Friday, August 14, 2015

Dear Nora - Eighteen months old

My little firecracker,

How time flies when you are having fun, and boy you are just full of fun lately!

You are still a huge fan of your pacifier (we are working on keeping it just for bedtime, but its a challenge) You call it "Paefier". Adorable.
Your vocabulary is increasing day by day and it's so fun to hear you naming the objects in your life and trying to express yourself. You have the following words down; toast, chocolate, mama, dada, muk (milk), E-i (Levi) buba (baby), book,"per" (up) as well as a wide range of animal noises which are super cute. I know there are more words, i am sure since I started typing you have probably added at least one more new one too, but those are the ones I can hear you say in my mind.

You are such a great little mama. You love to play with your baby dolls, putting them to bed in the crib and covering them with blankets, feeding them, pushing them in strollers or the shopping cart, often with your little purse hooked over your arm or a pretend cell phone in hand. You are a busy lady already!

You have been so eager to be like your brother and try sitting on the toilet to pee or poop and yesterday, you managed to pee on the toilet after trying hard! I am not ready to potty train you yet, but you are very aware of your body and might be ready to train yourself. Oi Vey!

You continue to be a great little eater, not really fussy at all but certainly going through a phase of having favorites one week that you turn your nose up at the next! Its a guessing game for my shopping but if you are refusing blueberries but now consuming copious amounts if snap peas I'm not really in a place to complain. You eat well through the day but STOCK UP at dinner like its your last meal! Your fine motor skills are well developed and you manipulate food with your spoon and fork easily and with little mess. You still drink milk 4 times a day and water with meals, you are a good little hydrator. You want to be grown up, and are eager to transition from the high chair to the little table and chairs. You have a had time sitting still but you just love to be a big girl. Your favourite breakfast is granola and yogurt (this week).

We are trying to help you drop your first nap of the day or at least limit it to a cat nap. If we head out in the morning you often get a 5-10 minute snooze around 9.30am and that is just fine. You still fall asleep hard for about 2 hours around 1pm.You are obsessed with your fleece blanket and even through the crazy heat wave we have seen this summer, you want it over you to settle to sleep -  although, I do peel it off after you are asleep! You often fall asleep with one pacifier in your moth and one on each index finder, ha ha, it looks so funny but it doesn't seem to stop you sleeping.

We read to you before bed and naps and you are starting to love picture books where you point and name so many objects. However, your very favourite book is called, Toot. It's about tooting and you think it's hilarious. You laugh out loud even though we read it multiple times a day. You also enjoy, Dear Zoo and the Ladybug Girl board books, as well as, Where is baby's belly button. We have a few books in the car and you always choose the Baby Giggles and point to the page where the baby is picking her nose.

You are your father's daughter in your love of all things tidy and neat. If you step on something on the floor you go straight to the closet and get the broom to sweep. You think it's a treat to throw rubbish in the bin and are so proud of yourself when you do, you often come and take me by the hand to show me, with a huge smile on your face! I look forward to these skills becoming more helpful in the years to come :)

You are a joy and a delight sweet one, we are loving watching you grow up before our eyes. You have a keen sense of adventure and a fun loving spirit which makes us smile all the time.

Love Mama x

Monday, August 10, 2015

On the eve of 3

This time three years ago I was huge and pregnant and so done with waiting, this post makes me laugh every time I read it and it takes me back to everything about this sweet and wonderful and painfully impatient time. I just couldn't wait another minute, I wanted to meet you so very much and now here we are.

Tomorrow you will wake up as a three year old. I am not sure where the time has gone, and yet I feel like I have known you my whole life, maybe in some ways I have?

We celebrated your birthday this weekend and you were so excited to have all your favourite people together to play and consume copious amounts of sugar. It was a Thomas the Tank engine theme, but your presents were mostly 'Planes' characters and Fire truck/station things. Your friends know you so well.

You continue to love to play sports and it feels like you are constantly asking me to go out and play hockey with you on the sport court. I am sure that with football season right around the corner, that will soon turn to asking me to throw the football and even "ooff" you, which is what you think tackling is called.

You mastered starting your peddle bike without help a couple of weeks ago and it fills my heart with joy to see you master something you have been so eager to do for so long. Your face just glows with the biggest smile as you set of peddling all by yourself and swing that little orange bike all around, often having to navigate an excited little sister who likes to run after you. Now you just have to figure out the break and you will be golden :)

You have been wearing underwear for about a month now and have made huge progress. You are very good at getting to the bathroom in time to pee but something about pooping still feels scary or uncomfortable to you and we are having accidents most days. I am praying and hoping that we will see breakthrough very, very soon. You are supposed to start preschool in just a couple of weeks and we need to be better before that!! We are also training you to pull up pants and underwear independently, another skill which will means you will be truly pre school ready. I can just imagine you leaving your bottoms on the bathroom floor and running half naked back to the classroom eager to keep playing with no time to be embarrassed about your nakedness. You have so many ways you seem older than the average three year old, but in ways like that you are still such a little one. You don't understand about modestly or socially acceptable behaviour. I know you will love being at school but I do worry about how you will navigate some things without me. I know it's an important step to give you time to figure some things out and create relationships with other adults who you will love and trust but it's still hard to let go. I think I am much more anxious about you starting than you are!

You are starting to play much more imaginatively these days. You love your little figures and people and I really enjoy listening in to your games as you role play. You have a great imagination!

You still have your loveys and even though they are looking a little worse for wear, you dote on them and treat them like your little babies. They still have to go everywhere we do and provide comfort for you in times when you are feeling anxious. I am sure there will be one in your backpack on your first day of school :)

You are certainly pushing boundaries in new and ever more exhausting ways recently and the tantrums and emotional outbursts are hard to handle sometimes but I can only imagine how crazy it is to be having so many emotions and feelings in your little body without the words or understanding of the world that we as adults do. I hope your dad and I are equipping you to process the world in a way that means this season will be easier to handle for all of us as the months go on. I hope thatt soon, our consistent correction will help you understand that when we say teh word "no in regards to somethig you are doing you will understand that we are in fact talking to you and what you are doing is not aceptable, same with the word, "stop" which seems to illicit you doing what you are already doing, only faster, or the request to "come here" which you seem to interpret as run away as fast as you can. We are working on it, but it feels like toddlerhood has well and truly taken hold of you on some days!

You also have moments of pure sweetness when you fetch a toy or find a pacifier fro Nora when she is sad (especially when you haven't been the cause of her sadness) or when you just make sweet comments, say, "I love you" or thank me for making your dinner and telling me how yummy it is -  without any prompting. Your heart is so wonderful, and in between the tantrums and the sometimes aggressive behaviour, you let us see glimpses of your softer side.

You are starting to show interest in letters and sounding out words too, another new skill you want to master. Sesame street has something to do with that for sure. It's how your Dad learned to read and it seems to be inspiring you too. You can confidently write "L" and "E" and "i" we are working on the V. You are starting to sound out words and ask about what they start with. It's amazing to me to think about you already starting to learn those kinds of things. 

You are currently a huge fan of the Planes movies and can sit and watch a whole movie without much distracting you, but so far these are the only movies you have watched and I'm ok with that, though, I can quote both of those with ease at this point so we might have to mix it up for my sake soon. You are still a fan of Caillou and have become more interested in SuperWhy and a new show about the countries of the world and flying robots, called Superwings. They are all pretty tame and have a good message so I am ok with you watching them, we try not to do too much TV during the day but I am certainly not ashamed to use it to my advantage sometimes, especially as it frees me up to make dinner without having to police you and your sister because by 4pm you seem incapable of leaving her alone and just playing. Not that she is totally innocent, but she's smaller and so usually ends up getting hurt if there is a struggle, which there usually is. You are the best of friends and the worst of enemies all at the same time. I pray your love for each other grows into something really special in the years ahead as you become closer in ability. 

You are still one of the funniest people I know and make us all laugh daily. Your sense of humor is amazing and I truly enjoy you. We laugh a lot together about the silliest of things and I hope we always will.

You are the cutest kid and use that to your advantage as you pleed, "Pleeeeease, just one more (fill in the blank)". It works on most people. The world is your playground and your energy level lets you play from morning until night without a second thought. You still nap on occasion, maybe 2 or 3 times a week, usually when you have fallen asleep on the way home from a playdate or park, but you can;t seem to drop the nap for a long string of days without becoming a omplete disaster but you are working on not napping for sure. I enjoy some time for just the two of us if Nora is sleeping, and you enjoy having all the toys to yourself ;)

Happy 3rd birthday for tomorrow little man. I can't believe you have given me your final 2 year old smooches. I love you so much.

Mama x

Glad you liked your cake

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Disengaged but trying

Doing something for myself today by letting us all have a very slow paced, at home kinda day. I made it to my small group for the first time in forever last night and it truly filled my heart in a way that I haven't experienced in a long time. But catching up lasted until almost midnight and then when I arrived home, Nora was having a very uncommon middle of the night nappy change for an icky poop. She then spent the next 2 hours struggling to get back to sleep so by 2am I was only just drifting off to sleep for the first time. Then I was up at 4 searching the house for a pacifier after Nora woke up, tearfully asking for one and I could not for the life of me find the one she had gone to bed with, and then I was up again at just after 530 when Levi came into our room. He went back to sleep thankfully but I got up with Jeremy just after 6am to get a shower in before he left for work so I didn't have to juggle it with both kiddos awake, all that to say, I am running in fumes today.

I packed the kids in the car, in their jammies to drive thru Starbucks before 8am so I could get a much needed coffee and get them a muffin for breakfast because even making toast felt like a gigantic energy expense that I couldn't face.

Seems Nora's upset tummy is still lingering and shes had a few squirts this morning. None for a while now, but she crawled up onto my lap an hour ago and fell asleep so i am hoping she can catch up on some missed sleep from last night and shake off whatever is going on on her body. I don't know if it's a little bug or the result of too many grapes yesterday, or just something she found somewhere on the floor and decided to eat...she likes to do that. Who knows? She's not acting sick - at least not yet.

The sun is only just starting to burn through the clouds so the more overcast skies certainly provided a fitting backdrop for our cozy, snuggling under a blanket movie watching morning. I am cashing in all those months when Levi didn't watch any TV so I can let him over indulge today :) I got out the crayons and colouring books earlier with both kids and we have read stories too but its been a very lazy parenting day.

I feel as though this new house provided opportunities to get out of some of the ruts I have found myself in but I need to be more proactive in planning ahead to make that happen. I am still very much adjusting to our new space, our new normal and our family life once again just including the four of us. Its a lot. More than I realised and I am not handling it very well. My kids bear the brunt of my lack of energy, mostly in lazy, semi engaged parenting days. After a good nights sleep, and with some pre planned play dates we have wonderful, sweet times and I hope that these will become more of the norm around here.

I desire our days be filled with friends, and creativity. Outside time and adventures; bike riding, hiking and beach time. Slowly our days are including more of these and more often but today is not one of those days.

I was convicted by the painting Levi brought home on Sunday from kids church which had his apple printing all over this verse from Galatians "But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control" Ouch. Apparently, my lack of time for myself and lack of prioritizing time with the Lord is very obvious from my recent parenting struggles. I am making changes. I have started reading the 'She reads truth' devotional online every day. Its a step in the right direction.

Levi continues to struggle with his potty training after taking himself for pee and poop for a week he has regressed and we have hit the two weeks pooping in underwear every day mark. He is still doing pretty well with his peeing and will go if I ask him to but he doesn't seem to be as proactive about taking himself. My prayer request at small group was that he would find peace to poop on the potty again. I am navigating how to encourage him but not condone his behavior when its a case of making the choice to wait so long that he has accidents. I know he has gone trough lots of change recently so I am trying to have grace. Sometimes I do that better than others.

I love my babies but I am also realising that I am such a better mummy when I have made time for Jesus and time for myself. I need my girlfriends and I certainly need my God to make it through the days with a joyful and thankful heart.

I am watching Levi watch the TV still in his pajamas and resolving to have some intentional time with him today - even if it's not something elaborate.

Come, Lord Jesus. Please fill me with your Spirit today. Give me your wisdom and strength to parent these precious babies to the best of my ability and to draw from you when my well is dry. I cannot do this alone and I am so very thankful I don't have to. Let the fruits of your Spirit be the markers of my parenting and may my children know how loved and cherished they are. Let me be your hands and feet as I parent.
Please Lord.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

My Mum Hack and poop on a log

I think that term is so funny, but I love that I have figured out a few little routines or "hacks" that make our lives run more smoothly. Today for example, this peaceful blogwriting in the middle of the day is a direct result of my personal favourite mum hack.

My kids play hard and they are not great eaters during playdates there is too much going on and too many distractions but they don;'t take good naps if they are hungry. I found that if we leave play dates around lunchtime, and strap the kids in their car seats, they realise how hungry they are and scarf down the lunch I packed! I always change their diapers in the car right before we leave (or make Levi pee now we are potty training, but I have been putting a diaper on him when I think he might fall asleep in the car because I don't think he's ready to be dry during sleep) This way they are clean and dry and full and by the way did I mention, we aren't moving yet? That's right, we have a picnic in the car, parked outside our friends houses or in the parking lot of the beach as we did this morning!

My friends who have caught me and invited me back inside only for me to politely refuse think I am a little crazy, but I swear it is great for us. Levi and Nora are both good transferers for middle of the day naps especially when they have been playing hard in the morning so getting them to sleep in the car eliminates the struggle at home! Levi is dropping his nap, but really gets tired [read - over emotional and totally a basket case] after a few days of no naps so I use this hack especially on the days I want him to sleep.

After the food is gone, I take off shoes, give loveys to Levi and pacifier to Nora, remove other toys or distractions and start the car. They are usually asleep in the first few minutes. Today we hadn't even driven out of the parking lot and they were both sparko. It was great.

So I am home, both kids are in their beds and I am sitting. Maybe sneaking a cheeky ice cream treat because I don't have to share or give them one...its blissful.

For many reasons this is not a hack that would work for everyone but for us its been a great find and I love having it in my pocket. After a long playdate it can be a reward for me to save the energy I would have expended on nap time for something more fun in the afternoon.

I feel like this new house and being around our old friends and community is making me realise how far I have come in my parenting. I am a much braver mum than when we moved out of our other home. Taking both kids to eat at  restaurants by myself, and even taking them to the beach or other places which are not "predictable" or fenced in. I am so very grateful for such amazing friends who also give my courage to explore the world with my kids and keep me company while I do it. Not to mention being there to love on my kiddos and laugh or console with me when something really good/bad/ridiculous happens. A prime example was this morning when my sweet potty training son runs to me along the beach with his meat and veg flying everywhere, no underwear and no shorts in sight. He was heading from the log raft/fort that he and his two buddies have been playing on on the beach, to report that he had gone poop. His story was corroborated and expanded on by his two slightly older buddies and when I approached the scene I see an enormous turd sitting on a log. I dealt with it and cleaned stuff up as best I could, and honestly I couldn't help being kind of impressed that a) he had not gone in his underwear and b) that he had had enough balance to poop on the log. Still, after some good mummy laughing, Levi and I had a long conversation about where it is appropriate to go to the bathroom!

Kids keep it interesting!

Hope your day is as sunny as our has been so far!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Next Chapter begins

It feels like a million years since I posted on here. In reality it's not been that long time-wise but lots of things have changed so it feels like a lot to catch up on.

We finally moved into our house on Wednesday, June 24th. Over a month after we closed! Our painters worked really hard to get things finished but were not quite done when we got back so instead to trying to have the kids adjust to the new house with doors off hinges and light plates off, not to mentions wet paint, we decided to give them the extra time they needed. We did move a bunch of our big furniture into the garage and out of the POD storage, and we had our small group and some other friends and family help us empty the storage unit we had the weekend before we moved which was such a help.

We have been in for almost 2 weeks, there are still boxes everywhere, and nothing on the walls. My lovely kitchen is full of things to find places for and counters covered in stuff! Our little ones make unpacking complicated.

Jeremy took them to the zoo for the morning last weekend so I could finally organise their rooms and that felt like a huge deal, although once everything was off the floor, they looked ever so bare! I need to get some pictures and things up on their walls.

The past few evenings, once kids have gone to sleep (which in this crazy hot weather is miserable for all of us) I have tackled the playroom. I understand that this will be a daily event to get it in order but now most things are organised into boxes and have a place, even if its temporary - we are planning to get some other furniture to store things in there but this works for now. Again however, the bare walls are so hard for me to handle. I have an idea of a few things I want to get for the walls but it will take money and time to get it to where I want it.

The rest of the house continues to be a work in progress. It will be for a while. I have to try and find peace with that. That too, is a work in progress :)

If that wasn't enough, we started potty training Levi last week. I put pull-ups or a diaper on if we left the house for a few days, especially for longer car rides, but he was doing so well at home in underwear without accidents, I have even ventured out with him diaper less! He even took himself to poop (for the first time!) while I was putting Nora down for a nap! I am so proud of him and impressed with how well he seems to have taken to it. He will be starting pre school next school year and so now he has the peeing and pooping in the right place, we have to start working on him, pulling up underwear and pants before leaving the bathroom and begin lessons in wiping his bum. 

And then there is the sleeping - kids in their own rooms. Its had good nights and bad ones, but the hot weather has really played into the worst of them. The two coolest nights they have both slept in their rooms until the very early morning when they come into our bed and have fallen back asleep. We haven't put up the dark bedroom curtains yet, so I am hopeful when we get that project done it might help. They are both doing better than I expected.
We need to get into the habit of settling them back in their own space but boy that's tough in the middle of the night. When they will fall right asleep next to us in the bed.

We made it to our church for the past two weeks, which is a huge deal. Before that we hadn't been since Easter and it was so great to be back! Levi has had a blast in his class and Nora did really well (for her anyway) in the nursery. I stayed with her the first week but she barely looked for me, so Jeremy stayed this week but then tried to leave which did not go over well. But she was really tired, having been disturbed through the night from all the crazy fireworks which lit up our house all night long, and there were less kids to be a distraction so. I think we might try one more week of staying with her before we try to leave her again. I am hopeful and prayerful that her separation anxiety will be getting less and less.

We are finally here in our new space, so thankful that God brought us here and excitement that we have about the future. We are finding our rhythm slowly and surely, in between the unpacking. The past eleven months have taken it's tole on us as a couple and as a family and we have some kinks to work out but I am confident we will in time. This is the beginning of the next chapter in our story and we are ready!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Still moving

We closed on our house, then we went to England for three weeks and after being home for a week we finally moved most of our things into the new house. We are not moved out of Jeremy's parents yet because our painters are finishing up and there are doors off hinges and lights plates off everywhere as well as lots of little touch up painting to do which we don't want to get in the way of.

We had our small group helping us unload the storage unit on Saturday morning which was such a blessing. The group divided and half were with the kids at our house and the others were doing the muscle work of loading up.

Everything fit in one truck and was able to be unloaded into the house and the garage for unpacking at our leisure :)

I worked hard to get most of the kitchen unpacked but I anticipate some cupboards will be rearranged as we start to use the space. It is hard to know where things will be easiest to access and most useful. I am sure it wont take long.
Our pantry shelves were waiting to be put back up after the paint job and once they are in place I can really unpack and get settled. For now, our enormous kitchen island has become the catch all for everything without a home yet. It's quite a sight.

We hope to move our final furniture over tomorrow and spend our first night, but we are not holding our breath and excited that our first night will be after the painters are totally done.

We feel as though this process has taken forever, what's a few more days? We are excited for the final push and beginning to really get settled. I am sure that the kids will take some time to get used to life without Grandma and Grandpa and the new space, especially having their own rooms but I love that the days are bright and sunny and we can take each day as it comes. Slow and steady.

I'm ready to finally exhale.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Keeping things International

We closed on our new house a week ago. Since then the days have been a whirlwind of having the duct work cleaned, having a washer and dryer delivered and installed, picking paint colors, cleaning carpets and packing. Yes, packing. Because in the midst of everything, we had planned and booked a trip to visit family in England. We don't make things easy on ourselves sometimes, but we were not going to cancel our trip and after living with Jeremy's parents for so long, waiting another week or two didn't seem like a big deal. We will move all of our things in the weekend after we get home.

But for now we are home with my parents and can report we successfully survived the flight over here. (There were lots of empty seats, which worked out in our favor. Levi took up most of the three-person row we were in, and Nora filled a close by two-person row so they were snuggled under blankets and slept most of the time, thankfully it was a night flight. On the way home it might be a little more work because its during the day and they will not need to sleep, but I hope that we can keep them occupied enough)

Anyway, thanks to the M25 traffic, both kids got a good nap in as we drove home and so were rested by UK dinner time just as J and I were ready for bed! We gave them a bath and tried to settle them but they both just napped because that's what time it was in their bodies and then woke up ready to go. They would not be convinced and after they communicated that they were hungry and ready for "dinner"(again) I found myself making beans on toast for everyone, and then giving out bedtime milk (again). We ended up just staying up and playing until 3am when we decided it was time to try again and after some persuasion ,we all slept in one big bed until 10.30am.

So even though jet-lag is alive and well and I have no idea how things will turn out as the night progresses, at least this time I will have some Eurovision song contest fun to watch while I pretend to have energy enough to play with the kids into the early hours if they do decide to party.

We headed out to a great park to see the ducks and play on the playground this afternoon so hopefully that will help them to sleep, who knows. We will be riding the wave of the jetlag for a while I am sure but I hope it eases so we can enjoy our time here.

Ok, I am fading fast. Off to search out some real Cadbury's chocolate and call it a night before anyone wakes up :)


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