Sunday, September 30, 2012

Just because...

Unplanned nature walk

One grey day last week I popped the second seat onto the stroller and walked the kids over to Juanita Bay Park. I crave exercise in any form, and pushing that monster with two hefty kiddos and a packed diaper bag up and down hilly Market Street was just the ticket. We have a fall list going ( I wised up this season and made it short), and something Linnea wanted to add was "nature walk to look for toads." I really had no idea how we were going to accomplish that one -- basically our only fauna around here is birds, including bald eagles, chickadees, some jays, a resident hummingbird, and lots and lots of crows -- but I definitely wanted to try. I have fond childhood memories of poking around the creek near my house looking for salamanders. So after reading some books on tadpoles, frogs and toads (sparked by a hidden pictures puzzle in her High Five magazine, which had a picture of a tadpole), I hopefully added it to the list.

There is a wide pedestrian-only section of road right next to the marshes of Juanita Bay, and Linnea liked climbing up the fence rungs to peer over the sides. I'm no science teacher but figured we had  a decent homeschool preschool conversation (though it wasn't planned in any way) about the plants we saw, the birds we heard twittering, the changing leaves, late season blackberries and whatever else came up.

The first animals we saw were four female ducks eating pond scum (see, not very scientific!) from the water's surface. I think by this time I had Pete in the carrier, and he liked to look over the edge, too. We saw grasses, cattails and reeds, trees, mossy logs, and then the marsh opened out to the bay and there were thousands and thousands of lily pads. Right near there I thought I saw the slimy back of a frog or toad, but it was too tucked into the reeds for me to be sure. But there was a whole flock of Canada geese and more ducks eating their lunch amongst the lily pads and the rotted pilings of an old dock that used to provide ferry service to Seattle. That was our favorite part.

It was really peaceful wandering along the bay with a slight chill in the air. We headed over to Starbucks to warms up, make a potty stop and have a snack. Peter did great and the whole morning was just a wonderful moment: unexpectedly carried off well, peaceful and fun. As a mom I've learned to recognize those moments and store them up for more challenging times. I remember thinking, as Linnea sat happily eating her snack and Peter nursed contentedly under the  cover, just how perfect it was. I was, and am, thankful.

Limnea had walked the whole way from the park but on the way home she rode in the stroller with Peter. We were out a long time and I hoped he'd fall asleep in the stroller -- which he did, even with Linnea facing him and singing to herself the entire time. That, and the little late lunch we girls had while he slept in the basement after we got home, was just the icing on the cake. Even though we didnt find any toads.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Girl Talk post from their internet series

http://www.girltalkhome.com/blog/the-case-of-the-vanishing-busybody

Good stuff in this series on how you spend your time online. Check out the other posts.

I am reading through the whole bible this year and was convicted a long time ago to do my reading and prayer before checking blogs and email, as I do my bible reading on my phone. But the idea of the vanishing busy body was really interesting and I believe in another post, the Girl Talk ladies mentioned how unusual it is to know so many details of people's lives that we would not ordinarily know (for example via status updates). I agree.

Table food and social media

Peter is finally showing more interest in table food! He's been mostly doing purees up til now with the addition of cheerios, bits of bread and puffs. For a long while he'd finger small pieces of cheese, pasta, rice or fruit he'd already eaten in pureed form but not really eat them. This week, though, he's been eating ground beef from pasta sauce, chicken (and spooned broth) from chicken noodle soup, pieces of cheese and some pork from sausages I grilled tonight. I'm so thrilled! It makes mealtime so much more enjoyable now that I don't have to spoon feed him absolutely everything. He's having fun, too, and quickly learned to swipe food off the table with an arc motion of his arm.

Random, but I'm sneaking in a little update on my use of social media, namely Facebook. I have a love-hate relationship with that thing. I hardly ever post photos anymore (they all come here) and have been more thoughtful with my updates but lately have been feeling like it's just too much. I'm tired of the status updates of people who just aren't in my life at all and I'm tired of it being my default time waster when I'm spending a long time nursing Peter to sleep. I know there are ways i could modify my usage but some of those take too much time (ie deleting people who really aren't my friends or hiding them from my feed). So I wonder now and then, like today, what it would be like to jump ship. Tim reminded me of the usefulness it brings for contacting people i don't have saved info for, or for contacting (in theory, depending on if they check) a large number of people at once. So i won't delete. But I'm modifying settings on my phone and resolving to post only if i really need to. No pithy thoughts or clever announcements from me.

I will say that i have enjoyed the sense of community it brings, and i do contend that along with a healthy dose of "false" community there is a sliver of reality to it,  which has often been encouraging in seasons as a mom working at home. But i will now be emailing friends for that encouragement and camaraderie (you know, when get togethers aren't feasible) as needed.

Here's to no more lurking, no more overshares, no more strange new world of knowing waaay more info about the ins and outs of people's days than is necessary or beneficial. Many of you Psiaki siblings seem to already have this stance regarding FB... I'd love to hear your thoughts.

In closing, happy birthday to all 83,00 of you whose walls i won't be writing on (though i may send you a card! Or email - let's be realistic. But yeah, i have this thing called a calendar.)

And yes, Tami, I'll still be checking to see if you've had your baby. :)

In a bit I'll post something from the Girl Talk blog by CJ Mahaney's wife and daughters which i found useful on this topic.

Is it time to go to the pumpkin patch ?

Linnea asks me every morning if it's time to go get pumpkins. We are all excited... And will have to contain it for another three weeks since our calendar is already filled up. But for now we're enjoying the last of the farmers market on Wednesdays. Isn't her new sweater (b'day gift from a friend) adorable?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Before he got sick on Friday..

...there was Thursday, and a play date in the park with friends. Peter loved the soccer ball.

He's still a little irritable but woke up this morning without a fever. So thankful he's on the mend.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Cuteness

Swing with the sippy cup.
Tap shoes with her night gown on.
  I love my babies.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Peach, corn, yogurt

Thursday, September 13, 2012

First ballet class!

Linnea's first ballet class was this afternoon and she loved it! Parents are not allowed in to observe except once a month, and Linnea did great! Didn't miss me once-- guess she really is growing up! I was thrilled she did so well. There is a glass door i could peek through every once in a while, too.

There was only one other little girl so hopefully more will join. Peter had fun crawling in the dirty hallway and up the steps and by the end of the 45-min class his feet and hands were black. So I will be getting my exercise too just by chasing him around.

It's actually a ballet, tap and tumble class, so at the end the teacher laid out a mat and helped the girls do somersaults, cartwheels and log rolls. And there was a coloring page on plies to do, too. So fun. I'm thrilled she likes it. And will be on the hunt for tap shoes.

Linnea is a bit of a live wire, as everyone knows, so we'll see if the teacher can keep her reigned in. "No running" is one of the class rules.

There is a recital in December. I am just tickled with delight imagining what that will be like!

(PS when I can get on the computer I'll add updates on Cannon Beach and Linnea's birthday party!)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Give me that popsicle!

Friday, September 7, 2012

3/4

Happy 9 months to my little sweet guy! Love that potato-covered face.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Motherhood Decathlon

Yes, the Olympics are past, and no, I haven't done any sprinting or long jumps lately, but sometimes just getting through the events of the day makes me feel like I deserve a medal. You, too? Read on and see if you can relate to the following feats of advanced planning, thinking on your toes, patience, humor, and grace under pressure.

1. Early Morning Walk

Hit the ground running when your baby wakes up an hour earlier than the rest of the household and you seize the opportunity for some exercise.

Base point value: 50 points
Add 5 points if there was nothing quick to grab for a bite and so you walked hungry
Add 10 points if you're groggy from co-sleeping with a parasite (I mean baby) who thinks you're an all-night snack bar

2. Breakfast

Return home, wake the slumbering members of your family, and fix breakfast. But don't forget to first put away the now-dry dishes cluttering the counter, empty the basement humidifier, take your preschooler to the potty, and find a moment to visit the bathroom yourself.

Base point value: 50 points

Add 5 points if you serve your baby two courses (i.e. breastfeeding and solids)

Add 5 points if your preschooler takes two bites and declares she is done

Add 10 points if you manage to feed everyone, including yourself, simultaneously, and you actually remember to talk with them, too

3. Baby's Morning Nap

Get your preschooler set up with her favorite activity (ours might be Veggie Tales and library books -- don't judge) and take baby back for his nap.

Base point value: 50 points

Add 5 points if you need to literally wrestle the kid down for a diaper change

Add 10 points if you "parent to sleep" (i.e. nursing, rocking, singing, waltzing around the room, standing on your head, etc)

4. Alone Time with Your Big Kid

This could be called the steeple chase event of your day. One of them is sleeping... What to do now? Go for QUALITY and QUANTITY, and use your time (only an hour, mind) to:

Get preschooler and self dressed with teeth brushed

Have preschooler help you sort laundry

Start a load of laundry

Take preschooler to potty

Fix a snack

Pour yourself a glass of cold decaf coffee from the day before

Attempt a craft with preschooler

Read aloud

Base point value: 75 points

Add 5 points if you complete all of the above quietly enough not to wake the sleeping baby

5. Play Time

Didn't we just do this? Yes, but now baby's awake. Juggle entertaining your preschooler while engaging your baby on the floor with balls, board books and the like. That is, after you've fed and changed him.

Base point value: 50 points

Add 5 points if you can muster some enthusiasm and really enjoy your kids

Add 5 points if you can keep your baby from actually eating the board books

6. Lunch

You've got the halfway mark, but don't slack off. The stakes are getting higher. Manage a preschooler tantrum while scattering toys on the kitchen floor for baby as you eye the fridge for something promising. Everyone's hungry, and speed is key. You need to make lunch for yourself, your preschooler, and warm something for the baby. Bibs, cups, clean high chair trays and utensils are all needed.

Base point value: 50 points

Add 5 points if you need to stop what you're doing to administer some type of discipline to said tantrum-throwing preschooler

Add 5 points if you manage to get a protein, carb, fruit and vegetable on everyone's plate

7. Afternoon rest

Your preschooler no longer naps but she still needs a rest time. Try to align it with baby's afternoon nap (but let's be honest, that never happens). Set her up with books and stickers after one more potty stop. Change and nurse the baby down for a nap.

Base point value: 50 points

Add 5 points if baby doesn't sleep and you have to mentally change fears for a day without "me" time

Add 5 points if your preschooler starts calling for you 30 minutes in because she's "alone"

Add 10 points if baby does go to sleep, but wakes 5 minutes later after you've changed and were just tying your shoes to work out, or had just settled into that book you were reading

8. Pre-dinner outing

Do you have time for an errand? A trip to the park? Pick one and ready, set... Go! The clock is ticking until you need to be home to make dinner.

Base point value: 50 points

Add 5 points if your chosen activity involves carrying your baby while chasing your preschooler around

Add 5 points if you walked somewhere

Add 5 points if non-napping baby calls asleep en-route and you get a double win (baby sleep AND an outing)

Add 10 points if your preschooler complains of blisters from her new shoes and you end up carrying her home WHILE pushing baby in the stroller

9. Dinner

Make food. Feed everybody. Clean up. It sounds simple, right? But you know better.

Base point value: 100 points

Add 5 points if baby rejects his high chair and ends up sitting on your lap

Add 5 points if preschooler spills half her meal on the floor

Add 15 points if, mid-clean-up finds you rinsing underwear in the toilet due to a potty accident

10. Bedtime

You're almost there! One hurdle left (until that night nurser gets ahold of you). Clean up toys. Jams. Bedtime snack. Bible story. Bedtime story. Teeth. White noise on. Lights off. Songs.

Base point value: 50 points

Add 10 points if you're nursing baby in your preschooler's room because your husband is still not home yet

***
Bonus points

Add 50 points for each additional child

Add 50 points if you were never alone all day

Pregnant? Double your score. That's right. And now lady, go sit down.

Maximum possible score: you do the math, I'm going to bed!