Jaded Optimist

Mothering, making, and generally blathering on

Wrapping up August 28, 2009

Filed under: Personal — bonniep @ 12:08 pm

I can’t believe this is C’s last day of camp. Tonight we leave to visit the grandparents and after Labor Day C starts Kindergarten. (I know, she has the latest start date of any school!) Where did the summer go?

C and M finished their swimming lessons yesterday. (As mentioned, getting into the Y swim classes in nigh near impossible—although I was there at 7am on registration day, all the classes for C were full when my number was called. I did get M into a class, so we will get priority registration for the Nov-Dec. session at least.)

C is quite the swimming enthusiast and is down to just a half float tucked in her swimsuit (we call her Spongebob…). She even swims with her eyes in the water and is figuring out the back float. Her favorite activity is definitely jumping in though. Check out her moves!














M didn’t learn much swimming, but she did like being in the water and carried from side to side by the teacher. Once she reached the side, she preferred to climb out rather than hang out in the water. But once it was her turn again she would attempt to jump back in.















Seattle has had amazing sun and hot weather this summer. We try to get out and enjoy it when we can.








Despite the seemingly good weather, the garden had a lot of ups and downs. Vegetables continued to flower instead of, well, turning into vegetables. Witness our broccoli:









Cucumbers never grew, the pepper plants are just starting to get peppers now, beets stopped growing, various greens struggled. Carrots, tomatoes, and peas were pretty successful though. The corn a little less so…seems like it started fine and then just quit. We did eat it anyway. (For perspective, the smallest ear there is about 2 inches long!)    






I have been knitting and sewing all summer and have two skirts (C) and a dress (M) that will have to wait for their Cleveland debut before I can photograph them. Actually, need to finish one of the waistbands right now to pack it…flight is not for another 11 hours though, so no worries right? Nothing like a redeye with two kids…as long as our Christmas adventures in flying aren’t repeated though I think we can handle anything.


Things are changing around here August 16, 2009

Filed under: Personal — bonniep @ 9:42 pm







This one has been asked to start sleeping more, and (somewhat to my surprise) has mostly complied. As you may know, I am loathe to follow the common “sleep training” method of CIO/Ferber-ize. Yet, with M still waking up multiple times a night and (this is the really bad part) sometimes not going to sleep but instead spending an hour or two crawling around the bed and pulling my hair, which led to nights of crabbiness and mornings spent driving C to camp and trying not to blink too much lest my eyes not open back up…something had to be done. So we are following Dr. Jay Gordon’s 10 night plan. We have completed five nights, and the change has been dramatic—M is mostly sleeping until 5 am! 5 – 6:30 has been a bit rocky, with her just not wanting to go back to sleep, but I can almost see a light at the end of the tunnel. Although G is gone this week, so that may throw a wrench in the works. Naps are still not so great—she (mostly) goes down easily but tends to nap just 60-90 minutes, and is only taking the one nap. But, she seems like such a happy kid, sometimes I wonder (fear?) that she just is never going to take a long nap. 









With the switch to one nap, my running schedule has been ripped to shreds and that was certainly not helping my crankiness level. So this week we joined the Y! C is super excited and has been singing the YMCA song regularly (although she has trouble remembering the order of the letters). She is also hoping to take swimming classes there, although from reading through the registration process it is more competitive than getting into Harvard. So we’ll see about that. M has been so-so about it thus far, especially because during peak hours about 1/3 of the toddlers seem to be crying. Too much for her to handle, I think. Saturday it was a lot quieter and she did great. 







This one is prepping for the start of kindergarten in three weeks. She got her hoped for class assignment, we have been collecting school supplies (do pink beveled latex free erasers even exist??), and her uniform outfits have started arriving in the mail (still not sure how my colorful girl will do in navy, khaki, evergreen, and white!). The big open question is how we will do getting her to school at 8:45 every day (she often sleeps until 7:45 or later, lingers over breakfast, and takes forever getting dressed…) Last week we started reading chapter books together (well, me to her) instead of just regular story books—James and the Giant Peach was our first one, and tonight we started Charlotte’s Web. JatGP turned out to be somewhat more violent than I expected (parents eaten by a rhinoceros? Aunts that beat him??) so it was touch and go for poor, empathetic C, but we made it through.

And a few random things…C declared the other day that she doesn’t like playing dress up and only does it because her friend insists. She prefers “math and science.” In fact, when said friend was over later, they had a call and response match where the friend shouted “Dress Up!” while C shouted “Math and Science!” Bless my little math and computer science loving heart. Despite that announcement C tends to spend most of her free time crafting up a storm, and can create some pretty elaborate paper constructions. We recently enjoyed this picture:







which shows her favorite doll Brizilla (with two buttons, not a goiter as you might have suspected). C is not color-blind so much as she just loves darker skinned people—she once told me she wished I had married a black man instead so that she would have darker skin! She is quite the character.

M has blossomed in the past few weeks and suddenly seems to understand a lot more of what is going on and can communicate a lot more as well—primarily with a big, slow yes shake of the head. She is also crazy for socks and shoes and will hold up one foot to get you to put them on her. In fact she often holds up socks even when she already has a set of socks and shoes on. She has been giving a lot more kisses and finally started saying “ma ma ma ma” again. Her earlier ease with a shopping cart has disappeared, and she insists on walking EVERYWHERE and is sadly not so good about holding a hand. 









She also suffered her first big bump this week (she has bumped her head a bunch, including climbing out of the crib, but somehow never got a bruise). Luckily, when she fell we were at the doctor’s office waiting for an appointment for C! Her bangs cover it, but there is quite the yellow and purple bruise on her noggin.  Well, they can’t all be good stories.


On the Go (16 months!!) August 8, 2009

Filed under: Personal — bonniep @ 11:12 pm

Despite please, M continues to get bigger and older everyday. Finally got our act together and got her hair cut (3rd one I think). She is just so incredibly mellow during things like haircuts—sits there surrounded by a huge sheet, taking it all in but with little expression. She can do a very intent, calm stare. The rest of the time, though, she wants to be walking and climbing. She is not too happy to be carried much—wants to walk in parking lots, stores, etc. etc. She will hold up a little hand now though (and I only have to bend to the side a little). She wants to walk up and down stairs holding onto the railing. At meals she wants to use silverware (often two forks and two spoons) and eats a wide variety of foods—although a lot gets spit back out (I call her our little food mill). She has had cuban food, samosas, nut and rice loaf, lobster ravioli, gooseberries, vegetarian chorizo…the list goes on. She especially likes whatever is on our plates, leading her to start eating multigrain hot cereal and butternut squash soup. Quite a little temper when you aren’t getting what she wants—I particularly recall a visit to an ice cream parlor this past Monday where she had an actual tantrum, rolling around on the ground (outside in the parking lot/seating area—so particularly gruesome ground) until I figured out that she wanted to hold the spoon AND the bowl herself. Library trips have become dangerous, with all those books to pull off the shelf and a piercing scream when picked up. M wants to play with all of C’s toys and has been pretty interested in Duplo blocks and Little People (although as C said “I wish M could play more when we are playing. Like, when we are playing with farm toys I wish she could make farm scenes.”) Sleep…well, let’s just not talk about sleep.

Today seemed like the last sun non-rain we might have for a while, so I forced the kids to go to a playground. Once we were there, of course, they did not want to leave.














C loves her baby sister. In fact, on the way to the park C said “Don’t you think you should be able to marry anyone you want…” and I eagerly said “Yes!” thinking we were going to have a great conversation about gay marriage. But she continued “…like your own sister.” Hmmm.









C, incidentally, picked out her own outfit today: “Stripy girl.” She mentioned that stripy girl should really have striped hair, face, and hands…but I decreed she would just be stripy clothed girl. Later, she bemoaned the lack of striped socks.









And one last one from today, where M coincidentally matches the color scheme of her sippy cup.


Pictures (and words) August 5, 2009

Filed under: Personal — bonniep @ 10:50 pm

My past two trips to Portland have involved chilly weather and rain. Not this one! The four of us travelled to Portland on Friday leaving around 2ish and expecting to arrive around 5ish. The best laid plans…well, we arrived closer to 7 with only minimal car naps for one wee tot. Luckily our hotel (Hotel Monaco) had a great restaurant (and was willing to bring us dessert in the room when said tot started to melt down). Saturday we did brunch, the Portland Saturday Market, Children’s Museum, and a quick stop at the zoo to see the bat exhibit. Then back to the hotel to put M down to bed after which the rest of us headed out to meet my cousin and her husband for dinner. (Not to worry, a hotel recommended babysitter sat in the room while M slept.) Sunday we followed cousin + husband to Kruger’s Farm for blueberry picking and a picnic, then back into town for gelato (mmm….I tried kiwi and wild italian cherry and both were awesome!), playground, and dinner before a (thankfully, only) 3 hour drive home. I didn’t take many pictures on the trip, I blame sappage of energy due to heat. But here are a few that show C’s new hat from the market, M travelling in style, and evidence that someone ate more blueberries than they picked!









We had a great trip, but my absolute favorite memory is from the drive home. M was fussing and fussing instead of sleeping, and as usual C likes to burst into song—however, a loud, kid voice is not exactly soothing for a fussy baby. All of a sudden, she started making up her own verses and sang for about 10 minutes about how much she loves M and how much the whole family loves each other. It was so amazing and wonderful and just went on and on, and was one of those moments where you think, gosh, I must be doing something right. If only we had it on tape.

As mentioned before, the girls love G. At this point, I think both of them mostly prefer him—mention an activity and C instantly says “I want Daddy to go with me!” and M calls out for him all day long. Bittersweet for me I guess. But they couldn’t have picked a better guy—he is crazy about them too.









Back home, the temperatures have cooled and M and I have been trying to get some outside time every morning (recommended by several sources to improve naps…I’ll let you know if it ever works). She loves a good swing, a good ride, and a good garden stomp (we don’t call her “the destroyer” for nothing…the plant near her foot had been the bearer of our single green pepper until she plucked it off yesterday!) 









In garden news…the tomatoes are coming! the tomatoes are coming! The third picture shows a closeup of the tomato in the second picture—that is our Mortgage Lifter plant, and heirloom variety that can apparently grow to 12 feet (plant) and 2 lbs (individual tomatoes). Ours is topping out around 4 or 5 feet though. 









Looks like we may have broccoli…but the lettuce is done for this year.