Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mommy's little time out

We just got home from a walk to the post office and the grocery store, and I'm sitting here and eating my lunch and blogging and pretending not to notice the bags of groceries that need to be put away. Or the messes on my counters or the cookies and brownies that still need to be baked for tonight's home fellowship and tomorrow morning's get-together.

I really should be using my time more wisely right now. Vivian's napping and Ethan's having quiet time in his room with his books. I don't always remember or manage to get him to have his quiet time, but his occupational therapist keeps reminding me to do it. His sensory issues make it so important for him to have some down time to process. And since he gave up napping more than a year ago, that's not really an option. But so far sitting on his bed with books works for a while, and I'm grateful.

We had a week off of feeding therapy last week and it was a nice break. But we're slipping again into some old habits and old fights, so I'm glad we'll be seeing her again Friday. Still no word from the school district about step 2 in the evaluation process.  Sigh.

It's been funny to hear people's comments when we mention that Ethan's been diagnosed with Sensory Integration Disorder/Sensory Processing Disorder. Most people that know us well look at me like "duh, I could have told you something was wrong."  I knew something was wrong, obviously, but, again, I don't hang out with other 3-year-olds, so I have trouble knowing what's normal. He's my only frame of reference. 

Anyhoo.  No real point to today's post. Just procrastinating.  But cookie baking calls, and I better get to it!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Encouragement for Monday morning

As you all know, I've been struggling enormously with loneliness and isolation and fear of making new friends. That's a lovely combo, right there. So I was incredibly encouraged by this morning's post from my favorite devotional writer. It's all about moms and our need for friendships.  Go check it out here.

On a very, very related note, yesterday I ended up stuck in church nursery with Vivian, since she's having some massive separation anxiety issues and was crying too much for the nursery people (and me!) to handle. She also rejected the idea of sitting quietly in church (Vivian does not believe in sitting quietly), so I stayed in nursery with her. And there was a woman in there who has kids who are in middle school and high school. And the more I talked to her, the more I realized that we had a lot in common. Then on our drive home from church, Daniel was telling me something that her husband had mentioned in men's study that made me realize that we had even more in common!

So now I have to do the scary thing and see if she'd be up for getting together to chat. I could really use the friendship of a woman who's a little ahead of me in this mom thing and who has had similar struggles to mine.  I'm making Daniel chat with her husband this week to sort of feel out the situation and see if it would be a possibility :)

Anyway. If you're a mom, go read the devotion that I linked to at the beginning of this post. And happy Monday!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

I'm starting to think I have a split personality going on

People. This weekend rocked!  I love weekends. Love them! I totally thrive on busyness and plans and activities and my week generally has almost none of those.  So when the weekend comes and we are busy, then I am so happy! And I use even MORE exclamation points in my blog posts!!!  But exclamation points are so much better than woe-is-me-angst, right? :)

Yesterday was particularly great. It was Smithsonian Free Museum Day, so we headed down to the Museum of Flight, which we love and visit every year.
 Daniel and Vivian wait to tour the Concord supersonic jet
Ethan was too busy looking at things to look at Mommy

Then, after Vivian had a nap, we headed down to Seattle's newest park, South Lake Union Park. Seattle people- this place is going to rock! There's a boat pond with model boats, and a squirty fountain thing for kids to run through, and tons of place to run and play, and boats and seaplanes to watch, and even a little beach! I'm so glad to have a beach within walking distance and am more than a little sad that summer is over here. If you live nearby, come check out this great park with me sometime!

Even my non-eater couldn't resist the yummy Molly Moon ice cream

Did I mention that it was 75 and sunny yesterday? Gorgeous! It's raining today. I wanted to cry. 

Model boat pond

And we finished off the evening with our annual/semi-annual date night. One of my best friends graciously watches our kids every so often, and it's a highlight of our year. Last night we got to try out a nice new restaurant and attend the newest installment of our favorite play.  Just an all-around perfect day.  

Now off to fold the laundry so that I have things moderately ready for Monday morning!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sleep-deprived thoughts.

It's 11:42 PM on Friday night. I'm writing this post with Vivian sitting on my lap.  Last night Ethan stayed up until midnight for some unknown reason, then Vivian woke up and slept in the middle 3/4 of our bed. Oh, and we didn't shut our door enough to keep the cats out, so at 3 AM I had a cat sleeping on my head.  All this to say- I laughed when I saw a Facebook post today from a new mom wondering how she would handle going back to work next week when her baby doesn't sleep well. You just do.  After a while, sleep deprivation becomes the new normal.

We got our first bill this week from Children's for Ethan's feeding therapy.  It looks like it's going to cost us over $50 per week. And he's still not eating well, but this is the most concrete help we've gotten so far, so I hate to discontinue it.  His therapist actually wants to increase his visits, since he's not responding as well as hoped, so we're going to have to figure out this financial aspect of it all soon.

And in other news, one of my two best friends had her first baby today. I was telling Daniel that I was more emotional about her baby's birth than my own. They've been married for almost 10 years and waiting for this baby for so long. And there's something really weird about being on the other side of things for once.  I got married at almost 29 years old, so I was well behind most of my friends in the getting-married part of life and behind most for having my first child. Then we had  our second so quickly and all of a sudden I was the one with the finished family and settled life and was on the other side, watching friends try to find a husband or watching the married friends try to have a baby. It's a strange feeling.

Well, Vivian is getting bored of this blogging stuff, so I should close and start trying to come up with an idea of getting her to sleep soon. Happy weekend, everyone!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

And I'm over the angst

I'm so totally the poster child for introverted extroverts.  I agonize about every social situation that involves me combing my hair and leaving the house. I'm terrified of talking to strangers. Or even acquaintances.  The thought of calling someone on the phone makes me break out in a cold sweat. Thank goodness for email and Facebook and blogging, or else I'd never communicate with anyone.

Then I get dragged to aforementioned scary activity/social gathering and I have a great time. And I'm all peppy and energized from being around people. And then the next day I return to my introverted side and sit around and rehash everything I said and wonder if people liked me and vow to never leave the house again. EVER.

:)  Or perhaps I'm just insane. I blame the kids.

Anyway, it went well last night and I think it'll be a good group, so hopefully this time will be the charm and we wont be starting over again next fall with new people.

And in spectacular parenting news, I'm secretly glad that it's supposed to rain today because that means I don't have to take the kids out for a walk and we can sit around and watch Curious George 2 instead of being outside or at the museum.  And later we might go to the store in our car, since Daniel graciously volunteered to let me keep it today. Happy happy mobility!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Me

This post is going to be all about ME!! I would f eel slightly bad about that except for a couple of things.

1) This is my blog and if you don't like me, stop reading it already.

2) I'm pretty sure that there are only about 4 people left reading anyway. :)

People- my level of terror and nervousness about joining a new home fellowship tomorrow is pretty much at the level of what I felt in 7th grade when my parents moved me from Washington State to Tennessee at the last moment and I was suddenly sans friends and plus my crush  (future blog post!) and in a world where people had been in middle school together already for a year and I knew no one.

On a really, really weird tangent- through Facebook I discovered that another girl in my enormous graduating class lives nearby.  Keep in mind that we went to high school in Tennessee and now live in Seattle. We never spoke in high school and now live 5 blocks apart. And still only communicate through Facebook because it's really weird.

I'm scared because, honestly, I'm a little lost as to my own identity, other than the whole mom-of-kids-who-are-not-going-to-behave-at-8-PM thing.  What am I? I've been hanging on to my masters' degree and semi-job for so long, and now that's gone.

So I just don't even have the remotest clue as to what to say tomorrow when people ask us to introduce ourselves. Hopefully Daniel will jump in with something and we'll be able to fudge for a while until I get my life back on a bit more solid ground.

Eewwwww.....

First off, I would like to apologize in advance if I sound completely insane in this post. The sunshine came out and it's making me a little loopy. We've had such a miserable non-summer here and today it's fall and the sun is shining and it's perfect 65-degree weather! And it makes me want to twirl around and jump in the leaves and hug the whole world! And apparently use too many exclamation points. I used so many in the last email I wrote that I had to email my friend again and apologize. 

Anyhoo.  Okay, so today Vivian was playing in my bedroom with her dolls. Because that's where her dolls live and the basket that they live in fell over and all her dolls and stuffed animals were on the floor. I knew that they were there so I didn't think anything about her playing in there. Until she came out holding a baby bottle. A dirty baby bottle that she'd apparently found under the bed.


She gave up bottles shortly after her first birthday. Which was June 1st. ICKY!!!!!!!

This is so horrifying to me. I am a slacker in so many areas of wifeness and mothering, but my house is generally pretty clean. It's something that's important to Daniel and I and keeps us reasonably sane, so we make it a priority. And I thought I was doing a decent job, but apparently checking under the bed needs to be added to my cleaning list.  Thankfully I got the bottle away from Vivian before she chewed on it.  I imagine she wouldn't have done that for long though :)

In other news, today is Daniel's 43rd birthday. He's not thrilled about being 43. Although he actually thought he was turning 44, so I've been telling him that he shouldn't be as depressed as he was.  He's not completely buying my logic there.  Hopefully the nice weather and the cake that I baked him will help improve his mood a bit!

And if anyone is interested, I have a good giveaway going on at the review blog, for a $25 gift certificate to a fabulous (and local) online store for books, music and DVDs for kids 1-5. If you need some new entertainment for your kids for the winter that's coming- or perhaps a Christmas gift, check it out. I have a bunch of other giveaways going on as well for kids' music- some great albums up for grabs!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday morning

Thanks for your prayers and good thoughts for my Dad's travel issues. The passport made it to him and he made his flight and apparently reconnected fine with the rest of the team in Haiti. My mom's only had one brief phone call with him and it was a bad connection, so we'll have to wait until they come back home to get all the details, but it sounds like things are going well with everyone.  And it's apparently really hot.  Daniel and I were commenting on the humidity here this weekend (5th generation Pacific Northwesterner right here- don't judge. I'm a wimp) and then laughing at us complaining about 20% humidity while my family is dealing with something ridiculous like 90% humidity in Haiti.

Anyway.

So it's Monday again. I normally want to bodily throw myself across the door and prevent Daniel from leaving, but today he got on my nerves, so I was actually happy to shove him out the door.  I'm not sure what we're up to this week, as usual. This morning so far I've been pretty much just mainlining caffeine in a desperate attempt to wake up and reading books to the kids.

Oh, and I've developed the ability to simultaneously read two different books to the kids at the same time. They fight so much over books (and everything else in the world) that it's impossible to read one book to them, since they're grabbing it and hitting each other and it's no fun for anyone. So I've managed to learn to balance them both on my lap and read separate books to them each at the same time. It helps that I've pretty much memorized all their books. Yes, kids' books are what's taking up my brain space these days.

On a related topic- does anyone have any discipline advice for a toddler who yells/whines to get her way? Ethan never did this, so it's new to us. But Vivian just screeches at the top of her lungs when she wants something. It's terribly loud and annoying and is pretty much the source of my anxiety for our long plane trip last week. One of my friends heard her doing her yelling/screeching last week and said "she's an opinionated little thing, isn't she!" Understatement of the decade.  I, of course, have no idea where she gets such an opinionated nature...

Happy Monday, everyone!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Drama, always drama

My family has a bit of a tendency towards having problems, particularly when they travel. I can't name a single trip that they've taken lately that hasn't had some big problem. This time, my dad took his passport card instead of his passport (since he'd been assured by the passport person that that would work fine) and wasn't allowed on the plane to Haiti today, since that's not a valid ID for arriving in Caribbean countries by air. Ship, fine. Air, no. Oh, and he's in an airport 8 hours from home.  So the team left him there, he had to pay to change his ticket, get a hotel for overnight and my mom is FedExing his passport overnight tonight- hopefully it'll arrive on time for him to catch his early morning flight tomorrow.

Hopefully the trip will go smoothly from now on.  I am stressed and I'm not even directly a part of this trip! Keep them all in your prayers, please, especially things like the passport making it on time tomorrow and everyone meeting up again in Haiti. 

We got out of the house today with friends! Hurray!  Vivian's catching a cold, but I dragged her out anyway and tried to keep her from touching anyone or getting too close to other kids.  There was no way I was missing out on our first outing with friends in weeks.   And we had a fun time and there were even cookies from Seattle's traveling treat truck to make the day even better.

Now I'm making homemade chicken noodle soup, since it's 60 degrees here and raining, and some latent Suzy Homemaker side of me gets inspired to make soup whenever the weather takes a turn for the worse.

In other news, we're going to be attending a new home fellowship/life group with people from our church next week. I'm nervous, since I'm pretty terrible in these situations and it takes me forever to find my place and click with people. And I always feel weird meeting people when I'm so unsure of myself and my identity these days anyway. But maybe I'll do okay. And if not, I am married to the most talkative person on the planet, so I can stay in the background and let him make friends for us :)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Prayer request

Tomorrow my dad, my brother and my sister-in-law, along with 8 (I think!) other people are starting their journey on a mission trip to Haiti. This has been in the works for a year- way before the earthquake hit. The earthquake and all the following issues made them more determined to go, instead of less.

It's hot there right now. Today the "real-feel" temperature, according to accuweather.com was 123 degrees. It's in the 90s with 90 plus percent humidity.  And there's a hurricane or two hovering nearby, bringing in lots of rain.

If you're a praying person, please keep my family and this trip in your prayers. I'm praying for safety for everyone concerned and for God's guidance in them meeting up with the people they are meant to meet and that they will do the work that God is preparing for them to do.

And, in another prayer request, my 84 year old grandmother and her twin sister are flying out to spend time with my mom this week. My grandmother has been saying for 5 years that every trip is her last, so I am always nervous when these two travel cross-country alone. Praying for smooth travels for them as well.

The long-awaited phone call

Might I suggest again to not get pregnant in November?  November pregnancies mean August babies and that means much angst and endless discussions about when to start school and therefore when to start preschool and things like that. And there is not a worse time to have your child's 3-year-well child appointment show up any issue that might involve the school district. Because they are SWAMPED.

Anyway, we finally (hallelujah!) connected with the overworked people at the school district and I was able to answer lots and lots of questions about Ethan and his medical issues and his speech and things like that. And, honestly, I didn't know the answers to lots of them. Not hanging out around other kids Ethan's age means I don't really know what's normal, so I don't necessarily know where he's delayed, other than the obvious.  I also mentioned that, to be honest, the issues of his feeding have kind of taken up all my time and energy for the last while.  I don't have the mental capacity left for wondering if his fine motor skills are delayed- I'm just trying to get his weight up above the 5th percentile. 

The person I spoke with though was lovely and very understanding and now I'm at least hopeful that things are moving along.  Now we wait weeks for paperwork and have to deal with all that. But I have an odd secret love of filling out forms (so weird, I know!), so I'm not scared of that like I was scared of talking to them on the phone (because I have a phone phobia). 

In other news, I have to hugely apologize to Daniel tonight because I picked a fight with him yesterday for no reason other than I was stressed and he was around and therefore he got stuck with my insanity.  I feel like I have to apologize for being mean so often that I either need to 1) duct tape my mouth shut or 2) just record my apology and press play. Thank goodness he's patient and forgiving. 

And in other, other news, the sun came out. I don't think it's supposed to last much longer, so I need to pack up the kids and go soak up some sun. Happy Tuesday, everyone.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Update on the King 5 Parenting Blog contest

After much thought and deliberation- I asked that my blog be removed from consideration for the King 5 Best Parenting Blog contest  It was causing me way too much angst in completely different ways. First, I was nervous that the nomination would cause people to actually read my blog (making it more difficult for me to be honest about things) and possibly result in someone who knows me in real life finding the blog.

And on the complete opposite side of my emotions (I am so totally irrational these days), I kind of wanted to do well and was getting way too wrapped up in checking the votes and overly sad when my blog started sinking in the ratings- even though I completely and 100% agree that the blogs that are winning (and some that aren't) deserve votes more than mine. And if there's one thing I've learned lately- it's that if I'm in a non-important situation and it's affecting my moods, I need to reconsider being in that situation.

Some of my favorite local bloggers are up for this award and they deserve your votes. There are some amazing blogs nominated- blogs on which moms share their beautiful writing and frequently make me smile and nod with agreement. So, if you voted for me, thanks so much, but  my blog is no longer on the list, so now you can go vote for another one of the fabulous blogs that is nominated. Happy voting!

Encouragement

Daniel and I are both having a really rough day today. We have vacancies in two of our rental properties, which is an enormous financial burden. There are medical issues going on that I'm not at liberty to discuss here- nothing life-threatening, but something that's still very discouraging and serious.  And we're still, STILL paying phone tag with the school district about Ethan's speech therapy.  Daniel actually got a hold of someone today (the someone who assured us two weeks ago that she would call the next week and get the paperwork going).  And he didn't know the answer to one of her questions so called me right away so that I could call the person... and it went to voice mail when I called immediately.  And 4 hours later I'm still waiting to hear back.

But I'm not writing to whine today. I'm writing because I put on my ipod and it shuffled to one of my favorite songs, Selah's You Deliver Me.  And I was reminded again that God has our lives in His hands and that, although things are really challenging and discouraging right now, He is in control. I know that. KNOW that, but I still have to be reminded. Often.

So, in case you're needing the reminder today too, take a listen to this gorgeous song.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Another 5K done!

As I was running this morning, I just kept being amazed by one thing- that I really was out running! Today's event was a big one- 3000 women there to run the 10K or run/walk the 5K.  You cannot imagine how long the lines are for the bathrooms when you have an event attended by 3000 women...

I did slightly worse time-wise this race, but it really is hard to compare the two events given the differences in attendance and weather and running environment and my training, so I'm really still pleased with my time. Especially since running for 30 seconds was more than I could do just a few months ago.  I took a boat-load of ibuprofen before the race and was able to run most of the distance. Unfortunately now I'm not even walking well.  But it's the end of summer here and it's a good time to bring my exercise back inside anyway. So I'll take a break from running for a few months and hopefully get back to it at 100% functioning next spring.

If the Aflac Iron Girl event comes somewhere near you- sign up and participate! The registration fee was really affordable- only $25, I think. And for that I got a nice shirt and a ton of giveaways and breakfast in a reusable lunch bag and a medal and the cutest stuffed duck ever.  And it's just a lot of fun to be exercising with so many other women- there are people there at every level of fitness, so it's low pressure. Everyone just wants to encourage each other and it's a really positive environment.

Since I went alone this morning and didn't have the pocket space for a camera, I don't have any pictures from the event. But here's my duck and my finisher's medal!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Saturday

I'm going to be all over the place again today with my post, so I'm going to stick with the numbering system for a while.

1. Feeling much better emotionally today.  Of course, it is the weekend, but I'm also less hormonal than I was a few days ago and wondering if that's the source of my angst on Thursday. (TMI warning!!!) Since Vivian my periods have been a nightmare and I seem to be really insane right before them.  Thinking about talking to my doctor about birth control pills or something. Maybe it's more than just PMS, but hopefully my doctor will have an idea. I don't.

2.  Running my second 5K tomorrow! I'm going alone this time, since it's a Sunday morning event and Daniel's going to stay home and get the kids ready for church. If I make it back in time to get ready myself, we'll all go to church, otherwise he'll take Ethan and go alone. Darned one car.  Oh, and to answer someone's question about the possibility of us buying another car- it's not the money that keeps us a 1-car family- it's that we live in the city and only have one parking spot and parking nearby is by permit or only available for an hour or two at a time.  So that's not really a viable option. 

3. I'm amazed at how having a "label" for Ethan has already really changed how I'm looking at him and his actions. On the Manic Mommies podcast that I mentioned earlier this week, the podcaster was talking about the worries that parents have in having their child stuck with a label like ADHD or something like that.  And her guest pointed out that the child probably already had a label in other people's minds, but that it was just a label that didn't come along with resources and suggestions to help.  That's so true- knowing that Ethan has a sensory issue really makes a lot of the pieces fall into place.

As our OT was explaining- for Ethan everything in the world is enormously magnified.  It's like the volume of life is turned to super-high for him all the time. That's why he gets scared in new situations, he honestly just doesn't know how to process it. It gives me a lot more patience with him.

4. Speaking of the 5K- one of the former contestants from Biggest Loser is running tomorrow as well. I saw her today as I was checking in and picking up my stuff- she looks great!

5.  My dad, brother and sister-in-law are heading to Haiti this week with a group. If you could keep them in your prayers, I'd appreciate it. Especially since a hurricane is also heading that way.

Friday, September 10, 2010

A couple of things

1. First off, a big apology to the 36 of you who read my blog on a Google reader and who got stuck with last night's whiny, self-absorbed nonsense. And a huge thanks to those of you who emailed me today with suggestions and thoughts on things. I get so conflicted sometimes about what I write here on the blog- it's really the place where I deal and process things, but then sometimes I sit up in my bed in the middle of the night and realize how ridiculous my post sounds even to me, and I delete it. I wish there was a "remove from feed" button as well. Thanks for bearing with me when I do get too insane.

2. So, it turned out to be a good thing that my playdate for this morning didn't work out, since our appointment with Ethan's OT at Children's ran long and we were super late getting out of there. Running late was a good thing for the appointment though- since it ran long because the OT was discussing with Daniel and I some things that she suggested, based on Ethan's sensory profile.  For some reason, no one has given Ethan a sensory profile to date, and, no surprise to us, he does have sensory integration issues.  And knowing what his sensory issues are is a really good thing, as it helps us understand him a little better and be more patient with his reactions to some situations.

3. I am so utterly grateful for this OT being in our life. We've felt sort of abandoned by the health care system to date. They all have meant well and tried hard, but we were constantly getting passed off from one person to the next and no one seemed to stick with things.  This OT is doing some hardcore feeding therapy with Ethan and with us, and it's giving the whole family good tools to deal with this challenge.

Oh, and our OT has offered to start calling the school district for us, if they don't get back to us and get something scheduled for Ethan soon for speech therapy. It's nice to  have someone with some credentials on our side!

4. In completely unrelated news, do you know how hard it is to find shoes for a 15-month-old with feet the size of a 6-month-old? I got some super cute shoes for Vivian online last month, and they were the only pair that fit her well... and then she lost one somewhere on our walk on Tuesday. We retraced our steps the next day, but no luck. Now I've been looking for shoes, but almost everything in her size is for pre-walkers! We're going to hit up a few more stores tonight. Wish me luck!

5. Oh, and speaking of wishing me luck- I'm running my second 5K on Sunday! The family isn't coming with me, since they need to stay home and get ready for church, but that's okay. It should be a fun 5K- it's women-only, which I think I'll like.  Hopefully my time will have improved a bit, but given how little running I've been able to do lately, I'll again be happy with just finishing!

Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A good reminder and a good resource

We're still waiting to hear from the school district about Ethan's speech delay screening. Might I suggest that if you have a child with issues that may involve the school district- plan to put your issues off until a month that does not involve the start of school?  We are trying to balance on a fine line of staying in touch and making sure that things get going soon and not wanting to seem overly pushy, since we know the school district is swamped with the beginning of the school year.

But when I stop and realize just how many times I say to Ethan per day "I'm sorry honey, I just don't understand you", I get scared. My friends tell stories about things their kids say and I realize how much I'm lucky to know what Ethan is saying just a few times per day.

Anyway. I wanted to mention a few things lately that have really helped me. One is a post over on Motherhood is not for Wimps. I know that Ethan's issues are nothing like having a child with autism or some more major diagnosis, but this is still a place I never expected to be, and I needed the reminder that this is still a great place.

The other thing that was encouraging was a podcast from Manic Mommies, about kids and special education. They have a nice discussion of IEPs and such and what school districts have to do for your child, and it was really education for me, especially since I'm just at the beginning of this maze.  If you're in the beginning as well, whatever your child's problem is- speech, ADD/ADHD, whatever, I suggest taking a listen.

So that's all the rambling from me. Daniel's finally home, so it's that glorious part of the day when I get to go to the bathroom without company! :) Happy Thursday, everyone.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Another day, another appointment at Children's Hospital

Today it poured down rain here in Seattle, so we were stuck inside for the morning. But that was okay, because Daniel came home early today to go along with me for Ethan's second eye appointment at Children's. We'd gone three months ago and the doctor decided that things didn't look right, but that she needed another appointment some time down the road to gather more data. And that appointment was today.

Ethan is such an amazing kid. He's been to SO many appointments and screenings lately and you'd think he'd be scared of the doctors and nurses, but he's not. He held the hand of the doctor today and sat on her lap while she put information in the computer and gave her hugs.  She actually said that she and her husband have been trying to decide whether they're ready to have kids and being around kids like Ethan make her think she's ready! Fortunately, Vivian was running around the room, throwing things and yelling, so we did present a complete reality to her :)

And at the end of the screening, she sighed and said that unfortunately, she agreed with me about Ethan's lazy eye and is going to recommend glasses. She has to confer with the first person who did the screening back three months ago, but it looks like my little boy is going to have to have glasses.  She presented this news to us, thinking we'd be upset, but given that we've been hearing words like "gastric tube" lately, glasses do not phase us.

It's not a great thing, but if we can fix this for him now, it's one less problem he'll have to deal with later. Apparently he'll need glasses until he's 10 or so, but hopefully he'll take after his dad after that, who, annoyingly needs no glasses AT ALL, despite being almost 43, working at a computer all day and coming from a family who all need glasses (can you tell that I, one who needs glasses/contacts to function am a bit bitter about Daniel's lack of glasses?) :) 

In other news, Vivian managed to lose one of her shoes while we were out for a walk yesterday and we couldn't find it today when we retraced our steps.  It was the one pair that fit her so... I get to go shoe shopping! Payless, here I come! Given Vivian's reaction to shoe stores, I kind of think she did it on purpose. More proof that she actually may be my child :)

Hope everyone's week is going reasonably well. Happy Wednesday night! We're halfway there!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A bit of clarification

Someone left a comment today on an old post, asking me why Daniel sold his 3-bedroom house in the suburbs for us to live in the city, rather than us living there. A reasonable question.

The answer is two-fold. Daniel has been a city-dweller most of his life. He lived in Hong Kong for a lot of his childhood and then when he was an adult lived in Denver. He loves city life and all the energy.  But then he got a job in the total boonies, outside of Olympia, WA, where there was no real city life option and where the best place to buy property was in the city.  Fast-forward to us getting ready to get engaged, and he decided that it would make sense for him to put some investment property money (ah, the joys of marrying someone with surplus savings) into a condo in downtown Seattle (2005, the height of the property buying insanity). I bought the property with him and I lived there during our engagement.

Even though I lived alone in the studio condo in Seattle while we were engaged, Daniel visited often and re-affirmed his love for city-life. We went out on Saturday mornings and drank coffee at coffee shops nearby and walked to the art museums and then walked to baseball games or other events. If he could make the 60 mile drive north during the week then we had happy hours to visit after work and nightlife to take in. We were in love with each other and the whole lifestyle that we were living.  All to say, by the time we got married, Daniel was hooked on city life, and we were both really sad at the thought of us both living full-time at his house in the suburbs. Which was always our plan.

But after we got married he started to think about working from his company's Seattle office and selling his house in Olympia. The Seattle office had just been salespeople to that point, not technical staff, but technology had reached the point that anyone could work anywhere. So he did that and sold his house and moved briefly to our 400 square foot studio, which lasted about a minute, before we started shopping and ended up in our current home. Which turned out to be a great decision, since the company pretty much imploded after that and Daniel ended up switching jobs anyway. So here we are- happy in our shoebox-sized home, with the 3-bedroom-sized furniture  :)

So we made the decision based on us, and one cat,  and the other cat and the kids came slightly after that. But we're still happy with our choice.  As I mentioned earlier this week- I know this won't be a viable home for us forever, but for now it works and we're happy and we're together and that what matters.

Thoughts on potty-training

Last week I realized that Ethan had gone a long time (like a week) without any accidents or wet diapers at night. He'd even told me before he needed to do poo-poo twice in a row and did it on the potty.  So I decided that he was officially potty-trained and that we were done with all that nonsense.

Of course, he immediately had an (#2) accident, but, given that my best friend is a kindergarten teacher and her students still have accidents on a fairly frequent basis, I stick by my diagnosis.

I know that every kid is 100% different and that I will look back on this post and laugh when I'm trying to train Vivian and none of these techniques work. That being said, for my sake and for yours (in case you care), I thought I better commit this all to writing.

First of all. Unless your child is showing lots and lots of signs of readiness, don't bother trying.  I tried to potty-train Ethan 6 months or so ago, thanks to family pressure and it was awful. AWFUL. He fought every step of the way. This time, he was showing more signs of being ready and was older and it was much, much less awful.

Not to say that it was great. He is a very, very stubborn kid and it took him a while to get the idea of going on the potty instead of in his diaper.  We spent most of a week reading books on the floor in the bathroom. Which was lots of fun with a 1-year-old trying to help out, let me tell you.

But he got it and then he figured out pooping and we were on our way. He still had (and has on occasion) accidents, especially when he gets busy playing and forgets. I still have to ask him every few hours if he needs to go and take him, but not as often.  And Daniel taught him the whole standing up to pee thing. I told Daniel that that was his area of expertise, not mine.

Another thing that worked well for us the first week of learning, which I found on the internet, was to have Ethan play with a small tub full of toys, floating in warm water. The water and the temperature actually did seem to help him pee, and even when it didn't, it kept him entertained and gave me a break from sitting and reading books.

As for rewards, Ethan is unbribable and doesn't eat, so candy and toys were out, but we learned pretty quickly that he is hugely influenced by positive comments. We gave him a big high-five after every successful attempt and he thrived on that.  Vivian is already giving him looks that I'm pretty sure mean "Dude, are you crazy? They would have given you a new car for pooping in the potty!"  She's going to be a whole different challenge...

But there's my story and there are the things that worked for me. Good luck!

Monday, September 6, 2010

More thoughts on small space, city living

First off. People, my computer addiction has reached new heights/depths.  Right now I am blogging on my netbook while simultaneously uploading photos on our laptop and updating Facebook. That's right, I'm managing to waste time on TWO computers at once.  This cannot be good. At least I don't have the iTouch going right now as well...

So, I was having thoughts about my condo today as I have been steam-cleaning the carpets.  We're done with potty-training now (hurray Ethan!), so it was time to clean up some of the messes that he and the cats have contributed to our floors lately.  And as I was cleaning, one thought kept going through my mind "Thank goodness we only have three small rooms worth of floor!"

I think you are all familiar with my living situation, but in case anyone is not- we live in a 900 square foot condo on the edge of downtown Seattle.  It has a very open, very usable layout, which makes it possible for 4 people and 2 cats to live in such limited floor space. We're far enough out that it's a residential area, but close enough to the city to have lots going on. Daniel and I bought this condo shortly after we got married. Before that I'd been living in a studio condo further into the city, and he had a 3-bedroom house in the suburbs. So his transition was definitely greater.

The main reason that I've been thinking a lot lately about our space is that we keep getting asked when we're moving. And the truth is, we're not planning on going anywhere for several years yet. Yes, our space is small, but it's functional. The kids have their room, we have ours, the cats have the living room and we're all happy.  No, we don't have enough space for my kids to have many toys or large toys, but this means that my kids do not have many toys or large toys. Which is exactly the way I want it. They get books and clothes as gifts, not so many things that they will quickly tire of.

Living in a small space does require an enormous amount of organization, I do admit that. Fortunately I love organizing and think that getting rid of things is one of the most fun things ever.  We have to make fairly regular trips to both Goodwill to drop stuff off and to IKEA to find new and better ways of organizing and storing what we do have, but that's a good thing too. We don't keep what we can't use.

The other great thing about life in a small space is that I can pretty much clean our entire home in 30 minutes or less.  For a busy mom, that's a huge plus. And, since our condo is so small and I can see the whole thing from the dining room table, this means that I can watch the kids and make sure they're safe while doing important things on the computer like paying bills and looking up recipes for dinner blogging and endlessly updating my Facebook status.

And, in our opinion, the lifestyle that we are able to have and the city life that we're able to enjoy far outweighs our struggles with lack of closet space.  I know it's not a lifestyle that works for everyone, but it really suits our personalities and we love it. Whenever I look out the window there are people to watch and parallel parkers to mock. We go to museums and festivals and shopping downtown all the time- it's easy for us since we don't have to deal with the horror that is driving in Seattle and finding parking.

So I think we're staying put for a while.  Especially now that the whole family is going to the dentist downstairs and there are two Redboxes nearby and two sushi restaurants :)  We do focus on the important things.  Oh, and there's a Target coming to downtown Seattle next year, so I'm pretty much set for life.

Yes, there are challenges about where we live- it's hard to get away from someone who's annoying you when there are only a couple of rooms to choose from. And now that we have two kids, we don't really have the space for overnight guests (I'll refrain from saying if Daniel and I both feel that's a negative or if perhaps I find that to be a huge plus...).  Parking can be tough for our visitors to find, and in the summer we have to deal with the noise from the bar across the street. And we have to constantly be cleaning up the kids' things, because we don't have the space for mess. Oh, and occasionally we end up with neighbors across the street who like to sit around in the buff when it gets too hot, making it terrifying to look out the window.

Eventually we're going to have to move, and I know it will be a good thing for the kids to have more space and perhaps even a yard to play in. But for now, we're really happy here in our little shoebox home and our city life. Come visit if you're in the area! Just give me 30 minutes warning so that I can clean up first :)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Random, but fun!

So, I just got a message from a blogger friend, letting me know that I've apparently been nominated for a Best Parenting Blog award by one of our local TV stations.  I'm a huge fan of many of the other nominees, so am flattered to be included in this group. This blog keeps me sane and has saved my husband from so many whiny conversations- it still makes me laugh when I find out that someone is actually reading about my dramas and overreactions :)


Here's the link, if you want to check out the list or vote. 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Ah, the joys of a not-too-busy 3-day weekend

We're about 8 hours into day 1 of the most glorious invention of the 20th century- the three-day weekend.  So far this morning I got up and went running (hurray!), did some cleaning and took a trip with the family to IKEA.  I'm fairly sure that 99% of the population of Seattle was also at IKEA with us today- it's kids eat free weekend and that packs in the crowds! Still, we got a few much-needed items and were home by 1:30. And now I'm contemplating what to do next. There's likely a grocery store trip in my near future, but I'm stalling on that in case something truly exciting presents itself as an option. Because that happens frequently in my life :)

Running this morning went surprisingly well, given that I hadn't been out in two weeks.  I have had shin splints in one leg and my dad, who's a long-time, long-distance runner and not the type of person to ever believe in rest, actually was pushing me hard to not run again until I was sure my leg was better. I guess my brother (also a pretty serious runner, like our dad) hurt his leg pretty badly by not resting. But my leg seems better after a few weeks off and I think I'll be good to go for my next 5K next Sunday morning.

In other news, the planning for our cross-country flight next month has begun. I've been working on getting the kids backpacks, so they can carry some of their toys. Here they are practicing with their bags:

I'm really not a big fan of the whole cartoon-character outfit thing- except for Classic Pooh, but somehow Ethan ended up in his one Thomas shirt on the same day that he saw a Thomas backpack on clearance at the store. "Clearance" is my magic word, so now Ethan looks like a walking billboard for Thomas the Tank Engine. Whatever :)

Speaking of the trip- I'm also already stocking up on little books and stickers and toys and DVDs and things like that. Which reminded me of something that happened in July when I was flying back from Winnipeg and ended up stuck in the airport for hours with my friend's childless sister. There were some crying kids nearby (we were in the airport still, not on the plane) and my friend's childless sister made a comment about it being annoying, then asked if it made me miss my kids. I said no, it made me stressed on behalf of the parents and glad that I was traveling alone.

There was a similar discussion on one of my favorite podcasts, Manic Mommies, about traveling with kids. I think the one thing that I wish non-parents or people traveling without kids would remember is that however annoyed and stressed they are by the crying kids- the parents are probably way more stressed. In most cases. I don't agree with letting kids run wild or kick seats or throw things, but if a parent is genuinely trying to keep a kid entertained and the kid is just being a kid and unhappy to be stuck in a seat for hours or has ear pain and is too little to understand and wont swallow/use the paci/drink/whatever... then please give us some grace.  Yes, it's stressful for others to be on a plane with a mad kid, but it's probably only stressful for those people for the trip and maybe an hour or so afterwards. I'm not flying with the kids until October and I'm already stressed about it! The planning and the logistics and the spare clothes and snacks and carseats and everything.

Mainly I'm just hoping that Vivian starts to like to watch TV by next month. We flew the same distance (FAR) with Ethan at this age, but he always liked to watch TV and just stared at the screen for most of the 8 hours of flights. But Vivian is the type of kid to not sit still for long for any reason at all. For example, yesterday we were at the park and she demanded to be put down and ran off down a hill and got going too fast and fell and hit her forehead (hard enough to leave a fairly sizeable lump and bruise) and scraped up her nose. And I picked her up to see if she was okay and was all worried and she wiggled and screamed at me for getting in the way of her running and made me put her down. Then she ran off again.  Seriously, the girl doesn't do sitting or carrying at all. I see much wandering of the aisles in our future for this trip.  And I'm actually contemplating Benadryl usage...

Well, I've been typing for a while, and I guess that a trip to the grocery store is as exciting as my options for the afternoon are going to get, so I need to stop stalling and head out.  Hope you all have a very safe and happy Labor Day weekend!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Vivian- 15 months old!

I know everyone is saying this these days- but where did the summer go! September?  And how did my baby get to be 15 months old?  So crazy!

We had Vivian's 15-month appointment today. She weighs in at 19.8 pounds which is actually somewhere just below the 10th percentile. She seems so big to us after Mr. Skinny Pants, so I was really surprised by that.  I also was surprised to see that Ethan actually weighed 21 pounds at 15 months, so he was actually bigger than she was at this age!  I totally had forgotten that he had a pretty good run of weight there at about a year and a half old, after he started eating solids and before the Evil Stomach Flu of 2009, from which he never really recovered.  Good to be reminded that he ate once and might again some day!

Anyway- Vivian is healthy and happy and hitting all her milestones. She only cried a little for her shots-although I'm pretty sure she's plotting some sort of revenge against me for letting them stick her with needles.  I'm kind of scared of what she might come up with. I'm fairly certain that both of my kids are smarter than I am at this point :)

And, on good Ethan news- he gained weight! I'm shocked, since he hasn't been doing well with the organized  mealtime thing, but when I think about it, he has been drinking more of his supplement drink.  If we can continue to get him to both take in calories with his drinks and work on getting the idea of eating down, that's ideal. So hopefully this upward trend will continue at our next few weekly weight checks!

Oh, and in cake news- as I mentioned Tuesday, I had a bad day and made a chocolate cake. Ate a piece, sent the rest to work with Daniel to get it out of the house- and on Wednesday got two fancy cake mixes for the review blog. The universe is conspiring against my waistline. I have got to get my leg better and get running again if I'm going to eat these cakes!

Other than the doctor's visit- we enjoyed a nice outing with friends this morning, now are hanging out in the sunshine at home and trying to enjoy these last few days of nice weather before the rain returns. We have plans to go to the fair on Sunday, so I'm hoping the rain will hold off a little while longer than predicted. I need nice weather when I leave the city to go see cows and chickens!

Some photos and a video of my little 15-month-old!

More evidence that she might actually be my daughter- I keep finding her curled up in bed with a book

1 and 1/4 year old!