is sad she has to miss the one at school) so that should be fun. Hoping it doesn't rain so that we can even get the dog out for exercise! Poor girl.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Expanding my blog roll

I've been following lots of new blogs through Bloglines and finally, finally!, got around to adding them to my blog roll here. Some day I will divide my blogroll up in to categories, but for now, you get a lovely list. Go ahead and look around!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

If you have a chance . . .

Please check out the post I just wrote on my homebuying blog HERE. It's about interpreting the stats on crime rate and sex offender websites. I would appreciate any input you have!