Tuesday, October 31, 2006

My pumpkins

On saturday we took the girls to a local pumpkin patch, in search of the perfect pumpkin. It was such a fun place - they issued you a wheelbarrow, set of clippers, and turned you lose out into the patch. Unfortunately, we were there a week too late to find the perfect pumpkin (notice how crappy they all look) but we did manage to have lots of fun and get some great pictures. The farmer had a corn maze in the back for the kids. He also had about a dozen antique tractors that he'd fixed up. The kids had a blast climbing all over them.

I know this post is totally late. Today is Halloween - I should be posting costume pics. Guess I'll have to save those for tomorrow!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Gracelin is 2 1/2

Gracelin is 2 1/2 years old today! Sometimes I cannot believe she is so old already – the time has gone by so quickly. I occasionally call her “baby girl”, to which she’ll respond, “No mommy, I’m your big girl”. Often though, I have to remind myself that she is only 2 ½ because she seems so wise and mature for her age.

Verbally, she is far ahead of her peers. Not only is she fully conversational, but she can clearly convey her thoughts, feelings, and even tell jokes. She usually conjugates her verbs correctly and even understands plurals and possessives. She knows her alphabet, can identify most of the letters, and even knows what letter many words start with. The other day we were discussion “K” words. We talked about kick, kiss, and Kentucky. She added cookie to the list, but when I tried to explain how it started with “C”, but made the same sound as “K” she got a bit confused. I think it is amazing though that she is starting to grasp phonics. She loves to sing, and knows so many songs. Today in the car on the way to daycare, she wanted to play Name That Tune. She’d sing and I’d have to guess. While she knows the words well, its rare that I can tell the tune (she’s still got a ways to go before she can clearly carry a tune) so she was getting a bit frustrated with me. But, she handled it well and was very sweet about it.

She is a sweet girl, and generally loving and kind - especially to her baby sister. I’m excited to watch the girls grow up together, because they already seem to have such a bond. Gracelin loves to hold Bryn and “fluff her” (which is rubbing her hand on the baby’s head. I’m not quite sure where that one came from, but it’s cute). Gracelin also speaks for her sister – she’ll tell me what Bryn likes and dislikes, and what she’s thinking. Sometimes I feel a bit sorry for Grace, because she wants so badly to love Bryn, but doesn’t quite know how. Her hugs and kisses will often make the baby cry, and it hurts G’s feelings.

Her favorite toys right now are dolls and stuff animals. She loves caring for them. So often at the end of the night, I’ll find her “friends” laying in their “beds” allover the house. (Their beds towels and rags from my kitchen drawer. I have lots of laundry as a result.) Her favorites are two cheap baby dolls from K-Mart that she got for Christmas last year – they have remained her favorites all year. One baby is all hard plastic, and her name is “Hard Dora”. The other baby has hard plastic arms and legs, but she has a soft body and laughs, cries, or says “mama’ when you squeeze her belly. Her name is appropriately “Soft Dora”. The Doras go everywhere with her, except during daycare when they patiently wait for her in the car. They also personify how she is feeling. When she’s hungry, the Doras are hungry. When she’s sad, the Doras want their mommy. They even go potty on her little potty (she’s graduated to the big potty, so the little one is for the Doras).

She also loves all books. She’d sit and read with me all day if we could. Quite often when I’m not able to sit and read with her, she’ll read stories to the Doras. I’ve been amazed to discover that she has many of her favorites completely memorized. I hope that her love of books continues, because it will be such an asset in her life.

Food wise, she’s got the strangest taste in foods for a child. She hates all fruit, except apples, and all vegetables. The one exception is salsa – she loves salsa. Even the hot stuff. She also loves anything with beans in it, especially Cincinnati Chili. Other favorites are anything with cheese (grilled cheese, macaroni and cheese, quesadillas, etc). Her favorite breakfast food is a 6-grain hot cereal I get from a local flourmill that has oats, wheat, barley, sunflower seeds and a couple other grains that I can’t think of right now. She definitely has strange tastes for a kid her age. The other night we went out to dinner, and let her choose her own meal. She chose black beans as her side dish over fries. The server looked at her like she was crazy. She also isn’t a big sweet tooth either. Quite often she chooses to eat more dinner over dessert (when given the option, but we rarely eat dessert).

She’s also very physical. She loves to run and jump and is actually getting quite coordinated. In fact, she really doesn’t walk anywhere at all – its all a run. I just love to hear the stomping of her bare feet running down the wood floor of our hallway. Over the summer, she’d spent lots of time in the pool and had gotten to the point where she dared jump off of the edge to her daddy and put her face under the water. I need to get her into swimming lessons and gymnastics. I also think she’s going to love dancing. She loves for me to go outside and run with her. At the doctor last week, she weighed 29 pounds, which is about 50th percentile. She's growing up fast!

Her poor ears continue to be an issue for her. The tubes fell out some time during the summer, and she’s practically had a constant ear infection ever since. Typically about 48 hours after her last dose of antibiotics the infection has returned. We’ve run the gamut of antibiotics this summer, and had an appointment with her ENT today. We scheduled her tubes to be put back in on November 14. She's also getting her adnoids out at the same time. I know it will be scary for her, but its what we need to do.

Well, I could ramble on all day about my sweet Gracie Jayne. I love her so much and I’m so honored to have the privilege of being her mommy.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Thougts on one more

The entire time I was pregnant with Brynlee I was sure she’d be my last baby – mainly because I hate being pregnant. Really, I’m not healthy pregnant either. Ben and I discussed it many times. He didn’t want me to be pregnant again either because my being pregnant “is really difficult for him too”. Beyond the physical aspect, there are other factors, like money (I have to work now to support our family, and daycare costs for 2 are a significant chunk of my money. Adding a third child into daycare would just about make it useless for me to work) and time (I’m stretched thin as it is now. I don’t know how I’d have time to spend with a 3rd). My marriage is struggling right now too, and the burden of another child would further cause further strain. Besides 2 parents + 2 kids = a well-balanced family. 2 kids don’t seem like many, but 3 are a really big family. And the list goes on and on.

But, something happened to me in the hospital right after I gave birth to Brynlee. I held her, expecting to find that she completed my family. Instead, I found myself feeling that there’s one more child out there destined to call me “mother”. Financially, realistically, and practically it doesn’t make sense to try and add more. I’m still so tired and sleep deprived that I find myself wondering if I’ll ever sleep again. Yet I still find myself wishing in my heart that I could have one more some day. Maybe a boy.

Although I currently have an IUD, I’ve thought the past few months that I will have one more baby some day. But then yesterday, I think I found my answer. I was reading online about an agency that arranges the adoption of orphans from the Ukraine. They set up families who are willing to host an orphan for 1-2 months, and then if the child “fits” with the family they arrange the adoption. I don’t necessarily want a child from the Ukraine, but I am interested in one from another Eastern European country.

Ben lived in Russia for almost 2 years. During that time, he did lots of service at the orphanages there. He has talked many times of the children, and how they loved for him to go and play with them – how their faces would light up from something as simple as a hug. As I mother, I can barely stand to hear of these poor children. (can you see where this is going?) I want to adopt from Russia. Ben speaks Russian fluently, and perhaps that would make it easier for us. I’ve actually thought about it quite a bit – especially in the days of our infertility. In fact, we’d set the marker of my 32nd birthday as the time we’d consider adoption if we hadn’t conceived by that time. I just passed my 32nd birthday 2 weeks ago.

Of course, there are still lots of issues in our lives to clear up. I’d want to be able to stay at home at that time, so it will likely be a few years before it is financially feasible for us. And it would be nice for both of my girls to be a bit older (ideally school-age), so they could understand and help with the transition. I’m sure it would be difficult for the child to be moved ½ across the world into a new culture and language. I would want enough time to devote to the child without taking away from the needs of my own young children. And obviously, it would be expensive as well. But all those things don’t matter so much. In my heart I know that is what I want to do.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

My whole take on the hunting thing

I wanted to express my feelings on hunting, but decided to do it here, outside of the forum where my friends are so that those who don't want to read my thoughts don't have to: (hopefully my jumbled thoughts make sense)

I'm anti-hunting but I also eat meat.

But let me further explain. We rarely cook and eat meat at home - most of my meat-eating takes place away from home, because being a vegetarian is inconvenient. I know, because I've been one in the past. I follow the LDS word of wisdom that dictates meat should be eaten sparingly (actually it says only in times of famine and winter, but obviously that was written in another century). I do not eat meat every day. I also eat organic and/or free-range when I can. We buy everything we can from our local dairy (that also delivers) - milk/milk products, eggs, produce, etc. I completely think that the non-organic ways of food production are inhumane for the animals and unhealthy for us humans. (but that is a discussion for another day)

The reason I am anti-hunting has nothing to do with it being inhumane to the animals. It is because I feel in today's society, there is no reason (other than for the simple sport of taking a life) that we need to collect our food that way. While I believe the animal will suffer less being shot vs. starving to death, the starving to death thing doesn't bother me so much. Its that whole survival of the fittest thing - let the animals take care of them selves like the have for 1000s of years. I have always considered myself a conservationalist, but perhaps that isn't the correct term to describe me. I actually went to college for a degree in Planning and Resource Management, and was initially attracted to the field because of the managing resources stuff (of course I work now in planning, but that also is a discussion for another day). Because of my background and current job, I understand that man is altering traditional animal habitats. Perhaps my feelings on how this is being managed is a little hypocritical. On one hand, I completely support the reintroduction of animals into their historical habitat (like the wolves into Yellowstone); however I do not support the killing of them simply to manage herds. (I know, makes no sense)

My dad and brother are hunters - especially my brother who loves both bow hunting and rifle. They are also avid fishermen. They have brought home meat and fish quite often that I always politely refuse. More often than not though, the fish does not get eaten or it becomes fertilizer for my mom's roses. That disgusts me. I feel that they fish simply for the sport of killing the fish. To me, it is violent, cruel, and unnecessary. At least the animals slaughtered for food production are typically stunned first, and then have an artery severed so death is quick. My husband's uncle is a multi-millionare and is squandering his fortune by going to places like Africa, China, and the North Pole to hunt exotic animals simply to have a trophy. He's got a gawd awful room in his house that is remnisant of a scene from that old Patrick Swaze movie Road House. It makes me sick that he's paying $100,000s simply for that. The violent aspect of hunting bothers me so much that I never could even marry a man who hunts. I do not believe in guns and I will not have them in my home.

Hmmm . . . its after 11pm, and I'm tired, which is probably evident as I'm just rambling now.

Bryn's 8 months old tomorrow!

My sweet Brynlee will be 8 months old tomorrow. I cannot figure out where the time is going. She’s just growing up way too fast, and while I’m excited for the little person she is becoming, I’m sad that my baby girl is almost gone. Bryn is the most happy and sweet baby – she’s generally so content to just sit and play. She’s got a long attention span and loves toys (especially her sister’s toys). This morning I watched her crawl across the room to reach a ball, and when she got there, she threw her body down onto the ball and hugged it – like she was so happy she finally got there. Pretty much everything makes her happy – she’s got the biggest, most contagious smile. Even strangers come up to me when we’re out to tell me what a happy baby she is.

Physically, I think she’s very developed for her age – she’s so strong and coordinated. She’s crawling all over the place, but its not the traditional baby crawl. Generally, she’s crawling on her feet and hands (imagine the downward dog yoga pose). I’m sure its more difficult that crawling on her knees would be, but she seems to not like being on her knees at all. She can also pull herself to a stand. She loves to stand alongside the couch, and hasn’t yet learned to walk along it, but I’m sure its just a matter of time. All this physical activity has started to thin her out, but she’s still so tall and very squishy. (in fact, Squishy is one of her many nicknames) She’s wearing clothes that fit Gracelin when she was well over 1 year old. Just the other day, she learned to give kisses, and will give them when asked. I ask her to give mommy kisses, to which she’ll lick my face and leave me with a nice slobbery wet spot on my cheek – but its so cute I don’t even mind. Another one of her favorite things to do is play Pat-a-cake – it’s a game the sisters play together already.

Bryn also seems like a very quiet baby, but I think I may be comparing her to a vocal older sister. In all reality, she’s probably just average. She does like to sit and “sing”, which cracks me up. She also is saying lots of sounds. Right now “dadada” is her favorite, and I swear she only says it when she’s with her daddy. I also think that she’s calling her sister “didi” (a modified form of Gracie?) She also loves to blow raspberries, and will mimic me if I do it over and over again.

She also loves food, and practically devours anything I give her. I am probably more adventurous than I should be, but she really seems ready for things with texture. She loves soft breads and fruits. I even gave her tiny pieces of turkey on Sunday – it was met with kicking feet and squeals of delight. Needless to say, it was a big hit. She’s had her 2 bottom teeth for almost 3 months now, but I don’t see any signs of more coming in. I wish we’d get more, because she’s ready for more food.

Probably the only area where Bryn isn’t completely perfect is in the sleep department. She’s not the world’s best sleeper. On daycare days, we wake her at 6am. She usually has 3 naps of about 1 hour apiece. Then, she’s in bed by 7pm. But lately, she’s averaging 2 night-wakings (which makes for a very tired mommy). On non-daycare days, she generally sleeps until about 7:30 – 8 am, but then only takes 2 daytime naps. Either way, I think she gets about 14-15 hours of sleep a day. Now that I write that out, it seems like a lot. LOL Maybe I am again just spoiled by her older sister who was a champion sleeper. Its really just the weird night wakings that are getting to me. We’ve tried CIO, buy it does not work for her. She just escalates herself into hysteria, and then she’s impossible to soothe. I usually have to nurse her and rock her a bit to settle down. I do try and put her to bed drowsy yet awake, but sometimes she falls asleep too soon (or maybe I cuddle her too long). My favorite part of the day is a night when we cuddle in her rocking chair. She’ll sit in my arms, stare lovingly into my eyes, and softly coo to me. Its like she’s telling me she loves me, and some nights I don’t want it to end.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Now I'm depressed

I took a phone call at work today, because I was helping out while our secretary was at lunch. The woman on the other end asked to speak with the pregnant woman who works here. I explained to her that no one in our office was pregnant, and when she insisted I asked what it is she needed help with. I assumed she had been to a different department and spoken with someone else, and gotten confused with which department she needed – I was fully intending on transferring her to the pregnant woman she needed. But, when she told me what she needed, I realized that I had been the person she spoke with in person earlier. She though I was pregnant.

I was immediately offended. I told her that I was very embarrassed – that my baby is now almost 8 months old. She was very apologetic, but it was too late. I was in no mood to be helpful.

What a wakeup call. I’ve been in denial for a long time, but I guess there’s no denying it now. I’m fat and I need to drop this 30 pounds that I’m carrying around. No more lame excuses. I called my hubby to tell him, and hoping to hear a “you’re not fat” or “your don’t look pregnant” – something to make me feel a bit better about myself. Instead he told me “sorry” and them promptly told me that he had to go. Men!

Ok – so, here starts day 1 of NO MORE SUGAR. Period. The carb-loading has got to stop.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A little bit of this and that

Ok - so this morning I was pumping and I heard a really weird noise. I was expecting to discover that my pump was finally conking out, but the I realized the sound came from me overflowing the bottle. LOL It was sucking the milk out the opposite way. I switched bottles, and continued pumping. I got 14 ounces (not counting the stuff I lost from overflow). Both girls slept all night, and I actually got a good night of sleep. I guess it put my milk production into overdrive.

Ben and I both had the day off yesterday, and we took the kids to daycare. We had a nice lunch, went to a movie, and did some shopping. It was such a fun and relaxing day - until we picked up the kids. Then all hell broke lose. I won't bore y'all with the whole story, but let it suffice to say my husband is a lazy a$$. I'm sick of fighting with him. I realized yesterday that things are great when its all play, but whenever there's any work and/or stress to deal with is when we have our problems. And Ben has the entire week off - lets just see if he gets one thing done around the house. If I had a week off (without kids) I'd have a huge list of projects to get done. When I asked him what he was doing, he told me that he was going to catch up on his sleep. WTF?

Is it bad of me to have fantasies of a man that actually enjoys hard work? Maybe thats why I'm so attracted to all the contractors and public works guys. LOL

Anyway . . . I am LOVING Bryn right now. I wish I could stop time and keep her just the way she is. she's so happy and content. I just love her smiles. She's pretty much mobile - its a labored crawl, and she goes up onto her feet (kinda like she's doing downward dog). Lately too, she'll give me a kiss if I ask her - its really just a slimey lick on the face, but I love it. She's so into food right now too - especially bananas.

Gracelin had another ear infection over the weekend. We ended up at InstaCare for more antibiotics. This is her 3rd infection in 5 weeks. I'm pretty sure that its the same infection that she just cannot clear up. I'm calling today to get in for another surgical consult with her ENT - I'm going to BEG them to put her tubes back in.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Mommy, do you pee in your pants?

Yesterday Gracelin asked me "mommy, do you pee in your pants?" - to which I answered, "No Gracelin, mommy goes in the potty." She looked at me with all seriousness in her eyes and said "Oh. Sometime I pee in my pants." LOL I love her.

Never say never

Its funny how before I had kids, I would observe other’s behavior and make comments to myself about how my kids would never do that. We’ll, I suppose I’m going to have to eat my words.

Saturday night, DH went out with the boys, so I was on kid-duty alone. G and Bryn had missed their afternoon naps, and I wanted them to go to bed early. I also needed a few things at the grocery store, but I was worried that if I took them out in the car they would fall asleep, and mess up bedtime. So, I bathed them, put them into their PJs and took them to the store that way. Poor G’s hair was a mess. I’m working on growing her bangs out, so right now they’re an inch too long. They totally hang in her eyes, but are too short to pull out of the way without a barrette. Since she’d just had her bath, her hair was undone – which left it hanging in her eyes. So, there was my poor toddler, in jammies a size too small with scraggly hair hanging in her eyes, riding around in the shopping cart. I looked at my poor kids and immediately thought of how WT my family looked, and couldn’t help by laugh to myself at how I “swore” my kids would never look that way.

Its called survival. All mommies do it. LOL

My plan worked though. The girls both fell asleep on the way home from the store, and all I had to do was carry them to their rooms for the night. By 7:30 pm, I had the evening to myself. Pure heaven! I could surf the net and control the TV remote to my heart’s content. I vegged on the couch and ignored the 7 loads of laundry waiting for me. It seems there’s always some chore waiting for me (usually more than one) and I rarely get to just relax. Did I mention it was pure heaven? LOL