Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thoughts on 2009

I'm writing this year-end post on Daniel's microscopic computer, and I've already had a glass of champagne, so please ignore spelling/grammar errors.  We're still in Portland- very, very tired and done with traveling.  Hopefully tomorrow's drive home will be uneventful.  We almost went home today, after I had a little "I hate crowds freakout" at the local science museum, but we stuck it out and are here still.  Thoughts on my crowd-phobia and other people and my latent, but gigantic people-pleasing instinct to come later when I have a real keyboard.

Anyway- 2009. Wow. Not a bad year. Just tough.I was on bedrest for months, and scared about Vivian's prenatal growth and honestly not sure if she was going to make it at times.  Then adjusting to life to two under 2.  And trying to figure out who I am now that I'm not a successful professional and trying to find my place in this new life as a stay-at-home mom.

But I have been so blessed. Daniel has continued to be patient and kind and forgiving and the kids are healthy and cute and so funny. And God has taken care of us and blessed us in so many ways.

Still, I'm ready for a new year! So here's to fresh starts and new years.  Happy 2010!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas recap

We had a really nice Christmas this year. Hurray for a nice Christmas!  I told Daniel that I think having my normal hanging-out-with-his-family-and-not-speaking-the-language-and-being-50-pounds-heavier-than-every-other-woman-and-getting-freaked-out-by-too-many-crowds-everywhere freakout two days before our visit really saved time and energy for the weekend. :)  The major drawback to the weekend was actually nothing more major than the fact that his parents have downgraded their cable package and no longer have HGTV. Since we don't have cable, I always look forward to hanging out there and watching cable and now they dont have HGTV or any of the other channels that I love. But I survived :)

Vivian's banquet also went well and she got lots of fun presents and red envelopes. Love the red envelope tradition.

There were a couple of funny things from this weekend that I was mentally blogging about while we were experiencing them.

1. On Saturday, Daniel and I decided to go to a movie while his parents watched the kids. But the local movie theaters are at the shopping malls, and Saturday was Boxing Day, a HUGE shopping day in Canada. Think the day after Thanksgiving. But worse. So instead of us driving and trying to find parking, his dad drove us to the mall and dropped us off and then came back and picked us up several hours later. I kept giggling that I felt like I was 14 and on a date with a high school boyfriend, not a married woman and mom of two in her 30s who was going to a movie with her husband :)

2. Okay, so last week I was reading this post over at Cake Wrecks about Yule Log cakes. Then we got to Canada and ate our Christmas dinner and then Daniel's mom brought dessert out.  And it was a Yule Log cake. A pink one. With Santa hidden on the back, and Hello Kitty and various Easter creatures featured prominently on the front. I made some comment about getting the camera to take pictures of the kids and ran to grab it so that I could document it for you all here :) You can thank me later.


 

I hope you all had equally entertaining Christmas holidays.  We're home briefly, then off to another trip Tuesday morning. So, Happy New Year to you all! 

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

It's 7 AM on Christmas Eve- probably the last calm moment around here for a while. I'm procrastinating on doing my workout DVD and taking this time to catch up with blogging instead.  Can you believe Christmas is almost here already! Wow, this year went fast!

We're going to spend the morning packing, then Daniel will hopefully be home from work early so we can attend our church's Christmas Eve service. Then tomorrow we're off to Canada to spend time with friends and family.  In addition to all the Christmas festivities, we're also having a (rather belated) Chinese banquet to celebrate Miss Vivian's arrival. 

I hope that all of you have wonderful Christmases, full of much love and happiness and time spent with those dear to you!

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

Monday, December 21, 2009

A much needed pat on the back

I just got my performance review for the year. I've been at the company for a long time now, and I really enjoy my work and my coworkers.  I'm really blessed to have sort of fallen into a field where I am challenged and forced to think, and where my job strengths are well utilized.

That all being said, I have barely done anything this entire year.  I was on bed rest the first time in January and kept working from home, then the pregnancy got more and more complicated and I ended up going on leave a month earlier than expected. So, since the end of April, I've only worked a few hours per week, rarely more than 10 or 15, and lately more like 1 or 2.  Have I mentioned that I pretty much have a dream work situation? The long hours that I put in back when I was single and responsibility-less are paying off!

But my performance review was really good, and people are pleased with my work. This was especially wonderful to hear today, because in my real life as a mommy, I got to reopen the paint can of poop and put in Ethan's second deposit. Go here if you missed this story last week. The first one wasn't bad, but do you know what a can of poop smells like after it's been sitting around for 2 and a half days?  So glad I never had to do this test while I was pregnant with Vivian.

Anyway, the good performance review made up for the poop collecting and I'm a happy camper today. It's awfully nice to get a pat on the back sometimes.  :) I hope there's a good ego boost in all your futures too!

Friday, December 18, 2009

I'm sorry you're sick, but...

So, on Thursday night, Daniel called me to say that he wasn't feeling well and that he was heading home from work.  Then he sat in traffic for an hour and a half, and was totally wiped out when he got home.  And today he woke up feeling even worse, just totally wiped out and exhausted and just not good.

I had plans with my church friends this morning, so Daniel decided to work from home while we went out. And so the kids and I went out and did lots of Christmas activities and had a nice time, and Daniel worked. Then we got home and I fed the kids and then Daniel said the magic words "why don't I put the kids down for their naps and you go out for a while." Seriously, are those not the words that make the angels sing? 

I hopped in my car and went out and got a present for my best friend and her new cat and got baby food for Vivian and jeans for me and groceries for us from the discount store and all was well. AND- we still have two whole weekend days to go! I wish every weekend was at least three days.

I hope Daniel feels better soon, but boy, it was nice to have him home sick today!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

In which God shows mercy to me

Sorry, your break from my random ramblings is over. :) Hope you've all been having a good week and getting lots of holiday-type activities done.  We're pretty much ready for Christmas here. Daniel's present is coming in the mail next week, and he still has to buy something for me. We are sticking to a $30 per person limit, so no coffeemaker for me this year, but I'm keeping it on my wish list and will end up with one eventually!

Holiday things aside, this has been a hard week. Ethan has been difficult, Vivian's fine but clingy and the days have just been really long and really rainy and really lonely.  Just not a week that needs to be remembered. But even in those hard days, there have been some moments of joy. Such as discovering that Ethan LOVES the Tony Bennett Christmas CD that I got in the mail. We had a ton of fun dancing around the living room, dipping and swaying and laughing hysterically.  To add to the amusement factor, our neighbors at the house across the street were sitting on their porch smoking the whole time, and they had a lovely front-row view to the dancing going on in my living room. 

Anyway, God showed mercy on me today in a small, but oh-so-appreciated way. The kids actually took a nap at the same time. Ethan hasn't napped all week, so him napping at all was a major victory. And Vivian rarely naps in the early afternoon, so it was an unexpected blessing.  And one I really needed really badly. That hour of downtime made all the difference in the rest of the day. Especially since, after a long week, we had to take Ethan in for another weight check this morning, and I came home with this.



I know. You're thinking I uploaded the wrong picture. Because that's just a metal paint can. Why would that be upsetting?  Because I am supposed to collect Ethan's stools for 72 hours and store them in this can. In my refrigerator (we have nowhere else cool to keep it, no garage, no porch, no balcony).  IN MY FRIDGE. 72 HOURS OF COLLECTION.

We're still trying to figure out what's up with Ethan's eating and weight. It really probably is nothing.  But the thing is, we just don't know. And, he didn't gain any weight at all between his 18 month and 2 year appointment and also didn't get any taller, and we really don't want that to happen again, so we have to keep going back in for regular checks to make sure that he is growing enough (at $25 copay per visit...), even if he is still on the small end of things. And now the doctor wants to do a test just to rule something out. It's not likely that Ethan has the problem, but if he does, it would be good to know now. And if not, we'll just focus on behavioral things and trying to get him to eat and sneaking in extra calories in lots of ways.

I was looking at the doctor type in information for Ethan today and noticed that his first record of weight and eating problems was when he was 7 days old. He is now 870 days old. That's 863 days of fighting over his eating and trying to do anything to get him to gain weight. I am so tired of this.

I don't know how moms with kids with serious health problems do it. You are amazing, and I'm sending up a prayer for strength for all of you today. 

Oh, and to close on a smile- even though Ethan won't eat actual food, he will happily try to eat his utensils. While wearing his pjs and his outdoor hat. Toddlers are so strange sometimes, aren't they :)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Why do I waste my breath

Do you ever have days where the pets in the house are the only ones who seem to ever listen to anything you say? Seriously, today is one of those days. I'm not sure why I bother talking at all. 

ARGH.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thoughts on being a grown-up

Before I get all whiny and annoying again (sorry), just wanted to say- Vivian has teeth! Two of them! They have been in the works for a while, but finally popped through a few days ago. Both of them at the same time.  And then she slept all through the night last night for the first time in ages, so we're thinking her teeth were hurting a bit more than she let on.

Okay- so when you were young, how did you picture adulthood? I remember dreaming of being able to eat as much candy as I wanted and staying up as late as I wanted. I'm not sure I really thought it out beyond that.  The candy eating part was pretty accurate- I have the hips to prove that one.  As for the staying up late, occasionally I do that too, but most of the time I'd rather go to sleep early than pretty much anything else :)

I like adulthood- I like my life and my family and the things I get to do. But boy, adulthood is full of far too many situations that require maturity and wisdom in decisions.  So annoying!  I've got a couple of those things going on right now. 

For the first one, I'm trying to decide on whether or not to buy a new coffeemaker. I have a perfectly functional coffeemaker, but it leaks and I hate it with a passion. And so I really want the low-end model of the fancy pod coffeemaker. Which is on sale for a reasonable price... but now that I'm not working and we had the trip to Great Wolf last weekend and have a trip to Portland coming up in a few weeks, so I should be a mature adult and make the responsible decision to not spend the money. Ugh.

And in another, more important decision, I'm trying to decide whether or not to wean Vivian.  I've never been a fan of breastfeeding- it just has never been something that I enjoy in the slightest. But it's been easy for me and I know it's good for the kids, so I never had a reason to quit.  Last night I kind of snapped a bit though- between the pregnancies and breastfeeding, I've either been growing a person in my body or feeding a person from my body for 33 of the last 36 months, and I'm ready to have my body back! And I'm tired of trying to figure out feeding her when we're out, it's hard to be discreet when you're well-endowed and when the baby is a big fan of lifting up the nursing cover :) But again, I know it's good for Vivian, and with cold and flu season in high gear, I feel a little guilty about quitting right now. So I'm not sure what I'm going to end up doing with that situation either.

And on an amusing note- Vivian gave up sucking her thumb today and started sucking her big toe instead. We're so proud.


 
 

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Catching up, again

I'm so lost as to what day it is- I alternate between being pleasantly surprised that it's already Tuesday and a little panicked that it's already Tuesday and I'm further behind on things than I thought I was :)

We had a nice weekend at Great Wolf Lodge.  I reviewed it over on the review blog- go here if you're interested. I didn't get to spend as much time with the other bloggers as I would have liked, since we left our computer at home and I missed all the "let's meet up" emails. But Daniel and I had a nice evening just hanging out and finally started watching the childrearing DVDs that we've had sitting on our shelf all month.

The funniest part of the weekend was definitely Saturday night when I went to change Vivian's diapers and, after looking all through the bag... realized I hadn't brought any for her. And that I had only one left in the diaper bag. And none in the car. I had packed diapers for Ethan, but then got distracted, as so often happens in my life, and never got around to packing any diapers for Vivian. So we had to head to town and buy some diapers for her before returning to playing at the lodge.

Ethan had his first dental appointment yesterday, so Daniel took half of a day sick leave and half vacation time and we went to do holiday stuff downtown after the dentist. The appointment went well and Ethan didn't bite the dentist, so we were all happy.  We ended up using some Space Needle coupons that I had found at Starbucks and going up to the top of the Space Needle, which Ethan loved, since he's totally obsessed with it.  Then we took the monorail to downtown and did our traditional holiday events. Took lots of pictures. It was such a nice day. Really really cold, but nice and sunny and fun to spend more family time together.

So now it's back to regular life.  I'm still trying to sort through a lot of things in my life and am trying to keep on track with praying and figuring out where God is leading me in several areas. I feel a lot like I'm being asked to let go of some things. And I don't want to, so I'm afraid I've been less cooperative in those areas than I should be.  I even spent Sunday evening crying and whining about it. I'm sure I sounded to God just like Ethan does to me.  Thankfully God is more patient with me than I am with my kids. Daniel said that he feels that God is trying to prepare me and my life for Vivian, since she's 6 months old now and will soon be mobile and verbal and all those things. I asked Daniel to please shut up and not say such things, but after further reflection, I realized that he's probably right. Darn it.

Anyway, regardless of where God is leading me in some areas of my life, I should be letting myself led to stop blogging and go vacuum right now.  :)  Pictures of my weekend attached below for your viewing pleasure.






















 

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Ah, the weekend

I made it through yesterday and got our huge pile of stuff all packed and now it's almost time to head out on our trip!  Hurray! Even though they have wifi there, we're not going to take the computer, to try to break our work/email/Facebook addiction a bit :)  So you're just going to have to live without me for a while.

And the weekend is going to extend all the way to Monday- Daniel's taking off half the day to go to Ethan's first dentist appointment with me, then we're heading to do holiday stuff downtown after that. Fun! You are going to be inundated with pictures. I apologize in advance.

So, that's all from here. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Bad day

I'm feeling kind of discouraged today.  Rough morning with Ethan, depressed about how I look in my bathing suit that I have to wear in public tomorrow.  Got lots of rejection letters on the review blog (in fact that's all I've gotten in weeks, not sure the blog is going to make it much longer), which is so frustrating, because I've been working so hard on writing what I thought were good, thoughtful reviews. And now there's some mix-up over payment on a sponsored post. It wasn't a lot of money, but things are tight right now and every bit makes a difference.

And my house is a mess and I just totally overreacted to Ethan shoving a nutrigrain bar into the cracks of the dining room table.  So now he's in his room crying.  I will go apologize as soon as I calm down.

I'm so tired. I know it'll get better, that it's just the end of a long week. Just praying for patience for the next 6 hours.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Hey, Seattle people!

So, I'm working on scheduling December, and I know some people expressed interest in doing downtown holiday stuff with me. If anyone is still thinking they're interested, let me know.  We're going to be going on Monday with Daniel, but I'm always happy to go see these fun holiday sights more than once.

Let me know! Here's the list of things I was thinking of doing.  With a possible stop at Nordstrom Rack to try on shoes added in :)


http://www.trekaroo.com/list/ideas-for-a-great-holiday-outing-in-downtown-seattle

A great big welcome to my co-workers

So I mentioned a few weeks ago to my coworkers that I was doing some review blogging, and they thought it was interesting. And then my boss visited this week and at the fancy, shmancy dinner (which I realize I have yet to blog about), someone mentioned my review blogging to her and she did exactly what I would have done, which is go back to her computer and google until she found my blog. Which isn't that hard if you know what you're looking for.

And then she forwarded the website address to the rest of my local coworkers :)  I don't know why I don't just come clean about this blogging thing to everyone, it's kind of ridiculous to be keeping it any sort of quiet.

Fortunately I like my job and have been writing fairly nice things about it for the three years I've been blogging. Although there might be some work angst buried in here somewhere. I don't really remember.

Nothing else new and exciting going on here. Still need to pack for our trip to Great Wolf this weekend. Seriously, 30 hours away from home with two little kids requires a ridiculous amount of stuff. How I miss the days of packing light...

Slaves to the growth chart

The appointment today to check Ethan's weight went pretty well. He's weighing in at just under 25 pounds. At 28 months old. I know, he's tiny.  But, the little dot of the graph for today was above the dot for the last time he weighed in, and that's what we're most concerned about.  The doctor has asked me to keep tracking Ethan's food for the next week, but also has asked that Daniel and I not push food for a week and just offer it a few time per day instead. The hope is that he will eventually get hungry and start managing his own food intake.

I know toddlers are notoriously bad eaters and that they have days when they don't eat much and others when they eat a lot.  Ethan rarely has the days of eating a lot under his own volition, hence our ongoing stress. But we're going to not worry about that for a week.

I whine about this being stressful, but in reality, I shouldn't. This is just our challenge to deal with. And in the grand scheme of things, it's a pretty minor issue.  He's not sick or hurt in any way, he's just little and doesn't like things in his mouth.  Including food.

So that's all from me for this morning. Have a great Thursday!

I blame my mother

It's midnight. The kids are asleep (at the same time!), the husband is asleep, I am exhausted, and yet I am online, playing Hatchlings on Facebook. I blame my mother. She kept talking about it and sending me requests (okay, not that often, but I am a fairly easy sell), and I am now hooked.

Sigh.

Like I needed something else to distract me from doing the things I should be doing. Like sleeping and eating healthy meals and whatnot. It's sad how easy I can be drawn off course. I will not bring up the fact that I have failed MULTIPLE versions of the screening tests for "do you have adult ADHD". Seriously, if I was diagnosed with adult ADHD, that would be a surprise to how many of you? Exactly.

On another, completely unrelated note (see above paragraph about my adult ADHD), please come here and remove all the candy cane Hershey Kisses from the advent calendar before I do. Do you know how hard it it is to sleep at night, knowing that some of the little boxes have candy cane Hershey Kisses and mint chocolate Hershey's minatures?  Seriously. Possibly the cause of my ADHD.

And on a more serious note, did I mention that I'm taking Ethan for his umpteenth weight check tomorrow. I can hardly type that without crying. I've been tracking his calorie intake super closely for the past two days. Yesterday he ate 900 calories, with me physically forcing him to eat 2/3 of those. Today I let him wait until he was hungry and he never once asked for food. At 6 PM I broke down and made him eat dinner. He ate 400 calories of food today. I am so tired of this. I don't want him resenting me when he's a 4 foot tall 14 year old and getting beaten up in the hallways of his high school. Seriously, Ethan, we tried to get you to eat. We tried hard. To the point of tears from everyone at every meal. You HATE eating. And Mommy is old and tired. Here's hoping that the doctor will have some answers for us that don't involve going to visit the germfest that is Children's Hospital in the midst of the H1N1 outbreak. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A great website for helping strengthen your marriage

I just found this site this week, but have already been so incredibly encouraged by what I've read here. As you all know, Daniel and I have been through a lot in the less than 4 years of our marriage. Not bad things, just a lot of changes and stresses and shifting of lifestyles. And so we're in a season of life where we need to stop and take a look around at where we are and where the strengths and weaknesses are in our marriage and where God is pointing us to work on things. 

That's why I really appreciate websites like this Women's Marriage Ministry site that give me concrete things to do and tools for getting my marriage to the place where God wants it to be. Right now we're on day 2 of a 30 day Husband Encouragement Challenge. It's really making me stop and notice the things I say to Daniel and how I treat him in the everyday things.  Only on day 2 and I am already feeling incredibly blessed by it.

Stop by and take a look.

I'm going to Great Wolf Lodge in 3 days!!!

I know I've mentioned it before, but I'm going to Great Wolf Lodge in three days! We're so excited, especially since the Lodge is all decorated for the holidays and there are going to be fun indoor holiday events to participate in. So exciting! And I get to see a ton of bloggers from the Seattle area.

To the bloggers- If you happen to see me and I'm wearing a bathing suit, please, just pretend I'm invisible :)  Actually, it shouldn't be that bad, as I have a nice Slimperfect suit to wear. Hopefully it'll help. 
Oh, and if I don't know you, please don't feel like I'm being unfriendly if I don't come up and say hi, I'm actually really scared of people at first.  Then I get over it in a big way, but I am not the type to walk up and introduce myself. That's why I have Daniel along in most social situations, the man could make friends with a rock, seriously. He's one of the most outgoing people on the planet. I just lurk in the background until all the getting to know you stuff is done and then I jump in. It works well for us :)

Speaking of Daniel, have I mentioned that the man is a saint? He took care of the kids all day Saturday when I was sick and most of the day Sunday. While working at the same time. Then Monday he left work early to watch the kids while I had dinner out at one of the swankiest restaurants around and he stayed home and ate leftovers and dealt with the toddler. Yesterday, he took Vivian to her 6-month appointment, then when he got home, he sent me out shopping for an hour, since he had taken the whole morning off for the appointments and he didn't need to leave for work yet. I got to go out, alone, on a weekday!  It was AMAZING! He is such a blessing to me and was definitely worth the wait. God knew what He was doing!

Okay, so that's enough rambling on from me.  The sun is shining and I am feeling a bit of energy and should probably channel it into something like dusting, instead of sitting in front of the computer.

Apparently still catching up on my posts

Yesterday was Vivian's 6-month birthday. Can you believe it? Time is going so fast!  As I mentioned in yesterday's post, she did have her 6-month well baby visit yesterday, which Daniel took her to. It was so weird not going along, but apparently she did well and was her typical easy baby self.  By evening she was feeling pretty bad from all the shots. But that did not stop her from staying up all night. When I fell asleep at 11 she was lying next to me looking at her hand, and when I woke up at 3 AM, she was doing the same.  We have a night owl on our hands. :)

6-month stats- she's weighing in just under 15 pounds. Daniel couldn't remember the exact weight and I can't quite tell on the growth charts that he brought home, but it's just under 15.  And she's 25 inches tall now. Pretty average for a 6-month baby! 

Here are her 6-month photos that I took yesterday. Her hair continues to defy gravity!




 

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The first of several posts today

Thanks to the great sickness, this weekend was pretty much a total loss in terms of getting everything done. Then last night I was busy trying to look like a grown-up at the swanky Seattle restaurant (where I walked across the dining room with my slip showing at one point... you'll have to check back for THAT story).  So I'm massively behind on things like blogging and updating our financial spreadsheet and laundry and all that stuff.  Ethan got up early this morning, as did Vivian, and Vivian is at the doctor for her 6-month-well baby appointment right now with her daddy, so I am counting on an actual naptime this afternoon so that I can get things done.

Keep your fingers crossed.

Until then, here are some pictures of my kids being cute. Because I haven't subjected you to those for a while :)








Monday, November 30, 2009

Not dead yet :)

Actually, I'm much better today, thank goodness! Thanks for all your nice comments on Saturday. I was sicker Saturday night than I'd been in a long time, but my fever broke overnight and by this morning I was mainly back to normal. Now I'm just trying to rehydrate and eat a bit more. My milk supply is UBER sensitive to my calorie intake and I can tell that Vivian hasn't been too happy after her feedings lately. 

I'm going to do my part to making up for my loss of calories with dinner tonight- I'm getting to go out to one of the nicest restaurants in Seattle tonight with my coworkers.  So nice that it has a dress code. Given that people wear jeans to the opera and ballet here, anyplace with a dress code is highly unusual in Seattle. I'm wearing a dress that I wore pre-Vivian, and it's pretty forgiving, so I think it looks okay. I also have plans to wear my beloved stiletto heels, despite the fact that I rarely wear anything other than tennis shoes or flats anymore and will probably fall over and make a fool of myself.  :)

I just want to say what a huge blessing Daniel was this weekend.  He is amazing. Not one word of complaint as he did everything around the house this weekend and did a remarkable job with the kids, plus some things for his job and a bunch of other things on his to-do list. Unfortunately he woke up with the sore throat this morning. I've been disinfecting since then- we cannot have the kids get sick, since we're off to Great Wolf Lodge on Saturday with a bunch of other bloggers and I've been counting down the days for weeks! Must stay well!

And I think I successfully found a gift for Vivian for Christmas. Now I'm just trying to think of what else I need at Amazon to try to get my basket up to $25 for free shipping :)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

This is how you tell that I'm really sick

Okay, so I was sick with a weird little cold last week, but then was feeling better by the end of this week. And feeling fine this morning, so I went to donate blood. When I checked in, I had a little fever, but nothing remarkable, just kind of high for me, since I tend to have a low body temperature. Then I started giving blood and started feeling a little off. But I made it through the donation in my usual record time and didn't feel too badly afterwards, so I went ahead and ran a few errands.

By the time I got home, I was feeling extremely yucky, but I chalked it up to the blood donation, so we went ahead and went to a friends' birthday party.  And people, here's where the shocker comes in.  They offered me a gigantic piece of white cake with some sort of sugary frosting and sugary decorations (pretty much my dream food) AND I SAID NO.  Daniel saw this and realized that I was seriously not well and packed us all up to come back home.

I've hardly moved off the couch since we got home. Catching up on my online TV shows, generally ignoring my children. Thank goodness for Daniel!  I'm still just feeling really off, but now am running a high temp and my stomach is a little upset... so I think tomorrow will be another day on the couch. And no, I didn't get sick on purpose to get out of helping out in the toddler class tomorrow. There's no way any fake illness of mine would ever include passing up cake.  Seriously.

So that's all from me. I hope you're all having a great weekend.  Everyone done with their Christmas shopping yet? We haven't even started making a list for anyone except each other.  Slackers, I know! Have a great Sunday, everyone.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Christmas conundrums

So, it's apparently the Christmas season now! I'm still confused by this- seriously, telling apart the seasons in Seattle can get a little challenging at times. Today is a glorious day- beautiful and sunny, and just a little on the cold side. I had big plans to not go out today, since we're completely exhausted from Thanksgiving, but Ethan made me get down the stroller and take the kids for a walk! It was nice to get out. Unfortunately, I stopped by the drugstore to get candy for the advent calendar and discovered the Hershey's Minature mint collection. OH MY GOODNESS.  Stay away from those if you like mint and chocolate and want to have any hope of not gaining 1000 pounds this month. 

And now we're back home, and I'm trying to limit myself to 2 pathetic Skype messages to Daniel per hour. He had to work today and originally informed me he would come home early. "Early" is looking like 5 PM. Which, yes, is earlier than he usually gets home, but not "holiday weekend early".  We're decorating the condo tonight, so I'm anxious for him to get back!

Okay, my Christmas conundrums.
1. Do I make cookies for or give some sort of little gift to my mailman? I've never done that in the past, but I've heard of people doing that. And my mailman is so nice to me- I live in a condo building, and instead of leaving my packages downstairs near the mailboxes, like he used to do, he knows that I'm home during the day, but that I have the kids and can't get down there easily, so he brings things right to my door. And he does his little secret knock and is so friendly and happy all the time.  Is a little token gift appropriate?

2.  I have no idea what to get Vivian for Christmas. I found a cute Chinese baby doll for infants, but her grandparents needed an idea, so we let them buy that for her. Ethan is getting one of the toys that's been stacked up in his closet- actually something I won for him in a giveaway earlier this year and decided he didn't need right away.  We're not huge into gift giving on Christmas, usually we limit our budget pretty strictly and just do one or two gifts each. But I have no ideas what to get Vivian. She doesn't need clothes or shoes or dolls.  She has a ton of baby toys that were Ethan's, so that's out too. Any suggestions? Space and money in our home are both limited, but if you have any ideas, I'd love to hear them! I need to have something for her to open on her first Christmas!

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving yesterday. Ours was busy, but really nice. No problems catching the ferry either direction and a good dinner with family.  The kids were wiped out by the end of the day, and Vivian was so overstimulated by everything that she refused to go to sleep until 2 AM, but at least there was a good Mythbusters marathon on for me to watch while I tried to get her to go to sleep :)

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

At risk of sounding like a cliche, I'm thankful

Things I'm thankful for today:

My husband. Seriously. He's the most amazing man I could ever have dreamed of loving. He is exactly what I need to balance my craziness out- always calm, always positive, always happy to jump in and take care of whatever needs to be done. NEVER complains (it's really a little scary), never makes comments about my insanity. Always just loves me and our kids. I am beyond blessed in this area.

Ethan. He kicks my butt and pushes all of my buttons 99.9% of most days. But he also has opened my eyes in a lot of ways regarding some of my personality characteristics and my responses to things. And he's funny and silly and thinks that if he puts a blanket over his head, he's invisible to the world. I love this kid.

Vivian. A year ago she was making me nauseous and making me lose weight (thanks!). And I had no idea what a rough pregnancy was ahead of me. I can't tell you how many times I was 100% sure that she wasn't going to make it and that we wouldn't get to know her as a person. But she did and she's healthy and everything is good and it's hard to believe that I was so scared of losing her. Vivian has the greatest smile and the sweetest personality ever, and she wants to be with me 24/7, which drives me insane and makes me feel SO loved, all at the same time.

My other family. I am so blessed to have wonderful parents who love me and my brother and each other and God and who are always there for me. And I have wonderful grandmothers who think everything I do and everything my kids do is amazing. Then there are all the other relatives around- they're all pretty great too. And all Daniel's family- they cause me a bit of stress, but they're so welcoming and loving of me, even though I don't understand their culture or language or eat their foods. Yet they still are kind and sweet anyway. I don't deserve them.

And I am SO blessed in the job part of my life. I have 6.5 years of history with a company that truly values me as an employee and is willing to work with me, even through my almost non-stop maternity leaves and high-risk pregnancies of the last three years, and my constant waivering in the work/don't work aspect of life. And even though me not working puts a good bit of financial strain on my family, it's a manageable strain, and thanks to my husband's job, it's one we can live with. I know this is not a situation that a lot of people are in, and I do not take it for granted.

Most of all, I am thankful today that God loves me, and that He is patient with me, even though I so often act towards Him just like Ethan acts towards me. I do not deserve all the mercies and blessings in my life.

And again, thanks to all of you. I frequently joke about being on the computer too much and my kids not being able to identify me without a laptop in front of me, but the truth is that you keep me sane. Being able to put my angst out there into the world and having people write to me and tell me that they understand and that I am going to be okay- PRICELESS. I love you all. To my American friends- stay safe on your travels and have a great Thanksgiving meal! And to the rest of you- love you all too.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A break from the Seattle darkness

For some reason, I still haven't gotten used to the idea of Thanksgiving in the rain. My brain is just not comprehending that it's actually the end of November and that Thanksgiving is tomorrow.  We don't have a whole lot of change of season here, especially in the city where I don't really see many trees or anything like that. It starts raining at the end of September and rains until May and, honestly, I often have trouble remember what month it is.

To me, Thanksgiving still means chilly weather and lots of trees and leaves. I spent 10 years of my life living in East Tennessee, and that's what I think of when I think of Thanksgiving.  Raking up piles of leaves with my dad and brother so that our front yard is spotless before our dinner guests show up.  Yes, my obsessive-compulsive tidiness is hereditary :)

But, whether I realize it or not, tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in the US! Wow, this year is going so fast. We're headed over to my grandmother's house on the other side of the water- so we'll get up and get in line for the ferry pretty early tomorrow. It should be a fun day- it's always great to catch up with relatives and show off the kids.

Then on Friday, the wonderful break from the darkness and rain will start- in the evening the Space Needle and one of the radio towers will be lit up with lots of sparkling lights. All the holiday festivities will start at the Seattle Center and downtown there will be bell ringers and lighted trees and shoppers bustling about. Everyone will be sipping their Starbucks holiday drinks and smiling. I love this time of year, it's one of the best things about living in the city.

Anyway, I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving with lots of friends, family and great food. And please know that you all are one of the things that I'm thankful for! My blog friends have helped me so much in the last few years- being a mom is hard, but you are such a blessing and encouragement to me. Hugs to you!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Just ignore this message

I'm just verifying authorship of my blogs for Technorati, so pay no attention to this message

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Monday, November 23, 2009

My daughter, the GIANT bed hog

Okay- some background information before I get to the point of this post. Our home- tiny. Too small for things like crying it out at night, because Ethan inevitably wakes up whenever Vivian cries and starts getting upset himself, saying "baby? crying?" over and over and over in his room. So in order to keep from having two kids awake late at night or early in the morning, we will do anything to keep the peace. 

The other thing about our home being tiny is that we really have to be careful how much stuff we have, and we have to be wise about all our furniture choices.  This is why it's a little scary that Vivian has not one bed, but two.  We moved Ethan up to a toddler bed a few months ago (easiest thing we've done with the kid so far, ever) and that left his crib open for Vivian. And she'll hang out in there, but so far having her sleep in there at night hasn't worked since she wakes up in the middle of the night fairly often. 

So, when she outgrew her bassinet in our room, we were a little unsure what to do, but then I won a great giveaway package over at Life Starring the Kids and Me, and one of the prizes was a fancy new pack-n-play. This thing is plush! And it arrived just when Vivian couldn't fit in her bassinet anymore, and we wedged it into the corner of our bedroom, ceding even more territory to her highness. She slept well there for a couple of nights, then decided that sleeping alone was for the birds and that she would only sleep in our bed. Snuggled right up next to me. Oh, and I have to be facing her. 

Now, I wake up every morning, stiff from not moving in my sleep, with the girl who has two beds of her own taking up the middle half of my bed, with her head snuggled up to me and her little body taking up most of the middle of our bed. And a lump somewhere far at the other edge of the bed that I can only assume is Daniel.

But you know what, I can't get too upset about all this, because she is growing up so fast that I can almost see her maturing during the day every day. And pretty soon she's going to be a wiggly toddler instead of a snuggly baby and I'm going to so miss these snuggle sessions. I'm awfully blessed to have them.


Pardon me, I think my insecurities are showing

I have just realized that the last several blog posts have been overly full of comments like "they all thought I was crazy" or "I'm the worst daughter-in-law of all times".  Can you tell that I'm a little off kilter lately? And by lately I pretty much mean since I found out I was pregnant with Ethan three years ago...

Things have been bad in the self-esteem/self-identity department lately, especially given all the extra weight I'm still lugging around and given the impending end of my income generating days.

You know what though? I have a million and one reasons to feel bad about myself, but I am losing sight of the important thing in life- I'm a daughter of God, saved through the blood of Christ, and I am loved.  I need to stop looking at myself through the dirty, cloudy glasses that I have been wearing, and need to focus on what God sees and who I am in Him. 

Psalm 139:14 (New International Version)


 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
       your works are wonderful,
       I know that full well.

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

On being the worst daughter-in-law ever

I had a tickle in my throat on Thursday, which turned into full-fledged laryngitis, complete with horrible sore throat and tiredness on Friday. So by Saturday, I have to admit, I was slightly less than thrilled at the idea of driving 45 minutes north of Seattle to meet up with my in-laws so that Daniel could drive them back to the city (my father-in-law doesn't drive well in traffic).  We had a nice lunch, but I had almost no voice when we met up, so I didn't really talk to my in-laws, and I'm pretty sure they thought I was being terribly unfriendly.  Then I drove the kids back home and after Daniel got back with his parents, I finished running the errands that had to be run that day. And I skipped out on dinner, since I felt more or less like death by dinnertime. 

There are times when the language barrier is really helpful, and there are times when it is a pain in the butt. I know that this weekend, I seemed like the world's least friendly person, when in reality I was just mostly voiceless and utterly energyless. Hopefully my in-laws will not be too upset, especially given that my husband's brother and his wife got back from their month-long European honeymoon yesterday, so the good daughter-in-law is now back home and living across the street from them.  Oh, and I grew them TWO cute grandchildren. So, I think I did my good daughter-in-law job.

After church today, we had lunch with the in-laws and then they headed north and we decided to head south to IKEA. But Ethan didn't nap until 5 minutes before we got to IKEA, so we decided to keep driving and ended up at another mall. Where I found the world's greatest sale going on at the Ann Taylor outlet store. There was a dress that I tried on this summer and loved, but couldn't justify paying $100 for. People, I got the dress for $6.50, after the buy one/get one $50 off sale and the additional 15% off. Granted, it's a size too small for my gigantic breastfeeding bosoms, but that will hopefully change in the not-so-distant future. I love this dress so much- it will be a good motivation for weight loss for me. 

So now you're all up to date on my weekend. Way too much activity going on, given that I'm not entirely well, but it was great to get out of the house for a while, and hopefully my in-laws will forgive me for my lack of friendliness. Now we just have to get through 3 days before Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Where do you store your toddler?

We got a box of diapers yesterday, and right after I unloaded the diapers, Ethan moved into the box. Kind of random, but he seems to be enjoying it!



 

Sometimes I think that I should not be allowed out of the house

I spend so much of my time at home, talking to just the kids and occasionally my husband- so much time that I'm starting to worry that I'm losing the ability to have actual conversations with actual adults.

Last night I got myself all dressed up and headed out to a fancy blogger party in downtown Seattle with Liz.  I managed to find something that almost fit, so was happy about that. And the rain was down to a mild drizzle, so that made for a nicer walk to the party than I was imagining.

We arrived and got some wonderful hors d'oeuvres and started chatting with people. Liz, who's been stressing out for weeks about meeting everyone, was very typically Liz and was best friends with 90% of the room within about 10 minutes. She cracks me up :)  And I did pretty well for a while, chatting with Mona about her pregnancy and her son, and getting to know a few other people.

But then I started making stupid comments (I blame the cocktails and the fact that I never leave home anymore), telling the nicest, sweetest blogger that I was glad to have her sit down next to me, rather than the (also very nice) skinny blonde that had been sitting next to me. And I meant nothing bad by it, just that the new person sitting next to me wasn't 6 feet tall and blonde, and I look particularly bad next to 6 foot tall blondes.  :(

I followed that up by making a comment about how insane it would be to have three kids- while talking to a group of people who all had three kids. Sigh. Again, I meant for me, since I'm horrible at pregnancy and childbirth and don't particularly like babies, but it all came out wrong.  By that point I just wanted to find furniture and hide under it, but the room that we were partying in did not have any appropriate hiding spots.

I did get to meet Leanne, who was totally nice, and we traded stories about the best part of review blogging- cute men bringing presents to our houses all the time! That's my favorite part of these events, finding new blogs to read!

I think my body was ashamed of my dumb comments last night as well- because by the time I got home, the slight tickle in my throat had turned into a full-fledged sore throat and I woke up sick and sans voice this morning.  :) 

But, it was a fun evening overall, and so good to finally get a break from the kids.  It's funny how much more I appreciate them when I've been away from them for a little while!  Ethan's spending the morning pretending not to hear me at all when I say something to him in my sad little non-voice. And Vivian is still sleeping (it's 10:30) and she slept all night, and this is a little unusual, so I'm getting a bit scared that she might have caught whatever this is that I have. Hopefully she's just tired though, and it'll be nothing.

I'll blog more later about the details of the party on my review blog. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Praying for Anissa

I have to admit, I have never read Anissa's blog or heard about her before today, but my Google reader was overwhelmed today with updates about her stroke, so I'm praying hard and would love if you would do the same. Go here for updates and the backstory.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Trusting

Today was a nice end to our three-day weekend. We ran errands in the morning and got our Operation Christmas Child shoebox dropped off. It was so much fun shopping for little things for the shoebox, and imagining how much fun the child who receives it will have when he opens his box to play with the things inside.  After that we headed over to the Burke Museum of Natural History and had fun walking around and looking at the exhibits there. Mostly it was just a weekend full of trying to get things done and enjoying time together. The getting things done thing didn't always happen as much as I would like, but it was fun to have Daniel home an extra day. Now we're counting the days until Thanksgiving next week. We're just staying close to home and probably having just us for dinner, but that means I don't have to worry about anyone disliking my cooking- and more leftovers for me!

On another front, we talked things over and decided that it is time to take a bit of a step of faith and for me to cut back my work status to strictly "on-call". This means I'll only be working when things get really busy at the office, and a bunch less money coming in, but we feel like it's where God is leading us right now.  I really love my job and was hoping to be able to work a regular but limited schedule, but the hours kept creeping up and the work kept carrying over, and I was finding myself spending my day just waiting and hoping for naptime so that I could get my work done. My kids are growing up so fast, I don't want to be wishing away their lives and missing time with them just so that I can make a few dollars on a project that isn't going to matter that much in the long run. 

It's really scary, but I know that, if this is really the path that God is leading us on, He will provide and will help us work out all the details and find the money to cover the shortfalls.  And, like everything else in our lives, it's not a permanent situation- and if life looks calm enough in the future for me to work more, I'm happy to do so and I think work will be happy to have me back. 

Anyway, that's the Monday recap from here.  Hope you all had a great Monday!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday night stuff

So today was our first Sunday helping out in the 18 month-3 year children's church class at our church.  Yes, the one I swore I would not work in.  Because I do not particularly enjoy playing with toys or reading kids' books, and it takes every ounce of my pathetically small amount of maternal nature to manage to do those things with my kids. So having any left for the 16 other kids in the class...not so much.  I have such a good attitude sometimes, don't I? :)  Working on it. It turned out to not matter much what I thought, though, as Vivian (who was up in the nursery) did a massive blowout diaper within 5 minutes of the start of church, and then I had to feed her during the last 30 minutes of church, so I was out of the class a lot. Thank goodness for the other 4 adults.  And thanks to Vivian for being a fabulous excuse :)

Other than that we've just been hanging out at home because I'm feeling fat and tired and anti-social.  Ironically, I also withdrew from the weight loss challenge that I was participating in. Not for lack of motivation, but because my milk supply disappeared during the week that I was being careful about calories  and lost 3 pounds. I started eating more again after that and things improved. So I'm going to sign up for WW again, since they have the nursing mom program and since I know WW works for me.  And I have to be patient a bit longer on the hard-core weight loss. Vivian is 5 1/2 months old and starting solid food, so I wont be her sole source of food too much longer.

Speaking of Vivian, she's been rubbing her ear and not sleeping all day (until now- she fell asleep sitting up on my lap and is curled over my arm- so cute!). I'm really hoping it's just teething pain and nothing more serious. Ethan has never had an ear infection, so I've not ever seen the signs up close and personal in my kids.  Hard to believe that he's not had any problems, since I had terrible ear problems as a child and teenager, and had an ear infection last winter!

Anyway- that's all the randomness from here. Daniel's home tomorrow and we still haven't decided what to do with our free time.  Probably a museum of some sort or the aquarium. Something fun, that's for sure! Have a good Monday, everyone!

Friday, November 13, 2009

What I should be doing. And what I am actually doing instead.

It's Friday at noon. There are many things that I should be doing right now. Cleaning the house, unloading the dishwasher, playing with Ethan.

Instead I am sitting around and am getting all choked up because tonight (hopefully) we're selling Vivian's beloved swing. She doesn't really use it anymore, and it's large, and our living room is not, so it's time for it to go. And we could use the money with the holidays coming up and all.

But it's making me sad, because Vivian is my last baby and she is growing up SO fast.  Seems like she's increased in size and mental capacity every time she wakes up from a nap.  It's so hard to wrap my brain around. Just look at these pictures from June and from November of her in her swing. She's not my tiny baby anymore!


 
But I'm trying not to think about that.  Instead, I'm focusing on making plans for our three-day weekend! So many possibilities of what to do. None of which are going to include work for Daniel or for me, so hopefully it'll be nice and relaxing. 

In other news, yesterday's outing to the SoZo play center totally rocked. This is my new favorite place in Seattle, and Daniel is going to just have to share the car on Thursdays so I can go!  I wrote a review of it over on Trekaroo.  Seattle moms, you must check this place out. Which reminds me- Seattle moms- if anyone is interested in doing an outing with me next month to check out the gingerbread houses at the Sheraton and the Teddy Bear Suite at the Fairmont, please let me know. We can ride the monorail and get holiday drinks from Starbucks- it's always a wonderful outing and something I look forward to every year, and I'd love to have company!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Slightly fewer exclamation points today- but still more than are called for, really.

THE SUN IS OUT AGAIN!!!

Seriously, winter here used to be a minor nuisance, but now that I have two small kids and do most of my outings on foot, it's a little more extreme. It was just so nice to be able to take a walk yesterday and then to have sun streaming in the window all day.  And today is lovely again.  And I'm heading out shortly to play with friends, so that's even more fun.

Before I forget- if you can be praying for my dad, I'd appreciate it. He's having back surgery tomorrow- and today he has to be off his pain meds in preparation, and he has to perform a funeral and do a bunch of other stuff to get his church ready for him being out for a few weeks. All without medication, and he can hardly move and function WITH the medication, so I imagine today will be tough. And then surgery tomorrow and several weeks of recovery. You might want to pray for my mom with that part of it- Dad's not one to do sickness/recovery very well or behave as instructed by doctors. It should be interesting.

Daniel and I are trying to figure out what to do with our three-day weekend.  I got an email from work today asking if I could do some stuff early next week, and I said that it would have to wait until Tuesday.  It's hard for me to say no to work, but I really need to do so. It's not fair to me or my coworkers if I accept more work than I can reasonably do well, given my time and small people underfoot all day constraints.  Time management and getting everything done is definitely still a moving target for me.

But I'm not going to worry about that this weekend- we're going to have family time! If Daniel and I can both stay away from the computer, it will be NOTHING short of a miracle.  I am seriously contemplating taking the computer to someone's house and asking them to not give it back to us until Monday night. But then we'd just stay up all night Monday night catching up on things :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Miscellaneous Wednesday (beware the exclamation points)

Okay, first off- the sun is shining unexpectedly, so my morning resembled a military invasion.  I woke up, saw the sun and started yelling "Okay- kids! Up! Come here! Must change diapers and get dressed. Get in the stroller. GO GO GO!!!" It's been a while since we saw the sun and were willing to venture out.  Then we got to the Science Center and Ethan had a temper tantrum about something and there were 1,000,000 little kids there since it's a holiday, and we left and just went for a walk instead. But we still got out! and saw the sun!

AND- Daniel's boss thought (mistakenly) that the company was giving everyone Veteran's Day off, and then he felt so badly about telling people that when it wasn't true, that he told them they could have it off, or they could have an extra floating holiday. Daniel's swamped at work this week, but next week should be slow, so he's taking off Monday!! We are so excited!!

AND!!! look what my kids did yesterday! It only lasted about 15 minutes, but it was long enough for me to actually vacuum and mop our disgusting floors. And it gave me hope. THIS is why I had kids so close in age, I expect them to entertain each other!

 

And on a more serious note, thank you to all our veterans today- thanks to all who have served over the last many years and to those who are serving now. And a BIG thanks to the families who send them. I whine about Daniel getting home after 7, I don't know how you handle the long separations. You are in our prayers.

For your viewing pleasure- here are my veterans:  My grandfather (on the left, in uniform), who served at home during WW2 and in Korea during the Korean War; My dad, who served in Vietnam during the war there; And a very young version of my husband (circled in yellow there), who served in the Canadian Army Reserves- we won't discuss the disturbing fact that when he was in the military, I was only in third grade :)




Monday, November 9, 2009

So excited!

Drinking coffee, eating oatmeal, trying to deny the fact that it's Monday again. And raining again. But, the little weather forecast widget on my sidebar has a sunshine icon for Thursday, and I have plans with the girls for Thursday, so I have something to look forward to this week!

And next week I'm going to a blogger cocktail party, which I'm super excited about. Although I will probably need to comb my hair and change out of my pjs for that, which might be a challenge.

AND my family and I are going to Great Wolf Lodge in December with a bunch of other bloggers from Seattle and I just saw the list and I'm so excited because it's a whole bunch of bloggers that I adore and can't wait to see again. And I get to show off Vivian and meet everyone else's cute kids too! Fun!!!!

Losing my mind, I fear it is so close

First, let me say that I am typing this blog post at 12:30 AM, while sitting on the couch with Vivian sleeping on one shoulder. Because, apparently, she will only sleep if physically connected to me somehow. We have tried so many times to get her to sleep on her own tonight- she'll fall asleep and then wake up screaming, or scream her head off if we try to put her down before she's really asleep.  So much that she makes herself sick and we can't handle that. I hate teething. With a PASSION.

Today was an especially unfortunate convergence of things that are all separately not too bad, but together have done a number on my brain and now I'm sitting here with a baby on my shoulder, crying.

I haven't been away from the kids at all since my parents left about a week and a half ago.  Daniel's been getting home too late for me to go out in the evenings, and on the weekends we've been busy. And I'm not sure what I would do if I did go out anyway, since we don't have any spare money, so I can't go shopping or do anything that involves spending money. 

Today Daniel went to the Seahawks game. Along with pretty much every other man I know. Weird. And the other wives will vouch for the utter horribleness of having your Sunday suddenly look an awful lot like a Tuesday. Sundays are supposed to be for doing family stuff after church and being together. I love weekends, not just because of the help with the kids, but because Daniel is my best friend and there's no one I'd rather be with than him. He needed a break and I'm so glad the guys got to go to the game and have fun, but it was a long afternoon.

Then my boss emailed saying that she needed someone to do work this week, but it needed to be done ASAP. (I'm sort of in a nether world right now in terms of my employment status. If people need me and it's a task that I have special skills for, I do it, but it's usually only a few hours per week, and it's very irregular). And I said I'd be happy to help, but immediately was tough, given the fact that my kids don't nap at the same time if they nap at all, and I don't really have any time right now to faithfully dedicate to work. I'm happy to do stuff, but I don't want anything urgent relying on my ability to get it done. So she helpfully suggested that I could do it at night.

Internet people, that made me absolutely lose it. Because, pop quiz- what do moms do at night? Sit around and watch TV and eat bon bons? No! We do the laundry and the dishes and prepare food for the next day and pay the bills and catch up on emails and do all the things we couldn't do all day because two small children were demanding attention EVERY SINGLE MINUTE. 

So I cried, because I'm already feeling badly about not getting to my Bible studying or my correspondence with friends and I don't spend quality time with my husband and I don't need one more thing to do at night instead of sleeping.  

I'm scared that it's getting to be time to completely quit my job. That's a pretty terrifying leap of faith, because, even though I don't make a whole lot of money with my limited work, it's enough to make a difference. And we're already pretty much cut down to the bare bones of things. 

And a dear lady whose kids are teenagers sent me a message today and told me that she knew it was hard, but to try to appreciate this time, since soon my kids will be grown and not wanting hugs and I'll be missing this clingy stage. I want to appreciate it, really I do. I love my kids and don't want to miss out on anything.  And I'm scared that I am.

Sigh. Send chocolate, please.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Living my life, and trying to enjoy every minute of it

So, last night, Vivian decided to "decorate" our duvet cover with unspeakable things, so I had to do an extra load of laundry and wash everything. But that's not the point of this story. The point is this. While our duvet was in the wash, we used our spare blanket- one that is nice, but not quite the right size for our bed. It's one that Daniel has had since he was single- but when I met him, it was covered up in the most hideous homemade comforter cover that you have ever seen in your life. Because that's what his family did- they wanted to keep the nice, pretty blanket clean, so they covered it with a cheap cover that would protect it.  And also keep anyone from ever seeing the pretty (and might I add, machine washable!) blanket. I had no idea that such a nice blanket was inside until after we were married and I was packing Daniel's things up for us to move.

A few years ago I read an article written by Teresa Strasser, the one-time host of While You Were Out. She was talking about moving and packing up boxes full of fancy lotions and candles and things like that- things that she loved, but that she never used because they were "special" things. And she talked about changing that in the future- using the "special" things because they make her feel good, and that shouldn't be something saved for the future.

That really struck me at the time and has stuck with me since then . I think maybe it's a product of where I'm from (and where I bet a lot of other people come from). One of my grandmothers was a cover-the-furniture-in-plastic type person. I distinctly remember my dad wanting to cover our new couch with something, until my mom finally asked him what exactly he was saving it for.  I'm all for keeping my things nice and taking good care of things, but what are we saving them for? Why shouldn't we get to enjoy the things that we work hard for? Why cover the couch with plastic now in the hopes that we'll get to still have our lovely (plastic-covered) couch 10 years from now?  Why store the expensive lotion in the cupboard where it will gather dust and go bad, just because we're saving it for a "special" time in the future.

So I'm burning my nice candles as I write this, and then I'm going to take a shower and wash off the baby vomit smell and put on a beautifully-scented body lotion and my nice pajamas before I go snuggle with my baby and my husband. Because I am alive today, and I am going to enjoy every minute of it.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Thank you for your sacrifice

Right now Ethan is excitedly looking out the window and pointing at all the helicopters hovering in the sky above local roads.

I'm choking back tears as I watch the same, and as I see police officers in dress uniforms walking by on their way to the memorial service being held nearby for one of their own.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2010217977_webmemorial06m.html
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/photogalleries/localnews2010218230/

Police officer Timothy Brenton, age 39 was killed in a horrible drive-by shooting on Saturday night. The person or persons who shot him have not been found yet.  He's a local man who served our city faithfully and left behind a wife and two children.

Our prayers are with the family of Officer Brenton and with all those who serve our country in law enforcement, public safety and the military. Thank you for all you do to keep us safe.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

So our power just went out for an hour

AND I ABOUT LOST MY MIND!!!

Okay, perhaps I am a little more addicted to technology than I realized.  The power went out right after Daniel got home and dinner was done, and the living room was clean, so that was all good. But then we sat down to eat and all I could think about was that I had blog posts to write and photos to upload and things to do online! And when the clock started ticking onward, I started realizing that I was going to miss Thursday night TV!

So I folded laundry and tried to enjoy the quiet, and then I cracked and had to pull out my ipod and listen to podcasts. And just when I was starting to worry about the massive amount of breastmilk frozen in my freezer and what would happen if the power didn't come back on, it did come back. And I was happy.

I am just not cut out for life without electricity.

*Edited to add- according to the news, while I was worrying about missing my Thursday night TV shows, the wind gusts that knocked out my power knocked over a tree that hit and killed a 40-year-old man while he walked with his wife and dog in a park a few miles north of here. Please pray for them. 

As I predicted, I'm fine today

Winter- it has returned to Seattle.  The rain came back last night and now it's coming down pretty hard outside. Which in some ways is a little bit of a relief. I always feel so much pressure to DO STUFF! and ENJOY THE SUNSHINE! whenever we have a brief period of good weather here. It interferes with me being lazy and unmotivated and that just doesn't work for me. :)

Can I just say again how much I have been encouraged by the daily emails from the Proverbs 31 Woman website? I have been so blessed by so many of the daily devotions and how they speak exactly to what I need for that day. 

Anyway, so now it's winter and raining and I'm all stocked up on things from the grocery store, so we probably wont go out today. Or tomorrow. I'm going to spend my time irritating my family by cleaning closets and repeatedly saying "now, WHY do we need to keep this?"  Why my husband needs to keep sweaters from the 1980s I do not know. Definitely one of the downfalls of being married to someone 10 years older than myself, he has 10 more years of "stuff" that he's accumulated. 

And on another note, one of the great mysteries in my life is why PBS is always playing the episode of "Dinosaur Train" with the song "Every Dinosaur Poops".  It's on at least once a week and then the song gets stuck in my head and I spend all day humming "when a dino's gotta go, a dino's gotta go..." Ah, the life of a mother. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Well, at least it's not Tuesday

We just got back from another outing to the Science Center. I was hoping to run into some childhood friends of mine, who I randomly found out were in town last night through a status update on Facebook, but I didn't find them and I didn't comment on their page in time for us to make plans to meet up.  Oh well. We've gone 20 years without seeing each other, what's a few more. :)

I'm having a bad week here, for sure. I think it's probably about 75% hormonal and 20% related to me cutting down on sugar in my diet. Neither of those things tend to go over well with me. Which hopefully means that it's temporary. But with the rain returning (in a big way) tomorrow, I'm a little nervous about what direction my mood is going to go.

I'm just feeling down on myself.  Taking everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) super personally. I'm fairly sure Daniel has thought about having me institutionalized after some of the completely crazy Skype messages I've sent him this week.

And I'm feeling awfully lonely. Haven't really seen many friends in quite a while. Thank goodness for the one friend that does drop by fairly often. You have kept me sane. God bless you.  That's probably been the biggest change from 1 kid to 2- especially with the kids so close in age- it's just not possible to get out as often. The baby needs naps and Ethan needs his rest and those things don't often leave room for much else.

What I'm really kicking myself for this afternoon is my scaredy-catness when we were coming home. We opened the door to the condo and there was another mom waiting for our elevator, with her baby in the stroller, and I just said hi and rode up the elevator with her and didn't beg her to come hang out with me and be friends. In my defense, she did have her headphones on and was typing a text message on her phone, so it's not like she was engaging either, but still.  There are a few other moms somewhere in the building- I need to figure out a way to find them and make them be friends with me.  But I don't know exactly where they live and we only cross paths every so often, so it's not easy.  Oh, and I am terrified of talking to strangers. So it's not likely to happen soon.

** edited to add- My posts like this always inspire (rightly so) great suggestions for joining a mom's group. I have looked into this, but there is nothing within walking distance or on a direct bus line and I rarely have a car. So that's not been a feasible option for me. We're trying to change the whole car situation, but it's not worked out yet. We're praying that it will!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The teething. And the darkness.

Remember how I kept saying that Vivian is the easiest baby ever? She outgrew that. Right now she is screaming her head off in the bedroom while Daniel tries to calm her down.  We've spent the entire night (and most of the last week) alternating between nursing/bottle/walking/screaming/sleeping/realizing we're too old for this.

Having two kids less than 21 months apart in age would not be so hard if it weren't for the teething. I truly believe that.  Ethan is a handful, but he is manageable except for when he is growing 2-year molars and is hurting. And Vivian has recently morphed from easy baby into "what am I doing awake and not being held"  baby. We are so tired.

I'm blogging and eating peanut butter with m&ms sprinkled in. Please disregard the message I posted a few days ago about dieting.  It's not going to happen right now. Right now us=survival, pure and simple. 

I don't know why he keeps expecting logic from me

So, as you will remember, after we had Vivian, things were taken care of to assure that she will be our last biological child.  If you have any doubts about why we did that, read all my posts from October 2008 to May 2009. In short, I went through two high-risk, stressful, exhausting pregnancies in less than two years. And Daniel and I both came from two kid families and we both ALWAYS only wanted two kids.

Let me just say, the rational side of me is SO glad that we took care of things back in June. Because the crazy side of me is having a hard time with Vivian outgrowing all her cute little baby clothes and the fact that I will never be pregnant again (hello, self, go read all your posts, you hated pregnancy and pregnancy hated you!) and that the sweet little baby is growing up so fast!

Vivian is teething still. So is Ethan. Because I believe they are both going to be teething until the end of time.  And my parents went home on Thursday and I am trying to remember how to manage them alone, so we didn't leave the condo today. And I was about insane by 7 PM when Daniel walked in the door. And after a few minutes of Vivian screaming at the top of her lungs (yes, my sweet little baby learned to cry!), he looked at me and said "I bet you are glad we can't have another one now".  And I had to tell him that I wasn't entirely glad. Because the biological/hormonal nonsense going on inside of me right now has nothing to do with logic. And when have I EVER shown any signs of logic in the first place?

In other news, one of our renters is moving out.  Which is not a good thing in this over-supply-of-rentals-market. I told Daniel that our rental property and all the stuff associated with it was starting to test my faith a bit. He agreed.  We're praying hard that things will work out soon. We're getting awfully tired here.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The weekend recap

Busy busy weekend! I'm sure it was for all you as well. And can you believe that it's November?

Saturday we ran errands and did stuff around the house, then headed out for a local mall for trick-or-treating. Ethan was utterly confused by the whole thing- why did people keep calling him "Bob" and putting something in his bag? Ethan doesn't actually eat candy (we don't have hard candy in the house, and I don't share the chocolate!), so he didn't recognize it.  :)  Vivian did not want to ride in the stroller, so Daniel and I took turns carrying her while trying to keep the top of her costume off of her face and the feet from her costume in place on her feet! But they both looked very cute and we had a good time.





Later on Saturday night we gave in to Vivian's demands and fed her rice cereal for the first time. She's a big fan!
 


Yesterday we had church, then drove an hour and a half south to the rental property so that Daniel could talk to the guy that just put in the new septic tank. I'm hoping we're done with that for while.  We also had some wonderful Korean food, which has not gone over so well with Vivian today. Whoops! No more spicy food for me.  And we stopped by Walmart, where I felt the same way I did when I first returned to the US after living overseas. There was just so much variety of everything! Our grocery stores close by are nice, and pretty well-stocked, but NOTHING like the variety at Super Walmart. It was a bit overwhelming.

On the shopping note, I have made a decision that I'm going to take a month off of buying anything that we don't really need. That means only the food that we are going to eat that week and only things that we are actually out of.  Our closets and cupboards are getting out of control, and we never use half of the things that I buy and stock up on when they're on sale.  If we had more space for better seeing the things we have extras of, it would be different, but we don't, so things get stashed wherever they fit, and then forgotten about.

And I'm also doing a weight loss challenge thing this month. My numbers this morning were truly terrifying, so hopefully I'll be able to stick with it. Of course, I'm starting this on a day when the sun is shining, and I tend to eat more when it's dark and rainy, so I don't know how it'll turn out. Hopefully I'll be able to get myself in gear a bit.

So that's all our excitement. Back to folding all the laundry now. It's definitely Monday! 

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Outsourcing the potty training

Have I mentioned that the secret to having a peaceful mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship is having a major language barrier between the two parties that makes them not even really attempt to communicate?  I'm so not kidding about this. I like and respect my mother-in-law. She has survived more horrible life experiences than I could ever imagine surviving. She instilled in my husband most of the values that I respect in him. She is a truly great woman.

But, she is (I'm pretty sure), a 70 pound thinner, Chinese-speaking version of myself. (If you're new here- that means a type A, VERY strong-willed woman).  Which means it's definitely for the best that we communicate through Daniel, who conveniently forgets to pass on any potentially controversial topic.

I have known for a while that my mother-in-law has been making comments about Ethan not being potty-trained. Again, for any new readers, Ethan is almost 27 months old, doesn't talk in any way that I can actually understand, denies having a dirty diaper even when it can be smelled from outer space, and has expressed nothing even remotely approaching interest in the potty. Oh, and he's just like me and his grandmother, incredibly strong-willed. Therefore, I have opted to not start potty-training yet.

Then came the plans for me to go visit my parents with Vivian, in January. Daniel can't take off work and I can't travel alone with Ethan and Vivian, so Ethan is staying here and Daniel's parents are going to come down from Canada and stay with him while Daniel works. And soon after that plan, Daniel's mom made a comment to Daniel (which he passed on to me) that Daniel and his brother were both potty-trained by their first birthday.  So I suggested that maybe his mother would like to use the time that she spends with Ethan in January to potty-train him.

:)

As I see it, this is mostly a win-win situation.
1) Ethan gets potty-trained and I am happy because I don't have to deal with it and Daniel's mom is happy because she potty-trained him and that silly daughter-in-law didn't.

2) Ethan behaves exactly as I expect, and refuses to do anything on the potty, and maybe Daniel's mom will stop talking to Daniel about the fact that Ethan is too old to be in diapers.

What I fear is that Ethan will go in the potty for the time she's here, and then will refuse to do so when I get back, because he's in a giant power struggle with Mommy. Then there will be comments like "well, he was doing just fine when I was there" and such.

I've decided it's worth the risk, to just let her try, and if it doesn't work, I'm going to just ask Daniel to NEVER translate anything she says about Ethan's diaper status ever again.