Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Ordinary Beautiful.

Here I am, it's 7.30pm, Levi has been asleep for a while and Jeremy and I are eating dinner and watching one of our favourite shows.

Its the end of one of the days that makes it all worth while.

It wasn't a special day but it was one that just worked. It was the type of day that I long for since I became a mum. They can seem few and far between sometimes. They have seemed especially few and far between in the past couple of weeks with sickness and all the other stuff that's been on our plates so it made today stand out even more.

First of all Levi slept through the night again - hopefully this is the beginning of a return to the trend of all night sleep for all of us! The day started with a very early (6.45AM check in) for my follow up ultra sound to see baby girl. She behaved well and we got some sweet profile pics. They did see a slight murmur or something in her heartbeat but I won't find out until my doctors appointment tomorrow if the vascular specialist recommends further investigation. They said her heart is physically perfect but the blip was consistent so they wanted to watch it. They said it could be nothing so we are not going to worry until we know if we need to - but we are praying for sure!

Jeremy was able to go in a little late to work and watch Levi and our little guy just adored the extra time with Dada. He was quite sad to wave goodbye as Daddy went to work after mummy got home.

Then I crosed off an errand to Coatco for Juice, bread, Cliff Bars and eggs, that of course turned into Juice, bread, Cliff Bars, eggs, cute Christmas jammies for Levi, and chocolate covered almonds. Still not too bad and we were in and out in 35 minutes. Levi totally crashed on the way home which is about an hour earlier than he has been going down but he was obviously tired out from playing hard with Dad in the morning.

So home, to put the baby in his crib, put away the groceries and eat some early lunch while keeping my feet up for a bit. I c aught up on some blogs and did a bit on online Christmas shopping or at least browsing and planning.

Then after Levi woke up and ate a little, we headed out to spend some time with our dear friends before their afternoon naps time. Levi had missed his buddy Henry - we have been very anti social trying to keep our germs to ourselves - and I had missed Henry's mummy and hanging out with her :)

On the way home we stopped at Target for a couple of home essentials we had run out of and hten we headed back to the house.

Levi and I spent the rest of our day playing with the big boxes from Costco (Levi's favourite part of shopping) we snuggled on the couch and read stories, we laughed at some silliness and games we were making up.Then he chowed down on Minestrone soup and fruit for dinner which is a small victory but one that felt big in the moment. His cold has been making him quite the picky-pants so I am glad to see that might be easing as his cold ends.

Hearing Levi ending his day squealing with delight in the bath while Daddy and he splash about just warms my heart. 

It was a simple day. Nothing out of the ordinary. But in it's every-day-ness it felt beautiful. I can do this. We can do this. Hoping for more of the same tomorrow :)

Hoping that you can all find beauty in the ordinary today; make time to see the good and celebrate the small victories.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Fun and Infuriating

That is how I would describe Levi recently. He has certainly turned a corner where he is "speaking" more. He has many more words that are becoming clearer but he is also using his signs to tel us what he wants - sometimes what he needs, but mostly just what he wants :)

We have moved into the stags of running away crying and throwing himself on the floor when he is told no, ir when we take something away from him that he wants. We have child locks on lots of drawers and cupboards but he still likes to explore and as he gets taller and more skilled he goes beyond our childproofing efforts and gets into all sorts of things. Its a tough balance and I struggle to know where to draw a line between wanting to teach him to hear and understand the word "no", and the reality that if we didn't have any child locks it would take hours to get ready in the morning not to mention having the extra help to keep him protected from the things that are in some of our cupboards. He has just learned to open flip lids on containers like sunscreen so its a while new world of crazy when he gets into some cupboards.

We went to the zoo this morning with the other mums from my MOPS table and all their kids. It is certainly a boy heavy crowd, with just one little lady in amongst all the boys. Levi loves all the big kids and he has such an adventurous spirit that playing all together in the playgrounds he wants to do everything they are doing. Its kinda of exhausting to watch him but he just has the biggest smile on his face its worth it :)

It's certainly not easy to parent him out and about any more because he is so busy and wants to be active beyond his skill level! I am feeling like Jeremy and I need to regroup and discuss strategy. I am not someone to shy away from saying no in public at the risk of a major toddler melt down. I am happy to do what it takes to give Levi opportunities to explore the world but I am just as if not more eager to teach him boundaries, to be obedient and be a good listener.

I want to pull out "The wonder of Boys" and read over it again as it related to early discipline, and I also heard about another book on the radio station this morning that sounded interesting, not sure when I am going to get to all this reading, though :)

So as of today, life parenting Levi is fun and infuriating...and Levi himself is the same. At the zoo this morning, Levi was all over the place following the big kids and not happy about being in the stroller for any length of time but he was also super cute saying "ni ni" (night, night) to the sleeping "bow bear" (brown bears) and making fishy faces at the fish, and squealing with delight as the penguins swam by. He was also really taken by the cute otter statues in the exhibit, hugging them and even picking their noses!! (Boys!)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Happy to leave it behind

Geesh, I can't believe it's Monday again.

Last week was a doozie. Jeremy was away for work for four days and it seemed as though as soon as he left, the craziness really began.

At my doctors appointment on Monday, I was diagnosed with having some early contractions and told to take it really easy - not picking up Levi much, staying off my feet - sure, that's easy while I am solo parenting.

My in-laws were very sweet and moved in for a few days to help out with Levi so I could rest as much as possible and I so appreciated their support - especially when Tuesday at 3am rolled around.

The barking started over the monitor and I realised it was Levi coughing! He had had some minor cold symptoms for a day or two but nothing to write home about. But this was new. He was truly miserable and the cough was diagnosed as croup when we went to the pediatrician later that day. So much for staying off my feet!

The week continued with an important maths test for me that I had to do on campus and that I didn't have a ton of time to study for with everything that went on. I feel blessed by a friend who had come to watch Levi to let me study as well as my in-laws who were also able to give me a break to get some revision under my belt. Still I certainly felt the support and prayers of my community as I sat the test and was able to answer all the questions and ended up with an 89% - not too shabby )

The worry of the contractions, and the anxiety of a sick baby on top of the dreaded math test and weekly homework and especially carrying the weight of all of the above solo, I was exhausted by Wednesday! I swear it was the longest week ever!

Test over, Levi on the mend (slowly) and contractions easing have made the week ahead a much brighter prospect )

Plus, the silver lining of the stressful week was the beautiful weekend. Filled with wedding activities as our dear friends, Josh and Anjie celebrated their marriage. This included and mani/pedi for me as well as lots of girl time and even having my hair done which was SO relaxing and helped me feel pretty for the first time in a long time!! Even though I was not allowed to dance at the reception because of the potential for contractions, it was still a fabulous, beautiful and fun day.

Ok - back to life, Levi just woke up from his nap, but I wanted to record the misery of last week so I can remember how blessed I was by the support of my community and also be reminded that I am stronger than I think!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Friday night (high)lights

While date nights are important for a marriage - and something Jeremy and I have not been good at carving out time for to this point - I confess that family date nights have become a very special part of life.

It's Friday night, and we have got into a habit of getting take out to relieve me of cooking duty. With Levi's early bedtime it can be hard to eat out for dinner, but tonight Jeremy called to say he would be home a little early so we made a plan to go out for dinner as a family. It would delay Levi's bedtime until about 7.30pm, almost an hour after he would usually be down, but he had naped well and if he is eating and in public he generally rises to the occasion.

We headed out to Red Robin, not the healthiest choice but close by, fast service, and somewhere our loud little guy will be more than tolerated :) In was a loud evening, no one even blinked when Levi expressed his excitement over his balloon or squealed with delight when his meal arrived. Nor did anyone give us the stink eye when we left quite the mess under our table - and compared tot he families around us, we were a dream in that department: :)

I was actually pleasantly surprised by the kid meal options available. We are just starting to hit the point where Levi needs his own meal if we eat out. Usually he just has bites from our plates but his growing appetite is starting to leave one of us, usually me, with a hungry tummy. We are also often faced with not wanting to spend money to buy him regular entree, but when the "kids meal" options are mac and cheese, chicken nuggets or pizza it can be a necessity. Honestly, it's no wonder that there is such an issue with childhood obesity in this country when there is no expectation that kids will eat real food and only offer them junk. At Red robin however, there were a lot of options that included pasta and tomato sauce and grilled chicken. You could also pick a side, which could be carrot sticks, steamed broccoli or fruit salad as well as the obligatory fries.

We got Levi the pasta with fruit salad and he chowed down. Pasta is his favourite! He made a glorious mess but our server was so gracious about it.

In a totally hyppocritical move, Jeremy and I had burgers and fries - and we did share a couple with Levi after he pleaded, but he was content with his meal :)

It was a lovely evening, a truly enjoyable time together. Eating out is finally getting less frantic. If Levi is eating, he's happy. And J and I can actually have a conversation as well as engaging our bubs, who is eager to talk and join in the conversation. I'm just drinking in this time of us being a family of three. It's beautiful and sweet and a dream come true. I can't believe this is actually my life. I know it will be an adjustment when our little lady shows up, I'm sure there are many more sweet moments ahead but for now I am drinking it in.

[Sidenote: I read this article this week about how kids are healthier when they eat the same food as their parents, even if they don't eat together. It basically says that when parents make a separate meal for their children, they often resort to unhealthier options like processed or frozen foods. So far, Levi eats what we have for the most part, mostly because I am lazy, and this means I am only cooking one meal and then can reheat for him or for us depending when I cook. Levi eats much earlier than us because he goes to bed so early.]

Monday, October 14, 2013

Kitchen confessions

Something needs to change because each day this is what we are faced with when we try to find anything in our pantry...

I am not brave enough to expose my freezer. But let your minds go to a dark place, because that's what its like.
It used to be so beautiful and organised, but probably since Levi arrived, it has never been the same :)

Fairly quickly I got back into the swing of weekly meal planning/shopping for the week and this helps me to know each day what I am making and lets me be able to set out meat to defrost or chop a bunch of onion at once do divide up for a couple of meals. However, I now make my lists in more of a hurry and (clearly) do not do a good job at eating through our freezer and pantry.

The majority of the groceries we purchase each week are fresh produce and as a side note, I set myself a challenge of not buying more than we can or will eat during the week because I was so tired of having to throw fruit and veggies away or have them molding in the fridge. And I am happy to say that since starting to buy less a few weeks ago there has been next to no throw away so yay me!

So now onto my next shopping challenge...eating through the food we already have and supplementing with fresh produce only as much as possible. This will mean more time for planning - but hopefully less time shopping. I have less energy to be creative but I might have to dust off those skills to make up some dishes.

I have a passion to eat well and to make good food for my family, even more so now we have kiddos. Levi and this little miss have been exposed to a wide variety of foods on the inside (as well as a little Mcdonalds when the craving hit, just to be totally transparent with you all). Levi is pretty adventurous when it comes to food and I like to see him trying new things. I am hopeful this will continue as he grows older too.

I believe it will be easier to create healthy meals if the kitchen is more organised not to mention saving money and not wasting food I have forgotten about.

So I am taking back my kitchen...starting with washing my fridge because again, in attempt to be fully transparent, besides washing out veggie drawers a few times, it's been FOREVER since that's happened.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Dear Levi - 14 months

Dear Levi,

You are a busy boy. It takes you about ten minutes (if that) to pull out every toy you have from the shelves and bins in the living room and spread them around the room...or rooms. I am often finding toys in strange spots around the house and it leaves me wondering when on earth you were playing there?

You middle name, Rhys, means"enthusiasm for life" and with every month that passes, this aspect of your personality shines through more and more. (As a side note, we are searching for a middle name for your sister that means, "sleeps through the night".)

From the time you were just a few months old, I faithfully signed to you the words. "more". "please", "thank you", "help" and "all done". You seemed to start understanding what I was saying, but you never really took to signing back. Until two weeks ago that it, when all of a sudden out of nowhere you became Helen Keller. When you get stuck you pat your chest (help) while you say something that sounds a little like "help". You say "more" all the time and don't understand that it is a request that can still be denied when it comes to treats or snacks - at you are so stinkin' cute when you do it that I have the hardest time helping you learn that lesson, running to get you more of whatever you are asking for with little extra persuasion. Plus, you have picked up a ton of the signs from some books that we borrowed from the library, you especially like to say "apple" which is hilarious because we hardly ever eat apples - you seem to like them more now you can ask for them yourself!

You have started to say "thank you" with your words, and often without prompting when you are given something. It makes me very proud to see your sweet manners developing. I hope we can foster a true heart of thankfulness in you as you grow.

Your agility and motor skills are also developing. At the park, you have mastered climbing up and sliding down the slide and you squeal with delight as you do it. You have also become expert at climbing in and out of your toy car and on and off your little motorbike toy.  You are eager to walk up and especially down the stairs and not crawl. You stepped down the bottom two steps today totally on your own not even holding onto the heart was in my mouth as I watched from higher on the stair case unable to reach you before you took the step off!

You enjoy mimicking the world around you. You have a toy - that's actually a remote control - but you use it like its a cell phone, holding it up to your ear and chatting away. You love to sit on the couch next to me or Daddy and read books or watch the football game :)

Your fascination with the toilet and all things bathroom continues and we have even put toilet locks to deter you in some bathrooms. You can pull out the toilet roll or lift the toilet brush high above your head in just seconds if we turn away.  You have also continued to empty out any cupboards or drawers that are not locked. We were forced to put locks on the cupboard of our hutch where we keep the paper plates because you took delight in throwing them ALL OVER the dining room floor. The first time you tried to open it after we had put the lock on, you turned to me and signed help as you told me "stuck, stuck"! Yes, little man, it's stuck. No longer to be opened by your little fingers!

Now you are officially a one nap a day-er, we have even more time to have adventures - and even less for me to keep up with the housework, but I appreciate your enthusiasm to help with chores, especially laundry :)

Love you so much little man. Hoping those molars come through very soon so we can all start sleeping more soundly at night time.

Happy 14 months - I can't believe how big you are getting!!

Love Mama xx

Signing help

On your phone!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Half way there

I am 20 weeks pregnant, which means our baby girl will be here in less time than I have been pregnant.


Baby girl is moving and kicking, coming alive as I lay down at night - just like her brother did - but so far Jeremy has not been able to feel her. I think the movement feels much stronger when its on the inside of you because I swear that he should be able to feel her! Hopefully soon.
Saturday was the Seattle Families of Multiples sale here, it happens twice a year and I just love it! I am all about the bargains and these sales are primarily how we clothe Levi - we are also blessed to have friends with slightly older boys so we get to borrow hand me downs too. I love to dress Levi in cute outfits but I don't like how expensive outfits at the store can be. I hardly ever buy full price items now. In fact i could probably tell you exactly which of Levi's clothes were not sale or consignment and I can tell you because I fell in love with them and went back and forth in my mind about whether I should or shouldn't do it!

At the sales I have tried to buy ahead for the next size and season. I did such a good job at the spring sale however, Levi is covered for his 18month wardrobe, many of the things he still has to grow in to, so we should be good for a while. However, watch out mamas at the 18-24 month rack at the April sale - I'm bringing my game face) Its getting harder to find good quality pieces in good conditions at the sales for boys, I think it's because boys really wear their clothes as toddlers and not that many survive :) We might have to rely more on trips to Good Will or Value Village in the nicer parts of town in a few more years.

Girls clothes however so not seem to reduce in quantity as the ages get higher. I guess girls have more clothes? However, I am picky even when I buy second hand. I don't buy anything stained or over worn. And I think that Levi is a great poster child for cuteness on a budget.

I can;t wait to have a little girl to dress. It will be something new. Tights and headbands and not just hats as fun extras :) We stocked up on some newborn basics for baby girl at the sale, but I couldn't get much more because I want to meet her and see what she looks like before I stock up. We are again fortunate to have friends who have given and loaned us hand me downs - friends with very similar style to me - so I am thrilled that as we find our feet she will already be well dressed. We did manage to find some outfits and pieces that were not pink or purple; a cute pair of brown flowered cords, and a tan and white striped sweater, a denim belted tunic and a pale green duck print outfit. However, pink rules the school for sure. And I'm ok with that.

It's still so hard to really imagine having another baby in the house.I'm hoping in a few more weeks once we hit the 24 wek marker we will begin to put some plans into action for this little lady, figuring out strollers and second cribs etc. Answering questions such as where she will be sleeping and such :) Our plans to move in the next year are certainly going to be crimping my nesting instincts because we are not planning to set up a nursery here. We will have some sort of dresser or changing unit in Levis room, or possibly ours to house her clothes but the really fun decorating will have to wait :)

Here we are at 20 weeks.


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