Saturday, January 30, 2010

We're going to Victoria!

Daniel came home from work the other day and mentioned that he saw great deals online for trips to Victoria, BC on the Victoria Clipper. We checked it out and worked out our toddler Sunday School class duty for next month- and so we'll be off to Victoria for our anniversary at the end of February! Just a quick trip over the weekend, and the kids are coming with us, but I still think it will be a lot of fun.

We did learn our lesson from our Portland trip, when we were stuck sitting in a dark room at 8 PM while the kids slept, and got a studio suite room this time around.

I can't believe I'm going to Canada twice next month.  We seem to go up more and more frequently these days.  Something about having Canadian kids draws me there, apparently.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Update on "that" fight

So today's update is that he tried really hard. And failed miserably in one of the cases and did well in the other.

Case 1: He called at 5 till 5 and told me he was wrapping up and would be leaving shortly. And that he would call me again when he actually did leave. The fail came in when he, once again, underestimated how much work he had left to do and didn't leave until 10 of 6.

Case 2: He just now called to say he was close by, even though he's still well within his 1 hour normal commute time period and will likely make it home within the hour.  Bonus points for calling when he didn't have to.

I think I might need to make him a flowchart of some sort to graphically display the situations when he should call and at what time he should call and things like that.  He's a computer guy, after all, I think they like things like that :)

Nearing the end of my career as a personal milk provider

I think that my days as milk cow are numbered. Vivian's still on her nursing strike. I'll try to nurse her and she utterly refuses, only to happily grab the bottle a few minutes later after I pump milk for her. She rarely gets bottles, so I find this a little weird, but whatever.  Unfortunately, my pumping is not keeping up with what she wants to eat from the bottles, and I'm quickly going through what we had in the freezer, so a decision needs to be made soon.

Truth is, I don't like nursing. Never did.  Never felt particularly bonded, never had the magic weight loss with nursing.  In fact, whenever I do try to lose weight, my milk supply plummets, so I've not really been able to try to lose much.  And, since I'm fairly busty, I've always had a hard time nursing discreetly in public, especially when my kids got to the age when they decided it was more fun to play peek-a-boo with the nursing cover than eat happily under it.

That all being said, I have the utmost admiration and respect for moms who are able to breastfeed their babies to a year or more and who enjoy doing it.  Or who don't enjoy doing it and keep going anyway. I'll probably keep up the 5 and 8 AM nursing sessions for a while yet, since she will nurse at those, but I'm thinking 8 months old is going to be a good time to introduce formula for the other feeding sessions.  Especially since we have our trip to the Olympics in a few weeks, and I'm not terribly enthused at the idea of trying to figure out how to get my baby to focus on eating in a hockey stadium filled with thousands of screaming fans. Bottle feeding will also be challenging, I'm sure, but at least I wont be semi-topless for the process.

This means bra shopping is in my future! I'm so burning these industrial-strength, white nursing bras when I'm done with them. CANNOT wait.

Why you should keep your kids' carseats rear-facing until 2 years old

Another cross-post from my review blog. This is not related to a review, just something I feel very strongly about. I don't get on my soapbox about many things as a mom, but carseat safety is the one thing that I am currently very passionate about.  Every mom deserves one, right? 



"Your small little love is 75% less likely to die or incur a serious injury if rear-facing when riding the car."
"Your beloved little babe is five times safer in a car crash while riding rear-facing when between 12-24 months than if you flipped them forward facing." From this article
I've been hearing from various news sources the new information from the American Academy of Pediatrics that we should keep our kids rear-facing as long as possible- it was an easy choice for my family since my son didn't pass 20 pounds until closer to 2 than 1. We didn't turn him around until a couple of months ago.  If you have a kid in the 1-2 year old range, think about turning them back. And if your baby is almost 1, think about waiting a while before turning the carseat. Read this great article by a Seattle pediatrician for all the information.

"That" fight

Daniel and I had "that" fight again last night. I think the exact details of the fight differ from couple to couple, but I also think every couple has at least one fight that they have over and over and over with no resolution.

Ours seems simple, but it's actually a source of much tension in our household.

Yesterday was a BAD day for me.  I already blogged about it yesterday, so I won't bore you with the details. But the summary is- I was in tears by 11 AM, just out of loneliness and frustration and tiredness.  And Daniel told me at 3 that he would be wrapping up and coming home early.  That didn't happen. But he did call again at 5:15 (fairly early) to tell me he was on his way home. I was pretty happy with that, and decided that I'd take a break and go to the library and grocery store for a few minutes before dinner/bedtime. I knew it would be tight, but I figured I could fit it in the 30 minutes of space in the evening schedule.

The clock kept ticking by. It usually takes Daniel a hour to drive the 13 miles home (still not used to that). 6:15 came and went. As did 6:20. And 6:30. And 6:40. At 6:47, he got home.  His excuse- he'd forgotten his cell phone at work and had to go back to get it.

I just walked away, and later we had the same fight. The one where I explain to him again that I understand that he sometimes has to work late or go back to get things, but if he does, he has to call again! The clock has to be reset! Otherwise dinner is ready 30 minutes too soon or the kids watch 30 minutes too much TV because I've told them they can watch a DVD during the last part of the hour before Daddy gets home. Or I'm just completely frazzled, because the only thing getting me through the last hour is the knowledge that it's going to end in one hour. Not in 90 minutes.

He just blankly stared at me.  He does NOT get it. I sense this fight will appear again in our near future.

Daniel is a wonderful husband. Practically a saint. He puts up with so much crap from me. But I so wish the man would develop a sense of time. And I really wish he'd grasp this concept of calling again if he doesn't actually leave when he says he will!

Good thing he's cute :)

It's Friday! Hurray!!!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I have got to get out of this house

Other than Sunday night's trip to the marriage book tour and several walks to the grocery store, I have not left the house since last Wednesday, thanks to my ongoing germiness. This means that I'm pretty much sitting right at the door in the evenings, waiting for Daniel to bring me news of the outside world.  Unfortunately, Daniel spends all his time in meetings or solving some coding crisis, so he doesn't actually have any news of the outside world. Note to self- find new person to live vicariously through.

When I was at my parents' house, I was playing on the laptop while they entertained Vivian. Dad asked me what I would do without the internet, and without even having to think about it, I said that I would be locked away in a mental asylum by now. Or I would have run away and joined the circus. The internet keeps me sane.  Seriously, I don't really see anyone all week, and I have a massive phobia of talking on the phone, so my internet world is it. SO sad.

In other news, my forced captivity has given me lots of time to contemplate random things like this:
1) How many times per day exactly do I say "Ethan, you don't like it when she takes your toys, so don't steal hers!" or "No, you cannot watch another DVD." I should count sometime.
2) My annoying new level of materialism. I obsess about things that I truly do not need. It's annoying me. I have a lovely, well furnished home and plenty of clothes and get to test out lots of things for the review blog. I do not need to be shopping as a hobby!  Even if it is just for $5 items from Etsy.
3)  Speaking of Etsy, I'd love to promote more Etsy stores on the review blog, but am not sure how to go about that. I'd even be happy to write about stores that don't send anything to review. Anyone know of any worthy stores?
4) Potty-training- okay this one has Daniel and I both a little confused. Do little boys start out sitting on the potty for everything, or do they start out standing up?
5)  For my job, I do pregnancy risk assessment for a large chemical company, and I spend time looking at the  chemicals that people are exposed to. These tasks come in as people at the company get pregnant, and you would not believe how many come in during December, January and February. It's amazing how many people get pregnant then.
6) How exactly did I get through my life without being micromanaged by my toddler? Yesterday when we went out (to the grocery store!), I loaded the kids in the stroller. Ethan got very concerned because I was still barefoot, and started saying "Mommy shoes! Mommy shoes!" When I put on my shoes, he switched to "Mommy coat! Mommy coat!" Once Vivian starts talking, I may never need to make decisions for myself again.
7) Vivian is on day 4 of her nursing strike. She'll nurse at her 5 AM feed, but pretty much not other than that. Any tips?

Oh, and I'm giving away a nursing bra at the review blog-  so if you're pregnant/nursing, go enter!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A funny story that I forgot to tell you all!

There are moments in life that just beg to be blogged. A couple of days ago I was on my daily trip to our neighborhood QFC, when I overheard a conversation between two clerks as they stocked produce. The main person talking was a 20-something woman.  As I walked up (with my double stroller), I could hear her LOUDLY sharing her opinions with her coworker. They went like this:

"Oh my goodness, can you believe people raise kids in these apartments around here? Like, I mean, they're so small and so expensive. And there's nowhere for the kids to play? Where do they go, out to the balcony where they can fall off?  I would never do that if I was a mom, it's just wrong to have kids if you don't have a yard for them to play in."

I was cracking up as I walked right between them (still with the double stroller) to pick up some celery. The great thing was that my presence WITH the small kids in tow didn't stop her at all. She continued on with her childrearing in the city opinions, no matter who was nearby.  And it apparently never even remotely occurred to her that people walking around the grocery store located in the city with their kids in tow likely were the very people that she was ranting about :)  Ah, the childrearing wisdom of a single, childless 20-something...

Seattle-area moms- here's a great way to help out other moms in need (cross-post from my review blog)

If you read the other blog and already saw this, please feel free to ignore. But it's such a good cause that I wanted to make sure everyone saw the information!

I'm currently the mom to two kids in diapers, and I've never once had to worry about how my family was going to come up with money to buy those diapers. Nor have I had to figure out how to get money to pay for a car seat or a crib.  We whine about those costs, but we are able to cover them.

However, there are lots of parents who honestly can't come up with the money.  As we all know, diapers are expensive, up to $100 per month. And they are not an expense that is covered by WIC or other programs.  That's why families in need rely on organizations like Westside Baby, organizations that provide for those basic needs. Westside Baby is in its 10th year, and has to date distributed more than $5 million in basic needs items to families in the King County area.

So, how can we help?  The Westside Baby website has a list of ways that they suggest helping out.

  • DONATE MONEY TO HELP PROVIDE ESSENTIALS LIKE DIAPERS, CLOTHING, CRIBS AND CAR SEATS TO LOCAL FAMILIES IN NEED.   DID YOU KNOW WE CAN PROCESS MONTHLY GIFTS?  $100 OVER A YEAR IS LESS THAN $9 PER MONTH.

  • CONSIDER JOINING OUR GIVING CIRCLE WITH A MONTHLY COMMITMENT AS LOW AS $41.67!

  • SHOP FOR OUR MOST NEEDED ITEMS IN THE BUY IT FOR THE BABE SHOP.  

  • ORGANIZE A DIAPER OR DONATION DRIVE. WE MAKE IT EASY FOR YOU TO RUN A DIAPER DRIVE AT YOUR SCHOOL, BUSINESS, CLUB, OR CHURCH.

  • VOLUNTEER AT WESTSIDE BABY. WE HAVE VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES FOR EVERY SKILL LEVEL AND ALMOST ANY LEVEL OF AVAILABILITY.




There's another way that we can help, and have fun at the same time! On February 6, 2010, Westside Baby and Huggies will be teaming up for the 9th Annual Benefit Tea. This annual event is where Westside Baby raises nearly half of its annual budget.  Tickets are only $20 per person. The tea will be held at Jerry Brockey Center, South Seattle Community College, from 2-4:30 PM. Go here if you're interested in buying tickets.

Please, if you live in the Seattle area, think about attending the tea or donating supplies. And if you live further away, think about donating through their Buy It For the Babe shop.

Thoughts for a Wednesday morning

As I've discussed here, ad nauseum, Vivian and I were back East last week visiting my parents. When we got back, I was pretty tired from the lack of sleep, thanks to the early flights, so kind of sleepwalked through a few days. Then Vivian got sick and then I got sick. So it's been a while since I've really been paying attention to things at home. And oh my goodness, the dirt! Daniel and I are both huge neat freaks, but that does not always extend to cleaning up actual dirt. Especially off places like the floor (yes the one Vivian is rolling around on) or dusting.  Everything is tidy and organized and put away, and things like dishes are clean, and the bathrooms are clean (we're not totally uncivilized), but there's enough cat hair on the floor to make an entire third cat.  So I need to vacuum right away. As soon as I get another surge of energy.

My mother-in-law did not potty train Ethan. I don't think she even tried, really. Because she got here and realized that he is NOT ready to be potty trained.  I really need to start working on that though. I haven't got beyond purchasing the potty. Any tips?

Vivian's been on a nursing strike for the last few days. Probably because she was sick and is teething. She did nurse this morning, so I'm hoping she's done with that. I don't have time to be pumping 4-5 times per day. Yesterday I had moved Vivian into our bedroom in her exersaucer so I could keep an eye on her while I pumped, and then Ethan decided to come hang out with us as well.  Nothing like having an audience :)

Other than all that, the main news is that I'm working really hard to spend less time on the computer and more time playing with my kids (not right this moment, obviously).  Playing with toys is not my strong point, I just don't have the attention span. But I'm trying to improve on that- I don't want my kids to remember me only as that woman in front of the laptop.

So, on that note, signing off for now. Hope you're all having a great week so far. We're halfway through!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Monday morning stuff

If this blog post is disjointed, please blame the fact that I caught a terrible cold from Vivian this weekend- and since I'm still nursing, I can't have any good drugs. So I'm just wandering around with a muddled head. Oh, and doing some actual work this morning for my job! That's going to be some quality work product right there, let me tell you.

So, last night Daniel and I were able to escape from the house for a few hours and attend a wonderful talk by John and Stasi Eldredge, called Love and War. Ironically, it was held at the exact same mega-church on the exact same day that I attended a women's conference last year. Kind of weird.

We were so glad we went. As I've mentioned here before, Daniel and I have a good marriage, but we've also been married less than 4 years, and in that time we had two babies and he changed jobs twice and we moved and my work situation has been in constant flux.... just a lot of transitions to deal with. Also as I've mentioned before, our church has a LOT of strong points. We love our church and are so blessed to be a part of it. But marriage counseling and mentoring is not a strength of our church at this point, so we've been trying hard to find other resources.  Like the Family Life Today podcasts and CDs and whatever other resources we come across.

This Love and War conference was a good one for us, because it was short and to the point. And it addressed a lot of great issues, including the idea of what we allow ourselves to believe that isn't true.  This has been a particular struggle of mine- Daniel and I do not speak the same love language, and I allow myself to believe the lie that because he is not expressing love in the way that I want, then he isn't expressing love. Which is so untrue when I stop and step back and think about things.  I also allow myself to believe the lie that I "deserve" to be grouchy in the evenings after a hard day with the kids, and say whatever I want to Daniel without thinking about how it will affect him. And please keep in mind, I'm being grouchy and snippy with him while he's bathing the toddler and brushing the toddler's teeth and sometimes cooking dinner and doing whatever else he sees around the house, after working a 10-12 hour day. Yeah, that's not such a good thing for me to be doing.

I know I'm going to have to remind myself of this a lot, but I hope I can stay on track for a few days at least. My marriage is an incredible blessing and I am so fortunate to get to spend my life with my best friend. He's an amazing man and I am so glad God brought him into my life. Now I need to focus on treating him like the treasure he is.

If the Love and War tour is coming to your town, I highly recommend attending. It's just a few hours out of your evening, but such a great use of a few hours.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Growing up so fast

I was away from Ethan this past week, for the longest period of time that I've ever been away from him. Up until now, I've only been away for 24-hour periods of time, even when I was in the hospital having Vivian.  So it was kind of interesting to come home on Wednesday and see him through slightly less worn out eyes.

Ethan's going to be 2 1/2 in just a few weeks. Someone, please explain to me how that happened already! He was my teeny tiny little baby just a minute ago, I'm pretty sure.

I think watching my kids grow up is one of the most miraculous things. Even more so than watching them grow inside me during pregnancy.  Ethan's gone from a little lump of a baby to an actual, real person. I'm still so shocked by that.  He's now a person who can communicate with me (granted, he's usually just asking for a DVD or a cookie, but still!).  He has opinions and feelings and ideas.  He can make jokes and can play with his toys and use his imagination.

He's such a sweet little boy too. Ethan learned to say "I love you" a few weeks ago, and now he says it on the phone whenever we're talking to one of the sets of grandparents.  He loves his sister and is always making sure that people see her when we're out for a walk. He'll get someone's attention by repeatedly saying "HI!" in a very loud voice, then he'll turn to Vivian, pat her on the head, look back at the person and say "Baby!". He's such a proud big brother.

I'm so blessed to have these kids in my life. I still wake up most mornings and am surprised by the fact that I'm a mom, but it's a good surprise.  A few weeks ago Daniel said to Ethan: "Go ask your mother", and hearing that in the other room I was taken aback by the fact that I am the mother! Too weird. :)


Thursday, January 21, 2010

The look

I really thought that I would get asked "the question" at least once while I was traveling cross-country with Vivian, without her Chinese daddy along.  I was asked "is she Asian?" at one point in time, but that was as close to "the question' as I got.

But I did get a ton of "the look". It makes me laugh- so much so that I'm dying to make a shirt that reads "yes, she's my biological child."  I get it fairly often, but on this past trip it was so very obvious some times. Vivian and I would be walking through the airport or boarding the plane and people would see her and smile. Then they'd look up at me, and a look of confusion would cross the person's face. Then he/she would look back at Vivian and smile again.

On a (somewhat) related topic, after we got home yesterday and did a load of laundry and I showered and things like that, we went out for lunch.  And as we walked, we got two compliments on how cute/handsome Ethan was, but none on Vivian.  After a while, I realized that I had a hairbow for her in my pocket, and I put in it her hair. And (I am NOT exaggerating here), 10 seconds later someone said "oh, did you see that cute baby sitting over there?" I almost laughed out loud at the timing. So funny!

Okay, I think I've stalled long enough so that Vivian is asleep and will let me go to sleep as well :)  Have a great Friday, everyone!

Answers to questions on some recent comments

Someone asked about the Wii game that I referred to in a post- the Your Shape! game. Here's a link to my review of it on the review blog. It's not a game that comes with the Wii Fit (I don't have that), it's a totally stand alone game. And I really like it!

And someone else asked about my packing light with the baby.  I was able to pack light for this last trip because I was visiting my parents. They purchased a carseat a few years ago when Ethan was visiting, so I didn't have to take that. They also purchased a pack n play, so that's another thing that I don't have to take. And I usually have them buy a small package of diapers to have waiting for me, so that way I only have to take enough for the day of travel. Then when I get there I can buy more as needed. Same thing with baby food.  That's actually a suggestion that I would have- just take what you need, you can buy baby food and diapers pretty much anywhere you're going.

Other than that, I'm just a total minimalist. I tend to pick clothing for myself that matches the pair of shoes that I am planning to take.  For Vivian, I took a lot of mix and match outfits. And I am a hardcore "do I really need that" person. If I'm not 100% sure I'm going to take it, I don't.  I had plenty for this trip and didn't even end up needing to do laundry.  For toiletries, it's all about the sample sizes and other small things.  Vivian doesn't usually bathe in the big tub, but she did for this trip. When Ethan was 3 months old and we flew to see my parents, we just bathed him in the kitchen sink. No need for an inflatable bathtub!

I'd really suggest that, if you're going to be visiting grandparents frequently, you look into buying them a pack n play to leave at their home, and maybe even an inexpensive carseat if you have to fly to get to them. It makes a huge difference in the amount of stuff that has to be packed. Hope that helps- check out sites like Trekaroo for more travel with kids hints!

Back to the laundry... amazing how much laundry there is waiting when it doesn't get done for 5 days!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wednesday stuff

I'm home! And back to the laundry and the cranky toddler. It's actually nice though, I missed my little life.

Flights went amazingly well today- we got in 30 minutes early to Atlanta, so I had time to get coffee and change Vivian's diaper. Then our flight to Seattle was an hour early! and by the time I made my way through the back hallways where the elevators are located, Ethan and Daniel had my suitcase and were ready to meet us with hugs. Then we came home, unpacked and had a nice sushi lunch.

The only bad thing about the day, other than saying goodbye to my parents, of course, is that I think we're going to have to find another doctor for my kids.  I emailed their doctor yesterday with a question about Vivian's eczema, since it's been getting worse, and one round of 1% hydrocortisone and a bunch of other lotions did nothing. She wrote back suggesting that I try using 1% hydrocortisone instead of 0.5% and try using other lotions as well. BLANK STARE. Yes, she suggested doing exactly what I had carefully spelled out for her that I was already doing. So she apparently read nothing of the email that I had sent. Which annoys and scares me, since this is supposedly the main form of communication with our doctor's office. Time to move on, me thinks.  Unfortunately, she's also my doctor and Daniel's doctor, and I really hate to switch my own medical care again, since I do have the ongoing blood pressure issue to deal with.

I'm not going to let that ruin my afternoon though. It was nice weather when we arrived and now we're just hanging out, trying to keep me awake until something closer to evening time. Not sure it's going to happen though.

Thanks for all the prayers for safe travel, I SO appreciate it!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Now comes the time in the trip in which we cry

My flight back home leaves in just over 6 hours. I'm all packed and pretty much ready to go. Just need to shower and grab a bagel in the morning, then we're off to the airport. I'm praying hard about making my connection in Atlanta- I have 45 minutes to get from one flight to the next, including deplaning and waiting for my stroller time. But I learned some lessons on my way out- like fold up the stroller and carry it and the bags and the baby up the escalator instead of waiting 4-5 minutes for the elevator on each end of the train ride.  Hopefully that'll leave enough time to actually go to the bathroom and change Vivian's diaper before the 5 1/2 hour plane ride.

I'm spending time thinking about nonsense like that because I hate this part of trips.  You have to understand something about me to know why I hate it so much- I don't do sad.  In college I was in a serious relationship, my first one.  And when it ended I was fairly significantly depressed for a number of months. I don't even really remember about 3 months after the break up. That's for the best, I think.  Since then, I have done everything in my power to avoid being sad.  I don't read sad books (in fact I read the last two pages of books almost immediately after starting them to make sure they end well), I don't watch sad movies (again, going so far as to read spoilers of every movie I see before I see it). And I don't put myself in situations where I'm going to be sad about things.

Unfortunately, life sometimes has sadness that is unavoidable. Such as when I refuse to give into my parents' (semi-serious) pleas to pack up and move across the country to live closer to them.  And when either they have to get in the car and drive to the airport to leave us, or when I have to take my baby from their arms and walk through airport security to get on a plane to leave them. Not a top 10 moment in my life.

We'll see them again in May, and I know the time will pass quickly, but I also know it's never fast enough for them. And the first few days away are so hard on everyone. 

I am looking forward to seeing my Ethan and my Daniel again in just a few hours though- if all goes well, I'll be home in about 17 hours. It will be awfully nice to all be together again. 

Off to sleep now for a bit. Hope everyone is having a great week.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A great way to help out some worthy charity organizations

(I also posted this on my review blog, so if you read it there, just feel free to ignore!)

If you're on Facebook, consider taking a moment and visiting the Chase Community Giving page and voting for your favorite charity. Chase is giving away money to charity- information on how to vote is on the right side of the webpage. You can vote for 5 charities from a list of 100. The winner will get $1 million, and 5 runners up will get $100,000. That could do some great work for a charity organization.

I personally voted first for an organization that I really love, Half the Sky Foundation. They do some amazing work with orphans in China. I have a former classmate who lives in China and who told me yesterday that she's seen their work in action and she thinks really highly of it. Consider voting for them, please!

Voting ends at 11:59 PM PST on January 22, 2010, so go now!

We're on the other side of the country!

Vivian and I made it here just fine yesterday, as did my suitcase! Success!  We had to RUN through the Atlanta airport and were among the last people to board the small plane, but we made it. Hopefully we'll not be delayed going back, since we have an even shorter layover. But I'm not going to worry about that too much until Wednesday morning.  Vivian did really well on the flights. She slept for the first 2.5 hours, then played for an hour. And then screamed at the top of her lungs for about 20 minutes from sheer exhaustion and tiredness with sitting on Mommy's lap and not being able to wiggle. And then fortunately she slept again for the last 30 minutes of the first flight and all of the second one. Everyone was very nice about the screaming though and had nice, reassuring things to say to me as they walked past me on the way off the airplane (I was waiting for the stroller, so got to see everyone as they filed off). 

And Vivian had a great time being shown off at church today. I was laughing at myself and how out of practice I've gotten at being the pastor's daughter. I've totally forgotten the art of small talk. And it's always weird to visit a church that I've never attended and have them know all about me and my husband and my kids, especially when there's not a single person in the church whose name I know.

Now we're waiting for my brother and his wife to show up for a visit- they'll be here until tomorrow at lunch sometime.

So far Ethan and Daniel seem to be doing well at home too. It was strange last night to be talking to them on Skype and see my mother-in-law making dinner in my kitchen.  I'm not used to having other women doing things around my house! My in-laws will be on their own with Ethan during the day for the next two days while Daniel works, so I'm hoping Ethan won't wear them out too much. He has a lot of energy!

Anyway, that'll all the scoop from here. Hope you're all having a great weekend!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Packing for travel with the baby

I think I've written about this before, but one of the biggest challenges for me in traveling with my kids is the amount of "stuff" they need to have to travel. I am a huge minimalist, so for me successful packing= a tiny bag.

So I am SO proud that I managed to pack for a 4.5 day trip for Vivian and I in a suitcase that could actually make it as a carry-on. Of course, I would not be able to manage this without the washing machine and already-purchased diapers waiting for me at my parents' house. Of course, I have not yet packed my diaper bag or Vivian's entertainment bag, and those might be bigger than my suitcase.

In the depressing news, I read this article today- it's talking about how people with short connection times flying through the Atlanta airport and on Atlantic Southeast Airlines (all of which I am!) have a bigger chance of having their luggage lost. Fabulous! Let's hope that this doesn't hold true for me!

It's going to be interesting to see how the kids get through this time apart. Vivian will be fine, I'm sure, because she will still have adoring audiences and cats to chase. And I think Ethan will be fine too, since he will have grandparents and Daddy. But my kids are awfully fond of each other, so I'm sure they'll be a little confused. They love each other and want to be around each other all the time- but when they are around each other they fight CONSTANTLY. I could write about it, or I could just direct you to read this post by my friend Maggie.

In other news, how much does this Haiti earthquake situation hurt? I can barely stand to think about all the families that have been torn apart. Please donate to a charity organization if you can spare even a few dollars. They really need our help.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Delurker day!




Whenever I look at my statistics for this blog, I'm kind of surprised to see how many of you are still around.  Thank you for not running away and screaming when I whine, yet again about teething or lack of naps (did I mention that Ethan has totally stopped napping? No naps for a month now!), or whatever my topic of the day is. I do worry about your sanity a bit though :)

Anyway, in honor of National Delurker Day, I'm begging you to delurk a bit and leave a comment!  Maybe a reassurance about the long flight that Vivian and I have in just 45 hours? Or that I will survive 4.5 days without my Ethan (oh, and my husband too).

I've got to run- time to do my Wii Your Shape workout (which I love!). I've worked out 3 times per week for the last (wait for it...) two whole weeks! :)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Teething

Whimper.

Teething is awful. AWFUL. And I am far too old to survive on this little sleep. Vivian has been getting up hourly for the last week or so.  It's getting old. And she only has 2 teeth so far. That leaves many, many more to grow in.

We shan't even talk about how nervous I am about Saturday's flight now. Teething and not wanting to be held because she's thisclose to crawling? Not adding up to a baby who is going to want to be held for 7 hours.

The good news though, is that the weather forecast in Atlanta (our connecting city) and in my parents' town, is improving, so I don't have to worry about snow or ice delaying us.

Off to the drugstore for more teething gel! Have a good Tuesday!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

What a nice weekend!

We had an unexpectedly nice, non-rainy Saturday here in Seattle, followed by an equally nice Sunday. Nice weather plus time with my kids and husband pretty much equals total happiness in my life. Saturday I ran errands and got my haircut and sold our playpen fence-thingy on Craigslist. Then we went to Bellevue for dinner, where I had Russian food, which brought back lots of great memories of my life in Ukraine. Living in the former Soviet Union was a pain in the butt most of the time, but almost 10 years later, I do remember it fondly and miss it still.

Then today we got up way too late and rushed around getting ready for church, but we made it more or less on time and had a nice time worshiping and hearing a good sermon and seeing friends. Then we went and walked around Green Lake, along with 90% of the rest of the population of Seattle. If the weather is good, we're all at Green Lake.

I was reading an article in one of my magazines last night, and it was talking about single people being freaked out by all the stress of married people who have small kids.  The article said that the single people get scared by the stress, but never ask the married people if it's all worth it, and if asked, the married people are still glad to be married. I so totally agree with that! This weekend I found one of my old journals, in which I was talking about being single and listening to married women complain about their husbands. I've been married a little less than 4 years now, and we have two small kids, and yes, it's very tough at times. But I'm going through it all with my best friend, and I wouldn't trade that for anything. Just getting to be with Daniel all weekend made things great, even more than having nice sunny weather.

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Obsessively checking the 10-day weather forecast

I think I've mentioned my upcoming trip on this blog, but in case I haven't (or in case you missed it), Vivian and I will be flying back East next Saturday to visit my parents in Virginia.  I've been flying my entire life, and we flew several times with Ethan in the past few years, but I've never traveled alone with a baby, and I've not done it with an almost-crawler. Ethan was 3 months old on one trip and 15 months old on the other, so flying with a 7 month old is new to me.

I'm a little nervous about this trip. More than I realize, I think, since I have been dreaming about it almost every night for the last few weeks. That's how I know I'm nervous about things- when I dream about them. Or when I start sleepwalking (that's a topic for a whole different post though).  The main thing that I've been having bad dreams about is our incredibly short layover in Atlanta. I have an hour on our way out and 45 minutes on our way back to get Vivian and I from one part of the airport to the other. Fortunately I know the Atlanta airport fairly well and have an aisle seat, so we'll be up and running as soon as we can get out of our seat and grab the stroller at the gate.

That all being said, if you're a praying person, pray for us please, for the connection and for getting through security with all the baby stuff and for the weather to cooperate. That's where my obsessive weather checking has been coming in. We're now well within the 10-day forecast window. I realize that 10-day forecasts are pretty much a totally random guess, but I check anyway. I haven't done this since the weeks leading up to my wedding, so this is all kind of funny to me.

So, I have slightly less than a week now to get Vivian and I ready for a cross-country plane flight (that leaves at 6 AM! Fun, we get to leave for the airport at 3:30 AM!) and 5 days away from home, and to get my home ready for my in-laws to come stay while I'm gone (think LOTS of cleaning and organizing of closets and cupboards and everything else).

Fortunately, we have an unexpectedly sunny day here in Seattle, so I have lots of energy to be productive! Off to fold laundry!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Another referral to Children's Hospital

Ethan and Vivian went in for their H1N1 booster shots this morning, and Ethan had a weight check at the same time.  Unfortunately it wasn't good news, he's lost another pound.  He'd been down a half a pound at his weight check three weeks ago, but that itself wasn't too bad. However a weight loss of 1 1/2 pounds total is bad. We'd been trying something new these last 7 weeks- backing off on pushing the food at him, in the hopes that his refusal to eat was a power thing, and that he'd start feeling more hungry and initiating eating on his own. It did seem to be working a little, he's been asking for food more often, but he's still not eating much of it at a time, so that's not good.

And the lovely "collect the poop for 3 days" test showed a small elevation in one of the results, again, nothing terrible, but that plus the minor weight loss is earning us another referral to Children's. We've been there a number of times for small issues- hopefully this will be something else that's quickly resolved.

Visiting Children's Hospital is always such a humbling experience, as we walk past so many kids who are going through serious health issues. I'm amazed by the strength of their families and always spend the rest of the day hugging my kids and being glad for their health.  Speaking of families going through a lot, if you don't read the Riggs Family blog, located here, drop by and check it out. This family is going through a severe health problem with their little girl, Abby, and then last week their teenage son was in a car accident with his aunt and uncle that came awfully close to killing him. Yet through it all they display great faith and perspective and I'm always glad to read their posts. Check it out.

In much less depressing news, I've actually exercised twice this week! Once with a kettleball program and once with a new Wii game that I have. Reviews of both will be up late this month on the review blog, but I have to say, I think both things are going to be good for me this winter.  And thanks to my friend Liz for telling me to get in gear. Liz is getting ready to run a half marathon later this year- she's totally inspiring me to get off the computer and get moving!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

It's 5 AM and something is beeping in my house. Loudly.

I'm starting to think that it may have been something connected with the baby monitor, since the beeping sound has not gone off since I gave up and got out of bed to figure out where the noise was coming from. But before that, there were two LOUD beeps, about 10 minutes apart. We just replaced the batteries in the smoke detectors, so I don't think that's it. The cats and I are all sitting in the living room, looking jumpy, just waiting for the next beep.

I wrote about this on Facebook yesterday, so apologies if it's a repeat for some of you. But oh my goodness, Ethan cracked me up yesterday. As I mentioned earlier, the kids are interacting quite a bit now, and not really getting along well.  Vivian is sitting up all the time, so she's playing with more toys than she used to. And whatever toy she has in her hand is (of course), suddenly Ethan's favorite toy and he cannot live without it, not even for one second.

So there's a lot of angst during playtime these days.  The funny part comes when the desire for the toy Vivian is playing with gets to be too much for Ethan, and he runs over and rips it out of Vivian's hand/mouth. Then, as he runs off with it toward his bed, and she starts to wail, he helpfully yells "baby crying!" over his shoulder. He likes to tell me whenever Vivian is crying. There's nothing like being micromanaged by a 2-year-old. But I find it especially amusing when the cause of the baby crying is his actions, yet he still feels the obligation to make sure I'm up to speed on what's going on with her.

Still no beeping.  I think I'm going to try going back to bed and see what happens. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The problem with being a review blogger in January

Do you know the main challenge with being a review blogger in January?  All the reviews that are currently piled up on my to-do list are related to getting in shape. I know, this should be a good thing, since I am woefully out of shape and have 30+ pounds of baby weight to lose.  But I'm not feeling particularly motivated, thanks to the post-holiday blahs and the crappy weather we're having here.

So now I'm feeling guilty about being chubby and about not getting the reviews done for the Wii game, the DVD series or either of the two books that I have to review, and review soon!  I really need to get in gear and get something tried out soon.

I have to say, I'm glad we had the time away and the time with family between Christmas and New Years, but it's so nice to be back home, particularly to our eating habits.  I snack too much during the day, so that's where my weight issue comes in, but we generally eat healthy meals, and that wasn't the fact while we were traveling. We went from super high sodium Chinese food in Canada to lots (and I mean) LOTS of sweets at my grandmother's house. Then we were eating out at restaurants and at IKEA while we were in Portland... by the end of the week our stomachs were just utterly confused.  I'm feeling so much better now that we're back to our usual meals and I'm drinking all my water again. Amazing what a difference these things make!

Hope you're all feeling well and having a great Tuesday!  If you remember, send me a comment and tell me to go exercise. Maybe that'll help...

Monday, January 4, 2010

Focusing on truth

I wrote a whiny, complaining, self-centered post earlier this morning (I know, you're thinking, when do you not write posts like that! :) But this one was particularly bad as I was feeling sorry for myself about something. I think those of you who read in a reader will still be subjected to it. I apologize for that.

I have let myself get caught up in a lot of superficial things lately. Focusing more on the things that I think I "need" and not focusing on the things that I have been richly blessed with.  The little disappointments are getting more attention from me than the wonderous things that my life is filled with.

So, another New Year's resolution for me is going to be to try to focus more on what I know to be truth. The truth is that God is in control, He knows the challenges my family is facing. And even in those challenges and disappointments, He has given us more than I could have ever imagined. He has NEVER let me down in the past and never will in the future.  Yes, I might have to be a little patient, but since I'm almost 33, I need to stop acting like my 2-year-old and exhibit some self-control and just wait and trust. I know He is working in our lives and hopefully 2010 will be the year that we understand what He's been up to lately.

May your lives be full of truth- especially the truth that God loves you.


" I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart ! I have overcome the world ! " John 16:33

" Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matt. 11:28


"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see" Heb.11:1

About Vivian at 7 months old

I'm actually going to write about my kids! On my "mom" blog! :)

Vivian is 7 months old now. Seriously, how on earth did that happen? She is growing up even faster than Ethan did. Probably because I'm crazy busy keeping up with Ethan all day and don't have time to do much else, so time is passing quickly. It's so weird to think that I had already been back at work for a month when Ethan was this age. I do not miss pumping in the office and dragging my pump back and forth. Not one bit.

We kept getting emails from the baby websites talking about babies starting to "talk". And it occurred to us that Vivian really doesn't babble. Mostly because she's too busy smiling all the time. Then last week she was actually in her own bed, and we woke up to the sounds of her chatting with her dolls. She's kept talking ever since- apparently she's had a lot that she's been waiting to say!

She also decided that sitting up was a fun thing to do after all. She learned to sit up over a month ago, but she never seemed inclined to do it, and would usually push herself down after just a little bit of time. Suddenly she decided that she liked the view of the world when she was upright, so is wanting to sit up, all the time.

And the kids have started interacting. A lot. And not in such a good way. Daniel and I keep saying that it's cute at this age, but we know that opinion wont last. Ethan is always pushing Vivian and she's trying to steal his pacifier out of his mouth. Whatever Vivian is playing with is the thing that Ethan suddenly needs desperately and vice versa. We're going to have our hands full with these two!


It's so fascinating to watch Vivian grow up. With Ethan it was all so much of a mystery and it was so hard to believe that our little lump of a baby would become an actual little person. Now that we've seen it recently and believe that it does happen- well it's exciting to see it happening again and to wonder about what sort of little girl Vivian is going to be.

The only sad thing about her growing up is that her hair is no longer able to defy gravity and has more or less gone flat. But I have hair clips and can make tiny ponytails, so the cuteness is not affected too much :)

I am so blessed with these kids. They're keeping me very busy, but it's a good busy. I can't imagine life without them.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Thoughts on politeness (lots of thoughts)

Thursday was a rough day for me in some ways. When we showed up at OMSI (the science museum in Portland) about 30 minutes after opening, the main parking lot was already full and the overflow parking lot had only a few open spots. As I've mentioned here before, I have serious personal space issues. It's kind of a mental health thing with me.  But I was doing okay, because the museum was large and I was able to take myself out of situations where I was feeling crowded.

Then came lunch. Daniel went and got his food at the cafe while I waited with Mr. Cranky Toddler and gave Vivian her lovely lunch of baby food peas.  Then I went and got in line for my food. Where I was quickly joined by a man and his wife, both in their late 50s, early 60s. And they kept crowding me, even though there was plenty of space behind them. I did lots of deep breathing and tried not to think about the constant bumping from behind. And then I got to the front of the line... and the man behind me moved over and placed his order with the lady at the counter. I was shocked, and said "I haven't placed my order yet, I'm in line still here." And the man behind me just sort of looked at me, and the nice lady behind the counter said "I can take both your orders, go ahead." But when I get claustrophobic, the world closes in around me and I shut down, so I just ran back to my table and put my head down and cried.

Poor Daniel, he was so trapped between a crazy wife and a toddler who wanted to go play. So we visited more of the museum, then I couldn't take it anymore and called an end to things and we were getting ready to go. And it was pouring down rain, so Daniel went to get the car while I waited with Vivian in the stroller and holding Ethan in my arms. After a few minutes, he pulled up out front and a nice lady held the door open for me while I tried to push Vivian and carry Ethan. I said thanks, then walked a few steps away and heard a loud voice say "BY THE WAY, YOU'RE WELCOME" in a very angry tone of voice.

She hadn't heard me thank her.  I was so upset and said "I did thank you, but you didn't hear me. Anyway, I'm sorry, I do appreciate it." She huffed and I said again "I'm so sorry, thank you again."  Then I pushed and carried my kids through the downpour, got in the car and totally lost it.

After a few hours, I had a realization.  I think of myself as a polite person. I write thank you notes faster than pretty much anyone I know. I always say thank you and please and try to smile at people that I interact with. BUT- I also have a bit of a people phobia, so tend not to look people in the eye or speak loudly when I'm talking to people I don't know.

So does my politeness count if people miss it?  I think this whole thing has reminded me that I need to be intentional. If I say "excuse me" at the store, or thank someone for holding open a door or fetching something for me that one of my kids has dropped, I need to make eye contact and be sure that the person hears me.  Elsewise I'm wasting everyone's time.

That's my New Year's resolution right there, to make sure that my politeness is not perfunctory, but that it is truly something that speaks to the heart of the person who is being kind to me.  Even if it means I have to interact with a stranger.

We are home, and are so grateful

As you all know, I whine all the time about being stuck at home 99% of the time with just the kids for company. That all being said, Ethan and I were both twitchig with excitement (him literally, me figuratively) when we got home today. Ethan and I actually raced down the hall from the elevator to our condo when we got back.  We were home for less than 36 hours in a little over a week... that's a lot for homebodies like us!

All of our trips have been good ones, but it is definitely hard to be away from home for that long with two little kids. 

The drive home was incredibly rainy and stressful for Daniel, who was driving. For the sake of our marriage (I'm a nervous passenger), I played games on my phone for most of the ride home. I think it was a wise decision, as every time I did look up, I gasped with horror at the lack of visibility.  Seriously, there have never been two Seattleites so glad to exit the freeway as us today.  

Now we're excited to have a weekend ahead of us. Big plans to catch up with review blogging tomorrow and to get lots of miscellaneous things done around the house.  

Hope you had a great New Year's Day today! Here are some pictures from us!


We arrived in Portland just in time for a freak snowstorm. This is Vivian's first snow!


Oh, and the kids have started interacting. It's not necessarily a good thing.



Our wild and exciting New Year's Eve



Vivian and I on New Year's Eve



God's New Year's gift to us. It disappeared about 30 seconds after I took this picture. We SO needed this.




And look who's 7 months old! She's changed so much just this week, I'll write about it tomorrow!