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Archive for November, 2010

“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever we are doing and devote attention to eating.” -Luciano Pavarotti

I was very excited to find this quotation. I was looking for one to add to the front cover of a recipe book I am putting together of our family’s favorite breakfasts and baked goods. Pavarotti’s words seemed to perfectly echo my own sentiment which I’ve held for years: I’m really glad that we are biological beings and have to eat to survive. Given that we have to eat to survive, we might as well enjoy it.

I did add the quotation to the cover of my recipe book. Here is an image of the working cover and title:

From Favorite Food
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Myself and the children left to visit my friend in Anacortes last Saturday. We figured a two day visit would be lovely, especially since James had been in India for nearly two weeks and due back the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. We thought a two day visit and a return home on Monday would be just in time for his return. And then snow hit Washington. Now we have been snowbound in Anacortes since Monday and James is home in Seattle. Thankfully we can Skype but it is just not the same. However if we can’t be with James, Grandma and Granddad, there is nowhere else I’d rather be with the kids than with my friend Pauline.

While Ashley and Caitlin are missing James dreadfully, they are being really understanding about the whole situation. Although we were experiencing cabin fever these last two days, conditions today allowed for us to head out in the snow.

Here is a video of how we started our Thanksgiving day (just click on the image to start the video):

From Videos 2010

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See these peacefully napping boys?

From 11 November 2010
From 11 November 2010

Twenty minutes prior to taking these photos Ethan and Sean were not so peacefully sleeping. We completed our usual naptime routine, Ethan was all snuggledy buggledy in his crib and I had just decided that I needed a short nap to try and give my flagging energy a boost for the rest of the day ahead. I nursed Sean to sleep, set my alarm clock and started to doze off. Then I hear a little chuckle from the crib and knew this was probably not going to be a straight forward nap day. Usually Ethan goes straight to sleep, but sometimes he gets the sillies.

As I lay there with my eyes closed and my back to the crib I heard Ethan stand up and a soother fall to the floor (soother is our word for pacifier or binky as I’ve heard them called here in the States). Uncertain as to whether it was accidental or the start of a game I ignored it. As you can see in the photo he has more than one 🙂

Shortly after the soother fell to the floor I heard his little voice calling “sooda” and “Mum”. Again I ignored it and continued to do so after several more requests for me to rescue his soother. He seemed content, I knew he had more in his crib and so I fell asleep. What turned out to be 25 minutes later (I checked the alarm clock) I awoke to louder pleas for his soother. I turned to him this time and told him it was nap time, to lie back down, and that I wasn’t going to pick the soother up off the floor. Getting the gist of the situation, Ethan began to cry.

Now, I wasn’t unmoved at his tears and pleas. However, this was not the first ocassion of him doing it, nor has he confined this game to daylight hours! I was tired enough that I decided this has to stop. I used to think it amusing to see how he turned the bedroom floor into his personal soother cemetary. Not this time. I did however climb out of bed to check that he wasn’t in an uncomfortable nappy. I wanted to pre-emp any guilt of missing this as a cause of his crying (once bitten…).

When I climbed back into bed Ethan was understandably disappointed. I figure he thought he was getting his soothers back. By this time all six were on the floor. He wailed and wailed and inevitably woke Sean. Now here is the interesting part that prevented all of this from being in any way annoying to my exhausted self. Sean’s cry was like nothing I’ve ever heard from him. He sounded very distressed. At first I thought it was because he was woken from his sleep. I quickly realized that he was crying when Ethan cried and stopping when Ethan stopped. In fact, when Ethan stopped, Sean seemed quite relaxed just lying there awake. As soon as Ethan wailed again Sean would start his intense distressed crying.

Sean already shows signs of being very attached to Ethan. He watches him a lot, usually with an amused expression on his face. When Ethan makes eye contact with him, Sean smiles at him. He always seems to enjoy Ethan’s hugs, even when Ethan lies on top of him and presses his head into his stomach. This sympathy crying was a whole new level of response from Sean.

Once I felt that Ethan got the idea that tossing his soothers out of bed isn’t a game, I got out of bed, tucked him in one final time, gave him his soothers and told him it was time to nap. I climbed back into bed to settle Sean. Ethan fell asleep within minutes and Sean swiftly went back to sleep too. It was fascinating to experience.

Oh, and I do think the soother throwing is amusing. When he calls me or his dad, and even Ashley sometimes to pick them up for him, it’s very endearing. Just don’t tell Ethan I said so!

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Getting the Giggles

I mentioned recently that Sean has found his laugh. We all enjoy hearing his newly arrived giggles. Earlier this week he and Ashley had a little fun together on the floor. Laughter abounded. I took this little video to share the joy 🙂

Just click on the photo and you will be taken to my Picassa account where the video should automatically begin. (Btw, this is the first video I’ve ever added to a blog post. What a nice way to start 😉 )

From Videos 2010

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“Patience is waiting. Not passively waiting. That is laziness. But to keep going when the going is hard and slow – that is patience.” -Unknown

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Small Steps

From Ethan

When Ethan arrived in our family last year I didn’t feel like there was a huge adjustment to make going from being a mother of two to a mother of three. However, it has been a much bigger adjustment becoming a mother of four.

After Ethan was born I still had some space in my day when the girls were at school. With the addition of Sean that space has been filled with caring for the needs of a toddler and an infant and prepping in anticipation of the needs of the girls when they come home from school.

My day is all about logistics. I recently saw logistics defined as is the science of planning and implementing the acquisition and use of the resources necessary to sustain the operation of a system. Well, in this situation the system is a family and there is no way it can be a science when it involves children. There is just way to much unpredictability. Let us say it’s an art and I am nowhere near being a master yet.

Morning time is:
nursing, nappy changes and dressing the boys and myself;
making breakfasts and preparing lunch for James and the girls;
Often I need to nurse Sean again just before we leave and then getting the girls to school. Sometimes I need to change nappies and Sean’s clothing again just as we are about to leave. On those mornings we are lucky to get to school on time.

Activities I try to fit in before 11am naps:
-Ethan’s walk after school drop-off. I don’t often let him walk the whole way. Where I let him out of the stroller en route home is dictated by what I need to get done before the boys have their naps.
-clean up the kitchen after the tornado of breakfast and lunch prep that blew through earlier in the morning (unless I am prevented by my little wild card, or the next two activities);
-grocery shopping;
-doctor appointments-it’s amazing how often you visit the doctor with a larger family that includes a toddler and an infant…and these are just check-ups!,
-laundry-there is always laundry. I try to get a load or two started during the morning so that I can have them dry by the afternoon or evening. When it actually gets folded and put away is up for grabs.

Anywhere from 10:30am until around noon:
-the nap routine-actual process of putting an infant and toddler down for a nap! Ethan usually takes a two hour nap but sometimes it can be 3 or 4 hours right along with Sean. I am so grateful that they nap at the same time.

Every so often (when I feel I cannot function any more) I take a brief nap with the boys. I however do not nap that long. I set my alarm for fear of sleeping through the pick-up time for the girls. And I also have to get things done.

What I usually do during nap time and before school pick-up:
-prep food-oodles of food:
-my lunch
-a snack for Ethan for when he wakes up,
-a snack for the girls for when we pick them up after school,
-that night’s dinner, and
-the next night’s dinner (if something is happening during my prep time the next day).

I do at last see the light at the end of the gastronomical tunnel and maybe I’ll put together a post sometime sharing how I’ve managed this and even enjoyed the process! Thank goodness I love to cook and bake, and still do after these challenging couple of months.

As for other tasks that need to be taken care of, well there is only so much a body can do. Food and laundry are priorities. James helps as much as possible and the weekend is a good time to catch up on chores. I am pleased to report that while the level of tidiness of the house varies greatly, I am less bothered by it than a past self might have been. I keep reminding myself that our family is in transition. Each area of childcare and housekeeping needs to be renegotiated and new steps added as necessary to make it all work. I am making progress. I feel less overwhelmed than I did when I was adjusting to having two children after Caitlin’s birth. I imagine that’s due to experience. At this stage I know what needs to be done, I’m just figuring out how and when to get it done. It will all come together eventually. Small steps, small steps. It will come.

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From Sean

At 3 months old Sean is now a firm presence in our home. His personality is developing and we are starting to get a sense of the person he is becoming. He’s been smiling for about a month and started laughing about three weeks ago. It happened while Sean was in his little baby bath, which I had placed in the larger bath so that he and Ethan could be together. Ethan was happily playing with the water around Sean’s feet. As Ethan splashed the water by Sean’s toes he would follow it up with a little laugh. Suddenly in response to Ethan’s laughter, Sean burst into his first spontaneous belly chuckle. This caused Ethan to laugh again, which in turn brought another chuckle from Sean. This continued back and forth several times to the utter delight of all three of us.

Ethan adores him, his sisters dote on him and he is in great danger of acquiring a nickname. Caitlin has taken to calling him Seany Bawny and every now and then I find myself using it or simply calling him Seany.

Sean is fascinated by his siblings. He loves to watch them as they play around him, whether they are being loud or calm. There have been several mornings recently where I have placed him on a blanket on the floor near me in the kitchen as I prepare breakfast or school lunches. When Sean lies on the floor he becomes a magnetic force drawing his siblings to him, first Ethan and then each of his sisters. I monitor the situation and enjoy watching how they all interact on the floor together. They are developing a bond of four 🙂

Another little name we have for Sean, one that James and I call him, is our little wild card. No matter how well prepared we are for a situation or plan for going somewhere at a certain time, we cannot really plan for the unpredictability inherent in a 3 month old. We never know when a sudden urge to nurse will strike him, or the need to change a blow out nappy might occur, or a change of clothing needed after he spits up.

We’ve used the wild card reference at various times with each of our children. It links with a thought I’ve consistently had since Ashley was born: Life with kids certainly isn’t boring! Exhausting, but not boring. And I wouldn’t want it any other way 🙂

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