Friday, December 30, 2011

The Christmas Book

Several years ago, I was given a Christmas themed scrapbooking kit.  I didn't do anything with it immediately, or even for the next few years.  Honestly, it stayed packed in Rubbermaid tubs among our Christmas decorations.  Until this year.
Perhaps it's the pregnancy hormones, or perhaps it was the recent celebration of Tye's second (!) birthday.  It may also have been the time I spent reminiscing about meaningful gifts, like the 12 Days of Christmas photo book my brothers and I made for my parents one year- which is proudly displayed on the coffee table each holiday season for us to flip through and laugh over.  Whatever brought it on, this year, that scrapbooking kit was speaking to me when I opened the green and red Rubbermaid.  
I decided to start a history of our Christmases together as a family.  Each year, we can look at our past Christmases, remember how we celebrated, and then add a few pages of new photos.  

Seriously, Tye was so stinkin' cute, I could look at these all day every day, all season long....
The thought of Tye and her sister sitting around our Christmas book- in a few years as kids excited for the return of Christmas, in many years as young adults reminiscing over years past- makes my heart incredibly happy.  

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Upcycled Christmas Cards

Last year, I saved all the holiday cards we received from friends and family and packed them away with our Christmas decorations.  This year, I cut out pictures from the cards and Tye used them to make her own Christmas cards to send to parents and grandparents.  She and I teamed up to put glue on the paper, and then she applied the pictures along with some snowflake glitter cutouts and star stickers.  She especially loved applying smaller photos of objects she recognized, like deer, candles, bows, and butterflies.
I added greetings on Tye's behalf, she added her signature to most of them, and then we mailed off the cards- each one far more cheerful, spirited, and adorable than the sum of their many parts.  
If you happened to have sent us a card this year, next year, you just may see portions of your card reborn in another post here.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree...

During the Christmas season that we lived in Germany, Tyler and I started a collection of beautiful Christmas ornaments.  It was our Christmas married and there are few places better for buying ornaments than Germany.  Each year when I unpack our ornaments to put on the tree, I'm reminded of that first Christmas we spent together and, even more, I'm reminded to be grateful for the opportunity to celebrate this year with our families.  

This year, I knew our tree probably wouldn't withstand being trimmed by Tye or the jostling of a toddler and a 115 pound dog (especially one chasing the other at high speeds), so we decided to put only non-breakable ornaments on our tree.  We didn't buy anything new, just edited what we normally put on the tree.  The result might be my favorite family tree ever.   

Homemade cinnamon-scented ornaments made last year as Tye watched:
 A collection of straw ornaments that are so common on Scandinavian trees,
 alongside some red felt angel cutout ornaments;
pine cones, to bring a little of the outdoors in;

meaningful but non-fragile ornaments, like the wooden angels from my childhood and this Scandinavian doll from my grandparents;

 Danish hearts, just like the ones we made to hang on the tree growing up;
 and red wooden bead garland handed down to me by my parents.
The result feels like it fits us very well- very nature-inspired and steeped with tradition and family connections that go back even further than our fragile German ornaments.  Next year perhaps we'll be able to hang our collection of German nutcracker ornaments on the tree as well, but this year, Tye has made them her new favorite dolls to play with daily.  Hearing Tye talk to and about her nutcrackers every day is well worth a slightly barer tree.  

Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday Favorite- Kale Chips

I've been making veggie chips using this method for a long time, but Heather Crosby at YumUniverse put together an awesome video tutorial for kale chips.  Check it out here.  The almond flour (you can also use almond meal, available at Trader Joe's) makes the kale chips taste almost breaded and deep fried- they taste completely unhealthy, but are absolutely the opposite.  I've used the same idea to make zucchini and spinach chips in the food dehydrator with great success.  

When Tye was newer to solids, I made sure the chips she ate were really crunchy and crumbly and it was an easy way to incorporate otherwise stringy, chewy leafy greens into her diet.  Now when I pull a batch of kale chips out of the oven, Tye gasps with delight and barely waits for them to cool before stuffing them in her mouth.  They're a salty, delicious snack to feel really good about.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tye the Talker

Remember the recent post about Tyeisms? There have been so many great ones recently, I can't even remember them all.  I need to revert back to my teaching days and keep a scrap of paper and a pen in my pocket at all times so I can jot down notes throughout the day (the problem with that plan is that few of my maternity pants have pockets).  This week, Tye starting imitating me by saying "Thank you soooo much," and "You're very welcome."  She also started quoting some of the Christmas movies we've been watching, like Rudolph when he flies for the first time after Clarice tells him he's cute.  Tye is even better than Rudolph at saying "I'm cuuute, I'm cuuuuuuuute!!!"
Over the past month, Tye's language has exploded.  She uses mostly full sentences to communicate now, stringing together five or six words easily.  When she wants an item, she can describe it to me, like the other night when she was asking for "baba."  Clueless, I asked what she wanted again, so she said very clearly, "Baba.  That baba up there on the top, with the cow," describing a water bottle.  Whoa.  Suddenly, Tye is a chatterbox.
Let me preface this by saying that I have loved every stage of mothering I've met so far, and I've cherished each one's beautiful, unique balance of giving and taking.  This new talking phase, though, is really special.  With her increased vocabulary and newfound ability to hold a real conversation, Tye has become my little buddy.  I have a great time just talking with her during meals, chatting as we walk to the playground, and discussing books as we read.  I appreciate finally understanding what she wants and even sometimes why.  The more Tye talks, the more her personality makes itself evident.
All kids develop new skills at their own pace, and I keep thinking that for us, this language explosion has come at a really convenient time.  When I think about parenting two girls later this winter, knowing that Tye will be able to communicate with me so easily is reassuring.  I'm looking forward to having someone to talk back with me as I nurse a newborn and hearing what Tye has to say about her sister.  The monologue stage of mothering is over for me... at least until the girls enter high school.  

Monday, December 12, 2011

Heart Flopping Mama Trauma

You know that feeling when your stomach turns over on itself, either because you know something bad is coming or because you've just witnessed something horrible?  I've had that way, way to often this weekend.  

We had a great day Saturday with old friends visiting, including a family with a boy a couple months older than Tye.  The two are good friends and love playing together; they spent hours engaged in actual shared play (playing with each other, not just next to each other) by themselves, little adult intervention required.  We adults sat in the living room listening to them cracking themselves up in Tye's room for most of the afternoon.  

Then Tye's friend wanted to play hide and seek, a game he thought was perfect with two bedroom doors right next to each other.  He could quickly move from one to the other and by closing the door, be in a new hiding place.  (Can you see where this is going?)  Of course, no two year old knows how to just close a door- doors are either open or slammed shut.  And Tye wanted to chase him.  So after many near misses and many many requests- even firm ones- to keep the doors open, when I heard a slam followed by a scream, my stomach did one of those flip-flops.  

I walked over to the closed door and could see Tye's finger tips sticking out through the door frame.  Flip-flop.  I opened the door and saw blood on Tye's fingers as I picked her up.  Flip-flop.  Then I saw her finger nail, completely pulled out of the nail bed, hanging by a small thread.  Flip-flop, flip-flop, straight up nausea.  I think I somewhat calmly asked Tyler to come help me as I carried Tye to the bathroom.  Tyler held her finger behind her to avoid her seeing the blood, and I did the only thing I could think of to calm her down- nursed her.  As soon as she latched on, Tye calmed down significantly and Tyler was able to wipe away the blood, apply some colloidal silver, and put a bandage on her finger.  We nursed a bit longer and cuddled for a while after that, giving Tye several doses of homeopathic pain relief.  Once Tye rejoined her friend, we spent the rest of the night trying to figure out how to keep a bandage on such a tiny finger.  

I'm pretty sure the whole event was way more traumatic for me than it was for Tye.  She did have a hard time sleeping that evening because her finger hurt (and after a dose of Children's Tylenol, because her belly hurt), but Tye is pretty excited about her Band-Aid on her finger and she'll have a cool owie to show her friends and family over the holidays.  I, on the other hand, relive that heart-flopping feeling every time I re-bandage Tye's finger.  My heart breaks thinking about the pain my little one suffered.  

All this, and yet I when I take a step back, I realize how minor this injury really is.  Tye will make a full recovery and have no lasting effects (assuming the nail regrows).  We're so fortunate to have a healthy child who has never suffered a major injury.  I'm incredibly grateful that this minor injury- so minor it didn't even require a call to the doctor- is the most traumatic event we've endured.  We are so blessed.  I'm going to pray we keep up our healthy streak, because I don't know how much more heart-flopping I would be able to handle.  

Making the decision to have a child is momentous.  It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.               -Elizabeth Stone 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

ECing and Potty Learning

Tye using the toilet in August
A year ago, I really thought Tye would be out of diapers by the time she was two.  We were having great success with ECing, and Tye seemed to be enjoying the ECing process.  Little did I know, Tye was closer to full-time pottying success then than she would be at 2.  

We have had several weeks during the past year when Tye was in underwear all day, with a wet pair here or there, but eventually, Tye decided she would rather play than sit on the toilet.  And I'm afraid my mistake is that I let her follow those desires, not realizing it wouldn't be just a passing phase.  At two, Tye is in diapers, as most two year olds are.  

What ECing has given us, though, is a huge lead in potty learning.  Tye still poops exclusively on the toilet, no matter where we are when the urge hits her.  Not having to change a toddler's poopy diapers is something I greatly appreciate.  And when Tye regains interest in using the toilet, she still remembers how to go.  The only skills left to learn are identifying the urge to eliminate with enough time to make it to the toilet, and dressing and undressing herself for true bathroom independence.  

I have to admit, diapering Tye (again) and thinking about how close we were to graduating from ECing to wearing underwear can be discouraging, especially with the prospect of diapering two come January.  But then I remind myself: I haven't changed more than 3 poopy diapers since Tye was 3 months old; we have saved immeasurable resources from reducing our number of soiled diapers; and we learned to communicate with Tye and meet her basic needs at a very early age.  I'm absolutely planning to use Elimination Communication with Baby Girl #2.  Whether we have more success or less than we have had with Tye, the journey itself is worth every bit of effort.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Weekend Recap

Thursday night, bringing home the tree:
 Friday night, trimming the tree:

 Saturday night, at Central Park Zoo:

Recovering on Sunday:

Sunday, December 4, 2011

34 Weeks!

Today marks 34 weeks in my pregnancy.  We're officially in the home stretch- just three more weeks until I'm considered full term.  As Tyler, Tye, and I relax around our home today, decorating and cooking and organizing, I'm reminded of a very, very similar day a little over two years ago.  

Also a Sunday, we woke in Bloomington.  I was 33 weeks and 6 days, and I began having contractions every 10 minutes that didn't stop with my normal protocol of laying on the couch and drinking 2 liters of water.  So we drove to Chicago to go the hospital up there, praying the whole way the contractions wouldn't become closer together.  Tyler was pulled over for speeding and ticketed. Then we spent several hours in the obstetrics ER at Rush Memorial Hospital.  Eventually the contractions stopped on their own and we went home, but I was put on bed rest.  There ended my teaching position and began my final preparations for birth.  

Really, the only things similar about that day and today are that they are Sundays and that I'm 34 weeks along.  We're not having any crazy contractions, thankfully (just my normal Braxton Hicks contractions), and Tyler had better not get any tickets.  I do remember feeling quite huge at that point, and feeling a hint of relief that I was put on bed rest.  As hard as it was to leave work and my students early, my body had been having quite a hard time keeping up with my physical requirements at work.  

This past week, I've been feeling a similar sentiment.  I've had to slow my pace walking to and from the playground or else the 3/4 mile round trip with the stroller is exhausting.  I'm taking more breaks throughout the day to sit with my feet up, and one day, I napped as long as Tye did (and it was fabulous).  Yesterday, while Tyler and Tye hung out at home, I went for a much-needed prenatal massage and relished in having my tired body relaxed and rejuvenated.  And this morning, when Tyler offered to let me sleep in for the second time this weekend, I accepted.

I read in one of my pregnancy books that the whole point of the third trimester is to make a woman so miserable that she's willing to do anything necessary, even pushing a bowling ball through her tiny cervix, to get the baby out.  I remember that sometimes as I'm walking the final uphill stretch home from the playground and suddenly realize I still have to lug my tired legs up our front stairs.  But then there are moments I know I'll cherish forever- sitting on the couch videotaping the baby's hiccups jarring my belly; Tyler touching my stomach, feeling an elbow or knee just below the surface, and exclaiming, "Whoa!  I can feel her in the there!";  taking time out to appreciate being pregnant and the miracle growing inside of me.  Just as I was at 34 weeks with Tye, I'm grateful to still be pregnant and for every day that Baby Girl 2 has a safe place within me to continue growing and developing... and hiccuping.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...