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.

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There’s nothing like being four months pregnant, exhausted, nauseous and uncomfortable and having two other children to chase after to damper one’s excitement about turning thirty-one. Or maybe it’s just that it’s thirty-one. Yesterday was my birthday and, luckily for me, I have family and friends who were insistent upon making it a wonderful birthday for me anyway. And they really did.

Friday morning I packed the kids into the van and headed down to Puyallup to do the Washington State Fair with my parents. It was hot and involved a lot of walking – at one point I got really dizzy and had to sit down and hydrate for awhile – but worth it. The kids had a blast and I did too.

On Saturday, my parents came up to Seattle. My dad headed to the Husky game and mom took me out shopping for maternity clothes. Since the girls were both born at the end of summer, most of my maternity wear consists of t-shirts and capri pants. With this baby due in February, I was due for a few warmer things to wear (although, the way the forecast looks, summer might never end and I will just have to go cry in a corner, hot, sweaty and miserable). I can’t tell you how great it feels to finally have pants that fit again and aren’t yoga pants or something that is constantly in need of hiking up to keep my bum covered. We finished our day with gyros and an amazing german chocolate cake that my husband made (he put melted dark chocolate candy bars in the batter. YUMMM!)

When my actual birthday rolled around on Sunday, all the walking and heat of the previous two days had finally caught up to me. I started off the day by puking up my breakfast and lying on the couch for awhile. Fortunately, the nausea didn’t stick around all day this time (yay Zofran!) and I was able to enjoy the rest of my birthday. The girls gave me some fun socks and Zach got me an enormous, gorgeous food processor I had been wanting for the past couple of years. (Now the weather REALLY needs to turn cooler so I can use it to cook up some yummy pureed soups!). In the afternoon, Zach and the girls headed to the park with Auntie Kelsie and I got a couple hours of blissful alone time to relax and do some sewing.

I would say it was a pretty fantastic birthday.

Zoofari 2014

It’s that time of year again! Time for….Zoofari! Every year, the Woodland Park Zoo holds a member appreciation night with bouncy houses, carousel rides, face painting, animal encounters and other fun stuff for members and their families. We had a great time last year, and were not disappointed this year. While we didn’t get to the face painting (lines. ugh.) the bouncy houses and carousel were big hits with the kiddos.

Typical.

Typical.

Waiting in line for the carousel, entranced by it's magic.

Waiting in line for the carousel, entranced by it’s magic.

Almost our turn! "I want THAT one!"

Almost our turn! “I want THAT one!”

Do I HAVE to smile? Is this good enough?

Do I HAVE to smile? Is this good enough?

Zoey wanted to ride on the bench seat, rather than a horse. She did not regret her decision.

Zoey wanted to ride on the bench seat, rather than a horse. She did not regret her decision.

Ok, this is better once the horse starts moving...

Ok, this is better once the horse starts moving…

Zoey

Zoey

Chomp!

Chomp!

My goofy, perfect family.

My goofy, perfect family.

Eleanor really wasn't so sure about the giant orca-penguin-person thing.

Eleanor really wasn’t so sure about the giant orca-penguin-person thing.

Little Girls Trying So Hard To Be Big

A couple of weeks ago we finally bit the bullet. We changed Eleanor’s crib into a toddler bed.

Helping Daddy

Helping Daddy

 

It was hard for me, emotionally and logically. This awesome kiddo had never once indicated any desire to climb out of her crib. She loved it in there. I loved that she was contained and safe in there. I loved knowing I could put her to bed and come back to find her still exactly where I left her.

Big sister wanted to be a part of this too

Big sister wanted to be a part of this too

Earlier in the summer, when the weather got too hot, we moved Zoey’s mattress to the floor in Eleanor’s “room” (really the common area outside our bedroom in the basement). The girls love sharing a room but, ugh, it has been a battle to get them to go to sleep at night. Letting Eleanor have the freedom to roam out of her bed has not made that any easier.

One evening, I came home from work around 9pm and asked Zach how the girls were at bedtime. He reported that they had been difficult to get to sleep, but seemed to be asleep for the past twenty minutes or so. Not a minute later, I heard Eleanor’s voice over the baby monitor: “Light. On.” I warily opened the door to head downstairs and, sure enough, the light was on. I reached the end of the stairs and immediately called for Zach. There was Eleanor, buck naked, standing in Zoey’s bed (Zoey was sitting up, looking very sleepy and confused). Strewn all over the bed were every set of pajamas Eleanor owns and about twenty diapers. All over the floor and Eleanor’s bed was half a box of tissues, shredded to bits. Eleanor stood there proudly and exclaimed, “Peed! Wiped! I did it!” You sure did, kiddo.

"You're not going to scratch the finish, are you?!"

“You’re not going to scratch the finish, are you?!”

 

Apparently, we are gluttons for punishment, because only days later we decided to let Zoey try sleeping all night in underwear instead of a pull-up. I was skeptical from the start because Zoey’s sensory processing disorder makes it so she can’t tell when she has to use the bathroom even during the day. We just take her to the toilet on a schedule and she stays dry. How was her body supposed to know how to stay dry all night? But she really wants to be able to do this, so we thought it worth at least giving her the chance. For months we’d been telling Zoey that if she could keep her pull-up dry for three consecutive nights then she could try sleeping in underwear. That day finally came only days after putting Eleanor in a toddler bed. Zoey kept her underwear dry the first night, but the second night I ended up changing her sheets at 4:30 AM and then again when we got up in the morning. The third night, we checked on the kids as we went to bed. Eleanor was buck naked, once again, and sleeping in a puddle of pee. Zoey was also fast asleep on cold, wet sheets. We woke both girls up, washed and redressed them, changed their sheets and put them back to bed. At 2 AM, I was up again changing Zoey’s sheets. This time I talked her into putting a pull-up on. Since then we’ve been back in pull-ups without a single dry night, but Zoey still has the promise that if she can stay dry for three nights we’ll try again.

My sweet little girls want so badly to be so big. I’m really proud of their desire to try and their willingness to keep trying. I just wish it didn’t involve so much laundry.

 

Where Were You?

momsasaurus:

Resharing this post from last year. May we all take a moment today to remember all that was lost 13 years ago.

Originally posted on momsasaurus:

It was three days before my eighteenth birthday. I was a senior in high school. I got up, went to take a shower and turned on the radio in the bathroom, just like usual. As I washed and brushed and primped, I listened to the radio host say that they had just received news of a plane crashing into the World Trade Center building. In my young, naive mind, I pictured a small biplane, some sort of personal aircraft gone awry. I had no concept of what the WTC building was. I certainly didn’t picture a towering skyscraper.

It was only a few minutes later, as I was pouring my bowl of cereal, that my mom came running into the kitchen in her bathrobe, telling me to “Turn on the TV! We’re being attacked!” I didn’t understand. We? Our house? Then the realization of what she meant slowly dawned. We…

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Yearly Photo-op (Or Not)

Every year, I take the girls to a cheap department store portrait studio for pictures. Something to document how much they’ve changed each year. I figure I’ll continue this until they start school and get yearly photos done there. A week or so before Eleanor’s birthday, I scheduled her yearly pictures. As luck would have it, both the girls and I got horrendously sick starting the day before the pictures, so we had to cancel our appointment (nothing like pictures of a child with snot running down her face, amirite?)

We waited a couple weeks to reschedule, as I wanted to just go ahead and do pictures of both girls at the same time and Zoey seemed to have a continual mark of some kind on her face for the past couple months: road rash on her cheek, a bruise smack in the middle of her forehead, rug burn by her mouth…you get the picture. That kid has had an amazing array of bumps and bruises for a non-adventurous, non-risk-taker. Anyway, we rescheduled the pictures for today. Eleanor woke up, got me up, we had breakfast, we played with Duplos, I emptied the dishwasher….and Zoey was….still sleeping? Hmm. Suspicious. About an hour and a half before our picture time I finally went in search of sleeping beauty. Not in her bed. Not in the bathroom. Hmm. Even more suspicious. I finally found her in our bed, passed out cold. I gently woke her and found an overly sensitive, still obviously tired kiddo. After I finally got her upstairs and to the bathroom, I coaxed her out of her pull-up and onto the potty. As she sat there talking to me, mid-sentence the vomit finally came. Yes, suspicions confirmed.

Zoey has continued to vomit profusely all morning (despite a decidedly empty stomach) and the girls are now curled up on the couch watching Frozen for the eighty-millionth time. At least I get a chance to blog? Haven’t had many of those opportunities lately. So, in the spirit of things, here are some of last year’s studio pictures of the girls (the only year I have scanned in and ready to share). Enjoy!

Eleanor age 1 toes Eleanor age 1 smile Eleanor age 1 number Eleanor age 1 giraffe look down Eleanor age 1 giraffe hug

Eleanor age 1 Flowers smile

Zoey age 3 letter Z

 

Zoey age 3 I

 

Zoey age 3 AM

 

Zoey age 3 number

 

Zoey age 3 flowers

Eleanor’s 2nd Birthday: Ice Cream Party

I scream, you scream, we all scream for…pictures of an adorable two year old’s ice cream themed birthday party!!! Whoo-hoo!

 

Waiting for Grandma and Grandpa to arrive

Waiting for Grandma and Grandpa to arrive

 

Opening a card from Grandma and Grandpa

Opening a card from Grandma and Grandpa

 

This is the face you get if you give a 2 year a bubble gun that doesn't work for her birthday

This is the face you get if you give a 2 year a bubble gun that doesn’t work for her birthday

 

Too big for this swing, but don't try to tell her that.

Too big for this swing, but don’t try to tell her that.

 

Someone was getting a bit sleepy during her party

Someone was getting a bit sleepy during her party

 

Birthday snuggles

Birthday snuggles

 

Blow out your candle!

Blow out your candle!

 

Ice cream cone shaped cupcakes courtesy of Grandma. They were a huge hit!

Ice cream cone shaped cupcakes courtesy of Grandma. They were a huge hit!

 

I get to open this???

I get to open this???

 

Zoey was VERY interested in all of Eleanor's gifts.

Zoey was VERY interested in all of Eleanor’s gifts.

 

Pigeon books!! Yay!!

Pigeon books!! Yay!!

 

I LOVE this picture of Eleanor and my mom, even if it is a touch blurry. Such a sweet moment between them.

I LOVE this picture of Eleanor and my mom, even if it is a touch blurry. Such a sweet moment between them.

 

Story Time with Grandma

Story Time with Grandma

 

Big Sister enjoyed her 5 cupcakes she snuck at the party.

Big Sister enjoyed her 5 cupcakes she snuck at the party.

 

 

 

 

Someone Gave Me A Tip

Awhile back I wrote this post about the practice of “tipping” for various services. In it, I expressed my very strong disagreement with the expected practice of tipping. Today, I felt compelled to write a new post on the topic. What I want to clearly say is this: when I wrote the previous post I was completely ignorant and I am sorry.

The recent national conversation on minimum wage has raised other discussions about tipped workers and how they make a living. I have never worked in a job where I received tips. When I wrote my original post, I honestly believed that tipped workers (waitresses, baristas, etc) received minimum wage and then also received their tips in addition to that pay. I was completely unaware that it is legal and standard practice in this country to pay tipped workers as little as $2.50 per hour with the rest of their “minimum wage” coming from tips. I find this to be atrocious.

To be clear, I still do not like the practice of tipping. Now more than ever, actually. I believe these workers should receive a base wage equal to minimum wage (or more) completely separate from any tips they may receive. Can you imagine trying to support a family (or even just pay the rent for a place for yourself) off of $2.50 and hour and the mercy of others? It’s beyond comprehension for me that we allow this in our country. Our country that is supposed to be the Land of Opportunity. It’s time we were all made aware of this. It’s time we all voiced just how despicable this practice truly is.

I’ll say it again: I was wrong and I am sorry.

Eleanor at 2 Years Old

Ellie-bug. My Little Foot.

Squishy face

Squishy face

You are changing so rapidly I can barely keep up. On Sunday you will be two years old and I can hardly make sense of it. Didn’t I just give birth to you? Surely not more than a year ago. No way it could have been two years already. The details, the emotions of that day are still so fresh in my mind.

Caught in the act of filling her shoes with sand.

Caught in the act of filling her shoes with sand.

Yet here you are. A precocious toddler with an alarming vocabulary of three-syllable words and the ability to count to twelve all on your own. Still no self-preservation instinct, however, lest you get feeling that you’re some genius or something. My favorite recent example of this was a week or so ago. You were sitting on the potty and told me, “Nothing coming out. Not working. Needs new batteries.” The cute little faces and gestures, the tone of voice that accompanied this are just indescribably adorable. Auntie Kelsie swears we need to video every word you ever say and market you because you are that darn cute.

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You have this staccato-like way of speaking: each sentence is really a string of one- or two-word phrases, clearly punctuated. You also haven’t entirely lost the sense of urgency behind every word you say. IT! IS! ALL! SO IMPORTANT!!!!! to you. However, you do have a new found ability to use inflection. You have always had a knack for making yourself understood – even before you had words – but now there is never any mistake about exactly what you do (or don’t) want. You are also beginning to tell stories and even try to make jokes. For example, every day when Daddy walks in the door after work, you look up with a big grin and say, “Kelsie! Brand new! Kelsie!” You think you are hilarious.

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You still sleep in a crib and show zero inclination to ever try climbing out of it (thank god for small miracles!) and “Diaper Gate” seems to finally be under control. The way you wake up from your naps exclaiming, “Feel! Better! Long nap!” and greet me with a huge smile gives me a midday pick-up every day. One of my favorite moments each day is when you and Zoey wake up in the morning. Now that we have placed her mattress in the same room as you, you are able to greet each other first thing in the morning. If Zoey has crawled in bed with me or gone upstairs to watch cartoons with Kelsie, you call out (in the most adorable sing-song voice) “Zoey! Zooooeeeeyy! Come back! Zooooeeeeyyy!” When Zoey is present, she climbs into the crib with you and I listen to the giggles and shrieks of laughter you two share to start your day.

Buddies

Buddies

You sing: “Let it goooooo!” Twinkle Little Star. Ring Around the Rosy. You dance and have quite the repertoire of moves. You copy everything Zoey says and does; you clearly think she hung the moon. I’m fairly certain you are going to be quite put out once this new baby comes and you suddenly find yourself the middle child rather than the baby. I love the way you bring your blanket (the ever-present, priceless, irreplaceable, must not ever lose “Day”) and crawl up in my lap asking to “Snuggle. Please. On couch.” You really have quite impeccable manners, by the way.

Bed-head McGrumpy Face

Bed-head McGrumpy Face

Eleanor, you grow ever more amazing every single day. Not a day goes by that you don’t make me laugh, test my patience and melt my heart. My absolute favorite thing you can do now that you are two? It’s the way you wrap your little arms around my neck as tight as you can, kiss me on the cheek and say, “Wuv you Mama.”

Eleanor's Birth

12 Weeks Pregnant

Well hi there!

So it’s been about…oh…seven weeks or so since I mentioned anything about this whole “being pregnant” thing. Oh yeah, that. So here’s how it has been going:

Exhaustion. Puking. Nausea. Nausea. Puking. Exhaustion. Lots more puking. Oh god eat everything. Puking. Exhaustion. Puking. Thank you god for Zofran! Exhaustion. Nausea. Nausea….you get the idea. Throw in taking care of two small children and occasionally going to work and you get the whole picture. The heat of summer only serves to make the morning  all day sickness worse, and I find myself literally counting the days until Fall arrives.

Honestly? I don’t even think about the baby most of the time. I think about the nausea ALL THE TIME (it is ever-present, even when taking ondansetron around the clock). I automatically avoid alcohol and fish with too much mercury. I do the things I’m supposed to and avoid the things I’m not supposed to do. I just don’t actually think about the reason for all these things much. I guess I’ve just been preoccupied with everything else in my life. Plus, that constant nausea just really saps your entire will to live and ability to care about anything that isn’t immediately life-threatening.

However, there have been a few fun, quintessential pregnancy moments. Telling our families, of course. Telling the girls was fun too. We made paper-doll chains of a pregnant woman with a big belly and of little boys and girls. Then we colored the boys and girls with all different colors of hair and eyes, different types of clothes. We sat the girls down and told them there was a baby growing inside mommy. Then we showed them the paper doll chains and talked about how mommy’s belly will get really big and how we don’t know what the baby will look like or if it will be a boy or a girl. Zoey was super-excited and immediately started hugging and kissing my belly and talking to the baby. “I love you so much, baby!” I just about cried.

The ultrasound to confirm due date was fun too. Nothing too exciting, since it still just looked like a nugget, but I do always find it reassuring to see that beautiful, strong heartbeat. And to confirm that there really is just ONE baby in there (I live in mortal fear of having twins).

My belly is also freakishly large already for someone still in the first trimester. Apparently that is what happens when you’re on your third child, have no ab muscles to speak of and a strong penchant for donuts. Oh well. At least I can feel justified in wearing the maternity pants already. Right? Right???