Monday, June 23, 2014

Happy 1/2 Birthday!

Already 2 1/2! I decided to do a little celebration because (a) why not; (b) being born right around Christmas means she kind of gets screwed over in the birthday department; (c) I like cake; (d) she has been talking about her own birthday party for several weeks and while I refuse to give her a "jumpy" birthday party as she has been requesting, it is pretty easy to give her a cake. 

I asked her what she wanted to do for her two and a half birthday. I gave her several options- zoo, splash park, movie. Her answer? "All of them." While we didn't make it to the splash park, I did have some friends over yesterday for a "Movies and Margaritas" play date (yes, just as awesome as it sounds) to accommodate the movie part of her half birthday dreams. 

Showing off her 1/2 cake for her 1/2 birthday

On Saturday, her actual 1/2 birthday, we went to the zoo, or "ooze" as she calls it. There was a special exhibit with moving, noise-making dinosaurs. I have hesitated to take her in there when I have done solo zoo trips with the kids, because it's the type of thing that could either be a big hit or a big disaster. It started off okay...

Watching the dinosaurs from the safety of Daddy's arms

...then she got a big nervous. But wait! An area where she could pretend to be a paleontologist! All was safe again.

Pretty sure Jim was more excited about this than Ella

After the dino dig, she decided she wasn't quite so happy. However, we came across some nesting dinos and baby dinos aren't quite so scary. Complete meltdown averted.

See? Not so scary

Even better, there was one that had a Mommy, Big Girl, and Baby!

About 30 seconds before the T-Rex crisis

And then we saw the T-Rex.

Marian was interested

Clinging to Jim in terror. Yes, I'm the asshole mom who took a picture

Sadly, the terror of the T-Rex extended to not wanting anything in the gift shop. I have offered to buy my kids something in a gift shop exactly once and my guess is that opportunity will not come about again for another several years. Should have taken the chance when you had it, kiddo.

After the zoo we were all starving. Thankfully Jim remembered this place called Silver Dollar Cafe that was mostly along the way home so we stopped for a bite to eat. I tend to be pretty very skeptical of the restaurants around here. However I do have to admit it was pretty much as advertised- that is, nothing fancy with a better than average beer selection for BFE (which isn't saying much, but that's a different gripe altogether). As we walked in we spotted a friend of mine who passed along a good suggestion for an ice cream shop nearby, which did surpass expectations.

Later on we had the second half of the birthday cake. I'm not sure if Ella had forgotten about it or was simply amazed that I hadn't consumed it all already. She thought it was the coolest thing that we sang "Happy 1/2 Birthday to You" two days in a row. Or maybe that she got cake two days in a row. Either way, for a brief period of time I was The Best Mom Ever and got to make her incredibly happy. Which gave me the patience to deal with the toddler sugar high.

Singing to herself

Ooooh, candles! 

Her current "cheese" face

Counting and telling us repeatedly, "I am TWO and a HALF!" 

Friday, June 20, 2014

How to get your toddler to (voluntarily) eat vegetables

I have to hand it to myself. I am a parenting genius. I developed a sure-fire way to get Ella to eat vegetables.

Here it is, in an easy step-by-step guide for you.

1. Plant a garden. This may require considerable effort on the parent's part. Trust me, it's worth it.

2. After months of dutifully caring for said garden, you are ready for the next part. Have your toddler help you gather vegetables.

3. Bring them inside, wash them off, and place them in a bowl on the counter or table, whatever suits your kitchen. Make sure your toddler will still be able to access them but don't be too obvious about it.

4. Take note. This is the most important step. Do not forget it else all the previous steps will have been for naught. Tell your toddler, "Please leave the vegetables alone. Mommy/Daddy wants to save them for dinner." Make a Big Deal over not eating the vegetables.

5. Leave the room on some pretext.

6. Come back to find your toddler busy gobbling up the vegetables.

There you have it! Six easy no-fuss steps for getting your toddler to want to eat vegetables.

If you have multiple children of varying ages, you can take it a step further. Simply say, "These are for your sister." Sibling rivalry for the win.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

School days

Every Wednesday Ella goes to "school." In reality all she does is run around and play and does some sort of craft and actually eats a complete meal, but hey, it gives me a much-needed 5 hours where I only have one child to deal with.

Here's my problem with school days. Tuesday night I come up with this crazy list of everything I am going to accomplish on Wednesday. Even as I am making my list I know it is entirely unrealistic. Take, for example, this week's list:

-Clean the whole house. Like not the half-assed cleaning that I am able to accomplish with the kids running around. A real deep cleaning. Including baseboards. Oh, how I loathe cleaning baseboards. But this week is going to be the week.

Thank you, Hyperbole and a Half, for totally getting me

-Drink lots of coffee, in relative peace. Preferably while reading a book. And not any old book. Something that will make me smarter. I'm going to find one of those lists of all the books you should read before you turn 30 or die or something and delve into it.

-Do all those educational and developmental things you are supposed to do with babies that I dutifully did with Ella but poor second child Marian has not had. In fact, this week we will even make it to baby story time at the library. I won't just run into the library with Marian napping in the Tula so I can get more books for myself.

-Prep dinner for tonight. It's going to be completely awesome to be able to pop something in the oven quickly instead of trying to scramble something together during the witching hour as I gulp down wine to keep my sanity.

-Pay the bills. Not only that, after I pay them I will haul myself up to the study and file away everything that has been accumulating on the desk/guest bed for the past six months. Then as long as I'm up there, I'm going to organize everything in that room. And put the Christmas decorations back in the crawl space.

-Finally sew the curtains for the living room.

-As long as I'm doing home stuff, I'm going to go to Lowes and pick up paint to re-do the half bath. Then tonight I'll paint the bathroom and as long as I'm painting I'll make a dent in painting our bedroom too. It is going to be fantastic. Goodbye, Bartian beige. Hello, color.

I do this to myself, without fail, every single week. You want to know what I did today?

-Swept the kitchen floor, washed the dishes, and did some laundry. That counts as the whole house, right?

-Made myself a latte and tried to get creative with the foam art like they do in coffee houses. I made a squiggle. It was fantastic.

-Paid the bills. Piled them up neatly and added them to the ever-growing mountain of stuff to file.

-Checked my phone and email about a gazillion times to see if my best buddy Kristen has had her baby yet. Come on, priorities here people.

-Nursed Marian about a gazillion times. Managed to read maybe three pages of a book while doing so. It is a Pulitzer Prize book by a Nobel Prize winning author so that has to count for something (went back and checked- apparently I have zero memory these days).

-Did stuff in the garden. Pretty sure I managed to eat a bug.

-Goofed around on the internet. Then did some serious internet stuff like browsing for shoes for Marian (hello, was this kid not just born?) and looking at stuff for vacation.

-Chased after Marian as she crawled under the butcher block, attempted to climb up the fridge, cruised around the living room, and made a bee-line for the dog toys. Also let her play uninterrupted with all of Ella's toys, which to Marian is probably the best part of school days. Sang "If you're happy and you know it" probably 50 times because she thinks it is the best song ever. Tried (unsuccessfully) to get her to clap her hands. Comforted her as she threw a shit fit because I won't let her eat paper or the gazillion threads she manages to find everywhere.

-Thought about dinner in a vague sense. Remembered Jim has a work dinner tonight so I can do a kiddie dinner before swim tonight and then do a real dinner for myself after they are in bed. Or, you know, have ice cream. Dinner of champions.

-And now have spent 20 minutes writing this blog post. And it's going on 12:30. I know pretty soon I'm going to say screw it and get another cup of coffee.

Probably I should give in and simply put "relax" and "play with the baby" as the only things on the to-do list. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

8 month update

Weight: Will have to update when I get her to a scale. Guessing still around 17 lbs

Height: Squirmy cranky girl is hanging out on my back in the Ergo. Will have to measure her later.

Teeth: Still only the two central lower incisors. The upper two are working on making their appearance.

Diapers: Nothing new or exciting here. Well, maybe new but not terribly exciting. Since she's eating more solid food her poop is now, well, more solid.

Clothes: She can still do some 6-9 but they are getting tight, so as they come through the wash I've been putting them aside. Still can't do bigger than 12 month size- unless of course we are in a true clothing pinch and I toss her in some of Ella's clothes.

Sleep: I finally feel like we are over some magical sleep hurdle. Napping consistently? Check. Sleeping at night? Eh, mostly good. Still one night time nursing. However, sleeping in until a decent hour of the morning? Not so much. Maybe it's because she's not waking up for her middle of the night nursing until around 5, but it is extremely hard to get her to deign to go back to sleep until a decent hour. There have been several times she sleeps through until 5:40 then wants to nurse. I don't know why, but 6:00 sounds so much more humane than 5:40. I'll admit, I have shut down the monitor some mornings in hopes of her learning to sleep in for 20 more minutes. She seems to be onto my strategy and will just stand in her crib and scream until I get her.

She did sleep through the night twice last week. At least I think she did. I was a bad mom who forgot to turn on the monitor before I went off to bed. I figure if she was really wailing I would hear her.

Food: The kid is an eating machine. There are meals where she eats more than her big sister. We've started doing multiple meals every day, in part because she is not happy being the only one not eating. Right now she is loving blueberry pancakes and beans (thankfully not together-yuck!).

Words: That's right, folks. We have a talker. Her first word was "Dada" followed soon after by "Ella." After lots of coaching, she now can say "Mama"- but calls me Dada most of the time. Hey, beggars can't be choosers, right?

Milestones: Lots of crawling and cruising around. She pulls herself up to standing and has taken one unassisted step. I'm taking bets as to whether she will be walking by 9 months.

Miscellaneous: She loves, loves, loves her big sister and wants to do everything Ella does. That has caused some consternation with Ella because "Marian is NOT a big girl!" It also has led to some bumps and bruises. Like when she tried to go for a ride on Ella's tricycle and managed to rip her upper lip tie. I'm a lot calmer about it than I was when Ella was the same age. I'm pretty sure when Ella ripped her lip tie (the first time) there was a call to the pediatrician. This time- eh, been there, done that.

On a different note, Marian started swim lessons. It's been a bit interesting because swim starts at 6:30 and she's usually in bed by then. So far she seems to enjoy it.

Swimming with Mommy

Standing up. Also- a oneie with a tail? How cute is that?

Ella "feeding" Marian dinner

Coloring with a lot of supervision, else the crayons go in the mouth

Pretty much a perfect summary of their relationship. 

Checking out Ella's tricycle (Note: this is NOT when she fell off and ripped her lip tie. That was in the back yard on the grass. Jim is just outside of the picture here.)

Showing off her cool new TARDIS diaper cover and how all the cool babies play with the jumperoo

Both all smiles

Monday, June 2, 2014

Things that make me happy

The other night Jim pointed out that I have a tendency to get too caught up in negative stuff. In an attempt to focus more on the positives in my life (and conceding that yes, he may have a valid point), here is a post all about random stuff that makes me happy.

Afternoon snack time with this little non-napping goober and realizing just how delicious those Annie's bunny crackers are.

This box that has been sitting under this couch for the past few weeks. It means that one day- maybe a year from now- I might get around to making new curtains for my living room.

Waking up to the smell of fresh bread. Thank you, programmable bread machine!

Seeing how happy this little bug is when she wakes up from her morning nap

The sight of cloth diapers drying on the line

Ripe raspberries fresh from the garden