Jaded Optimist

Mothering, making, and generally blathering on

last week April 17, 2014

Filed under: Family,Kids — bonniep @ 11:13 pm

Last week M turned 6. I brought popsicles to her classroom after lunch which were a big hit. Only time for a quick dinner and opening a few presents that evening (the Monster High obsession continues…).

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Because that night was the science, art, and book fair at school.

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M definitely worked on hers independently. We read some books together about volcanoes, and she picked photos from our visit to Volcanoes National Park to illustrate some of the concepts (steam vents, crater, a’a rock). She also drew the illustrations and all the labels (with Sharpie…aaagh) on her own. She can explain why volcanoes occur near the edges of the plates, and that Hawaii is a different kind of volcano formed by a hotspot. We were pretty proud of her work and thought it much better than the seeming hundred of kids who built foaming volcanoes.

Anyway, the next night we went out to dinner (where she wore the crown again…) and opened more presents and then on the weekend she had her birthday party. It was at a trampoline center and the kids were thoroughly sweaty and thirsty after an hour of jumping.

Her “theme” was Rainbow Magic Fairy which is a series of books. Big C and I made rainbow cupcakes with rainbow sprinkles and added fairy toppers, making for a very thematic birthday cupcake which the 5 and 6 year olds largely didn’t notice.

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Rainbow Fairy Magic books, rainbow bracelets, rainbow stickers, and rainbow lollipops for all and my work was done. M came home from her party and rode her scooter for another hour or two, so I guess the trampolines were just a warm up for her! All in all, a success. Plus the six year checkup doesn’t include any shots, so happiness all around.

In other news…

Baby C has taken to playing “bib bandit” during meals, as can be seen in the first picture above and better here:

 

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This, in conjunction with her belief that hair is the best place to wipe hands, has led to a big increase in baths as of late.

Last year we planted a bunch of fruit trees, although some are more accurately just fruit trunks.

 

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G is renting a bee hive to encourage tree pollination. Supposedly these bees don’t sting. We’ll see what our fruit output is like (although I suspect we need to mostly be pruning any fruit back until some of our trunks grow branches).

 

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(No baby walking still. Copious baby car scooting around the house, but no walking.)

 

Updates April 7, 2014

Filed under: Family,Kids — bonniep @ 10:27 pm

Baby C turned 15 months old two weeks ago and was toted off to the pediatrician for her checkup. Weight and height in the 75-90% and head in the 90-95%. Molars are coming in. Words, or word like utterances, are appearing—she does a long drawn out “hiiiiiiiii”, says “mum mum mum” and has an all purpose squealed “NA! NA!” which I think means “I want that. That! Now!”. She waves hi, is starting to distinguish the sign for “all done” from the sign for “more”, puts her hands on her head if you say “Humpty Dumpty” (from a song in swimming class), pats her knees if you start in on “Welcome today” (from music class) and can point to her nose. All in all, a fine, healthy baby.

Who isn’t walking.

So, that sucks. Especially when attending said music and swimming lessons when all the other babies, including much younger ones, are walking. Or when someone says they read research that wearing shoes can delay walking (um, thanks, but this baby never wears shoes! I know the (*&@#$ research lady!) as if it were my fault. Plus the worry that not walking means a whole host of things could be wrong with her (which the doctor has never said).

However, she has made leaps and bounds in the last month—pulls up to standing all the time, has stood independently for whole seconds at a time (although not very often…maybe 3 times?), and will walk pushing a cart around the house. So we are going to encourage as much exercise and practice as possible and check in with the doctor again in two weeks or so…and then decide whether to start physical therapy. In our copious free time.

We would really like her to be walking, if only to stop the reckless destruction of shoes and pants that occurs when a baby scoot all around the driveway and sidewalk on warm days.

None of this bothers baby C of course. She is too busy trying to play the piano, sticking her tongue out in concentration, and wiping her hands in her hair.

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She has been taking a lot more notice of her sisters, and they in turn are seeking her out and enjoying her a lot more. Doesn’t really help with group photos though.

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(Sometimes C is overcome with the need to snuggle in the presence of blankets.)

Big C is reading up a storm, disappearing into the sewing room for hours at a time (although one wishes some of that time was spent cleaning up from projects…) and recently got an email account. These are two projects she sewed recently, in a still life with baby chub.

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M is flying through kindergarten, starting to read, showing great enthusiasm for playing piano (if not necessarily practicing piano), and turns 6 in a few hours. Also, if the weather is above about 55 degrees then she is immediately in shorts and a tank top.

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I know the latest release says differently, but these kids bring us joy AND fun.

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Send some “walking soon” vibes our way. Hopefully I will be back soon with some finished projects (a heavy wool sweater and corduroy pants just in time for spring!), pictures of our new bee hive, and video evidence of a walking baby.

 

I love my kids. Gosh, I love my kids. March 11, 2014

Filed under: Family,Kids — bonniep @ 9:47 pm

(But I need what I need and I need a lot of what I need and that’s C-O-F-F-E-E…Ralph’s World, The Coffee Song)

 

Things to remember…

1. Talking to big C a few weeks ago about why her dad doesn’t read very much. She ponders and then replies “Hmm…so I guess I got my intelligence from you then Mommy, and I got my looks from Daddy.”

2. In the car the other night, M pipes up: “You know that picture Daddy has of his mom in the family room? That is nice. When I grow up I want to take the picture of you at your wedding with me.” [This is a picture of me making a muscle in my wedding dress…]

Me and G: “Oh, that is so sweet M!”

Big C: “WAIT! What if I want to take that picture! You didn’t even consider whether I would want it!”

G: “No worries, we can make copies of the picture if you both want one.”

M, upset: “But a copy won’t have that fancy frame!”

Me: “Wait, do you care about the picture? Or the frame?”

M: “Er, the frame.”

3. M and big C made all their own valentine’s cards this year (I pretty much make them do this every year). M made hers on her own one day that G was working and I was at book club, and C was at a friend’s house. She put hours of time into them and decorated each one differently. However, I guess a little more supervision would have been good as at the end of Valentine’s day she told me, “Handing these out was not so fun for me as they kept falling apart.”

4. Falling apart or not, I will treasure the one she made for little C that says “Thank you for being my baby.”

5. Crazy hair day at M’s school the other day and she wanted colored hair all sprayed onto one side. We compromised on a rainbow on top of her head with stuffing clouds. Several attempts at a picture all required flash and all ended up with eyes closed. Since it was M, she also picked out a rainbow shirt, rainbow skirt, and rainbow leggings to wear. Wish I had a picture of the complete outfit!

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6. Baby C was finally back on her schedule after our trip when Daylight Savings Time struck. Argh. She is going through a rough time lately—knows what she wants but cannot communicate it well, so a lot of screeching and upset. Here she is, taking blocks out of a bag….they were a little stuck.

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But she did get them all out Winking smile

7. Baby C can pull up to standing quite well now and crawl, but won’t walk unless she is holding onto hands. She will walk on her knees behind push toys though—when she isn’t riding them or climbing into them. Still spends a majority of her time scooting—as the shredded butts of several pairs of pants will attest. You may notice a lump on her head in these pictures—she also likes to scoot down the stairs. 

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In the last picture she managed to get one of C’s books off the bed and looks like she will start reading…she does love to read books and hands them to me very eagerly, listening to a page or two before slamming it shut, tossing it aside, and excitedly picking a new book.

8. I can’t resist this baby though.

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9. Drove near the birth center where M and baby C were born the other day when M was in the car with me. “M, I always remember meeting tiny you and tiny baby C whenever I drive near that birth center. It makes me so happy. Do you remember when we brought home baby C?”

M: “Yes! That is the day I started hogging the baby.”

M can’t resist her either.

 

Hawaii, quickly February 24, 2014

Filed under: Family,Kids,Travel — bonniep @ 9:28 pm

Back from a week on the Big Island. I am an inadequate sunscreener, as well as having packed crappy sunscreen. Swimming, volcano hikes, whale watching, snorkeling, diving, food, body boarding, family visiting…fun all.

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Baby C turned 14 months old today but between being off her schedule, strange foods, a red eye flight, a day without mommy and daddy when they (er, we) went diving, sunburn, and face rash…well, there was a lot of crying. Hopefully her best travel days are yet to come.

 

Snow! Like, entire centimeters of Snow! February 9, 2014

Filed under: Family,Kids — bonniep @ 12:33 pm

So…my birthday party was last night. Also known as the one snowstorm in Seattle this winter (now, in Seattle, a snowstorm just equals “any snow”). Which meant that about 1/3 of the guests didn’t make it to the party and another big chunk had to leave early to make sure they could drive home. More cake for the rest of us!

In anticipation (this was a big one…4-0!) I got about a foot of hair chopped off. I also applied actual makeup and purchased a new outfit. It helps to have other people dress me. Made the big step of buying clothes from a store nice enough that the size isn’t on a big clear sticker spanning the length of the item.

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The music was loud (G hired a VJ to play all our 80s and 90s favorites. He wisely played popular, dancey hits most of the time instead of my morose, emo selections) and the dancing was as lamely awesome as I hoped.

This morning we awoke to…last nights snow. The kids were eager to explore and baby C spent a long time scooting up and down the driveway and on and off the curb. The girls kept trying to feed her snow.

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Also, baby C has discovered that standing and walking are actual possibilities for her and spends a lot of time squealing for help attempting them. Yay! She may get upright yet.

It has been mostly a mild winter here. A few weeks ago we went for a walk in the neighborhood to a local café for lunch. Of course, the girls wanted to make sure they looked fabulous.

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(C is wearing a cape that G scored for her at a craft fair. I swear, her clothes are better than mine…well, except for that birthday outfit I just purchased.)

 

New year, same stuff January 16, 2014

Filed under: Family,Kids,Sewing — bonniep @ 10:39 pm

Two years in a row we didn’t send out any Christmas cards at all, so the fact that our “new years” cards went out slightly after the new year still seems like a win to me. It took a few tries to get shots I was happy to use but of course I value the failures too right?

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I have a huge pile of knitting items that are almost done, except for the boring parts. So, er, no pictures there. But I did manage to do some sewing over the holiday break, especially when grandparents were in town and could keep an eye on the kids.

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New blouse and skirt for C, both Oliver + S patterns, which went mostly smoothly except that that kid is so darn skinny that the elastic back has to bunch insanely to be small enough for her. I think she likes it anyway though. I need to learn how to alter patterns. Also, M and I collaborated on a bag to hold her piano books.

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My first make of the new year (counting C’s outfit for 2013 even though it took me until the new year to finish the elastic…). The cute fabric helps a lot. I have promised to make M some things for an upcoming warmer weather trip we are taking and she went through my fabric and picked out a bunch of pinks. So hopefully some more items will be forthcoming. I have a lot of goals for this year around sewing and knitting (promised G a new sweater…the last one took over a year including a long break in the middle….men’s sweaters are big and boring. But, he wears his more than any of the girls wear theirs, so….)

Found this picture of M from a mini race she did, she looks the athlete part at least!

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M missed a few days of school before the break (and actually a few days of school this week…this poor kid cannot catch a break! Ear infections, UTI, nose bleeds, bad cold, some other issues not appropriate for discussing, and last week a cut on her head requiring gluing by the doctor…even the doctor was surprised to see us back at the office so soon! They turned down my request for a 10th visit free card though) but was well enough to work on some new cone trees for our Christmas display.

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White buttons and pink felt with crystal pins. I didn’t think she would be able to stick it out (NPI) but she did! I see we have some blank spaces to fill on that white one though.

Started a new page on the blog for books read in 2014. Each year I have been keeping track I have read more than the previous year…2013 I passed 100 books and that doesn’t include the books I read out loud to C (such as all the Little House on the Prairie books last year), for the classic books program I led at C’s school, knitting/sewing/running/exercise/cook books (unless they are more essay types), or the gifted education books I have been reading to get up to speed on some school district/educating C issues. Over a hundred seems like a lot, even for me, so I make no promises about 2014.

Baby C weighed right around 22 lbs. at her checkup—>95% for head measurement, 75-90% for height, and 50-75% for weight. But she sure doesn’t seem skinny! Those thighs in some baby leggings…irresistible. Despite a new lens for Christmas the new camera and I are having some getting to know you issues, but I will persist.

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We have some crawling and pulling up to kneeling now and have decided to just be chill about her slowness to embrace walking. She is quite speedy scooting and the dr. isn’t worried….yet. So, we wait.

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Lots of teeth in there (7 now), when you can see past the thumb.

And her favorite location, where she always ends up if you give her a choice….

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banging on G’s office door.

 

One December 27, 2013

Filed under: Family,Kids — bonniep @ 12:11 pm

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This littlest baby turned 1 on Christmas Eve! It has been a whirlwind week, with her birthday party on Sunday and then Christmas preparations afterwards. In fact, we only opened one present on her actual birthday since the day was packed with last minute shopping, wrapping, and dinner out with friends. And I stayed up until 2 am the night before making her a birthday dress. Of which I have no pictures. We opened more birthday presents on Christmas, but she still has some Christmas presents that aren’t opened. Probably not too many more years where that will happen!

The day before her birthday baby C surprised us with a new tooth—making a total of 6. I think several more are just biding their time. She scoots quite fast, does a slower, more awkward crawl, and pulls up to her knees—hasn’t figure out standing yet. She squeals for music and does some spastic dancing—need video of that!—especially a song from music class called “Little Red Caboose”. Babbling is pretty much constant during waking hours now and she seems to think we are all having great conversations with her.

Still a fantastic sleeper taking two naps a day and a long nights sleep. I can actually put her awake into her crib and she falls asleep. This is a like a miracle…I always thought people were lying when they said their babies did this! She loves snuggling with her blanket and will sometimes crawl/scoot over to someone and just flopple on them for hugs. She is a very huggy baby. Hasn’t quite figured out giving kisses yet, but loves to be read a hugging and kissing book and getting kisses.

Baby C is playing with her toys with a lot more intentionality now—putting things in and out and trying to figure out how things work. She has taken a noticeable leap in her understanding in the past few weeks which has been neat to observe.

Although she clearly prefers to be held by G and I (often leaning for the other when one is holding her and then getting transferred back and forth) she will smile at strangers until she wins them over. During a recent dinner at Panera she smiled at one family until they were smitten, waving at her and complimenting her as they walked out. As soon as they were out of sight, she set her eyes on a new family and started smiling at them. I think she made her way through 3 or 4 families before we left.

We are completely off of purees for meals and she will happily eat just about anything—fish, chicken, cheese, eggs, vegetables of all sorts… She squeals for hummus, even spicy hummus. Loves raspberries and eating whatever everyone else is eating. Has tried Indian and Thai food and sushi (not raw). She also one hands her sippy cup to swill water during meals. Haven’t tried milk with her yet. Still figuring out spoon handling skills but we will get there.

In addition to the Hugging book mentioned, her favorites are Brown Bear Brown Bear, a series that has a little finger puppet in the middle, and the Usborne “That’s not my…” touchy feely series. And of course the classic Moo Baa La La La. She will happily page through books on her own but also loves settling in for a cozy book reading snuggle.

She is adored by her sisters but not necessarily coddled by them. It has been a struggle keeping M away from her toys (er, that ride on isn’t for 5 year olds!) and neither of them is very good about keeping track of tiny items and making sure they don’t stay on the floor.

Size wise…this is a substantial baby. Still nicely rounded with a baby gut and man boobs. The scale at home suggests she is around 23 lbs. which I believe is a good 4 lbs. over either of her sisters at this age. We don’t see the doctor until after the new year for her checkup and shots (another side effect to the holiday birthdate) so we’ll have final info then.

Closing with a few shots from Christmas Day…including what happens when you do mostly online shopping and have all out of town relatives mailing gifts to you (and recycling day the day after Christmas) and older sisters on their new roller skates.

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