Jaded Optimist

Mothering, making, and generally blathering on

8 months of shopping days left until Christmas! April 24, 2013

Filed under: Kids,knitting,photography — bonniep @ 9:54 pm

Since Baby C was born on Christmas Eve I think I will constantly be aware of how long until Christmas this year. Today she turned 4 months old! No stats yet (we visit the pediatrician on Monday in concert with M’s 5 year appointment) but this baby is S.O.L.I.D.


So far so good with the 3-6 months clothes but I am certainly not buying any more, and I had to get a new round of bigger cloth diapers due to a small case of plumber’s crack.

This month baby C has made good friends with her hands (so fascinating!), some chewable toys (or even handy clean kid underwear if one were to, say, prop her up on clean laundry while folding…), her tongue, and in the last few days her adorable feet!



She also had her first big tub bath (um, with “help” from two sisters who are convinced that the baby wants lots of toys and noise at all times) and turns out to be one slippery kid! She does like standing with lots of support and seems to be getting good head control, but rolling over—either way—is far from her mind.

Days are spent trying to distract her during tummy time…


sacking out in the swing…


(first picture there is some vigorous thumb sucking, but I could not catch it on camera well) and going for walks.


(It was almost 70 today and during the actual walk there was a blanket on her, so no worries about cold feet please.)

Finally got her in a sweater that I 95% made last summer, finally crocheted internal ties on this winter, and sewed the one button on last week. Just in time too.


Some struggles on the photo shoots today as she just wanted to be chewing on her hands, toys, or failing those, her dress.



Then there is always the problem of not being able to actually sit up yet.


And the risk of hat malfunction.


Or just plain crankiness.


But I think we got some good ones.



This is one (mostly) happy, easy going baby. Goes to bed pretty easily and sleeps a long time (knock on wood), tolerates her sisters, gets dragged to every lesson and put in and out of the car, stroller, baby carrier, whatever multiple times with nary a complaint. She might have, and we don’t like to mention it, a bit of a drooling problem. Which causes a neck rash problem. But overall, we lucked out with this baby and just snuggle her up every chance we get!


Worth the traffic. I think.

Filed under: Family,Kids,photography — bonniep @ 9:27 pm

The Skagit County Tulip Festival was in fine form this past weekend—the rain even let up for a day or so. Well, an afternoon at least. Last year was our first attempt at the festival and we went on a weekday. This year, a weekend. With 7 of us in the (old model) Highlander. And a baby who can indeed scream, destroying the initial “is this baby the best baby ever or what?” impression she had given to her visiting grandparents. Let’s just say the road in and out of Mount Vernon was quite backed up and might not hold any fond memories for any of us.



The tulips were beautiful.


The frolicking was free.


The girls love their grandpa!


And each other!


The baby is willing to be in the baby carrier.


And four of us got new hats at the street fair.


Which is good, because some of us can really carry off a hat.


Big C—the C stands for crafty April 15, 2013

Filed under: Kids — bonniep @ 10:13 pm

I wanted to pull this out for a special mention, but the main post from today is about M’s birthday last week—scroll down for that first!

Big C is definitely crafty—puppets, drawings, little things made out of pipe cleaners, etc. etc. she is constantly reclaiming things from the recycling and trash to make little crafts. She is also adept enough with the sewing machine now that she is (mostly) allowed to go into the sewing room and experiment (the mostly is due to an unwillingness to clean up afterwards, boo). As with last year, she handcrafted the birthday presents for M and I wanted to show her off a little bit.

First up, a stuffie made following some directions from a sock creatures book received for Christmas. The dress is her own design though.


Also, she used Power Point to create some sheets of paper dolls:


Finally, C fulfilled one of M’s birthday list wishes (the list was very strange this year, including “rainbow toy that you can’t take apart, rainbow coloring book, treasure box filled with gold and other fancy stuff”….)


This is of course, “black folder with a flower on it”. Hard to find in stores, yet requested by M. How much it will hold given that it is construction paper held together with scotch tape, who knows. But her impulse to make M’s heart’s desire is so sweet and her gifts so clever I felt they deserved their own little blog celebration.



Filed under: Family,Kids — bonniep @ 10:03 pm

One week ago, M turned the big 5. (Speaking of which, everyone but me seems to have big deal birthdays this year…in our family there are some 75s, a 65, 40, 10, 5, 1 and then me…39. Boring.) I am not sure how this time has gone by so fast. Sniff.

First up was a huge party at the local jumping place. With M’s whole class invited as well as all the similarly aged neighbors and several other friends, there were a lot of goody bags to fill. Er, a lot of fun to be had!



Jumping, sliding, goldfish eating, sitting in the big puffy chair to open presents, and hiding with her daddy during the singing of Happy Birthday.

We had a planet/outer space theme including the awesomest cake ever from a friend who makes cakes professionally:


3 tiers with the sun and galaxy and rice krispie treat fashioned planets all around—check out that little rainbow on the earth! That is there because M loves rainbows, which is also why I requested a surprise inside the cake…


(*&(*@&(#*$& I know. Awesome cake right? Anyway, M had a blast and even baby C held it together pretty well.


A little forced toe nibbling helped.

The next day (the actual birthday) I attended birthday circle at M’s school, where she walked around the sun holding the earth 5 times.


Although her favorite part may have been wearing the plastic glove to hand out carefully baked dairy free banana bread.

Later that night we re-sang to her with some cake leftovers (although the kids preferred to eat planets this time) and opened family gifts. Who’s a princess?


M is such a fantastic kid. She wakes up every day full of energy and happiness and pretty much ends the day that way too. She always wants to hold her baby sister, reads to her, “bounces” her (um, we try to limit that one), brings wet wipes for diaper changes, picks out outfits, etc. etc. She is convinced baby C loves a game she calls “nothing, something” in which she pretty much just yells those words again and again.

She loves all her friends at school and would play with friends all day if possible. I think she is pretty much responsible for all the hugging that happens there. Her teacher wrote in her spring report card that having M in her class makes her like teaching more (and this is a great group of kids and a great teacher). She is so proud to show us all her work every week and is super proud of starting to read. M is a terror on her bike (training wheels are long gone) and scooter and has more bruises up and down her legs than just about any kid, but always jumps up to try again.

She loves her dad (although I think he would prefer fewer surprise attacks when he is working), is learning how to swim on her own, plays 4 songs on the piano and has composed 3 others, and would follow her big sister to the ends of the earth. Although she won’t eat many vegetables, she loves oatmeal at breakfast, salmon at dinner, and spinach pie any time. Oh sure, she has her moments, but for the most part our lives would not have been nearly as joyous without this little firecracker. Happy birthday M!


Easter April 4, 2013

Filed under: Family,Kids — bonniep @ 10:23 am

Easter weekend was sunny and gorgeous here, so much time was spent outside and there wasn’t as much cooking (our guests for dinner cancelled anyway) or egg dyeing as in a standard year. No complaints though.


The tie-dye set even almost worked.



This one just observed…maybe next year Little C.

Easter morning had our annual neighborhood brunch in the street + egg hunt event. I made the traditional Christmas morning cinnamon rolls which the arrival of a certain baby delayed this year…


And that is pre-frosting. Yum. Needless to say, they were the first item finished on the brunch table.


Egg hunt competition was fierce, although one of my kids traded money from the eggs for a Squinkie that someone else got in an egg. Go for the money kid!

Meanwhile, Little C enjoyed the wind in her hair, and being the object of “pass the baby” as each neighbor wanted a turn.


Hooray for mellow babies!

The Easter Bunny had also graced our table that morning, leaving surprise balls for the older girls. No pictures of the aftermath, but much fun was had in unraveling them.


In other news….

M is enjoying her piano lessons—after just her second lesson she started composing her own songs. Need to get a photo of those. I have been playing a little bit too—although given a 20+ year break since my lessons ended it is slow going.


Our keyboard currently lives under our awesome family photo from the shoot in January.

Little C continues to work on neck strength, is balding a bit, and welcomes any new friends.



Oh, and has chubby wrists.