Rest in Peace, Rumples.

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It’s a sad day in our house … Topher’s fish, Rumples (aka Rumpelstiltskin Apple Slice Smoothie Cake Nathan) died overnight.  He’s been  a bit “off” for weeks now, so it was no surprise to Nathan and I, but Topher is absolutely devastated.    We’ve been talking about Easter for weeks so his initial reaction when we told him Rumples was dead was “That’s okay!  Jesus rose again!” – implying that Rumples, too, would be able to rise from the dead.  It took a few minutes of explaining – and watching Rumples’ “burial at sea” – but now I think he understands.  “I think I’ll cry forever!” he says.  We’ve been able to take his mind off it with the help of Nathan’s iPhone and a trip to the grocery store (both  of which are fantastic distractions for a three-year-old!) but every so often I’ll hear a little sigh, followed by “I wish my fish wasn’t in the toilet, Mommy.”

Thirteen Months

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At thirteen months, Ellie …

… is walking!

… loves to play with cars, trucks, and buses.  She definitely prefers them to dolls or stuffies!

… says “Gog!” (dog), “Gook!” (book), “Duck”, and “Dada”.

… responds to “GooGoo” (Topher’s nickname for her) instead of “Ellie”.

… climbs onto the couch and Topher’s bed all by herself, and can go up and down stairs.

… sleeps in her crib in Topher’s room 99% of the time.  Some nights, if they won’t settle down after an hour or so of playing with the lights out, we put Ellie in her play pen in our room just so we can all have a little peace and quiet!

… sleeps through the night more often than not, waking up only if she can’t find her soother.

… loves to toss things out of her crib.  Like her soother.  Then cries because she can’t find it.

… crawls/scoots/walks to the door when I say we’re going out and picks up her shoes.  Sometimes she even tries to put them on her feet!

… helps me dress her.  Dressing Topher has always been like trying to wrestle an octopus, so it’s nice to have one child that cooperates!

… cries when Topher cries.  If he’s in the naughty chair, she goes over to him and rubs his back until he’s finished his time-out.

… is starting to play shy a little bit.  She loves Nathan’s parents but if anyone else comes close she buries her face in my shoulder and holds onto me with a death grip.

… loves to play hockey!  She holds the stick in one hand and ootches along the floor on one knee – she’s actually pretty good at getting the ball where she wants it to go!

… still only has six teeth.

… is wearing 12-18 month clothes.

… eats most of what we eat, but can be super picky when she wants to be.  If she doesn’t want what we give her she just chucks it overboard and that’s that.  Chloe is getting fat.

… is in her “big” car seat, still backward facing.

… hates to wear socks.

… loves Chloe more than anything or anyone else.  Her waking hours are typically spent chasing Chloe around the house with a ball in her hand, saying “GOG!  GOG!” or trying to hand feed Chloe her food.

Conversations with Topher

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Topher regularly recites these three truths:  “GOD.IS.LOVE.  GOD. MADE. ME. CAL. GARY. SUCKS.”

We were having some issues with our phone so a couple of guys from Shaw came to try to fix it.  Topher thought they were his new best friends – he was bringing them his artwork from the fridge and showing them all his toys.  I left the room for a minute to put Chloe in her kennel and heard one of the guys burst out laughing.  I told him I didn’t want to know what Topher said but he told me anyway:  “He said ‘That’s my sister, Ellie.  She likes Mommy’s boobies.”  Awkward.

We were getting ready to read books before bed the other night when Topher plopped down beside me and said “Mommy, I feel GLORIOUS.”  “Why’s that, bud?” I asked.  “It’s just because I love you SO MUCH!”  Such a sweetheart …

Nathan trimmed his beard so it was really short.  Topher looked him over really carefully, then said “If you don’t have a beard, you’re not a daddy.  But you’re still really tall.”

Topher loves to play with his doctor’s kit, especially the stethoscope – which he calls the “Throatbacker”.  Yeah, I don’t know either.

“Me and God and Jesus?  We know everything.”

A few days ago I was looking at the Edmonton Humane Society website with Topher.  One of the blurbs about a dog said she was taken there because she wasn’t housetrained, even though she was almost eight years old.  I was grumbling about it (what kind of a reason is that to get rid of a dog?!? Who’s responsible for housetraining?!? Idiots …) and of course Topher wanted an explanation.  I told him the dog’s old family didn’t want her any more because she peed in the house, so she needed to find a new family.   I didn’t think any more of it until this morning, when Ellie peed while I was changing her.  “OH NO!” Topher exclaimed.  “Bad Ellie.  Now we have to get rid of you!”

The only meat Topher will eat is chicken.  I asked him why he likes chicken so much: “Chicken puts love in my heart!” he said.

I bought Topher a new dress shirt for Easter.  He asked why, and I told him it was so he could dress up a little bit for church on Easter Sunday.  “Well, thanks, Mommy,” he said.  “But I think I’ll wear my Darth Vader costume.”

Just Get In

Topher started his second set of swimming lessons on the weekend.    He loves swimming!  He met his teacher and the other kids in his class, and they all lined up to get into the pool.  He was so excited!

But then he froze. And nothing anyone said or did could get him to step into the water. He spent almost the entire lesson sitting on the top step with his feet in the water, watching the other kids in his class.

It was frustrating.   I know his teacher is a good guy,  I know Topher loves to swim, and I know he would have a great time if he would JUST GET IN. 

But he sat there and stubbornly shook his head.  No.  I’m not doing it.  Just NO.

He was afraid and that was that.

And I’ve been thinking – aren’t we all like that sometimes?

I know I am.

Sometimes I feel God leading me in a certain direction and I dig in my heels.  No.  I’m not doing it.  Just NO.   

I feel my reasons are completely valid:  I’m a mom!  I have to take care of the kids!  I can’t disrupt their schedules! 

I’ll do it, God … next time You ask.  

But my reasons are nothing more than excuses.

The truth is, I’m afraid.

I know my Teacher is a good guy, I know He loves me, and I know He will take care of me – so what’s the issue?

JUST GET IN, HOL.

Bedtime Routines

2012, All rights reserved.

When I was working full-time I only saw Topher for three or four hours a day.  The bedtime routine was borne out of guilt.

Here’s how evenings typically go:

We finish eating around 5:30.  I clear off the table, then put Ellie in the tub.  Her bath lasts 15 minutes at the most, then she’s in her jammies and off to play while Topher has his bath.  His bath can last anywhere from 15 minutes to half an hour depending on the day.  Occasionally he asks for a shower, but that’s not exactly quick either since he won’t let me wash his hair in the shower, so he ends up having a long shower followed by a short bath.  Depending on how long that takes, he might have time to play while I give Ellie her bottle and put her to bed.  Her bedtime is 6:45.  Once Ellie is down, Topher gets to watch a bedtime show and have a bedtime snack.  Then it’s time for two books and two songs (though he always begs for more!) – and he’s usually in bed somewhere around 7:30.  He’s in and out of his room for awhile after that, asking for a drink or another song or a hug or a kiss for some random body part that he supposedly injured, but he’s usually quiet – if not asleep – by 8:30.

So his entire bedtime routine takes approximately three hours.

It wasn’t a problem before, but now it’s starting to seem a bit ridiculous.  Especially on the nights I have to work.  Ellie has a bath, a bottle, one song, and she’s out.  I like that about her.  (I mean, even if she is up multiple times during the night, at least she goes to bed well, right?)

Mamas, help me out!  What does your Little’s bedtime routine look like?

 

Topher-Ism

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About three weeks ago I took the kids to the mall.  I had Ellie in the umbrella stroller (it’s the only one that fits on the bus!) but one of the wheels sticks.  I was frustrated with it, so I muttered “fricking wheel!” – under my breath.

Or so I thought.

A few days ago Topher dropped food off his plate at Nathan’s parents’ house and exclaimed “FRICKING WHEEL!”

Then he stubbed his toe on his bed.  “FRICKING WHEEL!”

He slipped in the hallway.  “FRICKING WHEEL!”

I guess it’s better than other curse words he could say …

Enough

A few days ago I had my first meltdown since starting this whole “work at home mom” gig.  Five days in.  Not too shabby.

Monday – well, it was the perfect storm.

  • I was overtired – Ellie was up for the day at 5:40 a.m. despite being up multiple  times throughout the night.  Add to that the fact that Topher was also up during the night and you have one exhausted mama.
  • I was stressed about work.
  • I was overwhelmed with trying to keep up with household chores in addition to juggling work and taking care of the littles.
  • I was worried about money.  Am I making enough?  Am I doing enough?
  • Bikr is back up for sale.  Enough said on that topic …
  • And Nathan’s grandma  had a stroke on Monday.   (She had surgery and is alert and doing reasonably well, but we won’t know more until later in the week once the swelling around her brain has gone down …)

Now that I’m thinking a tiny bit more rationally than I was on Monday evening, I’ve realized something.

I was feeling unappreciated.  Being a mom is hard.  It doesn’t matter if you work at home or outside the home or not at all – IT.IS.HARD.  I’ve been feeling like … well, like I’m giving up so much, making so many sacrifices to make this staying home thing work – and nobody seems to notice.  I’m putting my career on hold, my dreams on the back burner, and walking around like a zombie most days (JUST LEARN HOW TO SLEEP, ELLINORE!) – for what?  Between my work and his church commitments, I see my husband one evening a week – and by that point we’re both so tired that we usually spend it zoning out in front of the TV.  My three-year-old is a terror – I know a big part of it this week is the fact that he’s overtired (two kids in the same room is not working out!) – but spitting on me?  Is that really necessary?

I’ve actually spent some time this week looking for a job, thinking at least then I’d have a break.  I’d have a half an hour for lunch that was MY time.  I could actually get things finished!   I could wear nice clothes and have grown up conversations!  I could go to the bathroom without little hands reaching under the door!

But it’s not about me.

It’s not even about them, really …

It’s about being obedient.

I know I’m where I’m supposed to be, doing what I’m supposed to be doing.

I need to remember that the Lord is my strength.

Not checking things off my to-do list.

Not having a clean house.

Not being the perfect mom or the perfect wife.

I’m not enough – but He is.

Five on Friday

1.  We celebrated Ellie’s first birthday on Wednesday of this week!  Nathan took the day off work and we took the kids swimming.  Ellie loves the water, so she had a blast!  I’ll do a full birthday post next week (after her party on Sunday!), but until then, here are a few pictures:

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2.  Topher somehow got accepted into both of the schools we registered him in, so now it’s decision time!  (I’m already working on a pro/con list a la Rory Gilmore! ) Topher has his heart set on the playschool that’s at an elementary school (because Nathan told him he went there, and because it has a water table and a sand table!) but Nathan wants him to go to the preschool at our church.  I don’t really care one way or the other.  The playschool costs significantly less but I have to do at least one parent helper day/month (so would need to find a babysitter for Ellie), and I’d have to do a couple of toy cleanings or work at a bingo over the course of the school year.  There’s also some fundraising involved, but it’s selling chocolate bars and we all know I’m just going to eat them all anyway, so that won’t be any work at all :)  There aren’t any fundraisers or parent helper days at our church but it’s a lot more expensive – and honestly?  I’d kind of like to meet other moms in the community rather than stay in my little “church mom” bubble!  We have until March 25th to decide!

3.  Today is “Pi Day” (3.14!) so Topher and I are baking pies:  Pecan pie from this recipe, and chocolate chip cookie pie from this recipe!  The funny thing is, I don’t even like pie – I only eat it when I’m pregnant!  Nathan’s going to have an awful lot of eating to do this weekend …

4.  I don’t want to jinx anything, but I think Spring might finally be here!   It’s a wet, muddy mess outside but I’ve been able to get the kids out every single day this week!  Ellie loves going for walks in her stroller – she laughs and kicks her legs the whole time!  Topher just loves being out of the house – it doesn’t matter where we go or what we do, he just wants out!  Last night I let him come with me when I took Chloe for a walk before bedtime and he decided it would be a good idea to walk on top of the snow.  Of course it’s melting so he fell through and got stuck almost up to his waist.  Getting him out was quite the adventure!

5.   Work has been really busy lately.  I’ve been working four out of five evenings during the week as well as at least one weekend day.  I don’t mind, but I miss having free time!  These days the only real “break” I have during the day is during Topher’s hour of Quiet Time – and that’s providing Ellie naps at the same time.  I keep telling myself “This is only for a season …”

One Sleepless Night Too Many …

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Last night was Ellie’s last night in our room.

Since we only have two bedrooms, she’s been bunking with us since she was born – first in a bassinet in the corner of our room, then in a playpen in our walk-in closet.

She’s never been a great sleeper.  She’s slept through the night a handful of times – and by “sleeping through the night” I mean she wakes up crying two or three times but is able to console herself in a reasonable amount of time, so I don’t actually have to get out of bed.

Last night was the worst.  Nathan put her to bed at 7:00 pm like usual, and she woke up crying at 10:30, like usual.  I gave her a bottle and she was content – but as soon as I tried to put her back down in her bed, she started sobbing inconsolably.  I was going to give her a few minutes to see if she would settle on her own (she usually does!) but the lovely man who lives below us started swearing and pounding on the ceiling, so I picked her back up to calm her down.  The joys of condo living … When she was almost asleep, I tried to put her down again, with the same result.  She ended up sleeping between Nathan and I, and by “between”, I mean most of the night she was sleeping horizontally and Nathan and I were practically falling out of bed.  Good times.  She’s not as restless a sleeper as her brother, but she tosses and turns and moans and at one point she even started clapping in her sleep.

I think I might have slept for about 20 minutes in total last night.  It was awful.

So this morning I decided that it’s time to move Ellie into the crib!  Maybe it’s time for her to have a bigger space?  The crib has been set up since she was three months old, and she naps in there when I can come up with something to entertain Topher quietly for an hour or two.  Naps are fine, but when we’ve tried to transition her to the crib at night in the past, she wakes Topher up, since she’s still up a few times during the night.  A tired Topher is a grumpy Topher, and Mama ain’t got no time for that!  So this weekend Topher is going to be sleeping in our bed, Ellie is going to be in the crib in the kids’ room, and Nathan and I will most likely be sleeping on the couch.

The things we do for a good night’s sleep … 

If you have any experience with kids sharing a room – in particular, a one-year-old and a preschooler! – I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to hear from you!  I have no idea how to get Ellie to sleep through the night (Topher spoiled us by sleeping from 7 to 7  consistently from three months!) – and although I don’t mind giving up my bed for a couple of nights, I have no intention of sleeping on the couch long term.

HELP!

A Day in the Life

I love reading “Day in the Life” posts – I’m a snoop, I like knowing how other people spend their time :)  Here’s a play by play of my day yesterday …

6:03 am:  Ellie starts fussing in her bed.  Nathan and I ignore her in the hopes that she will go back to sleep.

6:15 am:  Nathan’s alarm goes off for the first time.  He turns it off.  Ellie’s fussing escalates, since she now knows we’re awake.

6:20 am:  I drag myself out of bed to get Ellie and bring her into bed with us.  She’s still fussy, so I change her diaper, then turn on the light so she can crawl around on the floor while  I get dressed.  I take the dog out, then play with Ellie for a little bit while  Nathan gets ready for work.

6:45 am:  Breakfast time for Ellie.  (She has toast with jam.)

7:15 am:  Nathan leaves for work.

7:20 am:  Topher wakes up.  He’s probably been awake for half an hour but he’s not allowed to come out of his room until the sun on his Gro-Clock wakes up.  He plays with Ellie for a few minutes, then turns on Bubble Guppies.  I unload the dishwasher and put away laundry while he watches his show, then make him breakfast.  (He has cereal.  Clearly I put a lot of effort into making breakfast for my kids.)

8:00 am:  Play time.  Ellie and Topher make a mess in the living room, then head to their room (which Topher calls the “Break Room”) for more of the same.

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Caught in the act of emptying the bookshelf …

8:45 am:  Ellie starts to whine for her bottle.  I change her diaper, get her dressed, then give her a bottle.

9:00 am:  Nap time for Ellie.  While she sleeps, Topher and I do “school” – today we read a Bible story, practiced counting and patterns in our preschool activity  book, and played a game.   I made up a scavenger hunt with riddles he had to solve to find the next clue.  He liked it so much, he asked to do it again before he accepted his “treasure”!  (a mini Mars bar)

9:40 am:  Topher asks for a snack.  I tell him he has to wait until snack time, which is at 10:00 – and besides, he just had a snack!  “It wasn’t a snack, it was a treat, Mommy,” he says.  “I need something healthy now.”

10:00 am:  The online registration for Topher’s preschool is available, so I fill it out and submit it as quickly as I can, hoping he’ll actually get a spot in the time slot we want.   We’ll find out if he gets in within two weeks, though he is already accepted in the school he wants to go to.

10:20 am:  Ellie wakes up, so it’s snack time.  Topher is overjoyed.  They both have peach yogurt.

10:40 am:  Topher asks to watch Diego, so I put a DVD in.  Ellie and I sit on the rug and read books while he watches his show.

11:00 am:  Caillou is on.  I can’t stand Caillou but Topher loves it, so I let him watch it.  I put Ellie in her exersaucer with some cheerios.  Topher sees and asks if he can have some too, so I give him a little bowl.  Chloe goes back and forth between both kids so I don’t have to worry about getting the vacuum out!  I clean the bathrooms while the littles are occupied.

11:25 am:  Play time.  Topher and Ellie play in the Break Room.  Topher built a set of stairs out of his step stool and a toy so Ellie climbs up the stairs onto his bed.  She loves to climb things and has absolutely no fear – I can’t leave her alone for a second!

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Ellie was quite proud of herself for making it onto Topher’s bed.  Topher, not so much!

11:30 am:  Topher has a meltdown because I tell him Ellie can’t play in his bed while I leave the room.

11:33 am:  Topher has a meltdown because Ellie touched his truck.

11:34 am:  Topher hits Ellie with his hockey stick.

11:35 am:  Topher spends three minutes in the naughty chair.

11:38 am:  Play time.  Topher and Ellie play in the Break Room – nicely this time!

11:45 am:  I finally convince Topher to get dressed, then we play “What Time Is It, Mr. Fox?”

12:00 pm:  Lunch time.  We have leftover mush, cheese, and cucumber.

12:30 pm:  Topher plays with his cars in his bed while Ellie chases the dog around the kitchen.  I clean up and start the dishwasher.

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Chloe’s such a good babysitter, sometimes I just put Ellie on the ground and tell her “Go find the dog!” 

12:40 pm:  Topher decides to play “Rescue Guys”, which is where he runs around the house wearing his mittens, asking if anyone needs help.  I  give him chores to do, like throwing a dirty diaper in the garbage or folding a washcloth or something.  Ellie plays with a ball, a balloon, and some fridge magnets.

12:55 pm:  I change Ellie and get her ready for bed.

1:00 pm:  Nap time for Ellie.  Quiet time for Topher.  He usually does quiet time in his room but today he wanted to look at books on the couch so I let him stay out.  I read a couple of books to him, then he uses the books to build a cave for the Darth Vader lego man he stole from Nathan.  I spend some time writing.

1:55 pm:  Work calls to let me know I have to work tonight.  I start this blog post, check Pinterest and twitter, read a few blogs …

2:30 pm:  Quiet time is usually over at 2:00 but Topher was playing well by himself so I let it go a little bit longer today.  Since Ellie was still napping, Topher and I got dressed in our warmest winter clothes and went outside to play on the balcony for a little bit.

2:45 pm:  Ellie wakes up.  I change her diaper, then take the kids downstairs to get the mail.  It’s the highlight of the day when we don’t leave the house!  We live on the second floor but both kids love stairs, so I let them go up and down the stairs for awhile.

3:05 pm:  Snack time.  Topher has chips and hummus, Ellie has a strawberry and a cracker.  Topher watches “My Big, Big Friend” on Treehouse.

3:20 pm:  Play time.  Topher and I play baseball with a pool noodle while Ellie watches, then we play hide and seek while she plays with her bath toys.

4:00 pm:  Time to start making dinner.  I open the tupperware cupboard for Ellie and Topher drives his garbage truck around for awhile, then starts running back and forth, up and down the hallway, and crashing into the wall on purpose.

4:30 pm:  Nathan gets home.  He rings the buzzer downstairs and both kids and the dog go completely nuts.  I read to Ellie and Topher while we wait for dinner to cook.

5:00 pm:  Time to eat!  I made chicken pot pie, which everyone except Topher eats.  He only likes the crust …

5:30 pm:  I’ve worked super late the past few nights, so Nathan takes pity on me and decides to take the kids to his parents’ house for a visit so I can start earlier.

6:00 pm:  I start work.

7:20 pm:  Nathan and the kids get home a little bit later than they were planning to, so I take a break from typing to help get the littles in bed.

7:40 pm:  Back to work.

8:30 pm:  Done work for the night!  YAY!  I do some processing, then put work away for the night.

8:40 pm:  Time for chores.  I wash the dishes and leave them to air dry, because I really don’t feel like doing anything else.

8:50 pm:  Time for Dr. Who!!!  Ellie wakes up screaming about twenty minutes into the episode so I go to console her.  That takes another twenty minutes or so.  Once she’s settled back in bed, Nathan and I finish our show.  Nathan plays Skyrim while I check Facebook.

10:30 pm:  Bedtime!