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.

13260171_10154921105709698_6674844706776782281_n13244651_10154921105774698_8107886741718957049_n

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

Advertisements

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.

Dining with Kids

Tonight I took the girls to dinner at a restaurant by myself. I knew what I was getting myself into, but I just didn’t want to cook a meal at home and clean up after it, so I talked to Ellie and Piper about it advance and they were in a good place. Ellie is at the age where she can relatively behave herself, minus the fact that she still feels the need to yell everything she says, a la her uncle Chad – love you Chad! We went to the local Mexican restaurant we’ve been to many times because that’s where they said they wanted to go. Overall, it was just fine – I can’t complain. But the whole experience got me thinking – why don’t they have a playbook for servers for handling tables with young kids? I know we’re not the only ones – I see them everywhere we go. Normally parents aren’t brave or dumb enough to go by themselves with two kids under four, but I think there some tactics servers could use to make it a more pleasant experience for everyone, including themselves. I want to make sure to include the fact that I served tables for many years, basically from when I was 18 to somewhere around 23 or 24, so I get it. No one ever told me back them what to do when I get parents with young kids in. I wish I would have had some sort of training or playbook for those types of situations. If I were to make one, it would go a little something like this:

  • Bring a stack of napkins pronto
  • If there’s a kid under 1 or 1 and a half, bring a spoon and a straw for them to play with – a paper or plastic cup with ice cubes isn’t a bad idea either
  • Remove the condiment section altogether – let me know you’re doing it and that you’re happy to leave anything I need
  • Have something at the table for the kids to munch on as soon as possible – Mexican restaurants are good at this
  • It’s ok to talk to the kids – they have voices and can speak
  • Fill their drink cup half full – I have yet to encounter a restaurant with kids cups that are too small
  • Don’t set a sharp knife or a scalding hot plate right in front of my child, not to mention my glass of wine or cocktail – it will only result in more work for you
  • If there are toys or coloring things or anything else around to keep their attention, bring it. We went to an Italian restaurant recently that brought a little thing of pizza dough for the girls to play with – effing brilliant!

That’s it. I think most of these things are relatively easy, especially if it’s a slow night, which it usually is when us parents come to dine at an ungodly early hour. Like I said, I’ve been in your shoes you hard working servers – this just might help you survive my toddlers a little easier and would almost certainly result in more dinero in your pocket.

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:  

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:)