Monday, August 31, 2009

And I claim not to know where my son got his stubbornness from

Daniel and I had an amusing conversation last night. Background: Daniel weighs 122 pounds and has no body fat, so is almost always cold. I weigh... a lot more than that and am always warm. 

The scene- our bedroom. The window is open, the ceiling fan is on and the fan next to the window is also on. Daniel is trying to stay warm, huddling under piles of blankets while I'm complaining about being hot on the other side of the bed.

Him: We should switch sides of the bed. You could be closer to the fan.
Me: No, that's not my side of the bed.
Him: But you don't need to be close to the bathroom anymore, since you're not pregnant and no longer get up all night to go to the bathroom.
Me: I don't care, that's not my side of the bed.
Him: Over here you'd be closer to Vivian and you wouldn't have to get up and walk around the bed to get her in the middle of the night.
Me: But then I'd be sleeping on not-my-side of the bed. And my alarm clock is on my nightstand.
Him: Your alarm clock is tiny and battery-powered and you can move it.
Me: (eyeing him suspiciously). You're not getting my side of the bed. I'm not moving.
Daniel's head explodes from trying to rationalize with me...

It's currently mid-afternoon here and I'm trying to convince Ethan to take a nap already so that we can be done with his nap and can go for a walk. It's going about as well as my conversation with Daniel went last night.  Vivian is sitting in her swing staring at herself in the mirror and smiling. She's a very smiley, happy baby and quite likes the mirror baby.  It's just too cute!

On another utterly random note, do you know the main problem with watching Canadian TV in the US? The food commercials? I'm seeing all these commercials for food and candy that look so yummy, but that we can't get here. I need to make a list for my next trip up there in December.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

City folk go to the fair!

We had no plans for Saturday, which pretty much the surest way to drive me slowly insane. Because no plans means sticking around the house and doing laundry, which is pretty much my weekday life, so not my favorite thing to do.  My poor husband does like to relax, so I tried to not twitch too much while we hung around and "relaxed".  Fortunately for me, Daniel got an email from a friend mentioning that they were going to the fair, which he thought sounded like a fun idea. So we quickly threw the kids and the stroller in the car and drove out to the fairgrounds. The fair was a great choice for a Saturday activity- lots to see but not too insanely packed.

Since we live in the city, our kids have no exposure to animals of any type, so we started out by visiting the cows. Ethan loved the cows and excitedly jumped up and down in his stroller seat saying "moo!" The sheep were also a big hit, but he was fairly bored by the chickens and rabbits.  We visited the dogs and goats and ducks and all the crafts and baked goods, marvelling at all the talents that people have.



 
















And, of course, we participated in the most important part of going to a fair- fair food!  Normally I don't eat dairy, since it seems to upset Vivian's stomach, but this weekend I'm feeding her frozen milk to avoid exposing her to the painkillers I'm taking for my tooth... so... MILKSHAKE! The butterscotch milkshake that I got was divine. HUGE and divine. Probably 30,000 calories and worth every single bite.  Daniel ordered the specialty of the fair, a purple cow, which consists of blackberry syrup, ice cream and soda.  And he ended up getting it free since every 13th purple cow is free. Score!



















So, Seattle people, go check out the Evergreen State Fair in Monroe. A good time will be had by all! And, cost-saving tip, buy your tickets at Bartell's and get adult tickets for only $7.50 (it's $10 at the gate).  Entertainment coupon books also have discounts in there.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Waiting for mashed potatoes

I had the first part (of three!) of my oral surgery today. Today's fun was the tooth removal and bone graft, done under IV sedation.  I was warned that I would be really sleepy all day and not able to do much other than lie on the couch and nap. I was warned that the pain medications that I took later in the day would make me loopy.

I am completely and utterly fine.  I remember everything from the time they brought me out of the IV sedation and have had nothing but the vaguest bit of fuzziness from the medications.  At first I thought maybe I was imagining my fineness, so made Daniel proofread all the emails I sent out this morning and all the things I posted anywhere online, but he said they were all fine too.

Yeah, I have a VERY high tolerance for these things. It pretty much takes a vat of anything to make me feel side effects. And some pain medications flat out don't work on me at all. Which we discovered the night after Vivian was born, when the IV pain medication just made me ill and the first pill medication they gave me did nothing for the pain. I'm not hurting today though, so whatever I'm taking is a good drug- pain relief with no fuzziness.  I am doing the pump and dump on breastmilk for Vivian for the next few days. We were actually getting a bit overrun with stored breastmilk, so the timing works well.

Anyway, Daniel's out at the store now buying me soft foods.  I feel fine but still can't eat much for the next 2 or 3 days, so my diet will be heavy in the cream of wheat and mashed potatoes department.  I think it's going to be a pretty quiet weekend for us, which will be good, for my recovery from this dental surgery and for Daniel's general exhaustion. Life has been busy lately and the calendar doesn't seem to be lightening up any time soon.

On the whole counseling front...sigh.  I love my church. Really. It is a wonderful church with strong Biblical preaching and friendly people and lots of children's programs. But not so detail-oriented and they kind of suck at follow-up.  Daniel and I had actually talked to one of the pastors last year about getting into a mentorship or counseling of some sort.  And it never happened and the pastor just let it fall through the cracks. I am a pastor's daughter, so am the first to admit how busy pastors are and how much responsibility they have. But when your church members come to you and say they need help- follow through.

This time Daniel called a different pastor who is now in charge of the marriage program. Last Thursday. The pastor said he'd talk to his wife and call Daniel back on Friday. Nothing. Finally Daniel called again on Wednesday and didn't reach anyone. Then he called Thursday and ended up talking to the head of Children's Ministry who told Daniel "oh yes, XXX said to tell you to call YYY." No explanation of why or anything. Daniel called the pastor back again today and was told that this other man, an elder, is heading up a marriage mentoring program and will meet with us then match us up with someone.

Seriously, it's just too much work to have problems in this church! Remind me to get over my angst, just to save time :)  Hopefully we'll be able to continue moving this along and will actually get a good couple to mentor us and help us out in this time. We had a fabulous mentor couple before Ethan was born, but then they switched churches.  We'll be praying for an equally wonderful match-up this time.

Not much else new. Just working on my review blog, sending out lots of emails and getting a surprising number of people interested in having products reviewed.  I will be having giveaways starting soon, including ones from See Kai Run, LTD Chix and Baby Bistro Brands, so if those sound good, go visit my review blog!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Kind of wishing it would start raining

I'm having mommy guilt issues today. Yesterday it was a gorgeous afternoon, so we went out for a walk. I even deliberately chose the big hills to walk up. Pushing 60+ pounds of kids and stroller and groceries up the hills definitely adds to the workout! We had a great walk, but when Ethan saw that we were heading home without stopping anywhere fun, he got upset. So I told him that we'd go to the Children's Museum another day, probably tomorrow.

But I don't want to go to the museum today. I don't even want to get dressed today. I did get both the kids dressed, then I ran out of energy. I'm a person who's energized by doing things, so when I am in a pattern of doing nothing, I become even more lethargic. Today I'm VERY much on the lethargic side. Most days I get dressed just so I don't scare the mail/UPS/FedEx guy, since one of them seems to have something to drop off here every day (I do all my shopping by computer these days, so get lots of mail/packages). But today I decided that I didn't care and am still wearing my pjs at noon.

So, I'm kind of wishing it would start raining so that I had a valid excuse for not getting dressed and taking the kids out. I don't think it's going to happen though, and Ethan napped early, which means a long afternoon to fill up, so I'd better get my act together and go make myself presentable. Right after I check my email one more time...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

No deep thoughts tonight

No deep thoughts or introspection from me tonight. We had a good weekend here- and as usual it went WAY too fast! I just need to figure out a way to have money and also keep Daniel home with me all the time. Everyone's dream, I know!

We hit Target and IKEA this weekend, as well as Toys R Us. We're shopping for a toddler bed for Ethan- not so much because he's ready to move up, but because Vivian's sleeping in a bassinet and she's growing at a ridiculously fast rate, so she's going to need to move into the crib soon. The kids are going to be sharing Ethan's room, which was already pretty full, but we've rearranged toys and squished things together and think that we have the space for a toddler bed. It's definitely getting pretty crowded in our condo though.

On the crowded front- still no luck with selling our other place to free up money to move. I'm disappointed but not too worried. I believe there's a reason for everything, and God has a reason for keeping us here. Hopefully we'll understand the reason soon, or things will change so that we can move.

So that's all from here. Nothing too exciting. Just getting ready for another week. I'm having dental surgery (under IV sedation and everything) on Friday, so the week is a little shorter than usual. I hope I'll be able to cram all of my usual doing nothing into only 4 days :) Have a wonderful week, everyone.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Surrender

I can't remember if I mentioned it here already, but I've recently learned about a wonderful website, called Proverbs 31 Ministries. One of the things from this site that I'm really enjoying is the daily email that they send out with a daily devotion. It's a rare day that the devotion doesn't make me stop and think and occasionally tear up a bit.

Today's devotion was discussing surrendering our will to God's. This is something that's really been on my mind a lot lately. Particularly since I haven't been doing a very good job of surrendering my will and opening myself up to truly following where God is leading me. I'm going down the path where He's leading, but I'm doing so kicking and screaming every step of the way. I'm pretty sure that I am acting in my spiritual life an awful lot like my toddler acts in real life.

A friend came to visit me today with her kid in tow, and we had a lovely morning of chatting and catching up. At one point, she came right out and asked how I am doing these days. Even though I'm very open about my struggles here on my blog, I do NOT like to show signs of weakness in real life, so it was very hard to be honest. Every ounce of my being wanted to just smile and say that I'm fine. But I didn't. I told her honestly that I'm lonely and a little bored and am having a tough time transitioning from being a working mom of one to a stay-at-home mom of 2. It was hard for me to say that, but she didn't judge and I know she listened.

We are going to try to get together more in the future, which would be such a blessing to me. Being home with the kids without a car to be able to go out and do things and go places is really challenging, and honestly the source of a lot of my sadness and loneliness. I do manage to convince someone to come visit me most weeks (I shamelessly bribe them with my free guest passes to the Children's Museum), but there are weeks that I don't see anyone other than Daniel and the people at the nearby grocery store. And I need interaction with people, I need to remember that I'm not alone. My blog and my other online social activities are a blessing and provide some socialization, but it's difficult to be online with two small kids, and I spend more time in front of the computer than I should, so that's not really a long-term solution. So having someone suggest getting together more regularly is a huge blessing and such an answer to prayers.

Things like that remind me that God is faithful and that He does know what I'm going through and understands. And I need to remember that, while He's asking me to surrender things in my life right now like having free time or extra money or the ability to travel with my husband- He has a reason for it. My bad attitude is keeping me from grasping the blessings that come along with what He has planned. I don't want to continue kicking and screaming and fighting being in this place in life. I want to be able to see the joy and the blessings that it contains. That doesn't mean it's going to magically be easier to be the mom of two small kids and be home alone with laundry and dishes and no positive feedback, and that I will still probably be frustrated and lonely, but I know that there is also good in this tough time and I want to work on seeing that.

So, to close my ramblings, here's a quote from today's devotion at Proverbs 31 Ministries.
"Lord, I want to reflect Your glory through the display of my dependence on You. As painful as it is, I realize Your splendor is revealed in my brokenness as I rely on Your love and strength. I put my trust in Your plans and not my own today. In Jesus' Name, Amen."

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Furniture


One of the major issues in my marriage is a difference in perspective- Daniel is a dreamer and he's always coming up with great ideas. And I, being a person whose feet are always firmly on the ground, always immediately see ALL the potential issues with any given great idea. Which means I'm always shooting down his ideas without realizing it. My pastor's wife spoke to our mom's group about this exact issue, and encouraged us to be wives who always say "yes", then after a slight delay, ask our husbands for more details and work around to the potential issues in a more subtle manner. I think she's totally right, and I am really working on this issue.

BUT- this story goes back further than my realization that I need to be a wife that pauses before pointing out problems. This story starts when I first met Daniel. He was a happy, carefree 36-year-old, with a 3-bedroom house in the suburbs. And free time and spare money. The good old days. His 3-bedroom house was nice enough, but it was furnished with a futon in the bedroom and another in the living room. Also in the living room was a pool table and an inflatable armchair. And a card table for the dining table. He'd been shopping for furniture with his best friend for years, but hadn't actually ever bought anything (the man does NOT move quickly).

Then, after we'd been dating for about 6 months, we were starting to get into a more serious relationship. And suddenly, Daniel went out and bought an entire houseful of furniture. We were not serious enough for me to have an input on the furniture though. So he bought a lovely two layer glass dining table with lots of nooks and crannies. The chairs for the table are all white, made of some synthetic leather. And a white leather sofa and armchair.

And then we got a cat. And then we got married and got another cat. And soon after getting married we had a child. And another child. The furniture is TRASHED. We've done our best to protect it, but this type of furniture cannot hold up to two cats and two kids.

Today I looked away from what Ethan was up to for about 1.5 seconds and looked back to find that he had somehow found a blue crayon and was drawing all over the white leather armchair.




Look at the left part of the chair, it's newly decorated with blue crayon.













The crayon actually washed off okay this time. But what is not seen in the photograph are the claw marks from the two cats and the other damage from having a toddler climbing all over it with crayons and toys and sippy cups. And the dining room table with its nooks and crannies/ All full of food from the toddler that hates to eat, but who finds shoving his food into the table very fun. The moral of the story? Men, we don't mean to shoot down your ideas all the time, but we're probably going to. Because we can't help but think of what things will mean in the future. And we're probably right.

*Editorial comment- someone asked why we moved from the suburbs to the city, when it meant my husband giving up so much space. The answer is that he was living in the suburbs 70 miles away, and his office closed right after we got married, so rather than me moving down there, as we had originally planned, he moved to Seattle and we got a bigger space in Seattle.  He's lived in the city most of his life and was anxious to get back, so it was all pretty much his idea.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The wedding

So, this weekend was the much-discussed wedding of my brother-in-law. The wedding had tentatively been scheduled originally for the end of May of this year, but then someone went and got pregnant and was due the first week of June. Whoops. The wedding ended up rescheduled for August, but I still wasn't sure if I could go (because I misunderstood the passport rules) or if I wanted to go with a small baby.

In the end, Daniel and I decided that Vivian and I should go with him, so we packed up the car and approximately 3000 diapers and headed to Canada on Friday. The amount of stuff that we needed to take for a family of 4 for a trip of 2 days was staggering. It took almost as long to load the car as it did to drive to my in-law's house.

We arrived Friday afternoon and ran some errands at the mall, then headed to my in-law's place. Then the insanity began almost immediately- two aunts, two uncles and one cousin of Daniel's came over to help us celebrate Ethan's birthday. He liked Canadian birthday candles exactly as much as American ones- which is not at all. Then after that fun, we headed out for a family dinner at a nearby Chinese restaurant- just us and 12 other relatives. Ethan spent the entire time grabbing the hand of an adult, dragging them over to the fish tank and then, when that adult got tired of the fish tank, he'd move on to the next adult. This was repeated over and over for the entire 2.5 hours that we were there. Vivian was well-behaved, because Vivian is a ridiculously well-behaved baby.

Saturday we went to my brother-in-law's house for lunch before his wedding, then headed to the wedding itself. No nap was had by the toddler. Ethan disappeared off with some random aunt, and Vivian was sleeping in her car seat, so Daniel and I decided to risk sitting up front with his parents. BIG MISTAKE. I have a bunch of phobias, but one of them is having people staring at me in a situation that I am not choosing to be stared at. So I was not happy when Vivian started crying about 10 minutes into the wedding and we had to make a run for it from the second row. I fed her and then handed her off to the same aunt that had been hanging out with Ethan, then spent the rest of the wedding chasing Ethan around. What I did see of the wedding was really nice- the bride was GORGEOUS and the church looked great.

We decided that it was in our best interest to pack up the kids and drive around for a while between the wedding and the banquet. Ethan finally got a few minutes of sleep before the banquet, which was great. The banquet was your typical Chinese wedding banquet. We were seated with some friends of ours, who have a 13 year old and a 10 year old. The 13 year old happily held Vivian while she slept and the 10 year old entertained Ethan for the entire 3 hour banquet. I would like to sponsor her immigration to the US! I need her to come help me with the kids!

It was a good weekend- the wedding went well, we had a good time with family and friends, and all was a success.

Highlights of the weekend
*The wedding ceremony was in Chinese, so I had no idea what was going on during the limited time I was in the room for the wedding. However, after the wedding, I found that they had printed English translations of the wedding sermon that Daniel's uncle had given. There was one part that made me laugh outloud. Uncle started out by talking about how they'd all given up hope of my brother-in-law ever getting married. He discussed how my mother-in-law had tried to find a wife for my brother-in-law and had failed. Then he said something like this "then, that man had a younger brother who got married in 2006 and produced two offspring, which motivated him to find a wife and get married." So, it's because of us and our kids that my brother-in-law wanted to get married! But, could you imagine having your uncle discussing your mother's failures to find a wife for you DURING your wedding ceremony?

*I did have to yell at my brother-in-law once. He's almost 45 and lived at home until... Saturday morning. His new wife is about the same age and lived at home until... Saturday morning. So, Saturday night, after the banquet, he stopped by my in-laws to pick up some towels and toiletries. And, as he left, he said "okay, we'll see you guys tomorrow morning for breakfast." I about had a fit. I yelled at him and informed him that he could NOT come over for breakfast at his parents house the morning after his wedding. I said that I did not care if there was no food in his house, that there were restaurants and stores and he did not need to be at his parents under any circumstances. My brother-in-law is fairly terrified of me, and they did not show up the next day :)

































Monday, August 17, 2009

Piles of laundry and stuff

We're back from the wedding in Canada. It went well and I was even in a good mood and I have lots to blog about regarding the giant family gathering.

But I'm not quite up for it right now. So you'll just have to check back later.

It's been kind of a rough morning here, after a rough couple of days. Things in our lives are starting to resemble the pile of laundry on my kitchen table. We keep just piling stuff up without stopping to deal with the pile, and it's threatening to fall over on us. So to speak.

We've been married just shy of 3 1/2 years now. In that time we have moved twice, been through two high-risk pregnancies that resulted in wonderful kids being born through c-section. Both of our brothers have married. Daniel and I have both lost close family members through tragic accidents. He's changed jobs twice, one time because of a layoff. I've gone on maternity leave twice and between my leaves we've had to adjust to me working part-time and I've had to go from being a career-oriented person to putting my job lower on my priority list and figuring out the logistics of that at the office. We've gone from being people who enjoy socializing and being out and about to being either at work or at home, and not many other places. His job, although he likes it, is very stressful and very very demanding and he comes home most days totally worn out. And as you all know, I'm really struggling with loneliness and identity issues and all that.

These last few years have kicked our butts. And it's just all starting to get to be a little much.

No, our marriage is not in trouble, don't worry. We're just realizing that we really have to stop and deal with these things. Which is hard for us, particularly for Daniel, as that is just not how he's been raised. He's a big fan of ignoring and hoping that things resolve on their own. I'm a big fan of discussing things to death. You see the problem here?

Last night Daniel opened up a bit and told me some of the things that are bothering him. Some of them I wasn't aware of. He's been keeping a lot to himself because he doesn't want to add to my stress load. I'm trying to convince him that him sharing these things with me doesn't stress me, it helps me feel needed and I need to feel needed right now. I need to be able to support him and be a wife, not just a housekeeper and babysitter. I hope he understands that.

I think we're going to try to get some counseling from one of the pastors or someone at church. We really need an impartial third party who is not quite so exhausted and overwhelmed to help us get some perspective on things and suggest some ways that we can deal with some of our stress. Right now we're just both so overwhelmed that it's tough to see what to do. We are also going to work really hard on making our devotional and prayer time, both individually and as a couple, more of a priority. That's a large part of the problem right now, neither of us has been going to God as much as we need to be, which leaves us both running on empty and gives us nothing for each other.

Pray for us, if you're a praying person- we're going to be okay, but we do have some work to do, so could really use some support. Also, if you have any good book suggestions, I'd be open to those ideas as well!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Not using my time wisely

The kids have started messing with my mind a little. I'm starting to think it's deliberate. So, every other day or every third day, Ethan will either not nap at all, or will only nap for about an hour. Then, on the other days, he will nap for 3 hours. BUT, he will make waking up noises every 15 minutes or so. So I keep thinking it's a short-nap day, and am scared to start any large projects or get into anything that I can't wrap up quickly. I spend my afternoons doing one quick thing, like unloading the dishwasher, then running to his room to see if he's still asleep. Then off for one more quick thing. Then, with all the small things done, I just sit and wonder if I really have time to work on my photo albums or do our monthly financial spreadsheet. It's very confusing.

I should be packing for our big trip to Canada. On our normal trips to Canada we take so much stuff that it looks like we're staging a small invasion of British Columbia. Piles of stuff. And that was back when we just had one kid. And when we were just going up for a normal visit. This time we have two kids and we're going up for Daniel's brother's wedding, which means formal clothes and lots of extra backup clothes for Miss Vivian for every event, given her proclivity for spitting up as soon as she is dressed in a fancy outfit.

But I'm kind of scared of knowing just how big our pile of stuff is going to be for this trip. So I'm ignoring the whole thing for now.

Updates from yesterday. Thank you so much to those who left nice comments or emailed or called. HUGE internet hugs to you. You save me thousands in therapy bills and save my beloved from having to hear every single little detail of my angst (he still hears plenty, but you help cut it down).

Daniel called the elevator company in the morning, and they were coming out sometime this week for the monthly inspection anyway, so they said we wouldn't have to pay a service charge for their visit. Hurray! They actually showed up last night and saved the keys from wherever they were. Our car key was a little mangled, but the elevator guy found all but one of the parts and Daniel was able to reassemble it.

And I'm trying to pay as much attention to the cat as I can, and keep up on spraying the pheromone spray, which is supposed to calm her.

The only thing that didn't work out well yesterday is my whole tooth situation. I went to the dentist in the morning, then Daniel was nice enough to rearrange some meetings so that I could go to the endontist in the afternoon. Who looked at the x-rays and sent me down the hall to make an appointment with the oral surgeon. Apparently the root split? or something and it's infected and beyond hope and the tooth has to come out and an implant will need to be put in. Can you hear the dollars flying out of our wallet? I've had this procedure once before, so that part of it isn't a big deal, it's just no fun to think of all the appointments and money spending in our near future. BUT, it must be done. And the antibiotics and pain killers are working, so at least I'm not in pain right now. That's a very good thing for everyone!

Okay, I'm going to try to get one more task done before the munchkins awake. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I really hate Tuesdays

It's 10:20 AM, and I am blogging, in the hopes that writing about my crappy morning will help me not do what I really want to do, which is go online and book a one-way plane ticket to Tahiti.

Actually, my crappy day started yesterday. That's why I'm so done with all this so early in the morning. It started with a conversation with my parents, in which my dad asked how I was doing with the whole stay-at-home mom thing. I said that I was bored out of my mind, and he suggested that I take a class or something. ??? I tried to explain that, if it was just a matter of needing something to do, then I could work and make some money, but, given that I have a 2 year old and a 2 month old, I don't actually have a great deal of time to sit quietly and work on anything. I never know when they're going to nap, if it's going to be at the same time, or how much time I'm going to have. And that's when I need to be cleaning and paying bills and doing things like that. So I'm not lacking for activities, just adult conversation and mental stimulation. I don't think he got it.

All day my sweet, wonderful, caring, darling husband (he really is great, I should not complain. But I'm going to) said that he would be home early from work, so that we could give our toddler his birthday cake early in the evening, so the sugar rush wouldn't keep him up all night. He got home at 6:45. And when he got home, he mysteriously knocked on the door instead of using his key. Because he dropped the keys down the elevator shaft. I KID YOU NOT. Who does that? Actually, I know who does that. My husband. Things like that happen to him. I grew up with a brother who had that kind of luck and my parents seem to trend that way too. Which is why I think I'm so hyperaware and overly careful of everything.

Then he ruined his white shirt lying on the elevator floor and trying to see if his keys were caught nearby. His very expensive white shirt.

The birthday evening went fine after that, except Ethan ate his cake at 7:30, thanks to the search for the keys in the elevator shaft, and was up until after 10 (his bedtime is 8).

I had a dentist appointment this morning and found out that, not only do I need two fillings, but the toothache that I have been dealing with all week, the one that has been keeping me up at night and making me very grouchy- it's an infection under a crown in a tooth with a prior root canal. So that means a visit to the specialist and another root canal.

BUT- I was determined to not let it all get to me. I was resolved to have a good attitude and try to be in a better mood today. I got back upstairs from the dentist and read my emails and was really enjoying today's message from Proverbs 31 Ministries. So I closed the computer and cleaned the kitchen and went to make the bed. And discovered that the cat had, once again, wet all over my side of the bed. This is how she is coping with the new baby (we've had her checked, there's nothing medically wrong). I just cried then, because I just washed the sheets yesterday and one of my two my biggest struggles with being home is the repetitive nature of things. Wash the clothes, wash the sheets, run the dishwasher, unload the dishwasher, fold the clothes, change the diaper, make meal, clean up meal. Repeat. And repeat. And it's frustrating, because I'm trying hard to pay attention to the cat and make her feel loved, but I don't really have much time and energy left for the cat right now.

I know I shouldn't let the little things get to me so much. I really need to work on that.

I desperately need a break, but am seriously low on time and money both. So that's not happening. And no, traveling to Canada this weekend to attend my brother-in-law's wedding does not count as a break :)

Anyway, thanks for listening. I have to pack up the kids and go walk to the store now to get my antibiotic prescription filled. The excitement is endless, isn't it :)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Happy birthday to the second love of my life

When Daniel and I got married 3 1/2 years ago (yes, we've had a very busy 3 1/2 years), we planned to wait to start trying to have kids until after our first anniversary. Then, in August of 2006, about 6 months after we got married, a man from our church was killed in a tragic car accident, leaving behind 4 kids and a wife pregnant with their 5th child. And we started really thinking about life and decided that, while we would love to spend more time traveling and spending our extra money, what really mattered in life was family. So we decided to start trying to have a baby. A few months later we succeeded in our endeavor. And 9 months after that... my Ethan was born. You can read all the details of the ridiculous effort that it took to get the stubborn baby out here and on the archives, under August 2007 (link to the archives on the bottom right-hand side of the screen).
















































And now, in the blink of an eye, he's two years old. And I've gone through that whole pregnancy and birth nonsense again since then! We have two little miracles in our lives! How is any of this even possible.

So, to celebrate his 2nd birthday, here is my letter to Ethan.

Dear second love of my life,

When I married your daddy, I thought that was the happiest day of my life and that I could never possibly feel more blessed. How wrong I was. Even though I admittedly (since it's recorded here in writing for all posterity) was not a big fan of being pregnant with you, I got over that fairly quickly and have been head over heels in love with you since then.

You have brought joy to our lives from the beginning. And not only to our lives, but to both sets of grandparents who had honestly started to think that they weren't going to ever experience grandparenthood. I think that the dictionary entries for "bliss", "love" and "happiness" should all have a picture of your grandparents when they're with you next to them.



































And your daddy. My goodness. I knew that I loved your daddy after we'd been dating for about six months. What I never expected was that I would end up loving him more and more as I saw him with you. When you were little he would just hold you and gaze at you. Now he lights up at the sight of you and I've never seen a bigger smile on his face than when he's running around the condo with you or when he's watching you do some random toddler thing. You bring him such joy.




















You're a handful- I'll be the first to admit that. And I have, often on this blog. I apologize in advance for the day that you realize that I've been telling a bunch of strangers about all the random and embarrassing things that you do. Trust me, it's much better for you that Mommy writes about it here and therefore manages to retain a small piece of sanity. You love to push the limits. If I tell you to not touch the power cord with your hands, you will immediately inch your little toes over to it. When I put a stop to that, then your beloved Monkey and Froggie will immediately take turns on it themselves. I have to admire that kind of dedication to misbehavior. (Of course, I only admit that here because, as far as I know, you cannot read yet and have no idea that I think that).

But you are so unbelievably sweet and loving and friendly too. We were worried about your behavior with Vivian, but you are the greatest big brother. Every morning you ask about the baby and then run to wherever she is to tell her "hi baby!". You love people and are always waving and greeting people and going over to them (even if the person is a total stranger) to hold their hand and say hi. I have never seen you go out in public without making at least one person smile. That is such a blessing to me.



I love you, Ethan. Happy 2nd birthday and thank you for blessing me with two years of happiness beyond what I ever imagined.

Love,
Mommy

Saturday, August 8, 2009

This post might be a little disjointed

It's Saturday, and we've spent the day bouncing from activity to activity, so my slightly ADD brain is having some trouble focusing. My brain is like a bouncy ball, jumping all around. It's a little annoying.

So, this week my brother and I finally told our parents about next year's family trip- we're splitting the cost between us for my parents to go, so we've been busy pricing different cruise lines and dates and doing spreadsheets to figure out costs per person... But it's all booked now and we're ready to go. The trip isn't for 10 months though, so we have a while to wait.

I'm glad that the trip was booked and paid for before I looked at our finances for this month. It hurt. We're just starting to truly see the financial effect of the loss of my paycheck. And if we don't manage to move soon, we're going to have to start making some cuts somewhere. Which is tough when you're already the world's cheapest couple. We don't have cable, our cell phone bills are prepaid, so really cheap, no gym membership, shop at the discount grocery store, only buy clothes on sale... We don't have obvious big expenses that are easy to cut. For us it's the little stuff that just adds up. So I need to really watch that, especially the online shopping. Ten or twenty dollars here and there is kicking our butts. That and the medical bills from my pregnancy with Vivian. Even with great health insurance, it's been pretty spendy. I'm hoping we've seen the last of the bills this month.

Speaking of cheap, my cheapy haircut place was having a 7-highlight-foils for $25 sale, so I went today. I figured I need cute hair to make me feel better for next weekend, when I get to pose for lots of family pictures in which I outweigh everyone else by 40 pounds. And the highlights turned out really well, so I'm happy with the experience!

Now I need a nap, because I've been up since 4 AM with a horrible toothache. I'm trying hard not to think about the likelihood that that's going to end up being an expensive fix too...

Adulthood=expensive!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Warning, extreme cuteness

Vivian was lying on the couch today when Ethan crawled up next to her. So I, being a good mama, pulled out my camera for lots of pictures. Here are a few of them.



















































Thursday, August 6, 2009

Show us your wedding reception/honeymoon

Yes, we're still alive here. It's been a gloriously cool and overcast week in Seattle, and I haven't really done much of anything except laundry and keeping my kids fed. That seems to take up most of my time- I'm usually either nursing Vivian or chasing Ethan around and trying to convince him that chewing food is not bad and then when that fails, serving him a nice concoction of milk, cream and Carnation instant breakfast. Which, thankfully, he likes.

So, this week over at Kelly's blog, it's time to remember wedding receptions and honeymoons. I'm always happy to think about the good old days when I was 35 pounds thinner and occasionally combed my hair, so here you are!

Our wedding reception was mid-afternoon, so was pretty low-key. Mostly just eating some heavy hors d'ouevres and mingling, taking lots of pictures with our friends and enjoying spending time with them. We didn't get a chance to eat at all, but thankfully the caterer sent a giant container of food to our hotel with us!



















































Okay, so that was our reception here in Seattle. Everything went perfectly to that point. Here's where the interesting part of the story starts. Daniel and I said goodbye to our friends and family and headed to the fancy downtown hotel where we were going to be spending our wedding night. About two hours after we got there, my cell phone rings. It's the best man and the other groomsman.

Now, the two guys were supposed to return their tuxes, go back to our condo (where they had spent the night before), feed our cat and then head up to Canada, since we had a Chinese reception scheduled for the next day up there. Yeah, because one wedding isn't exhausting enough.

Instead, they had headed out to return their tuxes and, while driving through downtown Seattle, had had the front of their car RUN OVER by someone who ran a red light coming down one of Seattle's very steep hills. If the person had hit a foot further down the car, both guys would have been dead. It was that kind of wreck.

They were fine though, just shaken up. The guy who did not own the car ran the tuxes the few blocks over to return them (gotta love that kind of dedication). Then they, both being from out of town, called my parents to tell them what was going on. And my parents said "do not call Carrie and Daniel, just go back and stay at the condo and we will take you to Canada tomorrow." The guys then called my best friend, who said exactly the same thing. The guys talked it over and decided that, while those were good ideas the best plan was to SHOW UP AT OUR HOTEL. On our wedding night. Even though they KNEW that we had not slept together before and therefore were greatly anticipating our wedding night and were probably busy and not wanting visitors.

They are alive to this day only because we were eating dinner at the time they arrived and were not otherwise occupied. So, they showed up and we patted them on the shoulder and said that we were glad they were okay and told them "go back to our condo and stay there and we'll take you to Canada tomorrow." (Sound familiar?) So they turned around and headed to our condo (also in downtown Seattle, so they could get there even with a wrecked car). We still harass them about this whole incident. One of the guys apologizes to me every time he sees me. It's kind of funny.

And the next morning we went back to our condo and woke the guys up and while they got dressed and ready for the trip, Daniel and I opened our wedding presents in the storage locker. :)

The Vancouver reception is kind of a blur. I just remember being very very tired and my family laughing at my sad attempts to smile for the thousands of pictures that were taken. We posed with everyone there, at least twice. And for the family pictures, the photographer took two of each pose on his camera and then my father-in-law had the photographer take two more of each pose with HIS camera. I look a little psychotic in most of our pictures. But it was good to be able to celebrate with all of the miscellaneous relatives and friends that we didn't have space for at the Seattle wedding, so it was a good event.

Then we headed out for our honeymoon in Cancun. Ah, bliss.



























Monday, August 3, 2009

Misc. Monday

1) Did you all see the great news about Stellan? He's been discharged from the hospital! Praise God!

2) The kids had their check-ups today, complete with shots for both of them. Neither kid was very happy about the whole procedure, so I was very glad that Daniel was there with me to help manage the mayhem.

Vivian is doing great- gaining weight and growing nicely. She's up to 10 pounds, 4 ounces now, and is a whopping 22 inches in length. Everything else checked out well too. Hurray for that!

Ethan is doing fine developmentally. Physically though- not so much growing. At 18 months he measured in at 31 inches and 22 lbs 3 oz and today he came in at 31 3/4 inches and 22 1/2 pounds. So very little change. As I've mentioned many times here, eating has never been Ethan's strong point, and since his bad stomach flu in May, getting him to eat anything at all has been a big problem. So the doctor suggested that we keep pushing the high-fat foods, and if he doesn't start gaining soon, we'll supplement with Pediasure.

It's kind of a mental shift for me, since I've been struggling with losing weight for the last 20 years. Now I have to make foods with cream and butter and oil for Ethan. And it is really hard for me to accept it and know that it's okay, after so many years of avoiding foods like that. I have to remember that Ethan is little and skinny and needs to gain weight!

I was going to say something else. But I can't remember what it was. So, happy Monday to you all!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

All about Ethan

I've been so caught up in angst lately- "oh, the heat" and "oh, the stress of suddenly being a stay-at-home-mom of two tiny people" and "what does my life mean" that I've not blogged much about the kids lately. Seriously, they are the cutest kids on the planet- how can I not write about them?

So, Ethan. Can you believe he's going to be two in 9 days? TWO. TWO!!! I am going to be the mom of a two year old! Shouldn't that imply that I'm like a grown-up or something? And Vivian is two-months old now!! Two months ago I was lying in my hospital bed, staring at my very-Chinese-looking baby, wondering if someone was going to bring me some drugs that didn't make me sick.




















Anyway- Ethan's particularly interesting these days. We've managed to convince him that he doesn't need the paci ALL the time, so I get several hours per day in which I don't have to try to understand toddler-speak with the additional impairment of the paci. Most of Ethan's requests are still "water" or "car". What more does one want in life, apparently!

He spends most of his days refusing to eat, begging for Clifford DVDs, and randomly running around the condo. And he loves living in the city- he also spends lots of time looking out the window and talking to all the trucks and doggies and people going by.

Most randomly, Ethan is a big fan of outsourcing his activity time. He will walk to the closet, ask for his crayons, then walk to his chair to sit down. Then he will refuse to color, and will demand a parental presence. When one of us shows up, he will hand us a crayon and point to a place on the page where we should color. After a while he will hand us another crayon for coloring in a different location. He does the same thing with the magnadoodle. Why color for yourself when you can get a parent to do it for you?

Ethan has done an amazing job of adjusting to being a big brother. First thing every morning, he asks where the baby is and then goes and says "hi baby!" to her. He's not a big fan of the hugs and kisses, but he does make sure that his stuffed animals give Vivian a kiss every day. And you just can't find a cuter smile anywhere.

I knew my life was going to change forever when Ethan was born, but I could not have imagined all the the joy and fun that this little boy would bring to my life.