Friday, July 31, 2015

Penny Jane: Age Three

This age.  The wit, the will.  The energy, the stubbornness. The expressions, the things that come out of her mouth.

She is capable of so many things now.  Reaching anything on the kitchen counter, opening the fridge and selecting a snack with or without permission.   Going downstairs by herself, turning on any of the lights and retrieving something from her closet.   She is capable of going potty by herself and putting on most of her shoes by herself.  She prefers to cut her own food and peel her own fruit and open her own packages.  She is capable of walking all the way across the park to Nana/Auntie's house.  Now, there is a hard line between her being capable of something and her actually doing it, that would be where her will comes in, and would also be the source of much of the conflict in our home right now.   I hear from others that this is to be expected of a firstborn three-year-old.

I know that in general, mother/daughter relationships can be challenging. I did not know that the challenges would start so young. This three-year-old and I… Whew.  She is so much like me, it's unsettling at times. She doesn't respond well to being told what to do. When she chooses disobedience, sometimes it's timeout. Sometimes it's a spanking (something I never thought I'd say). And sometimes (depending on the offense) it slides because sometimes you need a day when you're not managing and disciplining every little moment and just enjoying the kid for who she is. Sometimes when I am frustrated to the brink of blowing up in a fit of lost temper, I change the scene and turn to tickling instead.  Her laughter fills up my joy cup when it's running low. 

She stopped napping every afternoon pretty much right around her third birthday.  For reals went from sleeping three hours every afternoon to not napping at all, almost overnight.  All you mamas with two-year-olds.... oh your day will come.   I've implimented "quiet time" in the afternoons while baby sister naps so that I can have some grownup time to work... or think... but it usually turns into Penny watching a movie.  I hope to curb this soon because one movie per day is not my idea of excellent screen-time parenting, but most days I simply do not have the energy in the afternoon to come up with and supervise some pinteresty quiet-time activity that doesn't involve the television.  Although yesterday during quiet time, she and I built a simple blanket fort by the coffee table and laid down in it and made up stories about a fairy princess who could smell when it was going to rain.

She has started preschool at Miss Carrie's house in our neighborhood. It is three days a week, for just shy of three hours, and it is wonderful.  I love that she is learning letters and numbers and the calendar and the days of the week; but moreso that she is spending time with kids her age, taking direction from somebody besides me and learning sharing and kindness and taking turns. 

Her blue eyes and batting lashes can captivate any stranger.  The spaces between her front teeth are charming and also ease my worries a little about teeth-brushing affectiveness, because oral hygiene is still quite the power struggle every night.   Despite my sunscreen diligence, she did acquire quite the olive tan this summer, especially on her cheeks and arms.  Her hair flips out on the bottom for a very cute curled effect.

For her third birthday, we invited a bunch of friends to join us at Skateland and had a whirl of a time. The image below taken by Dan's cousin, Celisse Jones at the party, captures her perfectly that day -- a little bit shy and reserved (stubbornly avoiding socializing with any of her party guests), with messy hair, wearing overalls, so curious about an arcade game.

Her favorite books: Quest and Journey by Aaron Becker
Favorite dinner: macaroni (probably because she only gets it about once a quarter)
Favorite place to go: Peter Piper Pizza (she's been once for a birthday party and now asks almost every day if we can go there)
Favorite movies: Brave, Little Mermaid, Totoro and Ponyo
Favorite song: Shake it Off and The Hokey Pokey


Things I don't want to forget from this age:
"See I told you it was light outside"
"It's pretty great."
"Mom, what's your plan for today?"
Her big-head toys (the Funko Pop Disney line)
The rhyming "wonderiffic ferderiffic" song
Climbing -- everything.
Pronouncing Josie "Dosie" and other funny speech things.
Making puppets out of paper bags.
Anything with wolves: Little Red Riding Hood, Three Little Pigs, especially.
Picking out books at the library and the time she told a girl there "Hi my name is Penny, do you want to be my friend? My mommy can only do one thing at a time."
Giving me a "face hug" before bed.
Rolling anything up in paper or a napkin and saying "here I made this present for you!"

Help Our Rank & Visit Top Baby Blogs, Baby Blog Directory!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

On Joining a Gym

Dan says that when he wants us to do something that I might not be on board with, he has to wait until he can let me think that it was my idea.  [I plea the fifth.]

He's mentioned joining a gym a few times over the last few years but I've always thought it was a dumb investment and that we would never go enough to justify the cost.  

This week in a moment of vulnerability, I got a hankering to get on the gym train so I can utilize some free (well...) childcare to have some time to myself to make some good choices for my health and fitness.  I need something.  
The yoga groupon I bought isn't working out because I stay up late working almost every night so a 5am class just isn't realistic for me on a regular basis.  I tried the whole "go for a walk/jog and push the girls in a stroller" thing and... that was about the worst workout experience I could have ever imagined.   SMH all you stroller-pushing joggers.  I want my kids far far away from me when I'm trying to burn calories. 

I've got about twenty-five extra pounds hanging around and they're really weighing on me.  I have a business and a job that I love now, but I still sit at a desk most of the time.  So it's gotta be something.  Something with childcare. 

My first thought when we decided to tour two local power house fitness clubs was "I hope I don't see anyone I know.

Not sure why.  I told Dan it's because when I work out (by 'when I work out' I mean hypothetically, because I haven't actually exercised on purpose four times since we got married), when I work out I like to be left alone, in my zone, and not be bothered, not socialize, not have to pretend I want to see people or that I don't hate working out. 

Truthfully I think it's that I feel such shame and disappointment that my physical condition is what it is.  I used to be an athlete.  I was thirty pounds lighter on my wedding day than I am right now. Thirty pounds.  And in my self consciousness, on some level I've convinced myself that maybe if others don't see it for what it is [ that I can barely handle twenty minutes on an elliptical machine ] then it won't be true.  As if other people can't actually tell how much heavier I am these days.   My own daughter didn't even recognize me in a wedding photo.  

So, it's out there now.  My name is Julie and my family joined a gym today because I am tired of having inadequate health and wellness.

If there's one thing I've learned from having an Apple Watch, it's that chasing a toddler / baby combo all day is not exercise.  "I'm a mom. I burn calories all day long chasing kids." I thought.  False. 

Another myth: breastfeeding makes you lose weight.  More about that here

So here I am.  And there I was.  First time "working out" in a gym in years.  We sat through two presentations, made our decision, did the signup thing and paid the enrollment fees with squirming daughters on our laps.  

Dan took Penny to the pool.  I got Josie checked in at the childcare center, went pee, by myself thank you very much, and found my way to the cardio machines. 

I fumbled with my iPhone to get the right music going and thought about the giant video iPod I used to work out with when I lived in Scottsdale. There were no touch screens then but I longed for my old playlist.  Pandora just wasn't cutting it and Apple Music wouldn't load (#FWP I know). 

I got my heart rate up. Broke a sweat. Tried three cardio machines for eleven minutes each. Puttzed around the weight machines because oh my overwhelming gonna have to work with a trainer, used two of them (probably incorrectly). 

Then I felt an instinct that I should go check on Josephine.  I hadn't heard them page me over the intercom because of my Pandora jams.  But who using intercom pages anymore?  Text me would you?  It's 2015!   Sure enough, mother's intuition, Josie girl was losing her mind, crying harder and redder and sadder than she ever has cried in her whole life, the sweetest easiest baby who rarely cries at all.  And she had pooped herself.  They don't change diapers there (which I'm ok with, but did she really have to poop then?)

By the time I went back to my locker to get a clean diaper, borrowed some baby wipes from another mom because I forgot to pack some in my new gym bag aka purse, lovingly changed that monster of a poo poo and topped her off with some breastmilk, the infant room was closed for the day.  There went my cool down and stretch.   

So, myth number three shattered: you can't ever really get away from your kids.  At least not when they're babies, at least not at the gym, at least not today. 

As I was breastfeeding in a corner, I gazed at other women walking by. Admiring and resenting and awestruck and jealous all at the same time toward the really skinny fit ones who also had children in the childcare.   I never looked that good, even before I had kids.   I could watch all the inspiring "love your body just as it is" social media videos on the entire internet and I would still feel these feelings in this scenario.  But, baby steps. 

I'm calling it a 40 minute workout but my Apple Watch says I exercised only 22 minutes today.   We will see what my body says about it tomorrow. 

I took a selfie in my underwear so I'd have it has a "before" picture for when I get all cute and narrow again.  Then I deleted it from my phone. 

I think my less-than-glamorous first day back at a gym is "This is not going to be easy" staring me right in the face. 

'til next time.  

Help Our Rank & Visit Top Baby Blogs, Baby Blog Directory!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

A Memory Story: Skateland

When I was in elementary school, I went to Skateland quite often.   I feel like my school and my orthodontist office and my girl scout troop and... every organization I was affiliated with... had all their parties there.  Skateland was where I showed off my mad skating skills, got exposed to the latest in pop music (because it was pretty much just Whitney Houston and Country Western at home), and got to see friends and teachers outside the context of school. Chicken Dance. Partner Skate. Backwards Skate. Black light Skate.  It was the bomb dot com before dot com was a thing.

Tonight Dan got it in his head that we should take advantage of "Water Wednesdays" -- you bring a case of water bottles for donation toward homeless shelters and your family of four gets free admission -- and that Penny would learn how to skate.  I hesitated, but alas. 

Not sure she learned how to skate, but we sure did have a party of a time.   Nights like this I'm so glad I married someone who balances me out.  I would just assume never leave the house in the summer time; Dan always has great ideas of how to get out of the house and make the best of the worst season in Arizona.  

Not pictured here is a very enthusiastic Penelope dancing the Cha Cha Shuffle (is that what it's called) in her socks in the middle of the rink with a bunch of strangers at the end of the night after everyone turns their skates in.  We've got a full-on little girl on our hands.

A tip for you mamas considering this outing for your family: bring a stroller for your baby.  You can't hold baby/kid while you skate but you can push them around the rink, which allows both parents to skate and for you to keep your stuff with you (in the stroller) and not have to rent a locker.  We didn't know this but we will do it next time!

Help Our Rank & Visit Top Baby Blogs, Baby Blog Directory!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Josie Lu: Ten Months Old


She's still a little chunk, but thinning out slightly as she's become so incredibly active.  Since the rest of her body is starting to resemble an "older" baby (and much less like a newborn or infant), her chubby cheeks really stick out like jowls.   You can definitely tell that she's breastfed.   She's cut four teeth but only two are actually visible, the bottom middles.   Her hair has really grown and it's less like fuzz now.  She has a "mustache" in the back, a natural part at the middle of her neck and the hair growing sideways toward her ears.

She's wearing size 12m-18m.  Still doesn't wear shoes, although I've been meaning to dig into my hand-me-downs because I think this is about the age that I started putting shoes on Penelope from time to time.

Her face is very sweet, matching her easy-going disposition.  She'll go to most anyone and is starting to play coy by pressing one cheek to her shoulder and batting her eyes at the lucky onlooker.  Her eye-lashes sure have filled out since she was born without them.

Behavior and Skills:

Crawls fast, almost always with her one foot and one knee.   She can climb the whole staircase from the basement, and can climb completely into the dishwasher.  She can almost climb up onto the couch by pushing one of Penny's stools over to it.

A couple weeks ago, up here at the cabin, she starting standing on her own from a squat, without holding onto anything.   I'm super anxious for her to walk because that will mean no more filthy knees and hands, but no first steps yet. 

Sometimes I get excited because she will crawl over to me and raise her arms up to be held and I think it's because she wants to be held and be snuggled, but really she just wanted to be lifted up so she can have a better vantage point of what's going on in the room.  She'll look around, figure out where she wants to go, then press away from me to be put back down in the direction of choice.

Patting the table / playing drums is a fun game for her.  It's really funny when she tries to go fast, like she surprises herself with the sounds she makes.   She's also catching on to peek-a-boo and patty-cake.

Noises: she squeaks and squeals more than any other noise, almost sounds like a cockateel when she's happy.  She learned how to clap/applaud at our friends Jon and Emily's wedding, which was very fitting.  When she babbles, it usually comes out "bahbahbahbah?"

Just like Penny, Josie plays by herself really well, although she gets into a lot more mischief/danger than Penny ever did.  You can put her in a room with ton of cool toys and she'd most prefer to go find an electrical outlet to try to stick her finger in, or a dead bug to attempt to put in her mouth, so you really gotta watch this one.

Lots of firsts these past couple months:
first words:  bath, "Boppa" (my dad), "Apollo" (our dog), ball, "hey"
signs "all done"
airplane ride
mosquito bite
sleeping in crib
squat to stand
tylenol (for teething, just one night)
water to drink

Breastfeeding and Other Food:

The kid is OBSESSED with cups of liquid.  She gets SOOOO excited when there's a cup with a straw within her reach.  We say she has a "drinking problem" because when she drinks water, she happily spits about half of it out as she goes, drenching herself and anyone who might be holding her.

She's basically tried everything, aside from the off-limits things like raw meat and honey.   Any given day, there's a good chance she eats: one or two pouches, some greek yogurt or cottage cheese, half a banana, some torn up meat, cheerios or other finger-food cereal, and sliced up strawberries or whatever other soft-fruit we have in the house.  


We moved her to her crib right after Dan got home from his last bachelor party.  We had two very tough nights doing Ferber method, but pretty smooth sailing after that in terms of bedtime routine.  Sleeping through the night is another story -- still waiting for that to happen.  I can't seem to kick the middle-of-the-night feeding(s), and she still wakes up around 5am to come into bed with us and nurse and (usually) fall back asleep for another two hours or so.

She's napping about twice a day, usually a short one in the morning and a decent one in the afternoon.  Not on a schedule though, to my advantage most days. 

Her mama:

Dan and I recently got Apple Watches, so that's kind of the new gadget in my life.  In the photography world, I recently got my LLC, business bank accounts, and have been working on a more strategic business plan launching in the Fall so that I can start to pay myself a [small] salary next year.  I've been working 30-35 hours a week so I figured actually paying myself some profit is in order by now.  So that's kind of exciting.  

Today marks the last full day of our first-annual summer trip to my parents' cabin, we've been here for 17 days and it's been wonderful.  Me and the girls have been here the whole time and Dan has come up all three weekends.  I've gone as hippie as I probably ever will, not plucking my eyebrows once or even wearing deodorant most days.  Re-entry into the hot valley of the sun is going to be tough tomorrow.

The poor sleep patterns are wearing on me a little bit (per my ramblings a few posts back), but I keep telling myself that some day, she will sleep through the night.   And enjoying her during the day makes up for it.

Help Our Rank & Visit Top Baby Blogs, Baby Blog Directory!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Easy no-cook Cabin Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream

4 c Half and Half
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c Silly Cow Farms hot chocolate mix ("chocolate chocolate" is my fav)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 pinch of salt

whisk all ingredients together in until completely combined and powder is not clumpy (will have tiny bubbles and be frothy on top).  Pour into canister, prepare per your ice cream maker's instructions. 

Sometimes it's available at Sprouts or World Market, but if you can't find Silly Cow Farms hot chocolate, you can order it online or just pick any other hot chocolate mix that isn't full of artificial sweeteners and weird ingredients that normal people can't pronounce. 

Help Our Rank & Visit Top Baby Blogs, Baby Blog Directory!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...