Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

I never imagined saying this- but I am so ready to spend a quiet day at home with the kids tomorrow! This weekend has been nuts- starting Friday we've been on the go non-stop. I'm still recovering from volunteering at Women of Faith Friday night and all day Saturday- it was a great day for WorldVision and lots of people signed up to be sponsors, but I spent the whole time walking around and smiling at strangers while battling a crowd of 4000+ women. Oh, and wearing a bright orange vest.  I'm glad I got out of my comfort zone and helped, but it was definitely a challenge for me, with my crowd and stranger issues. Randomly I did run into my aunt and my cousin who I rarely see, so that was a nice surprise amidst all of the strangers.

Today Ethan actually got up on stage with his class! He didn't so much sing as just stand there, but he looked cute and didn't cry or run off stage or anything. So that's a huge success! And then we trick-or-treated at a local mall tonight. Crazy crowds, but it's easy to get a moderate amount of candy and then be done with it.

Anyway, here are some pictures of my trick-or-treaters. We even got Ethan into a costume!

Vivian, testing out her costume at home

The flower and the conductor check out their treat bags

Hugs for good luck

Eating a snack before we head out

And a sugar cookie at the mall

They consumed more sugar today than in the past 6 months combined

My little flower waits for the concert at the mall to start

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Confessions

1) My kids were insane today. INSANE.  So bad that I decided that loading them up in the stroller and going for a walk in the pouring rain was preferable to listening to them bicker for one single second longer. Of course now they are getting along and are being all cute. Because Daddy is due home soon. When he gets home he will get hugs and they will hold hands and hug each other and be all adorable. I sense a plot :)

2)  I already poured tonight's glass of wine.  It could not wait until 8 PM. Seriously.

3) This might sound completely insane, but I admit that I have days where the reality of me being a mom and being responsible for these little people is just too big to comprehend. I still feel many days that I'm just babysitting.  It's weirdest at times like bedtime when I get the kids to bed and dinner cleaned up and then I realize that this isn't a babysitting job. It's my life. I'm the mom! There is no real adult that's going to show up and be the real mom! I am the real adult.

Freaky.

4)  I also get weirded out by the idea of being a mom when I'm around my parents. Even just on Skype. Because my kids do not behave when we're on Skype for our weekly chat and I'm always trying to round up kids and get them to stop fighting and stop climbing things and be firm enough with my discipline, but not seeming too harsh and "oh my goodness, my parents are listening and THEY'RE real adults and probably think I'm doing it wrong!" Which, according to what they say, they don't actually think, they think Daniel and I are doing a good job. But still. It's weird.

5)  I totally expected to not feel like a real adult when I was in my 20s or even when I was a newlywed, but I'm almost 34 (oh, that's hard to type...) and I've been married for almost 5 years and my kids are not babies. I've been doing adulthood/marriage/parenthood for a while and I still feel like I'm playing house!

6) I just realized that volunteering at Women of Faith tomorrow is going to mean speaking to strangers. Possibly hundreds of them. Suddenly getting a bit nervous. Still excited though.

Thoughts on things that I can do

Last month I read a book by one of my favorite authors, Max Lucado. It's a new book from him, called Outlive Your Life.  I love all of Max Lucado's books- they're simple, to-the-point, and very inspirational.  My brain is too tired for complicated books, so I really appreciate simple and direct these days. 

One of the things that the book talked really affected me deeply, because it was talking about a thought I'd had many times.  Here's the excerpt from the book:
"A few years back, three questions rocked my world.  They came from different people in the span of a month. Question 1: Had you been a German Christian during World War II, would you have taken a stand against Hitler? Question 2: Had you lived in the South during the civil rights conflict, would you have taken a stand against racism? Question 3: When your grandchildren discover you lived during a day in which 1.75 billion people were poor and 1 billion were hungry, how will they judge your response?" Max Lucado
This has really been on my mind lately as I prepare to volunteer for World Vision this weekend, where I'll be helping people learn about child sponsorship. Daniel and I don't have a lot of spare income, so I am so glad that World Vision gives us ways to help out as we can, through child sponsorship.  Sponsoring kids through World Vision has been such an encouragement and inspiration to us.  Our small amount of money makes such a big difference in their world.  I treasure the letters from my sponsored kids and their moms.  I'm so blessed to have enough money to buy food and clothes for my kids and know that they will be able to go to school and learn. These families don't have any of those things.  Easing another mother's burden a little bit brings great joy to me.

If you're looking for a way to share what you've been blessed with, even just a little bit- check out World Vision's child sponsorship program. Or the Christmas gift guide. Or think about sending a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child through Samaritan's Purse.  I know the world's problems are so huge and that we have lots of worries in our own lives, but there are also simple and easy ways to help.

Okay- getting off my soapbox now to head back to cleaning and tidying. My in-laws will be visiting Saturday while I'm gone, so I need to get things clean and ready today to show off!

Happy Thursday, everyone! 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sunshine!

Prepare yourselves- it's pretty much winter here in Seattle, and we're supposedly going to have a very long, very wet winter. So expect posts with lots of exclamation points and smiley faces any time the sun does make an appearance.  

We woke up to glorious sunshine today after days of dark, blustery, rainy weather. Days that make you not want to get out of bed. But today was beautiful, so the kids and I decided to ride the monorail downtown and walk around. I really like this aspect of the kids getting older- they can now suggest outings and interact when we're out and about.  It's fun to hear their ideas and their thoughts on what we're seeing.

So we headed downtown and did some shopping and even dropped by my old office to say hi to my coworkers.  It's been a while since I'd seen most of them, since I quit during summer when a lot of people were gone. It was nice to see them all. And it was great to be downtown amidst all the bustle and busyness of city life.  There were moms with strollers everywhere I looked- I think every mom had the same idea today that I had! I really love Seattle- it's such a fun city to just hang out in. And the Starbucks on every street corner don't hurt matters either :)

I realize that that was possibly the least interesting post ever. I blame the sunshine.  Now off to fold the laundry before the pile collapses and buries one of the kids!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

For your viewing pleasure

Ethan's Sunday School class (yes, the 3 year olds!) is supposed to be performing in front of the whole church on Sunday. We have no clue how this will go for any of the kids, but Ethan's participation is a particularly large question mark, since his SPD tends to make new situations and transitions really not likely to happen.  But we've been talking it through and discussing with him what to expect, and practicing his songs.  Here's an amusing clip from last night's practice session. Apologies to the one of you who is also my Facebook friend and who is probably getting tired of seeing me post this everywhere :)


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Pumpkin patch!

We've gone to the pumpkin patch every year since Ethan was born, so now it's become one of those parenting things that we feel we must do.  And since our weekend is busy next weekend and the weather is supposed to be bad tomorrow, that left today. So we loaded up in the car and headed north to a small farm where we played in the hay and picked out a pumpkin and petted animals and had a generally great time.  And you get to see pictures!







For Vivian

Before I get into the main part of this post- seriously. It's the 22nd of the month. The 23rd in like 30 seconds. Our renter has STILL not paid her rent and she is confused as to why we're annoyed. Yes, we're blessed enough to own multiple properties, but we are not in any sense rich and our spreadsheet rarely has good news at the end of the month. Oh, and my life goal was to NEVER own even one property, and then I got married and had several and have been unhappy about it ever since. Tonight Daniel met up with our renter to discuss her eviction notice and rent and she came up with most, but not all of the money. He finally told her that he was done and that she would be meeting with ME from now on. Cracking my knuckles and smiling with happiness. One does not mess with a stay-at-home-mom who manages the finances...

AND on a completely different note- we went to the Harry Potter Exhibition tonight and it was so fun!  Today was member day, so we got in for free, which was great because we were carrying the kids (no double strollers allowed!) and the kids were anti-audio tour, but it was still lots of fun to look at the exhibits and see all there is to see.  I'm not sure I'd have been willing to pay full-price, unless we were without small people, but if you can get there with hardcore Harry Potter fans and without distractions (read: little kids), I'd definitely go!.

Okay, so for the main part of this post. It's now after midnight, which means that it's now "today" that I'm going to be starting running again. I've been off of it since my second 5K in September, thanks to a nasty case of shin splints. But I seem to be better now, and I'm also insanely fat, so it's time to get moving.

Every time I think that I'm not ready, I seem to immediately see Vivian. I am by no means implying that Vivian is fat. At her last doctor's visit she was in the 9th percentile for weight. But she's, unfortunately for her, growing up in a household with a mother who is overweight, and a brother who is seriously underweight. Which is a tough combo to deal with. She sees us applauding every bite Ethan takes, and she's already started picking up his nutritional drink or food and following him around the house with it.  And she's 16 months old.   That scares me. I don't want her thinking that our approval is tied up in food- even though that's somewhat what she's seeing with her brother.

I don't like exercise. But somehow when I get out there tomorrow and build up a sweat, I'll know that I'm doing it for Vivian. For her to know that she has choices about her body shape and her future. That her Mommy loves her and her brother, but that she is more than a Mommy, she is a woman who can run. And that Vivian can be that woman too.

Friday, October 22, 2010

This week really needs to end already

Today is Friday, which means it's trek over to Children's Hospital day.  Not my favorite drive in rush hour traffic, but I'm still grateful every time to live within driving distance of such a great facility.  Ethan's therapist had a student in with her today, which meant that Ethan was all gaga over the new girl and actually ate several bites of breakfast without having to be physically restrained. That's huge for him. Unfortunately we later found out that he's lost a pound and a half in the past 2 weeks. Darn it.

We're now playing the waiting game with both the school district and with the one therapy place in the area (that I've found out about, at least) that deals with kids with Sensory Processing Disorder who are over the age of three. Most therapy places around here don't deal with kids over 3, since they are technically the school district's responsibility at that point. Thankfully there is one good place around and the wait list is only 2-4 months for that, so we have hopes for the future. I have no idea if/when we'll hear from the school about his speech therapy, but I'm encouraged at least by the fact that he will hopefully be getting other therapy elsewhere. His current OT thinks that most of his issues actually can be helped and that he won't be dealing with all this permanently. I'm praying that she's right.

In addition to Ethan's stuff, we're also stressed because we have a new renter at our rental property and she simply hasn't paid her rent this month. She doesn't seem to understand why we're upset either.  So that's been a fun thing to deal with and has required much juggling on our end to cover the mortgage, etc. Doing a lot of praying for patience around here, let me tell you.

BUT! I am going to the Harry Potter Exhibition tonight and all reports from last night's preview indicate that it is VERY cool!

Oh and tomorrow I start my "Ease into 10K training" (yes, that's an actual program, one for people who have run before, but have been off it for a little while. More intense than Couch to 10K, less intense than Bridge to 10K.  Who knew!). I've rested from the shin splints for 6 weeks, and can walk without pain, so I think it's time to get back out there and get moving again! Wish me luck!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thursday stuff

What is it about Thursdays that make me write random blog posts? I have no idea, but here's another one.

1) Vivian is talking now. A lot. Most of her conversations are still incomprehensible, but she has figured out how to clearly say important phrases like "pleeezz, cookies!"  I'm so proud :)  It still catches us offguard that she's talking so much.  And she can follow basic instructions too, which is fabulous.  I will soon have two little people who can do simple tasks for me! Cheap labor!

2) When I get overstressed, I get stomach flu or something along those lines. I spent the day before my wedding throwing up, and it's happened several other times as well. Yesterday all the travel and lack of sleep (thanks, Vivian's new molar!) caught up with me and I spent the day being sick.  The best part was when I was throwing up and the kids came to play in the bathroom with their toys. It didn't phase them even remotely :)

3) I'm so excited- tomorrow we're going to see the Harry Potter Exhibition!  I've read articles about this exhibition in other cities and I am counting down the hours until I get to see it! Should be great fun and tide me over until the next movie comes out.

4) On a completely different note, I just found out today that I get to volunteer for WorldVision next weekend at the Women of Faith conference here in Seattle. I'm thrilled about this- I love WorldVision and all the great work they do. My family has three sponsored kids, and I've loved being a sponsor. Our oldest sponsored child has been a part of our family for over 5 years now, and she calls our kids her younger brother and sister.  It's been an amazing experience and I look forward to sharing that with other women at the conference and hopefully getting them to sign up to be sponsors as well! And I get to attend the conference for free, which is great. I can use the encouragement- and my budget can only handle free these days, so it's a perfect match-up.

5) I'm making homemade yogurt today, for the first time. My mom had a yogurt maker when I was a kid, and when I got a gift certificate recently, it seemed like a good thing to get. We eat so much yogurt, and I'm trying to really watch what my family eats, so hopefully it'll work out well! Unfortunately it takes 12 hours per batch, so I have 7 hours still to go until I know how this experiment has turned out...

6) The kids are getting serious cabin fever and the sun has come out, so I should stop being random and go outside. Hope everyone is having a great week!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

And we're back

We're back! I'm almost done unpacking and laundering and sorting and uploading pictures and all that.  Vivian's finally napping- she's not hardly slept for several days, thanks to a combination of travel and cutting a molar, so that's been fun. I think Daniel was secretly glad to go back to his quiet office today.  I'm trying to use her naptime to finish up everything here and am ignoring the giant mess Ethan is making of the living room as he plays with his dried beans.

It was a really nice trip- the kids were just a little fussy on the plane trips, so we didn't irritate more than just the people sitting closest to us.  We had a fun visit with my parents and my brother and his wife and did a few things around their city. And Daniel and I had a lovely 26 hour break from the kids when we went over to Charlottesville, VA and toured UVA and Monticello.  Definitely a good trip!

And we decided that this trip pretty much represented the most complicated that travel will be in our near future.  Soon we'll have kids that don't need naps scheduled in and we'll be on booster seats instead of carseats and everyone will be happy to read or watch DVDs on the plane rather than wanting to scream and run around. So we're hopeful for future trips! But at the moment we're out of money and energy, so will be home for a while :)

Here are some pictures of the trip!






Monday, October 11, 2010

Packed!

Well, it's T-17 1/2 hours until we're off to the airport.  This time tomorrow we should be almost to Atlanta! The counters are piled high with backpacks and purses (to keep them out of the reach of my "helpful" kids).  Our suitcase and carseat are getting weird looks from the cats, as they try to figure out what's going on.  And the air in my condo smells like cleaning spray, since I can't stand coming home to a messy condo and have to have it spic and span by tonight.

So, now I just wait and brainstorm about things that I might have forgotten to pack. I'm pretty impressed at us, honestly. We are managing to just take one big suitcase and even fit a week's worth of Vivian's diapers and Ethan's supplement drink and Ethan's sleeping tent in there. I think we're going to have to do laundry about every other day, but what else is new :)

Anyway, I won't be blogging while I'm gone, so you all get a bit of a break from me and my misadventures. Have a great week, everyone!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday!

Thanks for the suggestions on the sleep post yesterday. We tried putting Vivian in the toddler bed last night, since Ethan is always happy for an excuse to sleep in the crib anyway, and she just spent the whole time climbing out. So never mind on that idea.  Good suggestion though on putting Ethan elsewhere until she learns to self-soothe and get back to sleep. I think we'll try that when we get back from our trip.

People. The trip. I started packing our carry-on bags yesterday and I'm pretty sure that army invasions of foreign countries have needed less stuff.  It's insane.  Fortunately I am a fabulous organizer, so saved these plastic cases that my ugly chair covers came in, and they're a perfect size for stuff. So I have one case with extra clothes and diapers for each kid, so we can quickly grab that and go, as needed, as well as one case for each kid with snacks and stuff, so we can quickly pull that out to get it through security.  On that note- hoping that the security guard and I see eye-to-eye about a "reasonable amount of baby food, juice and milk" for the trip.  We will be getting to the airport at 4AM our time and getting to my parents' city at 3PM our time, so that's a lot of hours to provide snacks for. This is one time I'm thankful that Ethan doesn't eat. :)

On an unrelated note, have you guys seen this National Costume Swap thing? I'm so excited about it and am dropping off three barely worn costumes today at one of the locations.  Then tomorrow I'm going to return to hopefully find something for Ethan to wear.  At this rate he's going to be trick-or-treating at the mall cleverly disguised as a three-year-old-with-glasses.

Anyhoo- time to get moving. We have a busy day today and many things to get checked off the to-do list!

Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Sleep, or the lack thereof

Vivian has never really been a good sleeper.  And I have no one to blame but myself, as my family is not really known for sleeping much and she's probably just taking after us. But still, it's getting old. She's still getting up almost every night and ends up in our bed, taking up the middle 95% or so. Daniel has actually fallen out of bed multiple times trying to keep out of her way. Thankfully our bed is low to the ground.

We know this is a terrible habit, but if she cries she wakes up Ethan and us and possibly the neighbors, since we live in a tiny condo in a condo building.  And when I've tried to have her cry it out, she's gone on for two hours before we gave up.

Our newest theory is that maybe she hates being enclosed? She sleeps in the crib to start with and then sometimes ends up in the pack n play in our room, but once she wakes up for the first time in the night (she's a terribly light sleeper, so everything bugs her), she sits up and demands out. She'll fall asleep in her crib at night, but after she's used up that one sleep, that's it.

Yesterday she got up at 5:15, ate breakfast and went back to sleep for about 5 minutes in her pack n play.  Then I put her in our bed alone (we were up and about) and she slept happily for several more hours.  So we're actually considering converting her crib to a toddler bed. But she's so young still, it seems such a drastic move! We'll have to wait until we get back from visiting my family before we do anything, but we're getting kind of desperate.

Has anyone else moved their kid to a real bed very young? Any advice on a non-sleeper in a tiny home?

In other news, I've started packing for the trip next week. Mainly the carry ons, because those are going to contain all the most important things anyway! I can't believe our trip is almost here...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

If you have a second to vote, I'd love it!

I entered Vivian's sad lion costume into a photo contest. Voting takes literally a second, no registration or anything. If you have a second to spare, she'd love the votes!
http://www.tradingcradles.com/HalloweenContest.aspx

Autumn

It's Autumn here in Seattle and so far it's a glorious one. Way better than the stinker of a summer that we had.  I'm dreaming of pumpkin patches and walks down the sidewalks covered in crunchy leaves. We head back East next week (AAAHHHH!!!!!!), so will get our fill there of glorious fall colors, something that I don't get enough of living in the city.

We've been doing a few fall-ish things here lately. Like trying on Halloween costumes and doing nature walks.  Yes, me, doing a nature walk. It was in the city, so don't be too impressed.

Anyway, since I haven't subjected you to photos of the kids lately, I thought I would share today.  Happy Wednesday!
Probably the costume of choice. Too cute!

I couldn't get Ethan to wear this last year either

Our cat, Jenny, looking very confused by Vivian's lion costume

Yes, I did take photos and laugh at Vivian instead of taking the costume off. For a minute or two, tops

This finally won me over and the lion was banished

Where we started our "nature" walk

Looking for bugs

Playing on the grass

Bringing Mommy a present

Hugs

Another hug

I love this city!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Still humbled

I have been dragging myself and my kids to Seattle's Children's Hospital every single week for the last few months, and more often than I'd like for the past year and a half before that.  And never once do I set foot on the campus without being absolutely overwhelmed by the courage of the parents and kids who are there, and the dedication of the staff that works there. Walking into the main building is like walking into a hug from people who tell me from the front door "we're here to help. We're here with you."

Our therapy appointments are on Friday mornings, and it seems like every Thursday night I see a TV commercial for Children's Hospital and I break down in tears. Ethan's issues are so scary and overwhelming, but he isn't fighting for his life.  And yes, it's costing us a good bit of money, but we can manage and we are not in any way having to choose between food and medical care or any other basic need. It's more like Starbucks and a new shirt for Mommy that have to go away. Or maybe I have to write one or two more sponsored posts on my other blog, but whatever, we are fine.  I know SO, SO many other families are not in as good of a place as we are.

Today Ethan did not cooperate with his OT at all. He is a giant flirt, and as a rule does whatever pretty girls say, but apparently today she tipped the scale into familiarity and he was done. He did all the things that he does at home during every meal. And she looked at me at the end of the hour and said "I'm so sorry that you have to go through this every day." We're still going to keep trying feeding therapy for the next while, and I do believe it is helping a little. But even his ever-so-patient OT said today that she thinks his sensory issues are much bigger than she can handle, and that, as far as she sees it, he's probably going to need sensory therapy in the future.

And still no word from Seattle Public Schools about the paperwork for the first stage of getting him in for screening. I hate waiting.

But, in less cranky news, we had a fun morning with friends yesterday! I threw a party for something over at the review blog and all of my church friends couldn't make it, but Liz and Maggie came and it was so nice to chat with friends for a while.  I've missed that a lot.

And, in other really good news- Ethan's not fighting his glasses! We picked them up on Wednesday and he's been pretty good about them since then. I'm wondering just how bad his vision was before, because this is a kid who hates having anything near his face, but he's been fine with glasses.  We're all praying that the vision correction affects some of these other problems.

We have another busy weekend ahead of us- including an outing for me tomorrow with one of my best friends and without any husband or little people. I am so excited!!!


The kids at Factoria Mall's Children's Museum

Happy weekend, everyone!