Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday Musings

  • It's been a REALLY hard week, in regards to parenting. Eleanor has been cranky, I think from teething and a tiny cold, and Avery...oh I am missing age 2! We are battling defiance and disobedience in the worst of ways it seems. May God give me grace and wisdom to work through this one with her. 
  • I broke my left pinkie toe on Friday, or seriously fractured it. It's swollen and throbs at the end of each day and I can't bend it. I broke this same toe one summer in college. 
  • We went out of town this weekend for a niece's baptism (sweet Lucy!!) and had some good cousin time. This was also a good remedy for Avery's current antics, since it provided a change of scenery and some fun.
  • I wonder how much of Avery's attitude is due to moving, and how much due to the stress of the past year. All I want to do as a mother is protect her from hurting, but too much protection doesn't equip our children for the life ahead.
  • Trader Joe's has recently opened a store in The Woodlands, near our families, and I am SO.EXCITED. We used to shop at TJ in NYC, with one just a couple blocks from our apartment. We have been waiting for years for one to open near us in Texas, and finally! My mother-in-law and I went and stocked up and I came home with some fun treats that didn't require refrigeration. Next time I'll go prepared with a longer list and plan to stop on our way out of town so I can bring cold items back in a cooler. 
  • I leave on Friday for a week long vacation, BY MYSELF. No kids. No husband. For the past year my mom and her female cousins have been planning a houseboat trip. One of my sisters and I are going as well. It's going to be, wait for it...legendary.
  • I'm also really super nervous to leave the girls for that long. They will be traveling with Luke to visit his parents for the time that I am gone, and I know that they are in good hands. But, it's the first time for me to leave Eleanor, and the longest I'll have been away from Avery. Plus, I'm still nursing Eleanor. I plan to pump while I'm gone and pray that she doesn't wean herself in that time span. I'm enjoying these next few days of nursing, just in case they are my last. :( Thankfully she likes to snuggle, unlike Avery. Once I was done nursing Avery, that was the end of snuggling. 
  • On the way to Houston this weekend, we stopped at the pharmacy drive-thru to pick up a prescription. Avery was crying and yelling in the backseat, just outright screaming at one point, and as the pharmacist handed us the prescription through the window, she couldn't hide her laugh anymore. What was the prescription? Birth control pills. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday Musings

I'm borrowing from my friend Elisabeth and doing a random thoughts post, only Mondays work for me this week, so here are my musings, in no particular order.

  • I love having leftover cake in the house. Eating it when the girls are in bed with a big glass of milk is even better.
  • I like to think I'm good at putting together a home, but then my mom and sister come over and show me up. They ALWAYS do it better, and I'm ALWAYS happier with my home after they've worked their magic. They should go into business together.
  • A young child and a baby are a difficult combination. I'm sure not as difficult as multiple young children + babies, of course. But my duo - they are tag-teaming against me and the past year has not seemed to equip me for the storm that they are constantly brewing these past few days.
  • But then they smile and make you laugh and give you kisses, and you remember why your children are awesome.
  • I am not a DIY expert. I am not even a DIY amateur. 
  • I also love organizational items, but I don't necessarily love organizing. 
  • I am thankful that we don't have neighbors above us, but I am sorry for our downstairs neighbor, as he has to listen to Avery's jumping and bouncing and just plain loud walking. We're working on being respectful neighbors. She has a short attention span.
  • I have two drawers in my kitchen. TWO. That's it. They barely hold my cooking utensils. And neither one of them can hold our silverware tray. Or the actual silverware. Those are now hanging from the wall, thankyouverymuchIKEA. Whoever designed this kitchen doesn't cook in real life. 
  • Our new washer and dryer plays a delightful tune when the cycle finishes. Eventually, though, it may have to go. It's almost too chipper.
  • Eleanor is a screamer. This grates on my ears. I still love her to pieces. How do you teach them not to?
  • I learned how to make bao (Chinese baked or steamed buns filled with meat, usually) on Friday, thanks to my friend Leslie and her mom, and now this is a very dangerous skill to have, since I can put away half a dozen in one sitting if I didn't limit myself. Don't judge. 
  • My nephew came to play today while his momma helped me organize my home. The boppy pillow and cover, another pillow cover, AND the couch cushion cover are now in the wash. The floor blanket is next. 
  • He is the CUTEST little thing ever, and I am so glad he's back from Michigan! We were so used to having him here to play with every day and missed him sorely for the past 6 weeks. He's now sitting and rolling over and has the best, biggest belly laughs.
  • My car has been parked since Friday afternoon. The battery died, and it was in a spot that made it impossible to jump unless the guy next to us moved his car. He did not for the entire weekend. We borrowed a portable jumper on Sunday, which wasn't strong enough for some reason, and as Luke was messing with it, the guy who was in the way all weekend showed up and jumped the battery for us. Nice timing! The car subsequently died 10 minutes later and has been parked since then, this time in an accessible location at least. 
  • I miss my automatic sliding doors.
  • We got rid of our TV, since we don't pay for cable, rarely watch it, and don't have room for it. I am regretting this decision now because of the summer Olympics. Ergh.
  • I think Eleanor had a case of the Mondays today.
  • I got home from church, changed my clothes, and realized that I had a large split smack dab down the center seat of my skirt. This is not the first wardrobe malfunction I've had this year either. Easter Sunday the strap of my dress broke, and I have no idea if it happened before or after I stood in front of the entire congregation for Eleanor's baptism. It definitely happened before I spent 5 minutes talking with one of the elders. I pray pray pray that I'm not walking around flashing the church members certain members of my own body. Goodness. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

We've Moved!

It's been crazy around here, and I was without internet for almost a week (actually kind of nice unless I really needed it for something).

But...we're finally settling into our new place. This is by no means my dream move, nor my dream home. Another apartment, more tiny living, and not as chic as Apartment Therapy makes it out to be. It's funny how living in a place that was only 350 sq. ft. in NYC was way cooler than 1030 sq. ft. in Texas. If I didn't have children, I'd take the tiny studio in NYC again in a heartbeat.

The move itself is one I wish to never repeat. Last summer we had drought and wildfires. This summer we have abundant rain (thank you, Lord!), a huge blessing for our hot and parched state, but it made moving a nightmare. Torrential downpours, muddy disintegrating boxes, worrying about mud on the brand-new carpet (I hate carpet). Ugh. We were down a helper because he was sick, but the girls were well cared for at a friend's house, so I was able to pitch in with lugging things around. We turned in keys to the old place last Friday, to which there was great rejoicing. Goodbye, local neighborhood pharmacists two doors down that were servicing the high school students (and then some). Goodbye cricket population moving into our home.

We aren't in a bigger space, nor are we too much closer into town like I had hoped. The availability in the rental market was slim. Some days I wonder if this was the right move for various reasons, but I do love some things about our new place, namely the fireplace and the windows. The girls are enjoying it now, though it took a couple days for Avery to understand that this was now our home. She calls it our "new apartment house". Eleanor had a couple of rough nights at first but is back to waking up around 4:30 to nurse before getting another 2-3 hours of sleep.

Here's to a fresh start!

10 Month Old

We moved the week you turned 10 months, Eleanor. Always an excuse from your mom, huh?

At 10 months, you:
  • cruise like a pro, and learned a new trick last week. You now stand up without holding onto anything. You're sitting, and then you're standing. That's it. Boom and you're up!
  • are eating everything in sight. You try it all and usually like it. You seem to reject eggs and avocado, but everything else goes straight into your belly. Even a bit spicy doesn't seem to sway you. Big Sister could learn from you.
  • sleep well now that you've adjusted to the move. You wake around 4:30 am to nurse and then you're back down for a couple more hours. It's hard to drag myself out of bed this early, but you're super snuggly and I love when you fall asleep on me. I'm savoring this time with you because I don't know if you'll be my last baby to nurse. 
  • are napping twice a day, about an hour in the morning and another 1.5 to 2 hours in the afternoon. Every once in awhile I get super lucky and you stretch it past that 2 hour mark. You just have so much to see and do that you aren't too interesting in sleeping. 
  • nurse 4 times a day, though some days it's only 3 times. I pump on those days to keep my supply up since I'm having to store a bunch of milk for an upcoming trip.
  • are interested in all things Avery. You love her toys, though she isn't so willing to share.
  • are still into everything and can destroy a room in a matter of seconds.
  • are also interested in putting things back where they belong (yay!!). You like to take things out of boxes and then put them back in. We were recently at a party in which you decided to empty the favor bucket, but when I asked you to put them back and showed you once how to do it, back into the bucket went all of the squirt guns. Smart girl!
  • say Da-da and hi, which sounds like ha! Sometimes I think you ask for night-night, but it's hard to know for sure. 
  • are sporting one tooth! You're cranky this week, so I wonder if another one is coming along, though I don't see anything to indicate so.
  • began shaking your head back and forth, mimicking us.
  • act insanely excited to come wake me up in the morning when Daddy lets me sleep in. You squeal and crawl all over me and burrow into me and give me big wet slobbery kisses on my nose. 
  • Understand the sign for "milk" and flash me a smile or acknowledge with an excited arm flap.
  • love playing peek-a-boo, and Avery loves to hide your face under a blanket or her lovey and then watch you pull it off. 
  • love tickles and giggle up a storm
  • bawl your eyes out when I drop you off at the church nursery, and the second you see me at the end of church or Bible study, you start bawling again. I haven't been paged out in awhile, though, so I think you're doing better. At least they tell me you don't cry the whole time.
  • play well by yourself for the most part, wandering around and exploring and eating everything, but you like to keep a close eye on me. 
  • love the pool and don't mind water in your eyes too much. You prefer to be in the baby pool where you can crawl around, but you don't mind going around with the big kids if Mommy or Daddy are holding you
  • wave your arms like a Bollywood dancer when music is playing, and you bounce and waggle your hiney to the beat.
  • sniff and wrinkle your nose like Avery used to do at this age, as well as your daddy (this is one of my favorites!)

Conversations with Avery

This is an exhausting and funny age for her. She asks questions non-stop, and loves to play question games with us. It delights her to no end to have Luke ask her questions, any kind of questions, so she asks him, "Do you want to ask me some questions in my room?"

She will be in the middle of a conversation with me (really, when is she not?) and will shout out "green car" and then keep on going with her conversation. Not sure what the fascination with green cars is.

Plays doctor. It usually goes something like this:
"Hi, Mommy. I'm Dr. Bell (this is her actual pediatrician, btw). It's so nice to meet you! First, I need to check your heart. (listens with the stethoscope, somewhere near my heart, sort-of). Good. Your heart is good. Now I need to check your blood pressure. Help me, I can't put this on. Wait, I want to do it! I want to buckle (velcro) it! Ok, 123456789-10 (pumps it up). Your blood pressure is good. Now I need to check your temperature to see if you have a fever. (sticks thermometer in my ear and spins it). No fever. Now I have to reflex you. (hits my legs with the reflex-thingy, and sometimes it's hard enough to cause my reflexes to kick in regardless of where she taps it) Good, good. Now you need your medicine. (shakes out pretend pills and hands them to me). Ok, now I check your ears. (sticks the light in each ear). Good. Now it's time for your shot. Chuk-chuk (that's the sound it makes, obviously). You're all better!"

And, as she uses each tool from her doctor bag, she sets them aside. She also closes the bag after each tool she pulls out to use.

She plays with her babies and stuffed animals and is sometimes heard during naptime telling them, "Now, everyone GO. TO. SLEEP!" By the way, I don't yell that at her, although she does have some reminders on occasion. Her baby gets frequent naps during the day and can be found in a variety of locations. 

The other day, she asked Luke to help her with something, and he was too slow for her, so she said in a deep voice, "Come, child." 

Our new apartment has a coat closet in the entrance, in which we place our shoes. She has labeled this the "shoe pantry". Quite astute.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Father's Day in Pictures

chocolate chip pancakes, Daddy's request (and I made them with dark chocolate - way better!)

it's a face! she really drew a face!! and she even gave him brown hair

reading his gift from Avery

Avery's Father's Day questionnaire

One really upset baby and one indifferent 3 year old, and Daddy is still smiling!

Box Fun

Why bother spending money on toys? Get a few used boxes and let your kids go wild.

Tiny Ballerina

I mentioned before that we enrolled Avery in a summer ballet class, for the month of June, and I don't know who loved it more, me or her. She loved dressing up and wearing her tap shoes (it was more of a creative movement class), and I loved watching her try something new and have fun at it.

I took her to the first and last class, and Luke got to enjoy watching her for the middle two classes (I was sick two weeks in a row). Her first class was a nightmare, so much so that I thought they might not let her back in. They decided to split the class and put the 3 year olds by themselves on a different night, so it ended up just being three little girls total, and it was perfect! Avery got the attention she needed, and because the class was SO small, she didn't distract too much from the other students' time with the teacher. I think we'll enroll again in the fall, but I'd like to find a morning class and a different studio. Then, if she doesn't like it after a year, we'll try something new.

checking herself out on her first day


her favorite part of dance class was the coloring books outside of the studio. perhaps I  chose the wrong fine art to enroll her in?

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Graduations and Celebrations

Whoa, I'm behind! Going all the way back to May....

May was a busy month for us, celebrating 3 graduations of various family members. I'm terrible and have no pictures from any of them! But, congratulations to my sweet cousin Hannah, graduating high school and headed off to Abilene Christian in the fall; to my little brother Christian, graduating high school and off to Stephen F. Austin in the fall; and finally to my awesome sister-in-law Lela, graduating college with honors from the University of Houston!

We managed a visit to see my dad and his wife Angela - we don't get to see them very often, but we had a big family get-together that weekend after my brother's graduation, and Avery had fun playing on the swing, running around with all the aunts and uncles, looking for turtles in the pond, and finding golf balls with Mam-maw. Eleanor didn't sleep at all the night we were there, which means neither did I. She also stuck close by my side the whole time. Thankfully both girls were very well-behaved at the actual graduation, which I wasn't sure how they'd act since it was their 3rd one in a matter of a few weeks.

Avery lived on this swing all weekend long

swinging with Grandpa

Dad and his awesome wife Angie

Mam-maw - she tells the best stories from my dad's childhood and my childhood