Diaper Genie

About a month ago, Eleanor started removing her diaper. The diaper that she only wears for naps and at night. It started with her taking it off first thing in the morning and then promptly peeing all over in her crib. We gently admonished her and assumed it was “a phase” that would soon pass.

Not long after, however, Eleanor decided to escalate the behavior. Previously, when we put her down at night in her crib, Eleanor would fall asleep pretty much immediately. Now, she started playing and singing when we left the room. When we would finally go to check on her, we’d find her passed out, completely naked, in a pee-soaked bed. We would then have to wake her up and one of us would wash and change Eleanor while the other stripped the bed and put on clean sheets.

In the morning, I would awake to hearing Eleanor say, “Poop!” I would then come out to find her standing in her crib, naked from the waist down, again in a bed soaked with pee. This time there would be the addition of a nice pile of poop in the crib as well. (Perhaps I should be grateful she didn’t decide to finger paint with it?)

Needless to say, this was getting highly frustrating. We tried being really calm about it, hoping she move on. When she instead escalated, we tried getting really mad. We told her over and over again the only mommy and daddy get to take off the diaper. We tried a strip of tape over the diaper tabs to stop her from getting it off (she simply slipped it off like underwear instead).

I actually considered putting snaps at the waistline of all Eleanor’s pajama tops and bottoms to hold them together so that she couldn’t get them off. In one last, desperate attempt before doing so, I broke into the storage box of all the cloth diaper supplies and retrieved a few of the snap closure diaper covers. We put one on over her disposable nighttime diaper and, voila! Not a single diaper removed since.

Let’s have three cheers for cloth diapering saving the day once again!

Announcing Your Pregnancy

There’s no single “right way” to announce a pregnancy. There are a few ways, however, that can be agreed upon as “wrong.”

 

When I first told my parents I was pregnant with Zoey, I went for the “bite the bullet” approach. It looked like this:

-Show up unannounced at parents’ house

-Inform them you need to “talk to them about something” and watch their blood pressure begin rising

-Blurt out “So…I’m pregnant” (the key here is to be unmarried and to have kind of forgotten to update your parents on your relationship status for the past year or three so they have assumed you are just casually dating.)

-Watch dad’s head nearly explode and mom’s eyes get so big Precious Moments dolls couldn’t compete

 

So that experience was…memorable. The second time around I decided we all needed a do-over and to have more fun with it. We invited my parents up for dinner. When they arrived, I told them they should go peek in the oven to see what we’ve got cooking. Inside they found a hamburger bun and a note reading “August 2012.” Dad put it together pretty quickly. Mom, however, took a bit longer. “Get it mom? There’s a bun? In the oven…?” When she did finally put the pieces together she was pretty darn ecstatic. Definitely a fun memory.

When we told Zach’s family about being pregnant with Eleanor we did it during a game of charades. Instead of acting out his given word or phrase, Zach acted out “My wife is pregnant.” It took a second for everyone to realize he wasn’t just playing the game, and when they did it was pretty awesome.

 

I had to rack my brain a bit for a fun way to tell my parents this time, but I came up with something I think is pretty good. As you all know, I’ve been working on my (still very rudimentary) photography skills this past year. So I took the kids and myself down to my parents’ house for the day and brought along the camera (Zach came to join us later). I told my parents that I needed them to help me practice some camera skills by acting as my models. I sat them both down, pretending to fiddle with some settings, and say “Say Cheese!” Then, “Say Bananas!” “Say Flowers!” “Say February!” (My mom look confused at this point, trying to figure out “why February?” That is their anniversary month and I think she was worried I would use these pictures in some way for that.) Finally, “Say….New Baby!!!” Then I held down the shutter button and snapped a bunch of pictures in a row as the words registered and it showed on their faces. I have to say, the picture of my mom’s face, with her eyes and mouth wide and happy, is positively priceless. Sadly, I promised her before taking the pictures that “these won’t go on Facebook or anything” so I can’t actually share the picture with you.  (But it is awesome, trust me!)

 

Reading Is Hazardous to Blogging

I’ve been pretty absent around these parts for the past month. I could claim it’s due to being busy with both work and kids. I could claim it’s the pregnancy nausea sucking the will to live out of me despite ’round-the-clock anti-nausea medication. In part, it is both of those things, but there’s really one big thing to blame.

I started reading again.

My entire life, I have loved to read. Endlessly. After Zoey was born, reading for pleasure quickly fell by the wayside. I was exhausted all the time, breastfeeding hourly all night and all day, working night shifts, and struggling through the haze of trying to heal after my c-section. Before I knew it, I was pregnant again and then once more back in the struggle of taking care of a newborn, this time with a bonus toddler.

It wasn’t until just the past two or three months that I finally got to a place where I can read for pleasure again. It is positively addicting, albeit frustrating when I can’t just read all day and all night to my heart’s content. I find myself lost in the characters – no matter who they are – as I enjoy being transported to a different world for a brief time.

So, needless to say, when I have a few spare minutes I am faced with the dilemma: to blog or to read? Lately, the overwhelming choice has been to read. My apologies, dear blog readers. I haven’t forsaken you. I certainly didn’t mean to leave you with a cliffhanger (Surprise! I’m pregnant! And then radio silence….) I will do my best to return to you soon and frequently. But, just this minute, the final few chapters of the Divergent trilogy are calling to me…

Hot Air Balloon

My gorgeous mom turned sixty back in March. To celebrate, she wanted to go up in a hot air balloon. We’ve been attempting a sunrise excursion since March, but our reservations kept getting canceled due to weather (read: we live in western Washington. It rains a lot.)

The birthday girl

The birthday girl

Finally, our efforts were rewarded and on the morning of the summer solstice (read: the earliest freaking sunrise of the year) we finally got to have our adventure.

Inflating the balloon

Inflating the balloon

The balloon was HUGE. When we finally all climbed aboard and lifted off it was the gentlest feeling you could imagine. You hardly noticed as you drifted higher and higher up in the air. Since you float with the wind you barely notice a breeze. The air feels still and calm and utterly peaceful.

Looking up, inside the balloon

Looking up, inside the balloon

We drifted over the beautiful farmlands and marshlands of Northwestern Washington, spotted early morning fishers on a small boat, watched a swan swim gracefully around a pond and heron take flight over a gentle river.

boaters and swan

boaters and swan

We could see Mt. Rainier and Mt. Baker, the Seattle city skyline and Everett. We sailed over the gorgeous Skylight Farms owned by my friend and fellow PEPS mom. A year ago we had camped out at the farm and watched hot air balloons float by in the early morning; now we got to see it from the other point of view.

Beautiful farmlands

Beautiful farmlands

 

our shadow

our shadow

 

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Camping at Iron Creek Campground

A few weekends ago we loaded up the minivan to the max with a tent, sleeping bags, cooler and way too many changes of toddler pants and set a course for the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. My parents had taken their camper and we joined up with them at Iron Creek campground. It was the first time we’ve taken the girls camping, other than a couple of backyard adventures.

The weather was absolutely gorgeous and we spent our days skipping rocks on the river, gazing at an enormous bald eagle nest, and hiking trails through the beautiful forest along the riverbank. We roasted hot dogs and marshmallows for s’mores over the campfire and the kids stayed up way too late each night. All in all, I’d say they definitely got the full “camping” experience. They were exhausted but happy by the time we packed up and headed home on the third day.

Nature lessons with Daddy

Nature lessons with Daddy

 

Stump Sisters

Stump Sisters

 

Buddies

Buddies

 

Goofballs

Goofballs

 

Sticks are amazing!!!!!

Sticks are amazing!!!!!

 

Give her a shovel and some sand and she's the happiest kid in the world

Give her a shovel and some sand and she’s the happiest kid in the world

 

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Silly

Silly

 

Great balance

Great balance

Still working on balance

Still working on balance

 

Squishy face

Squishy face

 

My awesome parents and their enormous dog

My awesome parents and their enormous dog

 

Looking for pumice a.k.a. "floaters"

Looking for pumice a.k.a. “floaters”

 

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loving the water

loving the water

 

Caught in the act of filling her shoes with sand.

Caught in the act of filling her shoes with sand.

Seasons: A Guest Post

Good Morning friends! Today’s post is one I’m really excited to share with you. It is written by my friend Christi, who has a beautiful daughter (whom she lovingly refers to as Squish) just a few months younger than Eleanor. Christi has the most beautiful way with words and a positively inspiring way of frequently remember to stop and honor all that is lovely and happy and good in life and motherhood. You know those people who you look forward to seeing pop up in your Facebook feed because they always have something positive or funny to say and it just makes your whole day better when you see it? Yeah, that’s Christi. So, without further ado, I give you this guest post by the very talented Mrs. Christi Payne:

Seasons

There are four beautiful seasons in Utah; fall, spring, summer and winter. Each season has the two counterparts, times when you’re absolutely overwhelmed by the magnificence of it all and times when you’re just overwhelmed. The summers get very hot and the winters get very cold and somewhere in between scraping the car with wet shoes and having a broken heater it’s easy to think, “I’m done with winter. I wish it was summer.” That’s the thing with the seasons; they are constantly changing and with each change there is new beauty and new challenges.

This is how I view motherhood except with one factor; you don’t get to go back next year and relive these lovely seasons, they’re gone. It’s like experiencing the magic of winter; the lights under the snow, the stillness, the silence, gloves, candles, visible breath, shivering, snowflakes and pink cheeks but you only get this once. That’s right, one magic season per child and then it’s done. On the sidelines you will have other mothers telling you how much you should dread the next season or how tired they are of the current season. You should ignore them. They’re missing it. They aren’t seeing the beauty of the ice crystalizing over the water in freezing temperatures. They aren’t seeing the sparkle.

I’ll never look down to see my sweet Squish meeting my gaze, smiling and breastfeeding. I will never see her face after she walks for the first time, so proud and clapping. I will never ever see that again. Those times have passed and I’ll look upon them with such beauty I don’t think I’ll ever experience anything more sacred than those moments.

 We are in a new season now, toddlerhood! It comes with all of the unfairness of them being mobile, verbal and completely unreasonable. We’ve dubbed the most recent meltdown at Target a “squishmare.” It’s like a nightmare, only you’re awake, your toddler is screaming and everyone that can sees you swears they’ll never have a toddler like that (or ever). But I LOVE it. Walking out of the store thinking, “how would it feel to want something this bad?” It’s just incredible.

This is what I missed the first six months of her life; I was just waiting for the next season, the change, the BIG milestone that had to happen. I was too busy recovering from an emergency c-section, counting wet diapers, pumping, counting feeds, making doctors’ appointments, checking weights, checking temps that I missed it. I missed all the magic of her first few months. I have no memory of me sitting with her and smelling her little newborn feet or feeling her warm face on my chest. None. My chances to have those feeling and memories are zero. Gone, just like that, I missed the astonishment of my newborn season. Somewhere in between being a new mom and being fatigued I forgot to be amazed at the miracle of this little life. I was too focused on the hard, the other side. I messed up and that’s the piece of advice I would give all new mommies; don’t miss the magic. Once you find it, it’s absolutely enchanting, addicting and life changing. 

Cherry Blossom Trees

Keeping in line with “things I meant to blog about but didn’t,” I just came across this huge folder of pictures from April that I meant to share with ya’ll. The Quad on the University of Washington campus has some gorgeous cherry blossom trees and I took the girls over to see them one day. The blooms were at the tail end of their peak, but still beautiful. Unfortunately, I didn’t actually get a whole lot of pictures of the pretty flowers. My kids were too busy being absolutely adorable and stealing all the attention away from nature’s beauty.

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Memorial Day 2014

So, yes, I do realize that Memorial Day was a full month ago. I kept meaning to share these pictures from the day and never got around to it until now. So I give you: belated family photos of fun with Grandparents. (How’s that for alliteration?) Enjoy!

 

Collecting "treasure"

Collecting “treasure”

 

So many rocks. And each and every one that made it into the bucket got deemed "speshul."

So many rocks. And each and every one that made it into the bucket got deemed “speshul.”

 

Swingin'

Swingin’

 

 

We decided the bean plant Zoey gave me for Mother's Day needed a permanent home. We didn't have a good spot at our house, so my mom graciously agreed to become foster-bean-mom.

We decided the bean plant Zoey gave me for Mother’s Day needed a permanent home. We didn’t have a good spot at our house, so my mom graciously agreed to become foster-bean-mom.

 

Caterpillar!!

Caterpillar!!

 

Peeking at birdies

Peeking at birdies

 

My beautiful mom

My beautiful mom

 

Up in the fort

Up in the fort

 

Wheee!!

Wheee!!

 

And then, apparently, the lack of a nap caught up with this one. She couldn't get in the van to "go home" so she just laid down right next to it. Sounds legit.

And then, apparently, the lack of a nap caught up with this one. She couldn’t get in the van to “go home” so she just laid down right next to it.

A Good Dad

What is it, exactly, that defines a “good Dad?” Is it his punny jokes? His overprotective streak? The amount of time he spends with his children?

In my experience, it is a lot of little and not-so-little things that all add up. My dad is the absolute King of Puns. Seriously. This is not an exaggeration. He’s also the driving force behind my insatiable hunger for reading. He’s the inspiration behind much of my passion for science, feeding me a diet of Robert Heinlein books as bedtime stories, old Sci-Fi movies on Friday nights while mom was at work (think Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Fly, Godzilla, etc), and many hours spent outside with a telescope trying to spot stars and planets between all the tall trees around our home.

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He’s the one who taught me that the “requirements” listed for any given school assignment were really just a suggested minimum – more was always better.  He’s the one who taught me how to type on a typewriter, find a book using a card catalog (the real kind, with cards), and look up facts in an encyclopedia.

xmas 2009

My dad is the one (despite obvious futility) who always encouraged me to try to learn to catch a baseball, to throw a football, to toss a basketball (Toss? Is that what you do with a basketball? Clearly his efforts were wasted on me, but I appreciate them all the same). My dad is the one who always pushed me to do better, achieve more, climb higher.

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He is also the one who taught me to never take myself too seriously, to always be able to laugh at myself. He’s the one who made me understand you can never have too many Husky sweatshirts. A good Mariner’s t-shirt and Seahawks jersey are also absolutely necessary wardrobe inclusions.

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He’s been a pinch-hit babysitter so many times when I needed to take myself to a doctor visit, making the one hour drive (each way) to our house without complaint. My dad was the one person I trusted to take care of Zoey for three days while I was in labor with Eleanor. He’s the guy who makes my eyes tear up when I witness the remarkable bond he and Zoey still share as a result of those three days.

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Dad, I want you to know: you did a good job. A great job, really. I don’t measure that by my own success or achievement. I measure it by all the things I remember you doing with me as a child that I now find myself reliving with my own children. I measure it by my love for you. I measure it by the knowledge that, never for one moment in my life have I ever doubted your love for me.

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Thanks for being you, Dad.