Saturday, October 27, 2012

Timmy at 15 months

Our boy has changed a lot in the past few weeks.  He has gone and turned into a toddler on us.  Just the other day, someone said to me, "I saw you guys at the pool all summer, but for some reason I remember the baby being a lot younger."  It was such a short time ago, and yet he was so much younger.

A couple weeks ago we gave him his first haircut, and just like that he went from shaggy-headed baby to handsome boy.  He'd been getting to the point where if he were a girl, I could sweep the hair to the side and use a clippy or bow.  Or I could do a water-fountain ponytail on the top of his head.  But no, it was time for a haircut.  When Tim saw him afterward he said, "I can see his whole face at once!"
He said his first word this month: "ball."  He loves playing with balls -- tossing them with us, throwing them and chasing after them, and now that he's walking, kicking them too.  He likes toy cars and trucks a lot too, but he won't say their names, only "mum, mum" as he pushes them around.

And just in the last couple days, he has begun walking the majority of the time.  We wondered when that would happen.  He took his first steps at least two months ago!  He looks like such a big boy now.  Here is a video from the other day when I took him and Annie to a gymnastics place for open play.
He can still be pretty moody.  Just this morning, Tim was complaining to me that I have given Timmy the expectation that he will always be carried out of his room in the morning.  I remember hearing him wail as I was enjoying a little extra shuteye.  Tim thinks that letting him come out of the room himself will "toughen him up."  I don't agree.  I believe that life will afford him plenty of opportunities to toughen him up.  (Annie already helps toughen him up!)  Carrying him out of his room like a little prince is something I don't mind doing.  But my patience has a limit too, and my arms get tired.  Sometimes I have to put him down and let him cry.  I won't hold him all day.

He knows how to go down the stairs backwards, and that is good because I'm looking forward to getting rid of those horrible gates we have.  But he's still in danger of falling because he doesn't always pay attention to what he's doing.  I'm trying to remember at what age did we feel comfortable taking down gates when the girls were that little?  
He is my little scavenger.  He climbs up on the table after meals and finishes what his sisters don't eat.  I do feed him his own meal, but scrounging for scraps is something he enjoys.  I like that we're wasting less than before.
He is such a handful at this age, but he is so darn cute.  I remind him of this all the time:  "You're lucky you're cute!"  I kiss him at least 20 times a day, and tell him he's "mama's sweet baby boy."  Sometimes I can't stop staring at him.  Other times I'm completely exasperated and have no idea what to do with him.  
Every day I feel awe, wonder and gratitude for the blessing he is in our lives.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Day in the Life: Fall 2012

It is already time for the fall edition of Day in the Life hosted by Navigating the Mothership.  I love doing these, but for some reason I had a harder time motivating myself to do this one than the others.  One day I know I'll be so happy I took these snapshots of life in every season while the kids are little.  In fact I already enjoy reading the ones I've done before.

Today is Tuesday, October 23, 2012.

6 a.m.  My alarm goes off.  Already?  But my bed is so nice and warm.  It takes a lot of willpower to get up and start the day.  

6:10 a.m. The girls are still sound asleep when I go in their room.  I turn on the light and say, "Time to wake up, girls.  Make your beds, pick up your toys, use the potty, brush your teeth."  It's the same thing every morning.  I help them both make their beds, and then I go to Timmy's room because I hear him too.  I nurse him, change his diaper, and bring him out for breakfast.
Timmy has been protesting being put in the high chair lately.  He stops crying when I bring him a bowl of oatmeal.  He happily eats it with his fingers.

6:53 a.m. Time to leave for the bus stop.  Today's theme is "Put a Cap on Drugs" day as part of a drug awareness week at school, and kids are encouraged to wear a cap or hat.  We don't have a lot of hats for little girls that aren't made for winter, and it's supposed to be high 70s today.  Delaney dug up this visor she made herself last year in preschool, so that's what she's wearing.  She's taking breakfast to go, and the little piggy is accompanying her on the walk along with Annie and myself.
This is how it looks when we walk out the door.
7:09 a.m.  We're back from the bus stop, and brrrr!  It is cold out there.  Annie complains to Tim that her hands are cold and he shows her how to warm them up in his armpits.
7:19 a.m. Bye, bye, Daddy.  See you later.  Much later.  Tim has already told me he's going to be late today.  Timmy says, "Mum, mum" which means "vroom, vroom."  For months I've stood at the window with him and said "vroom, vroom" when Tim starts the truck.  I'm so tickled to hear him saying it himself.
7:20 to 8:10 a.m.  This part of the morning is always a blur to me.  I'm sluggish, I'm grumpy, I'm unorganized.  I drink coffee and flit around from one part of the house to another, trying to decide what to do next.  Drink some coffee, check my email, keep Timmy out of trouble, pick an outfit for picture day for Annie.. wait, what was I doing?  I hate morning.  I turn on Little Einsteins for Annie and put Timmy back in the high chair with some Kix so I can try to make myself presentable.  Right before I go to my bathroom, I check the weather.  Looks like a nice day.  I'll have to go for a run this morning.
8:10 a.m. Annie tells me that Timmy is stinky.  "Are you sure?"  I ask her.  He usually waits until after his nap to do his business.  I hope he only tooted, but I take a little peek and sniff in his pants anyway.  Cough, gag.  Looks like Annie is right.  It is too early to be wiping poo, especially with such a squirmy and uncooperative baby.

8:20 a.m. I have some difficulty deciding what Annie should wear today.  It's still chilly so maybe her legs shouldn't be bare, but I don't know if I can find leggings that will look right under this dress.  But Annie seems to think this outfit is OK, and she looks cute in it.  She tells me to take a picture of her, and then keeps running off.  I say, "Annie, Annie, come back!" and she laughs hysterically, wondering where I'll be lurking with the camera next.  I feel like paparazzi.
8:40 a.m. Time to take Annie to preschool.  I tell her if she smiles for the picture, I'll give her ice cream with sprinkles.  I say, "I'll know if you do or not because they send proofs home the same day."  She says she will, but I'm not so sure.

9:20 a.m. I take Timmy on a 3.5 mile run.  He goes to sleep quickly because even though he doesn't take a morning nap anymore (most of the time), he still gets tired.  If we're in the car long enough or he's moving in the stroller long enough, he's out like a light.  When we get back, I just push him into the backyard and leave the back door open while I pick up around the house and then enjoy a piece of the coffee cake Tim made yesterday.
Sweet Timsy
11:10 a.m.  Timmy's up and he's not in a good mood.  I just don't know what to do with him lately, he's always so cranky and nothing makes him happy.  I noticed a couple days ago that a molar just poked through.  Maybe he's got more molars coming.  I give him some infants' ibuprofen to see if that will help.  Then I get Annie's lunch ready to try to get us on the fast track to naps after she gets home.  
11:40 a.m.  We leave to get Annie.  At the door Ms. Amanda hands me a clipboard to sign and a proof sheet.  After glancing at it I remark that Annie must have really wanted her ice cream with sprinkles.  I think they're the best pictures taken of her since she was a baby!  I can't wait to see how Delaney's turn out.  Hers were last week but the proofs haven't come home yet.
12:15 p.m.  I dread mealtimes with Annie.  We make every effort to keep a variety of healthful and tasty foods in this house.  We also have a little bit of junk food that we try to eat sparingly (i.e. a handful of salty chips during lunch).  She ONLY wants the junk.  And today she wants none of what I put on her plate except raisins.  The juicy apple wedges, peanut butter and graham crackers are all discarded.  Trying to feed her seems like an exercise in futility.  I could just throw a handful of raisins or a slice of bread at her every now and then and stop worrying about it.  But I've read that if you keep exposing kids to food they'll eventually break down and eat some of it.  

After eating a few raisins and some V8 juice, I then serve her ice cream with sprinkles as promised, reminding her that if we hadn't made the deal with the pictures she'd be getting no treat at all.  She has a terrible diet.  If it weren't for raisins being at the top of her ever-shrinking list, she'd be constipated all the time.  I don't know what I'm going to do when she decides that raisins are no good anymore.
12:45 p.m. I put some of last night's chili on the stove to heat up, and then take the kids to the girls' room for story time.  

1 p.m. Both kids are napping, and I finally have some free time.  I take a shower and eat a big bowl of chili.  After that I check email and Facebook, read a blog or two, and then collapse exhausted on my bed.  I feel bad for people who don't have this option in the middle of the day.  There is not enough caffeine in the world to take the place of a good old power nap.

2:35 p.m. Time to get up.  Part 2 of this day is about to start.  Part 2 is a few hours shorter than part 1, but a lot more intense.  I decide to try to fortify myself with a cup of pumpkin spice tea, and I'm also hoping it will soothe my belly.  The chili isn't sitting too well.
3 p.m. I only have time for a couple sips when Annie gets up, followed closely by Timmy.  I get them both ready to go to the bus stop in 10 minutes.
Timmy is wearing a wool diaper cover I got from my sister Anna's Etsy shop.  You should check it out, her stuff is adorable.  It's what got me into cloth diapering in the first place!
3:14 p.m.  We're a little bit late getting to the bus stop.
3:20 p.m.  Back at home I get the kids a snack and then Delaney starts on her homework.  She tells me even before I open her binder that she has extra homework today, and it will be all about nocturnal and diurnal animals.  She has to color the different animals, cut them out, and glue them either on the nocturnal or diurnal side of the paper.  I have to Google some of them, rattlesnakes for instance.  From what I gather rattlesnakes are both, and I tell her to glue them in the middle of the paper.  I also learn that none of the kids' glue sticks or bottles of school glue are operational.  Luckily Tim has a regular bottle of Elmer's in his glue collection in the garage.
The other part of Delaney's homework is more along the lines of what we usually see.  She writes the letter V in uppercase and lowercase five times each, and then draws a picture of two things that start with the same sound as "pumpkin."  She draws her friend PJ from down the street, and a pig.

Delaney also informs me that I really should send the money for the popcorn like it says on the flyer that went home a couple days ago.  It's for all the kids to have on "Fun Friday."  I tell her I will.  It's a good thing she tells me these things because when I read the flyer I had no idea what the popcorn was for, and I wasn't going to buy it because we already have popcorn.  I make a mental note to send the 50 cents before Thursday.

4:28 p.m.  I send the girls outside to play, and they actually go.  They haven't been giving me any trouble about that the past couple days.  You wouldn't believe it, but despite the beautiful weather we have this time of year, I have to practically twist their arms to get them to go out and play.  I start cutting up potatoes.  Timmy climbs up to one of his favorite perches, the kitchen table.  I know I shouldn't let him play up there, but when he's up there he stays out of worse trouble.  More importantly, he stays out of my hair.  Late afternoon is prime crabbypants time for him, and I am not looking forward to cooking while a sobbing child clings to my leg.
4:45 p.m.  Timmy tests his walking skills as he has been doing more and more frequently over the past couple months.  Learning to walk has been a very gradual process for him.  He's getting closer every day to mastering it.  He walks back and forth across the kitchen and falls with a dramatic "Oh!" or "Ahh!"  I pretend to be startled every time he falls, saying, "Timmy, you fell down!  You fell down again!"  For a little while he's amused at my mock concern.
5 p.m. Happy times are over.  Timmy wants to whine and get into trouble, climbing up on the oven handle while I have the oven and a couple of the burners going.  He has no choice but to be parked back in the high chair.  He protests the indignity of this with a lot of loud crying.  I know that putting him on my back in the Ergo is another option for when I'm short arms and he wants attention; but I can't stand the way he yanks on my hair.  He sits there the whole rest of the time dinner is cooking.  Thank goodness he only cries the first few minutes, and then he stares into space while sucking his thumb.

5:30 p.m.  Dinner is served.  Tonight it's parmesan crusted chicken, garlic mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli.  Tonight I'm also in the mood for a tall glass of chocolate milk.  Delaney's also having chocolate milk and Annie's having strawberry.
Delaney eats all of her chicken and broccoli, and I excuse her from having to eat any of the potatoes.  I didn't season them well enough, and I didn't save any of the cooking water for them either, so they've gotten cold quickly.  Annie doesn't want to eat anything.  She asks to be excused, and I tell her that she can go but she's getting no treat after dinner.  I also warn her that if she comes back later saying she's hungry, I will leave that plate of food on the table for her.  It's the same old song and dance every night.  I know she'll be back to negotiate eventually.  Why do we negotiate?  I don't know why.  It's mentally taxing and in the end she still eats very little of nutritional value.

5:42 p.m.  What a nice surprise!  Tim's not going to be as late as he told me he would be.  It's better that I'm prepared for him to be late and then pleasantly surprised when he comes home at a reasonable time.  It really stinks when he says he's going to be home on time or a little early, and then gets tied up in something and can't leave.  
5:55 p.m.  Daddy's home!  He lets the girls get in the front seat with him before he backs in the driveway.  Annie sits on his lap and helps steer.  I can see her huge smile in the side view mirror.
"Mum, mum."
6:06 p.m.  It's negotiation time.  Between bites of his own dinner Tim tries coaxing and cajoling Annie to eat almost a negligible portion of hers.  "5 bites."  "No, 1."  "6 bites."  "No, 1!"  "4 bites!"  "1!"  I have no patience for this nonsense, but if he wants to play these games he can have at it.
Tim says they can both have ice cream afterward.  I guess Annie must have eaten enough as far as he is concerned.  They lick their bowls clean when they're done.

6:20 p.m.  Bathtime.  Timmy doesn't last long in the tub before he starts fussing and trying to climb out.  He isn't really dirty anyway, so I get him out and wrap him in a towel.  Then, as we always do, I ask him where his arms are while he tries to pull them out.
Timmy's saying, "Chee.."  Oh, I could just eat him up!
You've probably noticed the lack of self portraits up to this point.  Unfortunately I'm suffering my worst breakout in 10 years and I have no desire to show what I really look like here.  It is bad.  I used to think acne was a teenage problem, but my acne started when I was 21, and it's looking like I will go straight from pimples to wrinkles.  As long as I was pregnant or breastfeeding full time, I enjoyed a relatively clear complexion, but now that I'm neither of those things, the acne is back with a vengeance.  Nothing I try works.  I'll have to see a dermatologist soon because I have no interest in the natural cure at this time.  Here I show you the "not as bad" side of my face.

6:30 p.m.  The kids are tired and fighting.  We must get this bedtime process moving!
6:45 p.m.  I try something new and have Delaney take turns reading pages of Hop on Pop with me.  Hop on Pop is the only good book I have for learning to sound out words.  I marvel at how her confidence grows when she sees a word again and knows what it is, or sees how it becomes a new word when you change just one letter.  I need more books like this because she'll have this one memorized in no time at all.
Delaney snapped this picture.  I guess Tim and Annie got tired of listening to us reading Hop on Pop.
7:15 to 7:35 p.m.  The kids are in bed but there are still a few things to do.  I sweep the kitchen floor (for at least the third time), make Delaney's lunch for tomorrow, set her outfit on the counter, and then choose my beverage for the evening, one of Tim's fancy pumpkin beers.  Just as I park my butt on the couch to enjoy it, Tim says, "You're forgetting something.  Our bed still needs to be made."  "You make it yourself!" I tell him.  I follow him back to the room to snap a picture.  He makes a rude gesture and says, "Put that in your 'day in the life'!"  I tell him that this is a PG-rated blog and I will do no such thing.  Furthermore, I tell him I'm going to expose him on my blog for what he really is, MEAN!  But I can't help but smile.
He cracks himself up.
7:37 to 10 p.m.  At last it's time to do nothing.  Some internet, some TV, my well-earned pumpkin beer, and the rest of the night quickly passes by.  
 The end.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A visit, a birthday, a race, a date

I'm going to attempt to cram the contents of an exceptionally busy and fun-filled week into one post.  Last Saturday, Tim's parents came for a visit for a week.  It was so nice having them here.  We miss them a lot.
Goofing around on the back porch soon after they arrived.  Annie was trying to tickle Grandpa's nose with a feather.
After spending a few hours with us, you would need a nap too.
We celebrated Tim's birthday on Wednesday.  
Out for a stroll downtown
On Friday, the girls ran their very first race.  It was very cute.  The girls ran their little hearts out.  They were divided into age groups.  Annie's age group, 3-4, only had to run once around the little course, which I think was about a quarter-mile.  Immediately after the race started, many of the little ones tripped over each other's feet and fell.  Annie tripped on her own feet and fell.  A nearby grownup helped her up, and on she went.  A lot of crying kids were left at the starting line.  We were surprised to find out that Delaney's age group, 5-6, had to run twice around, which was further than Delaney has ever run at one time in her life.  It took a lot of effort for her.  Tim ran with her for a short time at the end to give her encouragement.  We were proud to see her finish. 
Early the next morning, Tim Sr. and Carolyn had to leave for the airport, but we had no time to be sad about it because we had to go back downtown so Tim and I could run our 10K.  We dropped the kids off for babysitting at the convention center.  The weather was perfect, and it was the most scenic race I've ever run.  The two of us were a good team, and our official times were 49:52 and 49:53.  
A good portion of the race was going across this bridge, and turning around and coming back.  
The plan had been to have a date night while Tim Sr and Carolyn were still here, in order to take advantage of free babysitting.  But the sunset dinner cruise I wanted us to go on was only going Friday through Sunday -- even though the website advertised Thursday evening too (huff).  We couldn't do Friday because the girls' race was in the evening.  So I booked Saturday night, thinking it would be the perfect reward for running our 10K.
After snapping this picture, I said, "Hell froze over.  We're going on a date.  I should make this my status update on Facebook."  I didn't.
It was nice enough, but not really what I was expecting.  We dressed kind of nice for it (just kind of nice, because we knew it was casual, so nice casual).  A lot of other people showed up in jeans and t-shirts, and we found out that this is more or less a Golden Corral on the river (I know I'm a snob.).  There was no music, no alcohol, no coffee and dessert.  It was just a buffet dinner and a narrated tour.  I really did enjoy it for the first hour while the sun was still out and we could see -- the actual sunset portion.  Some items of interest on the tour were The Notebook house, Nicholas Sparks' old house (makes me really want to see his new house!), an osprey nest, and some boats that had run aground during last year's hurricane, and a few other things.  I ate a big dinner and drank sweet tea, and we looked at all the mansions that we'd only been able to see afar from the road.  I was fascinated at this wealthy world on the banks of this river.  It was so glamourous -- pools, parties, yachts.
Nicholas Sparks' old house.  Maybe he got tired of people gawking at him from a boat?
Then the sun went down, it got cold, and the narrated part of the tour was over.  We put on our jackets and huddled together watching the twinkling lights in the distance and talking about this and that.  Then my phone rang.  Tim answered it.  I waited impatiently while he listened to someone talk, his face grave.  Then he said, "Well, we'll be back as soon as we can.. I don't know when that will be.  We're on a boat.."  As I had feared, it was the Play Date people.  We had opted to leave the kids at the drop-in daycare rather than try to find a babysitter.  Tim told me that they said Timmy was super fussy, and other than that he couldn't really hear anything she had said.  Then we looked at the time and realized we still had an hour to go on this tour.  

There was absolutely nothing we could do about this situation.  We paid for a two-hour tour and that was what we were getting.  So we did what we always do in stressful circumstances -- crack silly jokes and laugh, and then speculate about a red-faced inconsolably-crying Timmy making all the other kids cry, and the girls who work there waiting for us to come pick him up.  

It seemed like everyone on the boat was ready to get off.  Jackets were on, purses worn on the arm, but this boat moved veeerrry slowly.  Tim said to me, "OK, we don't need to be going this slow.  I know this boat has another gear."  "Yeah," I agreed.  "You're not playing any music, you're not serving any wine, we're not up here slow-dancing, so why not just vrooooom us on back to the dock."  I giggled and said, "By the time this boat gets back we're going to be a couple of skeletons sitting here, hee hee."  Tim said, "What'd you put in that tea?"  And that was how we amused ourselves as we floated around in the cold darkness.
We plan to photoshop these two together.
Then I called Play Date for an update on Timmy.  At that point, we had about 40 minutes left to go of this cruise.  I was so relieved to hear that he had calmed down.  I told them we'd see them in about an hour.  Next time we go out, we'll get a babysitter to come to our house.  Timmy needs to be in bed on time. 

And that was it, an event-filled, overall great week.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Pinterest-y patched jeans

When I came across this tutorial on Pinterest, I knew I had to try it, and I knew what jeans I had to try it on. Here were my rugged three-year-old flare leg jeans I got from a Levi's outlet near Quantico.  Three years of being at kid level changing diapers, putting on shoes and zipping jackets in these jeans had taken their toll.  I had a huge hole in the knee and while I know it's stylish, the hole kept growing.  Soon it was going to cross the line between cute and skanky, but until a day or two ago, I had no idea what I was going to do.  You know how hard it is to find a pair of jeans that comes this close to fitting perfectly?  They may have only cost $25 but I'd spent hours trying on other pairs in order to find these.  And by the way, there are no Levi's outlets anywhere around here.  I am not devoted to wearing Levi's in particular, but I had to appreciate one store dedicated entirely to jeans in all sizes and in all styles.
The ladies at the fabric store helped me find everything I needed.  I found fabric with a cute print from a scrap box, an ugly denim iron-on patch to reinforce it, some Steam 'n Seam, and navy blue embroidery floss that matched the print on the fabric.  Red would have also gone with it, but I preferred something more subdued.
The older lady at the fabric store who I think owns it (she acts like the boss) wanted me to use the denim patch inside the jean, and then bond the pretty fabric over everything on the outside.  While that was one way that would have worked, it was not the way I had in mind.  For some reason she didn't understand what it was I really wanted -- or she understood and just thought it was dumb.  I opted to buy the denim one she suggested anyway, and use it to reinforce the pretty fabric kind of like the writer of the tutorial did.

The first step was bonding the denim patch to the back of the fabric.  That was easy.  After that it got a little tricky.  I have never patched a piece of clothing in my life.  A broken pair of jeans used to just mean a new pair of jeans.  So I had to really think it through step by step.  
Next, I realized that I had no idea how to use the Steam 'n Seam.  The fabric store sells it by the quarter-yard, so that was what I got.  It came with no directions.  I turned to Google first and learned that there were two versions of this product and I didn't know which one I had.  I called Karen at the fabric store and she told me what it was and how to use it.  I was back in business.  I decided I'd better cut a rectangle a little bigger than the hole in my jeans so that the patch wouldn't show through.

I laid the sheet of Steam 'n Seam over the fabric and pressed it with the iron.
Then I peeled off the paper and prepared to attach the whole thing to the inside of my jeans.  But uh-oh -- I realized a couple things were wrong.
Yes, I failed to protect my ironing board cover -- didn't even think of it.  But that's not what I'm talking about.  Do you see which side I attached the bonding web to?  Not the pretty side that I want showing through the hole in my jeans, but rather the ugly side.  Not only that, but I have a ton of excess fabric around there.  That patch would practically wrap around my thigh by the time I was done!  I hadn't even thought about how the whole entire thing would be bonded to whatever I ironed it onto, and once it's on there, it's on there.  No going back.  I felt like such a dummy.  I'm so glad I realized all this before I started ironing it.  I put everything away and tried again later with some new Steam 'n Seam.  

I trimmed it all down to the size a patch should actually be.  This time I did not cut out a rectangle because after trying and failing at this the first time, I discovered that the bonding web would not be visible anyway.  I forgot that the bonding web was still on the other side of the fabric, and guess what I did?  Yup, I fused the patch to the ironing board cover.  I thought all was lost, but luckily it peeled off.
I'm also glad I thought of using the paper backing to sit inside my jeans and prevent the leg from being fused together.
I had no idea it would be this complicated.  At last, the moment of truth.  I nervously ironed the patch on, gave it some time to cool, and tested it.  It worked!  
I think maybe I should have just stopped here because it already looked perfect, but I went ahead and sewed stars on like the tutorial writer said to do.  She had noted that not only do they look cute but they also serve to hold the patch more firmly in place.  That may be true, but I'm still on the fence as to whether I like it with the stars or without.  They look like they were made with pen.
Much better.  These jeans have a new lease on life.  Our ironing board cover will need to be replaced immediately.  Live and learn.  I want to patch something else now.  Anyone need a patch?