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Archive for July, 2010

See!

From July Highlights

Ethan’s maiden voyage in his forward facing carseat (thank you Lindsey for giving this to us). I must admit that I have waited quite a little while to upgrade him because as you can see we have a tight fit in our Honda Accord with the three children in the back seat. I had mistakeningly thought that Ethan’s forward facing car seat would make it even more awkward for the girls to close their seatbelts around their booster seats. In fact the opposite occurred and they now have more room to fasten their belts. Both Ashley and Caitlin are very pleased.

As for Ethan, after The Saga of the Blueberry Poo this morning, his refreshing bath and subsequent nap he was absolutely in awe of his new view. He sat quietly for half of the ride to swim lessons with a look of rapture on his face that I had to turn around and witness at each red light. The other half of the ride was filled with his little “see” as he pointed out each bus, truck or van to his sisters. (I think the only thing to trump Ethan’s obssession with berries at the moment is his love of large vehicles.) Previously Ashley and Caitlin would be the ones uttering the most “sees” as they rode with Ethan, helping him prepare for a vehicle of interest that was coming up. But now thanks to this new seating arrangement Ethan can enjoy traffic heaven every time we get in the car 🙂

From July Highlights

And here he is in action: “See!” as he points with his finger while trying to hold onto his banana.

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If you are at all squeamish about the bodily functions of young children I encourage you to take a moment to enjoy this photo of Ethan as he pauses from playing with his new truck this morning to enjoy a little more of his breakfast smoothie. Then skip the rest of the text below and move on with your day. You will not want to read what happened next. For those of you who have lived through many episodes with little ones, read on and be comforted by the fact that we are not alone when confronted with some of the downright hideous aspects of our job as parents.

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Little Ethan is a berry monster. He has discovered that the best foods in the world end with the word berry. We have been through the strawberries this season, devoured the raspberries and are now right in the middle of blueberry season where he just cannot get enough of these little blue/purple balls of heaven. He squeals with delight when he sees them. I’ve even observed him rub his hands together in glee as he watched me place them into his bowl. His delight in blueberries knows no bounds.

As I wrote this morning, I enjoyed a wonderful blueberry pancake breakfast once Ashley and Ethan were finished with their breakfast. Ethan had devoured his blueberry pancakes, obviously thrilled that here was another way to enjoy this brilliant berry. He played on the floor as I finished my breakfast and I was just finishing my last few drops of tea, when Ethan crawled over to my chair, stood up and snuggled my leg. I was relaxed and content and beginning to wonder when Caitlin would wake up and come down for pancakes that where waiting for her on the counter.

As I stroked Ethans head, I heard Caitlin’s voice behind me utter the most disgusted “ooh” I have heard in some time. Confused I looked behind me and saw her pressed against the hallway wall just at the opening to the kitchen. I followed her gaze down to Ethan’s legs to discover that his blueberries had re-emerged, both on his own leg and the leg of my chair! Ooh indeed! Then I looked across the kitchen floor and to my horror I did see a trail. The Ooh! got worse. Ashley had emerged from her book on hearing Caitlin’s cry of disgust and located other berry droppings dotted around the floor.

To give them credit Caitlin ran to fetch a fresh nappy (diaper), wipes and a clean onesie for Ethan, while Ashley carefully maneuvered around the floor to open all the windows in the kitchen. Then they both fled the kitchen for the fresh air of the front porch faster than I could utter a “thank you girls”.

Then the clean up of Ethan commenced. A preliminary clean up to hold things together until I could get him upstairs to the bath with further extensions of his trail. Carefully holding him onto my hip I dipped down here and there gathering the recently rejected berries from Ethan’s body. I took enough time to ensure that all major deposits were cleared away and the trail was removed. Then I took Ethan up for a bath, which the muchkin adores and which will probably reinforce such bowel movements on some unconscious level if it means that he gets to play in the tub afterwards.

As it was his naptime anyway, I deposited and freshly sanitized Ethan in his crib and went down stairs to start the sanitizing of our fairly large kitchen floor. I made a point of dealing with the area around the kitchen table first so that Caitlin could eat her breakfast and disappear again while I wiped, vacuumed and mopped the floor.

In all I spent the next couple of hours after my delicious breakfast cleaning up. The girls entertained themselves well and even practiced their piano during it all. I finished just as Ethan awoke from his nap, with enough time to give the children a snack before heading off for swim lessons. With our newest little addition five days overdue I had visions during breakfast of allowing the girls to watch a movie this morning while I napped with Ethan. A big sigh for unrealized dreams!

As we left it crossed my mind that all that bending, pushing around the heavy vacuum and wiping back and forth with the mop might actually induce labor. Happily, this thought did not manifest into reality either, because I would have been way too exhausted today to push anything else today after the big cleanup.

The upside, cause this is life with kids and you have to see the upside, is that cleaning and sanitizing the kitchen floor was on my list of nesting activities that I would love to get done before the baby arrives, and while I still have all this superhuman third trimester energy to harness. So I have spent the rest of my busy day glancing at the shining kitchen floor, my little nesting heart content with the gleam as I hide away the 5 pound box of berries at the back of the fridge so Ethan can’t easily see them when the fridge door opens. Now, do I have the strength to deprive him of his berries. I’m not sure…

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From July Highlights

This morning I enjoyed a slow, sweet start to the day. I got up with Ashley and Ethan, while James and Caitlin continued to sleep. Ashley had her usual breakfast of Weetabix, accepted the offer of a smoothie to accompany it but declined pancakes. I wanted to prepare pancakes for Caitlin because she has been less interested in Weetabix or porridge lately and it’s fun to wake up to a favorite breakfast, unrequested, every so often. This morning I remembered to make blueberry pancakes for myself first, because in the past I make pancakes for the children first and usually end up distracted by their needs and forget to add the blueberries for mine. They have to date declined the addition of blueberries to their pancakes. Little Purists :).

Once Ashley had finished her breakfast and Ethan had enjoyed his pancakes and smoothie, they both entertained themselves for quite a while. Ashley curled up with a book on the kitchen sofa and Ethan played with his new truck that Caitlin bought for him at a yard sale this past weekend. I settled down at the table with the wonderful spread you see in the photo above: blueberry pancakes, with an extra pancakes and blueberries, strawberry smoothie and a hot cup of Irish Breakfast tea. As you can see my much cherished mug continues to survive and delight.

It’s rare to have a morning where I can sit down to a breakfast of this caliber, with a book at hand (I’m enjoying The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan right now) and my new iPad offering me the flexibility of catching up on my favorite blogs over breakfast. This morning I had a few days worth of posts from The Frugal Girl to enjoy. My breakfast was delicious, leisurely and a slice of contented solitude in what would turn out to be a very busy morning and rest of the day. Fortunately, my blueberry breakfast was over when the next less appealing slice of my day occurred. But I’ll save that for my next post so that we can all enjoy the memory of the blissful breakfast that I will hold onto with the image above.

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Awaiting Baby

From July Highlights

Day 1 overdue. We certainly didn’t expect him to arrive yesterday, nor do we really expect him any time soon. Ashley and Caitlin both went 8 days over due date and Ethan went 11 days over. So we reckon we’ll be seeing this little one around the end of July or start of August. And so we wait. Patiently. Happily. Knowing that he will eventually be with us, all going well.

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A Request for Baby

Early on Saturday morning, before Ashley was awake and up, Caitlin told me she wanted to talk with the baby and wanted to know if he was awake and could hear her. At the time he was asleep, or at least I hadn’t felt movement for a while. So I told her I would let her know when I felt him moving around. She gave me a summary of what she wanted to tell him and later when I felt him move and informed her he was awake and could hear her, she sat with me on the sofa in our kitchen readying herself to make her request. She lifted my top so she could make skin contact as she rubbed my tummy and spoke to her little brother.

“This is Caitlin, your sister. I really want you to be born on August first so that you can share your birthday month with Ashley.* Ashley, your sister would really like this too. Susan, your mum would really like this and James, your Daddy would like it too. Your brother Ethan would like it too…well he doesn’t really understand, but if he did he would want it too. So please wait until then to be born.”

She then continued to stroke my tummy, snuggling up to me and sucking her thumb. She looked very pleased with her conversation with her newest little brother. She was confident he would at least try!

*A little background: James and Ethan each have their birthdays in April and Caitlin and I have our birthdays in May. Ashley and Caitlin for some time now have called this sharing a birthday month. Even before Ethan was born Ashley felt the wait from May until the end of August for her birthday to be long and difficult. Hence she would love to have the new baby be born in August so that they can share a birthday month. We find that we are all rooting for this, even me despite the extra time in the summer heat and its accompanying discomforts. Given that Ashley and Caitlin each went 8 days over and Ethan went 11 days over, there is a possibility this new little brother could pull it off. With the due date on July 21st, 11 days over would get us to August 1st and that would do it. While we are all excited for him to come whenever he comes and realize he might be a July baby, we all understand it’s fine to hope and even make direct requests 🙂

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I’m nearing the end of the pregnancy. There are only 12 more days to go before this little baby's due date, with a possible week and a half of overtime as my pregnancies tend to run late. I’m a little sad that this will be my last…not my last child, but my last third trimester. I love the third trimester of pregnancy. I have so much energy and drive to get things done. Projects merely in mind get started and completed. Projects stalled or on hold get a new lease of life and are worked on until checked of the list of things to do. New projects are formulated and brought to life that will help keep life with a growing family more organized and efficient. Oh, it is so satisfying.

As the end approaches, there is a certain obsessive compulsiveness that seems to set in with the awareness that this nesting energy is coming to an end. After the baby arrives, less will get done in terms of projects and organizing and I will then be relying on what I accomplished in the third trimester to get me through the first few exhausting months with a newborn plus siblings.

Looking back over the last number of months I derive a thrill from one particular project: organizing my baking cupboard. When we moved into this house last August I knew I wanted to have one cupboard for all my baking ingredients and I wanted it right at the heart of the kitchen above the center of the kitchen counter. Baking pans and accessories are stored beneath the counter in this central spot.

The cupboard with all the ingredients was organized but a little cumbersome because everything was just on the shelves and I had to move lots of items around to access other items. I needed containers. When it comes to containers and storage the Japanese are a great source of functional ideas. After a little thought and planning I turned to Daiso, the Japanese equivalent of a dollar store. There are a few of these stores in Seattle, one of which is conveniently located near James’s office in the International District. Once I settled on what I wanted, James became my personal shopper returning home in the evening with treasures to delight my organizing little heart to no end. I categorized ingredients, assigned them to containers and shelves, and then created little labels for each box and container to make it easier to access anything I might need.

Sadly, I did not take a before photo, but here are the results of my nesting frenzy in the baking cupboard:

A Thing of Beauty

My Baking Cupboard: A Thing of Beauty

Beauty in the Details 1

I used a table in Word to make labels for the individual boxes. I printed the table on card stock, cut the table up into square labels and used a hole punch to attach the label to the boxes with white embroidery floss. 

Beauty in the Details 2

Some containers are organized as clusters of similar ingredients and some hold packets of pre-prepped dry ingredients for some of our family's favorite recipes.

Beauty in the Details 3

I borrowed a friend’s Brother label machine to complete the labeling on the lidded containers of dry ingredients. This was a project that I had started a couple of years ago. When I started baking bread this year I added some new containers of dry ingredients for the bread making and those containers just looked positively naked to my eye without their labels. The cornmeal container was one of these poor newbies but as you can see has been accepted into the fold with the addition of its new label.

I have to say, it is hard to keep the kitchen as consistently tidy as I would like with our growing, bustling family. Whenever I feel frustrated with not staying on top of it all I merely open my cupboard, take a breath and know that there are pockets of bliss amongst the chaos. Calm is restored to my order seeking brain and I remind myself that some day my house will be very tidy and I will then sadly be missing the children who are children no more…maybe 🙂

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