Thursday, June 19, 2014

Seven Quick Takes

1. We're starting off our summer with a couple weeks of swimming lessons. P and B are in the same class and they are doing SO well. Pacey had to sit today out (he has another nasty sinus infection, poor guy) but Brighton decided that she would get over her fear of putting her face in the water. And, she did. She willingly submerged herself several times and began putting her face in while floating and practicing her arm strokes. For the first time in two years of (on/off) lessons, I am actually hopeful that the end result will be children who know how to swim!

2. Yesterday I had the privilege of being interviewed by the MN Department of Health regarding my baby's recent E. coli infection. It was relatively easy considering how very limited his diet is right now, but we got to the end of the interview and I had to tell the woman that I appreciated her diligence and I understood the need to follow up all leads to prevent an outbreak, but that I knew exactly where he'd been exposed to the bacteria. You see, he ate a piece of his BFF's poop. Kids are gross, and we shall henceforth never speak of this again (he's fine now, just had a week of unspeakable diarrhea and no appetite).

3. Now that he's feeling better he is starting to chub up nicely, is spending more and more time on his feet, has two of four molars bulging and has three signs ("all done" "more" and "milk"). I feel like we are sliding into a much easier phase of babyhood and I couldn't be happier about it. He is still the best natured baby I have ever met and greets me from his crib with a smile that could start a fire. He puts his little arms around my neck and squeezes and I think proper baby hugs might be my favorite thing ever. I'm so very grateful to have experienced this version of mothering a baby.

4. Pacey became such a young man over the course of this school year. He made several friends in his class and one boy, J, expressed that the thing he would miss most about first grade would be seeing Pacey every day. J's dad called earlier in the week to invite Pacey over for a play date and the look on P's face when I told him might be the most heartbreakingly beautiful thing I've ever seen. He sees his sister go on a lot of play dates (largely because she wasn't in full time school this year) and he was so thrilled to get to have his turn. Unfortunately we had to cancel because he's sick but they will get together next week. I admit I'm a little nervous but it's a completely appropriate and good step for him to take so we will embrace it. Also, Reason # 28753 why big kids are awesome: when Pacey started feeling bad he looked at me and said in the saddest little voice, "Mom, I'm not feeling so well." So much easier than trying to decipher why a younger kid is acting like a beast.

5. I bought a new water table for the kids to play with and it is just about the best thing ever. If you're in the market, this toy rocks:

http://www.amazon.com/Step2-Busy-Ball-Play-Table/dp/B00IGXUSBE/ref=sr_1_18?ie=UTF8&qid=1403207031&sr=8-18&keywords=step+2+water+table


6. Along similar lines (of consumerism, that is), we recently killed our blender making smoothies and replaced it with a Ninja. I'm totally in love. My go-to breakfast in winter is oats, but in summer I love smoothies and this thing makes it SO easy.

7. I've recently started listening to audiobooks. I love putting on my headphones and listening on my phone while I do chores. I'm definitely learning that I have some pretty specific likes and dislikes when it comes to audiobooks. A good narrator makes a world of difference and a bad one is like nails on a chalkboard. I don't like hearing a narrator do accents badly. Hearing them read swear words makes me cringe. And I read SO much faster in print than I can listen. You can adjust the speed but I haven't been able to get used to anything faster than the standard. It's annoying because I've been borrowing from the library and struggling to finish the books in the allotted time. I'm currently listening to Delicious by Ruth Reichl and it's a great story but I won't finish it before it expires tomorrow. I recommend, though, based on the part I've been able to listen to.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Snip

It would be pretty funny if this post was about a vasectomy, right?

It's not.

Archer got his first haircut today. I'm pretty sure Pacey didn't have a haircut for...gosh, I really don't even know how long. I think we just finally buzzed the baby mullet ourselves?? Brighton had her first cut when she was about 18 months old. We did it after we'd moved here to Minnesota and I have a little envelope of clippings they gave me (which I totally thought was gross and unnecessary but man, was she thrilled to pull it out of her keepsake box today to have a look. Worth it).

Archer was blessed with quite the head of hair, and I decided today I'd go ahead with his first cut. I knew the curls would most likely disappear, but they would anyhow (no one in either family has had truly curly hair after babyhood). I sat with him on my lap and, predictably, he was happy as a clam.

And he still looks pretty darn handsome, if I do say so myself.

(I love this baby).

BEFORE



AFTER


Happy weekend to us all.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

10 Months

I'd say the time flew by, but in truth it's been a long 10 months. Although I have handled having an infant much better this time around, the fact remains that I am not a baby person. And if you can have this baby and not be a baby person, you REALLY aren't.

He's delightful. He is nearly always happy as long as I am within touching distance. He claps and waves and (hilariously) growls and is starting to sign back to me. For a huge skeptic of baby signing pre-Pacey, I am a strong supporter of it now and there is such a thrill when you see the look on a baby's face the first time they realize they can communicate that way. He is crawling and cruising and into absolutely everything and I have a feeling he's going to be a challenging toddler. I'm biased but I think he's adorable. I feel ok saying that because he sure as heck didn't get his looks from me. He has surprise curls that pop out after his bath and an infectious grin and my lands his eyes are blue.

I have been stretched to my mental and emotional limits this year. A needy baby and a precocious 4/5 year old that thrives on nonstop interaction has really tested me. Most of the time I still don't feel like I'm getting the balance right but my kids are undeniably happy and I suppose that's the most honest measure of all.

I still don't put enough towards myself. I need to prioritize the things that allow me to breathe more freely: quiet time, exercise, time with friends I relate to. The components of my life are so good: strong marriage, happy and healthy kids, beautiful house in a place I'm proud to raise my family. But unless I take care of my own brain I really can't enjoy them to the fullest.

We're on the brink of a new season in a lot of ways. Summer, with its different routine, both more and less restrictive at the same time. Three short months and then five days each week with just me and the baby. That too, will be harder and easier at the same time. A little more quiet time for me, but two kids with two schools and two separate sets of educational needs.

I meant to write about the baby but I guess this is sort of the nature of the third child...caught up in the chaos of the rest of the family. Archer, I love you. I'm so glad we have you. You complete our family in the best possible way.








Thursday, May 15, 2014

Five Minute Dump

Ok, I'm giving myself five minutes to write down as many things as I can think of that I haven't blogged about.

- My baby girl turned five on Monday. FIVE. I blinked and she grew up. She's marvelous.


- Archer is almost ten months old and is crawling, pulling up and getting into absolutely everything.

- He does not, however, eat food without gagging and barfing. I am completely mystified by this baby. Anything more than a smooth puree results in barf, after four months of slooowwwllly introducing food. I don't want to be too reactive but I think we are headed for a feeding consult for some suggestions as to how to desensitize him. Babies man.

- He has also still only slept through the night maybe four times. That's all I'll say about that.

- My parents came for a visit. It was fantastic. They are so great with the kids and I'm grateful they can make such an effort to visit since we haven't had the fortitude to fly up to the Last Frontier with three kids. Or even two.

- Chris and I got away for two nights. It was also fantastic. The first time we've had two consecutive nights since Pacey was born. We went to a rustic little cabin on a lake and did not much of anything. Oh, we did visit a bison ranch. Totally romantic.

- We also celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary. Holy cow.

- Pacey's almost done with first grade. We watched his musical performance today. He did awesomely amazingly superb. His classmates are so kind to him. I love our school.

- Brighton lost her first tooth and has another one loose. It really threw me. It makes her look so much older and I have that melancholy feeling of having left a place you can never go back to. Unusual for me.

- Pacey starred in a video for the PACER Center which advocates on behalf of children with disabilities and children who are victims of bullying. The video played at their annual fundraising benefit before Diana Ross sang. He was phenomenal. So was she. I'll post a link at some point.

- I see 70s and straight sunshine in our ten day forecast. It can't come soon enough. Easter Sunday was the last nice day that I remember.

- I've already exceeded my five minutes. Time is money. A few more of these and maybe I'll be back on track with blogging. Maybe.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Frankly, My Deer

It's not uncommon to see deer around our neighborhood. Periodically through this winter when the windchills had temperatures hovering around -50 degrees, I'd wonder how in the world they could be surviving.




As it turns out, they not only survived but thrived. This is a picture I took this evening from our dining room, showing eight of the TEN deer hanging out in our backyard. Apparently they keep warm the same way rabbits do.

Monday, March 10, 2014

My Kind of Winter

Ok, so my kind of winter is actually the kind that gets vaguely chilly rather than ever cold, but since we're here in MN for the long haul, this is what passes for reasonable.

It warmed up to 30s and 40s this weekend and even I can tolerate those temperatures. We spent some time outside on Sunday, taking the kids for a walk and playing in the slowly disappearing snow. Brighton has been begging to make a snowman all winter (thank you, Frozen) but it's been too cold or the snow not the right consistency. Anyway, she finally got to make her snowman and Archer got a token First Winter sled ride. Now, bring on spring.

Not quite pictured: totally inappropriate-for-the-weather crib shoes and
mismatched socks covering the baby's hands. I clearly had no real
intentions of having him outside this winter


Holy crap, I have three kids

Yes, those are bottlecaps. Beer bottlecaps. Classy, no?

GRASS!!!!

Oh, ok, here you can see the improvised winter gear a bit better

A boy and his Dada

The princess commands her steed

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Day in the Life - 3 Kids Edition

As always, feel free to skip over this post if reading the minutiae of my days isn't your bag. I need documentation like this to refer back to when I'm an old lady and prone to nostalgia, resulting in telling harried young mothers that "these are the best days of your life!"

Wednesday, March 5th. Pacey is seven, Brighton is almost five and Archer is seven months old. 

3:45 am Archer wakes up for the third time tonight/this morning. ARGH. This baby is so easy in so many ways but sleep ain't one of them. I go down to the kitchen and make him a bottle, as it's now been nine hours since his bedtime bottle and, frankly, it's the quickest way to get him back to sleep. I feed him and then fall asleep in the chair with him, waking up at 5:00 with a terrible crick in my neck. I ease him back into his crib and return to bed.

6:15 am Baby's awake again, this time for the day. I get him up, change his diaper and ask C to get Pacey started on a breathing treatment. I could hear his hacking cough through the walls each time I was up last night. I change Archer and get him dressed; Brighton joins us for the day.

6:45 - 7:15 am Prepare Pacey's things for the day: backpack, note in his communication log, snack, etc. He eats breakfast and I note that he has some really disgusting stuff coming out of his nose. Decide to call for a pediatrician appointment after school; he seems fine to go and isn't likely to be contagious since he's had the same cold for about two weeks.

7:20 C leaves for work and I wave Pacey off to the bus (they come right up to the top of the drive, which has been so nice this winter). Brighton's bright-eyed and enthusiastic for the day, wondering "what fun thing we will do." Blergh. I decide we'll go to my monthly Moms' Club Meeting and get to work making some muffins to bring.

7:30 - 8:30 am Make muffins and listen to Brighton's never-ending narration of a game of pretend play she has started with her American Girl doll and horses. After yet another broken night's sleep I only attend with half a brain, something I feel guilty about almost all the time with her. She just needs a LOT of interaction, often a lot more than I'm truly capable of providing. Archer gets some cereal and fruit and practices crawling around. I also call the pediatrician and get an appointment for 2:40, which means I have to email Pacey's teachers and make sure I can pick him up early.

Add caption

8:30 - 9:00 am I head upstairs with Archer to get ready for the day. He has limited patience for the exersaucer so I let him scooch around my feet and play with inappropriate items like hairbrushes and shoe horns. Whatever it takes. We head out shortly thereafter and I realize that A is going to fall asleep on the way. Twenty minute nap it is, then. As I back down the driveway I realize it is trash day and someone has forgotten to wheel the bin down to the street. Quickly run up and take care of it, noting that the cold is merely unpleasant today, rather than unbearable.




A photo of our lethal entryway


 9:30 - 11:00 We attend the meeting which features an interior designer as our guest speaker. She's actually really helpful and I like her approach (you don't have to be rolling in dough to create nice surroundings for yourself, nor should your budget limit your access to design help). Brighton opts to stay in the meeting rather than go to the child care room. I don't blame her (pretty much all the other kids are boys aged three years and younger) but she wants to be part of the meeting and I want her to be quiet and color. It's a little frustrating because I really just wanted some time to chat with other adults and not parent.

11:15 - We head home after I unload my Snap N Go onto a fellow mom who is expecting a baby this summer. I am thrilled to see it go...I will not miss a single thing about the infant carseat and SNG, which is very convenient in theory but practically worthless in a Minnesota winter.


Good riddance infant carseat

11:45 - We get home and Archer has grabbed another catnap in the car but wakes up as soon as I unbuckle him. Poor kid isn't going to get much sleep today. Brighton and I have lunch and watch the finale of The Next Great Baker. It's been sort of fun to watch with her, she gets very involved with the contestants' stories. However she likes to talk through the entire thing and my poor tired mom-brain can't process more than one thing at once anymore. 

Lunch

1:40 Coats, snowsuits, hats, gloves...my lands I am weary of this winter. We load up and head out to pick up Pacey. He's waiting in the office for me with his favorite para. He is happy as a clam at the end of another busy school day, but is not pleased to hear that he has to go to the doctor. 


We have a ton of baby toys but who wants
stacking rings when you could play with a
plastic saw??



This is what winter looks like. I'd love to burn every one of these items.




2:00 Realize my car has run out of wiper fluid and it's finally warm enough that the roads are a mess. I have to stop at a gas station to buy a jug and fill up. The kids are wildly entertained by this for some reason. I am mostly happy I can figure out how to pop the hood as I have never needed to with this car. 



2:40 - 3:40 Doctor's office. The appointment starts 20 minutes late so I send a quick email to Pacey's speech therapist apologizing but letting her know we wouldn't make our 4:00 appointment. All three kids are squirrelly once we finally get to the room. Pacey plays iPad, Archer shreds the exam table paper and Brighton flops dramatically around, complaining about how bored she is. The doctor agrees with my assessment that his cold has turned into a sinus infection and we head out with a prescription for antibiotics.





3:45 - 4:30 Our pediatrician's office is conveniently located right next to a Target so we head straight there to pick up P's meds. When we get to the pharmacy the kids immediately spy a large bowl of popcorn and bottles of water, apparently set out for the customers, and start begging for the popcorn. As I assess the table it does not appear that there is any method for obtaining the popcorn other than using one's hands. This thoroughly grosses me out (outside a PHARMACY. Where people are obtaining MEDICINE. For DISEASES.) and I therefore refuse the kids' pleas, attempting to appease them with water. They grudgingly accept the bottles but continue to whine about the popcorn for the next 30 minutes while we wait for the prescription. We grab a few dinner items and when we return to the pharmacy I notice that in fact there is a stack of cups for filling with the popcorn. I relent and give the big kids a cup. Am the hero of the hour. Am then rewarded by not one but both of them spilling the popcorn all over my car. Oh well, add it to the layers of winter disgustingness. I'll deal with it in the spring.

Don't be jealous of my ride

4:45 - 5:30 It's crunch time, my least favorite time of day by far. I quickly throw a pot of lentil soup together for my dinner, prep the big kids' dinner (mac and cheese and meatballs) and feed the baby some cereal and sweet potatoes, as well as unloading/loading the dishwasher and washing bottles. Multitasking at its finest. P and B are thundering around overhead, entertaining themselves nicely until a game of "Capture" goes awry and B gets her fingers pinched in a door. Many magic mommy kisses are required to soothe the savage beast, I mean lovely daughter. 

Serving dinner while it's still light out, yahooooo

5:30 - Big kids sit down for dinner and I take Archer upstairs for a bath. This is one of my favorite times of day because he adores splashing around in the tub and I get to drink a glass of wine, watch him and revel in the relative peace. At some point C comes home while the kids are eating. 



Post-bath baby sweetness

6:30 - Give Archer his last bottle and put him to bed. The one part of sleep training that has stuck is that he goes down in his crib awake and puts himself to sleep. That was a pretty big accomplishment in itself and eased the stress of managing three kids' bedtime routines.

6:40 - Pacey and Brighton are playing downstairs with Chris so I take advantage of the quiet to prepare all of our paperwork for a meeting with the accountant in the morning for taxes and deal with some school paperwork for Pacey.

7:00 Bedtime routine for the big kids commences. Cajoling and coaxing into pajamas, brushing of teeth, etc etc ETC. Finally they are both ready for bed and we do our twenty-ish minutes of reading before they are both tucked into bed.

8:00 Chris and I eat dinner in front of the last couple of episodes of House of Cards. Such a great show but it leaves me feeling icky. We watch the Season 1 finale in bed and I totally sleep through the last 15 minutes (though I do that thing where I pretend I wasn't sleeping, for no apparent reason. Why do we do that?)

9:40 Lights out and I am done for the night. Here's to a restful night of restorative slumber.

11:00 Hahahahahahahahaha. Archer wakes up for what will be the first of four times between 11 pm and 4 am. I AM SO DONE HAVING BABIES. (but I'm still totally gaga for him)