Fall Toddler Arts & Crafts

momsasaurus:

I’m reblogging this post from last year because
a) I’m lazy
and
b) seasonal
Enjoy!

Originally posted on momsasaurus:

There’s just something about Fall that makes me feel so….domestic. I want to bake things. Sew things. Do arts and crafts. It’s my favorite season. I love the colors, the smells, the tastes (oh God, the tastes…). With an onslaught of rain and wind and a very sudden change in the colors of the trees, Fall arrived with gusto here in Seattle last week. I couldn’t be happier. After a trip through the Target dollar aisle, I was all set to do some fun Fall crafting with Zoey. And, hey, I can even call it educational since it teaches her about the seasons, right?

First up: a pumpkin mask. I drew a pumpkin shape on a piece of orange craft foam and handed Zoey some paint and glitter. We let it dry overnight, then I cut out the pumpkin, added two holes for eyes, taped a craft stick to the…

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Retired!

My dear, sweet mom has finally retired. After thirty-three and a half years of being a nightshift nurse, this hardworking woman FINALLY gets to focus on herself for a change. I tell you, if there was ever anyone who deserved retirement, it is her. We threw a party for her last Saturday at one of her favorite restaurants. There was a huge turnout and I think my shy mom was a bit overwhelmed at all the love and attention. I just hope she finally begins to realize that she deserves all that attention and commendation. She is a wonderful person who truly cares so much about everyone else. Congratulations, mom! I’m so proud of you and happy for you!

Officially retired!

Officially retired!

 

Goodbye tension, hello pension!

Goodbye tension, hello pension!

More Firefighter Birthday Party

Junior Fire Fighter Pin

Junior Fire Fighter Pin

A couple days before Zoey’s birthday, my fancy schmancy camera lens suddenly started doing this awesome grinding sound and refusing to focus. Win! Thus I was unable to use it to take pictures of my big girl’s special day. After shipping the lens off to California to be repaired, I completely forgot that I had pulled out the ol’ kit lens and used that to take pictures of the party. Duh. Can I plead baby brain? So here ya go, some more pictures of the actual fire fighter birthday party. Enjoy!

Meticulous present opener

Meticulous present opener

Look-alikes

Look-alikes

SOOO excited to open her Frozen comforter from grandma and grandpa

SOOO excited to open her Frozen comforter from grandma and grandpa

The infamous red frosting cupcakes

The infamous red frosting cupcakes

Trying so hard to stay clean while eating them.

Trying so hard to stay clean while eating them.

 

Halfway There

As of today I am twenty weeks pregnant. Halfway to that hopeful due date looming far (very far, much too far) in the distance. With daily ondansetron doses I am able to keep the vomiting to only one or two days a week now. My weight loss seems to have stopped and hopefully I’ll soon start to gain a few pounds back (but not too much! Let’s not get carried away here!)

I’m actually feeling a bit conflicted about wanting this pregnancy to be over and done with. On one hand, I’m physically miserable. On the other hand, I’m going to have THREE CHILDREN under the age of five. That’s a tad overwhelming to think about. I mean, just logistically…yikes! Picture me at the grocery store: baby strapped to me in the carrier, toddler in the cart seat, and preschooler running wild and free. Lord help me.

On the bright side, at least I’m able to think through how to do that at this point. The plan I just wrote out actually is doable (ish). I remember when it was just Zoey. I was absolutely flabbergasted about how I was supposed to grocery shop with a baby. If she was asleep in the car seat, I didn’t want to wake her up by getting her out. If I put the car seat on top of the cart, EVERYONE in the universe told me what a horrible mother I was and how my baby was going to die from falling off the cart. If I put the car seat in the basket of the cart, well, there was no place for groceries. Ugh.

I look back now and shake my head, pitying the poor, overwhelmed, clueless new mom that I was, and also realizing I’m going to be feeling more than a tinge of that helplessness once again when this baby arrives. Now though, I don’t fear it. I dread some of the inevitable challenges, but I’m not afraid of them. I’ve been down this road of babyhood twice and I know how quickly it is behind you (unlike toddlerhood. Good god, will that ever end!?!?!)

So I’m halfway there. We still haven’t picked out names or a car seat to replace the expired one. We figure we’ll “get around to that. We have plenty of time.” Instead I’m just going to cope through the rest of this pregnancy, one day at a time, trying as hard as I can to find some enjoyment in it.  After all, it is already halfway over.

Dear Teacher

Dear Zoey’s Teacher,

 

I am writing to you in the hope that advanced warning means you won’t be calling the authorities. Please bear with me. This morning I overheard a game Zoey was playing with her little sister, Eleanor. (For the record, both girls seemed to find this game delightful). Zoey was explaining to Eleanor that she had to “go in her cage and stay locked up until midnight” as punishment for not making her bed.

First of all, I very rarely bother trying to get the girls to make their beds. It’s all about choosing your battles, right? That one ain’t worth fightin’.

Secondly, I have not ever locked my children in a cage as punishment for anything, nor have I even threatened to do so. Not that the idea hasn’t crossed my mind once or twice about a hundred times a day. I mean, I’m a mom. I can’t afford luxuries like child cages.

So, you see, you have nothing to worry about should you observe Zoey playing a similar game with her classmates. All is good and proper here at Clegg House.

Cheerio,

Zoey’s Mom.

P.S. I plead the fifth regarding any photographic evidence that could be used against me.

Thanksgiving 2013

Fire Fighter Birthday Party

Bring on the lights and sirens! We’ve got ourselves a four year old!!

It's hard to wear a firefighter hat with a bun in your hair.

It’s hard to wear a firefighter hat with a bun in your hair.

First thing after breakfast there presents. One of the biggest hits was the penguin egg. Zach found it in the zoo gift store. You soak the egg in a bowl of water and, after a day or two, it begins cracking. Another day or so and a penguin begins to hatch out of it, growing ever bigger. Zoey and Eleanor were thoroughly thrilled by this and loved checking on the penguin each morning. Once it finally hatched, Zoey named the penguin Broccoli.

Unwrapping the egg

Unwrapping the egg

 

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A few weeks before her birthday, Zoey got to ride a friend’s balance bike. While she didn’t do much more than gently, slowly inch around on it, Zoey was enthralled with watching her friend zoom away. She started frequently asking whether she could have “a bike without pedals.” We made ambiguous responses about “maybe someday” but I was already trying to come up with a way to get her one for her birthday. A brand new balance bike was out of our budget, so I searched around for a gently used one. I ended up finding one in like-new condition for only twenty bucks!

Covering their eyes while the "big surprise" present was brought out

Covering their eyes while the “big surprise” present was brought out

The best part? It was pink and sparkly.

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Here’s Zoey’s response to seeing her bike:

And what would a fire fighter birthday party be without cupcakes with red frosting?

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Allow me to expound for a moment upon those cupcakes. The cupcakes that will live in infamy. I promised Zoey she could have rainbow chip cupcakes with strawberry frosting on top – red strawberry frosting. So I bought a jar of pink strawberry frosting thinking I would add a bit of red food dye to make it red. Little did I know. I ended up having to add almost an entire bottle – a large bottle! – of red food dye to turn that pink frosting red. It dyed my hands red. I tossed and turned in anxiety all night thinking “I can’t serve those cupcakes to a bunch of toddlers and preschoolers! They’ll stain everything! Their parents will hate me!” In the morning, my hands still faintly red, Zach talked me into keeping the cupcakes. It turned out to be a randomly hot day in late September – nearly 90 degrees. So when it came time for cupcakes at the party I explained the situation to all the parents, we stripped the kids naked and let them eat cake, then we tossed them all in a kiddie pool to wash off the red dye. It worked great! The kids had a blast at the impromptu swim party and not one article of clothing was stained. I call that a successful fire fighter birthday party.

Zoey At 4 Years Old

My Zoey-girl you have officially achieved “big kid” status. You are a tricycle riding, sight-word reading, imagination-booming, “I can count to 30″ full-fledged big kid. I am more proud of you than you can ever know.

I did it! I found the way out!

October 2013

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This has been an incredible year of “firsts” for you. Your first movie in a theater (Frozen. Of course.) Your first dentist visit. Your first ever “first day of school.” First real camping trip. Your first Christmas with all the wonder and magic of the season within your understanding. You hand-fed penguins at the zoo and rode in an enormous Ferris wheel. You stopped taking naps. You flew a kite for the first time.

Why yes, my child IS part elf. Why do you ask?

First day of school, December 2013

 

Lemurs!

January 2014

 

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When I think about who you were on your third birthday and compare then to now, I am left speechless. You have grown – in every way – by leaps and bounds. Your car seat faces forward now, as you have maxed out the height for rear-facing, and you are quite proud of your ability to do the buckles yourself. In fact, you’re as tall as many five year old children. You can thank your Daddy for that.

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April 2014

April 2014

Eating has become much easier for you (most of the time) although you still greatly dislike anything that sticks to your hands and gets them messy (cream cheese, frosting, crumbs). You still prefer to drink only milk or water (never juice) but have occasionally asked for mint tea with honey.

May 2014

May 2014

Silly

June 2014

Your infatuation with anything and everything pink is mind-boggling. We have actively tried to have an equal-opportunity color loving household, but you somehow latched onto the pinkness and are never letting go.

July 2014

July 2014

Your reading and math skills are incredible. You can count to thirty and do some simple addition and subtraction in your head (Two and two is four. If you take away three from four you have one.)  You can write out every letter of the alphabet and all the numbers (without looking at a reference). You like to sit and do your preschool and kindergarten workbooks, and no longer need me to read you most of the directions. You sight-read many words and phrases, some of them very surprising (like No Parking)!

August 2014

August 2014

Your greatest imaginative outlet seems to be through art. For months now you have been drawing people with all the details: eyes, ears, hair, body, arms, legs, hands and feet. Now you are starting to embellish, adding animals and abstract items to your work. You then love to tell me about what you have produced; long, narrative stories that make me choke back tears and put an enormous grin on my face as I marvel at your creativity.

September 2014

September 2014

Happy Birthday, my sweet, funny, kind, smart, beautiful, courageous four year old girl.

Imagine This…

Imagine this scenario:

 

When you ask “Why?”, he explains it to you this way:

 

I hit her because she was being rude.

I’m just teaching her respect. That’s my job.

She has to learn how to properly behave.

I hit her because I love her and I’m just trying to help her.

It’s her fault that she made me so angry. She knew the consequence of the choice she was making, but she did it anyway. So I hit her. Maybe this time she’ll remember.

 

Got all that? How are you feeling right now? Is your stomach in knots? Do you want to kill him? Hurt him like he hurts her? Teach him a lesson? Lock him up?

 

Oh, I forgot to tell you. “He” is her dad. “She” is a small child. And, yeah, hundreds of thousands of parents do this to their kids every day. It’s legal. It’s allowed. It’s even encouraged by some.

 

How do you feel now?

 

Now I’m the one sick to my stomach.

 

When Pregnancy Doesn’t Make You “Glow”

Whelp. I’m officially in the second trimester. Four months pregnant, past sixteen weeks, past that awful first trimester horror show of nausea and exhaustion.

Except I’m not.

Yup, still nauseous. Still exhausted. Still throwing up regularly. Still feeling like I want to pass out by 9pm every night and take a nap every afternoon. My pregnancy “glow” is a face full of acne worse than any I had as a teenager. I have horrid sciatic pain that strikes me at random times and can make me stumble. My hips ache constantly and it is impossible for me to find a comfortable position to sleep in.

At my doctor checkup last week I heard the baby’s heartbeat for the first time (Awww!). It was good and strong and slightly slower than both Zoey’s and Eleanor’s were, further cementing my belief that this baby will be a boy. I’ve also felt the first small kicks every day since that visit. So the nugget/parasite/baby seems to be doing just fine.

I, on the other hand, am literally being eaten alive. At last check, I’m eight pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight. I’m also mild- to moderately dehydrated. While the Zofran makes getting through the day possible (most days), it does not completely erase the nauseous feeling nor the sudden urges to vomit after eating. There are days I do just fine and there are days that I can’t even keep water down.

Honestly, I’m not trying to complain here. I know there are women out there who have this far worse than I do. Women like Kate Middleton suffering from hyperemesis gravidarium. I have not yet needed IV fluids to stay hydrated. I do not have a PICC line in my arm. I do not have a feeding tube. I do not weigh eighty pounds and have organs that are failing from lack of nutrition and hydration. My heart goes out to these women. While I hate the nausea I endure with pregnancy, I know that it could be so, so much worse. I am grateful it is not.

I am grateful that my little parasite has a strong heartbeat and nudges me every day to let me know he is doing well. That said, I feel it is important to speak honestly about my experiences with pregnancy. Because honestly? It sucks. I am confronted right and left by moms telling me how much they loved being pregnant. They talk about how they never felt better, how they miss it, how it was the happiest time ever for them. When you are miserable for forty weeks straight, you start to think things like What’s wrong with me? Why is this so much harder for me than it is for everyone else? Am I not supposed to be a mom? Am I not meant for this? Do I not have what it takes? 

We all know parenting is hard. Like, really, really hard. There is joy and laughter and love like you’ve never known but there is also a whole hell of a lot of exhaustion and confusion and wondering whether you’re doing the right thing or how to do anything. If you start out motherhood doubting your abilities before your baby is ever even born, well, that quickly becomes a very deep, very dark hole to try to climb out of. I’ve been in that hole. It is lonely and scary and no new parent should have to be in it. I am fortunate to have an incredible village helping me through this parenting thing, and they helped keep me from digging a deeper hole. Hell, they tossed me a ladder and a light and said, “Come on up! We’re waiting for you and you belong here with us, in the sun.”

So yes, I talk about how hard pregnancy is for me. My intention is not ever to whine (although many see it that way and yes, I’m sure sometimes I DO whine. I am human, after all). My intention is to share my reality. Just in case some other mom feels the same way and happens to hear my story. Then she’ll know she’s not alone, she’s not broken, she just got dealt a crappy hand when it comes to pregnancy. It is NOT a predictor of the kind of mom she is or will be.

To those moms who loved being pregnant I say, “Keep sharing your stories. You earned those stripes and you deserve to remember and share a part of your life that was so beautiful.” To those moms – like myself – that loathe pregnancy and find it a horrible test of endurance I say, “Don’t be ashamed to share your story too. You are suffering and no one should suffer alone. You are not the only one.”

Pre-School From the Start

Yesterday was Zoey’s first day of school. It was pretty exciting for us since last year her “first day” was in December, long after most kids had started. There wasn’t much fanfare or excitement about “back to school” season then. Even now, she’s starting two weeks later than the rest of the Seattle schools, but at least its the same day as all her classmates.

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She wasn’t really able to tell me much about her first day of school, but she seemed happy. Worn out, but happy. I think that’s all I can ask for.