Thursday, May 29, 2008

I keep a spray bottle of water on the bathroom sink for taming my hair in the morning. Since the water sits in the bottle for a few days at a time, I don't allow Sammy to drink it, although he has to try at least once a day. This morning, he'd only been awake for a few minutes when he crept into the bathroom, quickly snatched the bottle, and made a run for it. I followed and caught up with him in the living room, where he had already unscrewed the top and was just about to take a big swig. When he saw me coming, he dumped the water all over the living room floor, evidently deciding that was a good way to hide the evidence. Unfortunately, he miscalculated my position and I witnessed the whole thing. Today's accomplishment: he set a new personal record for quickest wake-up-to-first-time-out-of-the-day. And I got to mop up water from the living room carpet at 5:30 a.m.


When I left for work, I slipped on my shoes and noticed that one felt a little strange. And the heel felt lower than the other one. Oddly, I jumped to the conclusion that my shoes were wearing unevenly. It wasn't until I was in the garage that I noticed I was wearing two different shoes. Worse yet, they were both for the left foot.


Lastly, we are now in week 6 of a nursing strike. I've been putting forth my best effort at pumping to maintain my supply, but it is just not possible to pump in the afternoon and evenings, when both kids are awake, so Natalie has been having a lot of formula lately and my supply has been crashing. I've been very disappointed that our nursing relationship seems to be coming to an end already, but had decided that it would be okay. After all, I've been nursing most of the past 2 1/2 years, and it would be nice to no longer have to worry about what I eat and drink, or what medications or herbs I might take. Then last night, I had to deal with constipation (Natalie) for the first time ever. Now I am torn again over my decision. I've decided to put forth one last effort to regain my supply and today I'm popping fenugreek pills like candy. I know that there's nothing wrong with formula, and lots of kids have thrived on it, but I feel very disappointed at the thought of not making it to my one-year goal with Natalie. And since Sammy nursed until he was 16 months old, I feel guilty over not doing the same for her. Wish me luck.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Playing hooky

Last Friday the weather people were forecasting the nicest day so far this year. I really had no choice but to take the day off from work, so I could take the kids to the zoo.

Usually we go to Como Zoo. It's a lot closer to our house, and a lot cheaper. But since we had the whole day, I decided we should go to the Minnesota Zoo this time.

Unfortunately, I think every school in the state had a field trip to the zoo that day. We weren't able to get in to the first two dolphin shows, but we were able to just barely squeeze into the final show of the day.

I think the highlight of my day was when we saw the caribou, and Ron informed Sammy that when you milk a caribou, you get coffee. The highlight of Sammy's day was riding the "train" (the monorail).

Some pics:

Eating lunch. Sammy was in heaven over being allowed to have french fries. Natalie kept grabbing fistsful of his fries, and put up a valiant fight when I pried them out of her hands.

Admiring the big pig (it's not real).

On the train.

The dolphin show.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Toddler Strikes Again (Part 873,243)

When the house is too quiet, be afraid. Be VERY AFRAID.

That's talcum powder on the chair. And the floor. And the bed. And the toddler.

The Great Artist

On Sunday, we drove to my grandparents' house for the day. Two of my young cousins were there, much to Sammy's delight. Even though they are my cousins, they are much closer in age to Sammy than me, so the boys always have a lot of fun playing together.

It was a pretty nice day, so we were all outside, and the boys were riding their bikes/trikes and playing nicely together. At one point, Ron made a comment to me about how great it was, now that Sammy is older, to not have to really worry about him so much and what he might be getting into. I have no idea what possessed him to say that, since we know things always go downhill from that point.

A few minutes later, I noticed the driver's side door to our minivan was open. I asked Ron to go shoo the kids out of there, figuring that he'd find them playing with some of the many toys that we keep inside for long car trips.

Then I noticed the driver's side window. Huh. It doesn't usually look all....filmy like that. A second later, Ron said to me, "You need to come see this."

I still wasn't quite prepared for what I found. Sammy had located a bottle of sunscreen, and had painted every exposed surface of the inside with that now-empty bottle. It was quite artistic, and might have been beautiful if it was with a different medium. And a different canvas.

I'm grateful for one small thing, though. It was Ron's bottle of sunscreen, and not the chemical-free (read: expensive) suncreen that I use for myself and the kids.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Craft day!

This is not really a project that a toddler can help with, but it's fun to play with afterwards. It only takes about 5 minutes to cut out the pieces. While I cut out the parts, Sammy made a collage.

I'll call it "funny faces". It's kind of like a Mr. Potato Head, but the pieces are a lot easier to replace if they get lost.

Materials needed: sheets of different colored felt, scissors, and imagination.

Cut out a circle or oval for the face. Using different colors of felt, cut out various features and accessories. I made two noses, two sets of eyebrows, two sets of eyes, two mouths, and two "head toppings" (one hairpiece and one hat).

Because it's felt, you can just stick the features on to the felt face, and easily peel them off to make a different face. I didn't start out thinking that I was going to make Bert, but that's kind of how it happened. My interpretation:

Sammy's interpretation:

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Both of my kids are extremely early risers. It's a rare day when they aren't both up by 5:30 a.m. This morning, Sammy decided 4:00 a.m. was a good time. Nuh-uh, no way, no how. It's been hard enough to adjust to 5:30, we are NOT moving the wake up time any earlier. So Ron went to lie down with him in Sammy's room (or so I thought).

When my alarm went off at 5:30, Natalie was still sleeping soundly next to me in the bed. I lined the edge of the bed with pillows to keep her from falling off, walked out to the living room and turned on the lamp just to hear Ron grouching quietly at me from the recliner, with Sammy on his lap. The light immediately went back off, and I stumbled around in the dark, getting my pump parts put together, then retreating to the office to read my email while I "made Natalie's breakfast".

A few minutes later, I heard Natalie waking up in the bedroom. She sounded happy enough, so I decided to wait until I was finished cleaning my pump before going to get her. About 10 seconds later, I heard a sickening "thump" and knew right away that she had somehow fallen off the bed. I went running down the hallway, and when I was about halfway to the bedroom, the shrieking started. I was shocked to see her lying on the floor, about three feet from the bed. I have no idea how she managed that - she must have had a running start. And I still don't know how she got herself past the pillows, since they were undisturbed.

Anyway, I sat rocking her while she sobbed her little heart out. I could tell she wasn't badly hurt, just really shaken up. When Sammy was about this age, he rolled off the bed too, and I fuh-reaked out, sure that he would have a concussion/cracked skull/permanent brain damage. After calling his doctor, who assured me that a fall from that height was very unlikely to cause any damage, I felt better but checked on him every hour, all night long. One thing that I've learned in the past couple of years is that kids are very resilient and a lot tougher than they look, so this time I didn't panic; I just felt terrible for not coming to get her as soon as I heard her wake up.

By the time she quieted down, it was time for me to leave for work, but I wasn't even dressed yet. I tried to hand her off to Ron (who of course was awake after all the commotion), but every time I gave her over, she would stick out her lower lip in a perfect pout, whimper, and reach her arms out for me. It would take a much stronger person than me to be able to resist that plea, so of course every time I picked her up and gave her more cuddles. Which made me an hour late to work, but that's the way it goes.

Even through her sadness, she lit up every time Sammy walked in the room. She just adores her older brother. She has this new game, which she thinks is hilarious - Sammy, NOT SO MUCH - where she steals his binky right out of his mouth. Since Sammy had just woken up, we hadn't confiscated the binky yet, and he came over to lay his head on my lap so I would stroke his hair. Natalie would giggle as she stretched her little body as far as she could to reach his mouth, and in one quick motion, swiped his binky and popped it in her own mouth. Sammy grumbled, took it back with an air of resignation, and laid his head back down. Natalie started giggling in anticipation of Round Two. She could play that game for hours, but Sammy will only put up with it for a couple of minutes before he leaves to find a quieter, safer place to nurse his binky.

So, yeah - I think she's going to be okay. Me, on the other hand? I'm still feeling guilty over the time when Sammy fell off the bed. I think it's going to be a long time before I'm okay with what happened this morning.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

Mother's Day didn't start out too great for me. Both kids were a bit owly, and I considered leaving them with Ron so I could go celebrate Mother's Day by myself.

Thankfully, things turned around by mid-day. It was fairly cold yesterday morning, but I decided we all needed to get out of the house, so we bundled up and went to a nearby park with walking trails. I think that was just the thing for Sammy. He was thrilled to discover a fuzzy caterpillar. I picked it up to show him, and he DID NOT want to hold it, but the minute I put it back down, he started talking to it. "Hi, caterpillar! Where you going, caterpillar? You hungry, caterpillar?"

I went over to talk to Natalie, who had just woken up from a snooze in her stroller. "Sammy found a caterpillar, Natalie!" I said to her. A few seconds later, I was shocked to see Sammy walking over, "pinching" the caterpillar between his fingers. "Look, Nye! A caterpillar!" he said. Luckily the caterpillar appeared to be unharmed, and crawled away when we put him down.

Ron & the kids gave me a pair of earrings, and a gift certificate for a one-hour massage. Lest you think, "Oh, how thoughtful!" I should mention that I gave Ron the flyer (on Friday) for the massage therapist, and said, "By the way, this would be a good idea for a Mother's Day gift." He gets points for listening to me, though.

The kids had made a really great present for me at daycare. It was a little throw pillow that had a clear pocket sewn onto one side for a picture. The daycare staff had taken a picture of the two kids together, put it into the pocket, and had Sammy color with marker all around the picture. On the back side were the kids' handprints, their names, and "Mother's Day 2008". A keepsake, for sure.

I think the best gift of all was the 2-hour nap I got in the afternoon. Both kids napped, at the same time, which almost never happens. If it does ever happen, usually Natalie wakes up after half an hour, just as I'm starting to drift off. So that was huge. And greatly appreciated. Odds are, I won't get another nap until 2009, so I will remember this nap with great fondness for months to come.

I know a few of you that read have young toddlers, and like me, you're always trying to think of projects and games to occupy them. Keep tuned for future posts on this subject. I'll start by saying that we have an "art box", which is a large tupperware container filled with all types of art supplies. Right now, Target has a wide variety of art supplies in their dollar section, so I just stocked up again over the weekend. I've ordered a lot of things from Oriental Trading Company, as well. Our art box includes things like: glitter, finger paints, construction paper, "googly eyes", pipe cleaners, and foam shapes. Whenever we finish up a roll of toilet paper or wrapping paper, I save the cardboard tubes and put them in our art box. I get my inspiration from The Toddler's Busy Book by Trish Kuffner, as well as various projects I find on the internet. And, most importantly, imagination. Before throwing away jars and containers, I look at them as potential art projects. For example - we just finished up a sample-size canister of formula. Cut a slot in the lid, decorate the container, and - voila! - you have a coin bank. Anyway, I hope some my research and experiences will help out some of you looking for projects to do with your young children!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

My fingers are crossed that the nice weather is finally here to stay. I decided to take a chance and start planting the garden yesterday. All I have done so far is two rows of peas. It's quite slow-going when you have a "helper" and a "fusser".

Natalie was ready for a nap, but Sammy was being too loud and she couldn't go to sleep, so I decided to bring her outside and hope for the best. I got her set up on her blanket with a boatload of toys, a binky, and a bottle. Then I hoed my row and showed Sammy how to plant the peas. He likes to dance to the beat of his own drummer, though, so instead of planting the peas in rows the way I showed him, he decided little piles of peas were better. Meaning, of course, that I had to follow behind him, stealthily picking up his peas without him seeing what I was doing, and replant them properly.

Since peas are one of his favorite vegetables, he then decided he wanted to eat some. I explained that they weren't good to eat yet; that we needed to plant them, wait for them to grow, and then we could eat them. He tried one anyway, and was decidedly unimpressed. He decided to go check out the woodpile instead.

While he was over there, Natalie started fussing. "I'll be right there, sweetie! I'm coming!" he called, and picked his way across the woodpile as quickly as he could. By the time I got my handful of peas planted, brushed the dirt off my hands, and got over to her, Sammy was helping her with her bottle. "Nye want her bottle," he informed me. Such a good helper. =)

After I finished covering the pea seeds with dirt, Sammy came over to inspect my work. "Peas ready to eat now?" he asked. If only it worked that way.

Next up: tomatoes and cucumbers. I think that will be as ambitious as I'm going to get this summer.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Ah...sweet silence. Natalie is down for a nap, and the boys are at the park. Life is good. =)

First, some random pictures.

Getting her daily dose of Vitamin D.

Sadly, I had just picked up 5 minutes before taking this picture.
I'm not sure why I bother.

Mom...cut it out.

Blurry picture of the kids bundled up for a bike ride.

Standing tall

It had been going on two weeks since Natalie's last blowout. Now she's had three in the past two days. Making up for lost time, I guess. Last night, I was trying to get her to sleep and she wasn't having any part of it. Normally, she's a very easy baby to get to sleep, so I knew something was up, but it took me awhile to figure it out. Every time she wiggled and squirmed, I smelled coffee, and I kept sniffing her hair to try to figure out where the smell was coming from (no, I don't know why I thought her hair was the logical answer, but that's how my mind works). Finally, after about half an hour, I got the brilliant idea to sniff a little lower, and yup - major blowout. No wonder the poor girl didn't want to go to sleep. And why her poo smelled like coffee is still a mystery. Much like the chicken noodle soup mystery.

She's been fighting a little diaper rash, so I decided to leave her undiapered while I made a quick dash across the hall for a clean onesie and sleeper. Big mistake. I came back in the room to find her happily bouncing on the bed in a puddle of her own pee. All I could do is laugh. The sheets needed to be changed anyway.

And the last random story took place over the weekend. I found a recipe online for the cinnamon & cream cheese sauces that IHOP uses for their Cinn-A-Stacks (very yummy, by the way). The recipe calls for brown sugar, and when Sammy saw the clear canister of brown sugar on the counter, he said, "You playing with dirt, Mommy?" I thought it was funny, so I played along for awhile, but then I realized that probably wasn't such a great idea. He liked the "dirt sauce" a lot - what do you think the odds are he's going to make his own "dirt sauce" outside later this week? Oops.