Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Easter Weekend

We spent Easter weekend at my mom's - the weather was beautiful so we were able to swim in the pool. It was Ethan's first time swimming and he definitely enjoyed himself. Anna was completely proficient in swimming, which I was happy about. It's been a long time since her last lesson but it all came back. All good signs for summer fun at our new swimming club.

waiting for our plane at the airport

so excited to be at Lola's house

let the swim begin

too much fun

our little fish

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

All of a sudden

It's like I blinked and something happened. All the signs are there, Ethan is slowly leaving behind his babyhood and I am straddling this divide between being elated and being devastated. I am happy to see him grow and I can't wait to see who he is becoming, but I love him as a baby so much. He is my little love, my cuddle monkey, my perfect sweet boy.

Just today he started eating Cheerios, just like that, no big. He eats regular meals too - at least it's just pureed food. I looked at his infant car seat and realized that the weight limit is 22 pounds - he is 1 pound away from outgrowing it. We're just going to put Anna's old bigger kid seat into the car for him this week. I noticed that it's been a while since he's sat in the rock n play and last week I gave away his baby play mat and Bumbo chair, all these pieces disappearing for good.

we are skeptical

always my smiley boy

my heart
With Anna it was all so overwhelming to have a baby. I think we were also so focused on all the milestones, we celebrated each one and were happy to rush through babyhood as soon as we could. But with Ethan it's been so sweet - I want to suspend him in this place forever with his fat little legs and his soft baby head. I think it's one of the reasons I'm still nursing, it's a special time when we can just be together cuddling, loving one another back and forth.

I've been asked by lots of other moms at Anna's school if I'm going to have another. Every time, the answer is no. I feel that Ethan has completed our family. Although, he's been such a wonderful baby that I can see how people want to keep going. But for me, for us, I think two kids is pretty good. So that just makes him growing up all the more bittersweet - each baby thing that goes away is the last. With Anna there was always that possibility of another and now I feel that door is closing. I am surprised at how it tugs at my heart.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Pet Owners Again

Meet the newest member of our household:

Cozzy
He is a little betta fish we picked up from the pet store yesterday. In an absence of things to do with the kids, I thought it might be fun to go and look at the pet store in the morning. Not sure if that was a good or bad idea. It was a way to kill an hour. Anna has really wanted a pet and I told her that after she got her shots at the doctor that day, she could choose between a cupcake, an ice cream, or a fish. She chose fish. So after the doctor, we headed back to the pet store and picked up the little guy. I will say he is quite a handsome fish. Bettas are nice because they don't need a filtration system in their tank. Supposedly all we have to do is change the water once a week. We'll see.

I think a fish might be about all we can handle. We used to have cats, and while they were awesome cats, they didn't really like it when we went out of town - which happens frequently. Even though we got pet sitters to come and play with them, they would just freak out and get sick and then bam - cat diarrhea all over the house when we came home. Not exactly what you want greeting you back from a trip. We all miss the cats but I'm really glad we don't have them anymore. Especially since Uri and I are both allergic. I haven't had one sinus infection since we re-homed the little guys. Luckily, they were re-adopted by the cat rescue guy that I got them from. We did it before we moved up here, the whole family went to say goodbye. I'm glad we did it that way.

I grew up having dogs, and while I loved our dogs, I just don't see it being worth the effort and expense for our family. I just feel like there are enough beings around here as it is. But going to the pet store was interesting because there were so many cute little critters: birds, mice, hamsters... there was an adoption guinea pig that was SO CUTE I almost had to have him. But then I was like, whoa, guinea pig, really? That would be so much less awesome once I got home. Cleaning a cage, uck. Animals would be so much better if they didn't poop so much! I sure don't miss cleaning the cat litter box every day, ugh.

Well, we'll see how long Cozzy makes it. He has yet to eat one of his food pellets. You are supposed to feed him and then take the food back out if he doesn't eat it in a few minutes. Something about the decomposing food being bad for the water. I'm thinking maybe he's just getting used to his new home. Hopefully.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Touching Base

Wow, I have really gotten out of the habit of checking in here. A lot of that has to do with the fact that our main computer is on the fritz and it has disrupted my entire system. This happened at the exact same time that Anna finally figured out about pbskids.org - so our old backup computer has been occupied by her most of the time. This morning though, she's working on a craft, so I have a few minutes to blurt out some updates.

First, since I'm thinking about it, crafts. A while back, I wrote about how we were enjoying Kiwi Crate. I have since revised my opinion on it and I just can't see it being worth $20 plus shipping. After the first box, more came, and each of them needed quite a bit of adult supervision. Also, each box only seemed to hold Anna's attention for about 10 minutes. That just wasn't cutting it, so I ended my subscription, which annoyingly took a phone call to the company. I have since found these Alex Little Hands crafts on Amazon and for us, they are far superior. Each box is around $10-$12 and Anna can do them with little to no supervision. They are big projects with bright colors and I feel that they are much more worth the money than the Kiwi Crate boxes. I've purchased two boxes so far (crafty fashion show and paper plate bugs) and each of them has lots of cute projects inside all bagged separately so you can stretch it out over several days. (I don't have an Amazon Affiliate account anymore so I don't receive anything if you click on those Amazon links.)

I took Anna to a birthday party last weekend and I used it as an excuse to coordinate:



You know I love that business.

This past week was spring break for Anna. It's sometimes difficult when the routine gets thrown off, but we got through it pretty well. The weather has been gorgeous here so we spent a lot of time chilling outside. Anna also decorated easter eggs for the first time:


If you have not purchased your egg decorating kit yet, allow me to give you a tip: just say no to the glitter kit. At the store, it seemed like a great plan. But at home, I realized my folly. The kit just had a couple of packets of glitter that you dumped into the dye water. Oh my goodness it has been a mess. Glitter is everywhere in our house even though I cleaned up immediately after. So glitter eggs - no.

Yesterday, the whole family journeyed to a horse show. Anna loves horses and we thought it would be fun and different. Unfortunately, the camera battery was dead when we got there so no pictures. It was really cool though. We walked around and saw so many horses. There were 3 arenas with stuff going on and we all really liked the arena with the jumps set up. It was so interesting to see the different personalities of horses and riders. I'm still undecided on whether I'm going to send Anna to horse classes or horse camp. There are a lot of things like that really close to our house and she really loves horses. But I just think of the long term expense and I'm not sure. I guess I have to look into it a little more.

The more I talk to other parents though, the more it seems you have to get your kid into activities early. It seems like everyone pushes their kids into extracurricular activities at a young age and if your kid joins too late, they are frustrated in being behind the curve. This seems so ridiculous to me with a kid going into kindergarten for crying out loud but I'm cautiously heeding the advice... to a point. I think for Anna, her interests now kind of point to 3 things - swimming, art, and horses.

So for swimming - I'm so excited as I have our plan for the summer. We joined a swimming club. It's a group of 75 families that own this gorgeous pool with a yard, tables, changing room, stuff like that. There is a lifeguard at all times and basically I just plan to camp out at this place all summer long. I've already bought all sorts of stuff - coolers, sun shirts, sun hats, etc. The pool opens for the season on May 10 and I can't wait. That is where we are going to be all summer! Guests are welcome too so hey local friends, let me know if you want to come swim with us. I love this particular club because it's really low key. Cannot wait. I think it will be a nice way to meet some other families too. Oh and they offer private lessons through the club for a reasonable price so I'll do one session for Anna to get her back in the swing.

As for art - we encourage that on a daily basis with all her arts and crafts. She colors a LOT and is always drawing and painting as well. There are some really cool art camps near our house that start at age 6 so I will be signing her up for those when the time comes. Uri's mom was a real artist and I think her passion and talent is coming through in Anna.

Horses - as I said, I'm not sure yet. There are lots of opportunities to get involved in it around here but I'm on the fence. I have a friend who has been doing that kind of stuff her whole life so I'm going to ask her what she thinks the monetary commitment is. Also, one of our neighbors is really into riding, goes twice a week, and invited us to come with her one week so Anna could meet the horses. So I'll talk to her a bit about it as well. One of her riding friends is actually a woman whose family owns one of the stables that does camps around here so she would be a good resource. We'll see.

What else. Well, I finally broke down and started wearing exercise pants during the day even when I have zero plans to work out or go to the gym. Also, I started wearing leggings as pants and basically if I'm not wearing shorts, I am wearing something with an elastic waistband. I figured I was just punishing myself with this adherence to nonsense fashion rules in my head. Most weeks the only places I go are preschool drop off, CVS and the grocery store and not only does no one at any of those places give two shits about my clothing - most of them are wearing exercise clothes and leggings too! I even went to a cute restaurant with the kids one day when Uri was out of town and looked around - most of the other moms were wearing "active" clothes with full makeup and hair combed. Obviously not on their way to or from the gym. So yeah, I am fully on board with that business now. Woo!

That's about it for now. What's going on with you?


Monday, April 7, 2014

Ethan

Is 8 months old today! Here he is playing with his new truck - his first truck. He is such a peach, he bring me so much joy.


Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Patient Mom

This past weekend, I received a very nice compliment. Anna's preschool had a little art show to display the childrens' work. It was a cute little event, they served grapes & Cheez-its and the kids were happy to see their work displayed. The kids even got little ribbons to wear that said "Artist". Both Anna's teacher and her aide were there and I had a chance to chat a little with both of them. Anna's aide told me that she was impressed at the way I acted earlier in the week.

What happened was that Anna had a bit of a tantrum when I picked her up from school. In the morning, she hadn't wanted to go to school, so I told her that she could skip lunch bunch and go to the store with me instead. Lunch bunch is where some kids stay after school and eat their lunch and play together. Well, when I picked Anna up early, she was devastated. Of course she was having the most fun at school and wanted to stay for lunch bunch. But I was already there to pick her up and I didn't have a lunch for her that day either. She had a full scale meltdown and was crying and yelling about how she didn't want to go. A year ago, I'd have just physically removed her from the situation. But this time I was holding Ethan and plus, Anna is almost 50 pounds and it's getting harder for me to physically restrain her. I just calmly repeated the facts: that she said she wanted to skip lunch bunch, that I didn't have a lunch for her, that we were going to the store. She was beside herself but I just kept it together and kept repeating the facts. Finally, after quite some time of not leaving, I just said "ok - I'm going to give you 2 more minutes of doing this the nice way and if you don't leave, I'm going to get angry." I'm not sure what "getting angry" would have entailed, but luckily it worked. Anna pulled herself together, we walked out to the car, and then we went to the store.

Anna's aide told me that she was surprised at the amount of patience I displayed with Anna. I felt so proud of that compliment because that's the biggest thing I try to be at all times - patient. There are a lot of things I am not:

I am not the mom who provides organic home-made snacks. (Ice cream is a regular occurrence around here.)

I am not the mom who limits screen time. (Oh boy, the screen time in this house.)

I am not the mom who provides thoughtful and interesting crafts every day. (I used to be better at this, oh well.)

I am not the mom who drives to lots of extracurricular activities. (Or any, at the moment.)

I am not the mom who teaches reading or math.

But you know what? I'm okay with that. Because I am the mom who is patient and kind. I never yell. I keep my temper even when I feel it boiling up inside. Who knows if this is the best way to parent according to the experts or books but it's the way that I feel good about at the end of the day. It's the way that I model to my sensitive and temperamental child that you can get through the day being calm and polite. It's the way I lead by doing, every hour of every day. It's the one area where I focus my efforts the most and I'm so glad that someone noticed. That's me - the patient mom.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

New Zealand - Waiheke Island

Our day trip to Waiheke was our best single day of the trip. When I researched Aukland accommodations, I saw some beach rentals in Waiheke and although we decided not to stay there, I thought it would be a fun outing. At one of the cocktail hours in the hotel, we talked to a couple who had really enjoyed a wine tour they did in Waiheke. We knew that a wine tour would be a bad idea - I don't really like wine tasting first of all (just give me a full glass of one kind of wine, thanks), and getting on and off a tour bus over and over with small children just seemed like a special kind of torture. But we still enjoy islands and wineries so we thought we'd journey over and see what the place had to offer.

The ferry ride was only about 40 minutes and it was enjoyable to see the waters around Aukland. Once we arrived at the ferry station on the island, there was an official ticket booth selling tours and a booth selling car rentals. Car rentals were pretty pricey and car seats just add more expense. (It really irks me to find out the price most car rental companies charge for the use of a car seat for one day - from $15 to $50 EACH - it's just ridiculous.) I wasn't feeling up to the official bus tours because they are for a fixed time and with both kids, we just never know how long things are going to stay copacetic. Then I saw this man standing around with a sign. He was offering rides in his 12 passenger van and that seemed great to us. Basically, he shuttled people around the island all day like a taxi, but with a fixed price per person.

Going with him ended up being the best thing for us. He dropped us off at Mudbrick Winery for lunch and it was just heaven - one of the best meals we've ever had in a beautiful setting. We spent so much time at Mudbrick, we didn't have too much time left for anything else. We walked around the quaint little downtown area, then checked out the main beach. After that, it was time to take the ferry back to the city. It was a perfect family day.

Ferry ride

Lunch at Mudbrick

Enjoying the view

Baby in a bjorn

The beach

Nice walk down to the beach

Quick beach walk