Sunday, September 27, 2009

New post!!!

If you are interested, please go on over to read my house buying blog at The Unlikely's Buy a House. I completely abandoned the blog right after we moved in, as the process of buying our house was so unbelievably exhausting that I didn't even want to keep writing about it. Like if I stopped writing, maybe the whole thing would just go away!

However, now that we are working incredibly hard, I have been wanting to document the process of what we are doing to inject some TLC in to this place and make it not only our own, but a really wonderful home that we, and future owners, can really enjoy.

Interestingly, I pretty much have NO pictures of house so far. I keep waiting for something to be "done" so I can document it, but without "before" pictures, I doubt the "after" ones will be very exciting!

So give me a little time, I'll try to get some pictures up and just start from where we are, which is three months in to home ownership with a major basement remodel already under our belt!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Phew. Made it!

It has been a very busy past few days.

On Friday Matt stayed home from work so that I could get the flowers together for my sister-in-law's (his sister's) wedding. The weekend was supposed to be all about this wedding, but on Friday something vastly overshadowed that for me. Our contractor came by to "finish" the job that was supposed to be done by August 10th. It is mostly finished, except for some small things they still need to do, like cleaning up some garbage they left and what-not. I had a mini-breakdown because we paid a huge amount of money for our basement remodel and, well, it still has a long way to go. I am not saying we were ripped off, I don't think we were, but rather, it's amazing you can pay that much money and still have your basement look pretty much like a basement still. We need to do the flooring and trim, which is a ways off as far as our budget is concerned. The contractors left a mess, our entire basement floor was covered in dirt. Ugh. I am breathing and Matt and I are working out stage two of this remodel.

Anyways, so I went with my mother-in-law to get the flowers and thank god she was there with me. I ended up going a different direction that I thought I would (a BETTER direction) but I needed her there to provide reassurance. After picking up the flowers we came home, I put the bouquets and boutonnieres together and then we all got ready to head out-- Matt and Eloise to the happy couple's rehearsal dinner and Iris and I to the Pacific Northwest Ballet's preview of Romeo and Juliette. The preview was neat-- and at $10 a ticket I can't complain-- but it wasn't what I expected. I thought (not sure why) we were going to a dress rehearsal or something. Instead, we were all shuttled in to a white studio and the chairs were set up in a "U" shape around the room. They dancers performed two acts of their performance, not in costume. It actually was incredible, but it lasted about 45 minutes and we were sad to not have seen the costumes. Iris did say she liked it and maybe we'll go again some time.

Saturday was wedding day! I got up, rushed across town to drop off the flowers to the maid-of-honor's house then to the other side of town to get my hair done. Forever, as long as I have cared about how my hair looks, I have wanted pencil straight hair. My hair teases me, it can be straight, with enough work, but usually it just sort of has weird waviness that isn't straight nor anything else. I got a cut that embraces my hairs weird wavy tendencies and my stylist gave me a cute wavy style to wear to the wedding. Using an actual curling iron on me instead of a flat iron-- not sure that my hair has ever seen a curling iron!

After the hair I had to race to the store to get more flowers to re-make the boutonnieres because my first batch all wilted. Get home, throw the boutonnieres together, jump in the shower (without messing up the hair!) throw on my clothes and then we all get in the car to head out for pictures. I did my make-up in the car! Of course, we show up, the first ones there (the ones with two small kids) and wait, wait, wait for the bride and her maids to show up. They do, we get pictures, then the ceremony begins. My father-in-law is not the greatest of health and there was some concern he might not be able to walk his daughter down the aisle. For me, the most touching part of the ceremony was seeing those two walk together down that aisle. It was so sweet. The whole ceremony was really lovely, though. Personal, sweet, funny, full of readings by family and friends and just really true to who the couple was. They did their vows in a conversational way, which they had rehearsed, it was great.

The reception was fun, as well, but to be honest I spent alot of my time in the childcare room supervising Eloise, who was in a bit of a mood. The food was lovely, the decorations were divine, it was great. The girls and I cut out just before 9:00 because Eloise was asking for a place she could just lay down. Matt stayed and par-tayed, eventually dragging his parents out around midnight.

Today we had a great combo of relaxing and hard work. The girls woke up and immediately started playing Polly Pocket and they, literally, played the entire day. At one point Eloise ran an errand with Matt (to get the PP that Grandma had stored in her purse at the wedding!) but besides that, from morning until dinner, it was all Polly all the time. I took them out to the park after dinner to get them a bit of exercise and Matt put them to bed.

Amazingly, I didn't get a single picture of the weekend, but I hope to see some wedding pictures soon and will try to share them!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ch-ch-ch-changes!

My sweet little Eloise. No matter what, she always seems to play second-fiddle to her sister. Lately we've been all about Iris's struggles with school, but what about Eloise? She has gone through an insane amount of changes in the past few months, it's staggering, really. She has attacked every one of them with grace and has been a strong, resilient little lady.

We moved in to this house at the end of June. We went on vacation for three weeks. We came back and she turned three. Then, for the first time ever, she slept in her own bed in a room she shares with her sister. It wasn't too long after that that Eloise weaned. THEN she potty-trained. The week after she potty-trained she started preschool. ALL of this in under three months.

I love you little Pooties. You're my little trooper!


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Not quite what I had hoped

Today we're on day three of Kindergarten. It's not quite going as I had hoped-- well, the actual school part is fine, great even!, but Iris's anxiety has reached a fever pitch.

On Thursday, her first day of school, she did absolutely great separating from us and jumping in to her school day. After school she was quiet and declared that the day was too long and that she didn't want to go back. She also decided at some point over the weekend that she hated her teacher AND her school. On Monday when we went back for day two it was an absolute nightmare. Iris clung to me, holding on tighter than she ever has. She was screaming, crying, her face was red and she did NOT want to be left at school. Her teacher tried all manners of coaxing her until we literally had to rip her arms off of me. Eloise is in her preschool classroom at the same school on Mondays, so I went back to say goodbye to her before leaving for the day. As I left I got a quick peek inside Iris's classroom and noticed she was no longer screaming, but she was snuggled up next to her teacher.

After school she was in a GREAT mood and had decided that she now liked her teacher "a little bit". When I asked her about her most favorite and least favorite parts of the day, she didn't bring up the drop-off. Neither did I.

Right before bed last night she decided she would never go back to school again. She basically fell asleep crying, which was so heartbreaking, but I didn't know what else to do. I knew she was exhausted and needed to sleep, so I didn't want to keep her awake talking about things.

The first words out of her mouth this morning were "I'm NOT going to school today". She started crying before we even left the house and was still crying when I walked out of the door after dropping her off at school.

I think she actually enjoys being at school. Except for the missing us part, I believe she is making friends and enjoying the activities. However, the separation is causing her so much anxiety that it is just over-shadowing everything else.

Needless to say, I don't know what to do. I've gotten some great advice from friends and family on how physically separate at school every day, but what I don't have a clear idea of is how to even prevent her from reacting this way in the first place. I don't know how to get her excited about being there. I don't know how to help her calm down and stop screaming (short of taking her out of the classroom, which I can't do!).

Interestingly, Eloise is the exact opposite. I brought her to her classroom and she ran right in and played. Never looked back. She declared "I love school! I love my teacher!" and can't wait to go back.

I must say that yesterday, when both girls were in school for six hours, was really dreamy for me. I had a HUGE to-do list and accomplished little of it, but overall I think I got a fair amount done. Just trying to get the house in order a bit before I start my other projects like painting, hanging curtains, hanging closet rods, etc etc etc. I am looking forward to several hours a week to myself to get all of this done.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Full September weekend

We packed an insane amount of stuff in to this weekend!


Yesterday we went to meet my in-laws at their hotel because it had the holy grail of all hotel amenities-- a POOL! The girls took a little while to warm up to the idea of swimming (after being little fishies all summer!) but they spent most of the time jumping in to Matt's arms. I didn't go prepared to swim because I was going to take pictures, but when we got there the pool was waaaay underground and dimly lit, so pictures wouldn't have turned out very well.

We spent the afternoon playing, doing yard work and visiting our new (to us) local library. Later I met my sister-in-law and her friends for her bachelorette party , or at least the first part of it, which was dinner at a great place called Poppy. I tried several things I rarely, if ever eat including sturgeon, duck and scallops. Oh, pickled plums. I wouldn't have eaten them if I knew what they were, but after I tasted them: YUM!

This morning we all headed out to the local farmer's market. I needed to get some more flowers to practice making my sister-in-law's wedding bouquets. Due to the types of flowers that are available this time of year, I decided to try making a rounded bouquet-- here is a picture of my very first attempt:

I don't think it was TOO bad, a little too lumpy and I couldn't figure out how to keep the stems from bending while I was packing them in tightly. I also bought all of the colors that appealed to me and stuck them all together-- the finished bouquets won't have as many, I don't think. Unless SIL likes them!

While at the market we participated at a booth where kids were making race cars out of zucchinis. It even had a long ramp with lanes for kids to race their creations! Seriously, it was the coolest thing. Eloise was so proud of hers, it beat most of the other cars it raced!


(these pictures were taken with my G1)

And yes, Eloise made the whole thing with her pink Hello Kitty purse slung over her arm!

After this we went home, wolfed down lunch then went up to the north end of town to celebrate two friend's birthdays at a beach on the Puget Sound! In September you never know if it will be nice for an outdoor party, but we all lucked out-- it was beyond gorgeous!




We literally raced from this party back home to make it to a neighborhood s'mores roasting get-together in the park down the street from our house. I thought I was the only one bringing grills, and we were laaaaate!, so I was stressed! Of course, we get there and someone already had a grill. We chatted a bit with our new neighbors and the girls played some more. THEN it was back home for dinner and some relaxing.

Iris has been declaring all weekend that she hates her teacher and her school. Now, she was there ONE day-- and really, it's a GREAT school. It's going to be the perfect spot for her, I can't imagine any place better!, but she hates it. I fear we're in for a bit of a struggle in the upcoming week(s). I made Iris a necklace that has a picture of our family on one side and a picture of her and I on the other. A child at Iris's preschool had a lot of sadness about separating from her mother and a necklace like that helped her a lot, so we'll give it a try. I cut up two nice wedding pictures, so it better work! Ha ha.

Eloise still has her rash. It's so bizarre, it comes and goes depending on how warm her skin is-- so it's very dark and pronounced when she's in the sum playing or in the shower, but barely noticeable when she's calm and in her cool bedroom. I don't even know if she can go to school tomorrow. Grrrr.

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend, as well!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Now it's Eloise's turn!

Today Eloise had her first day of preschool. Unfortunately this has been supremely overshadowed by Iris's first day of Kindergarten!

It was pretty uneventful, at least at first. Eloise was excited to go. She doesn't have a nervous bone in her body! We sat for a few minutes with her for circle time and then said our goodbyes and were off. Iris and I used the time to do some flower browsing (I'm doing the bouquets for my sister-in-law's wedding next weekend). Just over an hour after we dropped Eloise off, I got a call saying she had a very bad rash that was spreading to her face and that we needed to come and pick her up.

To be 110% honest I knew she had a rash when I brought her to school, but when I checked the handbook it said a child has to have a fever of 100 or more AND a rash to need to be kept home. Also, he rash was much better this morning than it was yesterday, so I thought it was a random thing that was going away. Turns out, it got darker and more prominent while she was at school. I took her to the doctor and two different doc's looked at her, both stumped as to what it was. I was told to watch her and see if it changes at all.

Now I think it's hives. It's going on over 24 hours and still no other symptoms have developed. Just a hive-like rash.

Anyways, I did get a few hysterical shots of Eloise before her short school day!








Thursday, September 10, 2009

She did it!

Iris did great at her first day of school!!!!

We got up early, which was no small feat considering that both of the girls fell asleep just after 11:00 last night (put them to bed at 8:30!). Iris got up and was quiet, but she got dressed, ate breakfast and had her hair done. Eloise had to be carried right out of bed-- I woke her up and she looked at me, rubbed her eyes and rolled right over to keep sleeping.
We got to school, made some name-tags, got a tour of where to put the lunch box and backpack then headed in to the classroom. I was glad to see I wasn't the only parent with a dSLR documenting the morning! Iris was immediately captivated by the water table which was home to a koi and a small turtle. After she was done there a classmate asked her to sit down and color with her. Yay! Plenty of discussion about their drawings as well as compliments from the new friend on Iris's "earring" helped Iris feel right at ease. We gave hugs and kisses and started filing out the door, then I heard the familiar "I need one more hug and kiss!" so I went back over to her. She asked me not to go and looked a little teary eyed and I told her she would do great, gave her a last hug and kiss, and got up to leave. And she didn't cry. And neither did I.
After school Iris said the day was too long, and her teacher also said that Iris was ready to go home right after lunch. At her preschool that was the drill, lunch then go home, so this will be an adjustment! Other than that, it sounded like a pretty good day. We couldn't get a whole lot of info out of her but luckily her teacher posts pictures and stories on a blog, so we got a great sneak-peek tonight when we read that.
Here are the pictures from our morning!

Ever the ham . . .
Making her name tag (and notice her "earring")



Not sure what was going on with my flash here, but Iris is holding the class's turtle.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Pictures from our visit to Grandma and Grandpa's

At the end of July Seattle was hit with a crazy, mind-numbing heat wave. We had a record high, I think it got up to 104 degrees that week. The girls and I decided to get the heck out of town that day, making a drive over the mountains to central WA to stay with my in-laws, the girl's grandparents. It was no cooler outside but at least they had air conditioning!

Grandpa taught the girls how to make a fun dessert. They were so proud and brought a tray of their graham cracker goodies around for everyone to eat.

In the city where my in-laws live is a soda fountain. It was really fun to get a treat there, too bad the prices also weren't a throw-back to the fifties, as well!





After our treats at the soda fountain it was time for a roll down the hill . . .

Then a run through the sprinklers . . .



My biggest pet peeve about this city is how much they water their lawns. It's a freakin' desert and everyone waters and waters like crazy! At least it makes for some fun play time!



Grandma and Grandpa have a great little pool in their back yard along with a slide that we can set to run right in to it. Eloise played a TON in this pool while we were there!



August pictures

I finally got a bunch of my recent photos off of my camera, so I'll dump them all here in one big post!
First, here's a few from Eloise's third birthday party. We had a "messy party" but you know, most of the kids weren't too interested in getting very messy! Out of everyone, I expected Miss Eloise to be head-to-toe paint and cornstarch and mud, but nope.


This was a pool with cornstarch and water.

Some of the kids lined up eating cake. Yum!

The mural the kids' worked on.

Iris also had her very very VERY last day of preschool. We had the official last day of preschool celebration back in June (on Iris's birthday) but this was the end of summer, end of the whole shebang celebration. As you can tell, the school was big on celebrations! It was so much fun. There is a sort of loft built high up above the sandbox that the preschool kids never got to play in because it belonged to the little boy in the house where the school was located. However, on the very last day, the kids all got to climb up there and get a bag of things that their teacher had put together for them. It was great to see all of the kids do their last little climb before becoming kindergartners!




Iris's teacher made each child a necklace of tube beads and origami stars and put it on each of them after they climbed up in the loft. It was a really sweet gesture. Iris and Eloise with Iris's amazing teacher.

I really wish we could have made it work for Eloise to go to this school this year, but as it is a co-op of sorts, I couldn't have managed all of the working parent days, meetings, etc etc. We're going to miss our teacher and the community of friends we made while we were there. Crossing our fingers that our new school provides us with the same amount of love and support!

How could this be?

My little girl starts Kindergarten tomorrow. I mean, she's just a baby! How could this be?!?!

We spent our last day of the summer out running errands. Not THAT much fun when you think about it, but it DID involve a trip to IKEA's playroom (or Smaland, if you rather), a snack from McDonald's, a treat of swedish fish, a crafty item from Michael's and a trip to the playground. Pretty soon I'll be running these errands kid-free, or at least, with only a toddler in tow.

Eloise starts preschool on Friday, as well. I'm much less nervous about her. In fact, I could send HER to kindergarten tomorrow and not even think twice about it. She doesn't have a nervous constitution like Iris does (and like I do). Eloise will be going to school two and a half days per week, which is actually quite a step up for her, too. She's really going to love it!

Iris has never been to school for six hours straight, but I bet having gone for four is a good enough practice. For whatever reason, her school decided to have the first day on a Thursday even though the elementary grades don't go to school on Fridays. Weird. So, it will be one day on then three days off. THEN on Monday BOTH of my girls will be in school for SIX WHOLE HOURS. Oh my goodness, it seems too good to be true. What will I do first? Paint? Affix things to the walls? Clean? Lounge with my feet up and watch Bravo re-runs (okay, you know I am SO doing that!)?

Like all good blogging mama's of kindergartners, I will be writing about Iris's first day, so stay tuned!

Friday, September 04, 2009

A florist? Who, ME?!?!

My lovely sister-in-law has asked me to make her and the bridal party's bouquets to carry during the wedding in two weeks. I am very excited to help, but ZOINKS!, I've never done this before! Well, once I sort of did, for my friend's wedding a looooong time ago. It was low-key affair, though. In the back yard under a rented white and yellow striped tent. The poles were set up in the middle of the aisle, and my friend is now divorced. Oh, right, back to SIL's wedding . . .

So I offered to do this. I will be hitting up the farmer's market tomorrow to get some idea of what flowers are in season and also to buy a few things to practice making bouquets with. I will also be making boutonnieres and maybe something for the mother's of the bride and groom. I'll have to ask.


Here is what the flowers looked like that my mom put together for my wedding:


I think I will do something like that, more loose and forgiving, rather than one of those really tight and poofy bouquets.

Anyways, their colors are peacock blue, bordeaux and silver. I am not really sure what colors to match with that, other than maybe doing all white bouquets like we did at my wedding. Any suggestions?

Thursday, September 03, 2009

New question

I knew this time would come, though maybe sometimes I did doubt it ever would, but I'm no longer, officially, a milk maker. Thus rendering the name of my blog not exactly relevant.

My blog started with the name "Adventures of an AP Mama" which I liked, but I fell out of interest in labelling myself "AP". Then, on the suggestion of EcoMom I changed it to "Weezie Doo and Icey, too!" (those were/are nicknames of our girls-- Icey we still use, not so much he Weezie Doo). It was a great suggestion-- so much so, my hubs and I stole it to use on a joint blog (which we haven't posted on in for.ev.er.) and I then re-named this blog "Musings of Milk Maker". My online handle has been mamamilkers for a loooong time. My same friend, EcoMom, suggested I keep it, as I always will have been a nursing mama, even if I no longer am (she's so smart!). It helps to keep it, since that is what my Twitter account is under. When I was active on public message boards, that was also my name. Well, except for the short time I posted on Indiebride, then I was the really original "mamabride" (was actually a bit surprised that was still available when I got it! ha ha).

Okay, this is really veering off course. I am wanting to change the name of my blog AGAIN-- I know some of you have been reading since it's very first name (thank you!!!) and likely are having your eyes rolling around in your head right now. But I figure, that header up there is like two years old now, so with a new name can also come a new header. I did that myself, isn't it snazzy? (It took an embarrassingly long time to make it, hence never changing it in two years!)

So, if you have any suggestions, throw them at me!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

5 going on 15

The girls and I are winding up the end of three full days without Matt. It went well. My only tough night was the first one, and that was solely because the girls ramped up the sassy at the precise moment my energy was hanging on by a thread.



This afternoon the girls and I enjoyed a fun shopping trip to Target and about a million other stores. We have been working on a sticker chart in our house that is connected to how well the girls do going to sleep at night. If they don't yell, fight, engage is crazy play come upstairs for anything other than an emergency, then they get a sticker the next morning. Seven stickers gets them something fun and small. As of yesterday Iris had earned her seven (we had been going at it 9 or 10 nights) but Eloise was on five. In addition to Iris being ready to get her prize, they each earned money for picking up fallen plums and apples from our backyard, so they immediately wanted to hit Target to spend it. Eloise quickly picked what she wanted to spend her money on: gum. Iris, on the other hand, did what she usually does and pondered, decided, changed her mind, changed it back, asked for input, made a decision then went back several minutes later. I love watching her do this, she really just is so torn, but in a sweet way.



After the rest of our shopping we headed over to a new playground and Iris quickly made friends with two other girls. One was six, I would guess the other was maybe eight. I left them to play, it was a HUGE playground, and spent most of my time with Eloise (whom, at one point, I pushed off of the swing accidentally-- but she brushed it off and got right back on!). When I went back over by Iris I saw them engaging in a "YOU have a boyfriend!" type game. Mostly consisting of them saying this to each other in a teasing way. Since Iris is five, barely, I don't think she had a clue what she was saying. As I watched longer I saw Iris start her "fake laugh". It is funny, honestly, but totally fake. She uses it when she wants to look like she "got" the joke, but you know she didn't. Or when she thinks she should be laughing at someone or something, but doesn't know why. Totally the behavior of someone who desperately wants to be fitting in.



I caught myself wanting to do my normal thing of shouting over to her my little pet names like "lovey" or something, but then I thought, oh my god, what if she thinks I'm embarrassing her?!?! But then, you know, she's five. It started occurring to me that we would hit a day, likely much sooner than I am okay with, where she does think I'm embarrassing her.


Anyways, I didn't think that this would all start now. I'm sorely under-prepared.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Can't let sleeping dogs lie

For whatever reason, I have decided to throw my mind back in to what the right choice is for Iris's schooling for this coming year. And by this coming year, I mean next week.

To recap: Waaaaay back last winter we went on all of the crazy tours and did all of the stuff good little parent's do to find the best public school for their child in a city where we have school "choice". We sent in our enrollment packet and were thrilled- THRILLED! to find out that Iris got in to our very first choice school. It is a funky arts school that we both felt was a great fit for not only Iris, but our whole family. The only problem? We got the letter right after we made the offer on our house in an entirely different part of the city.

Right after that I toured an amazing-- AMAZING! school in our new hood. It was a small private school. Very artistic and funky and super awesome. I fell in love and promptly pulled both Iris and Eloise out of their schools and decided to send them both to this new school. We figured out how to afford it and it was a done deal.

Fast forward to yesterday. I decided to try and re-enroll Iris in a public school in our new neighborhood, just to see what we would get. I didn't hear back after I sent in the paperwork, so I called yesterday to find out what was up. What was up was that they kept Iris on the roster at the original school and put her on the waiting list (#15!) at the school we wanted in our new neighborhood. I was told she wouldn't be officially taken off the roster until she doesn't show up on the first day of school. So, what that means is, if we hadn't gotten her in to a private school, we would have been stuck with our original school. I say "stuck" but I don't really mean it, because it's a great school. I say stuck in the way that wow, it's a 25 minute drive in good traffic from where we are. No buses (not that I would use it, anyways).

SO, my gears started turning. Maybe we did still need to send Iris to that school. It would save us serious cash every month, though it would mean driving at two hours every day to pick up/drop off from school.

The other thing is, no matter which school Iris goes to, I will still have to get her in to a new school for 1st grade. Her private school is too expensive to keep her in, especially once she hits second grade and Eloise would have to become a kindergartner there. And clearly that amount of driving for me isn't sustainable to keep her up at the school up north.

I guess I am leaning towards keeping her at the private school, just so that I wouldn't have to drive, but then I wonder, is that selfish of me? I mean, I'm a stay at home mama. Sending my kid to an expensive school so I don't have to drive too far seems really selfish. Of course, my husband said if it was him, he wouldn't do it.

Why oh why do I do this to myself?!?!