Friday, December 31, 2010

And farewell to 2010

It's another wild and exciting New Year's Eve here in our condo. Ethan's riding his strider bike around in circles while Vivian sits on the back of the tricycle and Daniel pushes Her Majesty around on it.  She is such a diva. :)  Fun week here, once we finally got into the vacation mode. Lots of to-do list stuff done, lots of organizing accomplished- trips to the Aquarium and IKEA taken- and still two days to go before Daniel heads back to work. Let me tell you, there is some serious child behavior reprogramming to be done then!

I'm having a hard time writing a year-end post, because so much of the stuff that kicked our butts this year is still ongoing.  It's definitely been a year to rely on faith and work on trust that God is in control. I pulled out my dogeared copy of My Utmost For His Highest today and reread my favorite devotion and shared it with Daniel. It's a devotion around Matthew 7:11 and is about worry and trust. Too long to post here, but I think this sentence from it pretty much sums up the whole thing: "Jesus is laying down the rules of conduct for this who have His Spirit, and it works on this principle- God is my Father, He loves me, I shall never think of anything He will forget, why should I worry?" I love that reminder- and I also love this quote from a recent Max Lucado book "Everything will work out in the end. If it's not working out, it's not the end."


I think, despite all the stress of these last few months and the ongoing huge uncertainties and issues that we face, it's been a good thing for us.  It's been a reminder for me to do my Bible reading and pray and spend time with the only one who really understands and who is in control.  And for Daniel and I as a couple, stressful times have not been fun, but we've been forced to address some issues and start doing a better job of communicating.

I can't say I'm sad to see 2010 for many reasons, but in other ways it was a lot of fun.  At the beginning of the year I had a 7-month old baby and a toddler- now I have a little boy who seems so grown up, and a 19-month-old who is going on 15 years old. They're talking and walking and interacting and play games together and have opinions and thoughts.  I'm really not the mom of babies anymore.  I'm loving the hugs and the "I love yous" and the stories that the kids tell me. They're growing up so fast, and I'm so blessed to have a front-row seat to all the fun. 

Anyway, that's what I'm thinking tonight.  I hope you all have a wonderful New Year's Eve and New Year's Day as well! Happy 2011!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

An outing in the sunshine

Today we decided to do tourist-type activities and get out of the house for a bit.  So we packed up the kids and headed down to the Seattle Aquarium.  It's a lovely aquarium and plenty large enough for even busy days like today, so it's always a fun outing.

The kids honestly didn't seem to care that much about the fish, but Daniel and I had fun, and it was good to be out for a while. 

One of my new favorite pictures. Vivian was "smiling" for the camera

Ethan making a fish face

Enjoying the (cold) sunshine

Up close with an otter

The otter was unimpressed by Vivian and went back to sleep

Cute boy, cute otter!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My Gideon's Fleece

I think this is my 1,000th post! Wow!  That's a lot of navel-gazing and drama. Thanks for sticking with me.

Tonight I have one more crazily-self-centered post. This has been a hard week at the end of a hard month at the end of a hard year. Finances are rough, stress is high, medical issues are mounting. I found out on Monday (the same day we got the news about Ethan being recommended for a NG tube) that my aunt and her husband both are no longer in remission and the prognosis is poor for both. My poor dad is overwhelmed beyond belief.

I am totally a believer in the power of prayer. But I also understand that sometimes answers take a long time to appear, and maybe it takes even longer for us to understand the answer. I do pray for little things, because I believe God cares about every aspect of our lives. But I don't usually pray for things like blog giveaways.

This week was so exhausting and rough. Yesterday I was putting in one last entry to a giveaway (I rarely enter any giveaways these days, unless it's something I really hope to win), and I actually prayed about it. For the first time ever, for a blog entry. I just spoke honestly to God and said "I know this is silly. But I just need some good news this week. I need to know that things can go well for a little while."

Tonight I got an email from the blogger who was hosting the giveaway, letting me know that I'd won. I started sobbing in front of my computer. Daniel rushed over, thinking that someone had died or something, given my level of emotion.  It took me several minutes to pull myself together enough to tell him why I was crying.

I know God doesn't always give us signs like this or such immediate (and kind of shallow) answers to prayers, but I'm so grateful that He knows when we could really just use a sign or two.

The silence is glorious!

I love my husband. For many reasons, but this week for the fact that whenever he's left the house- he has taken Ethan with him. Leaving me home with one child, and that child actually naps. Which means that for two days in a row, I got an hour and a half of free time!!! It's so wonderful! I've actually gotten tons done- made yogurt, made soup, put away the Christmas decor, cleaned bathrooms, vacuumed, sorted through the piles of toys in the kids' room, wrote review blog posts, updated my iPod...all those little things that never seem to get done.

Now I'm sitting in the living room, surveying the neatness and thinking about working on my photo albums, since I'm a couple of months behind on those. But that would mean making a mess, and I just finished cleaning up, so I'm feeling conflicted. 

Seriously, this might be my favorite week of the year, every year. Daniel's (sort-of) off work, we have nothing going on, all the family has been visited recently and we have no big obligations, so we can just hang out and get things done around the house and enjoy being together.  Absolutely the best.

On a slightly less fabulous note, we haven't 100% decided about the NG tube issue. I'm leaning toward taking their advice, but there are many logistical questions that I need answered. Mostly dealing with the fact that Ethan hates having anything touch his face, he spends all day fighting and wrestling with his sister, and he can't even keep his glasses intact, since he was rough with them and broke them.

Okay, must get off the computer and go use my free time wisely.  Hope everyone is having a great Wednesday!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Reminders from my 3-year-old

Last Thursday I was having A DAY. I think you all know what kind of A DAY. One where the kids can seem to do no right and everything the husband says and does is JUST ANNOYING.  By noon I was thoroughly tired of them all and sort of dreading our long week of togetherness ahead. Add in to that the fact that I was discouraged about finances (nothing like paying the bills on December 23rd!) and just was generally in a lousy mood.

Ethan was sitting at the table, lining up his crayons, and he looked at me and said. "God is with you."  Seriously, I stopped in my tracks.  He says that a lot- it is the last half of the preschooler version of Isaiah 41:10 that his class memorized last month. But what timing. I needed the reminder- both that God was watching my snotty mood and that He is with us in these challenging times.

Today I got another dose of Ethan's reminders, right when I needed it. Two, in fact.  Daniel and I were having a "discussion" earlier today.  Things have been rough on us, and our marriage has been under a lot of strain during this year.  We know this and we're doing everything we can to improve it, but there are still days when it's hard.  This afternoon, Ethan brought out his second favorite theological thought "MessGodControl".  We taught him a few months back about God being in control of the messy situations, if we ask Him for help. That's really stuck with Ethan, and he likes to bring that one out a lot too.

This evening's reminder was the toughest to hear, but also the most needed.  We talked to his GI doctor at Children's today.  She had talked to Ethan's primary care doctor earlier today and they agreed that we need to move forward with the next stage of tests (the ones done under anesthesia). Which we knew was coming. But what we weren't entirely ready for is that they want us to consider having a NG tube put in while he's under.  The thought of my baby with a tube running from his stomach to outside his nose... let's just say it's hard to breathe normally when I have such mental pictures and thoughts.  It's for a good reason and probably very necessary since he eats less than a toddler on a good day, and stops eating completely at the slightest problem. But still, a really hard thing to contemplate. I think the doctor could tell that I was wavering (I said Daniel and I would talk it over and call her back in a few days), when she broke out with "we're just worried that his limited calorie intake is going to affect his brain development."

So many emotions at once now- worrying that we didn't do enough, that we didn't push the nutritional supplement enough, that I should have done more of the therapy exercises, that I did something wrong when I was pregnant with him, that the sensory issues are inherited from me...

That was all running through my mind when Ethan and Vivian were eating dinner and chatting about whatever a 1-year-old and 3-year-old chat about. Ethan eventually made his way to his amusing version of "Away in a Manger", which I was very much enjoying. That's when he looked at me and said "Mommy, sing Jesus song".  So I started in on "Jesus Loves Me" and made it to the line "they are weak but He is strong" and burst out crying. I told Ethan that Mommy couldn't sing anymore right then and walked off to get myself under control.

I hate the fact that I need to be reminded about God's control by my preschooler, but I'm thankful that God works in mysterious ways.  That being said, we could really use continued prayers here- the decision about the NG tube is tough- the rental situation is still ongoing, and tonight Ethan snapped his glasses in half (hurray, surprise expense!).  But we had a nice Christmas and we're home safe and get to spend some extra time together this week, so there is a lot in the blessing column as well.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

Anyone else stunned that we're at Christmas Eve already?  This year has gone by SO quickly. I think that means that I'm getting old or something :)

Up early this morning, enjoying a quiet cup of coffee and some time on the computer before the insanity of last minute chores and loading the car and driving north begins.  Christmas presents are opened here already- we decided to not try to fit that into this morning, so did presents and the Christmas story reading on Christmas Eve-Eve. The kids had fun opening presents this year. They seem to finally be getting the idea of ripping the paper and finding the new toy inside. 

I was thinking last night about memorable Christmases- reminiscing with Daniel about all the Christmases that we've spent together, finally remembering how we spent our first married Christmas (we've been trying to remember for a month, and I didn't blog about it, darn it!), realizing that it's been a decade since I spent Christmas with friends traveling around Italy.  10 years ago I was nearing the end of my year in Ukraine when I met up in Rome with a college friend who was then studying in Jerusalem.  I still remember vividly all the travel that it took to get there- old Soviet-era tram to the old overnight Soviet-era train to another city where I caught a Soviet-era bus to the airport and had some culture shock flying back to Western Europe after so much time in Ukraine. 

This time 10 years ago, I was staying in a small hotel in Rome with my college friend and her university friends. We would spend lots of time walking around Rome and then traveled to other parts of Italy. Christmas Eve itself was spent in the rain in Vatican Square, listening to the pope's Christmas Eve message, being hit repeatedly by the umbrella of a nun sitting in the row in front of me.

Now I'm off to spend Christmas in another foreign country, albeit one that's a little closer to home and (I'm sorry Canadians!) a bit less glamorous. But I'm going to be with my husband and kids and that's all that really matters.  Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas, wherever you are!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

FYI- Low entry baby giveaway at the review blog

I try to keep this blog and my review blog separate most of the time, but occasionally there are incursions. Such as today- I have a giveaway going on at the review blog for a great prize pack of baby stuff from Beech-Nut, and it's not getting too many entries. So you might want to drop by and enter, if you're interested!

Please make it stop

More bad news on the rental property front. Very expensive bad news.  I'm so discouraged.  I know I need to have faith and that God is in control and that at least we have food and each other, but it's been going on so long and it's just one bad thing after another.  And today we had to cancel our night away from the kids during our trip to Vancouver. Even the few hundred dollars that we've saved up for this trip has to be allocated elsewhere.

Merry Christmas to us.  Maybe I'll have more perspective and will be more cheerful tomorrow.  Sorry to be down this close to Christmas.  Cheerful blog posts are my first New Year's resolution :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Another Sunday night

Tomorrow is our last Monday morning of the year! Hurray!  Daniel's off most of the week between Christmas and New Year's, so we just have to get through four more days, then Daddy is home to entertain us until January 3rd!

We had a nice weekend here- which was lovely.  Yesterday we ran errands, then I combined a "drop off Ethan's stool sample at Children's" outing with a "go to the mall with my best friend" outing.  We sat in a ton of traffic, but got to drink coffee and catch up on everything in our lives.  My best friend is also my aunt (one of my dad's much younger foster sisters from the family he lived with when he was a teenager) and my former roommate, so we know pretty much everything about each other, and it's just relaxing and easy to be together. There's something so wonderful about those few friends who know you deeply and around whom you can really be you. 

My aunt/best friend is in a serious relationship now with a guy that the whole family loves and wants to marry ourselves if she doesn't. She's had a run of bad luck before this, so we're all cheering her on (despite the fact that she is my main babysitter and now has actual plans of her own for Saturday night) and praying that he's the one. 

In addition to a nice Saturday, today Ethan "sang" with his Sunday school class at church. In Ethan's world, this meant just standing in the dead center of the group (welcome to your parents' world! Always the shortest, always center, front row...) and waving at Mommy but not singing. Still darned cute though, so who cares if any words came out of his mouth or not.
 My tiny boy in the front row, waving his sheep mask

Then this afternoon we went to the zoo, since it was sunny (and SO cold) and saw tons of animals and hopefully got that out of Ethan's system for a while, since he's been asking endlessly. Oh, and my kids decided to crawl through the nice outdoor kid tunnel! In their church clothes! I about cried on the spot, but managed to remind myself that it's only dirt. And washes out. I hope, I hope...

So it's Monday tomorrow and then we're off to Canada for Christmas! How on earth did Christmas get here already! Ethan asks every day to open presents, and often I let him, because he has tons of small things, and I don't really know how to do Christmas right (didn't celebrate it at all until I was in my twenties), so why not. I think Daniel and I are going to be able to go away for one night during our trip to Canada- sleep with no 1-year-old toes in my side!, so we're uber-excited about that, barring any worse developments on the renter front. Can't wait for things to be done with the legal side of that so that I can share with all of you the details of the rental HORROR of the last three months.

I should go and rescue Daniel- he's fallen asleep on the floor of the kids' room. The only way to keep them both in bed is for one of us to be in there, and he fell asleep on duty tonight. Thankfully the kids haven't noticed that their guard is snoring :)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sweetness

Something has been getting lost lately in my blog posts- the fact that my son is suddenly the sweetest little man ever! I was really scared of having a three-year-old, so far this is a great age. Yes, he's a little more rebellious, but I can deal with being told "no" a few times if it also includes all this cuteness!

Ethan's still incredibly friendly and makes friends everywhere he goes. There's almost nothing that he loves more than holding hands and giving hugs and kisses. When his little friends don't want to hold his hand, it breaks his heart, but, fortunately for me, I'm the backup hand holder and that usually solves the problem.

He's also started a new thing- when we sit on the couch and watch a show, he wants to be leaning on my shoulder and every so often will give me a kiss on my cheek.  Pretty much the best thing ever.
Showing off his Hello Kitty (I don't know which character) watch. The greatest Happy Meal prize! 

And the talking!  Much of the time I have no idea what on earth he's talking about, but that doesn't stop him.  Yesterday when Vivian was napping and I was doing some work for the review blog, he came and sat down at the table with me and just chatted for a while.  Telling me about the music on the radio (he differentiates between Christmas, God and Jesus songs), about his friends in the Christmas cards that are taped up to our closet doors, about the lights and the presents under our little tree, about what the cats were doing under the table. Then he hopped down and went to play.
Chatting with Mommy over a bowl of pudding
I'm also loving that Ethan's favorite book right now is his kids' Bible.  He would happily sit and let me read the entire thing to him. And he loves to talk about God and Jesus. I never imagined discussing theology with a three-year-old, but here I am, and it's so amazing.  I am so very blessed.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Teddy Bear Suite retrospective

Today was our annual outing to the beautiful Teddy Bear Suite here in Seattle. It's become a highlight of our holiday season, and I look forward to getting cute pictures of the kids every year. Easier said than done sometimes though!

With the Big Bear
2007- Ethan, 4 months old

2008- Ethan, 16 months old

2009- Vivian, 6 months old
2009 again- Vivian, 6 months old, Ethan 2 years 4 months

2010- It's mind boggling how much he changed from last year! Ethan, 3 years 4 months
 On the bear bed
 
2007
2008

2009  
2010

2010- Did I mention that Vivian HATED the bears?
With Mommy/Daddy

2007
2008. Love my hair in this one
 
2009
2010  
AND A NEW TRADITION- the kids' first candy canes!



I hope you're all getting out and are having fun doing some holiday activities in your towns!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Me time

Daniel and I are in constant conversation about a lot of things lately. One of those things that we both keep bringing up to the other one is lack of free time.  I'm pretty much always at home with the kids, and he's either working or home with us.  Neither of us really has outside hobbies, other than the occasional run for me or trip to the gym for him. We don't really have friends that we hang out with or activities to attend.

So we're both kind of at a loss for this. We offer each other free time, but the truth is, neither of us knows what to do with it.  We both moved when we got married and switched churches and he switched jobs twice, so that was kind of a natural break from our single lives.We went from our busy individual lives in other cities to a brand new life in a new place as a married couple at a new church, then had kids so fast that we didn't ever expand our lives much past our front door.

All to say, we don't really have social lives, so we spend almost all our evenings and weekends together. Which is fine, except for the little people (who we LOVE!) but who are a little draining and don't so much go to bed at a reasonable time (such as before midnight).

Daniel was pushing me to go out on my own one day this weekend, but I was so at a loss for what to do that I ended up not going.  Shopping is kind of out of the question these days, and I had no idea where else to go. And, honestly, even though I'm around the kids all day, it's lonely. I have conversations with myself all day, and I'm tired of myself by evening most days. The last thing I want on the weekends is to spend time alone.

I'm a little disappointed in myself, honestly. I used to be involved in so many things at my old church, but the same programs and activities don't exist at our current church, and I haven't found my place there.  And, honestly, I miss working. Not everything about it, but there were a lot of things that I did well and that made me feel encouraged and motivated. And I'm disappointed that 3+ years into marriage we still only have one person who's ever watched the kids. And who now has a VERY busy social life of her own.  We keep saying we need to find a babysitter or two that we really trust with the kids, but then we make excuses and don't do it. So we're not recharging as individuals or as a couple. And I KNOW both are important, I really do. 

I just don't want to wake up 10 years from now and realize that Daniel and I have said all there is to say to each other, or both get totally bored of each other since we're becoming so one-dimensional. Just not sure how to fix it right now. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

So fast

I was just rocking Vivian to sleep and having conversations with myself in my head while I sat there. Wondering just how long I was going to have to sit on the floor and rock. Wondering if it would be a terrible thing to quietly ask Daniel to bring me my iPod so that I could listen to podcasts while I sat in the dark (I do not do "nothing" well. At all.) Wondering what the boys were watching on TV in the living room. Wondering why Vivian can't let me be more than 2 feet away from her for more than 3 minutes.

Seriously, pre-rocking I had decided to take a break from the kids and take a bath, only to be serenaded by the sound of Miss Vivian screaming outside my door.  I keep explaining to her that Daddy is actually the nicer parent, by far, and much more patient and much more of a pushover, but to no avail.

Anyway, I was sitting there on the floor, and suddenly realized two things. One- she barely fits on my lap anymore. That's the drawback of being 5 feet tall- the kids outgrow the curling up on my lap comfortably stage really quickly.  Ethan's definitely past the comfort stage for that, particularly since he's got no padding and is just a little bundle of elbows and knees.  But Vivian's rapidly outgrowing me too, and I didn't notice it happening..

The other thing I realized was that I was sitting on the floor next to her toddler bed.  And on the wall above her not-a-crib-anymore, is not the baby decor that I put up before Ethan was born, but big girl wall decor.  We redecorated this weekend and went ahead and converted Vivian's crib to a toddler bed, since she doesn't actually sleep there anyway.

The cliche about "days are long but years are short" is SO true, isn't it?  Most days find me practically curled up into the fetal position and exhausted from referring fights and being climbed on and begged to read book after book after book and negotiating meals with Ethan. But at the same time, I suddenly have a little boy who is going to be going to school. ON THE BUS!!! in a few months (I really have no idea when) and a little girl who is sleeping in a real bed and who runs and talks in phrases, not just words, and is 18 months old going on 14 years old. 

It's a weird stage for all of us. I'm still not much of a kid person, so I'm glad in a lot of ways as they grow up and become more interesting (to me at least).  But at the same time it's so weird and sad and scary and oh-my-goodness-they're-growing-up-so-fast!!! I'm so blessed with these kids. I hope I can remember more of that this week and focus less on the stressful things.

On a related note, if you're a praying person, we could use prayers for Ethan. We were so encouraged by his eating after his stomach flu, but lately he's stopped eating again and on our home scale he's now down to 25 pounds (He's 3 years and 4 months old, so that's in the 1-2nd percentile). I'm going to take him in to the doctor this week for an official weight check and to chat about what to do next.  Still wishing I could loan Ethan about 15 pounds from my hips. That would solve problems for both of us! :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

It's Friday, hallelujah!

First off, the thing with the renter. Seriously, every time I think it can't get more ridiculous, it does.  This weekend should be especially interesting. Wish I could say more, but can't. Would really appreciate continued prayer for this though!

I'm back on Weight Watchers again. Got on the scale the other day and realized that I'd gotten up to 10 pounds over my fattest non-pregnant weight.  I'm trying to exercise, but with sick kids and no sleep, that's not happening often enough to make up for my fatness, so dieting must be done.  I picked a good time to go back on WW though, they've just totally redone the system, and I think the new one is great. My main complaint with the old system was that calories were more or less equal. Now there's much more focus on fruits and veggies and healthy eating in general, which is great.  It fits more with the whole food, non-processed direction that we'd been going here, so I'm loving it!

And I'm pretty much the only person in the world who doesn't have to worry about holiday weight gain. We were invited to a party for tomorrow night, but are babysitter-less, so can't make it.  Other than that though, there are no holiday events in my future, and Christmas is pretty much just your average day, food-wise, up at my in-laws. Oh, and I don't like Chinese food very much, so I usually end up losing weight when we go to Canada, so it's good time to start a diet.

As for the sick kids, I'm beginning to despair of ever getting them well again. Maybe 2011 will be a year of health for us?

Hope everyone has a great weekend- I'm vowing to leave the house at some point in time tomorrow! Wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Just need to vent for a moment

I mentioned something on Facebook the other day about our rental situation and was horrified to see how many friends are also going through messy rental evictions.  I'm sad to know that other people are going through this kind of stress.

We just found out today that WE are responsible for the building fine because our tenant has a friend who loiters in the building and who has been told on five occasions that it's not okay, and we've had discussions with her about it. And it keeps happening and we are on the hook for it.

The thing that really is breaking my heart about all of this, other than the stress of trying to make the mortgage and dealing with lies about upcoming payments, is that we no longer can afford even a simple getaway for our fifth wedding anniversary. We'd been dreaming about a trip and then realized that a big trip wasn't possible, so were looking at short flights and then realized that even cheap flights weren't possible and then were thinking about something in the next city and now we're realizing that our budget is more like food from the dollar sushi restaurant.  Happy anniversary.

Feel free to ignore me- I'm just feeling sorry for myself because the kids have been SO whiny and SO clingy today (why do those two have to coincide?) and we've been sick forever and I'm just really tired and discouraged and mad at my husband for renting to this person in the first place. And I keep trying to not say "I told you so", because I wasn't happy about this tenant from the beginning, for a variety of reasons, but he didn't listen. And I know that he knows that and I just need to shut up, but I only succeed in that about half the time.

I am so tired.

And...... repeat.

I swear to you all- I am living in some sort of freakish time warp! We have now been sick for over a month.  In all sorts of various combinations of sicknesses.  One person will have a cold and the other the stomach flu. Then the next week it's fevers with coughs.  Then it's vomiting with no symptoms. Then it's just general crankiness. And lets grow some molars! 


This week started out with fevers. Which I can more or less treat and ignore. But this morning we added in vomiting and bad coughs, so I had to cancel this morning's outing. I swear, the kids have some sense for when we have actual plans (which is not often) and immediately get sick.

So it's going to be another inside day today. We're running out of rainy/sick day activities, so it's time to search the internet for ideas.  Mommy's starting to go a little nuts...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The long-awaited assessment

This morning Ethan and I left home early to drive to the north side of Seattle for his developmental assessment. Which took place in the oldest school building that I have ever seen. We arrived a bit early, but they were ready for us and things got underway right away and moved along quickly after that. 

Ethan did great- the ladies were concerned that he wouldn't want to leave me to go do some of the evaluations, but I informed them that Ethan has no issues with being away from me at all, and he definitely didn't.  He had a great time playing with the therapists while I tried desperately to remember things like when he started to sit up or talk or crawl. 

Several hours later, we got the summary info, and he does in fact qualify for developmental preschool, for a variety of reasons.  It's weird to say I'm glad- yes, I'm thrilled that he's going to get help and that he now gets to attend preschool, since it was not in our budget to send him to a regular school.  But it's still a little weird to be having conversations about severely delayed development and IEPs and things like that.

All Ethan knows is that he's going to school! And he is so excited! 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Food

I realized something yesterday- thoughts about food occupy about 95% of my waking hours.  The kids wake up at the same time I do, so from the second my feet hit the floor in the morning, it's all about eating.  What will they eat for breakfast. Does everyone have their food and drink. Is there any hope that Mommy can actually make and consume a cup of coffee before the morning gets too crazy.  Is there any food to send with Daniel for lunch in the fridge or freezer or cupboards. 

Then it's on to snack time and trying to ignore Vivian's constant requests for "more cookies?" and convincing Ethan to eat something other than chicken nuggets.  Followed soon by a lunch of chicken nuggets and peas and a small sample of some other food that I try to sneak onto the kids' plates in the hopes that they will eat it without noticing that it's a chicken nugget.

Yes, I am already developing a love-hate relationship with chicken nuggets.  On one hand, I am SO glad that there's a food that will bring Ethan to the table and that gives us some peace from the "just take one bite of lunch, please!" battle.  But on the other hand, I saw an episode of Jamie Oliver's show in the school kitchens about chicken nuggets and have been kind of grossed out by them since then.  The solution for this is to go back to the nicer whole meat nuggets that I was buying at Trader Joes, but I have to find some way to 1) keep myself from eating them and 2) not think about how much of our income is going to pay for fancy chicken nuggets.

My doctor was reminding me yesterday, at Vivian's 18-month-appointment, of the importance of thinking more "big picture" with the kids' nutrition. Try to get in veggies a few times per week and don't beat myself up if it doesn't happen every day. Keep introducing other options, but be okay with chicken nuggets if that's what it takes.  Other than Ethan's weight and the other sensory stuff, he's healthy. Even though he's eaten almost nothing for 19 months and has gotten his nutrition from a high-calorie, sugar-filled drink. He's still okay. And if he's okay on that, a few months of chicken nuggets isn't going to hurt him either. 

The other reason that food is taking over my mind is that, out of the four of us in this condo, there is ONE person who is at what would considered to be a normal weight. And that's Vivian. I fall on the severely overweight side, while the men in my life just don't really like food. Daniel especially loses weight when he's stressed, and we all know that's been an issue lately. You should see him walking around, with his tiny jeans on and the belt in the tightest notch, still having to tug at his waistband to keep them up since he's lost weight lately. And they don't make smaller jeans in men's sizes. Yeah.  Not intimidating to a food-loving woman of Germanic descent. :)

So I've got two people to fatten up, one to slim down, and one to keep on the right track and introduce to new tastes and flavors.  Overall, we've really been trying lately to eat more whole foods, more fresh foods and steer away from the packaged foods completely. I haven't been worrying as much about calories as quality of the food. Which is probably good for my health, but has packed on most of the weight I lost a few months ago. I still need to amp up the exercise and work on moderation in my food choices. I just keep wishing that this got easier as I got older (and possibly wiser) rather than more complicated, as I now have post 2 babies and 2 c-sections body and a slowing metabolism, plus a crazyish life.

Seriously. Adulthood. Complicated!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

18 months old

It's so hard to believe that it's been exactly 18 months since I hugged Ethan goodbye, waved to my in-laws, and waddled off down the hallway with Daniel, on our way to check in for my c-section.  I remember how surreal it all was- going from a normal morning to having a baby in the late afternoon.  With no labor pains in between!

And now I have a scarily grown-up little person in my house. One who has distinct opinions about things. Who nods and says "yes", or looks at me with scorn and says a succinct "no".  One who begs for "again, again" when she wants to be tickled or swung around or pushed on her rocking horse.  A little girl who doesn't seem to realize that her brother is still (a bit) bigger than her and that shows no fear when fighting for a toy.  I'm pretty sure my 18-month-old thinks that she's at least 3. She has long conversations with her favorite stuffed animals. About what, I don't know, but it's still pretty cute.

Vivian has piles of personality. She loves to follow Ethan around and try to get him to drink his milk or take a bite of her snack. Unless it's a cookie, in which case she will not share, of course.  She is shy around people at first, but then turns into a gigantic flirt and quickly figures out how to get the people around her to cater to her every whim. Which we do, most of the time.

She's a good eater and a terrible sleeper. Still sleeping with us mostly (I know!), but usually kicking me less, so it's not so bad.  Lately she's been going to bed fine, then somehow knows the exact moment when we're heading to sleep ourselves, at which time she wakes up and demands to join us.  We joked last night that maybe we should just leave the TV on in the living room all night, to attempt to confuse her into thinking that we're still awake.

And she's growing well- on schedule for height and weight, so that's great.  Her cheeks have thankfully not gone away yet, and still demand munching on a regular basis. How said I am going to be when she outgrows the chubby cheeks and the four extra chins that she's carrying around right now.

Happy 18 months, Miss Vivian. It's been an adventure- you make us laugh and cry and there's never a dull moment with you. We love you!


Definitely 18 months old

Cheering up

So grown up

My version of American Gothic

It's hard to see, but Ethan is wearing V's 1 1/2 sticker.  Because whatever Baby does, the Boy has to do too :)