Tuesday, February 15, 2011

'Recovering' From Grandma

Erik and I recently took a trip to Hawaii. It was great! We did NOT take the kids, grandma did. The kids are really used to spending a lot of time with my mom so we knew they'd do great while we were gone. As we've constantly heard, it can take a while to get back on schedule after the kids have been 'spoiled' by grandparents for a week. Well, I was pretty surprised when I noticed today (day 3 being back home) that we were back to our normal schedule. If anything, the kids were improved!

They were both still using pacifiers at 3.5 and 1.5. We knew it was time for them to go but were having trouble pulling the trigger. Grandma to the rescue! I still don't know how she did it (she says it wasn't so bad) but she did it!

They were TIRED! Too much partying, I guess! :) They are going down for naps so easily, same with bedtime. Now THAT is awesome. Even now, they are both napping, and well!

The rumors are, in part, true. Grandma 'spoils' them. Got home and there were extra toys and I doubt there were any time-outs while I was gone. What people don't tell you, though, is that a dose of grandma spoiling is exactly what they need when they've been separated from their parents! Now we're rested and relaxed from vacation and our kids are GREAT! Who could ask for a better arrangement?!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Good Morning!

I got up with Ben this morning at just after 5 o'clock this morning. He slept while I looked at Hawaii websites for inspiration for our upcoming trip. (I'm so excited!) At minutes before 7 Kate woke up and we went up to get her (she stays in her bed until we go in). We all went into my bedroom to "Wake daddy!"

It was so pleasant! We all crawled into bed, still sleepy, and just relaxed together for a few minutes. The kids got down from the bed and were playing with my curtains, laughing and playing together. It just started the day off on the right foot. It was one of those times you work to memorize. One of life's gifts to treasure. :)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Potty Training

Kate was probably ready to potty train when she was younger. However, I was not ready because I had a baby to take care of. To be honest, I never really minded changing two diapers. With pre-school looming in the not so distant future I thought it was time. Plus, with Erik home for the week before Christmas it seemed like as good a time as ever. Another set of hands to clean up the pee, as needed.

I don't know what was different about this time, but Kate finally 'got' it this time. The system isn't perfect but at home we are accident free. Nighttimes are about 50-50. Outings are not so easy. The 'big' potty scares her and though she will sit on it, she doesn't ever go potty.

I'm happy for us. It's not exactly easier than changing diapers, but it is best for her in the long run. To be honest, it makes me think about starting Ben. :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Parenting Philosophy

I am not 'hard on' my kids. Some might say that I am too soft, even. I was thinking about this a while ago as Ben was crying in his bed.

Naptime came late today after the MOMS club business meeting and Kate's ECFE class. For both of those things Ben was put into (very competent and caring) childcare. When we got home, they had lunch and a little downtime before scooting off to nap.

I put Ben down first. We read a book and sang songs before I laid him down awake but drowsy, our usual routine. Then, I brought Kate in to bed. She needed a new pull-up and then story and songs. It was while I was singing that I heard Ben making noise in my room. Not crying, but fussing.

I went downstairs and turned on the monitors and Ben was still fussing. I started loading the dishwasher. He began crying. Kept crying.

Maybe he needed milk? I got his cup, filled it, and went upstairs with the intention of handing it to him and walking away. Which I did, honest! But, as I was closing the door he sounded so sad and the crying is, at this point, unusual. I went back in. He was so happy to be picked up! I took him over to my bed and (holding him like a newborn taking a bottle) I gave him his milk. Mmm, his bliss was contagious! I sang and rocked back and forth and his eyes slowly closed. Why not? Why deprive him and me the joy of closeness and security?

Like I said, I am soft for my kids. I don't let them get away with everything or have everything. They cry when I say no but I stay firm. Kate is three and Ben is one. There is plenty of time to learn that life can be cruel and people can be hateful and mean. I want them to learn that I will be there for them to offer comfort and love (and snuggles) when they want them.

If the crying and fussing continue, he will have to cry it out but today is not that day. Today is a day to enjoy the weight of a sleeping one year old in my lap. To feel his body go limp in my arms, the feel of his little hand holding tight onto mine but slowly relaxing. Maybe, just maybe, the world would be a better place if all children could be held in their mothers loving arms a bit more often.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

3 Pumpkins and a Ghost

We've been having so much fun! Halloween is tomorrow and we're still making new fun every day.

Thursday Kate dressed up for her 2's and 3's class. Afterwards, the kids had fun Halloween activities put on by local college students at the library. Ben got his first temporary tattoo of a pumpkin on his hand there. It was a jack-o-lantern and he immediately tried to get it off although it didn't seem to bother him too much. He must have thought it was a sticker. :)

Last night we went to the high school for a big Halloween event. The kids played games and got tons of candy and prizes. It was also nice seeing all the kids (of all ages) dressed up and having fun. I can't help but wonder what kind of costumes will be 'appropriate' for high school girls when Kate is that age though.

Today, we took the kids to a little outing (costume free this time) at Cub foods for cupcakes and a bag full of goodies. When it was closer to bed, we finally took some of the halloween decorations down and added batteries so we could be festive. I asked Kate which one was Daddy (orange), which one was Mommy (pink), which one was Kate (blue) and which one was Ben (green). She was so happy when we turned out the lights and turned the three pumpkins and a ghost on. We talked about how they were all happy but they had different smiles. I asked her about their eyes (all different). When I asked her about their noses, she commented, "the ghost's nose is in it's body." Those kids light up my life like nothing else could.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Happy Halloween!

As previously mentioned, I love holidays and always try to make them fun for our family. So far, we have gone to two different Halloween celebrations. The first was actually an annual event at a dog and cat boarding house.
The kids had a great day going 'door to door' and practicing saying "trick or treat" and "thank you" all in a safe and friendly environment. Today, I took them to the Mom's Club Halloween Party at a local school. There were treats, a pinata, stations for doing little art projects, games, and many friends. Kate did a few of the art projects but she most enjoyed running around the room with all of the kids. Ben was tired but a trooper. He spent a while chasing after kids and watching them. I think his favorite, however, was the cupcake I gave him. He dug in and ate the entire thing!
Kate is an Imagination Mover, Ben is a Bumblebee

On a side note, last night Erik noticed that Ben had finally cut his third tooth! It's his top, left front tooth. We're glad that it's finally through, I think they're going to start coming in pretty fast now!

Saturday, October 16, 2010


I love holidays and seasons. After each holiday I am one of those people in Target snatching up half off decorations like they're going out of style. It feels festive. It makes me happy. Most of all, I want my kids to learn this same love of tradition. Today we began carving the pumpkins.

From the moment we brought the pumpkin into the house and put it on the floor, they were all over it. Touching it, talking about it, playing it like a drum. Good times.

I'm beginning to think that Ben is going to be very methodical. We gave him a bowl and showed him one time how to reach in, grab innards, and put them in the bowl. He did just that, right away, over and over. If a seed fell outside of the bowl he would stop, pick it up, and drop it in the bowl before going back to his task. I love to see his personality!

Kate was initially as interested in this process as Ben. That changed after one hand dipped into the ("sticky!") pumpkin. She didn't nap well and by this point she wasn't her most cooperative.

I was initially a little disappointed that things weren't going as smoothly as they have in the past but now I'm just looking forward to trying again when both kids are a little less sleepy. :)

From Left to Right: Kate at 3 months hated when we put her in the cold pumpkin, Kate at 1 year loved playing with the pumpkin but wasn't too involved with the 'dirty work', Kate at 2 loved reaching in the pumpkin and playing with the bowl of seeds, Ben at 3 months was cooperative in the pumpkin because we put pants and socks on him (live and learn)