Relaxing Doesn't Make Babies

July 4th Party

Jul 7, 2013 — 1:07 am

My kids are amazing people. We had such a good time at the 4th of July party that we go to every year – I think I may have more fun now than I did before we had kids, when we could stay as long as wanted and drink and socialize. Not that I didn’t have fun then, just that my kids are pretty awesome and I love hanging out with them. :)

This was Kate’s first time using her new Puddle Jumper flotation device. She was super excited, it just arrived yesterday and she kept talking about wearing her turtle. As much as she loved it she did not really trust that it was going to hold her up, there was nothing for her to hold on to so she was clinging to my hands and panicking for a bit. She wanted to sit on the stairs, mostly. Although she decided to copy the big kids and jump off the diving board! I really did not think she was going to do it, I fully expected her to get to the end then turn around and get back off. No, she crouched down to grab my hands and jumped almost on top of me! Caught me very off-guard. She was shocked at going under the water, but didn’t freak out the way I expected… she actually went back and did it again a few more times! I really was proud of her for being brave and going under like that, she’s normally too timid for such things.

Ember loved being in the water, as always, and I set her in the baby float for someone to watch her while I helped Kate. She’s okay in the float but she gets mad that she can’t directly reach the water, she’d far rather be held and swooped and swished around. She was totally putting her face in the water! I showed her how to blow bubbles and she’d just lean forward and dunk her face. She spluttered a bit, but laughed. Awesome. We also discovered that if she’s walking around poolside (I put her up there to go see Denis) she will walk right over the edge into the pool. I caught her, but jeez. She thought that was super fun… I just have to teach her to only do it when I’m there to catch her! This kid is definitely not timid at all. She’s going to scare me more than a few times, isn’t she.

There’s always a huge spread of food at this party and I stuffed myself on various things like potato salad, coleslaw, watermelon, burgers… and cookies and brownies. Kate did really well, eating a hot dog, a piece of chicken, pasta salad, and later two more hot dog weiners. Whoa. I guess lately when she keeps saying she’s hungry (every 10 seconds) she’s not just doing it to drive me insane (not entirely, at least). Ember had cut up fruit and a bit of burger.

There was a band playing for a little bit. Kate shot up and said, “Mama! Sounds like drums! Go see drums!” So we had to go see. She didn’t seem to understand that no, she couldn’t get on the platform and help them play the drums. (Did I mention how much she loves music and musical instruments? One of her favorite things to do around the house is to get Ember and me to help her play music with the drum, guitar and xylophone.) Kate can be reasoned with; Ember on the other hand just kept walking (well, more like frankenstein-monster-stumbling down the slope) right back there over and over. She ended up spending some time on my back in the carrier, I was hoping she’d fall asleep but she kept flirting with everyone around us. I would have left her there but it was so humid we were both sticky, yuck. She did end up falling asleep in the stroller after Den pushed her around the field for a while.

I took Kate back into the pool, it was quieter and I didn’t have to worry about Ember. I had such a fantastic time swimming with Kate. She climbed down the steps and stood for a while on the bottom one, getting used to the feeling of the puddle jumper holding her afloat. I had drifted a few feet away when she leaned too far and lost touch with the stair. She gave a yelp but when I asked her if she wanted me to help (tip with a three year old: even if you think they need help, ask – they get pissed if you are incorrect) and she replied, “No! I do it!” And she did!! She is not great at kicking her feet yet, but she did it enough that she very slowly moved back towards the stairs. Then she stood up with a triumphant “I did it!!” She practiced that on and off the stairs and then later decided to swim all the way down the pool to the ladder, with me right there but not touching her. Super super impressed with her today! I am also enjoying not having her clinging to me the entire time she’s in the pool. I get to actually swim? Crazy talk.

Ember was super tired by the end of the evening, she slept in the stroller for a half an hour or so but she needed to go home and go to bed… plus it was past Kate’s bedtime too. And the mosquitos were coming out. (Truth be told I think the mosquitos motivated my leaving more than the kids, ha.) On the way home I saw above the treeline fireworks from the city’s firework display in a local park. I pulled into a deserted parking lot and pulled Kate out of her car seat so she could watch them for a couple minutes. Poor Ember was crying so we didn’t stay too long, but I was really glad I took a minute to show Kate, she was so sweet with her cheek against mine, saying “Wooowwww, pretty!”

Both kids were asleep shortly after getting home and I’m just sitting here marveling at how lucky we are.


Jun 30, 2013 — 12:30 am

What is it about children and bathrooms? Do they glow to child-vision? Play beautiful symphonies? I just can’t figure out why it draws them in. Actually, yes I can: it’s the water.

We keep our bathroom door closed in general, due to dogs and cats and small children, but now that Ember is hustling around it has to stay shut ALL the time. The girl is obsessed. If it was just throwing toys into the bathtub I could deal, but she now tries splashing in the toilet water. Yuck. She is fast, too; the second that door cracks open she’s bee-lining for the door and scooting in. Some days I feel like I waste half my day pulling her out of the bathroom and shutting the door. (How does it always end up open? Are there ghosts in this house? Perhaps ghosts named Kate and Natalie?)

Kate is past playing in the toilet or unraveling toilet paper (though I caught her a few times carefully tearing square after square of TP off the roll and throwing them into the toilet), but she loves the sink. She has a step-stool we keep in there (because clearly it’s not crowded enough in my very small bathroom) so she can reach, which is very handy, but she loves washing her hands and drinking water from the faucet. I admit sometimes I let her do it – errr, pretend I don’t see her – just to occupy her for a few minutes, but after a while there is water puddles all over my bathroom and she has soaped and rinsed her hands twelve times so enough, get out of my bathroom.

The real problem is the combination of the two of them. Kate is figuring out how to open the bathroom door – it’s a little sticky, so more difficult than others in the house, and now that she’s potty trained if there’s one room I want her to be able to get into it’s the room with the toilet. But, being three, she is slow as molasses. She’ll open the door and then stand in the doorway, hanging off the door handle.

“Mama, look!”
“I did it! I opened the door!”
“Yes you did, now go potty!”
“Mama! Look mama!”
“I saw! Now go potty! Close the door!”
“Hahaha. Look mama…” (this is when her attention span wanders and she starts playing with the bathroom scale or cupboard door)
“Kate, GO POTTY. Close the door!”

Then time runs out, Ember reaches the door and shoves it open to dash inside. Kate’s now saying, “No Ember, no!” and then shrieking for me to come get Ember because she’s touching the toilet. Well, right, that’s why I wanted you to close the door to keep her out of the bathroom, since she does this every damn time.

Even worse is when I want to use the bathroom, say to brush my hair. Kate opens the door and comes running in to “help” me and “do it too”, which from what I can tell generally involves banging the step-stool into my legs and shoving me away from the sink. I trip over Ember, who is dashing for the toilet, and often I don’t grab her until her hand is in the toilet water, so I get to wash her hands off. I escort Ember to the hallway, where she starts sobbing, and turn around to the door being shut in my face. I open it (carefully, bonked noggins happen) and start convincing Kate to please wait in the hallway, as Ember does another beeline for the toilet – this time I catch her before she gets past me. By the time I’m done both kids are wet, whine-crying and my hair is still not brushed.

I suppose I need to purchase a toilet lock.

So fast

Jun 22, 2013 — 12:29 am

It’s really crazy how fast they change. Just a month ago I had a crawling baby with no teeth. She was most definitely a baby. Now I have a full time walker who has three teeth poking through and at least three more coming soon. I look at her walking around my house and I’m just so puzzled – proud, but puzzled. How do they figure it out so quickly? How does she look so much older in such a short time span?

She is thrilled with herself, of course. Once she realized she could take steps all on her own she was obsessed. She, unlike Kate, learned to stand up on her own at the same time as walk, so she was just constantly standing up to walk a few steps and fall to her knees… then she’d stand up and do it again. Once she could walk in a straight line she was pivoting and turning and now she’s almost running. Okay, it’s more like drunk-zombie-toddler-fast-walking but it’s considerably faster than the halting movements of a week ago.

I am actually quite happy about the walking because it makes my life in public a whole lot easier. Babies crawling around on dirty public floors is kind of gross. Now I can put shoes on her and let her toddle around in stores, parks, libraries, wherever. She’s also less likely to find things to put things in her mouth, which is all to the good.


I have been getting plenty of chances to give Kate cuddles lately, as she is seeking attention and doing a lot of Ember-mimickry, so fake-crying, climbing onto my lap, pretending to learn to walk. It can be frustrating, as generally she wants attention because Ember is getting it… and Ember is getting it because she’s miserable about those teeth and the lack of sleep they bring. But regardless of the poor timing I still really try to put aside some time to snuggle my big girl. She’s wearing size 3T now and I am just amazed at how big she has gotten. She’s still not tall for her age, but they certainly do sprout legs! Legs and arms and even her torso is so long!

She also unfortunately is getting a little bit sassy. Not sassy in a crazy way, but I will stop what I’m doing and quirk an eyebrow at her as if to say, “Excuse me, what?” Namely she has taken to yelling demands at me. “I need a cwacker,” doesn’t work (now why wouldn’t that magically whip me into getting her a cracker, hmmm, let me think on that…) so clearly yelling “MAMA MAMA I NEED A CWACCKEEERRRR!” is going to succeed. Right? Yeah… no. I try to stay calm and just say, “That is not how we ask for things,” but sometimes I snap at her just a little. Especially if she’s been using her really loud voice repeatedly. On the plus side it doesn’t take much to remind her of manners and she’s getting pretty good at asking nicely… you know, when she wants to.

Not a baby anymore

Jun 9, 2013 — 1:04 am

We have a walker! It’s amazing how fast they pick up on it. She’s been letting go to stand for some time now, May 25 she took five-ish tiny halting steps with encouragement. Then right around her birthday (June 4) she started standing up and walking, just because. Now it’s common to turn around and see her wobbling her way across the room, looking pretty darn pleased with herself. Then she’ll trip, land on her knees, and continue on her way crawling.

We also have two teeth coming in, also the week of her birthday. One is now clinking, the other wasn’t quite through yet when I checked the other day. She’s not very fond of me sticking my fingers in her mouth. She’s not been sleeping her best, but it’s not been horrible either so for that I am thankful! Kate was unbelievable – screaming all night long, only sleeping on my chest, sobbing during the day. Ember’s just a little whiny and wakes frequently at night. I don’t even bother dosing her with anything unless she seems really angry and can’t sleep.

I made a cake for her birthday, mostly because I love cake and why wouldn’t I make a cake if I had half an excuse? But also because it was her birthday and I wanted a photo. I gave her a slice of cake on a plate, took some photos, and even gave her a fork. Why not, right? I’ve never given her one before (she’s nabbed Kate’s a few times), or even a spoon at the same time as food (too messy), but she really seems to get excited about the concept. And there I stood blinking as she used the fork to eat the cake. She held it properly, stabbed the cake, brought pieces to her mouth to eat. Perfectly. What just happened here? I guess she has a lot of experience with other tools, she’s always loved using drumsticks and toy screwdrivers and spoons. She has very good fine motor control.

Her two favorite things in the world right now are my keys and my pants drawstring. (The drawstring on Den’s hoodie was a favorite all winter.) She gives a shriek/yell when she hears my keys and will dive right out of my arms for them. She sobs when I take them away. What is so utterly fascinating about keys? I have clipped on a few spare no-idea-what-these-do keys, and my entire ring is different things on a caribiner so I can un-clip what I need without disturbing her.

She also has a longstanding obsession with climbing onto Kate’s little trampoline – she holds on and bounces! Now she is obsessed with Kate’s little toddler chair. Ember absolutely loves climbing up to stand on it, turning around, sliding down to sit on her bum, then sliding down and forward until her feet touch the ground and she stands up. Then she shrieks with laughter, turns around, and flings herself back on it. I think she may be a climber. I already caught her standing on the arm of the chair, holding the windowsill.

She’s not big on toys. She likes objects, like Little People, that can be dumped out of bins and tossed around. She’s started putting things into containers now, which is really cute to watch. She likes scribbling on the magnetic drawing pads we have, she’s been doing that for months now (see above about good fine motor control!). Mostly she enjoys dumping out containers. Or, even better, throwing things into the bathtub. Any chance she gets with the bathroom door open she beelines in there and throws all available tub toys and shampoo bottles into the tub with their satisfying clang-clang-clang noises. For her birthday I (we) got her a sippy cup and two board books. Super fancy this year!

So happy birthday to Ember, who has suddenly morphed into a toddler. I’m not all emotional, just kind of left gaping at the year that’s gone. Also thinking that I have a lot of scrapbooking to do. Damn I’m behind.

Nana is here!

May 31, 2013 — 11:23 pm

My mom is visiting. For the first week Kate’s attitude was, “YAY someone to pay attention to me all the time! Let me show Nana all my things!” The second week she started insisting, “NO, Mama do it!” This is the third week. She is a full on hot mess. Every time Nana tries to do something for her she melts down crying and screeching. So I end up doing everything like normal, while silently apologizing to my mom and hoping that she understands that it’s nothing personal. Kate is also waking up at 6am most days (2 hours earlier than usual) because she rouses a little bit, notices some sunlight, and then announces “Mama! The sun is up! It is time to get up!” The 2 hours less sleep is not improving her mood whatsoever.

Joining in on the chaos is Ember, who not only decided to take her first steps (yay developmental milestones!) but also to finally cut her first two teeth. She is unhappy and cries every time I put her down. Thankfully she can be distracted with toys and TV – at least until she sees me, then she melts down crawling after me crying “mamamama!”

Needless to say, my hopes of getting lots of things accomplished and spending time by myself has not worked out according to plan. We did go out on a dinner date without the children, but Ember was miserable while I was gone. She’s just hurting and wants her Mama. :(

We went to Ikea today, which is a long drive but worth it if I need some furniture. Kate is 1″ too short for the child drop off room – gah. Sometimes it sucks having a short child! (Why do they have a height requirement and not age? I am assuming because you can quickly assess height.) She wanted to ride in the cart, no she wanted to walk, no she wanted to hold the cart, no she wanted to PUSH the cart (into a display or two). She found some toys to play with and then suddenly became deaf when I said it was time to go. And when I crouch down and get her to look at me so she understands what I’m saying she pulls against my arm and does that crazy lunatic laugh that tells me it’s going to be a very long day.

We got all the way through the store without too much issue (other than the above), got what I needed, put it all in the truck and went to get food. And what’s when I noticed that Ember was missing a shoe. Brand new shoes, of course.

Ordered the chicken strips and fries for Kate and I. I should not have ordered her the kids meal – she ate all her fries and only half the chicken.

I think right now I’m parenting “good enough” – as in, “Kate ate some of the chicken, that’s good enough,” or, “Mom distracted Ember with the TV so I could clean out my bedroom, that’s good enough.”

On the good side of things Ember is at least sleeping better! The first week my mom was here Ember was not sleeping at all – waking ever hour all night, sleeping fitfully, crying and fighting me. I took her to the doctor and sure enough she had a ear infection. She just finished the antibiotics and the change was within days of starting it. It’s amazing how you can end up down that rabbit hole and not realize how far out of whack things are until they are back to normal!

FB April

May 29, 2013 — 10:59 pm

A little late, but here’s my copy and paste of kid-related FB statuses in April. The theme of this month is Kate no longer napping regularly and Ember gets sick (again). I haven’t really slept well since. (Did I before? I forget.)


April 30
Kate was playing with her animals in her farm. Ember crawls over and Kate starts crying. I look over and Ember is slamming the wagon and animals around on the floor, laughing, while Ember sits to the side, sobbing hysterically as if her entire village just got squashed by Godzilla. Which, in a way, I guess it did.

April 30
“Kate go poopies on the potty and get a CHOCOLATE!” At least she’s figured out the important part.

April 30
Ember likes to crawl over and stand up holding on to Kate’s little table. This morning she did it while Kate was eating cereal at the table and, as per usual she grabbed her food away from Ember and held it up above her head. Except it was cereal, not a cheese stick or something…. and it dumped all over Kate’s head. Much sobbing ensued…

April 29
Den said Kate is attempting to be devious…. but failing.
“Hey daddy! Go over dere and watch Strawberry Shortcake!! Go OVER DERE!”
“Kate, you are not getting up on that chair, and no I do not want to watch Strawberry Shortcake!”

April 28
Two children asleep… In my vehicle… In the driveway. I get to sit on the porch and enjoy the sunshine in peace and quiet!

April 27
Ember starts crawling across the room whimpering, heading straight for me. “Eh ah ah ah wah!” Suddenly she notices the bathroom door is open. Detour, detour, happily charging down the hall with a shriek of excitement.

April 27
My gosh someone is wicked cranky today. Unfortunately so is the toddler.

April 26
My kids are attempting to kill me by refusing to let me sleep at night.

April 25
Brought out her tricycle for the first time this year and she was able to pedal on her own!

April 25
Ember is now travelling by holding on to furniture and lets go to stand for a few balanced moments. Getting closer…

April 24
Apparently there is a windows advanced power setting for what function you want the power button to play: power on/off, hibernate, sleep, nothing. Ah ha!! Mama: 1, baby: 0. I wonder how long it will take for the fun to wear off now that the button doesn’t do anything!

April 24
One person in this house really needs a nap. Unfortunately it is not either of the children.

April 23
“Mama, get me my puppy now!” Yeah um… how about no. Try again.

April 23
So proud of Ember! I left her at the child care at the YMCA so I could take an exercise class (with Kate, of course), expecting her to be Very Unhappy. (She’s going through a clingy want-mama phase.) But after I sat with her for 10 minutes before leaving she ended up crawling around playing for the hour I was gone! Whew.

April 23
I said to Ember, “Hello my darling!”
Kate: “No Mama, that’s Ember! That’s your Ember! Not your Darling!”

April 21
Kate wakes up crying and I go in there to give hugs and calm her down. I ask her if she had a dream and she cries, “No, I hurt! Merlin scratched me!” Awwww. That’s the first time she’s ever described a dream. :(

April 21
Oh, and tonight after we put Kate to bed I was changing Ember into PJs and I suddenly looked at Den and said, “Shit. I think I forgot to put a diaper on Kate.” We went in there and no diaper. And she had already peed in her bed. -.- Mama fail.

April 20
Today Ember demonstrated that she knows how to climb stairs, and she knows how to get off Kate’s trampoline feet-first. Huh.

April 20
Toddlerese: “He drapes on me!”
Den: “He’s draped on you? What the heck? Where did you pick that up?”

April 19
This morning I woke up to a soaking wet baby in my bed – always love that! Stripped her down naked and moved to the other side of the bed to nurse her. She managed to fall asleep sitting up, folded over almost in half with her upper body on my belly, completely naked. And there she slept. If only I had a camera within reach!

April 17
She sees daddy with ice cream and hightails it over there.

April 17
Kate, I love you, but you are lucky it is not acceptable to use duct tape on small children while younger siblings are sleeping.

April 17
We went to tour the preschool today and I told Kate we were going to see her new school. As I pulled into the parking lot she said, “YAY!! My new school!!” She was disappointed when she learned she wasn’t actually getting dropped off today. I’m thinking she is not going to have any trouble come September. ;)

April 15
For a minute there I thought I’d successfully transferred both sleeping children to their beds. But when I picked up the phone to make a call I heard Kate running around in her room and then she opened up her door and was noisy. Which woke Ember up. So much for a phone call. Grrrr.

April 15
Just this week Ember has started doing three different things: pointing, stretching her arms to help me get shirts on her, and (finally!) rolling over!

April 14
We went to watch Den play some baseball today. Kate clapped every time he swung the bat (even if he missed the ball). She clapped when he ran. She clapped when he got to home plate and scored a run. As he came in off the field she ran towards him shouting, “Yay Daddy!! I so proud of you!!!” Died laughing.

April 14
So since that one week when Kate figured out she can let herself out of her room she doesn’t do it anymore. I never put on the doorknob covers. She just woke up from her nap and I hear her saying, “Daddy? It’s wake-up time!” And now she’s singing songs in bed. She’ll stay there until I go get her.

April 13
Error in planning: new computer tower has a large lit-up-blue power button on the front. Guess who thinks that is really awesome. -.-

April 12
She won’t let me put her in bed. :/ [pic of Ember asleep on my shoulder]

April 12
I hear Kate say in a mildly alarmed voice, “Mama! Mama!” I roll my eyes slightly as I turn to her and say, “What Kate?” She points at Ember the same time as I see her: standing next to Kate’s table, dumping out an entire container of pureed sweet potato all over the table and squishing it around with her hand. Gaahhhh. Just had a bath, too.

April 12
Wake up this morning to the sound of Kate saying “Help!” I go in her room to find her sitting on her bed with her footie pajamas mostly off, but stuck around her ankles, and she’s trying to nurse her baby doll.

April 11
You know you’re nearing the end of your rope when you look over and think, “What the hell is Kate watching?? Oh who cares, she’s sitting down and quiet.”

April 11
I just love it when my baby refuses to sleep even though she’s really really tired and crying…. said no mother ever.

April 11
Ember has discovered power cables. Whee. I am so excited. (<-- sarcasm) April 10 Goodness Ember was cranky today... so unusual for her! April 9 Teething: the thing you think it has to be every time your baby is screeching and seems to be in pain, even though you have never seen any hint of a tooth. April 8 Ember woke up but is still so tired. We watched tv together and now she's hanging out on my lap smiling at me, making soft little babbles, and leaning her forehead on my shoulder. She is just so sweet! Love this kid. So lucky to have her. April 7 Spent a good chunk of time today looking for the third piece of "treats" (pretend food). Could not find it anywhere, gave up. Kate just walked up to me with it. I'm all, "Where did you find that Kate?!" and she stares blankly at me and says, "Dunno!" Damnit, I want to know where it was!! April 7 The girls are pulling the table back and forth. Kate keeps saying "My table! My table!" and Ember is just giggling. April 7 Until you have dealt with toddler meltdowns and overtired/possibly teething baby crankiness all day you can't truly appreciate how much fun it is to go grocery shopping alone. I danced down every aisle. April 7 Kate insisted I lay down on the floor - really not comfortable. And she kept saying "real trees." I couldn't figure out what the heck she was doing, pretending to be trees? Until it clicked and I realized she was acting out a scene from the Lorax. When I finally did lay down next to her she got up and said "Mama flip me!" and then jabbed her finger at me and said, "You're Audrey!" April 6 2 days late, but Ember is 10 months old! And still no teeth, hehe. She loves speed-crawling, following Mama around, pulling to stand on everything, throwing toys, and putting small objects in her mouth. Dislikes include getting her nose wiped and not having mama's boobs available when she is tired. (Now that I think about it, she doesn't have many dislikes!) Oh, and she still won't roll over... If she falls onto her back she's stuck like a turtle until I flip her over. Weird kid. April 4 Took the girls to the store. On the 5 minute trip back home one of the two fell asleep... But not the one I was expecting. At least she transferred to bed so I get to watch the TV! April 4 Nothing like falling asleep on the couch and waking up to discover she found the markers. April 3 "A bigger dot!" I guess she likes that book! [pic of a scribbled circle] April 3 Being a parent to a nearly-three-year-old is akin to being a cheering section/motivational speaker for a sloth. Seriously, it shouldn't take 10 minutes and several attempts to pick up 15 beans off the floor. April 3 Vacuuming accident today... Kate sucked up one of her bead necklaces. She is very distraught. I tried to rescue it from the vacuum bag but apparently going through the hose broke all the beads apart. :/ April 3 Kate has not been listening to me lately and I have to repeat a "NO, don't touch that!" a couple times with emphasis. Well when it sinks in she's started getting upset, running into her room, and slamming the door to cry on her bed. Seriously people... she's not even 3. April 1 We are moving into that stage of nursing an older baby where she fidgets, grabs my hair, smacks my chest, pinches my back (!!) and then when she is done tries grabbing my nipple with her iron fists. Wheee! April 1 I gave Kate a bunch of stickers to decorate the [plastic] eggs. She has a bucket full of undecorated eggs and one egg with every single sticker on it. April 1 It is 9:45 and I need a nap. Too bad the kids don't agree.

Birthday Party!

May 21, 2013 — 11:19 pm

Gosh. My head hurts.

I’ve been taking photos rather than writing. My bad. But it takes all my free time in the evenings to edit my pics. I’ve recently decided to start using Flickr again. So if I have no words at least I have that! Here’s my photostream. I’m only posting the best ones, not flooding it all. We’ll see. I’ve really been practicing and improving (I think). It’s fun… and frustrating.

Then of course there was birthday party planning. The girls’ joint party was on Sunday! We had 9 kids and 17 adults, which would not have been nearly as big a deal if it had been an outdoor bbq as planned. Unfortunately it decided to rain and then thunder and storm that day and we all ended up inside our very small house. I had decorations and posters to put up, tables and chairs, food… and a very messy house. I mean, I had cleaned the bathroom and kitchen a presentable amount, but the house was in no way, shape or form ready to have people milling about in all corners. 3 hours before the party was to start was when I realized everything would have to move inside and flipped my shit just a little bit. (Den will say it was more than a little bit. Ignore him. He definitely does not have any text messages to prove otherwise. Nope.) We hastily stuffed all the clutter into our bedroom – which was exceedingly scary when you see it all in one mountainous pile like that – vacuumed, moved furniture, tossed the cats into the basement. But it DID turn out well and I guess that’s all that really matters. I did have a headache, though.

This year, unlike the previous two years, I actually picked a theme: the Lorax! I made tissue paper truffula trees, a life-size paper Lorax, and everything was pink, orange and yellow. I think it was pretty fabulous. Kate seemed quite thrilled, which of course is supposed to be the point. (It’s not really… not when they are 1 and 3. You know it’s for me!)

One of the more brilliant ideas was using a small, cheap kids pool as a ball pit. I did a very small one on Kate’s first birthday party (outside!) which went over well with the little ones, and now that the kids are all bigger I got a bigger pool. It thankfully fit into Kate’s bedroom. We didn’t have a lot of balls, not even enough to cover the bottom of the pool, but you know what? They didn’t care. That thing was like a kid bug zapper… drew them all right in there! I did have some regrets that most of Kate’s friends are boys, also that those boys have really good throwing arms. Balls were whizzing all over the room and I and the other parents may have ducked out to avoid getting injured. There was also a lot of screaming – happy over-excited screaming – mostly from my daughter, apparently. She recently picked that nifty trick up and yikes. I’m glad she only does that on special occasions. The others were all in on it too, so it was full on cacophony in my house.

The menfolk all escaped outside to grill the burgers in the drizzle. They said it was much quieter out there.

We had burgers and hot dogs, pasta salad and fruit salad. And potato salad, but I kind of forgot to put that out until the end. There was also mint mousse cake, which, yes, is as good as it sounds. There was none left over. Note to self: order larger cake.

Kate was SO EXCITED to have a party. There are a lot of books and TV shows about birthday parties so she’s pretty familiar with the concept…. first thing she said was “My fwends come to my party!” and the second was “I have some cake!” I told her 4 days before, which seems like a large gamble as she’s just starting to understand the concept of time and “later.” We did the “four sleeps!” thing and that really worked well for her. Of course she tried to game the system by pretending to take a nap on the couch and then would sit up and say, “I did it!! Four sleeps! I did it! My party!” Haha kid, it doesn’t work like that. But she didn’t get upset and she was very happy about bedtime and waking up in the morning each day when we would announce “Now only three sleeps!” She was thrilled to see the decorations taking shape (though she was not all too helpful as I was trying to make them), so excited to see balloons when they showed up, and she was pretty much giddy when her “fwends” arrived. And thus all the screaming – that was just too much excitement to keep bundled up inside. :) She was fabulous. A little distractable and hyper, but polite and sweet. She proudly handed out the gift bags as people left.

Ember was okay with the commotion, she actually crawled into Kate’s room to watch the big kids for a while until I removed her for her own safety. Then she just played on the floor with the couple other quiet kids. She hung out with the grandmas and uncles. But then she cried for me and wouldn’t let me put her down. Too late, too tired, too much for her. I tried putting her in her highchair for cake and she just put her arms up and cried. Awwww. I feel a little bad that her first birthday party really wasn’t much about her, but I think if you’d ask her she’d say that was perfectly okay with her! She had no idea what was going on. Her actual birthday isn’t for two more weeks and she’ll get a birthday cupcake then. :)

The girls got fabulous gifts! I am always just so relieved when people don’t go too overboard. Lots of clothes, which is absolutely fantastic because neither of them have much that fits. Some art stuff for Kate, which she loves and will absolutely use. Some books, a few toys. A splash pool and water sprayer, which today was fan-tas-tic (it was so hot out!). It still felt overwhelming to open all those gifts, but Kate was all into it this year. Surprisingly she understood that some were Ember’s and she would hand Ember things, “Emmer, this is YOURS!” One of Kate’s favorite “gifts” is the balloons, she’s still playing with them days later – they are lasting a long time but she will be sad when they are gone.










May 4, 2013 — 12:50 am

Man I suck at this lately. I’ve been spending all my “free” time editing photos – and a lot of that is done one-handed because Ember is not feeling so great and does NOT want me to put her down at night. Typing? Like actual sentences and thoughts? Ha! I get halfway through a sentence and Kate is wanting my attention or Ember starts crying or someone wakes up or someone dumps yogurt all over the floor. As it is I am actually typing… at midnight. This is my time, and I ought to be sleeping.  And my mouse isn’t even working right. Sigh.

I need to edit the format of this blog so I can post photos more easily. But when do I get time to do that…?

First a recap, then some photos. Deal? Lots of photos.


First big news: Kate is potty-trained!! I say this in hushed tones, looking around furtively. When do you actually consider your child potty trained, after how many days of no accidents? Because it’s been like… 5 days. All panties, no accidents, all using the potty. (*Except nights, but that’s different.) We were doing a on-again-off-again thing with the panties, she was having accidents, and then she just refused to poop. She didn’t want to go on the potty and clearly she was getting upset about using the diaper. I consoled and sat with her and encouraged her and finally said she could have a chocolate. Well. That changed everything! Now every day she says, “Kate go poop on potty, get a chocolate!” and runs right in there. Multiple times a day. And yes she gets her little m&m. She walks around holding it in the palm of her hand like it’s magic.

After a few days of doing well in the house I started venturing out, and that was scary to me. I ended up bringing her little potty in the back of my SUV just in case, since I know she’ll use it. It doesn’t really seem to be an issue because this kid goes pee like three times a day… maybe. I find myself thinking things like “It’s been like 5 hours, maybe I should suggest that she go potty.” Yesterday we were at the mall and she used a public toilet.

It really was like friends say it was for them… she was saying “No!” all the time to the potty, or sitting on it and fooling around not doing anything, or wanting to play with the toilet paper instead. And then she just… got it.

This is awesome. Although now I still find myself having to repeatedly ask her to put her panties back on, and no you don’t need to take off your shirt to go pee.


Second thing: We think Ember is saying “Mama.” Babies being what they are it doesn’t sound quite obvious that she’s calling my name, but what she does do is when she wants me, especially if I’m out of sight or she’d held back from getting to me, she cries, “Wahhhhhh Mamamamamama!” We blinked the first time we really noticed it tonight, usually she just makes various babbling sounds when she wants me, but tonight every single time it was “Mamamama.” So we’ll have to see if she continues saying the same thing or if that was a coincidence! I’m fairly tickled, though. Kate’s first word was “Kitty!” I feel all special. :)












Almost Three

Apr 26, 2013 — 12:19 am

I finally went in and registered Kate for preschool for September. Preschool! She is very excited about it; I could drop her off tomorrow and she’d barely spare me a glance as she joined in. I decided to go with three mornings a week. She’ll be in a class with 3s and 4s, they do a swim class every week, a music class, art class, and learn about numbers and letters and days and months and all those fun things. She will seriously be in heaven.

Meanwhile I am really looking forward to having a break for a couple hours! Well, half a break… I will have Ember of course. Which will be fun, just her and me! I sometimes (often) feel like Ember gets the short end of the stick a lot because almost-three-year-olds are rather needy and prone to dramatics. Kate also gets quite bored and wants to read books or play games or dance. Ember is still endlessly fascinated with cups and blocks. So I’m thinking I can take a class with Ember, do errands, hang out.

Of course once the “this is so exciting!” part passed I had one of those long moments of held-in tears, not really wanting to let go of her just yet. Which causes Den to roll his eyes just a little bit, because I spend all day with her and she can definitely drive me crazy some days. But I admit I’ve been cuddling her a little longer at night since I registered her.


I think it’s hard sometimes, I get so caught up in the day to day exhaustion, just trying to keep ahead of the laundry and dishes and what-are-you-doing-NOW? I spend the day just wanting 5 minutes to myself in silence and I forget to stop and take it in. It’s dumb, and it’s frustrating, and I can see it happening. I’m just so tired I haven’t had a full night’s sleep – like a stretch longer than 4 hours (and the 4 is very rare, it’s more likely 3) – in well over a year. And at that point I was pregnant so I wasn’t sleeping well then either. Before I got pregnant Kate was still waking once a night. It’s been a long time. As Ember gets closer to one year old I start thinking  Okay kid, I’ve been remarkably patient and loving during your many night-time wake-ups. But now you just have to figure this out and start sleeping better. It’s time. I love you little one, but we would all benefit from mama getting some more sleep.


Their birthdays are coming close now. How do they just keep getting older?

I’m starting to feel more like myself again. I remember this, this awakening. The first year is… intense. Not horrible, not over-the-top, not crazy… but definitely intense. I live in Baby Land. It’s dragging a giggling-but-limp toddler through a parking lot while carrying your 5 month old on your hip. It’s nursing on the couch while watching Pingu for the three thousandth time with a toddler trying to creep onto your lap and the baby. It’s losing your patience with everyone and everything except your children because your tank is empty and there’s not a whole lot left over.

Now Kate is closer to three she is much better at following directions and reasoning. She tells me about parking lots, “Be careful mama! Cars dangewus!” She holds my hand (though sometimes I have to make the request several times). I can tell her that in order to go see her friend she needs to sit in her car seat – and she does. Yes with the drama and the fake crying and the “I don’t wike dis, mama.” Definitely some negatives. Putting on coat and shoes and getting out the door in the morning is very very slow. But all in all I like the independence. It makes my life easier (though not faster). I can tell her to go wash her hands in the sink, or go find her water cup and bring it to me, or sit at the table with her snack, all with some reasonable expectation that she will do so.

Ember is easier in a lot of ways and harder in another. She can sit in shopping carts or hang out in my Beco on my front or back. She can eat little snacks of whatever I’m eating (sort of). However she is in a clingy phase where she wants to be held by mama and takes a while to warm up to new situations. Hopefully soon she’ll be eating more food so I don’t feel so guilty when I go out for more than a couple hours. That would really make a huge difference, being able to go out at bedtime! That might not happen for a while, though.

I’m enjoying the sunshine that spring brings, getting into my old/new photography hobby, spending time with my kids at the park and in the yard. I’m feeling good. It’s a good life, indeed.

Is it warm yet?

Apr 24, 2013 — 10:49 pm

The other day at bedtime we were reading Kate a book in her bed while Ember played on the kids trampoline, as usual. We keep an eye on her in case she head-dives off it, but she freaking loves that thing. So I glanced over at her sitting up there, then the next time I glanced over she’s on the floor crawling over to Den. I think huh, that’s weird, maybe he got her off or she fell off or something. A few minutes later she crawls back up there to play and then I see her turning around and getting off feet-first! What?! Kate took forever to learn how to do that, there was a long period between crawling/climbing and getting off without crashing. Ember apparently had decided she’s had enough spills already so she’ll just skip to getting off safely. Go Ember!


The weather is still cool, especially when the wind blows, but it’s warm enough that we’re heading outside sometimes. It is just so nice to sit in the sunshine when I can. Kate loves finding leaves and sticks to collect and wave around, or flowers (weeds) to pick. Ember likes to eat grass.

It’s funny, I remember Kate’s first experience with grass. She poked at it, she plucked it one blade at a time, and then she refused to put her hands on it and cried when she tried to crawl. Once she was walking she was better, but she’d still cry if she tipped over and had to put her hands down for balance. Ember on the other hand…. well she had a similar moment poking at the grass, feeling it, checking it out. But then she went full-bore ahead! Today she was charging around the yard, crawling like a maniac and doing her breathy excited laugh. She kept putting bits of grass and leaves in her mouth. I gave her a piece of my hot dog bun, but she mouthed it a little, crawled around with it clutched in her fist, then sat up and put more in her mouth. Mmmmm, dirt.


Kate has stopped napping. She’ll take one every few days but most days even if I do the whole routine and put her in there she just sings at the top of her lungs for an hour while kicking the walls and jumping around. Considering that Ember sleeps in our bedroom right next door and the walls are really not soundproof I try to discourage her from doing that. I turn the TV on to something hopefully interesting, give her a snack, and tell her to just sit down and be quiet for a little bit, but no. Every few minutes I get a, “Mama! Ma-MA!” or she’s trying to awkwardly climb onto my lap. (I do like her sitting on my lap. I do not like her elbowing me several times on the way up, kicking my desk really hard, and then yanking my arm on the way down while spinning my chair as I’m typing.) I just need a few minutes of silence, oh for the love!


Also I got a new camera… an upgrade! I love it. :)




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