Saturday, January 17, 2015

Mothering and the Kitchen Sink

Well, that was quit a haitus. I finally have a moment to breath, oh, and a third child! Check out my new digs at MotheringandtheKitchenSink.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


I am thinking about archiving this blog. Its original intention was documentation of our babies and sharing with the world our experience since it may have been helpful to others. Also a venue for sharing photos and video with family and friends. If anyone wants to be friends with me on Facebook, I post pretty regularly about the kids, including photos, and now that I have a new phone, potentially video. I am considering starting a new blog where I just share my experiences. As our babies become sentient beings I feel an obligation to protect their privacy, but I also realize I miss writing. I don't want to pull a Time Magazine where I document forever something personal and potentially embarrassing for my little studleys. So, when I have a chance (who knows, maybe there will be a Christmas post after all!) I am going to archive this bad boy, and start up a new blog that is all about my family, but mainly me. If anyone has ideas on clever and witty blog titles, please share! Just what we need right, another Mommy blog ;-)


Is it Fall already! When I had Gwen I went in to labor when it was summer, and came home when it was Fall. I think I will always feel that way now about the transition from Summer to Fall. Here are the kids with pumpkins from our garden. We did not plant pumpkins, but three productive plants and two mini pumpkin plants all popped up as volunteers. We went today to buy some plants from our winter garden; out with the old and in with the new. We celebrated the kids birthdays last weekend with a ridiculously huge party. But it was amazing. Our circle of friends has grown so much, especially as our friends with babies have more and more babies! We are well into the new school year and actually have a schedule that we keep to since Gwen's class starts at 8:30am M/W/F, and Graham has to be dropped off at 8am (ish) Mondays, my work day in Gwen's class. Parent Participation preschool is much more intense than when she was just 2 years old and it was Mommy and Me class (Graham and I do that Friday's now in the same classroom with the same teacher's aid). Being in a class with as many as 24 4year olds, 8 parent helpers, a teach and an aid is a bit insane. Don't get me wrong, it is very organized with a nice balance of 'choice' time and 'table time' (assigned activities), but the class is just buzzing with energy and I find that exhausting. Since I have gone back to school as well, full time to finish my Masters in Public Administration at NDNU, we have hired a sitter for the nights I have class. We made it almost 4 years without paying anyone to watch the kid(s), and what a luxury we have been missing out on. The sitter arrives at 4pm giving me ample time to finish getting ready, leave early to avoid too much traffic, and have time to catch up on my reading (or rest my eyes) before class. This is a welcome change from this summer when I was late almost every class since Spencer had to rush home from work, ditching a 5pm meeting. And if the kitchen sink is clean, she will wash whatever dishes are on the counter :-) The kids seem to have adjusted well to this new change (though Gwen pointed out the sitter is no Malia), and it has forced us to have a routine since the sitter has to feed the kids and get them ready for bed. We now finally have a more reasonable bedtime (usually asleep by 8:30pm or so), and they wake up consistently around 7am (bummer on weekends). Gwen refuses to nap and I have stopped pushing it during the week, so she probably is getting the minimum of sleep needed, but it seems to be working plus or minus a tantrum here and there. Graham continues to wake every few hours to nurse....not sure what to do about that. The kids had their well child visits and Dr. G gave me an earful on how I need sleep- no sh*t. If I knew the secret on how to get Graham to sleep through the night without screaming like he has been left to die, I would of course be a well rested. I suppose I have, literally, made my bed and have to lie on the bottom bunk now with a man-child suckling at my teet, then requesting "Otherside?" I also got a talking to about how big our biggest kid is- off the charts for weight and height Miss Gwen is. Graham is off the charts for height, with his little string bean self hanging out around 75th percentile for weight. We boiled it down to watching portion sizes, cutting down on snacks between meals (not cutting them out, just not more than one), and watching for hidden sugar and calories. While I am happy to not have to buy two types of milk anymore (I am going to start getting 1% for both), I have been second guessing myself and eating habits. Which is really annoying since I have been taking pride in our diet. I will continue to be mindful of excessive sugar, and will not let the kids snack while I am making breakfast/lunch/dinner (Hello! of course they won't be hungry for their meal then), other than that: whatever. I am supposed to be reading my statistics book, so back to the grindstone!


We kicked off Summer with Father's Day and Spencer's Birthday. I started this blog post way back when, an never posted it. I took two summer classes that both kicked my butt. I had three weeks off before the Fall semester started and worked on planning for their big birthday bash, and went to Yosemite with my sister and her family. The kids both did swimming lessons and learned a lot. Gwen can put her face in the water (with goggles) and jump into the pool (with goggles and holding her nose closed with one hand). Graham learned how to pull himself out on the side of the pool, and then safely slide in from the side of the pool. He is ridiculously strong, just like his sister.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Graham's 20 Month Update

 At 20 months, Graham is certainly closer to being a two year old than a baby. As I watched this sixth month old baby boy try to sit on a ride on toy with his Mother's help at a recent playdate, it dawned on me, that is how I envision Graham. While he often seeks my help and reassurance, he is becoming his own self. With that, we are starting to have some growing pains. Mother's Day weekend we decided to gently start the process of night weaning. This means I no longer nurse Graham to sleep at bedtime. Spencer puts him down and cuddles with him until he falls asleep.  If Graham wakes up between bedtime and midnight, Spencer helps him back to sleep. Our best night was a few nights ago, Graham slept 4.5 hours all by himself and without nursing. Friday and Saturday nights (when Spencer doesn't have to work the next day) Spencer tends to Graham the whole night, sending him to me anytime after 5am to nurse. There has been very little crying (seriously no more than 5 minutes), and very little protest. I am combining this with free access to the boob during the day, so that he  (hopefully) feels assured he can have Mama's milk whenever he needs it, just not at night anymore. This has led to quite a bit of comfort nursing during the day. His language continues to just blossom, and he is starting to express more concepts rather than just parroting words. He pointed to our floor-mat in the garage that has dog foot prints on it and unprompted said "oval" about one of the shapes that indeed looks like an oval. Out of the blue he pointed to Gwen's purple sock, and said, "purple." At the park we were looking at a rock with a plaque on it since Gwen wanted to know what it said, and he started pointing at various letters and number saying, "Two. Two. Two." He doesn't know his ABCs and 123s, but he knows those symbols mean something. If you ask him a question, he will say. "Ummmm..." like he is considering the answer. I wish I had taught him more sign language though, since he wants to communicate more than what he is able to, and that is starting to lead to some frustration and tears. I thought he might be interested in starting to use the potty, but I was mistaken. I let him wear underwear around the house the other morning and he became hysterical when I tried to change him out of his wet undies into dry undies. He clenched to his wet underwear and didn't want me to take them away. He was also confused or upset about having peed on the floor. We did this twice before I decided to break the cycle and put him in the bath. I thought I could potty train him like I did Gwen, but he is a different animal. He is very sensitive about himself and not wanting to make a mess. And I now know he is not physiologically ready since he piddled on the floor a handful of times in an hour. One of Graham's favorite things to do is forage in the garden where there is a plethora of fava beans and snow peas. This is often what he has for his afternoon snack and I love the idea of our kids foraging in the backyard, some of my fondest memories as a child are eating warm tomatoes off the vine, munching on green beans, and stealing strawberries.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Sophisticated Girl

For weeks Gwen has been requesting short hair like Graham. I have been asking clarifying questions, "You mean hair like so-and-so (girl with a bob)?" "No. Short like Graham." So when I asked Malia to cut Gwen's hair shoulder length, I was really guessing that was what Gwen wanted (I knew it was as short as I wanted to go). Malia did an amazing job, and Gwen loves her new hair style. It seems to be exactly what she wanted and she was so happy when she first saw herself in the mirror. This is her first real expression of self (besides choosing what clothes to wear, which she does everyday). Her new sophisticated hair seems to have affected her behavior too. Besides looking older, she seems to be acting older, in a good way. But before the haircut, I was chatting with a Dad at the park about our kids and he guessed Gwen was a kindergartener. His daughter was just a few months older than Gwen, but he commented Gwen just seemed so much older, "the way she carries herself." I am starting to think we are over the awfulness that was three, and that as we get closer to four, maybe we can all enjoy each others company more. Gwen truly is a pleasure to be around, when not acting crazy and driving others insane.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Oh Boy Oh Boy, Part II

Graham had his first haircut care of Malia. We put his hair in a little pony tail and she cut that off for me to put in his baby book, and then she trimmed all his baby wisps off. He looks like such a little boy now! Today he had his 18 month well baby visit (finally!). He is not quite as little as I thought. He weighed in at 26lbs (45th percentile) and is 2' 10" (92nd percentile!). I have a feeling he might have some strong tall/skinny genes and is likely to end up like his Uncle Arin (complete with eye lashes to die for).