Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wine is making me feel better tonight, starting before I even drank it

Vivian woke up at 5 AM, whining about something and wanting to eat. Which is fine- she usually eat and then goes right back to sleep. And, as predicted she did. Unfortunately, her brother is a little harder to manage, and he woke up at 7, screaming. We couldn't get annoyed though, the poor kid is getting in the first of his 2-year molars as well as his last canine tooth, and he has a cold and can't breathe.

The day pretty much went downhill from there. Ethan whined and screamed about everything. The kids took turns napping/being overly needy.  Vivian continued exerting her newfound opinion-having nature by crying every time I put her down. She only ate enough to nurse herself to sleep, which meant she wanted to eat every 1.5 hours.

Then Daniel came home. He told me he was leaving early, at 4, but didn't leave until 4:45, but still. That got him home before 6. And I stayed home for exactly 1.2 seconds after he came in.  Long enough to say "thebabyateshe'sfinejustwhinyEthan'sfinejustwhinyIgavehimmedicineI'llberightback".

And then I went to Trader Joe's and bought gyoza for dinner and baklava and wine. And when I got to checkout, the MOST WONDERFUL checkout clerk ever! mumbled something. I said "excuse me" and he said "can I see your ID please?" I could have hugged him.  You see, I did remember to get dressed before leaving the house, but did not remember to put on even one molecule of makeup. And I'm getting Ethan's cold and had spent the day with two cranky kids and I'm 32, and look nowhere in the remotest vicinity of 21 but THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!

So I had a bounce in my step by the time I got home after running the rest of my errands. Hurray for men who can't tell the age of women! The nice wine just made the joy even greater :)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I so do not have time to be writing this blog post

I tried streamlining and cutting some things out of my life a few weeks ago. The empty spaces didn't last for long, and are now filled with even more things to do!  This morning I woke up in a feverish need to purge some of the physical items from our house. That's how I deal with too much busyness, I have to get rid of physical clutter.  This is kind of a bad time for us, space-wise, since the kids are at totally different developmental stages and need completely different toys. And Vivian's at the stage where all of her toys are ENORMOUS.  We just added the exersaucer to our living room a few weeks ago. Between that, the playmat and the swing, there's not much space left! But I'm trying to find the few things that I can get rid of.  Makes me feel better to have even one or two items out of my living room or closets.

Fortunately (unfortunately?) there's no work for me to do right now for my actual job, so I don't have that to worry about crossing off my to-do list.  Of course, that means no money, but hopefully it's just temporary.

Don't be fooled, I love being busy.  I'm in a 100% better mood than I was earlier this summer when I was moping around feeling useless.

On the toddler bed front, we decided to practice by moving Ethan's crib mattress to the floor of his room. Right now he's playing in his room instead of napping, so that's a fail so far. When we tried it last night at bedtime,  he just laid in the middle of his bed, scared to move, and then after about an hour of that, started crying in fear. It was so pitiful.  We ended up moving the mattress back to the crib and calling it quits for the day. Baby steps, I suppose- but Vivian needs more space soon, so he can't take too long with it!

My mother-in-law keeps making comments about potty training and wondering why we're not potty training Ethan yet. He's currently 1) still fairly non-verbal, 2) getting his 2-year molars and 3) moving to a toddler bed, so I'm thinking this would not be a particularly good time to start potty training. She's just going to have to be patient. 

That's all from here. Sounds like I need to go put Ethan back in his bed and then fold the laundry.  Hope you're all having a good week- it's autumn here in Seattle. I made pumpkin bread yesterday and am making beef stew today to celebrate the return of the cooler weather. Loving it!

PS- I have a bunch of giveaways ending soon over at the review blog- go enter if you haven't already!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

How to assure yourself of having the worst night ever

Yesterday was Free Museum Day! I get so excited about this every year. For me it's one of my favorite holidays. Seriously, I kid you not, I love it SO much! (Attaching a sign that says "giant nerd" to my shirt).

So, I got up early and went to donate blood, leaving Daniel to get the kids ready. My blood donation was done quickly, because I set a new personal record for speed in bleeding.  Yes, I do everything at hyperspeed, even donating blood. 6 minutes flat.  This meant that I got home sooner than expected, but Daniel had done a remarkable job of getting the kids up and dressed- he even figured out how to get Vivian's tights on her! I'd never allowed him to dress Vivian before, as he has been known to put Ethan's clothes on him backwards, and I figure girl clothes might cause his brain to explode.

After Daniel got ready, we headed out to the Museum of Flight, which was already getting very busy, even that soon after opening. But it's a big museum, so not a problem.  We had a great time walking around and looking at planes. Ethan said hi to all of them, as he tends to do.  Vivian was in her carseat in the stroller, which did not make her happy, so I ended up carrying her while pushing the empty double stroller. Kind of defeats the purpose....
                                                      






Then we headed home, with the thought that the kids would be tired out and need a nap, since WE were exhausted and needed a nap. The kids sensed our tiredness and decided that napping was not going to happen. So, eventually Daniel and I peeled ourselves off the couch, and we headed out to walk to the Pacific Science Center.

The Science Center was not part of free museum day, but we had buy-one-get-one tickets and wanted to check it out for membership. Ethan was in heaven- creepy bugs, great tot playarea, and gigantic roaring dinosaurs.  Yes, the tot dance class on Friday scared him so much that he clung to me and screamed, but gigantic roaring dinosaurs are his friend.  (Rolling my eyes). We did end up becoming members, since, as you know, I am going to have to be committed to an asylum if I spend all winter hanging out at the Children's Museum. This way I have a bit of choice in variety.





And then we came home again, sure that the kids would be worn out, since we had been so busy and they hadn't napped. We were again, informed otherwise by our kids. I think they were both so completely exhausted that they couldn't turn off their brains, and were both up for a good deal of the night.  We ended up oversleeping and missed church, so now we're having a quiet morning at home.

Vivian is such an easy baby that sometimes we forget how little she is and that her brain can only take in so much. I feel kind of bad about that!  Poor little girl. She seems okay today- as does Ethan. Daniel and I are still worn out now. Much coffee in my life this morning!

In other random news- Ethan is definitely getting in his two year molars. Fun! And we bought a toddler bed for him online last night- Vivian needs the crib, so it's time for him to move out. That should be an adventure...

Friday, September 25, 2009

Random Friday thoughts

1. So jealous of the bloggers hanging out in Sacramento this weekend- next year I will not be a nursing mom and am SO going to be there!

2.  The other day I was sitting and holding Vivian and looked at her eyes and realized that her eyelids don't match.  One (her right eye- on the left in the picture below) is more like a typical Caucasian person's eyelids.  And the other is more of the Asian eyelid. So far, her one Caucasian eyelid is the only evidence that I am her biological mother. Seriously.


3. Today we went to Ethan's first "tot bop" class at the local community center. Started out badly, as they have a tiny parking lot and the classes are back to back, so if you show up 5 minutes early, there is no parking. So I had to haul the baby in her infant seat and the toddler across the street, down the sidewalk and to the community center. Even worse going back, when it was hauling them all uphill.

And Ethan behaved pretty much exactly as I thought he would- he clung to me and screamed for 48 of the 50 minute class. He's weird that way- he is REALLY social in most situations- loving to say hi to people and smile and wave and hold hands, but you put him in a setting where he's expected to participate in singing or dancing or reading a story, and he has a nervous breakdown.  But he used to be good in daycare, so I don't know what the logic is behind his freakouts. I liked the class and so did Vivian, so we're going to keep going on Fridays, cranky toddler or no cranky toddler.

4.  We are going on the third day with no nap now.  Or no real nap. Yesterday he fell asleep around 5 PM for a while. We've been out doing stuff these days, so he should be tired, but he's apparently not.

5. Remember that tomorrow is Free Museum Day!!! We're heading to the Museum of Flight in the morning- we go every year at least once, but haven't been since last fall when Ethan was still pretty little, so he hasn't ever really gotten to enjoy it. I think he'll have a great time this time. And it's free, which appeals to Daniel and I.  I'm donating blood in the morning before we go- the things I will do to get some time to myself :) Actually, I have a rare blood type, so try to donate as much as possible, but have been pregnant so much of the last few years that I haven't been able to go in as often as I would like.  But now I'm done with all that silliness, so should be able to be a better donor.

6. Anyway, I need to go load up my non-nappers into the car and go get Daniel at work. Hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What I saw when I got home last night

Last night after Daniel got home, I went out quickly to go pick up some books/DVDs on hold at the library and to run to the grocery store. It's ridiculous just how much I enjoy those simple little outings on my own. I even paused for a little while and stood on the steps of the library, breathing in the warm night air and enjoying the quiet. 

And then I got home, and I opened the front door. And, since the security chain was on (our front door is stupid and can be unlocked by pulling down on the handle- the handle that's within reach of our toddler...), I couldn't actually open the door all the way. But through the three inch crack, I could see Ethan sitting on the very high kitchen counter, removing all the fruit from the fruit bowl. Daniel claims that Ethan climbed really quickly, and that a few moments before had just been happily sitting in a dining room chair, looking at pictures on the computer.

Ethan spent most of the afternoon today trying to climb up on the dining room table, so I can vouch for his speed in climbing things. This is not good. I had been sort of lulled into a false sense of security with Ethan, for a long time, I could put him in front of the TV and an hour later he wouldn't have budged an inch. Not true anymore- every time we turn our backs, he's dashed off into a different part of the condo.

I am so grateful to have a tiny home when things like this are going on!  Not too many places that Ethan can go that are out of sight!  We're just really hoping that it doesn't occur to him that he can easily climb out of his crib...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Having faith

Before I start rambling on- if you think of it, pray for Loralee and her family today- it's the anniversary of the death of their infant son.

Having a toddler has been a very eye-opening experience for me in terms of my faith in what God is doing in my life.  My family is going through some stuff right now that's stressful- mainly stuff dealing with Daniel's long commute and low pay and things like that. And we're trying really hard to have faith that God has a plan for us and that the things that seem discouraging to us are a part of that plan.

Sometimes it makes me grateful for hanging out with a whiny toddler.  You see, Ethan is such a living example of how I behave sometimes. He asks me for things, and sometimes I have to say no, because it's something that's not good for him. No, no matter how much you cry, Mommy is not going to let you play with the pointy chopstick, especially with your baby sister sitting next to you. No, you may not throw the glass bowl across the room. No, Mommy is not going to give you a sip of her hot latte (for several reasons!). 

And sometimes he asks me for things and I say yes, but it takes me a few minutes to get them for him. He asks for milk, and I'm happy to get it, but it seems to always involve finding a clean sippy cup, reassembling the clean sippy cup, digging the milk carton out of the back of the fridge, opening it, pouring the milk, getting the lid on the sippy cup properly... getting things together takes time.  In his world, the milk should magically appear in his little fist as soon as he finishes signing and saying "pees?"  I'm not being cruel or heartless or mean, it just takes time for things to come together properly.

We're trying to trust in those two things for our lives- that the doors that shut are the ones that aren't right for us, and that God is protecting us from the things that are wrong for us. And while doors are being shut and there's too much quiet on the "yes" front, we trust that He is getting things together- the right things that are meant for us.

It still gets a little discouraging though.  I'm not a patient person by any stretch of the imagination and I want things now.  (Yeah, that's where Ethan got it from).  So praying for faith and patience and trust.

I know I've quoted the lyrics from this Greg Long song (Everything is Gonna Be Alright) before, but they're in my mind again this evening.

What can I say
When faith slips away
Into doubt
And the fear that I feel
Is incredibly real
And there's no way out
Everything is shaken
Hope is almost taken
But there is something making me say

CHORUS
I'm good
I'm fine
But I've seen better days
Maybe say a prayer when you think of me
I could use some help when you're on your knees
The Lord is kind
I know He's gonna see me through
Everything is gonna be alright

I'm holding onto
The mercy and truth
Of His plan
I'll weather this storm
Safe in the warmth
Of my Father's hand
But through the healing stages
I will stand courageous
Though the hurting rages in me

CHORUS

There is trouble on every side, but I'm not broken
I have been struck down, but I am not destroyed
Persecuted but I'm not abandoned
My hope is in the Lord,
My hope is in the Lord...

CHORUS

Everything is gonna be all right
Everything is gonna be all right

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A really good Tuesday, for once

As I write this, my not-quite-4-month-old is lying on the couch next to where I'm sitting, pushing off of me with her feet and trying really hard to sit up. She can get herself about 3 inches off of whatever surface she's lying on. The kid is going to have 6-pack-abs by 6 months old at this rate.  I am not encouraging this sitting up thing that she's trying to do. Mommy does not have the energy for two mobile kids right now. She rolled over from front to back last week, a solid month after she rolled back to front.  Apparently babies are supposed to roll front to back first, so she's already doing things her own way, and who cares what the baby books say :)

We had a great morning today!  Last week when we went to get Vivian's Canadian citizenship card papers in, the person at the consulate looked at Daniel's citizenship card, which had scotch tape on the top and informed us that he needed a new card. So he had to go to the one very expensive photoshop in Seattle that does Canadian citizenship photos and get pictures taken this weekend, and I had to drop them off at the consulate this week.

So I loaded up the kids this morning and headed out into the beautiful, 68 degree morning. We rode the Seattle Monorail from the Space Needle to downtown. Ethan was in heaven, since he's obsessed with trains and the Monorail is a great train.  He gleefully starts saying "choochoo!" as soon as we get close to the Monorail area of Seattle Center.  We had a nice ride downtown, then dropped off the pictures at the consulate before heading to some nearby stores. Where the kids BOTH behaved well enough for me to find some cute shirts!  We capped off our outing by dropping by my office to pick up some work for me, before getting back on the "choochoo" to come home. 

I know we're low on space and high on mortgage here in our condo, but I so don't want to leave. I love that I can walk everywhere here and that I can just hop on a bus or the monorail with the kids and be right in the heart of downtown. I love the festivals and the parades and all the activities that we have close at hand.  We need to do some more purging, and probably break down and rent a storage unit if we're going to stay much longer, but I'm willing to do that.  I'm a city girl!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Dear people who I know in real-life (for when you discover this blog)

As I've mentioned here before, my blog is not something that I tend to mention to my friends and family.  A few real-life friends know about it, and I'm not entirely sure how those people found out about it. I mean, obviously, I told them, and I'm glad they know about the blog and read it, but I can't remember what the circumstances were exactly that prompted me to tell them.

But now, with the review blog and my info and name being posted in more and more places on the internet, I have the sneaking suspicion that my little secret is going to be out soon.

So, to those of you who find this blog and are shocked to find out that I have this whole other life- DO NOT BE OFFENDED THAT I DIDN'T SAY ANYTHING.  I write here more as therapy for myself than anything else. When I'm having a bad day, I write about it, and then I usually am over the bad day and I continue on.  If I tell real-life people that I'm having a bad day, they will ask me about it again later and will be all worried, and, given that I have the attention span of a hyperactive gnat, I probably wont remember what the whole issue was and discussing it again will just make me grouchy again. I rarely stick with a mood for more than 2 hours. If things are truly serious and I'm really having a problem, I will tell real-life people. This blog is more for my run-of-the-mill bad days, and good days too. I don't blog about the big things that the kids do, just the mundane little cute things. 

In addition to being great therapy, my blog also serves as a nice memory book for the kids' growing-up years, recording all the stuff that I forget to put in the baby book or that doesn't really merit an entry in there. 

And it's also an online diary- I write for me and my memories, and having made friends, both online and in real-life is just a fun side benefit.

So, if you've found this blog and are surprised, 1) please don't be offended that I didn't tell you, 2) please tell me that you found it, and 3) please don't mention it to others.  :) 

Okay, gotta go deal with a cranky toddler now. And sign Daniel's birthday card. Poor guy, so far he bought his own birthday dinner and birthday cake.  We need to take better care of him!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Thinking about my mother-in-law tonight

Tomorrow is my beloved, wonderful husband's 42nd birthday. He continues to be the most amazing and wonderful blessing in my life, and I love him more than I ever imagined I could love another person.

But tonight I'm not thinking about him, I'm thinking about his mom.

I am not particularly close to my mother-in-law, but I still deeply respect her as a person. We're not close mainly because of the language barrier between us- she speaks English fairly well, but doesn't always understand everything, and that has an effect on our conversations and the depth of our relationship. And I'm kind of nervous when I'm around her because of the culture gap between us- when we get together it's typically in situations where I'm the only caucasian person around, and that has an effect on my mood and reactions.

Daniel and I have been blessed to both come from families where our parents are still happily married- in my case my parents have been together since they were teens and married for 38 years, and his parents have been married for 46 (or 47?) years.  And out of our 4 parents, we each have one who has had a fairly normal life with one major tragedy, and one parent who has had more thrown at them in life than a person should be expected to bear.

In Daniel's case, it's his mom who has had to fight her whole life through one sad event after another.  Even though she doesn't read my blog, I don't feel comfortable detailing them all here. But, in short, she lived through the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong, then by her late adolescence had lost both parents and was raised by a housekeeper.

But the reason I think about her tonight is because my mother-in-law also survived what I venture to guess is the most painful thing anyone ever has to live through, the loss of a child.  At the end of her second pregnancy, she realized her baby wasn't moving, but the doctors brushed off her concerns. And when the baby was born, he was no longer alive.  I can hardly even type that without crying. My mother-in-law then had the courage (and according to family stories, strong encouragement from Daniel's grandmother, who lived with the family at the time) to have another baby a year and a half later.

I remember what it felt like the night before my kids were born, how nervous I was, and that was without having been through what she went through. I cannot begin to understand what it would be like to be in labor with a child a year and a half after her last labor had ended so badly. To my mother-in-law, your second son, and your struggle and sadness is not forgotten.

I know that my mother-in-law blamed herself for a long time, thinking she did something wrong and caused her baby's death. Given my background in developmental toxicology, I think she was seriously wrong about that belief, and that the loss of her child was no fault of hers.  (Yes, we have told her that)

So, to my mother-in-law (even though you will never read this), thank you.  The child that I know you were scared to have has grown into the most amazing husband. He is exactly the man that I prayed for for so many years. And he's an even more amazing father than he is husband.  Thank you for raising him so well to be such a good man.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friendships

I'm thinking a lot about friendships today. This morning I spent time with good friends from college- they were in town briefly on their way out to an Alaskan cruise. We were able to have dinner together last night and then I met them for coffee this morning before they boarded their ship. Even though we keep in touch fairly well on Facebook, we never talk on the phone or anything like that, since they have 3 small kids and I have 2 and we live in different time zones. We just never both have free time at the same time. So our keeping up is limited to posts on each other's Facebook pages and the occasional email.

It was so nice to chat and laugh about old times, and when we parted ways at the Monorail late this morning, I found that I was really sad. Unexpectedly so. I've moved quite a bit in my life and I have friends all over the world, so I'm used to saying goodbye to people a lot and, honestly, I rarely get sad about it.

But there was something about hanging out with them last night and today that really was an encouragement to me- and it took me a few minutes to realize what it is. I realized that it's been a long time since I've spent time with people (other than Daniel) who truly KNOW me. These are people I've known since I was 18. The wife of this couple and I were EMTs on the local ambulance crew together and we were teaching assistants together for chemistry classes at our college. They saw me through two rough breakups and I watched them go from a dating couple to newlyweds to parents. They prayed me through my time living overseas and working as a missionary and never failed to encourage me. And they rejoiced when I met Daniel and we started our own family.

I have a lot of wonderful people in my life now, but to most of those people I'm 1) Daniel's wife, 2) Ethan and Vivian's mom, 3) a scientist or 4) some whiny woman who blogs about all her life angst :) I rarely spend time with people who know my history or who have known me for more than a couple of years, those people with whom I can just pick up a conversation where we left off, even if it's been a year since we last talked. I didn't realize how much I'd been missing it. Here's to old friendships. They rock!

On a similar note, Daniel and I are trying to decide what to do about our marriage/family bible study group this year. We're involved with a wonderful bunch of people and have enjoyed spending time with them and talking about parenting and marriage and praying together. But this year I'm just feeling so off kilter and out of place that I'm not sure I have the emotional energy left to participate. We need to figure out soon what we're going to do, but neither of us seem able to make a decision.

Anyway, enough of that. It is a GORGEOUS day here. 70 degrees, sun is shining, light breeze. Seriously gorgeous. My friends are going to have a wonderful cruise out of Seattle tonight. It's so pretty today that even I, hater of all things outdoors, am tempted to head out again!

Have a great weekend everyone.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My love/hate relationship with the Children's Museum

In case any of you are new here, I'll fill you in on some of the details of my life that explain why I spend so much time at the Children's Museum.

We live in a 900 square foot, 3-room condo on the northern edge of downtown Seattle. About 3 blocks from the Space Needle.  We have no yard, no balcony and no place nearby to play. The closest park is only about 4 blocks away, but those blocks are straight uphill. While I could possibly get up the hill with the 50+ pounds of kids and stroller, I am not confident in my ability to walk back downhill with the kids and the stroller, so I do not venture up there on foot. We pretty much save the park for days that we have the car and that Daddy is home.

Because of our location, we are very limited on where we can walk when we go out.  As I mentioned, to the north of us is a very large, very steep hill. To the east of us is a highway.  To the west is a bunch of stores- mainly record stores and grocery stores and restaurants. Nothing too exciting. Which mosly leaves us with the south, and that is the Seattle Center.  So, pretty much every time we leave the house, that's where we end up.  And, while there are lots of places to run around and play in the water at Seattle Center, with a newborn and a toddler I really need a confined space. So that leaves the Childrens' Museum.

We've been members for over a year now. For over a year I have been visiting this museum at least once a week, and lately 2-3 times per week.  And I'm the type of person who hates doing anything more than once.  There are no words to describe how tired I am of this museum.  Part of the reason is that Ethan doesn't actually play much when he's there. Again, he loves to outsource his playing, so he'll alternate between making me play with the exhibits, walking up to strange adults and trying to get them play with the exhibits, and just standing there watching other kids play.  The only thing that he interacts with on his own is the water, and even then he just stands with his hand in the waterfall, with the occasional move to scoop water into a nearby toy.

The Children's Museum is full of very involved, eager parents who are following their kids around and interacting with them and showing them the exhibits. These parents look at me strangely as I wander around behind Ethan with my glazed-over expression and intermittent hysterical laughter as I listen to "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" on my ipod. I am always the only person there listening to an ipod. But it's not like Ethan has anything to say to me while he's playing, and unless he wants me to play with something for him he doesn't even care that I'm there, so I'm not depriving of him of anything by listening to my podcasts. I figure if I'm entertained we'll stay longer, and that's what he wants most.  Thankfully now people are more distracted by Vivian in her pouch, so the glazed over look and ipod-wearing doesn't get as many weird looks.

I need a sign for my shirt that says "Not a bad mom. We come here 2-3 times/week and I've seen and done it all."   I am grateful for living so close to the Children's Museum. It's a great place, with lots to do and things to play with and I don't have to clean any of it up.  It never fails to tire Ethan out, which means a nice long nap and time for Mommy to get work done. And, thankfully, there's a special exhibit starting in a few weeks so we'll actually have something new to play with!

And if any of you live close and want to come hang out with us, I'll happily put away the ipod and chat with you instead!

Speaking of museums, next Saturday, the 26th is Smithsonian Free Museum Day! Admission to a bunch of museums all over the US is free. It's a great way to visit museums in your area. Go here to check it out!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A birthday, of sorts

According to my calculations (TMI, sorry), my sweet little girl  has now been part of our lives for exactly a year.  This time last year she was a microscopic embryo floating around, trying to find a place to settle in for her long wait.  And now she's a plump little girl, smiling at me and laughing at her brother.

It's hard to believe that it's only been a year. It was such a long pregnancy, I think every day lasted about 2 months.  But we got through it all and she's here and she's fabulous. 

So, what's Vivian up to these days?  I know I haven't talked much about her here on the blog, and that's kind of because she's so darned laidback, there just isn't much complaining to do. And, lets be honest, that's mainly what I do here.

Vivian sleeps through the night most nights and naps for the better part of the day as well. She is a good eater and is so excited to see me opening my shirt for feeding time that she practically quivers with joy.  The smile is from ear to ear. Seriously, this girl likes her food.  She rarely cries, usually just when she's overtired and can't settle herself down. And even then it's not real crying, more like one or two little bursts of crying before she loses interest in that.  She loves to watch her brother playing- we can tell that she just thinks he's totally fascinating.  Which is going to definitely come in handy!  Vivian is totally portable- happy to go anywhere and do anything, as long as there's someone around to smile at.

I am so blessed to have had two such easy babies.  Here's hoping her low-key personality sticks around!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The city people ride a ferry

Okay, so about 3 weeks ago Daniel had a "great idea".  It went something like this.
Daniel: "My parents are coming down in a few weeks and we need to do something to celebrate my, my mom's and J's (new sister-in-law) birthday.  (They're all in the same week). Let's pack up our small children and take the ferry to Bainbridge Island."

We live in the city of Seattle, but it's the opposite end of the city from where the ferry terminal is, so immediately my mind began buzzing with questions. "how will we get there, how will I feed Vivian, what will we do if Mr. Toddler has one of his frequent temper tantrums?"  And so on. But, as I mentioned Friday, I kept my mouth shut and said "that sounds like a great idea. Let's do it." Or something like that.

So the weekend was coming, and we were getting ready- making plans for getting our errands run this morning and figuring out the bus/ferry schedules and so on. And we were all ready to go. Then came last night. Vivian suddenly started coughing and then she started sneezing and then she had a runny nose. But she fell asleep okay.  Ethan, however, kept waking up crying and was up until 12:30.  At which point Vivian took over, waking up and refusing to sleep flat (who can blame her, poor thing) until 7 AM. When she finally fell sound asleep in her swing. After me spending hours pleading with her to sleep in her swing. Or her bed. Or our bed. Or wherever!!! So we truly thought this morning that the curse of Daniel's parents' visits had returned (Ethan was sick for 95% of the visits that they made to us or we made to them for the first year of his life). But Vivian slept all day, and by the time the in-laws showed up, she seemed okay, so we all headed out on the bus.

And we caught the bus and were entertained by many drunk (before the game even started!) Washington State football fans on their way to the game at Qwest Field. And then we caught the ferry and sat down and all was well. And about the same second that the ferry started across the water, Vivian started sneezing and coughing and having a runny nose again.  But it was too late by then, so we continued on our journey.





















We made it to Bainbridge fine and walked along the waterfront and were happy to be out of our warm condo.  We walked through downtown and looked in shops and I was spending the whole time thinking how glad I was that I could take Vivian out of the Bjorn and stop carrying her around at the end of our day and that I was no longer pregnant.

We had a nice dinner at a restaurant in the main town on Bainbridge Island. Ethan kept trying to get attention by squealing and throwing things, but we mainly ignored him and ate.  I had the most divine pizza with goat cheese and chicken and apples and blueberries. So yummy! I hope to try to recreate it at home soon.

We caught the ferry back to Seattle just fine. We did not, however catch our bus, so had 30 minutes to kill by walking around, but the Seattle waterfront is nice and the evening was gorgeous. Poor Vivian had about had enough, but she's the world's easiest baby, so her meltdown was barely noticeable.




























































So, all in all a good day. We're wiped out tired right now, so I should be sleeping rather than blogging, but I have priorities :) And tomorrow!!! After church!!! Daniel's parents (they're all staying in a motel tonight instead of heading back to Canada) are going to babysit the kids while we go to see Harry Potter! I get a date with my husband (our first in almost a year!) and I get to see the Harry Potter movie! Hurray!!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday!!!

Anyone else with me on thinking this was a very long 4-day workweek?  Seriously, I just want Daniel to be home already!  Things have been crazy at his job- I know he has to work hard so that the company can meet its goals, but it's frustrating seeing him work SUCH long hours, and now for even less money than he used to make. 

It's been an interesting week here.  I was in a depressed mood on Tuesday, but then Liz and Lucy came over on Wednesday and hung out with us for a while. Ethan had great fun with Lucy- he ran around acting like she was chasing him and squealing at the top of his lungs. Lucy, who was just minding her own business and chasing the cat, kept looking at Ethan like he was nuts. But Ethan was worn out by all the running and squealing and went to bed early, so it was a win-win for everyone.

And I managed to get 6 whole hours of work done this week. Not a huge amount, I know, but it'll be something in my income category on our financial spreadsheet this month. And it made me feel good.  This is such a blessing from God to be able to work a little bit from home.  It's amazing just how much it's helped.

But, even though we've got a plan to make up for Daniel's salary cut, my family decided to change our vacation plans for next spring. We had planned to go on an Alaska cruise with my parents and brother and his wife, but after talking it over, we decided to instead rent a luxury cabin over on Whidbey Island. We're all actually even more excited about this idea- it has something for everyone, even me, the non-nature, non-outdoor person.  So we're all excited about that.  And it's costing us a fraction of what the cruise was going to cost, so that's nice too.

The kids are doing well- Ethan's spending lots of time running around the house and talking. We still don't know what he's saying most of the time, but he's talking up a storm. We've managed to break his pacifier addiction too, now he only uses it in bed. Which has the added benefit of making him really excited to get into bed at naptime and bedtime. Win!  Vivian is still ridiculously cute and way easy. She's growing like a weed but still rarely cries or fusses.  She just sort of hangs out and smiles and takes in the world around her. 

The in-laws are coming to visit tomorrow and we're taking the ferry to Bainbridge Island for the day.  It's another one of those things that is Daniel's great idea and I'm overwhelmed with the details of things like where to feed Vivian and working around naptime. But, I feel that I've made big progress because I didn't just shoot down his idea, just nodded and said that it sounded like fun and kept my detail-freaking-outishness well hidden. :)

Anyway, have a great weekend, everyone!

 
 

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Days like this

I'm serious, there's something in me that just cannot tolerate Tuesdays.  It's like I'm allergic to them or something. Even Tuesdays that are disguised as Mondays, like today.

Today is one of those days where I'm feeling down for no reason.  Where I just feel like there is a weight sitting on my shoulders all day. I don't want to go anywhere or do anything or comb my hair or smile at people.  It's a day when I'm dreading the end of Ethan's TV-watching hour, because then I have to come up with ideas for entertaining him. 

I think today's emotions are partially hormonally-driven.  My body seems to be rebelling against me lately. For some reason I'm not one who gets any of the good side effects of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding itself is easy enough, but I don't feel bonded and I don't lose weight and I'm not free of other unpleasant girl things.

And I'm also having a day where I'm taking EVERYTHING too personally.  I'm feeling unloved and rejected by people that I don't even know, people that I only interact with online and that have no real importance in my life. I just want to be liked by everyone, even people I don't know!  Yeah, that's not a particularly healthy life perspective. Must work on that.

OH CRAP! They've changed the lineup on PBS! Clifford isn't on now anymore! What to do?  Gotta go, Ethan needs entertaining earlier than expected.

Monday, September 7, 2009

First haircut

Ethan is my son. And that is totally evident in SO many ways that are evident in both his personality and his looks.  One of these similarities is in our hair. I was a cute, but hairless little girl. Since I grew up in the days when all the cool new stay-put hairclips weren't available, my poor mom had to tape bows to my head so that people could tell I was a girl. :)

So, I wasn't really surprised when Ethan came out sans hair and remained more or less in that state until recently.  When he did grow hair, it went from fuzz to short hair to what we affectionately refered to as his curly mullet.  The top was short with long hair on the side that could be combed over the top a la Donald Trump, while the back was longer and had curls.

The mullet finally got to the point where I couldn't stand it anymore, so I started researching kids' haircut places. Although we'll probably do cheapy salons or home haircuts from him from now on, I wanted the full experience for this first haircut.  Places close to us are pretty expensive for "baby's first haircut", so I thought I'd look and see if there were any more reasonable options down near my grandmother's home.  And I found one that looked good and had good reviews, so we made an appointment at Sit Still Salon in West Linn, Oregon.

Sunday after church we showed up at the salon 30 minutes early, since we weren't entirely sure where we were going or how long it would take to get there. The nice people at the salon said they wouldn't be able to fit us in early, so Daniel, Ethan, myself, Vivian and my grandmother settled ourselves in the waiting area, which was very cheery and bright and full of toys and a TV playing kids shows and books. I ran across the street to get Starbucks and when I came back Daniel was anxiously waiting for me at the front door, since they were already ready to cut Ethan's hair!

The salon has regular chairs for older kids and cars for the little ones to sit in. Every station has a TV for the kids to watch. Ethan was originally excited about the car, but when it was time for his haircut he was NOT going for it. Not the car, not the TV, not the lollipop. He started screaming immediately and clasping on to Daniel. I hung back and photographed the whole thing. I was glad we'd gone somewhere that is geared towards kids, since Ethan was not even remotely cooperative.  The stylist did a great job though, and it was all over quickly.

I thought I would cry, since this is another one of those "my baby is growing up so fast" moments that seem to keep coming faster and faster, but I got through the whole thing with just a little sniffle. The salon gave us a card with some of his curls, a photograph that they took post-haircut, and the date written on it. I love things like that. If you're a sentimental mom at all, look for a place that makes a big deal about your kid's first haircut, it just makes the whole experience more special.  Here are some pictures!










Friday, September 4, 2009

And the universe breathed a sigh of relief

It's been kind of funny, since I decided to pick up a little bit of work, I have mentioned this to a few people, and they have all had exactly the same reaction. "OH THANK GOODNESS!". I think that my friends and family could not handle putting up with me much longer in my current angsty, unfocused state. It was similar to having a small tornado trapped inside a room with lots of energy to expend and nowhere to use it. 

Now I'm praying really hard for the right projects, for things that I will be able to do that will be useful to others but that wont hang over me when I've put in my hours for the week. I have a real problem with turning the work side of my brain off. I just keep drifting to my computer to check and see if anyone has responded to the work product I turned in, to make sure there are no questions or issues. And then if there are, I fret until I can get to the computer and deal with them. This is why I can't get too upset at Daniel when he works in the evening, because I understand that he, like me, can't relax until things are done. Same reason our house is generally very clean and tidy. We just don't rest until things are finished.  So, like I said, I'm praying for projects that wont inspire this obsessive side of me. There are some out there, I just have to grab them and hold onto them :)

We're off to my grandmother's house this weekend, so much packing needs to be done now.  I hope you all have a wonderful Labor Day weekend. Stay safe!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Refocusing

So, yesterday I blogged, then I cried, then I laid on the couch and watched Season 1 of Mad Men with Vivian while Ethan napped. And then I got up and got on with things. And when I calmed down, I realized that things are okay. God has never let us down before and He's certainly not about to start. 

And I also realized that by working 5 hours per week, I can make up for a good portion of Daniel's salary cut. I'm SO blessed to have a job that I can do from home, on whatever schedule I need to do it.  I have been working at this company for 6 years now, since the days when I was a single person who worked holidays and weekends, so I have a good reputation at the company and they're happy to have me under whatever conditions I need to put on things. Don't hate me, please. :)  We sent out an email this morning saying I had some time and my email box filled up with tasks right away. I'm excited about the opportunity to use my brain again and to actually be able to accomplish something concrete, even if it's just a small task here and there.

So now it's a matter of working really hard on learning balance and limits.  I spent some time this morning going through my google reader and purging. Yes, I love entering giveaways and reading blogs, but that is taking up a lot of my time, and cannot be my top priority right now.  I waste a lot of time on the computer, and if I'm going to be on the computer, I need to be doing something productive. 

I also am going to work really hard at getting things done during naptime and after bedtime and not allowing work to creep into my time with the kids. This was a struggle for me before, and I don't want it to get to be a problem again. If work starts to interfere with my real life, then it's going to have to go away again.

We're also going to focus extra hard on watching our miscellaneous spending. By we, I mean me, since Daniel rarely spends any money. I've said this before, but I'll say it again, it's those little expenses that are dangerous- they add up fast and they add up big.

And, most of all, we're doing lots of praying. For wisdom about Daniel's job, for the future of the company, and that out of this our family will be able to draw closer and refocus on what's important in our lives.

He's never let us down. I look forward to seeing where He's taking us now and what He has in store for us.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Discouraged

Daniel's company held a big meeting this morning, and they're doing across-the-board salary cuts. Pretty big ones.  I'm trying to have a good attitude about it, since at least he still has a job, but I'm discouraged. We weren't really making ends meet as it was. And with two small kids and living in the city, it's really not feasible for me to work since daycare here costs more than I actually make. 

I'm tired of being sad and discouraged. I'm tired of bad news.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

"Go and find your smile"

Before I get into the real blog post- if you haven't been over to my review blog lately, go check it out! I'm giving away a pair of See Kai Run shoes and a Baby or Toddler Bistro Box!

Have you all seen the movie City Slickers?  I know, it's probably been a while.  The main premise of the movie is that this middle-aged guy has gotten run down and tired from the demands of work and family life, and he has lost his joy. His wife sees this and sends him off on his own for a two-week trip and tells him "go and find your smile."  I've been thinking about this a lot lately with my beloved husband.

As most of you know, we got married later in life, relatively speaking. I was 29 when we got married and Daniel was 38.  He had lived on his own since he was in his early 20s. When we met he had a big, 3-bedroom house with plenty of space for his things, brand-new furniture, a fairly good sized savings account, a BMW and a motorcycle.  Flash forward 5 years, and he lives in a 900 square foot condo, has a wife with a phobia of accumulating too much stuff, two cats who have destroyed his nice furniture, two kids that take up all his time when he's not at work, a vastly depleted savings account, a scooter (that he's trying to sell) and a Mazda. 

I talk a lot here about the transitions in my life and the stress of finding my new identity as a mom of two small kids rather than as a career woman. I whine and I moan about lack of sleep and time to myself and loneliness.  But the thing is, Daniel has gone through just as many changes and is under even more stress, since he's financially responsible for us. And he doesn't have a blog to vent in and he too rarely gets any time with friends or just to himself. When he gets home after spending an hour sitting in traffic on his commute from his very high-stress job, he immediately jumps into helping me with the kids' evening routines. He helps out with chores and cooking and then sometimes works several more hours after that. And you know what? He NEVER complains. Not one word. Not one comment that he's stressed or tired or overwhelmed.  Never.

I'm a fairly self-centered person, so I have the tendency to take as much as Daniel will give, without stopping to realize how worn out he's getting. Since I'm one to speak up when I need something, I expect that others will do the same. And I've had to learn that Daniel doesn't do that, that I have to pay closer attention to him and be aware of his unspoken needs.

Yesterday, I got a travel email with info on a airline ticket sale.  Fares right now to the city where one of his closest friends lives are really cheap, so I'm working on sending him off for a few days of just being himself again, without us or his job to weigh him down. I'm really praying hard that it'll work out.  I asked him about the possibility of him going on this trip last night, and he looked so happy about the idea, so now I'm even more determined to get him on a plane.  I need him to find his smile again.  I hate that I've been (a large) part of his smile getting lost. He is such a blessing to me, and I don't want to keep taking him for granted.