Mother’s Tea, Round Two

Piper had her Mother’s Tea last Friday, a few days after Ellie. It’s quite a different format in the toddler classroom than the primary classroom. The kids helped the teachers make cookies with jam in them and they squeezed the lemons for the lemon tea. We sat on their tiny little stools and had tea with them, played outside in the water trough, did some work and then did circle time. The kids made us these adorable keychains with their pictures in them, which I hung in my car.

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The kids do this little dance individually after circle time before they go outside:

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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:)

Piper’s 8 Months!

One more month until the doctor says she should be sleeping through the night! I don’t think I can wait that long though so I’ve sought the council of a sleep doula who is putting together a program for us. It seems the problem is the association with feeding and sleeping so we’ll change our bedtime routine stat.

As far as development, Piper is humming right along. We’re pretty sure she says “hi” and “mama” now, based on the context of the words. She’s also standing on her own and she’s taken one step after standing a few times. She’s such a funny character – when she wants something she grunts really loudly. She’s started drinking some water and if we give her some and she wants more – grunnnnttt. If we give her food and she wants more – grunnnnttt. The other night we had some amazing salmon, so I rubbed some between my fingers to break it apart and she was devouring it! We did the same with egg yolk and she really digs it. She’s super sleepy in the below photo, but sometimes they can’t be perfect, eh?

Piper's 8 Months

Piper’s 6 Months

I realize this is a bit late, but the photos are all from when Piper actually turned six months, a couple of weeks ago. The last few weeks have admittedly been pretty exhausting. Right before Piper turned 6 months Brian went to China for a week. The next week I did a 19 hour day, flying to San Francisco and having meetings all day and then flying back. The week after that I took a red eye to Toronto on Wednesday night at midnight and then I flew back that Friday night. Then came Mother’s Day weekend and the time to sit down and compose a post for Piper’s six month birthday has really not come to fruition until now.

We had Piper’s 6 month appointment on May 5th. She weighed in at just over 15 pounds.

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The doctor was visibly impressed with her strength and muscle tone. When she pulled herself up on the table I think he had to double check that this was her six month appointment. As I have mentioned, I’m pretty sure she’s some sort of super human, especially considering she’s not really that thick of a babe. Here is her checkup card with all the specs.

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All that writing at the bottom is because after the nurse administered the vaccine, the doctor came in to tell us that she administered the wrong one. This has been something that has crossed my mind before; I’ve always wondered if this happens. The nurses and doctors are just running from room to room, giving tons of shots in a day. I was thinking it’s crazy they don’t mess things up. Fortunately for us, it doesn’t sound like it was a very serious mistake. They administered a Pediarix instead of a Pentacel, which basically means that because it hadn’t been 8 weeks since Piper’s last Hep B, she will have to have an extra Hep B in her series and we have to get a Hib next time. The obvious question is whether this is very bad or not. It sounds like it’s not. The next question is whether it’s grounds to explore other doctors. I started the exploration via a benefit at work called Expert Medical Opinion, so we’ll see what their guidance is. Our pediatrician came very highly recommended from our prior pediatrician, as well as several other parents, so it would be sad to have to find someone new. Regardless, I will always check the labels of shots going into my children’s bodies moving forward.

Here is Piper’s six month photo – just a super happy active clam. We are really starting to see her personality come out and she just wants to play nonstop. She really can’t sit still at all. She’s a very laid back baby, in that not much gets to her. But being confined definitely is one of the few things. She is a woman on the go and can’t nobody hold her back. She’s just awesome. Again, now if she could only sleep through the night…do you see a theme with my requests? Sleep, that’s really all I want. “Pretty please,” as Ellie would say.

This lady is on the go...

This lady is on the go…

 

Learning and Growing

Those are definitely the two things that have been going on for the past month or so, both by Ellie and for us as parents. When I was pregnant I spent so much time doing research to find out what was the best thing for my unborn child, but I didn’t spend quite as much time learning about what to do after she was born. I bought the What to Expect the First Year book, which was helpful for the first four and a half months I was home from work. I would read each section while Ellie napped and inform Brian of everything I read when he got home.

After going back to work though, we really haven’t spent much time reading about the development of our baby girl, outside of the Brain Rules for Baby book (which is absolutely fantastic by the way). Thank goodness for our PEPS group. When we go to dinners with them on Mondays, we absorb all the little things that come up. Last week we learned that babies really can’t understand the word “no” until they’re about 2 and a half years old. There were several books that were recommended to us. Here are a few:

  1. Positive Discipline
  2. Parenting With Love And Logic (Updated and Expanded Edition) (Maranatha Novels)(I think this is the right one)
  3. Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason

As far as Ellie’s learning and growing goes, it seems like there is something new she’s doing every day. She walked up our two back stairs the other day instead of crawling! We’re certain she said “turtle” in the bath and “do it again” to me. She is smiling non-stop; it’s really quite contagious. She’s eating so well and loving all types of things. My only concern and priority as far as that goes is getting her a lot of vegetables every day. She babbles all day long and it’s just so adorable.

I know I’m gloating, but it’s just so exciting and I know every parent shares in that excitement as we all watch our little ones transform into more mature human beings. A couple of our friends came over the other night and we were talking about contrast and perspective. Being parents poses an interesting contrast. It’s challenging and every day there are new things to learn, but in the very same moment we experience the most profound pride and joy.

Here are a few pics of our pride and joy from Easter weekend:ImageImageImage

Videos Galore

Since the New Year, I’ve been a bad blogging mommy. Every time I think about sitting down and writing something exciting, other priorities take over. I took on a new role at my company, causing me to have to go back to five days a week at the office. I do miss my one day at home, but I’m grateful to have had it for at least a little while. 

For New Year’s, the three of us plus Max rented a house on Lake Wenatchee. We spent three nights and it was amazing. We went in to Leavenworth, went on a fun (and steep) snowshoe and generally enjoyed relaxing in a house with no cable, no wifi and no cell reception. It was magical.

Then we came back to the grind. We’ve just been working away and Ellie’s been growing growing growing and doing so many fun new things. She’s walking a ton now, clapping her hands all the time and waving. The clapping and waving she’s doing when we tell her to; it’s really incredible to see her develop and see her connecting new dots. She’s also been very talkative and I’m certain she’s saying words. Yesterday at her cousin’s birthday she saw Brian outside and I said “Dad” and she said it back.  

We did go through a bout of sickness, which has been going around. Last Saturday at 2:30 in the morning (of course), Ellie woke up throwing up. Why is it that babies always get sick on the weekend in the middle of the night? It’s never the middle of the day during the week when you could take them to the doctor if needed. The illness lasted for about 2 days and then she was back to eating and drinking normally. 

Since then she’s been quite fussy, clingy and a little snotty; I’m certain she’s got another tooth coming in. I can’t wait for that to happen so she’s not it pain any more.

Here are some fun videos of all the exciting action from the last month or so.

She was cracking up at Max and every time I said “dog”:

 

Showing off her mad clapping skills:

 

We went to the Children’s Museum and caught her walking away from the fish tank:

 

Ellie doesn’t want Brian or I to feed her lately and she’s gotten the coordination down to eat herself:

 

Sharing some beautiful music:

Oh to be a Babe

I often think what a wonderful life it would be to wake up and essentially be responsible for playing, eating, sleeping and pooping myself every once it awhile. There’s not a lot required of a tiny little baby and sometimes it’s nice to fantasize about going back to that place. In our adult lives, we of course are responsible for many things and once the babe comes around, the responsibility increases exponentially.  Sometimes the responsibilities are tough and stressful and sometimes they’re fun.  Sometimes a lot of fun ends up being exhausting too, right?

For instance, this week has been so amazing. Tuesday Brian and I celebrated our two year anniversary.  We did the White Moustache Urban Adventure.  It was an amazing night of going from one unique restaurant in our fine city to the next. We started at Island Soul in Columbia City, where we had some amazing jerk chicken and seafood fritters with a nice dark rum ginger mojito. From there we moved to St. Cloud in Madrona. We noshed on some parmesan crusted pork tenderloin and washed it down with some Syrah. At the next stop, Grub on Queen Anne, we had a seafood medley with another glass of red wine. Finally we ended our night at Hot Cakes in Ballard, where we shared a dark chocolate hot cake with whiskey caramel and vanilla ice cream and some port. Oh it was fun to bounce around the city like DINKS again!

Wednesday night we stayed in (thank goodness), Thursday Jonathan and Devon came over for dinner, and Friday we had Friendsgiving at John and Mols’.  Saturday came around and we went to the grocery store to get stuff for Thanksgiving. We headed out to go to Ethan’s 1 year birthday party and sat in traffic for 45 minutes before we even got to I-90! Since we had a Christmas party in a few hours, we figured by the time we would get to the party we’d have to turn around and come back, so we ended up canceling. We felt (and I still feel) really bad.  From there we dropped Ellie off with Jenna and Ryan and headed out to the Blue Nile Christmas Party. That was fun while it lasted, but we had to head home early because Ellie was refusing a bottle and going down. It was still a great night and so much fun.

Then today we did a family portrait session out in the [light] rain and then hosted PEPS at our house. Ahhh…time to breathe please.  A lot of fun, but still A LOT of going going going!  All this running around, and the whole while Ellie is just growing like crazy and showing more and more of her personality every day. She’s started doing things we say, such as bouncing when she’s standing and turning the pages in her book when we’re reading. A couple of weeks ago I got a glimpse of her mimicking with dad, making the scrunchy face.

 

Here are a few pics of the cute PEPS babes tonight.