Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Cool Mom Picks

Our super cool Flipside Hats have been chosen as a Cool Mom Picks!! They are even having a contest to win two of them! Hint: the answer is on our About Us Page.
Cool Mom Picks
Check out their site, and woohoo Flipside hats!!

We Did It!

We did it! Baby O. is HERE!! He was born on Tuesday the 23rd at 7:52 in the morning - Just 45 minutes after checking into the hospital! This one went fast, and we were lucky enough to have a great support team at the hospital who helped us deliver completely naturally! just as I was beginning to think I might be pregnant for the rest of my life.....

Isn't it amazing how you can be SO in love with such a tiny little thing that you've only just met?

His big brother and sister are head over heels for him, of course. Henry was telling the nurses to "stop touching him! you are making him CRY!" It was too cute.

I'm staying here at the hospital until they kick me out. I adore my time in the hospital where I can nap all day and just stare at this perfect little human being!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Oh Happy Day!

Oh! My life just got BETTER! I found this blog yesterday and it was like sinking into one of the giant bags of candy my brother and I used to get every once in a BLUE moon (my mother being of the wheat bread, no sugar cereal, no candy persuasion when I was a kid).

Cybele May blogs about C.A.N.D.Y!!! Gummi candy, chocolate candy, sour candy, licorice candy, marshmallow candy - EVERYTHING is covered. She has a very organized scoring system and reviews every candy in great detail from the packaging, to the smell, to the texture, to the overall pleasure of the experience. I could get lost in this blog, and maybe never come back. I've decided she should be crowned Queen of all Confection. Queen of all Sweet? Didn't Michael Jackson coin himself "King of Pop" and then Howard Stern followed with "King of all Media"? I think if they can label THEMSELVES, I certainly can refer to a MUCH more deserving woman with such a title.

Do you really need another way to find MORE candy you ask? What happened to the "once the baby comes, I'm done gorging myself on candy and losing this baby weight" you ask?? WELL, now I can swim in her lovely descriptions and pick the PERFECT something to reward myself with as the pounds melt away. Yes, I'm holding on to the belief that these pounds are going to MELT AWAY.

FIRST, though, I need to find a couple of choice pieces from Mrs. May's list, enjoy them to the fullest, and then evict this baby!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

An Architect's Kid

Here's what happens when you ask your dad to make a house, and your dad is an architect. I was listening to them working on it, and hearing Henry say it needed a fence, and those "pipes" -the downspouts, and imagining this house in my head, and THIS is what they created! so cool. Henry actually made an airplane to park in the driveway. Maybe he'll be like John Travolta when he is older?? Right now he says he wants to be an archaeologist when he grows up, and Indiana Jones during the summers. Sounds pretty great to me.

1 Day and Counting

I am due tomorrow. My son came 3 days before his due date - my daughter 1 day before her due date. WHERE IS MY BABY?! He seems to be happily hunkered down in there - no rush to head anywhere. I know I was telling him to hold on until we got everything done that we needed to, but NOW we are done. So where is he?

I am SO looking forward to the couple of days in the hospital! My hospital is like a little hotel, and I adore being there. My baby blues with both children were centered around wishing I could be back at the hospital with everyone taking care of me, and me being able to sleep when the babies slept.

For some reason my usual schedule of dishes, laundry, cooking, WORK, keeping the house clean, etc. are completely and totally exhausting today, and I want to go in to labor so I can take a break in the hospital!

Pretty sad when my idea of a vacation is labor and delivery in a hospital, NO??

Monday, September 15, 2008

Willy Nilly ADHD "Diagnosis"

Thinking about my son doing so well in kindergarten got me all excited again thinking about his first preschool experience. Let me start by explaining Henry a little. He is not like any child I've ever met before. He's never met a stranger, and can talk to ANYone. He has the most amazing ideas and usually thinks he is right, no matter who he is talking to. This morning on the way in to school he was arguing with me about the spelling of a word. The kid can't READ. He is incredibly stubborn, and usually thinks he knows how to run whatEVER show is happening around him better than whoever is in charge. Does this make him an easy student to have in school? Absolutely not. Does that make him have ADHD?? NO.

Here's what happened. My son started preschool at 3 years old - turned 4 the next month - and was an excited, rambunctious little boy who couldn't WAIT to meet all these great new friends and learn great new things. Everything started off great, until I started getting held after for "discussions" about him. He wasn't interested in the art area. He only wanted to play in the area with the blocks, but he wanted to build his "contraptions" (which he first called "confections" - loved that) with a little bit of everything from all of the different areas in the school. Henry usually has a little posse of kids around him, so when he would build a contraption, everyone would start to get in on it, and soon it was out of control and too big to handle. Was a teacher there BEFORE it got too big? A parent helper? No, of course not. No one would pay any attention to these kids until the tower toppled over, or another little person would try to take away some of the pieces of it crying "you can't have ALL the (fill in the blank)!!!" Then Henry would get in "trouble" - alone of course - because if you take down the leader, you crush the whole army.
The teacher was worried that he had ADHD because she had just taken a seminar and Henry showed MANY of the signs of the disorder. Here are the typical signs of ADHD:

  • Often does not give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities.
  • Often has trouble keeping attention on tasks or play activities.
  • Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.
  • Often does not follow instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions).
  • Often has trouble organizing activities.
  • Often avoids, dislikes, or doesn't want to do things that take a lot of mental effort for a long period of time (such as schoolwork or homework).
  • Often loses things needed for tasks and activities (e.g. toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools).
  • Is often easily distracted.
  • Is often forgetful in daily activities.

Now let's remember that we are talking about a barely 4 year old little boy here. Does spending 1/2 hour building the perfect tower sound like someone who has trouble organizing or focusing?? Was he focusing on what the teacher wanted him to focus on? NO. I went sobbing to his pediatrician, and she said "every child his age would test positive for ADHD! He does. not. have. it." The other "symptom" that is very common with this disorder is aggression, or inability to control one's emotions. This is absolutely out of Henry's scope. he's never hit in anger ONCE. Not one time in almost 6 years. Even when his little sister is driving him crazy, he has never hit her.

We didn't finish out the year at this school, needless to say, nor did I get Henry in counseling or, God forbid on medication, for his "disorder". There were a few larger incidents that happened that helped us make our decision that he would be better off at home than with this sort of labeling on him every day. We didn't want him to associate school with getting in trouble all the time. When I was explaining this to his teacher over the phone, she said, "Marne, what is he going to do when he is in kindergarten, and has to sit at his desk with 35 other kids and listen to his teacher all day??!" Very upset by now, I just answered, "well I hope he isn't IN that situation!"

I knew so little at the time. Henry was my first child; my first experience with any kind of school that I wasn't enrolled in. I had trouble telling the teacher what was best for my child because I felt like she was the expert, not me. Boy was I WRONG. We are our kids best and only advocates!

It just makes me laugh now when I listen to Henry's kindergarten teacher talk about their curriculum. They don't do anything focused for more than EIGHT MINUTES. Because kindergartners can't focus longer than that. There are not 35 kids sitting in desks facing the front from 8:30 to 3:00 every day. All of those years of worrying were just a waste of time! Does Henry still talk out in class because he is so excited? Probably. Does he want to run the class? Probably. Is he learning how to read? YES! Does he adore his teacher and tell us everything she has said all day? YES!! Is she in complete control of her classroom? YES.

Boppy Cover is here!

I received my darling boppy cover in the mail a few days ago, and the sweet woman who made it included a really great looking bib and Congratulations card! Thank you so much! I love the boppy cover! I thought as I was putting it on that there was NO way that giant pillow would fit into that tiny cover, but it fits perfectly. And no more silly bright red boppy with giant alphabet letters all over it. I can nurse in STYLE. Be sure to check out her etsy store - if only she lived in the Northwest we would ask her to carry her lovely things on Cat in an Apron!

School Starts = Emotional Wreck

Today I am 5 days from my due date. 5 days and counting... FIVE more days...
My other kids came a few days early, so I've been sort of thinking I'll go into labor on Wednesday, but REALLY, I could have 2 more weeks, right? Let's not think about that.
We've been so busy trying to get this house in order and we have been saying "NOT YET" for so long, it is strange to say "okay. I'm ready. Any time now..." !!
My son's kindergarten teacher, and my daughter's preschool teacher both told us to be prepared for all of the emotional turmoil our kids would experience these past two weeks - that they would be SO busy during the day and trying so hard to keep everything under control, that when they came home we should really expect the worst! My kids? Happy as larks. ME? Crying just about every single day. I can blame a bit of it on the preggo hormones, but holy cow was everything overwhelming! Not only did I have BUCKETS of paper work to fill out for them both, new schedules to adhere to - times to remember, backpacks to be packed every morning, etc. etc., but my baby boy is at school EVERY SINGLE DAY! And he hasn't even looked back! He is so happy at school, and so proud of himself. And of course I'm completely proud of him as well, but not even one "I missed you today, mama" has escaped his lips. The closest he's come to this is asking if he really had to go to school "every SINGLE day?!" And when I confirmed this, he said "for how long, like, 2 years??" After that sunk in a little, he said "I'd really like to stay home and play with my Lego's some days!" He's actually been making his good byes further and further from the door of his classroom every day. He is in his SECOND week of KINDERGARTEN. He actually asked if he could say good bye on the playground and just head into school on his own last week. what???
The worst part is that my sweet funny happy daughter is NOT liking her first days of preschool. I've left her twice screaming and reaching for me. I usually make it to the car before I break down sobbing.
I thought it was difficult being the mom of the most social guy in the class, fielding the crappy "class clown" comments, and being held after EVERY SINGLE CLASS my son has ever taken (except kindergarten - YES!) to hear about how he has trouble listening in class. I'll tell you it is VERY much harder pulling up to my daughter's school to see her playing ALONE in the play area outside. She was extremely shy when she was younger - my friends would say they knew she could talk because they heard her in the background when they talked to me on the phone, but she would never speak in front of them. We have made HUGE headway since she turned 3 in April. The idea of her gorgeous bright personality being locked inside and her just getting through the morning at school absolutely breaks my heart. She has grown up with her ice breaking brother leading the way and her following happily behind him. Now there is no Mr. H. to meet people so she can play with them. Before bed the other night as we finished up reading books and she was snuggling down to sleep, she bolted upright and said, "I know KATIE!!! THAT'S a friend!!" ugh. Like she only has that one friend at school, and she was celebrating in her own little way. Twist the fork deeper. I'm sure she will get used to it all, and make tons of friends eventually, but ugh.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Schedule of the School Age

How could I have never even known when school started?? Suddenly my entire life is revolving around the first week of September; 8:20 - 3:00! Just last year I was driving along, completely oblivious to the this monumental shift in people's lives. Every so often I would get stuck in a long line of cars only to realize it was a school crossing and then surmise school had started. My son was in preschool, but somehow the gravitational pull wasn't quite as strong as when a kid starts kindergarten. Maybe it is the EVERY single day thing. When being held to a schedule a couple of days a week didn't really affect our lives as this does. I wonder, now, how can anyone not know that SCHOOL has started, and that we are all in the swing of things!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Raspberries for Christmas!!

I grew up in Alaska, and would visit my grandparents in Eastern Washington in the summer. My grandparents had this AMAZING garden that just knocked my socks off. As I remember, we grew rhubarb and chives. I think those were about the only edible things that came out of the ground in Valdez... To see the climbing walls of sweet peas, or pick big fat orange carrots out of the ground, or spend the afternoon in the strawberry patches was just heaven. There seems to be a gene in my family - that green thumb gene - that has inexplicably SKIPPED me. My grandparents had it, my mom has it, my brother had it. ME? Thanks to the Portland climate and my husband, things outside don't DIE, but they don't exactly thrive like they did under the guidance of my family members. The smell of that fresh dirt on the carrots will stay with me forever. I'm not sure if it was my mom or my grandfather, but someone always made a great special event out of bringing in this bounty. One such event was carrot people made from the carrots and toothpicks - stubby little guys with nice fat thighs, one was allowing us to choose what we would do with the buckets of raspberries we'd picked. I think my brother made jam. I sat down and ate a bowl of fresh berries with cream and sugar. EVERY time I eat a fresh raspberry that creamy sweet memory floods my senses.

This weekend the Hollywood Farmer's Market had GORGEOUS fresh raspberries, and i couldn't resist. The smell of fresh raspberries is just intoxicating, and I think opening a bottle of raspberry liqueur in the middle of winter to that smell will be wonderful! Making flavored vodkas or liqueurs or cordials takes a good 3 to 4 months, so this is perfect for the taste as well as getting it done before the baby makes his appearance and our lives are turned upside down again. We've made some great infused vodkas and liqueurs over the years, from a great recipe from the middle ages for a spiced liqueur to cranberry orange, to plum, and they are all about the same process: fruit, vodka and sugar or no sugar. I was looking for a good recipe for these berries, and found two versions - one that will sit for three months WITH the sugar, and one that will just infuse the vodka for 3 months and add a simple syrup after 3 months. We'll see which one turns out the best.

raspberry liqueur with sugar - This is from the blog of a lovely woman living the dream life in the English countryside - I can't get enough.

This is an example of adding sugar at the end - this one used lemon zest and glycerin - I didn't.

We also increased the quantities HUGELY. Hopefully we'll have enough for Christmas presents for all - SURPRISE!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Talk Like a Pirate Day

Baby O is due on InterNational Talk Like a Pirate DAY!!! This is very fitting as we have two pirates in the house already, and have been looking forward to the Portland Pirate Festival all YEAR! The day was instituted in 1995 by two local Oregonians. LOVE IT. A good friend of ours used to say he was going to list on his resume that he spoke fluent "Pirish", followed by a litany of answers to typical interview questions spoken with a squinted eye and followed with "ARRRRR". He is an architecture professor now, and I sure hope he is teaching his egomaniac architecture students (they just all are) to have some fun in life!

Here is the Pirate festival information for Portland this year. It is really a great time! There are tons of re-enactments, booths from which to buy EVERYTHING piratey, gigantic blow up slides for the kids, face painting, parrot shows, and much, much, more.
Here are our pirates an entire YEAR ago. How does time fly so fast?!

The Countdown Begins

18 days and COUNTING!!! 18 days. That is NOTHING, right? I mean, 18 days FLIES past when I have a deadline, or a BABY IS COMING. So why does this seem like the longest pregnancy in history? I've been through THREE seasons with this child inside of me! I really shouldn't be so impatient - my TO DO list is miles long!

Here's what I had prepared when Mr. H (the first baby) was making his appearance:
  • an entirely redecorated nursery with wall hangings, new shelves with all new toys arranged just so.
  • a closet and dresser full of brand new sparkling clean clothes arranged by size and outfit
  • a diaper changing table with every ointment, cream, cleaner, etc. known to man arranged in the top drawer next to the perfectly stacked diapers.
  • The brand new crib and crib set made by hand by a dear friend all set up, including a white noise machine attached to the side and a "weed whacker" mobile hanging artfully above.
  • All of his brand new blankets washed and pressed and hanging in various places around the house in case one was needed.
  • Every outlet hole plugged with those damn little clear plastic covers that rip your fingernails to the quick every time you have to vacuum.
  • you get the picture.
Here's what I have prepared for Baby O (baby number THREE):
  • a half of a pack of diapers left over from Miss Mae in a box somewhere in the framed and visqueened laundry room downstairs,
  • a dresser full of clean hand-me-downs from Mr. H. IN Mr. H's room.

Yeah - that is it. We are finishing the construction of our basement, and the only room that wasn't covered in 2 inches of sheet rock dust is the laundry room. It is filled to the ceiling with plastic bins and sealed boxes. Inside these boxes are EVERYTHING for Baby O who is threatening to make his appearance any day, including his bedding for the moses basket he'll be sleeping in next to our bed, his swing, his chair, etc. etc. We of course can't get ANY of this out until the rest of the basement is finished which is what we have been working on for the last 4 days straight. Okay, i started helping yesterday with painting - my husband has been downstairs every night and weekend for the last 6 months.

Here's what we have to do before this kiddo decides he is done with sleeping near us, most of which I'd like to have done before he COMES:

  • Bunk bed purchased, painted, and set up in Mr. H's room so Miss Mae can move in with him, and Baby O can have his own room (waking up all hours of the night and everything)
  • Crib retrieved from where ever it has found itself during the construction, washed and put together in the 'nursery' - new mattress purchased (have you heard the theory that old mattresses can cause SIDS because of mold spores from previous children's spit up?? Scared me enough to get a new one...)
  • Bedding found and thrown at the crib.
  • Basement finished!
  • Entire office set up and moved from main floor to new office downstairs.
  • Miss Mae's bed moved downstairs to basement...
  • Prepare for natural child birth.

No stress, right?

Monday, September 1, 2008

Boppy Cover Reality

After perusing the lovely fabrics at my local fabric store that evening, figuring out how much it would cost me to make my own and factoring my time in.... I decided to buy this lovely one off of etsy!! The fabric is beautiful, I love the contrast for Baby O to check out, and it is DONE and in the mail. GIANT sigh of relief. Maybe when I have a little more time, I'll try to make one of my own. She has some other really great products she makes, too, check out her store.

Instead, I have to prepare my son and his list of 10,000 things for his very first day of kindergarten tomorrow, get my daughters everything ready for her first day of preschool the NEXT day, finish painting the basement so this new child will actually have BEDDING to sleep in, and try not to go into labor.

I am completely not prepared for ANYTHING at this point. Everything Baby O will be using including the aforementioned bedding is in plastic tubs, unwashed, in our visqueened laundry room in the basement. We are going to try to get the basement painted tonight and this week so we can actually pull everything out of the laundry room and go through it. I have clothes washed for the little guy, and half of a box of diapers left over from my daughter and that is IT! I guess when number three comes along things are a little more relaxed??