Are we Crazy?

Update: Brian took Piper to Children’s this morning and they don’t see a break on the X-ray at all. It sounds like the fuzzy X-ray from Pediatric Associates was inaccurate and she doesn’t need a cast. Seems weird, but I’m super thankful!

There are two reasons I ask this question:

I feel like it’s a new kind of crazy when:

  1. You’ve got two toddlers
  2. Your husband is going on a 10 day vacation in 4.5 weeks, and
  3. You still decide together that it makes a ton of sense to squeeze in a kitchen renovation before the trip

I will say we did a pretty good job of putting together a thorough renovation schedule and budget. So far, we’ve stuck on schedule and while we’ve gone over budget on a couple of things, a couple of things came in under budget. The only variable we didn’t taken into consideration is life. Brian’s been very busy at work, which of course is great. It just makes doing some of the work a little more challenging.

This brings me to my second question of craziness. We took the girls to the park yesterday and Piper was climbing a ladder and fell. She’s always been such a daredevil and it’s always made me nervous. I’ve gotten used to her way and she’s always held her own. Still, I was standing right next to the play toy at the park as she climbed the ladder because it was a little scary. When she fell, I thought she was going to be fine, but she didn’t really bounce back up. I climbed in and picked her up and after I held her and she calmed down, I set her down to walk. But she couldn’t. And it makes me want. to. cry. Since it was about 4 or 5 pm, we brought the girls home, fed them, bathed them and put them to bed. We were thinking a good night’s sleep would help it heal, but she was no better this morning. I took her to the doctor this morning and the unbelievable became reality: she broke her foot. I must say I know I did nothing wrong, but I feel a bit like a failure. Is that just parenthood? It’s so irrational (a.k.a. crazy), but it is the case regardless. The doctor put her foot in a stint and we’re going to Children’s to have it casted tomorrow. What makes me feel better is her demeanor. For the most part she doesn’t act like anything is wrong. It’s only when she tries to walk on it that she’s in pain. Other than that she seems pretty happy and normal.

Of course the first thing Piper did in the car on the ride home from the doctor was try to take the bandage off. Evidence here:    

And if you’re interested in the renovation thus far, here is one of me hand staining our island cabinets: 

And our new floors being installed – notice the still awesome neon yellow light coming through the front door glass: 

And the demo: 1st is slightly before, 2nd is halfway through the demo, 3rd is when everything was taken out.

And me cutting open the wall between the kitchen and the living room: 

Brian and I cleaning up all the sawdust insulation that came down from the attic when we pulled the ceiling off:

Me swinging the sledgehammer during demo:  

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School Progress Reports

Two months ago I started this post after I received the girls’ progress reports from school. I never finished it and this summer was so busy, I’ve been away from writing for awhile. I wanted to be sure to document it though, mostly for the girls when they’re older, so here goes:

The girls just finished their school year, which makes me chuckle a little because I’m still not used to the concept of kids that young going to school. When I go and see what they learn though and what they spend their time doing, I absolutely do believe it should be called a school, not just a daycare.

At the end of the school year, the teachers do progress reports and believe it or not they are quite extensive. I don’t expect everyone to read these, but I’m putting them here so the girls can see them when they get older. Piper seems to have mastered the outdoors and Ellie mastered the days of the week. School starts again in a week and I’m excited to see their next set to see how it compares. Piper’s is a mere 4 pages, while Ellie’s primary classroom has 7 pages of evaluation!

Elle 2015-08-23 20.38.37 Elle 2015-08-23 20.39.20 Elle 2015-08-23 20.39.51 Elle 2015-08-23 20.40.25 Elle 2015-08-23 20.40.42 Elle 2015-08-23 20.40.56 Ellie 2015-08-23 20.38.59 Piper 2015-08-23 20.43.40 Piper 2015-08-23 20.43.53 Piper 2015-08-23 20.44.06 Piper 2015-08-23 20.44.16

Father’s Day and my Broken Nose

Father’s Day weekend was so much fun, right up until the very end. I took Friday off work and got a bunch of stuff done around the house. Saturday my dad came over and we hung out around the house all day, which was so nice and relaxing. We made some lunch and the girls played with the water table Grandpa Peter brought over. After that we drove up to the beer festival at Marrymore Park and had a few beer tastings. The girls ran around and got really tired, came home and passed out.

The next day I was really excited because my friend Liz and I rented a boat on Lake Washington for the dads. We packed all our stuff, brought sandwich fixings and off to the boat we went. It was a really pretty 28 foot Cobalt, so we were definitely in heaven. The boys were happy, the kiddos were happy, it couldn’t have been more perfect.  The only thing is it didn’t end on a particularly great note. As we were docking the boat, I did a dumb thing in standing up on the side of the boat to push off another one to avoid hitting it. As the boats drifted closer to each other, my head got stuck between the stationary hull anchor on the other boat and the canopy arm on our boat. My sunglasses crunched, cutting up my face and I broke my nose and had a minor head injury. I feel incredibly lucky and like it could have been so much worse! Brian told me later he thought in the moment it was going to be a lot worse. When my mom took me home from the ER she reminded me of the most important boating rule her dad always taught her: never put your body between two boats. Lesson learned. The hard way. 

  

Mom Tricks

Lately Ellie’s been regressing a bit. She’s crying like a baby about things like not being able to put the top on her water bottle or not getting the pink straw. She’s also been asking for help getting dressed when previously she loved doing it herself. She’s requesting that someone feed her during dinner, which is clearly not necessary. We’ve been trying to rationalize with her, but at the end of the day we find ourselves beating our head with redundancy. I know a part of parenting is saying the same thing over and over again and I know that’s what I signed up for. But lately I’ve been thinking there’s got to be a better way. And by better, I mean smarter and more clever. I tend to believe Brian and I should be able to come up with creative ways to out-wit our children – we’ve got to be smarter than toddlers, right?

Sometimes I doubt that to be honest. And sometimes it’s good to get help from people outside of our little tunnel. Hence, one of my first Mom Tricks:

1. The Star System: I remember my mom having a chore board for the week for everyone in the family. It was “fair,” which is what all pre-teens absolutely require. We did a chore and we got a sticker for it on the board. I was talking to a friend about Ellie’s recent regression and he said his sister started a star board for her three-nager. “It seems so obvious,” I thought afterward. But my sleep deprived, frustrated brain had not thought of it. So I started talking to Ellie about it. She was whining one night before dinner and I told her if she stopped whining she would get a gold star. She stopped immediately. “Sold,” I thought, “I’ll take ten!” So tonight, this is what I made:

Ellie's Star Board

This whole situation made me think of what other Mom Tricks or Hacks I’ve used that other parents might want to know. I don’t have that many, so more importantly, I’d love to hear your comments on out of the box or just everyday tips/tricks that make life with toddlers easier! Here are a few things that seem to work okay for us:

2. The countdown calendar: When Brian or I have to travel for work (which by the way I absolutely dread…don’t tell my boss) we circle the day on the calendar the other one is going to return. Every morning when Ellie wakes up we go in and cross off the previous day so she can see how much closer we are to seeing each other.

3. Kisses and Hugs: Again, this may seem super obvious for some. Piper is one of those children who just absolutely HATES being restricted. We recently gave up completely on the high chair and getting her into the car seat is an everyday struggle. Sometimes the binky works, but as she’s getting older we’re trying to rely on that less. Sometimes a book or a toy works, but the golden ticket is usually the kiss monster. I kiss her on her belly and her face and she stops being a screaming plank. Ellie’s the same way; she knows now that when she’s upset a hug makes her feel better and she requests it almost every time she does something wrong, intentionally or accidentally.

4. Choices: This isn’t necessarily 100% effective, but sometimes giving them choices makes them feel like they’re in control of something. When Piper and I are rocking in her chair at night and she’s struggling to break loose and run amok, I ask her if she wants to get in her crib. She usually says “no” and calms down.

These are a few of the things that have worked for us, but there are so many more things I actually want to know. It may seem like I’m offering guidance here, but really I’m asking for it. What are some tricks for helping kids learn to not throw their food on the floor? Or only talk about poop in the bathroom? Or not pull their sister’s hair constantly? Or not scream at the top of their lungs in the car? Or spit on things other than the sink or outside? Or be perfect little angels all the time? Oh, there’s not a solution for that? Hmmm…I’m shocked.

Doctor Appointments for Both

Today was the first time I took the girls to the doctor together. I figured it would be easier to kill two birds with one stone and by golly I think I was right. It was a bit to manage, but now that Piper can understand and listen a bit, I don’t have to be so hands on. It was Ellie’s 3 year check up (yes, I know it’s a couple of months late) and Piper’s 18 month check up.

First, Ellie stood on the scale and weighed in at 36 pounds, in the 80th percentile. Her height was a half inch from 40″, putting her in the 75th percentile (although I could have sworn the nurse said 95th…tomato tomahto).

Piper laid in the baby scale (in a surprisingly compliant way) and weighed in at 22 pounds, in the 50-75th percentile. Her height is 32.5 inches, in the 75th percentile. Both girls are normal, happy and healthy, so I was very happy. The one part I was a little nervous about was the shots. Not so much because I can’t handle shots (because I can), but because if one totally melted down, odds were the other one would too and what a fantastic mess to work through. I know it’s not that big of a deal, but it’s those little things I think about.

I was surprised when the nurse came back in with the shots that Ellie said she wanted to go first. Before, when the doctor came in I asked Ellie if she wanted to go first or if she wanted Piper to go first and she said Piper. But when the nurse came in with the shots, she was ready to go. I explained to her earlier in the day that I put her Supergirl underwear on because she was going to need to be a big strong girl when the doctor gave her medicine later because it might hurt a little bit. I told her that the medicine would make it so she didn’t get really sick later on. When she sat on my lap I said “Are you ready to be a big strong girl?” and she said “yeah.” I told her to look and me and give me a big smile. The nurse gave the shot right as she smiled and presto! No tears. Yay!

At this point I think to myself that if Piper cries, at least I was one for two. Piper jumps on my lap and I ask her if she’s ready to be a big strong girl. She says “yes” and doesn’t cry either. I feel like I should buy a lotto ticket today!

  

E is 3

Three years ago seems like an eternity today. We were renting a house in Ballard and I had just had my final day of work before maternity leave the day before. I woke up hoping to go get a mani/pedi and instead I spent 7 hours working hard and receiving our first child. And then time stood still. It seemed like a day was an eternity, which I hypothesize is what happens when people become hyper-present.

Since then, so many life events have happened. It’s absolutely incredible to watch our children grow. Ellie sings all kinds of songs now. She counts to 20, she says her ABC’s, she gives hugs and kisses to her sister, friends and family, and she has a razor sharp memory, something I’m sure will be difficult to keep up with as she gets older. She also loves sparkly things, fuzzy soft things, necklaces, stickers, the color blue, drawing, shoes, painting her nails, lipgloss, and blow drying her hair at night. In those ways, she is incredibly girly and feminine.

It’s exciting and fascinating to watch our little people grow; it’s also remarkable how much we as parents evolve. In the last three years, my priorities have shifted immensely. One thing that hasn’t changed is how busy we are. I laugh when I think back to my pre-kids years and how busy I thought I was. I truly was busy. I was always on the go. Back then I probably thought life would slow down when I had kids. I can adamantly say that is not the case. And I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Happy birthday to my sweet Ellie bear – you are beautiful on the inside and out and I couldn’t be more proud of the little girl you have become!

Some of my favorite photos of Ellie from the past few months are here:

Hair drying master

Hair drying master – always done at night when pretty tired.

IMG_2810-0

Snow fun

Wiggleworks swinging

Riding on the swing at Wiggleworks

Playtime mom and Ellie selfie

Playtime selfie

She loves blue

Taking it all in at her birthday party

Blue dress lover

She loves her blue dress

Holiday dresses

Posing with Piper on Thanksgiving

Sprinkle goggle smiles

Goggles with sprinkles improves the likelihood little girls will love skiing!

Progress, Evolution & Perspective

I frequently see posts on Facebook or articles out there about “the right way” to parent. Guidance is the friendly way to define these tidbits. Guidance is always helpful. I appreciate so much the guidance I’ve received in my life. But I find some of the guidance out there seems to come with a grain of judgment. It’s as if I’m not doing it right if I don’t take the guidance. And when I say “I”, I really mean “we.” I have a bone to pick with this guidance. I have a bone to pick because I truly don’t think there’s one right way. I truly think everyone ought to do it the way that works best for them.

Most of my friends and family know I have a few things I am stubborn about when it comes to raising our kids: 1) I do everything within reason to give them balanced organic meals full of vitamins and the right fuel for their bodies, and 2) I do everything within reason to keep them away from screens. These are “my things.” And every parent has their things, things that are highest priority that they don’t waiver on when possible. I know some parents prioritize manners. I know some parents prioritize sleep training. I know some parents never raise their voices at their kids. I obviously value those as well, but they’re not “my things.” And that should be okay. I shouldn’t feel guilty about that and if you give your kids fish sticks and french fries and stick an iPad in front of them at dinner you shouldn’t feel guilty either. We’re all just operating under what we value to be the most important things for us and our families and sometimes the most valuable thing for our families is some sanity for ourselves…can I get an amen?

It probably sounds so cliche but I really do wish there was less guidance in the world and more understanding. We should all feel comfortable sharing our learnings, but we should all feel comfortable taking in other people’s learnings. No one person knows everything, except for maybe Gandhi and Oprah. Lord knows I’m not perfect when it comes to these things, but I am working and striving toward it.

Anyway, I’ll get off my soapbox now and spend a few moments focusing on the progress of my peanuts. Piper, oh where to start with Piper. Piper is such a little wild child. She goes and goes and goes until she absolutely stops. She climbs up everything – in fact, today when I picked her up from school she was literally climbing up the baby gate. I’m pretty sure if I wouldn’t have grabbed her off it she would have made it over. She also loves to climb up all the bars to the top of the jungle gym platform at school. She’s visibly proud of herself whenever she accomplishes anything or gets something she wants. She’s getting her lower molars in and tonight at dinner she kept saying “ice.” Whenever she would say it I took a piece of ice out of my ice water and gave it to her, to which she replied with a larger than life smile and bounced up and down. Speaking of up and down, her new favorite thing is to stand up while yelling “up,” and then squat down while yelling “down.”

Her sister then joins in and they both go up and down together. Piper recently learned how to “kiss” and she is blowing kisses all the time. Brian says it’s because she likes the sound it makes. I also think she just really loves to be hugged and kissed. When I kiss her it makes her so happy and content it’s amazing. She doesn’t want to get in her car seat, really ever, so I just hug her and kiss her pretty much nonstop for a little bit and she seems to calm down enough for me to buckle her in. The most innocent and beautiful thing is to see how Ellie interacts with her now. When Piper makes the kissing face, Ellie blows her kisses and when they’re close enough to make contact they actually kiss. It’s so sweet and pure. It’s also great to see them play together so much. Now that Ellie’s in a different class with older kids it seems like she’s maturing exponentially. It’s hard for me to believe Ellie’s going to be 3 years old in less than a week. I remember when she was born it felt like 3 was an eternity. It’s funny how kids change so much so quickly and it’s also funny how they change us so quickly. Here are a few pics of the girls and their silliness.

With her water bottle from Santa that Ellie has now bogarted.

With her water bottle from Santa that Ellie has now bogarted.

She loves her giant teddy bear!

She loves her giant teddy bear!

Vroom

To a baby at school, Harper

Ellie Reading to a baby at school, Harper

Ellie's first day of "skiing" was mostly composed of eating snow

Ellie’s first day of “skiing” was mostly composed of eating snow

She can't resist climbing into our bed at night and I can't resist taking a picture I'm sure she'll despise when she gets older:)

She can’t resist climbing into our bed at night and I can’t resist taking a picture I’m sure she’ll despise when she gets older:)