Monday, May 24, 2010

Help for Lazy Feeding

When it comes to feeding healthful food to my family, I try to do what is best for them as we all do. Hiding greens and flaxseed in smoothies, sweet potatoes in eggs or mac & cheese and fresh organic produce as often as possible.

Randall will eat anything dairy, oatmeal and as many bowls of cereal as we let her. She also likes almost any kind of fruit and gets plenty of apples, bananas, grapes and berries.

The problem is, it seems as though I have gotten lazy in what I give her. I want to get her to eat more veggies, but haven't found a good way to get her to try more than one little pea. There has to be plenty more things that she is willing to eat or that we could at least get her to try, but I feel like I have run out of ideas.

Here are the most common meals she eats:

Mac & cheese, (an obvious favorite!) oatmeal, cereal, eggs, grilled cheese & soup, bread/meat/cheese, (not in a sandwich, but separately) smoothies and lots of fruits.

Due to the logistics of life, we don't often eat dinner together as a family, but usually have breakfast and lunch together.

What do you feed your kids? Or, if your kids are older, what did you used to feed your toddlers? What tricks do you employ to get more veggies into your children?

As it is, I need to start making weekly dinner menus and I'd love to make similar menus for my kiddo.

Give me all your best advice!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My Girl

This post is not about Macauly Culkin. Though that movie definitely made me cry. No, today I need to think about my sweet daughter. Most of my day is usually taken up with the boy nowadays and while I try as often as possible to snatch moments with Randall, his needs often come first. What with the screaming and all. (Make. It. Stop!)

She's nearly 2.5 and full of so much life. Since the weather has been nice, every day she will ask if she can go, "oow-sigh?!" We are fortunate enough to live within walking distance of five different playgrounds as well as a beautiful walking path, so while we don't have much of a back yard to speak of, there is always something to do and somewhere to go in the great outdoors.

I noticed last week while walking the big hill behind the zoo (KILLER hill) that there is a great little stream that we may have to investigate together soon. Growing up, I spent hours every day in our many acres of woods and creeks and I can't wait to teach her how to hunt for crayfish and build little dams. I wish we had our own land that I could let her out on by herself, but that just isn't to be for us.

We just got a little sandbox so that when she is in our yard, she has something to do. It's the greatest little sand/water table and she has had a blast making all kinds of mushy messes out there. She scoops, pushes and drives her little car over the ramps. Here she is saying, "No cheese!" by which she means, "no more stinking pictures, Mama!"

This year she got to ride on a bunch of the rides at the annual carnival down the street. Every day we would watch as they set up more of the rides and games until finally Friday we got to ride a few. She wasn't tall enough for many, but loved the ones she could. It's funny because sometimes she is so very brave and other times, she is super shy and won't try anything.

Like her gymnastics class. Here she is posing in her little leggings ready for class. For the past six weeks, every Monday morning she would go with her Daddy to a parks and rec sponsored Tiny Tots gymnastics time. Some days he said she wouldn't do any of the little tricks they were learning and other days she would do them all and some she would do over and over. When she got home I always asked her what new tricks she learned, like the spider or the donkey or her pizza stretches. After she would show one, she would always say, "ta dah!" which generally sounded more like just, "dah!" but was darn cute nonetheless.

She will spend quite a bit of time happily playing with her little people or kitchen or legos. Or a porcelain frog. For some reason, she just attaches herself to something different each week and takes it with her wherever she goes. One day it was a little gnome. Then a few days later she will hardly look at that object. 

I know she has way more toys than any kid needs but she is generally pretty good about picking up when told to and making good use of everything. Every day we read piles of books and I'll admit to sending her to her father when I'm tired of reading the same one again. "Here, have someone else read this to you now..." 

Daily she is adding new words to her vocabulary and extending her sentences into something we can (usually) understand. She is still taking fantastic naps, often three hours or more and sometimes even lays herself down for said nap. We can always tell when she is tired or hungry because the whining becomes a bit more excessive. The girl definitely acts like a true two-year-old!

Her pony tails kill me. She is so great about letting me put her hair up to keep it out of her face and I just love the cuteness of the little fountain-like stubs. Currently, since we have been playing memory-matching-type games all of her clothes have to match in some way. There are days when I have to stretch a bit to get her into something I think is cute. "See, they both have stripes! They match!"

She loves to put her arms around you and give hugs, often patting you on the back as she does so and then leaning in for a kiss. This kid is the most affectionate girl around and I love it. Whenever her baby brother is crying she'll go hug and kiss him first and then look for his paci to try to rectify the situation. Every night before bed we'll read books and pray and then give kisses to everyone. Including whatever toy she is sleeping with that night. So often I feel bad that her brother is screaming while I'm tucking her in, but she rolls with it and seems to just be used to it now. "No worries mama, just kiss this here lego man, please." Many nights we have to remind her that she has to actually stay in her bed. I'll be downstairs and hear a mysterious noise to find her sitting at the top of the steps playing with something. She hates her door shut (even though she has a night light) but unfortunately for her, when she doesn't stay in bed, that is the consequence.

Recently, I did her first mani-pedi and she just loved it. Her nails are just perfect and so easy to paint. I got some insta-dry polish so she only has to hold still for a couple minutes before she can run off again and she does great. She's so very proud of her pretty pink nails and, "puh-puh" toes. Especially when she is wearing her little flip-flops and can show them off.

Randall loves her little brother and while there are times when his crying definitely seems to set off her whining and she hates to wait for me to finish feeding him before I can help her with something, she is fantastic with him. Though lately she has been trying to pick him up on her own, she's usually good about knowing that that is one of Mama's jobs and not hers.

She tells the cat all day long that, "kitty no outside"; she loves to listen for things like the busses, birds, dogs or the church bells; she knows that it is her job to throw away the dirty diapers and holds her nose the whole way to the trash can; she tells me every day when she gets up from her nap that she is dry, even on the rare occasions that she is not; she would eat oatmeal or cereal for every meal and loves her fruits but I can't get her to eat any veggies without trickery; she loves to smell flowers, hates bugs and her favorite toys are her dollies. In short, she is 100% girl. My girl.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mother May I?

I cannot thank you all enough for the encouraging and commiserating from the last post. Some days I feel like I am absolutely drowning and the screaming definitely doesn't help that. What does help is knowing that you are not the only one feeling like that.

And while I feel like I am bumbling along at mothering lately, this weekend my husband did a fantastic job of making me feel like the best mom in the world.

Friday night he took Randall out to the store to pick out some presents and when they came home and I asked what she bought me she told me it was orange and said it was a, "bah." For her, this could mean box or ball or bell or even sheep for that matter. Articulation is not her strong suit at the moment.

Saturday was a dreary day, as it has been for a while now, and we all stayed inside for the day.  Andy decided it would be a good day to give me the gifts that he and my girlie had picked out.

So, up in our attic loft we sat with our coffee and our babies and he gave me flowers and a few fun games. We love playing card and board games and it is a tradition to get new ones as gifts. Now, while I loved the new games and flowers are always fabulous, I will admit to thinking that it was a little lame as far as mother's day gifts go. But I determined not to tell him and to be happy with what I got.

After the Saturday evening service, (during which it was lovely to be able to drop both of my kids off in childcare!) and after the girl had gone to bed, I was packing up her bag for the next morning so she could go with daddy to church while I went to another location. (Some days church work is logistically complicated in my family.) I was going to pack her mini dvd player so that while he was in rehearsal she would be busy and not running amuck.

In the closet where I keep said dvd player there was a box in the way. Confusion was the first thing that set in. I often use old appliance boxes to store toys or what-have-you but this was a box for a coffee maker that we didn't own. Maybe his parents had brought it sometime? And then all of a sudden it clicked. I had stumbled upon my real mother's day gift. I hurried up to the attic and peered around looking for the coffee maker, finally finding it hidden in the back of our closet.

I went down to the studio where Andy was working.

"I have bad news."


"I was just packing up Randi's bag for tomorrow...and I went in to get her dvd player."


"Yeah. The dvd player."


"The dvd player that is in the closet in her playroom?"

"Oh. Crap."

I'm not sure how he forgot that that is where we keep the dvd player, but he needs to work on finding a better hiding place. He had wanted me to be surprised by waking to the smell of fresh coffee since he couldn't do breakfast in bed on a Sunday morning. Bummed as he was that I ruined the surprised (how do I always ruin the surprise!?) he still had specialty coffee and dark chocolates up his sleeve as one last gift. I was well spoiled.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Messiness of Life

Have you ever felt like you just stink at life? Not that you aren't good at one thing or another, but that you simply aren't good at living life.

That's how I've felt lately. As though I can't do any aspect of life well. There is obviously the basic added complication of a second child and I won't say, "I didn't know it would be this hard," because I did. I even expected this kid to be more difficult than the last and he's lived up to that well!

But along with that I feel like I am just stumbling by day after day. Cleaning, washing, feeding, burping, changing, sleeping, rewind and repeat. All that without even adding in the forgetfulness. The balls being dropped. I'm pretty sure I have let down everyone I have come into contact with. I'm convinced that I have neglected more things than I can even count. And then as soon as I feel like I've got one thing under control, I find another that I have failed miserably at.

It's not like I'm not happy. I adore my husband and my children and life is basically pretty good. I'm just not holding up my end of the bargain. I'm a mediocre parent, wife, friend, coworker.

Maybe it's just that I want too much. We all want to be good at what we do, but I feel like I don't have the mental capacity or energy to even begin to strive towards that. So instead I just blunder through my days. Blah, blah, blah.

How do I ever catch up? Where do I start? Has anyone else ever felt this way? I want to think it's just a phase, but I've kind of felt like I've been in this phase for a while now, not just since the new baby, that's just exacerbated the whole thing.

Ugh. Maybe it's just the rainy, dreary day. Maybe I just need to be ok saying, "I'm sorry," more often. It's just getting old.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Month One

Just like your sister before you, I can hardly believe a month has gone by already! It seems like it has been much longer and much shorter all at once. We knew our lives would change drastically and boy were we right! How does one get two children ready and out the door to arrive somewhere on time, or at least less than half an hour late? 

I'm so glad you brought the spring with you, my little man. This time around, your big sis would not allow us to stay indoors longer than five minutes and we have already gone for lots of walks. In the wrap or in the stroller, you have loved going outside almost everyday. Granted, you are asleep most of the time, but it has been great to get out often. This spring has been so beautiful and we are trying to enjoy every moment. I always get lots of funny looks from people when they see me wearing your wrap but when they notice a teeny baby inside, it always elicits an, "awww." You love to be all snug and close to mama and I love wearing you around.

So far you have proven to be as good of a sleeper as your sis. Most nights, while not actually going to bed until around midnight, you will sleep for a good five hours straight. My fingers are crossed that you will start upping that number soon. It's lovely to sleep right next to you and be able to get you up whenever you need it, but it would also be nice for you to be in your own little room and bed. After your nighttime feeding, you tend to sleep best if snuggled in by me. Daddy gets up with your sis and you and I get to sleep in until about 9. I look forward to sleeping through the night but will miss our cuddle time. You tend to sleep best when moving--the car, the swing, or being held and bounced. We rely on your "snooze button" bassinet vibrator to help you when we want to sleep just 15 minutes more. 

Your first couple of baths you loved, but the last one you screamed through. Have I mentioned that you are a screamer? Scream. Er. As in, bloody murder, ear piercing, glass breaking, make me want to tear my hair out, screamer. You like to be bounced or jiggled or rocked and the paci must be just right and you must have a full belly and a clean diaper or the screaming will commence. We're pretty sure once the colicky season is over you are going to prove to be the sweetest, happiest boy in the world, but in the meanwhile Mama needs to buy some earplugs! 

Golly, you're the cutest little man there ever was. Unfortunately for you, you just broke out with a lovely case of baby zits. But you make the greatest grouchy man faces and you can pucker those lips like nobody's business. The pouty face and quivery chin kill me every time and you are so handsome in your blue camo diapers!

You are a much better eater than your sister was. Most of the time, anyway. Some nights it seems as though you've forgotten how to get what you want but you do love to eat. Most nights, we need to give you a little extra bottle to hold you over. 

Little Em, I can't wait to see who you become. You are already getting so chunky and have been kissable from your very first moment. You sweetly grab onto fingers so tightly and when you are awake your big blue eyes take in everything around you. 

Here's to all the firsts ahead of us! With hopefully less screaming...