Thursday, February 25, 2010

Video of Bubsy

This one's for those who haven't seen David in awhile and have seven minutes to spare. He has changed so much in the past couple of months that I felt desperate to capture him on video just being himself. (Bonus: you get to see my house in a state of daily mess.) This is the longest video my camera will take, so here you go:

And I promise, I got him some juice as soon as I stopped recording...


video

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

so much to say...(about not much)

*We had our first parent-teacher conference last week. It went well, and it's so interesting to hear what someone else observes about your kid. It was nice to hear that they enjoy having Katy, and the one teacher even convinced us to enroll her in "enrichment" next year so that she will have Katy in her class again. We turned in our application for two half-days of preschool plus one half-day of enrichment, so hopefully that will work out well.



*We went swimming on Saturday at an open family swim, and it was FABULOUS. We met some friends there (and then ran into others we know), and the kids had such a rip-roaring time. David was absolutely beside himself, which is the first time I've seen him enjoy the water that much. The pool also has this man in a frog-suit (think Mickey Mouse, but a frog) who GOT IN THE WATER with the kids, and encouraged them to pour buckets of water in his mouth, etc, and he was in there for over 2 hours. Hilarious.



*In other firsts, Katy had her first dentist appointment last week. Based on our pediatrician experience and Katy's negative anticipation of the dentist, I did not have high hopes for the appointment, but it went great. They were really good at making the whole cleaning seem like a game, and there were lots of fun surprises along the way. The hardest part was keeping David entertained in the cleaning room. Then at the end when it was time for the dentist to come in, they let her pick who would come and see her, so she got to request a GIRL doctor, which made all the difference. She had so much fun that she would've gone back the next day. And they said that when I come back in 6 months, I should schedule David, too. Seriously? That would be entertaining just to see how they would keep him in the chair.



*Sometimes the kids are so darn pleasant. The other day Katy got up from her nap, went into the bathroom, and shouted from the commode, "Oh, Mommy! Did you clean the bathroom?!? You did a great job!" Other times their behavior is so ugly that I feel embarrassed and ashamed and worried that they're going to be rude, selfish, deviant adults. Amazing how those two extremes can exist in harmony.



*Now that David is big enough to play with the same toys that Katy enjoys, the mantra in our house lately is, "No! MINE! I had it first! Give it to me! WAAAH!!! MOMMY!!!" So we've established a new rule that if you want something that the other person has, you ask for a turn, and then the response options are either "yes" or "in a minute." The three of us are rehearsing this conversation maybe 20 times a day.



*A few things have made dinner a little more fun lately. The first is a new sticker chart that has gotten rid of the "finish your plate so you can have a special treat" battle. (THAT was no fun at all) The second is a simple game of "I spy." All four of us can play (Brian and I have a little side competition of our own going), and I am amazed at how much everyone enjoys it. We've moved on from colors to shapes, location descriptions, etc. I'm sure it will only last a week, but hopefully we can keep up the momentum of having some kind of game or activity going to make dinner enjoyable.

*As of this morning, we have caught one Little Stinker (with a white stripe down his back) in the trap by our porch. I felt a mixture of sadness and relief to see him picked up by the trapper. I'm so glad he's not under our porch anymore, but I feel bad for him. I'm so sorry, Mr. Skunk! I tried to nudge you gently but you just wouldn't listen! I wish you would've found somewhere else to sleep...

*I've created a modified once-a-month cooking plan that I'm hoping to carry out this weekend. My first effort lasted us 6-7 weeks (we're still using them), so I've toned it down and only included recipes that look simple and very tasty. I'm doing it on my own this time, and will probably spread it out over the weekend. Hopefully I'll have a report next week about how this plan works out.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Evidence

To remind myself to appreciate the sunshine and warmth come May:


From the front porch. I just love the mailbox. I don't want to brush it off!

The backyard. Using the little slide for comparison, this is slightly more snow than the Blizzard of '08, although that snow came all at once.





Icicles outside of David's window. It's hard to tell, but some of them must be four or five feet long...



...and that's with Brian breaking them off every couple of days.



Outside the bathroom window is even more impressive.



My sweet boy is perfectly precious with a huge bandage on his chin...





When he can't run around outside, accidents happen!


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Updates on Cancelled Month

This snow is ridiculous. We don't have it nearly as badly as the east coast, I realize. But this is reminding me of my days in Ithaca, NY. Every three or four days, you get another 8 inches of snow, and it never has time to melt in between, so it's just snow snow snow until April. Maybe May. The only difference is that Ohio doesn't know how to handle it like New York, so it keeps shutting down the city. I was shocked this morning to learn that even OSU was closed, so Brian was home with us today. And although "snow day" has a positive connotation to most, too many snow days too close together with preschoolers is just challenging. We're playing card games, hide and seek, books, puzzles, and our fair share of wrestling and TV watching. Please let there be swim lessons tomorrow. Please.


This weekend was fun, taking caring of some wedding business with my mom and sister. One task was shopping for a flower girl dress for Katy, which she's been hyped about for weeks. One thing I failed to prepare her for: that we wouldn't actually be walking out of the store with a dress, they would have to order one for her. Ooops. That's one tantrum that could've been avoided.



This dress is not the one we picked, but I wanted to share her expression. She was bouncing around the shop, sneaking onto pedestals when brides were taking a break. And the dresses were strangely huge. We had to order her a 2T. Huh? So now we've got shoe shopping to look forward to.


This is what happens lately when we skip her nap (especially if we're out doing something busy like dress shopping). She collapses on the couch by 5pm, which messes up the sleep cycle for later. But taking a nap keeps her up until 10. *sigh* Sleep issues.

I just realized that the first four paragraphs start with the word "This." I am such a stellar writer! I'm going to leave it just because it's so obnoxious!

We've been learning the ins and outs of ice damming since our leaking issue arose. The good news is that a new roof may or may not have prevented it (actually, maybe that's bad news). The bad news is that we haven't even begun to see the extent of the damage once it starts melting. The good news is that home owners' insurance will cover it. The bad news is that we carry a pretty high deductible. So we'll see how this develops. It's a stressor, for sure.

And we were initially excited to see an animal in the trap within twelve hours of setting it. But then we were disappointed to learn that it was a squirrel. A freaking squirrel? Get out of my pricey trap! But under the contract we have, they will trap until they are sure the den is empty. So more waiting and seeing.

Oh, David, how I wish I had a picture or video of you. You are so precious and cute right now! What have I been doing during all these days that I don't have any material to offer?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Little things adding up

Things are good, it's been a good week. But it seems like a bunch of little thing are adding up to a "What is going on here?" type of feeling today.

*My kids have been healthy all week, no runny noses, no fevers, no tummy aches. And we had two days of being completely snowed in, so it seemed like a low germ-exposure week. My mom and Greg arrived late last night for a weekend of wedding prep, and as we were heading to bed, Katy woke up having a breathing attack that I've not witnessed before. It's croup, I know it's croup. Both of my kids have had croup a few times and it usually goes away on its own within a couple of days, but I've never had the struggling-to-breathe attack in the middle of the night before. It was quite scary. I took her outside, steamed up the bathroom and got her to calm down, until she didn't seem to panicking to get air. Then I had a fitful, worried night of sleep, but she did fine the rest of the night and today is just hoarse. I know that there's potential for more trouble tonight.

*I mentioned before our skunk issues, and how recently it had come to a new level of "bothersome." We had tried several home remedies (moth balls, barricading the points of entry, blaring loud music), with no avail. Several people have told us that we could buy a trap and catch the animal(s) ourselves, but there is NO part of me that feels comfortable approaching a trap with an angry skunk inside to take it anywhere and do anything with it. I've smelled their fire and I don't want to be any closer to it than we have already been. So we bit the bullet and hired professionals. They set the traps yesterday and are leaving them open over the weekend, then on Monday they'll set them to catch. Once they are certain there's nothing left under there, they'll put a barricade all the way around the porch and assure us that nothing else will live there for five years. It's more money than I would prefer to spend on such a problem, but that's the least stressful way to get the smelly (apparently mating - ewww) varmints out from under our porch. And the smell out of our heating vents.

*All the sudden the washer is skipping the spin cycle, and I have to go back and manually set it to spin again. Weird.

*When we bought this house, we knew it needed a new roof. In our first offer, we tried to get some cash toward a new roof written into the deal, but there were so many bidders on the house that it was a dealbreaker, and we had to take it out or loose the deal. We've been saving up and planning to get a new roof this summer. Ends up we should've done it last year. With all the ice and snow, we're having some water leaking issues in a few places throughout the house. They are all indirectly related to the roof, and Brian has spent the afternoon with a neighbor's help coming up with some temporary solutions until the weather breaks and we can get roofers up there to fix the problem.

Much of this comes with your first winter in any house, especially one that is a little older (although quite young compared to our former house). And they are not major problems, hopefully, and they'll be fixed soon.

March is such a welcome month. Come, March, come!!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Transitions

Not to over-hype this topic, but I've been thinking about and gathering information for this post for months. Actually, it's been more like years. Ever since I started thinking about have a second baby, I was asking every person I knew with more than one child the same question:

"Which transition was the most difficult for you? Zero to one child? One to two children? Two to three? Etc, if applicable?"

If I were being completely honest with myself, what I really wanted to know was, "Please tell me that nothing will ever be as difficult for me as the first few months of Katy's life."

And some people did tell me that. But some didn't. I've continued to ask this question of every mom with whom I come into contact, especially now that I'm interested in the transition to three, and I am continuously blown away by the variety of answers. So, I have a conclusion from my statistically unscientific study:

Transitions are different for every family, and there isn't a consistent answer about which is most difficult.

HOWEVER! I have noticed several factors that influence experiences that I'd like to list here. Mostly because I find it fascinating. You may read this and have more to add or disagree with one of these statements based on your own experience. Please chime in!

Here's what I've noticed:

*It seems that for every mom, there is one child that sticks out at "the one that was difficult." Sometimes it's just because of a baby's temperament. One baby might be more intense than another, and it might be the first, second, third, etc.

*I've noticed that if a mom felt overwhelmed by the first baby, then the second almost always goes more smoothly. On the flip side, if the mom seemed to take the first baby in stride, smooth transition, then she is often more overwhelmed by the addition of a second.

*Obviously stressful life situations close to the time of birth play a big role. If someone moves across state lines with a 2 week old, for example, or is having significant health issues in the family around the time of the birth, then of course that transition is going to be more stressful.

*The age spacing of the kids plays a role, of course. Having kids 15 months apart is a different experience than having them 4 or 5 years apart. I don't think you can always say that closer is more difficult, because there are so many factors to consider, but I've had a lot of moms express to me the challenges of having an infant and a small toddler at the same time.

*I've also had some moms share about the time of anticipation for a baby's birth making a difference. For example, if a couple has had a long road and has wanted to be parents for a long time, their thankfulness at the baby's arrival can make the demands easier to carry. On the other hand, an unplanned pregnancy, while of course may still be welcomed and appreciated, might be more stressful just because it wasn't anticipated for as long.

*Family support is also huge. One mom I talked to said that she was living with her in-laws when their first baby was born. She said she took naps whenever she wanted because there were always extra hands to hold the baby, and she was never lonely. Then when their second was born, they were hours from any family, and she suffered from significant Postpartum Depression. For her, it made a big difference.

So what about you? Is this consistent with your experience? Any other thoughts? I feel a little nervous about sharing this, because I don't want people to think: "What?!? That is SO NOT TRUE! How dare you say that having kids 5 years apart is any easier?!?" And please know that that is not my intention. The whole point I'm trying to make is that it's different for everyone. These are just some of my observations from talking to other parents.

Also, I hope that this isn't all too negative. Obviously having a baby is a huge blessing and and it isn't all stress and emotional turmoil. This is just one aspect in which I am interested in because of my own experiences. You can tell that the sacrifice is worth it to me because I keep having babies. Enough disclaimers!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Friday, February 05, 2010

Comparison/Friday afternoon review

This week David is the same age that Katy was when he was born (just over 22 months). Which surely must be wrong. Because she was such a Big Girl, wasn't she? And David is such a baby still, isn't he? Observe Katy the week that David was born:





But upon further investigation via video evidence, I guess she was, in fact, kind of a baby:

video




David's fever from last weekend ended up to be an ear infection - his first in his life. After about 24 hours of pink stuff he was feeling better, and we've had a blissfully normal week. Just the usual winter stuff, with antibiotics coursing through 3/4 of our veins and protecting us from at least some of the yuckies.


And today it has snowed: a beautiful, pleasantly-timed, Friday-Saturday snow that is already good for playing. Brian got home from work early (took less than an hour to commute - not too bad), and already has the kids out in it, sledding and shoveling and snowman-building. I was assuming we'd wait until tomorrow, but that's the difference between my husband and I. He's the "Why wait?" type of person. One of the cutie neighbor boys is in our driveway with a shovel, too, which I just love. There's something about the sweetness of elementary-aged boys that I wish you could bottle up.


Preschool is buzzing with busyness this month. Registration is going on, which means we're trying to decide what schedule to do for next year (there's even an option to send David one morning a week, but I'm only interested enough to look at the brochure). Also in the next two weeks, there's Haiti relief, bulb planting (yikes! see above), a Valentine's party, a field trip, a pajama party (at night!), and parent-teacher conferences. Preschool feels like a part time job, and I'm not even the one enrolled. But it's all good stuff and we're enjoying it.

We went to buy Valentine's and Katy couldn't decide, so she picked three and let David choose his favorite. He picked Disney princesses. Poor boys with older sisters.
I'm really anxious for the parent teacher conference, because I'm just DYING to know how Katy is doing. I have little snippets of conversation with the teachers at drop off and pick up, but it's so quick that it isn't much. And I email with one of the teacher probably twice a month when something comes up that I want to ask her about (Brian says she probably sees my emails and rolls her eyes, but she is very responsive and doesn't seem annoyed. I don't think they're excessive.)
The field trip coming up is to the fire station. Many of you remember Katy's history of extreme fears, and a few of them still pop up every now and then. One is firemen. Or firetrucks, fire stations, etc etc. When I mentioned the field trip destination, she had a total meltdown, said she wasn't going, and wouldn't let me put it on the calendar. She also cried to her teachers the next day and told them that she wasn't going. I'm trying to decide how to handle it, because this is one fear that could be dangerous if, heaven forbid, she ever needed the assistance of a fireman. It's not like Santa, I really don't want her hiding from firemen. So we'll see as the date approaches.
Even though he still seems young, David is seeming so big lately. I need to take some new video of him. He strings words (babbling) together and you can make our 2 or 3 sounds and get the jist of what he's saying. And he's demonstrating his will more and more. He's getting more whiny and demanding, too, so I can tell that he's approaching his second birthday. Still, though, he's a sweetheart. And absolutely hilarious to observe.
I have been filling out an "application" for a moms group at church and it asks a bunch of questions that are the get-to-know-you type, and I'm really struggling. I'm staring blankly at: What is your dream job? What would you study if you went back to school? What book are you currently reading? List 3 hobbies? (I put blogging and I can't think of any more) List 2 movies you would see again? What CD are you currently listening to the most? Ummm... I'm feeling like I need to get a life outside of motherhood because I can't think of answers to any of these questions. I'm just trying to figure out what chores must be done before I can see what's on the DVR.