Thursday, May 20, 2010

Nap Hell

Just what everyone wants to read about: naps.

Here is a dark secret our family has had: Seren used pacifiers until age 4! :)

Check it: Newbie parents visit preemie daughter in NICU and boast, "We are not interested in using pacifiers for our daughter. We would really like the staff to not use them."

Fast Forward 16 months: Seren is weaned off the night time use of pacis for fear that she would get used to them or that her teeth would be wonky. No pacis at night. The transition isn't too painful. A week of crying herself to sleep and problem solved. Except for nap. She used them daily every day for nap. And sleeps every day for nap. No skipped naps. (The exception being one week when we bring Wyeth home from the hospital). The child needed 2 solid hours. She slept from 2-4pm every day. We think, "If we give up the paci, we may give up the nap."

Fast forward to April 2010; Seren STILL uses the paci. She starts skipping one nap a week. And we pay for it with an exhausted Seren the day she doesn't nap. She overcompenates the following day by sleeping three hours. Sam and I start talking it up that when she is FOUR there will be no more pacificers. She isn't worried at all. We talk this up for about 6 weeks.

The morning she turned four, at 7:30am she said, "Today I give 'em up!" She gathered each and everyone up and mailed them before we had breakfast. Gone. Done. Yeah! (she hasn't even mentioned them and I can't believe WE held on to them for that long).

But ya know what? We haven't had a consistent nap since.

It is hell. LOL! Since May 4th she takes two naps a week. The first is on Sunday when she just CRASHES after the week. The second nap is at Heathers' house (our friend who watches the kids on Monday afternoon.)

That is it.

She went from 6 or 7 naps a week to 2 and it has been PITA every since. The days she does nap, she doesn't sleep until 9 pm. But most days, she is just EXHAUSTED. And hyper. And moody. And quick to tears. Which makes me exhausted and moody and quick to tears.

We have tried to put her to bed earlier but are having trouble cutting corners to make it happen. Last night she was in her bed by 8 and out by 8:15. Which is better. But she just isn't like herself at all! We have timeouts at dinner, timeouts during bath, yelling, crying...honestly 'home' isn't that fun the last three weeks during the evenings! And it isn't like she is 'sleeping in'! The first week, she did. She would sleep until 7. Now she is back up at 6 or 6:20.

Ideas? How long will this last nap transition will take? We have to get her to bed earlier but it is hard. Maybe more 'standing tubbies' instead of sit down/splash fests.

Good grief. I know it is just a bump in the road and this too will pass but when I work all day, I'd like the nights to be ya know, at least a LITTLE fun. It is like herding grumpy cats through the motions and I'm not a fan.

Thank you for reading. This vent is now complete.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Best Age

Wyeth is 17 months old. And I have determined that this is one of the best ages! I get such a kick just watching him explore the world. Ants are amazing. Grass should be studied. And running and jumping is all the rage! I love it!

He has started to talk more in the last 3 weeks. New words now. Finally! He has sounds for animals and can say 'hot' for hot food. He tries many more words. But he still stands by his favorites, "Uh-oh" and when he is really excited about something new "ooooo"!

But mostly he moves. He moves a lot. He is also a snuggle-saurus! Wow! That child can HUG and hug for a long, long time. It seriously is pure joy for this momma. I fall in love with him each day a little bit more.

He has strong opinions on things and last week learned the power of 'no'. He says "nah" but he means "no". In just a few more months, I'm sure that is all we will hear. But for now, he mostly runs around, smiles a ton, hugs and grunts. It is one of the best ages. No negotiating. No asking "but WHY!?" There is daily frustration about not being able to communicate exactly what he wants but mostly, he is excited by all things new.

And he LOVES his sister. Seren is who he wants to see when he first gets up. And whose hand he prefers to hold. He kinda likes holding my hand or Sam's hand but Seren's hand is the best!

Sam took the kids to see some elephants two weeks ago. They were to get off the train in Trenton and make their way to the arena where they would perform in the Ringling Brothers Circus. It was a LONG wait for the kids as the elephants were delayed. But Sam said Wyeth just went NUTS with excitement when the elephants finally arrived.

Life is simple when you are 17 months. Life is good. I like that attitude!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Holy Fourth Birthday

Saturday was Seren's fourth birthday party! WOW! Did we have FUN! It was awesome!! We spent much of the week preparing for the event and it worth every minute of it!

The plan was to have the party at a local park. This was going to rock as long as it was sunny out. I had a back up plan but it wasn't needed: we got SUN! It was a lovely day. Windy but absolutely lovely.

We had a total of 16 kids (11 3/4 year olds and five babies/toddlers). We anticipated an additional 20 adults.

In all previous birthdays, we simply celebrated at home with family and close friends. So this was our first 'real' party with lots of people and we needed to do it on a budget. But we did it! I couldn't have asked for a better day.

The kids arrived around 11 and we had them all write thier name on an animal cut out of construction paper. They had a choice from many animals (cut by us). Then they were to play. I took the animals and stapled them on treatbags. The treatbags were filled with little baggies of pretzels, raisins, and dried fruit. They were then all placed in a 'treasure box'.

Once most of the kids arrived, we started painting birdhouses. I made little 'smocks' out of garbage bags and everyone got REALLY into painting! My god we had serious painters! Glitter glue came out and all of the parents were EXCELLENT at monitoring paint, paint brushes and making sure the paint got on the birdhouse. I spent most of Sunday and Monday priming the birdhouses white but they turned out really, really well. That was the childrens' "favor".

Then it was time for the treasure hunt. This was a brillant example of Sam and Megan collaboration. The idea was mine and I drafted the clues but Sam made them into fun poems. I then cut pieces of cardstock to help the kids with the clue. Sam and Wyeth hid the clues while the kids were painting birdhouses. The kids really enjoyed this too! Sam was great at leading the pack of kids around the park and even into the forest to find thier 'treasure'(which was the treatbags). They all cheered when they found it! What a riot! I was able to really enjoy this time.

The rest of the party was lunch and free play. We thought that the kids would primarily play on the more advanced play structure up the hill but it made me nervous to have some kids up the hill and some closer to the food. I didn't want to loose anyone. But having all of that place to PLAY was distracting.

Parents munched on home-made hoagies made freshly that morning at the Angus Deli. I ordered and picked up 5 two foot long rolls and Sam made the hoagies while I did final pick ups with Seren. We had already cut the tomatoes and onions the night before and made the tuna. Dad Hague cut them and arranged them. Mom Hague made 'ants on a log' (peanut butter in celery with raisins) and 'fish in a stream' (cream cheese in celery with goldfish) and provided the adults with a yummy veggie platter. The kids could choose from tuna, turkey or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. They were all cut into shapes using cookie cutters. Sam made a strawberry dip but we didn't present it well so much of it is in our fridge. Sam also made homemade cupcakes and put together a birdhouse cake. (Seren's choice of three cake options).

Aside from luke warm sodas, and windy conditions the food ROCKED.

And Seren had a blast! Sometimes you just don't know with Seren. She isn't full on smile girl. But she had a really good time. The next day, as we recooperated, she told a neighbor, "I had a really, really, really good time." Which just about melted my heart.

As an added bonus, my best friend and her daughter drove 3.5 hours to be there with us! My god, am I lucky or what!?

It was a lot of work doing the prep and cooking but we did it! We really felt like we did a good job but more importantly, we also had FUN. We are so grateful that her friends came from school but also our close friends from other walks of life were able to join us as well.

I'm not going to post a ton of 'kid' pics because I don't know how thier parents feel about putting pics on the they are 'Seren heavy'.

Happy, happy birthday Seren! We love you, kiddo!

Painting the birdhouses:

Treasure Hunt

Playing and Having Fun:

Finished birdhouses:

The Cake:

Blowing out the ONE candle that would stay lit:

The best!

Friday, May 14, 2010


I want to play with the kids more in the evening next week! This week we have had so much going on that dinner, bed and bath have become just a long series of events which have proven to annoy me. Cat herding, I tell ya! Last night I had the sad thought that I didn't laugh during the evening at all.

But this morning, I already had fun with Wyeth (even at 6:00) and made him laugh which of course made ME laugh. He is SO ticklish and has the BEST smile and giggle. So it is a start. Some nights I'm just so focused on getting everyone down and getting to the chores that await that I forget to have FUN in the mean time. I'm going to have to give myself a 'pass' on this week though, the reason why we have so many chores?

Seren's birthday party is tomorrow!! BIG stuff for us. 20 adults, 14 kids. Pray for us! :)

I really hope we can just ENJOY it and go with the flow. THAT is the most important part. So we have made bird houses, stuffed party bags, designed games, and made lists. Now we just have to PLAY!

I think we can handle that. And next week? I'm all about family walks, giggles and tickles.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

In Honor of Mother's Day: Lowering the Bar

Did any of you read Julia Baird's piece in Newsweek this week? It was titled "Lowering the Bar: When Bad Mothers give us hope". Wow. What an interesting article on many levels.

The "Good Mother". What is your definition of a good mother? Are you a good mother? I think the first two years of Seren's life, I was plagued by this ridiculous definition of what a 'good mother' was. And according to my own standards, I was falling short.

On most days, I'm still plagued by this. "Good mothers would get their children to bed earlier. Good mothers would know how to bake a good cake. Good mothers would have more fun and have more energy. Good mothers would spend more one on one time with their children."

And so it goes. On and on and on. My own internal critic. Which was always there but spoke REALLY loudly the first two years of Seren's life. Then I had Wyeth. And realized, ya know what critic, "I AM a good mother! I screw up. I yell. I have my own tantrums. I say things I shouldn't say. I still can't bake. But whatever, I'm redefining my roles."

So there!


So while I gained confidence from the time that has passed and the addition of a second child, it still is tough. Mothering (and fathering) IS tough. Are we doing this right? Are we doing it right for this child? Why is it so hard? Do we make enough time for ourselves? If not, at whose expense? If we do make a lot of time for ourselves, is that being a 'bad' mother? And then somehow if we do get bold and say, "I'm a good mom" that sounds wrong too.

And on and on and on.

Motherhood is just so defining because it can be all consuming! The energy and emotion that goes into raising little people is exhausting and exhilarating!
So when I read the following, I cheered a little. From my own personal experience, she is right on.

"Today women no longer need to escape their families to work or be happy- now they need to escape their own unrealistic expectations of what a good mother is."

She goes on to say, "Guilt, judgement, and a distrust of female ambition are a hallmark of modern parenting, along with the literature about female fretting...has turned into a symphony of self-loathing." She then states, "If you love your kids and are doing your best, if they are alive, safe, and sane, then your mind should simply be at ease."

I think the last sentence may overstate her point a bit but her point is valid! She concludes, "Let's make 2010 the year of Lowering the Bar. Or, perhaps, Going to the Bar."

What are your thoughts? I know I'm not the only one who thinks about the topic of the 'Good mother' at least once a day.


So last Tuesday was Seren's birthday. Followed by a morning with the preschoolers on the farm on Wednesday. Followed by a close family friend's passing on Thursday. Followed by a trip to a Children's Museum, and a trip to the local circus with my mom and dad on Saturday. Followed by Mother's day on Sunday. Followed by cupcakes with the preschool class and the funeral on Monday.

It is now Wednesday.


There are stories to tell about all of these events that I just listed.

And there are some memories of the man and friend we lost that I want to share. But I can't write about all of those; I want to respect the family's privacy. My summary of the sadness that surrounds his death is this: the whole thing SUCKS and life is really, really short. I want to make the most of it.

That being said, I'll post some pictures of the fun that we have had the last week.

Her Birthday morning and then her bday dinner:

Wednesday's trip to the farm! Feeding baby goats!

At the museum

Under the small Big top:

Mothers Day: Opening my cards and presents!

Monday's classroom celebration!

Wyeth being Wyeth:

Life is busy! We are holding on tight and remembering to enjoy the ride!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Seren is FOUR

Seren, today you turn four. Four years! I remember you at four days, four weeks and four months. And now four years!

And are you excited! You couldn't go to sleep last night due to your excitement. This morning, at 6:05 you called, "Mom! Dad! it is 6:05! It is my birthday! Please come in and bring Wyeth! And please sing!"

You remembered the night before that last year when you turned three, we performed the Birthday song. And so we did again this year. At 6:05. With Wyeth, as per your request. I love that a tradition has started.

You bounced out of bed with tremendous excitement and we played a quick game of Candyland before going down to get your birthday muffin. You had requested this to be 'breakfast in bed' since that is what you and Dad did for MY birthday. But we compromised. You do love your birthday muffins.

The day will be a full one! Filled with things you like to do! Sliding on slides, running around, singing and present opening. We gave you another baby doll for your special gift. After some negotiation on names, you named her Juliette. We all need another baby doll like we need a hole in the head but you just LOVE her. And this one talks to you, calling you 'ma ma' and crying when she needs to be fed.

Tonight we will take you to Nifty Fifties for some fries and chicken fingers. You are excited to go to a restaurant and order chicken fingers by yourself. I hope that the restaurant will sing to you but that might be a bit scary for you; I hope you enjoy the family celebration!

Seren, you have become quite the little girl this past year. You have adjusted to being a sister and embraced your responsibilities with your whole heart. You care for your brother and always want to make sure he is ok; sometimes translating for us. You continue to be so smart; learning this year that letters make words and that words tell stories! Daddy has been reviewing words in the paper and even today, you are sounding them out and getting the hang of the reading adventure. You continue to find great joy and comfort in books. We hope you always feel this way. And more recently, you have become more brave at doing things on your own. You are so independent now. It is shocking to me sometimes to think about how much you now know how to do. And my god, when did you get so TALL? You have also learned how to become a friend. Preschool has been so good for all of us. I love to watch you interact with other friends, listening to their stories, and pushing yourself to be part of a classroom of children.

Seren, when you have a birthday, we think about the year past and celebrate the future. We also are keenly aware of the fact that as the first child, when you reach another birthday, WE celebrate that we have been parents for four years. Some days I think, "That's it!? Only 4 years?" But most days I can't believe it has gone so fast. Especially when I think about how far all of us have come.

Here is a picture of you stretching the first month of life.

Here is a picture of us the day before my first ever Mothers' day.

We can't wait to see what this year brings. Thank you for being 100% YOU all of the time. Moods, tears, smiles and silly stories alike. We are so blessed that you are in our lives and can't imagine our lives without you! Happy birthday my sweet muffin!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Busy Weekend Outside!

Our weekends have been super fun recently due to more planning on our part. Now that Wyeth largely takes one nap, we have more flexibility to go out and have some adventures!

I got home on Thursday night for a business trip to Oklahoma City and it was great to get BIG hugs on Friday morning!

Saturday morning, I took the kids to the park where it was bright and sunny and lovely!

We hugged:

And went for a walk!

Sam graded some exams for his class. Then we all met up as a family and headed to the Howell Living History farm. We have been there before and it is always a lot of fun. It is one of this historic farms that does things like teach you how to make a candle or spin wool. On Saturday, the sheep were being herded and sheered. Despite the fact it was close to 90 degrees, we had a really good time. Seren insisted that the wool was being used to make 'necklaces'. (??) We all got into it and had a nice picnic lunch together as a family.

After nap, we drove the kids down to my parents home. They were to have dinner there and spend the night while Sam and I went on a much needed date night! It was great! The kids had a BLAST and had many adventures to share with us. Sam and I went for yummy sushi! We had a glass of wine too.

Sunday we got up at 8am (SCORE!!!) and actually cleaned a bit before going running. (I haven't run regularly in 4 years. Lets see...what happened 4 years ago...) So it was tough but we went running at a great park. We also checked out the site of the b-day party which is to come in two weeks. Then we headed back home, did some more chores and met our kiddos down at my parents home. They passed OUT in the car on the way home. I can't remember the last time Seren did that. And they both transferred and slept for over two hours. So that was great. I did a lot of birthday related errands done while they napped.

Our family needed this re-charging. It was a really good time.

And today is BIRTHDAY EVE!! Seren turns 4 tomorrow! And WOW, is she excited!! "This is my last day EVER of being 3! Tomorrow I'll be FOUR!!!"