Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanks Day

We've had a busy weekend, probably like the rest of you! We had a fab Thanksgiving with Trent's side of the family. We snuck outside for a quick family photo op. Auntie Tara lovin' on Sydney. We had a great adult: child ratio. It was about 20:2.


The grown-up kids enjoyed playing Rock Band on the Wii, but Carson loves playing the "driving game" (aka: Mariokart).


Then on Saturday, we had more bonding with the Tompkins as we trudged out to get get Christmas trees from great lot in Gervais.
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Here's my boys! (This is Carson's response to "Donchoo smile! Don't do it! Don't smile!)
My girl! No smiles this time.

Couldn't get Syd to look at the camera, but this is one of my favorite family shots with the 4 of us so far.

Uncle Chad has decided that Sydney is no longer "too fragile" so he will hold her now.

Nice bum, Babe! Choppin' down our tree, which we are really happy with. They even shake all the needles off and bale it for free! (Or is it bail?)

Love havin' brothers who work for Nike!

Mud beckons like a little boy's drug.

Here's the fam after the hunt and the chops.

Oh my goodness, this was early this morning, and I was DYING. Carson was wanting to help in the garage, so he put his flip-flops on with no pants. It was a hilarious sight to behold. What I especially loved was that he had no idea that is was a fashion crime in any way. He was crouching and climbing and standing back admiring the tree with hands on his hips...confident as the day is long. Love it!
We did have a chance to have dinner with my family on Saturday night, but I was tuckered out and forgot to grab my camera. We also saw Sarah and Tommy K. and some of their family at Tilikum, which was really fun and way too short. This will have to hold you over until I tell you about our Tompkins Family Christmas Countdown!












Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Taboo?

So, I was thinking the other day about taboo things amongst mommies--at least in the circles I've been in. I've been fortunate to make friends and aquaintances in several different venues...church Bible study, family, college friends, friends we've at the parks (indoor and outdoor), etc. It's so easy to strike up a conversation with another mom of young kids. Seriously, just talking about pregnancy, labor & delivery, the trials of newborns and potty-training can provide weeks of conversation fodder with a new friend. But eventually, certain topics come up, and I find myself treading very carefully.

You see, as progressive and open-minded as we modern moms like to think we are, we have all made our own decisions about parenting, and it's easy to think that whatever we did is "right." It's hard not to judge when another family/parent chooses another path.

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There are some topics that, thankfully, I've noticed a lot of grace given. Two very hot topics are breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding and working mom vs. staying-at-home mom. For myself, personally, experience has torn down my walls of judgement on these 2 issues. I know from firsthand experience that these decisions are elaborately complex. I will spare you the details, because I know that some of my readers are not interested in those details, but for me, nursing (both times) was outrageously difficult at the beginning. I managed to stick with it, but I will never judge a mom again for choosing not to continue. Don't even get me started on the working mom vs. stay-at-home thing. This choice is so multi-layered and conditional on every family, every job, every woman, every husband, every child...I just feel blessed to have a situation that works pretty well for us and I hope for other moms that they can find the right fit for them as well.

BUT wait! There's more! How's your baby sleeping? Do you let her cry it out? Is she sleeping through the night? Do you wait in your toddler's room until he's asleep? Do you let a newborn sleep in your bed? Condescending eyes peep out at you all over this one--and from opposite sides! Co-sleepers think that "cry it out" parents are harsh and heartless. "Cry it out" parents think that co-sleepers are lazy and dangerous. You think I'm kidding, but I'm not.

Oh! I hadn't even thought about spanking! This one is a lightning rod for passionate debate. Then there's the kinds of food you let your child eat. Fruit snacks? Chips? French fries? Organic, whole-wheat, farm fresh, cage free, hormone-free, gluten-free? And have you ever met this mother: "Oh, Jimmy hasn't seen that show. We don't allow our kids to watch television in accordance with the AMA's recent finding that TV rots their brains,"? I have. It wasn't pretty. But neither was the scene when we saw parents bringing a 3 year old to the Bourne Ultimatum. See? I do it too. Judge, judge, judge. Call me Judy.

Normally, I just avoid all these topics (as well as politics, as you may have noticed) at all costs. I usually want to be Switzerland. (nuetral)

Lately, though, I've been thinking about a seasonal taboo: Santa Claus. Especially in Christian circles, which I run in a lot, there's multiple levels of affection or loathing for the Santa tradition. We now have a kiddo who is soaking up everything he hears and sees, paying close attention to what is important to us. SO, we think it's time to figure out how we present the Christmas season. Which, by the way, my husband LOVES. He frequently says in JUNE.."I can't WAIT for Christmas!" We want it to be fun and exciting and thrilling...and meaningful.

For us, the bottom line is that Christmas is about Christ. First and foremost, we are celebrating Christ and his birth. We've already established that part of our tradition will now be to have a birthday cake for Jesus. Carson was sold on that idea very quickly. We have been talking as a couple and with our extended family about how to make sure this remains our focus. So, for the sake of argument, let's assume we are able to achieve that.

However, I do believe there is room for fun, trivial side of Christmas--including Santa! I'm curious to hear from others about Christmas traditions in your family. Are you die-hards, telling the kids in July that they'd better be good? Is he an afterthought? Do the kids get presents from you AND from him? Stockings? Are you worried they'll be crushed when they find discover the truth? Do also share how you strike a balance, but please spare me the lecture me that Santa can also be spelled Satan. Save it for your own blog. I want to hear some fun traditions from your family--either when you were growing up or things you do now with young kids. Let's share stories and HOLD OFF on the judgement for a while. :)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ramblings

First, I needed to post this pic of my C-man. Somehow, I hadn't seen it until last week. It was taken by Mike at the beach last April. I love it. Sometimes I need to just sit and look at this picture, or go in his room when he is sleeping. It reminds me that he is little and he is precious and how much I love him. Our days have been seeing a lot of...strife is the word that comes to mind. Have you heard? The terrible two's are so 1990's. Three is the new Two.

Also, a few random news items:

~Sydney's been rolling over for a couple weeks now. The first time was on some blankets on the kitchen floor as I made dinner. Sometimes I put things here on the blog so I can access them later for more permanent recording.

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~Carson says he wants a pogo stick for Christmas. I have no idea where he even learned how to say that, let alone understand what it is. When he first told me, I was with my mom and we looked at each other skeptically. "What is a pogo stick?" I asked, thinking he had no idea. "Well..." he said thoughtfully, "...you put your feet there....and you grab on...and then...you BOUNCE!" OK! I acknowledged to myself. He knows what one is! But still don't think he's going to get one.

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~Also, Carson asked for Mac and Cheese for breakfast this morning. For some reason, I agreed. Hmmm. Weird. Pick your battles, people.
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~Last night Carson ate his taco down the center like corn on the cob. It all came crumbling apart, as physics would dictate. He dramatically whispered--to no one in particular--with palms up in the air: "WHAT have I DONE?!" Trent and I started cracking up.
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This was the beginning of a longer post, but it was getting too long. I'll finish the rest and post it another day. Let me just say I'm only partway through writing it and it already mentions Santa Claus and breastfeeding, so, yeah. Stay tuned for that one! Or tune out, whichever your preference.



Sunday, November 23, 2008

Rest In Peace

In Memorandum

On Thursday, November 20, Quirky Pink Onesie was laid to rest, tightly wrapped in a plastic bag in the family's outdoor garbage can. QPO was a faithful member of the 3-6 month clothing family. Although never considered a favorite because of her inexplicable whimsical drawings of baby deer and mushrooms, she was often chosen as an underlayer of sleepsacks and sweaters. The cause of death was complications from a severe poopy blowout after 2 days without a bowel movement. Although the diaper changer (an expert in her field, known to have saved at least half a dozen doomed onesies in the past month) at first thought QPO could be saved, after surveying the extensive greenish-brown damage from crotch buttons to neck seam--including widespread soiling on the sides and armpits--the scissors were brought out as a last resort.

Unfortunately, scandal surrounds QPO's demise, as many in the 3-6 month drawer believe that label bias was involved in the decision. "This never would have happened to Long Sleeve Baby Gap!" said a source who withheld his name, but several witnesses claim he is from the Carter's Outlet.

QPO is survived by New Robeez from Ebay and Old Navy Flowered Jeans, who were damaged in the November 20 Blowout, but not fatally. Your thoughts and prayers are appreciated.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Perfect Storm?

We've entered into a window of time in the ages of our kiddos that is refreshing. Really, it is Sydney's age that is the window, as she is changing so quickly. She's old enough now (almost 5 months) that she's not SO very fragile. I don't--and she doesn't--flinch EVERY time Carson comes bounding over. He's still very intense and often too rough with her, but their encounters rarely end with her crying out of pain or fear as they have previously.
In fact, she ADORES him! She watches him constantly. I can see why he would be more interesting than the other humans in the house; after all, he NEVER STOPS moving, bouncing, jumping, yelling, spinning, swinging, crawling, bucking (as in bucking bronco), climbing, dancing, shaking, etc.
SO, he is interesting to her, and she is still an afterthought for him. She's not crawling into his space, not grabbing for his toys, not climbing on him....yet! He can pay attention to her when he wants and do his own thing without interuption when he wants. But OH does he love his baby sister! When he sets his mind to making her giggle, he stops at nothing to accomplish this goal--which usually doesn't take long.
Here are some pictures of yesterday morning. Love, love, LOVE THEM!





I don't know if YOU can tell, but I can tell that this is not just mid-laugh, but mid belly laugh!And these are from a few days ago.
I had to capture Syd's new skids.

And I am SO bummed that this pic is blurry, because I love their expressions. Well, it's not frame worthy, but it's blog-worthy!










Monday, November 17, 2008

Post Weekend Report

I am going to attempt to script 2 conversations for you.
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Convo #1. Last Tuesday. Me, Hubby and sis-in-law at the house.

Jen: Yeah, Trent's going to take the kids on Saturday so I can have a girls night.
Tara: Are you taking Sydney?
Jen: Nope!
Tara: Wow! So Trent's going to have them overnight?
Trent: [in an exaggerated mocking & sarcastic voice] Oh no! Oh dear! The children's father is going to attempt to care for them without the mother for 24 hours! Oh my! However are they going to survive with only Trent who works with children for a living? Call child protection services! Oooooo!"
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Convo #2. Saturday evening. I'm crammed in the car with four other mommies and no kids. On our way to shop, dinner and movie. Blissful and giddy. Decide to make #2 of my 3 maximum permitted check-in calls.

Jen: "Hey, Babe! How was the zoo?....Oh good......OH yeah? .....Why, what happened? [big smile starts creeping onto my face]....Oh no! [smile continues, false sympathy thinly veiled] Oh, no. She did? [Girls looking at me to try to figure out what's happening.]....Awwww, I'm so sorry! I can't believe Sydney had a poopy blow-out in the parking lot! That's such a bummer.....you had to change her on the hood of the car?! I know, that sucks.....OH no! [now trying to hide my giggling, give the girls a thumbs-up]...then Carson threw up all over himself in the carseat and you had to clean it up and change his clothes at the transit center?! Awwww......I'm so sorry, Babe! [shake my head and roll my eyes at girls to convey my true level of sorrow].....oh....uh-huh.....You are awesome Babe. [this time I am sincere.] You're right. You are. You are SuperDad. Where are you going now?...... Oh? You're going to your Mommy's house for help? [give the girls a knowing nod] Well, have a great time...."
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In all seriousness, it was so great of the hubbies to take the kids for us. (Plus, Carson and Syd both were up numerous times at night! No. That was not a smile on my face as I typed that.) Becky, Sarah, Steph, Jenna and I had an Uppercase Living party together, then a wonderful evening out and a lazy morning in. (Plus, Jenna made us a deluxe breakfast! woohoo!) Thank you, hubbies!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Yum-o

I can't even tell you how crazy I am about my baby girl. I just want to eat her up. Her little bald head, gorgeous blue eyes and funky little Carson ears! Love it all. But the last couple of weeks, she went from being a fabulous sleeper--day and night, to waking up several times a night. (Side story--before I had kids, my close friends would mock me, saying that I was going to go insane when the sleep-deprivation of motherhood hit. They were not mistaken. It is--without a doubt--the hardest part of parenting for me, because it affects all other areas of parenting and my life. ) So, this new schedule my little birdy has been keeping at all hours of the night is not good. Not good at all. I'm DYING! I talked to the doc about her sudden switch, and he said she's probably hungry. She's a little scrawny and probably going through a growth spurt. He said we should consider putting her on solids. NOOOOOOOO!!!
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For some reason, I was totally dragging my feet on this. Partly because it is a big milestone for babies, and I still think of her as my helpless infant whose needs only I can supply. And also, because I've been there before, and I know how much work it is to start solids. But I decided I will try anything to help the sleeping. (Plus, I hate the thought of her being hungry!) So last night was the big night! Rice cereal con breast milk ala carte. As per usual, my philosophy on photodocumentation is: more is more. I'm not satisfied unless you, my blog readers, feel as though you were sitting there with me, fighting off the big brother from grabbing the camera, making googoogaga noises at the baby and wishing you hadn't put cookies in the oven approximately 7 minutes ago.
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First little taste...
Not sure why you are putting this stick-thing in my mouth....

Huh?! What is this crap? Why are you doing this to me?

Maybe if Carson tries she will like it? (Except he stuck the spoon so far back she started gagging.)

This one is blurry, but the expression is priceless. Those are her "angry eyes."
Acceptance.
And back to the usual, laid-back Syd. Babe, you've got a little somehing. Right....there. No, there. Uh, just forget about it.
I love how her feet always flex when she's in this bumbo thingy. Hee!
This is Miss Syd this morning. She is going with Carson and Daddy to the zoo! (We have to call it the "Z double O" in our house until the hour before departure because it sends of fireworks of excitement that are too crazy to handle.) I'm getting a much-needed girls day/night away, and Trent is on daddy-duty. He's pretty cocky about it, which is actually good, because now I don't worry if things will get too crazy. (In fact, I secretly hope things will get too crazy!) Plus, I'm going to sleep ALL NIGHT. Have fun, Daddy!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Is this better?

OK, after subjecting you to that last post, I thought I would post a more pleasing holiday number. I've performed a lot of songs over the years, but a few stand out as favorites, and this is one of them. This definitely wasn't our best performance (or our most formal, as you can see) but it's the best recording I have of it. I have totally succumbed and am already listening to Christmas music! And I'm dragging you down with me.



Monday, November 10, 2008

You MUST hear this.

I beg of you. Listen all the way to the end. And let the Christmas season begin!

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This is dedicated to Mrs. Marple who keeps this fun tradition alive each year.

Question

Does anyone know how I can post a SONG? I have an mp3 that I want to share. I only know how to do pics and vids. Help!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Proud Mama

Oh yes. Big day in our household. Carson went to the dentist for the first time! Our friend Beth (Wow, Beth! 2 shout-outs in 2 weeks!) recommended a pediatric dentist in town, and I am so thrilled. I've read that little kiddos should go to the dentist even before age 3, but I just couldn't envision it going well. But the word on the street was that "Dr. Jeff" and his staff were up to the challenge. True story! They were fabulous. AND, they let me come in with my huge stroller and camera like a dorky mom.
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Here is the big boy getting ready. Our dental hygienist was Heidi, and she was obviously a pro at working with 3 year olds. She walked through every single step and instrument with Carson, with such excitement you would have thought he was sitting in a spaceship. (I would like to point out that his shirt does not have a big stain on it. That is a reflection from the mirror next to his lap.)
Miss Syd waited patiently in her stroller, wondering why she wasn't getting any attention for once.


Here Heidi is showing Carson the water-squirty thing and letting him shoot water out toward the window.



Shooting water in his mouth was not as fun, but he went with it.




I could not believe how cooperative he was! I was seriously SO proud of him. It was clear he was not comfortable with something so very new and strange, but he didn't fight it or cry or complain.


After the cleaning, Dr. Jeff came in to count the teeth and do a short exam.






He talked TO Carson a lot, which is always a hit with preschoolers.


Here is the big boy with such clean sparklers! He did so well that he got a new toothbrush and TWO prizes from the prize basket. I am so thrilled to have a dental home for our fam that specializes in kids! (It's worth the drive ALL the way across town.) Hopefully C-dog will associate the dentist with being fun, not with torture!











Wednesday, November 05, 2008

He's no Brian Williams, but...

I admit it: I am relieved that the election (and political commercials) are over. But I was struck last night with an overwhelming sense of gratitude. Not necessarily for the choice of president-elect, although he seems like a neat man and I wish the best for him, but for living in this country where I can participate in something so momentous. I was listening to all the commentators, and something that Tom Brokaw said struck me and I haven't been able to let it go. He said:

"Once again, we have experienced a peaceful transfer of power in our nation."

I took a moment to think about how many people in our world live under corrupt power--to varying degrees--and the only way they can ever hope for change is through great violence and death. No matter how bitter you are about the previous administration or the future one, we cannot relate with that kind of oppression. There have been vicious ads and intense debates, but at the end of the day, we count votes. VOTES! That each of us gets to cast! Then, someone calmly concedes and a new leader takes his place. Feelings may be hurt, but no blood is shed. It's a process that I really do take for granted. Thanks, Tom, for reminding me!

(Yes, some of you may have missed my post here where I talked about my crush on Brian Williams.)

Monday, November 03, 2008

My Mornings

First, I will add a few photos of our fun Halloween night to those posted by Steph and Becky. We've kind of started a tradition of going to the BCC harvest party with our gang. Check here and here to see the previous years costumes. This year we added pizza--I'm a fan--and more children. We have our EIGHT kids from the five families, and this was the first time we attempted to get them all on one couch for one photo. It was a hoot! Someday I think it would be fun to have costumes that go together, but when you get cheap and borrowed costumes, well, then you get a Dragon and PeaPod.

You can barely see Carson because Sydney's costume is so gigantic! We let go of hoping for all smiles a long time ago. No crying is a miracle in itself. Triva fact: our kids are the bookends in age--Carson is the oldest and Syd is the youngest.

Here's all the boys! Carson is so entertaining. Jack and Ethan can't help looking at him.

Onto a totally different topic, I've been blessed to be able to really slowly ease back into subbing. I've had only a few jobs, so I have more laid-back mornings with the kids. We kind of have a little routine that includes the hanging out in my room while I get ready. Also, you will notice that Carson is usually the last to get dressed. We put his big boy unders on first thing, and the pants are kind of optional at that point.
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The other day I decided to see if Sydney was strong enough to sit in the Bumbo, a new addition in baby gear since C-dog was little. She did pretty well and seemed to like looking around. Big bro thought it was cool too, and he VOLUNTARILY went to grab a book and started reading to her. It was a happy moment for me!

Here he is reading The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle. If you know the story at all, he actually kind of got the gist of the plot right, even though he's telling it at breakneck speed. Obviously, Syd is a little indifferent. But I still think it's cute.
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