Piper is 2!

And she woke me up this morning at about the exact same time she was born two years ago, right around 5 am! It was okay today because it’s her day and we got some extra special cuddle time in Ellie’s bed while I tried [and failed] to get her to go back to sleep with me.

Her party was yesterday and we did a rainbow theme – several pics are below. She’s not a shy one, Piper G. She was incredibly excited when she saw the cake coming her way and glowed when everyone sang to her. She blew the candles out with a little of daddy’s help and when everyone clapped, she clapped too.

Some of Piper’s favorite things to do at the ripe old age of two include:

  • Singing her ABC’s
  • Counting to 5
  • Singing “Twinkle Twinkle”
  • Playing with Legos
  • Holding her dolls
  • Anything that Ellie is doing
  • Going potty on the toilet
  • Playing with her buddies at school
  • Giving hugs and kisses

Having parties like this always fills my heart with gratitude. To see all the family and friends come together to celebrate someone’s birth is so meaningful. After everyone left and we rested for a bit, Piper opened her presents. It was so sweet to see how excited she was with every single one. If it was clothes, she wanted to try them on right away and literally peeled her existing clothes off every time. She put her backpack on right away. And every toy we opened she wanted to play with immediately. We read two of the new books last night and there are more on the schedule for tonight. I can’t thank our family and friends enough for their generosity – we feel VERY blessed.

I’ve also posted the icing recipe below, courtesy of my sister-in-law Heather-Jo, as several people asked about it.

Birthday cheese post-cake consumption!

Yummy frosting

Blowing out the candles

Piñata fun. I don’t know whether I like watching her hit it or try to say it more.

The tutu lasted about 4 seconds.

Rainbow food

Her Rainbow birthday cake

Ellie pre-party frosting enjoyment

Ellie making necklaces with died pasta while Grandy decorates the blackboard.

Ellie and Nana waiting for CAKE!

7 minute Icing recipe:

Get a double-broiler and a handheld electric mixer with beaters. Combine all below ingredients in the top pan of the double broiler:

  • 1.5 c. sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar OR 1 TBSP white corn syrup (we prefer the cream of tartar)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/3 c. water
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract (add this at the end – see directions below)

Beat with mixer for 1 minute. Then put on top of the bottom double-broiler pan with water boiling in it. Make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the top double-broiler pan. Beat with mixer for another 7 minutes. At the end, beat in the vanilla. If the icing isn’t think enough, beat longer and faster until it reaches the consistency you’d like. Frost your cake before the icing cools.

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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.

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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:)

Ellie’s Second Birthday

We celebrated Ellie’s 2nd birthday yesterday at WiggleWorks and it seemed like she had a great time with all her buddies! The beautiful thing about getting a bunch of little ones together is they make some very adorable photos. Click on the images for a larger slideshow:

At two years old, Ellie is definitely a sweetheart and her words (of which there are many) mostly melt my heart. She is also definitely in the terrible twos stage. Twice now she has just started yelling “no” over and over again for seemingly no apparent reason. It’s like she just likes the sound of it. I almost wanted to video record it because it was so funny.

Ellie’s favorite things to do include the following:

  • Reading
  • Singing, especially The Wheels on the Bus and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
  • Playing with her dollies
  • Washing the windows
  • Saying her ABC’s and counting to 10
  • Playing with all her buddies at school and out of school

Right now we’re working a lot on cleaning up after we make messes, putting only food and drink in her mouth and listening. Listening is probably the most difficult of the three at this point.

Ellie really loves her little sister Piper. She gives her hugs and kisses all the time and for some reason especially loves kissing each of her ears.

In the last three months we’ve begun potty training. She’s mastered it mostly, with the exception of #2’s. A few weeks ago she also transitioned to her big girl bed, which has proven to illustrate her expertise at fleeing her room and running directly into Mom and Dad’s room to sleep with them.

It’s crazy to look back at how much has changed in the last year, but even crazier to think about the last two. Our lives have definitely changed significantly since having children.  While Brian and I always liked to keep a busy social and professional calendar prior to kids, our calendars are even more full now with things that don’t actually go on a calendar.

We think a lot about how we’re raising our kids and hope we’re doing the right things. It’s always hard to know. So far though, we’re very excited about what Ellie’s learned and the little person she has become. She’s really a love bug and we just want to hug and kiss her all the time!

Happy birthday little peanut!

P.S.: If you’re reading this it would really be great if you could finish this terrible two’s stage ASAP and sleep in your awesome big girl bed through the night…pretty please!

Announcing Piper Geraldine

I ended work on Thursday feeling good and ready to take our next adventure of having a second child…at the same time, I was looking forward to a little bit of rest and relaxation before her arrival. I got my hair cut on Friday, where one of the hair dressers told me that everyone who comes in close to their due dates has their baby right after getting their hair cut. Then my mom and I went to lunch, where I received a fortune cookie that literally said “a pleasant surprise is in store for you this weekend.” I knew what that meant – too many omens.

Friday night I went to bed around 11:30 feeling a little weird in my stomach. I wasn’t sure if it was early labor or just an upset stomach false alarm. I thought it would be better to get some sleep either way. I woke up at 1:30 and my stomach hurt so bad I couldn’t go back to sleep. It went away. Then it came back. Then it went away. I watched the clock until I felt certain they were contractions and at 2:00 I woke Brian up and told him I thought I was having contractions.

Brian went into Go Mode. We had a list of everything to do and he went to it. My surges were very intense right from the get-go. My mom arrived at 3:00 am to assist with Ellie and Max as needed. Our midwives arrived at 4:00 am and Piper Geraldine Thompson was born at 5:05 am. She looked smaller than Ellie, so I asked Jenn (our midwife) how much she thought she would weigh. She guessed 6.5 lbs, but this little gymnast weighed in at 7 lbs., 6 oz. and was 19.75 inches long.

The feeling of having a child is incredible. The love that overtakes our bodies is amazing and I wish everyone in the world could feel that way at least once a year forever. It makes you feel so big and so small at the same time.

Here are a few pics of Piper and Ellie. Ellie by the way is doing great. She was a little jealous for the first day or so, but quickly is becoming a big fan of her baby sister!

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Relaxation

Last Friday was my ahem…32nd birthday. Brian was very proud of himself (as was I) because he had something planned for it at least 3 weeks in advance, which was definitely a first. As the weekend approached, I became very excited for our little getaway, knowing some relaxation was in order since Grandpete and Grandmo were going to be watching Eloise.

As the weekend neared, the torrential rains set in and Brian was apprehensive. His surprise was going to be a float plane ride up to Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands. The flights for the day were cancelled, so we drove up and took the ferry and had an amazing relaxing time nonetheless. Ellie had a blast without us as usual, but we could tell she missed us when we got back a little.

One of the most important things during pregnancy is to relax, according to many people, including the author of Brain Rules for Baby, one of the few parenting books Brian and I have read so far. Relaxing is especially difficult when you’ve just sold and purchased a home, are in the middle of renovating said home, quit your job and started a new one, and you have a toddler at home already. Considering the scenario, I think we’ve done a decent job of it and last weekend was by far the most relaxing weekend we’ve had in awhile.

Now that I’m 5 weeks away from having this bebe, a few things have started to cross my mind:

  1. How will “sleep training” be different with a toddler in the house?
  2. Are there things I should know about and things I should say to Ellie as she adapts to having a little sister?
  3. What tricks do I need to know to get the most sleep possible with a toddler and a baby?

It’s started to cross my mind that two might be a whole new endeavor and unlike having your first, I haven’t really gotten a ton of advice this time around. People assume you know what you’re doing if you already have a child and maybe there isn’t much more to it with a second than there was with the first. Is that true? I suppose I can start doing some research, but it just takes so much time! If anyone has any tips, I’d love to hear them as a comment to this blog post!

Six Months

It’s Ellie’s six month birthday today! Everyone says it’s so crazy how fast time flies, but I feel like our little Ellie Bean has been with us forever, so knowing she’s six months old is both amazing but also surprising that she’s only been on Earth for six months.

We went to the doctor yesterday for her six month checkup, where I snapped the pic below. I think she’ll kill me for that when she’s older.  Doc said she’s very strong and very healthy. We talked about sleep, food and baby-proofing the house, something we’ll have to think about getting done this weekend.  Ellie’s in the 50th percentile for head circumference, the 60th percentile for weight and the 85th percentile for height.  We also had a wonderful nurse do her shot and Ellie didn’t cry at all.  I couldn’t really understand the nurse that well, but she made funny faces and noises, which I think were distracting for little LuLu.

Our next big adventure: first plane ride on September 19 – we’re going to Maui! We’re all very excited, especially Ellie, who can’t wait to sport her adorable swim suits!

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