Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Saturday 7

1. I volunteered to work in VBS this year. It's my first year of being a stay at home mom, and being available to do it every day. I got assigned to the preschool room, where Lucy is, and I knew she would love it. I was, admittedly, worried about Lena - with good reason. The first day, she lasted about 45 minutes, then screamed so psychotically, the nursery workers came and found me. I ended up carrying her in the Bjorn the rest of the day. (Ow.) On Tuesday, Lena did really well! But Lucy was an absolute wreck. She didn't want to do any of the activities or crafts. She literally stood by me crying almost the entire time. At the end of the day, I quit. Haha. I told the head teacher that it was too much for my girls, and that I wasn't coming back. Sigh. Maybe next year.

2. When I went back and read Lucy's 6 month update this week, I realized she was sitting up by this age. I never even give Lena the opportunity to sit by herself, so decided we should start working on that. I was amazed that she could totally do it! The first day, she was a little wobbly, but by the end of this week, she was sitting like a pro!

3. Another milestone for Lena this week was taking a bath in the big tub! I decided to ditch the baby tub, and just pop Lena in the bath with a couple inches of water. She loved it! She even liked being on her belly and splashing around. It'll be so nice to get that baby tub out of the bathroom. It takes up way too much space!

4. Justin and I celebrated our 8th anniversary this week. (Even though our actual anniversary is on Monday, the 29th.) It's ridiculous how much planning and finagling I did to work around Lena's feeding schedule, but it all worked out! On Thursday night, we left Lucy at home with my parents, brought Lena to Libby's apartment (because she lives on Alpine), and went to Olive Garden for dinner (with a gift card!). Something Justin and I struggle with is finding stuff to talk about. He's not much of a conversationalist, and I'm terrible at thinking up conversation topics. You'd think that after 8 years of marriage, we'd have this kind of thing down, but we don't. So I printed off a bunch of questions that I found on Pinterest. (Link here. This is 365 questions, and a lot of them were really dumb. I just picked out 17 that I liked.) It was fun! And dinner was delicious.

After Olive Garden, we ran to Schuler's Bookstore across the street. I found a bookstore date on Pinterest that I wanted to try, but we really didn't have time to do it well.  It's basically a scavenger hunt with prompts like, "Go to the cooking section and pick out a recipe you'd like to make for your spouse." or "Go to the travel section and find a picture of a place you'd like to visit with your spouse." Those are the only two we had time for. It was funny that we both had the same idea for the recipes. Justin chose a recipe from this book, and I picked one from this book. His book was particularly hilarious (though totally inappropriate - consider yourself forewarned).

We ran back to Libby's so I could nurse Lena, then we headed off to the Oasis (with a coupon!). I was worried that it'd be way too hot for hot tubbing, but we're actually having an unseasonably cool week, so it was perfect.

Lena did great with Aunt Libby. She played happily, and Libby even got her to sleep (not always an easy feat!)

5. Justin has Fridays off, so we continued our date yesterday. In the past few months, he's suddenly taken an interest in fishing. He goes probably once a week, but it's hard for me to go with him, since I can't leave Lena for extended periods of time. But I was determined to make it work at least once this summer. So we I fed Lena and left her (and Lucy) with Niki, then we zipped off to lake closest to Niki's house. Our amazing friends, Matt and Kelly, lent us their canoe, so we didn't have to pay anything to rent one!

I realized as we started paddling that I am not a big fan of lakes. They really creep me out - all the seaweed, not being able to see the bottom, the smell. And I was super paranoid about flipping the canoe. But I eventually got used to it, and was able to relax and enjoy myself. It was 11:00 in the morning, cloudy and cool, and there was one other old guy on the whole lake, so it was incredibly peaceful.

Justin was nice to me and didn't make me touch the worm. He taught me to cast, and I caught on pretty quickly. Actually, I'm an amazing fisherwoman. I caught 3 huge blue-gills to his 1 bass. He insists that bass are more elusive, but I'm pretty sure it's just evidence of my fishing prowess. ;-)
I told you they were huge blue gills. Lol. I was not a fan of the flopping fish. Again, Justin was nice and took it off the hook for me. We didn't stay out for long because we weren't getting many bites and I had to get back to feed Lena, but we had fun! Even though I'm totally sore from paddling the canoe. Ha!

We went to BC Pizza for the buffet for lunch (mmmm, cinnamon sticks!), stopped back to Niki's to feed Lena, then went and saw Despicable Me 2. It was the only movie playing during the small window of time we had available, but it was cute! (And we had a gift card, so it was free!)

Again, Lena did great with Aunt Niki. I was so glad, considering what a mama's girl she can be.
It was so nice, getting away with Justin for a while, even if it was in little 3 hour increments. Haha.

6-7. Ok, this is getting ridiculously long. I'll finish with this. Yesterday, within one hour, two of my facebook friends posted the following articles.

1. My Top 10 "Oh Now I Get It" Moments

2. How to Be the Star in Your Preschooler's Eyes

It sums up so well something I've been thinking about a lot. The first article is a hilarious blog about how women always say, "Oh I'll never . . ." before having kids, and then totally change their tune after the kids are born. It's so true and so funny, but basically says "When you become a mother, you'll be so desperate for sleep/the ability to pee alone/the chance to talk on the phone without interruptions that you'll do anything to keep your kids occupied." Which is exactly the opposite of the second article that says our children should be our first priority, and everything else is an interruption from them. It goes on to say that the preschool age is such an important, formative time in a child's life, and we should be spending every moment with them, pouring the knowledge and grace of God into their lives.

I love that the first kind of article exists. I love that women are being honest about motherhood being hard work, tiring work, frustrating work. But I feel like sometimes we go a little overboard with declaring our children little monsters who make us want to pull our hair out. I think it needs to be counterbalanced a little bit by the second kind of article. Most of us chose to have kids. Why do we act like they're such nuisances? I realize I sound like a total hypocrite. I'm the first to admit that my kids drive me crazy sometimes (a lot of times), but I also want to be the first to admit that I'm glad I have them, I love spending time with them, and I feel guilty every day that I don't do a good enough job pouring the knowledge of God into them.

That was not articulated as eloquently as I anticipated. You get the point, right? ;-)

*Edited to add: I'm actually feeling kind of bad about that whole last point. I feel like I came across really judge-y/holier than though. I was just noticing the trend of all these "honesty" blogs. I love them, I've shared them, I write my own blog that way a lot. The one I posted just reminded me that I've noticed a lot of those types lately. I'm all for being real and honest and commiserating with other moms, but I've noticed myself focusing on the bad instead of the good too much recently. There are a lot of happy, silly, fun moments amid the puking stories and up-all-night incidents!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Q is for Queen and Quilt

Lucy found some jewels in the craft stash the other day, so we had fun making a Q Queen.

Then I found the idea for a quilt q . Lucy doesn't even know what a quilt is, so I had to teach her. Haha. Fortunately, my dad has a plethora of odd books all over this house, and we found one about quilts! Then I got out the scrapbooking paper, let her choose which ones she wanted, and cut them into squares for her. She loved gluing each piece to the paper. 

We even found some stickers to spell out "Q is for Quilt." 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Nature Scavenger Hunt {On the Bucket List}

We crossed another thing off our bucket list today - the nature scavenger hunt. It's an absolutely gorgeous day, the girls took short naps, and we were looking for something to do. I've seen lots of free printable hunts on pinterest, but I took the easy way out and just hand-wrote some basic stuff.
I'm quite the artist, eh?

With her bucket and list - ready to go!
The adventurers. This pic is not altered. Look at those perfect clouds and gorgeous sky!
1. On the hunt. 2. Smelling mint. 3. There's a bug in the pool! 4. Checking things off the list.
The other hunters. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Lena: 6 Months

My Lena-Bean is 6 months old today! That doesn't really seem possible! But alas, it is. So here is the 6 month update:

I went back and read Lucy's 6 month update. She was on a much more predictable schedule than Lena is. 2nd child syndrome, I guess.  Lena is an early bird. I have no idea where she gets that from. But she's usually up before 7:00 am. I've started keeping a basket of toys next to my bed, so I can put them in the pack n' play with her in the morning and catch a few more minutes of sleep. Haha.

She's still nursing every 3 hours. She pretty consistently nurses on both sides now (although the right side produces much more), but she's still pretty quick. She's incredibly easily distracted. I've started turning the TV on for Lucy downstairs and taking Lena upstairs to feed her in silence.

She's generally awake for 1.5-2 hours between naps. You never know how long she's going to sleep. It could be an hour. It could be 3 hours. I've been trying harder to have her nap upstairs in her bed instead of her swing, and she usually sleeps longer up there. I'm still in the very bad habit of rocking her to sleep. It's just so much easier. One night last week, I laid her down in bed awake and she screamed for a solid hour before I finally went up and rocked her to sleep. Ugh. Still sleeping in our room. I just can't figure out how she and Lucy will share without waking each other up. I'm not too worried about it for now, since she's still not sleeping through the night anyway.

She goes to bed at 8:00, then wakes up anywhere between midnight and 3 am to eat, back to sleep until 5 or 6 to eat, then hopefully back to sleep for another hour or so. All of you with 6 week old babies sleeping through the night can shut it!

Milestones and Personality
She started on solid food last week. On Monday, I gave her pureed peas (a la Gerber - there was no homemade steaming/pureeing). She loved playing with the spoon and the food, but I don't think she swallowed much - or was particularly fond of the taste. On Thursday, she had frozen banana slices in the mesh feeder. And then a few days later, she had a slice of avocado in the mesh feeder. She was pretty ambivalent about it. More than anything, she just enjoys having something to chew on.

She's getting really good at rolling and pivoting to get around the room. And I think army crawling is in her near future. Over the past few days I've noticed her rocking from side to side on her belly to inch forward. She's getting adept enough that I can't just set her down and walk away anymore. I have to keep my eye on her!

She absolutely loves Lucy and Lola. If either of them come in her view, she starts squealing and screaming. She still doesn't really laugh, but she shrieks excitedly. Haha. She and Lucy love screaming at each other. And she is obsessed with trying to pet Lola. Our horribly evil cat tolerates her exceptionally well. Even when Lena's "petting" consists mostly of pulling out chunks of Lola's fur. Lena was also a big fan of Kelly's dog the day we went to visit her. Fingers crossed that she doesn't have Lucy's fear issues!!

She likes the pool . . . as long as it isn't too cold. I can usually ease her into it bit by bit and then she enjoys it. I've even dunked her under the water a few times (after lots of research about a baby's ability to hold its breath underwater). She came up sputtering, but not crying or gagging! She loves to kick her legs and splash in the water.

Of course, the most notable aspect of her personality lately is her severe separation anxiety issues. I must be in her line of vision all times - preferably touching her in some way. Haha. We had VBS this week at church. I attempted to help in the preschool room, but on the first day, Lena screamed so uncontrollably in nursery that I ended up wearing her in the Bjorn all day. Lucy was a Mama's girl, but I think Lena is worse. Unless she's in a very good mood, she won't let anyone but me hold her. And if someone else is holding her while I'm nearby, she will crane her neck until she finds me, then reach her little arms out crying pitifully at me until I take her. It's part ridiculous, part precious. We're going to attempt to leave her for our anniversary this Friday. Pray for my sisters who will be watching her. Haha. We're actually going to be doing a bunch of "mini-dates" close to home, so I can go back and feed her every 3 hours since she still absolutely refuses to take a bottle!

She's really getting to a fun age, though. She's so smiley and happy and adorable. I love her squeezy little cheeks and the way she gets so excited to see me. I can't believe she's half way to a year and can't wait to see what the next 6 months hold!

She was so happy during this photo shoot - lots of happy shrieking, as you can see!! Haha.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Saturday 7

Insane day. I've got 57 minutes to get this up and still legitimately call it The Saturday 7. Time to get crack-a-lackin'.

1. We had a heat wave this week. I missed our old house and its central AC a little bit. Haha. But I sure did enjoy having a pool in our backyard!

2. Lucy and I worked on the letter P this week. I did a few activities intentionally focused on P, but as you'll see, much of our week involved the letter P!

On Monday, we hosted a Pool Party. It wasn't much of a party. I just invited some of Lucy's friends over to swim. No games or activities or anything. Just the pool and some snacks.

Our other planned "P" activities included painting a picture of Pinkalicious and reading If You Give a Pig a Pancake. We never actually got around to making pancakes like I wanted to. It was just too hot.

3. On Thursday, we went to Kelly's house for a playdate with Presley. (Although that was really just a guise to spend the day in Kelly's air conditioned house!) While there, Lucy and Presley painted a purple peacock. It was a super cute craft. I'll include it in my official P entry later.

Kelly and I had fun catching up and taking pictures of our babies. When I got home, I looked up the old pictures we'd taken of Lucy and Presley as babies for comparison:

4. Today, we went to a friend's birthday party. Conveniently enough, it was a pirate-themed party! Lucy was an adorable little pirate!
I tried to teach Lucy to say, "Arggh, me matey!" She kept saying, "Arggh, me ladies!" Lol.
5. We also had family pictures this morning! Neither Lucy nor Lena were feeling particularly cooperative, but our fabulous photographer, Stacie (of staciebphotography), did a great job getting some sweet shots. She's put up a few already. Here are my favorites:

6. Lena had her first taste of baby food this week. You guessed it . . . peas! Haha. I really didn't do that intentionally. It's just what I had. She loved trying something new, but she's not real adept, and I don't think she really enjoyed the taste too much. Haha.

She had peas a couple times this week. Then on Thursday, I found the mesh feeder someone gave me for Lucy. I never used it with her, but after my research on "Baby-Led Weaning," I thought I'd try it. As I was searching for something to put in the mesh feeder, I came across some frozen banana slices I'd stuck in the freezer earlier that week. It was 95*, Lena was a sweaty mess, and I knew frozen banana would be perfect! She loved it, and chowed them right down. I'm so clever. *Pats self on back.*

7. I also spent a fair amount of time on Pinterest this week. ;-) (Had to get another P into this entry!) I'm so sick of pins like this:
Photo Credit
Seriously? Do I need the pressure to look like this when my baby is that age? Seriously? That woman has given birth? And hasn't had plastic surgery? I'm not actually depressed about this. I'm just annoyed that people pin stuff like this. Like you're seriously going to do the "post-baby body bootcamp." Sit on the couch snuggling that baby instead of working so hard to erase any evidence of her from your body!

Anyway, I hope your week was perfectly pleasant! Next week promises to be quiet and quizzical? Haha. Stay tuned! ;-)

Friday, July 19, 2013

P is for Peacock

Credit for this idea goes to my friend, Kelly. We went to her house during "P" week and she whipped up this craft for the girls.

She gave the girls a coffee filter and let them color it with markers. Then they squirted the filter with water, let it dry, and dotted it with their finger prints. Kelly cut out a peacock body, feet, and a beak, and let them go to town with the glue.

Thanks, Kelly, for the great craft!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Saturday 7

1. Big news everyone :Lena made the transition from the Rock n' Play to the Pack n' Play this week! It actually went remarkably well. I took the cover off the rock n' play and laid it down in the pack n' play to make the transition a little easier. The first day, I rocked her to sleep and laid her down, and she stayed asleep! There was much rejoicing. The problem is, I've gotten into the habit of rocking her to sleep, and she doesn't go to sleep any other way. And it has to be me. She won't let anyone else rock her to sleep. Sigh. This morning, I finally decided she was going to cry it out. It's ridiculous that she'll fall sleep in my arms, but not her bed. She cried screamed for 40 minutes, then finally went to sleep.

2. We crossed something else off our Summer Bucket List this week: go to the Zoo! Justin has Friday's off, and yesterday was a beautiful day, so we spontaneously decided to take the girls to the zoo. It was hot, so the animals were all being lazy, but we had a great time. Lucy loved the new play areas the zoo has.

Lena just loved being outside:

3. I forgot to mention Lucy's reaction to the 4th of July parade we went to last week. She hated the fire trucks and loud noises, and asked to leave about 5 minutes after the parade started.
Covering her ears.
But then, the "princesses" arrived. Lucy loved all the beauty queens, and stood by the side of the road waving back at them in awe:

4. I'm confused about the "salted caramel" obsession on Pinterest. I ordered a salted caramel hot chocolate from Starbucks once, and thought, "Gross! Why is there salt in my hot chocolate?!" I'm not totally opposed to the salty/sweet combination. I love me some chocolate covered pretzels, but salted caramel is just not right in my opinion. Glad I got that off my chest. ;-)

5. Recently, I've been convicted that I'm not praying for my girls enough. And then I feel like I pray the same few things over and over for them. So I decided to pick a Psalm for each of them, and pray the Psalm for them. Lucy's is Psalm 34. I especially like verse 4: "I sought the Lord and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears." Lucy has definitely inherited my nervous tendencies, so I love to pray this verse for her - that she will seek the Lord when she's afraid, and that he will deliver her from fear.

I had a harder time choosing a Psalm for Lena, because she doesn't really have too much of a personality yet. I've been using Psalm 86. My favorite part of this passage is verse 11: "Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name."

6. This is a TMI point. It has to do with breastfeeding problems. Continue on at your own risk . . . Last weekend, I started having some serious nipple pain when Lena latched on. One day, I thought I saw blood on my nursing pad, but realized I had dropped chocolate down my shirt earlier that day and figured it was just melted chocolate. But then, on Monday, while Lena was nursing, she pulled off and spit out a huge stream of blood. It was definitely coming from me. Owww. I did some research on thrush, but didn't find anything about thrush causing bleeding. Finally I decided my nipple was just cracked and bleeding. Seriously. After 5 months of nursing. I put Lanolin on it for a few days and it has stopped bleeding, but it still hurts. Why the world do you think this is happening? I don't think Lena has a bad latch. Why would her latch change after 5 months? And my right side is fine. Oy.

7. I've decided I'm going to start trying harder to get Lucy to eat healthier. But I don't even know where to begin. She will not eat anything she doesn't like. I gave her carrots and ranch the other day. She sucked the ranch off, then spit out the half-chewed carrot. She only eats macaroni, cheese roll-ups (cheese melted in a tortilla), hot dogs, pb&j, grilled cheese, yogurt, and a select few fruits.  I've tried the whole, "Include her in shopping, let her help you cook" nonsense. She's not fooled. Yesterday, she and my mom picked a huge bowlful of snap peas from the garden. I ate one and gave Lucy one to try. She licked it and said, "I don't like that," refusing to take a bite. Any suggestions of a way to start easing some healthier foods into her diet?

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Saturday 7

1. We're making progress on the summer bucket list. Last Saturday we went to a Whitecaps' game. Lucy loved it - mostly because we went with a group and got tons of free food and little trinkets: bubbles and glow sticks and cookies galore! My mom and sisters were there, so I don't think I watched a single minute of the game, but we had a blast. As we were leaving, Lucy said, "We should do that again someday!" Haha.

On the morning of Independence Day, Justin took Lucy fishing. This is how it went:
Lol - she fell in the water and was not a happy camper. 
2 events crossed off the bucket list!

2. I pinned an article on Pinterest this week from a couple who have gone on a weekly date night every week of their 8 year marriage. The article was a bunch of creative date ideas. The people obviously have money, but I liked a lot of their ideas. Anyway, she linked to some other blogs and got me looking at all these lists of date ideas (obviously written by women). So many of them are so cheesy. I can't imagine Justin ever doing anything like this: bake together, build a snowman and sip hot chocolate together, make handmade cards together (?!) . . . gag. So I got to thinking that it'd be interesting to see a man make a list of creative date ideas. But then I decided a man's list would just be many variations of one specific deed. Men!

3. Lena has been suuuuuper attached to me lately. She freaks out any time I leave her line of vision. And you can forget about anyone else holding her!  Today we went to a lake with Justin's parents. His mom was holding Lena while Justin, Lucy, and I paddled across the lake. We got about half-way (it's a small lake), when I heard screams echoing across the water. Lena decided she'd had enough of Grandma. As soon as I took her back, she stopped crying, sighed, and laid her head down on my shoulder as if to say, "I thought you abandoned me forever. Don't ever leave me again!" Haha. My hopes for getting away for our anniversary are looking slimmer and slimmer!

4. We had a fabulous 4th. My friend Becky brought her kids over. Lucy adored playing with them all day, and they are such good, sweet kids. We never had to referee or entertain them. They played so nicely together!

5. I was inspired by this beautiful pinterest post for my 4th of July baking:

This was a minute after we made them:

This was 5 minutes after we made them:
Lol. Pinterest fail!
6. We didn't do much with the letter N this week. I had big intentions of going on a nature walk, and picking up grass and twigs and stuff to make a nest, but it rained a lot, and then we had the 4th, and then I was just feeling lazy. I printed off a picture of Fancy Nancy for Lucy to paint. She painted her completely black. Haha. Not very fancy.

7. My Aunt Claudia sent me the sweetest hand-written letter a couple weeks ago about motherhood and raising kids and comparing ourselves to others. One day this week, we were facebook chatting and she mentioned that when she's tempted to compare herself, she "takes every thought captive" and stops that line of thinking in its tracks. I thought that was such good advice - and something I've been trying to implement. When I start comparing myself, I stop, ask God to help me take my thoughts captive, then do my best to replace them with something else. I tell myself that I am a good mom/wife/whatever, God chose me to be these girls' mom, and even better than that - he chose me to be his child. Not only that, but he delights in me. He actually likes me, despite my failures! And despite my pinterest fails and parenting fails and marriage fails. Another thing I've been working on is stopping the negative self-talk. Until recently, I've just considered that psychologist psychobabble, but I've noticed that I get so depressed every night, laying in bed thinking, "I didn't do the laundry today. I didn't do my devotions today. I didn't sing with Lena today." Instead, I try to think of what I did do. "I gave Lena a bath. I read to Lucy. I swept the floor. I made a decent dinner." It seems kind of obvious, but it has helped!
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