Friday, December 27, 2013

Simply Having a Wonderful (but pukey) Christmas Time

Seems I should post the obligatory Christmas entry. But I'm not feeling very festive.

Our week started out a little strangely with Levi having some sort of tummy bug (his first) and us learning to clean up sick in large quantities. Gross. Not quite the festivities we were anticipating as we thought ahead to the events of Christmas week. However, I am very thankful that Jeremy was at home to help with clean up - its certainly a two person job to clear up and take care of a toddler with the stomach flu, or food poising, or whatever it was, because there is no warning! Levi seemed to be on a mission to puke on the carpet in as many rooms as possible. Thankfully we have a friend who has loaned us a carpet shampooer to do some deep cleaning in the worst hit areas and get rid of the lingering odor.

Christmas Eve and Christmas day passed with much joy and delight as we celebrated with family and observed Levi's little face light up with each gift he opened. We had to stagger his presents because we didn't want him to get too overstimulated and he did a great job and was very spoiled and had a thoroughly wonderful time.

Jeremy had lead worship at our church's Christmas eve service and then we headed to the in-laws to spend the night so we could all wake up in the same house Christmas morning - as we packed up the car we realised that this would not be possible or more truthfully not worth the effort for many years to come as we fill the car with presents that will be coming home with us after they are unwrapped, not to mention all the "spend the night stuff" that we cart for one baby - with two it will be ridiculous - and I don't even think we take that much! All that to say, we might have to start having people stay with us on Christmas Eve soon.

Sadly, the festivities have been slightly overshadowed by the stomach virus or whatever it is that has been plaguing the family since. My Sister-in-law was unwell Christmas night and Jeremy got really sick yesterday afternoon, and his Dad was unwell too. His Mom and I have been anticipating the worst and praying for the best in terms of us catching it too. So far so good. I think. I say, "I think" because this afternoon I have started to feel a little off - so I continue to pray that it doesn't turn into anything more substantial, [Sidenote - I have taken full advantage of FB through this season of sick and am beyond thankful fro the prayers and good thoughts that have been offered up on our behalf, not to mention the practical offers of help that continue to be given. We have the best friends and family, I swear]
Just as we thought we were heading towards healing, as Levi was going to bed tonight, he began to throw up again. Over and over. We are all in our third pair of pajamas. Jeremy is feeling well enough to help (again, thank you Jesus!) so he settled him to sleep as I sat on the loo seat, leaning over the tub and using the diaper sprayer to rinse oFf the nastiness from jammies, sleep sacks, a lovey, and our clothes as well as blankets and random other things that had got caught in the crossfire. I was so close to tears, worried for my sweet baby and wanting him to feel well, scared because I haven't been feeling well this afternoon and honestly since this thing started I have been anticipating catching something (I have a total puke phobia) so that's another stresser and just carrying that and this enormous baby girl, as well as being solo on duty the past 24 hour taking care of Levi and Jeremy, I'm exhausted. Totally at the end of myself.

Tonight when I heard Jeremy call me, I knew from his tone of voice that Levi had been sick. I wanted to run away. I wanted to quit. Just for a little while. Of course, I ran (or wobbled) up to help out. It's amazing how sick can be so gross most the time but when your baby holds his arms out for you when he is unwell it just doesn't seem to matter and you scoop them up with no regard for yourself or your own clothes at all :) I should say, for me this is a huge deal because as I mentioned me and puke are mortal enemies. So far, Levi's pukes have still been fairly milk based (TMI?) so it might be a different story in the future.

So here we are. Levi's in bed (Please Jesus be healing his poor little body), first load of many in the washer. I'm sipping water trying to relax and sty hopeful I won't get sick, and Jeremy who is feeling somewhat back to normal, made himself waffles for dinner and is currently using the borrowed carpet cleaner to work on an area from the first time around. Geesh!

Lord, I am not sure what you are teaching me, but I am exhausted and needing a break. Please bring healing to our home. Supernatural healing for Levi, continued healing for Jeremy and continued protection for me. Sustain me please.

I think a tough pill to swallow in this whole thing is that we were so excited to have Jeremy's holiday time off as a family. We didn't have big plans but a few ideas, and we wanted to take the days as they came just enjoying being a family as well as catching up with some dear neglected friends. Having germs, especially nasty ones like this makes that impossible.

So I am trying to find a good attitude. Trying to trust it all to Jesus. And trying to get some rest when I can but so hoping next week will be better!

Here are just a couple of Christmas Day pictures. That wonderful time when no one was feeling sick and we celebrated Jesus coming to earth as a baby. O holy night!

Enjoying Christmas dinner
Trying out his new basketball hoop in his new car slippers!
Loving the train set
Cars work on here too!!

I hope you all had a happy and healthy holiday time!

Friday, December 20, 2013

First snow of the winter (almost)

So technically it's not winter until tomorrow but I think this can count :)

Yesterday I had thought I had heard that it might snow, I had wanted to check the weather before going to bed but it slipped my mind, so this morning when Jeremy got up to get Levi's bottle and eagerly reported that it had snowed I was so excited. A special festive surprise.

We only had about an inch on the ground at the time and although it was still falling it wasn't cold enough for it to stay around for long. It felt like a lot of effort to get Levi ready for snow play - especially since I didn't think wither of us would be up for staying outside for very long, but I knew I would kick myself if I let my own lack of enthusiasm for snow play get in the way of seeing Levi's face when he was out there.

So we found the snow boots (that I am so glad I picked up for a steal at the consignment sale this fall) Put them on over his onesie PJ's and topped it of with his fleece and a waterproof jacket as well as his heavy duty hat. He does have little mittens but they are not his favourite thing in the world and they are woolen so once he touched anything they would be wet anyway so we skipped those. He has grown into the boots at the perfect time and he was really steady on his feet even when the ground was slippery or the snow covered grass was uneven.

It was 8am or a little before and we were having our snow adventure :)

I had wondered if he would be timid because the get-up he was wearing might be uncomfortable or if he was hot or cold but he LOVED every second and kept "running" all over the place. i had to keep grabbing before he headed off our front lawn and onto the street. Everything was covered in snow so you couldn't easily see where the end was - not that I think he would have cared anyway, running away is one of his newest favourite games and its often accompanied by him yelling, "no, no, no, no" his new favourite word :) He is 16 months and he's really good at it :)

So it's now afternoon and the snow has pretty much gone. Now we know how much our little snow bunny loves the white stuff we may have to plan a trip to the mountains this holiday break so we can introduce him to the sled.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Sharing is SO hard to learn!

It is not a shocking revelation that Seattle is a wet place to be for the winter months. While I enjoy aspects the cold and wet winter months; bubbling pots of soup on the stove, snuggling under blankets, dark afternoons - maybe it's weird but I truly enjoy the dullness of the weather this half of the year. I think it really makes me appreciate the beauty of the late spring, summer and early fall here. Its so different then; full of colour and outside activity.

As Levi gets older and busier our house can seem to get very small very quickly. We have a great space, it's not about that, it's more about his energy level.

The cold wet weather makes me want to hunker down, put a Christmas movie on TV and drink some hot chocolate. Sadly, this isn't going to cut it in terms of entertainment for Levi. It is hard to be outside for any length of time because it's cold and often wet. Park equipment is wet and needs to be toweled off before it can be used and little hands get so cold so fast. I try to walk places when I can with Levi snuggled and warm in the stroller and while its good to get me moving and get him some fresh air he doesn't get to run off any of his energy.

We are blessed to live in a city that recognizes this issue and makes lots of spaces available for kids to get exercise during these colder months. The local community centers re open in the mornings, from 9.30 to 11.30 or 12.30. Different gyms are open different days and some of them are busier than others but its such a wonderful thing to have them for Levi to run around. They have tons of toy cars and tricycles, they have pop up tents and tunnels, slides and rockers, balls and small basketball hoops (Levi's current obsession) as well as play kitchens and pretend food. Pretty much catering to little kids of all play preferences :)

We usually head to the play gym about twice a week, trying to hit up two different places. Levi runs around non stop, on and off bikes and cars, bouncing balls, climbing slides and generally having a fabulous time until we come home and he crashes hard for his nap!

More recently, he is finding other kids more of a struggle to get along with. He has always been social but he used to be very easy going, if someone took a toy from him he'd just find something else to play with. If a kid was playing with a toy that he thought looked interesting, he could find something equally as interesting to amuse himself.

Not so much anymore. His recent basket ball obsession means that he likes to play with the basket ball and the small "ooop" to put it in. He likes to hold onto the ball and doesn't appreciate when another child wants to use"his" ball. This morning a little boy older than him had got a hold of the basketball he was coveting and was just walking around with it. Levi kept going up to him and hitting it out of his hands!! The bigger boy did nothing to stop him - I wish he had - but time after time I returned it to the holder and told Levi it was the other boys' turn. Levi changed tactics and ran to the kids hoop pointing out that the boy was supposed to put the ball in the hoop! He was getting more and more infuriated that the boy was just holding the ball!! When it was finally his turn again, (the other kid found something else to walk around holding) Levi ran around like he had won a prize. That part was cute. The stuff beforehand was frustrating.I love that Levi has passion, but I want to teach him to be a good friend. I know sharing and taking turns are difficult things to learn - heaven knows, its still hard for me sometimes, but when I ask Levi in my jolliest voice to throw the ball to another child because its only fair to share and he says"no, no, no" and runs off with it on sits down with a grumpy look on his face, I am at a loss.

Ugh! Hoping that I can be consistent with how I handle these situations and praying for wisdom to guide and shape this little guy.

Have any of you mama s got any tips about how you handled this situation or helped your little ones learn to share? Would love to hear from you!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Traditions, traditions, 'tis the season

Oh, how I love the Advent season!! The build up to Christmas seem to really start once the traditions begin. We are blessed with friends who plan the most lovely events so my lack of party hosting doesn't effect us negatively :)

Having Levi with us certainly makes it more interesting. Coming and going around nap times and making sure that we have enough diapers or food to make sure he has lunch or dinner at the right time as well as the right toys to keep him amused. :) Lots more to think about and keep track of than in previous years I think we started the day with the diaper bag, a food bag and one with entertainment along with the box of ginger cookies I had made for the cookie exchange that was our second port of call.

We started the day with breakfast at the Christmas movie marathon that starts early and goes late. In previous years I have managed almost all the movies but this year, we managed one and a trivia game in between. Levi's little buddy was there too so the two of them made fast work of finding lots to get into while being the cutest of distractions from "The Grinch who stole Christmas" :)

I am not sure that movie watching and 16 month old babies are the best combination but it was fun to see some friends that we haven't got to see in a while - some since last years marathon!
Most people wear PJ's to this event, its fun to snuggle under a blanket for the viewing but this year Levi was the only one of us who did. We were going straight to another event and if I'm honest, my sleep attire this pregnancy is far from festive and not socially appropriate so that sealed the deal!

Then onto The cookie exchange our dear friends Tim and Sarah host, and Levi gets to see another favourite buddy, Henry. They we both so cute in their vests! Perfect for the celebration.  And when it was nap time we headed out with a huge pile of cookie and treat loot! Delicious. As Levi slept, Jeremy and I drank tea, and made a good head way with the treat consumption. 

After the nap we headed back to the movies for Levi to cause a little more chaos and to catch Home Alone 2 (one of my very favourites).

All in all a fabulous and festive day. Christmas is comin' folks, there is no denying it :)

[In his Christmas jammies at the movie marathon]

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Dear Levi - 16 months old

Another month of changes, another month closer to being a big brother and another month growing up and away from being my baby!!

You have started to experiment with two syllable words. You managed "basket" "ball" the other day and "tractor" is another favourite. You mention it every time we go to the grocery store because through the autumn time they have an old tractor our side with the pumpkins and hay bales but it went away with the season change and every time we pull into the car park you start saying "brrrum" bye bye" "tractor" "ut oh", and then for a few hours afterwards and at random times through the day as it crosses your mind! You are really starting to remember things and process life.

I think some of that is why your separation anxiety continues to be an issue. You have been willing and ok to stay in the nursery at church again without tears but with your Daddy travelling so much this autumn I think you have become a little unsettled at home when he is gone. He only has this current trip sweet boy and then its the three of us together for the holiday and on until your sister arrives! (Although you also love that Grandma and Grandpa have been coming to stay while he is gone, they are a very close second to your Daddy).

You have started to want to be on my hip at all times which can be exhausting. I am sure that as my belly grows and as your Daddy and I begin to anticipate the arrival of your sister you are picking up on all the changes happening in your safe place even though you can't express your anxieties in words I think your actions are saying it loud and clear. After some reading up on the subject, I also think your night time waking is to do with your seperation anxiety so we have tried to be more understanding when you cry out :)

You have been sleeping through some of the time and when you are in our bed you have started sleeping later so that is at least a step in the right direction. You don't know it yet, but we might have plans to look more closely at this issue when Daddy is off over the Christmas holidays and we can take turns to nap duringthe day if we ned too from being up with you at night!

You have also started to do this delightful expression when we tell you things like, "lets' go and look at the Christmas lights" or "Let's go and see if there is football on TV" you suck in air and purse your lips together and your eyes get big and bright and you say "oooh". Even when its something really mundane, you seem so excited by the prospect we are presenting! You just make life more enjoyable sweet boy, it's that simple.

You have also become so sweet when you are giving hugs and kisses, you always accompany the gesture with a sigh. When your Daddy travels and we Skype with him you love to kiss the screen or try to throw him the ball you are playing with. You also LOVE to Skype with "Nana" and "Granna" (Grandad) and often point to the "pooter" (laptop computer) and ask for "Nana" so we give them a call and you show them your new tricks and toys.

You continue to consider your socks your nemesis and step out of them in a hot minute. Pretty much every day Daddy comes home to you wearing just one of them!

You have started to play more with your building blocks you love your medical kit and especially taking temperatures with the "beep beep" (thermometer) and listening for heartbeats with the stethoscope. You listen to Mummy's heartbeat and the baby's which is just adorable!

Ok, the more I am writing the more I am thinking I should include, so I am going to stop here. And to think, I thought this would be a tough month to write about. As I read over this, its really no wonder I'm exhausted :)

Big hugs to you bugger boo - onto your seventeenth month of life we go

Love Mama xx

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Day 8 - Wisdom

Levi is napping, he slept so well last night waking up bright and cheerful at 7am (possibly because he had slept so badly the past two nights). This meant that even after playing hard in the nursery at church, including charming the new volunteer as well as giving some love to his faves and looking cute as pie in his festive attire, not to mention a stop at Target on the way home to pick up a copy of our Christmas picture to go in the frame in our hallway, he didn't fall asleep until almost 1pm - an hour and a half later than usual!! He went down fine and truth be told I would love it if his nap moved to this time so it's nice to see what life might be like with a full nights sleep, a descent wake up time, a full morning of play and a great afternoon nap :)

Just made some lunch and am watching the Seahawks vs. the 49ers while I eat before starting some serious revision fro my final tomorrow. Prayers for the math to stay in my brain for at least the next 24 hours would be really appreciated!! Here I come, lines and inequalities to graph - not hiding from em now!

For church I put Levi in a darling and festive ourfit, pieces of which we were loaned by friends and then a red sweater vest I picked up in the Old Navy sales. Perfection.  And wise :) Note that the word of today is WISDOM - It was not the Seahawk outfit that would have been adorned if Daddy had not already left for a business trip when you got dressed :) However, I will make sure that Levi is representing the 12th man when he wakes up. And as Levi's little buddy Jonah says, "Go Hawks!"

I feel as though I have been living my life very much in the shadow of school the past few months. I have thought, "when school is over I will start arranging to have people over again" or, "when school is over I will get back on top of keeping the house in order", when when school is out I will work on Levi's sleep/getting rid of Levi's bottle/reducing Levi's milk intake etc". You get the point. I feel a burden of guilt and a little despair that I haven't found a way to do  life well and still find time to study and get the grade I need - I see people all around me doing it, yet I struggle with a sensation of feeling almost paralyzed with the weight of an overwhelming "to do" list.

So now we are here, in less than 24 hours I will be done for the quarter. And I am looking ahead to how in the world I am going to take my last three classes with not one but two babies to take care of, and how can I make changes to make school more than a burden, and something that doesn't take so much away from my family because honestly, the quarters I have been in school since having Levi have been the driest times in our marriage in pretty much every way. We survive but we have some rebuilding and reconnecting to do once finals are over. I don't want it to be like that in the future.

I originally planned to take just one quarter off to have our baby girl, and bite the bullet to start back in class for Spring quarter...after talking about it with Jeremy I am starting to see that for the sake of myself, and my family, I need to take more time. There is no rush. I have time to get these credits but I cannot get back these early months and years with our children. I can't get a redo as their early understanding of the world forms. I want to enjoy, to be present and to have them grow up in a place of community where they have other adults that they see often and who know and love them. School just got pushed out of my priority list, I starting tomorrow, I will take a whole year off to fully embrace all there is to being a wife and a mum. It's like the best Christmas present and its coming early -  I might not sleep tonight!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Day 4 - Time

I failed to take a picture today - but imagine the scene, Levi in the stroller, me, armfuls of red and white wrapped packages standing in line for AGES in a crowded post office as the afternoon sky began to darken. Click!


In the post office, time can seem to stand still. I had waited until I had all my packages ready to go to England before I took the plunge and stood in the festive line to mail our gifts. I knew it would be cringe-worthy! Mailing things internationally means they have to manually input everything into the computer which takes FOREVER! USPS, there must be a more efficient system?!

Anyway, 40 minutes later and everything is heading on its way across the ocean ready to be put under Christmas trees :) What a lovely feeling to cross that off the list. Now I just have to shop for friends and family here...I need a few days to get over the Post Office experience before I venture to the mall :)

This post is short and sweet but I leave you with a couple of pictures from the maternity shoot that we did this weekend. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Advent in pictures 2013

I saw an idea on FB to take a photo a day through the advent season, the site gave a word for each day to be interpreted through the pictures. Until my class is over I am not sure how on top of this I will be (and honestly, even after that!) but I love the idea off taking time to contemplate the themes of this season and capturing them in my life.

1. GO

2. BOUND (So technically I didn't take this picture, but it is one that shows the word for the day - our little busy guy, ready to be bounding, not wanting to pose for pics! - From the maternity shoot we did with Katy Leet @ katy Leet Photography)


Monday, December 2, 2013

And onto Christmas

I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving. I can't believe the holiday is already over! This year there is no slow descent into Christmas because of the way the way the dates fell we are already into December and the jingle bells can be heard all around.

We put up our tree and decorations on Saturday in time for having friends over for dinner. Levi was fascinated by the tree and especially delighted by the lights. We have sparse decorations hanging this year, partly because our ball obsessed little tyke would not be able to control himself around the baubles and the wire hooks are sharp so we decided not to tempt him. We have some cloth and wooden ornaments hanging, all kid friendly if they somehow find their way into little hands - or mouths!

I love the buzz of anticipation which surrounds this Advent time of year. It seems only fitting as we wait to celebrate the birth of Jesus. I look forward to cookie exchanges and visiting neighbourhood light displays. I hope that in years to come we will develop more traditions that Levi and our baby girl will come to associate with this time of year but for this year, we are going to keep it simple. Levi is not a fan of the cold and he still goes to bed so early that many of the traditions are outside the realm of possibility for this year anyway,

I'm working my way down our Christmas shopping list - thankful for online shopping these days!

I am so close to the end of my class I can almost taste it! I have an online quiz to take tonight, one more piece of homework to hand in a final on campus next Monday! I cannot wait to be done. I feel as though I can regain some of my life. I may have dropped most social activities since the quarter started and look forward to making plans, and seeing friends.

Thismorning we spent a few hours at a great local cafe called Mosaic that has a kids play area with a door so parents can connect while kids play but without having to run off and catch little ones mid sentence :) Well, almost! Levi needed help up the little slide and needed to be rescued from falling off the little train table he insisted on climbing on over and over. He passed out in the car on the way home, and he usually transfers pretty well but he was so out that I even changed his diaper and put on comfy pants for him to sleep in as well as taking off his fleece over his head and he didn't move.

This afternoon - 
We are heading to the grocery store - usually our Monday morning adventure but we postponed to have our playdate. Then tonight, watching the Seahawk game and taking my quiz for school and finalising our Christmas card template.


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