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.

31

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.