Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Violet and the Potty after 13 Months Together...a love story.

Violet has really turned a corner with her pottying. She is 13 months old. She's been using the potty since she was two weeks. We have used diapers her whole life. Yep. All 13 months of it. But we have consistently offered her the potty all those 13 months, as well.

We recently took a trip to Kansas to see family for Christmas. I bought Pampers Easy Ups to take along, rather than cloth. I debated between those and the new Huggies slip-ons. The slip-ons are a hair smaller. They come in a diaper size 3. But you get the same amount of diapers for the same price with each brand, so I decided I'd like the vanishing-when-wet flowers on the Easy Ups. They are a bit big on my 18 pound 13 month old, but they work pretty good. For night time, I brought along wipeable diaper covers so the pull ups wouldn't leak where they gape at her legs. It was a perfect combination! No leaking at night and no cloth to wash.

Violet was a champ! She used a total of four, maybe five, pull ups all weekend! She stayed dry while driving, with the exception of one little pee. She didn't poop in them until the morning after we got home. I woke up to nasties that morning, but she still finished up on the potty. I was really amazed.

She still doesn't tell us she needs to go. But she's evidently learning to hold it until we get her to a potty. We take her about every hour. Having the pull ups makes it so much easier! It doesn't seem like that big of a deal. But I swear I took her more often simply because all I have to do is pull up and pull down, without laying her down to change a diaper. Ryan still grumbles just a little, only a little, when I say Vi needs to go potty. It does take frequent trips to be successful. But when she's keeping her pants dry, it is so rewarding!

Grandma Nita always says, "Yessssssss!" when the girls use the potty for her. Accompanied by the elbow to the torso action. This weekend, I noticed Violet, after pottying, would put her hands in a little fist, smile, and make the sound, "sssssssss!"

It's cute to see her feel accomplished.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Time

Birthdays and Thanksgiving are over. Now onto Christmas! Nola asks pretty much everyday "Is it Christmas?" And I reply for the millionth time, "Well, it's not Christmas DAY, but it is Christmas TIME."

We went to our church's annual Carols & Cocoa event this past Sunday night. Our church is a small community, and it feels just like a huge family get together. It's like a talent show where everyone takes turns getting up and singing, or showing off some little known skill, or dusting off their old high school band instrument and cracking out jingle bells. This year we got up as a family to sing Little Drummer Boy. Violet held a maraca, Ryan played the ukulele, and Nola breathed into the microphone like Darth Vader. She was enamored with the sound it made. We gave her a few tries to actually sing, but eventually kept singing without her. At the end she finally let out a rum pum pum pum and a final on my drummmmm. I sang a song by the band Downhere called "How Many Kings" with my friend Liz. Ryan did a short stand up comedy routine and it was really funny! Do I sound surprised? I wasn't surprised. Ryan is hilarious. It's just that being a funny person is one thing, but really pulling off a stand up routine is another. He did awesome. I was quite impressed.

Lots of traveling in our future. Lots of partying. Lots of eating. Lots of presents. Lots of...lots.


Picture me now running to grab Nola's storybook Bible, and frantically searching for Baby Jesus in a manger so she understands WHY we have this holiday. I feel like I'm failing her in that area. BUT Christmas day is not here. I still have time. It hit me in church on Sunday that to explain how awesome it is that Jesus came, I have to start by explaining how badly we needed Him. It's not very much fun to talk to your kids about sin and separation from God.

But if she never sees the darkness, she'll never see how truly beautiful the Light.

P.S. This mom has a really great Christmas tradition for teaching her kids about the Light.

P.P.S. Are those two little girls in the picture up top not THE most beautiful girls you've ever seen?! They kill me with their beauty.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Big Girl Violet

Violet is turning One Year Old on Thursday! I'm freaking out a little bit. This year with her precious little face went by so fast. Today, like most days recently, I was struck by how big she's getting.

Violet crawls around the house like she owns it. We put a gate at the top of our stairs so she is free to roam in the areas we live most, without us watching her every move. She plays very nicely all on her own. Sometimes I'll hear her happy little noises and realize she's all the way down the hall in the toy room. Just checking out the goods. Today she was standing up at the table, playing with Nola's new cash register. It's just so sweet and cute to watch her play like a big girl. Making her own decisions on where to go, what toy to play with, or which piece of trash on the carpet to eat next.

We love our Vee Dizzle. (Oh yes. We call her that.)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Happy Birthday, Nola Serenity

To my dear, sweet Nolie,

If God had let me put together the perfect little girl... if I'd chosen the smile, the eyes, the laugh, the brains, the hair, the skinny little legs...I never would have put together anything as wonderful as how God made you.

I love your crazy curly hair.
I love your deep brown eyes.
I love your sudden transformations into jaguars and lions.
I love watching you play with Violet.
I love it when you say, "You're the best" to Daddy.
I love everything about you.

Tonight when I stood in the aisle at Wal-Mart and grabbed the blue birthday candle in the shape of a big "3", I almost burst into tears. Time flies when you're having fun. You'll understand when you have babies.



Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sister Love

My two girls have been sharing a room for about six months now. Violet was around six months when two year old Nola crashed her pad and moved in with her. The girls are now one and three.

I asked your advice about room sharing in this post and the response was overwhelming. You all are definitely pro sharing. I loved each comment about how it worked for you practically. I loved Susie's comment about finding her girls together in the crib most mornings. One of my favorite responses was in a personal message from my friend Leslie. She put her girls in the same room at 18 months and 3 years, I think. She said she loved how it was teaching her older daughter to be more "considerate". Love that. I was inspired. I was nervous to do it, though. So when my mom came for a visit this summer, I put the girls together, and after my mom left I just kept them that way.

What I want to discuss here is why did I even want to do this? Ryan asked me this a lot when I was scheming about how we would make it work. He doesn't like to change things up unless absolutely necessary. Why change things that are going well? Here's the why.

We live in a modest 1300 square foot, typical suburban, West Omaha home. We have three bedrooms and two bathrooms. The girls could each have their own room. In the United States our home is considered small, maybe average. In other countries, our home would be occupied by a family of ten. I heard somewhere (sorry I have no real source, but I'm sure it's true because I'm pretty sure I heard it on TV) that in our modern times the average American family is half the size it used to be, but the average American house is twice the size it used to be. As Americans, we tend to over do it. It felt so extravagant to me for the two tiniest people in our home to each have their own space for sleeping! I want my girls to grow up knowing how to appreciate what they have, and be satisfied with just enough. In our situation, I didn't think giving them each their own room would foster that attitude.

Also, I felt sharing a room would make the girls more flexible. We visit my parents in Missouri quite often, and it's nice to know they don't have to be separated to sleep well. They are used to each others noises. It's not a novelty for them to be together so Nola doesn't stay up giggling because she's in the same room with Violet. Or vice versa.

Safety was another thing for me. I'm not a big worrier, but I still feel better knowing the girls are together at night. If something were to happen to Violet, Nola is old enough to let us know. It may be silly, but somehow I feel better tucking them in at night and closing the door to just one room. We have a nice family bed time ritual that would be harder to do if they were in different rooms, as well.

Since the girls are tiny people who sleep in tiny beds, they are in the smallest bedroom in our house. I keep the items in their room slimmed down. Their room is for sleeping, dressing, and storing diapers. There are no toys in their room (I think I got that idea from Leslie, as well). Not even books. (I might change that, but so far no books.) I have learned that Nola thrives on order and having things put away. I... do not. Since I've removed the excess from her room, it's helped me keep her room tidier.

In keeping with the simplicity, they only have one dresser to share. Those of you with older girls may laugh at me, but I am DETERMINED that they will share a dresser as long as possible. Serenity tells me this will get difficult as the clothes in the dresser tend to increase in size with the matching children who wear them. And I have already encountered a problem now that I switched out to winter clothing. I have to be diligent about frequently removing the clothes they've grown out of or simply don't wear. Because, really, they have more clothes then they wear. Too many clothes means they don't end up wearing the ones we really like. Just enough clothes that you can see in a drawer means their cute clothes will actually get worn. (One way I test for this is I wait FOREVER to do laundry. Long enough that I feel like "the girls have nothing cute to wear!" This not-doing-laundry part is fairly easy. Then I go through their drawers, which are usually full even though there's a huge pile of dirty laundry, and get rid of what they aren't wearing. Either to a box for the future or a bag for goodwill. Which then inevitably sits in the garage for weeks before I actually get them to goodwill.)

Where are their toys? Believe it or not, we are not overwhelmed with toys. I LOVE this. The girls have plenty, but toys are not ruling our lives. Most of their toys are currently on a shelf in our third bedroom that we are attempting to make a multipurpose space, kind of like a den. That room is definitely a work in progress. They also have a play kitchen in our dining/kitchen area with a basket of baby toys in the fake fridge for Violet. It's nice for them to have some toys in the area we spend most of our time as a family.

So that's how we roll here at our house. Room sharing doesn't work for everyone, and it's not necessary for everyone. But it's working for us. If we ever have a third baby, I plan to squeeze all three into one bedroom. Hence all the pictures of bunk beds on my Pinterest board. :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Nola "isms"

Sometimes Nola gets very excited about things, like little girls do. When she hears a plan we've made, i.e. "We're going to the zoo today, Nola" She lets out a gasp and says...

"That will be 'tastic, Mom!"

Sunday, November 6, 2011


We sort of failed the children in recording Halloween, but here's a couple shots of our evening. Plan for next year: split up so someone is at home to pass out candy and decorate with cool stuff so kids want to come to our house! Our neighbor girl and Nola kept saying "Oh! Let's go to that house!" when they saw cool decorations. At the end of the evening a few of our friends stopped by to say hi, and that was really fun. Good friends are good to have.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Violet and the Toilet

Violet is about to turn one. Her first year went by so quickly! Here's a report on her potty habits.

Still wearing diapers. I decided there's no need to rush things. And no need to spend time cleaning up so many messes like I did when I put Nola in undies too soon. However, Violet frequently goes all day long wearing the same diaper. I call them One Diaper Days. She does especially well when we are out and about. Often holding it for over an hour, sometimes two. She definitely prefers her little potty seat to being held over public toilets. Sometimes I think she holds it just so she can go on her throne instead.

I recently tried a free pattern to make some cloth pull ups. It turned out pretty good, it's just a hair bulkier than I'd like. Being able to pull her diaper up and down really helps for frequent potty trips. It is especially helpful in public restrooms. That way I don't have to lay her down to to put her diaper on and off. I have a package of the Huggies slip-ons. The start in a size 3, which is much smaller than Pull Ups, but still a little big for Violet. I just realized I can adjust the removable sides to make them a hair skinnier. They've been helpful when we're out. I really want to find a good pattern for cloth ones, though, so we don't start buying paper diapers. Also, if I make them myself I can customize their absorbency. I like them to be very trim so I'm more motivated to get her to the potty. If I know they'll only hold one "pee", I'll take her more often.

Just like when Nola was little, Violet does not communicate to me when she needs to go. Unless I'm just missing it, which is possible. Violet just does really well with holding it until I take her. She just trusts that I will, I guess. I should be more diligent about signing "potty" to her, that would really help for the next few months of this process.

We're still loving elimination communication!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A New Tradition

I love the holidays. I pulled out the Christmas music already because the girls need to learn it now so they can sing it during Christmas time. Right? I usually try to wait until after Thanksgiving to start Christmas. The Friday after Thanksgiving is kind of a holy day to me.

I am a sucker for traditions, and as a family we don't have real traditions for Thanksgiving. This year I'm starting a new one. Today we threw together a Thankful Thoughts board. (I tried to think of something with the letter G to go with Gratitude, but came up empty.) I had an old rectangle of styrofoam from something. I covered it with some orange fabric and hung it on the wall. (The placement looks really stupid, but I wanted it where we would look at it all the time.) On little pieces of card stock, I wrote some things we are thankful for and pinned them to the board. We will add to it all this month, and at Thanksgiving dinner we can pull them all off and read them out loud.

So far, the things we are thankful for are:

"The Garage" -Charity
"All my tigers at the zoo" -Nola
"Mommy's boobies" -Violet

Nola thought Violet was thankful for the baby tigers at the zoo. I figured my guess was a little closer to accurate. It's a bittersweet thought because I am weaning her this month. Shhhh. Don't tell her. I'm trying to slowly cut her off without making a big deal about it.

When Ryan got home, I showed him the board and he immediately tried to add his name to Violet's thankful card. I reminded him that the things he's thankful for must be able to be read OUT LOUD to everyone at Thanksgiving dinner. Yes, I just told you that story.

Do you have any Thanksgiving traditions?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

They Are Listening

One day I teasingly and carelessly said to Nola, "Look at that tree. It's losing all it's leaves. It's naked!" She smirked. I laughed. We moved on. I thought.


Now every single tree without leaves...is naked. And there are so many. And it's such a big girl word. And she says it all. the. time.

They are listening, people. And soaking in every word.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Thoughts on Halloween

We celebrate Halloween here at the Long house. I know that among Christians, of which I am one, this can be a very tricky (Haha! Tricky!) subject. I'm sure I have very dear friends who disagree with me about this, and that's ok. We can still be friends as far as I'm concerned. But let me just tell you where we're at on the Halloween debate. I have not studied the history of Halloween. But I agree that it may have been started by very evil people who had very evil intentions. But I also believe that it has now morphed into a perfectly harmless holiday, for most people. (The people who do strange, harmful things on Halloween are doing strange, harmful things all year.) The seven year old who shows up knocking at my door dressed as Cinderella, probably does not have plans later in the evening to sacrifice her precious cat Fluffy on a burning fire of Bibles, as an offering to Satan. And if I refuse to open the door for her, she is most likely going to think, "Geez, what a party pooper." She is not going to think, "Oh my goodness. They must not celebrate Halloween. I bet it's because they love Jesus. They're right! I should love Jesus, too!"

As a follower of Jesus, I want to be known for what I am for, not known for what I'm against.

Do you know what I'm for? I'm for fostering a feeling of community in my neighborhood. I'm for having one night a year where it's perfectly acceptable to knock on your neighbors door and beg for candy. I'm for celebrating creative costumes. I'm for being there when my neighbors come knocking at my door with their adorable kids. I'm for having the GOOD candy. I'm for attempting to be "that house who gives the amazing fill-in-the-blank. (We haven't discovered that yet. We're trying.) I'm for having one last hurrah as a neighborhood before we all shut ourselves in our houses for the cold winter. I'm for taking a holiday that may have been meant for evil, and making it the most fun, community driven activity we've done all year.

There may still be time. Go get some candy.

Mundane Monday: October 25, 2011

Before I forget. Violet was dry all day! She peed in the potty all day long! She had one poopy diaper, though. So it wasn't completely a "one diaper day". (One diaper days are when she uses the same cloth diaper from morning until bedtime, never soiling it once.) She has had one diaper days before, maybe two or three. I'm happy because it was a one diaper day, but I didn't obsessively take her potty all day. She just did a great job of waiting until I took her. She is getting so big!

Monday got off to a good start because I drug myself out of bed before the girls and got ready before they were up. I haven't done this in a while. Getting up before the girls always helps. Always. I have trouble convincing myself of its usefulness when my alarm goes off at 6:30, but later in the day I'm always glad I did it.

The girls slept late. I went in to their room to get them at 8:30. Violet was awake, just being quiet. Nola was sound asleep. I nursed Violet and then got some breakfast for everybody.

Since I had gotten up early, I had time to get a grocery list made before the girls got up. Right after breakfast I got the girls dressed and we made a quick trip to Wal-Mart. The trip was amazingly smooth. No calamities to report.

We came home in time for Violet's morning nap. I messed around the house and Nola watched tv while Violet slept.

When Violet woke up I said, "Let's go have a picnic!" I grabbed leftover Little Ceasars and a couple of yogurts and we jumped in the car.

This is where I wasted a half an hour of our lives trying to find the playground I wanted.

We live near Lake Zorinsky. It's a small lake but it has several picnic areas and more than one playground. It has a million zillion entrances on two different streets. I gambled with the 168th Street entrances and I was wrong. Four times. I finally made it to the entrance I wanted at 156th Street. I should've called Ryan. But maybe I will remember next time. Nola kept saying, "Where are we going?" every time I turned around.

We finally made it. Nola played while I nursed Violet on a bench. Then Nola came and sat wtih us on the bench and we all ate lunch. Then we all played. Violet loves the slides. They had a very big, swirly one and she would just giggle when we rounded the last corner at the bottom. All three of us got on the tire swing, and Violet giggled and giggled on it, too. It got surprisingly warm and I stupidly wore a sweater without a normal shirt underneath. We left before it got too hot, though.

We went home for nap time. Usually playtime outside equals a crazy good nap for the girls. Totally backfired today. Don't know why. Violet slept for an hour and a half (that's short for her) and Nola never fell asleep at all.I let them get up around three. Nola was hyper. It was a little annoying. Violet was fussy. It was a little annoying. When Ryan came home I smiled my most sarcastic smile and said, "We're awake! All of us! We're all awake!"

A little while later I tried to lay Violet down again, but that never works. I think it helps her a little to just lay in her bed, but she doesn't sleep. When Nola ran into the room to get her (we did not ask her to do this), we decided to get out of the house. I find tired, fussy children easier to handle outside of the house. You'd think it would be bad taking them to a store. Sometimes it is, but usually my girls are content looking around at things while we were out. As opposed to fussing about every little thing at home. It distracts them from their fussiness to get out.

We went to Lowes to look at shower heads. Ours has kind of bit the dust. I love shopping for home stuff with Ryan. It's just one of the little things that I dreamt of when I was single. Shopping for shower heads with my husband, with our little baby in the cart, and our preschooler tagging along behind us. It's a simple little dream come true for me.

We came home shower head-less, but grateful for an outing. We ate leftovers for dinner. Dinner time can be stressful with two small children. The stress of it has forced us to always eat at the table. I love that. We all sit down together, and Ryan makes conversation with the girls. He has this prayer that I love, "Thank you for the food we have to eat, the house we have to eat it in, and the family we have to eat it with." Isn't that so beautiful? Did he make that up? We're not sure. Either way, I love it.

Nola watched Diego after supper, and then the girls went to bed. The one benefit of no naps is early bedtime! After the girls were all tucked in, we watched Transformers 3. Yeah, there's a lot of metal clanking and crashing in that movie.

All in all, it was a pretty good Monday. Mundane and all.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Mundane Monday: October 17

This day did not start well. Nola woke up and puked twice at 2 a.m. Yay.

We had a very full weekend. Nola didn't take a nap Friday, Saturday or Sunday. And Saturday she stayed up until 10:30 p.m. Not just awake, but dancing like a party animal at our good friends' wedding (Congratulations Drew and Kate!). The cuteness of Nola on the dance floor was overwhelming. After a song ended she would run up to us and say, "I want another one!" Unfortunately, her immune system couldn't quite handle the lack of sleep.

Nola never puked again during the day on Monday. I guess it was a fluke puke. (Did I just make up that clever little rhyme?) So grateful for that. While Violet took a morning nap, Nola and I crashed on my bed. It took Nola a while to fall asleep, but she finally snuggled up against my back and drifted off. So cozy. I snoozed a few minutes myself.

Violet wasn't sick at all, but exhaustion got the better of her. She had only brief moments of happiness. She cried on and off all day. We survived through lunch. Everyone ate something. Then we sat on the couch together and watched Diego. Violet was pretty content as long as I held her and she could suck her fingers.

Both girls took a really good afternoon nap. Thank the Lord. They both woke up happy. Ish. Happiness didn't last long for Violet. And Nola had a fever. Diego came to the rescue for Nola. She watched more of his animal salvations while I nursed Violet. After Ryan got home from work he took Violet out to get some things from the store, then came back and fed the girls dinner. While he did that, I got ready to go out with him to the Dead Hour release party. (It was a blast to see everyone Ryan works with. They just released the second season of their web series.)

Ryan's parents graciously came over to babysit while we went out. We had planned a sleep over at Grandma's which would have been infinitely more fun. But Nola was so under the weather, and they were both so exhausted from the weekend we decided it would be too much. Tom and Nita are such good Grandparents to come over and stay with the girls while they sleep. Not much bonding time, just unconditional Grandparent love.

So today was one of those days that I pretty much did nothing except hold my girls. Which is fine with me. Mondays are always recovery days for us, even after normal weekends. Super busy weekends followed by sickness make for an even more recovery oriented day.

Wow. That was boring. And no pictures. But someday, years from now, I'll get all sentimental reading about our boring days. As someone, I don't know who, says...The days are long, but the years are short.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Loving Learning: A Sappy Post About a Favorite Teacher

I was lucky to have a lot of great teachers growing up. I went to a very small, Christian school ran by the church I grew up in. I had a small circle of the same teachers on and off for all my schooling. I spent a lot of time with one teacher, Mrs. Schromm, through out elementary and middle school. She was my main teacher in junior high. She definitely stands above the rest.

The thing I remember most about her was how she inspired us to not just memorize facts, but to love learning. Rather than merely teach us what we needed to know, she taught us how to learn. She modeled this for us by teaching us subjects that she herself had no specialties in. We went through a Spanish program together, and she took us through a special unit on drawing. I learned a LOT in both those classes, because it showed me that I could learn whatever I put my mind to. I didn't need special skills or even special degrees, but just a ready mind.

She loved us, and gave extra to give us a great education. She got her bus license so she could take an entire bus load of junior high and high schoolers to the YMCA three times a week for P.E. She was so good to us.

The way she taught me to look at learning is probably the reason that when asked in a job interview, "So you know a little Spanish and you like music. You could teach music and Spanish to preschoolers, right?!" I said, "Heck, yeah! Easy schmeesy." That was a great couple of years doing something I loved.

I hope I can give my girls the same attitude about life and learning that she gave me. She made me feel as though I was just one Library trip away from mastering any new skill I wanted. Thank you, Mrs. Schromm! You are in my personal hall of fame.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

How's the Potty Queen?

It's time for an update on Violet's toilet habits! I can see her sixteen year old face now as she stumbles upon this blog in the future and discovers how often I wrote about her poop.

Violet is ten months old *sniff* *sniff* and has been using the potty since she was about two weeks old. Not exclusively, mind you, but quite often. She is getting bigger now so she is no longer peeing every ten minutes. She occasionally goes an entire morning keeping her diaper dry and getting her pee in the potty. She had been doing really well about pooping exclusively in the potty until we left her for a long weekend and the upset in routine threw her off. She's been sneaking the occasional duece into her diaper just before I get to her after nap or in the morning. But she still uses the potty to poop quite often so I'm not stressing about it.

I am super excited about BumGenius' new potty training pants! They will be available just after her first birthday. And the girl print is super cute! (Yes, Ryan, that's really why I want them.) That should be perfect timing to get really serious about taking her often enough that the goal is to stay dry all day. Nola was staying dry most days at seventeen months, and so far Violet has been a little bit ahead of her in the pottying game.

In other Violet news, she is army crawling with the best of them, gives the cutest little kisses out the side of her tiny little mouth, and points at anything interesting. She is still the happiest little thing, a little shy sometimes but in general she likes people. I'm still breast feeding, but otherwise she's eating real people food. No more jars. She does amazing with her two tiny bottom teeth. I feel so lucky to have her in my life.

P.S. BumGenius did not perk me for this endorsement. :) I just love them and am fairly confident their new product will be awesome. And, it's a super cute print. The prints get me every time.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mundane Monday: September Twentysomething

Ryan and I just got back from a conference in Chicago. The girls spent the weekend with his parents. It was so good to see their little faces! Of course, we were all exhausted from our adventures.

We took the morning slow. Didn't do much. Violet took a morning nap and after she woke up we went to see Ryan at his office. We stopped at Hy-Vee for a couple cans of soup for the grown ups and a pack of macaroni for Nola. We chatted with Ryan over lunch, and saw Grandma Nita.

After lunch we headed home for naps. Violet snuck a poop in her diaper on the drive home. I think having formula for an entire weekend threw off her digestive routines.

I had grand plans to put together our new Expedit Bookcase from Ikea during nap times, until Ryan told me at lunch he "didn't trust me" to do that alone. So I crashed on my bed and read part of a book I got at the conference. (It's called "The Art of Curating Worship" by Mark Pierson. I haven't gotten very far.) It didn't take long before my eye lids wouldn't stay open and I fell asleep. (Not because the book was boring, far from it. The trip to Chicago was just too exciting to be restful.)

When Ryan got home he helped me put the bookcase together. The girls helped. :) It was a pretty easy build, actually. Now the extra room has room to walk without stepping on toys. And Violet can crawl around in there without us worrying about her choking on tiny dinosaurs. I love that it makes the space more accessible for the girls. I was inspired by this post to focus on creating an inspiring space for my girls to play and learn rather than go bonkers over choosing the right curriculum. Oh yeah, and Ryan was tired of stepping on the tiny dinosaurs. The bookcase saved the day for all involved. And the room
may not be over the top inspirational yet, but it did make Nolie say to Ryan later, "Come on! Let's go play with my new animals!" Nope. Not new. Just on a shelf instead of buried in a bin.

We had french toast for dinner. It wasn't very good. But it was the best I could come up with.

The girls went to bed. I surfed the web. Ryan played some video games. We watched Burn Notice. We went to bed.

Ah, Mundane Mondays, you're such a Plain Jane and I love you for it.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Mundane Monday Madness!

It was not a banner day. While I nursed Violet it was very, very quiet upstairs where I'd left Nola. Once discovered, Nola said, "I sorry, Mommy" for the first time in her life unprompted. She knew it needed said and she said it. She said it about ten times in a very low toned, sorrowful voice.

Does anyone know how to get red lipstick out of carpet?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Six Years With Ryan: A Sappy Post About Life

On August 6th Ry and I celebrate six years of being married. Here's six reasons why I love him. One for each year.

1. He's funny. Every girl wants a funny guy, right? While you sometimes have to be in close proximity of him to hear the funny, it will totally crack you up.

2. He's tall, dark, and handsome. He doesn't seem to think he's tall, but he's taller than me. When he hugs me I fit just right in "the pocket". I love his dark hair and brown eyes. I especially love his squinty eye. I used to think he was winking at me. He wasn't.

3. He's a musician. Dreamy, right? Usually we are playing music together. But on the Sundays he is playing piano at church and I'm in the congregation I could just stare at him the whole time and giggle like a sixteen year old. Occasionally he plays bass from the sound board in the back of the church, and I could just faint he looks so cute. (He hates it when I call him "cute". But since both our mothers and maybe our grandmothers are reading this, I'm going to keep it G rated. I'll let you imagine what three letter word having to do with temperature I really mean when I say "cute".)

4. He has made me more fun. I always joke that I can't believe he married me because I was so uptight compared to him! When we were dating he always wanted to do silly things like, I don't know, see who could close the garage from the inside and make it out before it closed. Or race from the car to the entrance of Target. Or try to jump in the Jeep while it was moving. Or go bowling. I would always say no, that's silly. We had fights about it after we got married. But now he's made me realize, life is more fun when you're having fun with it.

5. He's a great dad. Ryan is amazing with our two girls, Nola and Violet. He is the kind of dad who plays pretend and loves it. He is firm with them and consistent. He makes them feel special and loved. He prioritizes the girls. They are at the top of his list, and they know it. I know that they are going to grow into confident, self assured women because of the love and security they feel from their dad.

6. He pursues his dreams. Lately Ryan has found a passion for film making. And rather than say, "Well, I could never support my family on that so forget it" he has jumped in with both feet and found out that he loves it even more than he thought. He has pushed past his normally quiet personality and met new people in the film community in Omaha, and made some really awesome friends. He has made a few short films himself, worked on several others, wrote an episode for The Dead Hour, and generally said "yes" to most film opportunities that come up. It's really awesome to see your husband find something that he loves so much and pursue it. And, dare I say, quite attractive. He has found something he feels truly called to, and though it seems crazy sometimes, he's going for it.

7. He picked me. (Did I say I'd keep it as six? Sorry, can't stop myself.)Ryan will teasingly say that I practically threw myself at his feet. But truly, 0ut of all the girls in the whole world, Ry picked me. I know it doesn't feel this way when you're single, but the whole world full of people is a possibility for you. Ryan could've waited around to see if he'd run into someone better. Someone prettier. More fun. Someone who would ride roller coasters with him. But instead, he picked me. He decided I was it for him. He would never find anyone better. He would stop looking and I... would be his best.

And then, shaking like a leaf, he walked down that aisle and promised me that I always would be. And I have never been the same since. There's power in vows, people. And such beauty in keeping them.

I love you, Ryan Long.

Friday, July 29, 2011


So I've been thinking about preschool. Nola is ready to learn stuff. Her verbal skills have really sky rocketed recently and it makes me realize how much she would love activities, crafts, educational toys, markers, and paper. You know, boquets of sharpened pencils.

There's a lot of home school curriculum out there for preschoolers. A complete set of books, schedules, and educational toys to take you through a year of learning averages around 300 dollars. Ummmmm. That's nice. They really would be helpful, but I'm not sure how necessary. When I looked through the list of what you get in these kits, I realized that it would be pretty easy to pull the books together from the library (Has anyone told you about the library? It's crazy. You get to take books home for FREE! As long as you bring them back.) The educational toys are pretty cool, but I could accomplish the same goal using things we have around the house for the most part.

I could totally nerd out on preschool stuff for Nola. I am just a tiny bit. But I was inspired by this blog post to chill out a little bit. After reading it, I boiled Nola's schooling down to three main goals. First, introducing Nola to Jesus. Second, giving her interesting life experiences and talking about them. And third, reading to her like crazy.

The first goal, introducing Jesus, is interesting. There's no lesson plans for this. No killer kids dvd to explain Him. Jesus is a matter of the heart. He is a spiritual experience. Yes, I can read to her about Him. We love the Jesus Storybook Bible. But in the end, Jesus is a Person she has to meet. I can only put them in the same room together (if I could be so bold to say Jesus would come when I ask) and see what happens. The Holy Spirit will do the rest. I'm not interested in teaching her about a religion or showing her how to act like a charismaniac. (Although I do think it's important that she participate in our faith community and it's pretty darn cute when she raises her hands and sings during our worship services). But I hope I will be successful in introducing her to the One who loves her even more than I do. And then I pray that He captures her heart like He captured mine.

The second goal, having experiences and talking about them, is super fun. It takes energy sometimes but that's all. Basically, I don't want Nola, or Violet for that matter, to just sit around all day watching PBS (although I think that station is awesome and has great kids programming, and sometimes we do watch it all day). I want to take them places and do different things. Simple things, like grocery shopping or taking our dog for a walk are perfect times to talk about what's happening. (The Zoo and Children's Museum are great, too, but the experiences don't have to be fancy or expensive.) Nola makes great observations, and I think the question phase is just around the corner. Yay! She says sarcastically. Actually, it's awesome that she asks questions and it's important that I take the time to respond to her. It's the little things, really. On a walk with our dog, Saint, we stopped to admire a squashed bunny on the side of the road. Thank GOD that experience did not get all the questions I feared! But the caterpillar we found had "black and white stripes" and "he didn't like it when we touched him". That experience was great education. And it's really all she needs for now.

The third goal, reading like crazy, is fairly self explanatory. The only thing is I sometimes have to remind myself that other things can wait while I read to her. Sitting down and reading two or three library books is an extremely important use of my time right now. Dishes and vacuuming can wait. And wait. And wait. And wait. (If you saw my house most days, you wouldn't think I have any problem whatsoever pushing the dishes and vacuuming aside.)

I'm still surfing the internet for that perfect preschool book or curriculum or awesome educational toy that will turn her into a genius. I can't help myself. But before I click "add to cart" I remember my three goals and ask myself if it's really necessary, and then I don't usually end up buying it.

At 2 1/2 living life with us is all she really needs.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mundane Monday: July 25 2011

It was hot yesterday. The a/c works in our car, but on reeeeally hot days it can't keep up very well. I decided to live through it though. I knew Ryan was going to be gone all day. First at work, then at a film shoot in the evening. When I know I will be alone with the girls that long, getting out of the house for most of the day helps me keep my sanity.

We had a very busy weekend so I let Violet take her morning nap. When she woke up we zoomed out the door to have lunch with Ryan at Hy-Vee. Hy-Vee? Yes. It's very cheap. And I needed to go grocery shopping after. Ryan was kind enough to go there with us so I didn't have to do one more in-and-out-of-the-car routine with both girls. Does anyone else find that one of the most exhausting things about motherhood? Buckles and straps, and watching out for cars in parking lots. I usually reach back and unsnap Nola when we arrive somewhere. She is now able to get out of her seat, open the car door, and shut it behind her. It's a blessing and a little worrisome.

After lunch Ry left us and we went shopping. Ten minutes later I realized he had left with our grocery cash. Blast. I called him. He cursed. He said he'd come back. I didn't hear my phone when he called me to say he was back at the store. I suddenly see him rounding an aisle, looking like I had just stuck needles in his eye. So sorry about that, baby.

I put both girls together in one of those race car carts. Violet loved it at first. She grabbed the steering wheel and smiled past both ears. The girls looked super cute sitting side by side in that thing. But about halfway through our shopping trip it was too much for Violet. It was too close to nap time, and she had exercised her tiny little muscles long enough. She kept slumping down in the seat and laying her head down on the side of the cart.

We made it through the heat back home. The girls laid down. Violet fell asleep instantaneously. I could hear Nola talking and singing and being a little restless. After an hour of hearing her mess around, I went in there to lay the law down. When I walked in, she was getting new panties (there was nothing wrong with her old ones) and Violet was awake. I started to give a speech about letting her sister sleep and going to sleep herself, but instead I said, "Well. Want to go to the library?"

I gave Violet a quick snack and off we went. Nola loves the library which makes me so happy. She does get bored around the time I want to find books for myself, though. And she couldn't read books in the stroller because there's not enough room in the "bottom bunk" of the stroller to open up a big children's book. So she followed me around the boring aisles and generally annoyed me. She grabbed two empty book holders and they had a little conversation. One was falling off the shelf and needed rescued. "Help me! Ayudame!" At one point I let her lag behind a little, only to turn around and find she had climbed on TOP of a large table. Yep. I was that mom. It was at that point I decided it was time to vacate the premises.

We almost went to see Ryan at his film shoot, but decided it might not be a good time for my little hungry, cranky hooligan to visit a set.

I tried to tell her that the reason she was having a hard time being happy and obeying was because she was tired. She didn't seem to think so.

We headed to Wal-Mart for what I thought would be a quick trip. When we were leaving I couldn't believe it was already six o'clock! Since Nola hadn't napped, and Violet took a shorter one than usual I was totally planning to put them to bed at seven. Yeah, we didn't quite make it. We got close though. By the time we got home, unloaded, fed, and satisfied with a mini episode of Wonder Pets the girls got in bed by seven thirty.

After the girls went to bed I forced myself to pick up the house before I crashed on the sofa. It didn't take long and I was so glad I did. It's so much easier to wake up in the morning with a clean kitchen. I watched a movie on Netflix called Shades of Ray. It was a romantic comedy interesting enough to keep me intrigued. It stars Zachary Levi, if you're a fan.

When Ryan is gone I have a hard time going to bed. Especially if I know he'll be coming in around midnight. That's just early enough that I could stay up and still be a human being the next day. So I tried. Around twelve thirty I just couldn't make it anymore and I crashed. His shoot ran a little late and he came home around one thirty.

One more mundane detail about the day. Violet pooped in her diaper twice! Twice! The first time it was because I didn't take her potty after nursing like usual, the second time I don't know what happened. I just missed her signals, I guess. Also, I've recently added iron fortified cereal to her breakfast. The last time I did a diet change (adding solids) she took a few days to figure out her new system. Maybe that's what it is...

How mundane was your Monday?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Success and Failure: A Potty Post

First the success. We went to the bookstore recently. One of my and Nola's favorite activities. Nola grabs a few stuffed animals, plays with the train table, and even looks at a book or two. I grab a book or magazine and watch her play, occasionally stopping to read her a book when requested.

We usually go just the two of us. It's not too exciting for Violet. But all three of us went recently, and while we were there Violet told me she needed to poop. Not in so many words, of course. She looked at me intently and grunted and grunted. She stopped. I said, "Violet, do you need to go potty?" She grunted and grunted some more. So I took her to the potty and she pooped!

Slight coincidence? A little bit. But it's evidence that she does recognize the feeling of needing to go, without immediately letting it loose. If I hadn't taken her to the potty right away, she probably wouldn't have waited, say, until we got home. But it was a good chance for her to start learning that we will take her to the potty if she communicates her needs. Get it? That's why they call it elimination communication. She communicates to us when she needs to eliminate. Fancy sounding words for such a gross part of life.

Lesson learned? A few little grunts really may mean "Take me potty, please" in Violet talk.

And now for the failure. Violet woke from a morning nap while I was teaching my preschool Spanish class here at home. I quickly went and got her and ran back to class. I didn't take her potty like I usually do when she wakes up. Then I proceeded to go on with class and completely ignore her. She was happy in her bumbo seat. When class was over I picked her up and got a nasty whiff of number two. Sure enough, she had pooped. I can't be sure, but I don't think she was poopy when I got her out of bed or I would've smelled it. It was rather foul.

Lesson learned? If I want her to use the potty I have to offer it at predictable times, consistently. At this age the goal is not for her to be able to "hold" her elimination, the goal is that I will take her when she needs to go. We're still working on our communication (like the success story above) so right now we are relying on routine. I have a feeling she was waiting for me to get her out of bed before she pottied, but when I didn't take her like usual she thought, "Well, I'm not holding this forever so guess I'm going in the diaper." Also, she may have been showing signs of needing to poop during class but I was ignoring her. I wasn't communicating with her. It's a two way street, that communication. If she's communicating, I have to listen.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Home Run: A Sappy Post About Life

When I was in school I hated sports. HATED them. I wasn't ever very good at any of them, and I was afraid of the ball. Many sports require a ball, so this was a problem for me. In the third grade we were all required to be on the basketball team. When I found out that at the end of the season we would take a road trip to Columbia, MO and play another team...I cried. I'm pretty sure I cried all the way home. And it was a half hour drive.

It didn't help that I went to a small church school. My P.E. class was everyone from sixth through twelfth grade. Than meant that teeny tiny twelve year old me frequently had to play dodge ball with the ginourmous sixteen year old boys. They threw hard.

One day we went to a baseball diamond to play softball. The worst. A nightmare for me. I was really scared of the ball in softball. They throw it at you! Right at your face. And you either hit it with the tiny pole you're holding or it hits you. Even underhanded pitches scared me. My usual P.E. teacher (Stacy Schromm, a teaching legend who deserves her own sappy post) always made me suck it up and try. As she should have. I needed to learn to do hard things. But this day we had a substitute.

Enter David "Buck" Hudson. One of the pastors from my church.

I don't remember if I was crying before I even went to bat, or if he could just tell I was scared. Or maybe I swung and swung and never hit it. That might have been it. Either way, Buck stepped in and saved my day.

"I'll bat for you, and then you run to first base."

Such relief. And then, he not only batted for me, he hit a home run for me! Even the big boys who crushed me in dodge ball couldn't always hit a home run like that. It was epic. I felt like I had hit the home run, but all I had to do was run the bases.

Some days we need to push ourselves. Do the hard thing. Learn the lesson. Other days, we need someone else to come along and hit the home run so all we have to do is run the bases.

Thanks, Buck.

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Quote

"I think the most significant work we ever do, in the whole world, in our whole life, is done within the four walls of our own home."

Stephen R. Covey (The guy who wrote The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Marvelous Monday!

Nothing mundane about this one! Fourth of July! Woohoo!

I love holidays. I love having something to celebrate. I love traditions. I love the marking of time even though it makes me sad sometimes. I love them so much that I occasionally get a little uptight about the festivities. I'm not a perfectionist at all whatsoever. What we do doesn't have to be perfect, but we have to do SOMETHING!! I think it was when I realized that this was Nola THIRD Fourth of July that I sort of freaked out on the inside. She's already had three of these! We only have fifteen Fourth of July's left with her! (Assuming she magically turns into a complete adult overnight and leaves our home at the age of eighteen never to be seen again.) I was scrambling for traditions.

Since the Fourth of July was Monday this year, the whole weekend felt like a holiday to me. We left Nola's kiddie pool outside the whole weekend. We left it in the driveway which looked a little ghetto. Sorry neighbors. But this way it got soaked in sunlight and was practically a hot tub for the girls. Violet doesn't seem to be a huge fan of the water, but I think we may have been catching her too close to nap times every time we took her out. Nola doesn't like to put her face or head in the water, but she loves playing with toys. She spent most of the time getting in and out of it. She would grab her floatie, which she called "rescue boat", throw it out of the water and then go get it yelling, "Say Rescue Boat!" Followed by a pause while she waited for the audience to respond and finishing off with "Good yelling!" Thank you, Dora and Diego.

The girls slept late on Monday morning. It really felt like a holiday. After breakfast, which included an appetizer of a popsicle for Nolie (This was a last minute purchase while I was scrambling for traditions to make this the best Fourth of July ever since we only have fifteen left), we went for our last swim of the weekend. The water had turned a little cloudy by Monday. Eeew.

We had scrambled eggs and sausage in tortillas for lunch. I'm getting better at making home made tortillas, and faster. I was proud of how quickly I rolled them out.

Nola and I made a Fourth of July treat. We dipped strawberries in white chocolate and then dipped them in blue mini m&ms. The m&ms were a little too big and heavy, but they still tasted good. I was supposed to use blue sugar crystals. Guess who was out of all things red and blue for cake decorating? Hy-Vee the night before the Fourth of July. So I bought a bag of mini m&ms and sorted all the blue ones out like a maniac.

The girls took naps in the afternoon and Ryan and I fought about vacuuming. I'll spare you the details. But we were both wrong and we said we were sorry and we forgave each other.

Once the girls were up we headed to Ryan's parents for dinner. I brought along some flour and a huge star stencil to make patriotic stars on their front lawn. It worked pretty well. Next year we'll do a bigger stencil. We were copying these people.

We did a few fireworks at Ryan's parents house, and then everyone followed us back to our house. We put Violet to bed and then proceeded to shoot loud fireworks off right beneath her window for a couple hours. Poor thing. She slept right through it though. It was fun for Nola being old enough to stay up and watch the Fireworks. She liked them. Every once in a while she thought maybe they were scaring her, but then she'd jump right back into it. She loved the snappers. Of course. Who doesn't? Those things are awesome. And she loved the snakes.

When it finally got dark we took a little walk down the street and up the hill, while Grandpa stayed with Violet. Our neighborhood is just perfect for seeing the fireworks all across the city. We saw quite a few of those floating lanterns, too.

And that was the end. It was a good Fourth. How was yours?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Things to Read

I've found some cool mom blogs lately that I like. Thought I'd share the wealth. Because what every mom needs is something to cause her more pain in the management of her time. :)

I think Simple Mom looks interesting. This has some great stuff about organizing your home and educating you kids. It has sister blogs for cooking, general girl stuff, and fun things to do with your kids. It is written by multiple contributors, who each have their own blogs as well. You might find someone you really click with and love their ideas.

One of Simple Mom's contributors is Steady Mom. She's on sabbatical right now, but her archives seem great. I have yet to dive in to them. Another contributor I've really latched onto is Lora Lynn who writes at Vita Familiae. She's down to earth and funny. She writes about life with her six kids under the age of seven, the youngest of which just came home to them from Uganda.

A nice blog about living a simpler, more organized life (without buying more containers) is Small Notebook. She's living in Italy right now. How romantic.

A great resource I just found from a friend "liking" it on Facebook is School Sparks. It has amazing resources for getting your child ready for kindergarten, and it's all FREE! There's a crap ton of worksheets. It's free, but it still looks cool. Rare. Sometimes it's a little too obvious that the people giving away resources have no money to pay a graphic designer.

"Liking" School Sparks led me to a sweet little blog called A Mom with a Lesson Plan. It looks like it has a lot of very doable ideas for the average mom like me. And it has me highly motivated to get my girls to the library.

So there you go. A whole evening of reading at your fingertips. :) Just what you needed, right?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Potty Queen

Violet is still rockin' the potty. On the morning of my birthday she had some nasty surprises in her diaper when I got her up. Happy Birthday, Mom! But other than that she has been putting poop where it belongs.

I haven't even tried super hard with the peeing. She does pee when I put her on the potty, but I don't take her enough to keep her diaper dry. I'm waiting on the motivation that cute new cloth trainers will bring. Which I am planning on sewing. So after I get the motivation for the sewing then we'll be ready to go!

She is seven months old now. I still take her potty at the same times as I always have. Right after nursing or eating, and right when she wakes up. She will occasionally show signs of straining and I will get her to the potty to do her business then, too.

I feel really happy we chose elimination communication. Every family is different, and you have to do what works for you. So far this process isn't causing anyone in our family undue stress. So we're still plugging along with it. And I really like it, actually.

If you are getting ready to have a baby or are just dreaming about someday let me say: You can totally do this! It's normal and natural and not as crazy or time consuming as it sounds!

If you already have small children, are pulling your hair out today, and want to punch me in the face when you read about my baby going potty let me say: I totally understand. And, you're right, nobody ever goes to college in diapers. One way or another, kids get potty trained.

This is just something that works for us. So what about you? What's your thing? Every mom has something that they do that other moms think is crazy. Spill it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Mundane Mmm...Wednesday

On Tuesday I could tell that sickness was creeping up on us. I went ahead and cancelled my Spanish class for Wednesday. Good call. Nolie was coughing all morning. She even said at one point, "Mommy, I sick." She layed on the couch all morning watching PBS kids shows. Wearing her hippo on a bicycle jams, cuddling boolah, and sucking her thumb.

I didn't get much done around the house either. I was sort of feeling the ache of sickness myself. Just yucky enough that if I had a job to go to, I'd be there. But since my job is mostly self imposed here, nothing much got done.

After lunch, we were going to try and get out to see Ryan at his office and breathe some fresh air. But Nola fell apart. She wanted to go, but she was crying and crying and she decided taking a nap was a better choice. Seriously. She got in her bed herself. Poor little honey. She fell right to sleep after I sang all four verses of "In Christ Alone" while stroking her knotted, curly hair.

Violet took a nap at the same time. Speaking of which, she's such a little doll at nap time and bed time. I just tuck her into her fleece sleep bag. You know the kind that zip up and leave their arms free? She pops her two fingers in her mouth and calms right down. Even while we do all the little things to tuck Nola in, Violet lays there contentedly in her bed. I love it when we come downstairs and they've both calmed right down, and all we hear in the monitor is the suck suck suck from Violet every few seconds.

The girls only slept an hour, but I decided not to fight it. So we jumped in the car and went to see Ry at the office. Nola really perked up when we go there. She was so happy to see Gamma (that's how she's saying it right now) and Papa. She likes seeing Daddy, but mostly she just wants to sit on Gamma's lap and watch Youtube videos of kittens and puppies.

We didn't stay long, but came home so Violet could have one more nap. Nola watched yet even more tv while cuddling on the couch. Ry came home. Violet woke up. Ry took Saint for a run while I played with Nola and Violet outside. At first I wasn't going to go outside, I mean, she was sick and all. But after she asked and I said no, she let out a heartbroken "Pleeeeeeease!" accompanied with huge, fat, disappointed tears. And I thought, what? is fresh air going to make her sicker? So out we went. We played with sidewalk chalk and checked out the baby bird in our clematis bush out front.

Ryan took Nola and picked up some Little Caesar's pizza for supper. That was so nice.

The girls went to bed early. When Nola was going through her night time rituals she was having trouble producing on the potty. Ryan said to her, "Are you sure? Do you need to go potty?" She answered, "Ummm...No thanks." When she got to me, I said, "Nola, you need to try. One more time." She said, I kid you not, she said, "Actuallyyyyyyyyy...I don't need to." Actually? That's a new word for her.

After another round of all four verses of "In Christ Alone", this time accompanied by Ryan on his rock star guitar, we said goodnight.

Now I'm surfing the internet and updating my blog, while Ryan watches Predators.

Wow. That's a lot of boring personal details in one blog post. (And yet you stuck with it. I tried to reward your heavy reading with lots of pictures.) Share the wealth. What's the most mundane thing you did this Wednesday?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mundane Monday

We made the grocery shopping trip of a lifetime this Monday. I carried Violet in the BabyBjorn front carrier, Nola sat in the cart, and I loaded the basket full of stuff. I usually only shop for a week at a time. This helps us stay on budget, and it helps me to shop alone with the girls. With Violet's huge car seat in the basket I can't fit much else in the cart! But I realized that we were often eating out on the weekends because "we need to go to the store". Convenient excuse. It may not completely curb our eating out, but it will help to have two weeks worth of suppers and lunches available. When I went to check out I plopped Violet in the front of the cart beside Nola so I could get the groceries out faster. Violet was sitting kind of strangely in the cart. The mom behind me was having a heart attack, evidently. She finally said, "I'm sorry! Every time she leans over I'm like..." And I replied, "Oh, I know. Don't fall!" After I got the basket emptied I threw Nolie in the basket and moved Violet to the center of the front so she could hold on to the bar and balance better. That way the mom behind me could breathe.

Nola and I ate a snack on the drive home. It was a little past lunchtime and we were hungry. Once we pulled in to the garage, getting all the groceries and both girls out of the car is a feat, I tell you. I left them both buckled in while I took the frozen stuff in. Then I came back, closed the garage door so Nola wouldn't run outside. I let Nola out, grabbed the rest of the groceries and dumped them right in the entry way, and went back for Violet who was starving.

Nola watched some tv while I fed Violet. Then we had peanut butter and jelly. Followed by naps for both girls. They were asleep in seconds. It was awesome. Nap time is usually a little more stressful than that.

I cleaned up the house while they slept. With a little break for checking email, Facebook, and my newest time stealer Pinterest.

When Ry got home he tried to motivate me to work out with him. I was kind of a party pooper. So he went for a run, and then I took the dog for a walk when he got back. Kind of a weak workout, but better than nothing.

Nola went to Grandma Nita's for the evening. I'm sure she had a ball.

I tried a new chicken recipe for dinner. Peachy Balsamic Chicken. It wasn't superb, but it was different. Since Nola was gone we ate in front of the tv. (Believe it or not, we do actually eat at the table most nights. This is partly because we feel it's important to eat together as a family, and mostly because we don't have a table downstairs big enough for all of us anymore.) We watched an episode of the British Comedy "The IT Crowd". Violet was a little fussy, but we managed.

Nola got home around 7:30 and the girls went to bed. Bed time stresses me out sometimes. I get so DONE at the end of the day. I know the girls do better with a little routine before bed, but I just want to throw them in their beds, shut the door and be done with it! But, still, we powered through. We kissed Grandma and Grandpa's picture on the nightstand, said night-night to the blue birdy on Nola's lamp, prayed, and gave kisses and hugs.

Ryan and I successfully made it to the couch after saying goodnight. We watched more of "The IT Crowd", and an episode of "House". Then we both went to bed. We're such an exciting couple.

The weekend was far more eventful, as weekends usually are. We went to the Omaha Summer Arts Festival Saturday night with Ry's family. (That's what the pictures are from.) Sunday afternoon Nola and I went again with my sister Felicity, her husband Dan, and their three girls to see the Ballet Folklorico perform Mexican folk dances. It was pretty cool, I'm glad we went. The girls all got balloon bracelets and snow cones, too. Free. Sweet deal.

Hope your Monday was as Mundane as mine!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Mundane Monday, of course

We spent the morning at the zoo with some friends from out of town. (I had fun talking cloth diapers with them. I'm like a Jehovah's Witness for cloth diapers.) It was pretty hot at the zoo, but the humidity wasn't too bad. The a/c in our car isn't quite up to par, though. That's frustrating. After a few minutes in the car Nolie's little nose beads up with sweat. She's hot blooded anyway.

We had a long weekend with meetings at church. My mom came to help out with the girls and it was awesome. Nola really enjoyed her time with Gramma Kaffy. Violet even seemed to smile at her more "knowingly" this visit.

The girls shared Violet's room the whole time mom was here. They did great at nighttime. Naps were a little tricky, but doable. The are usually both napping at the same time in the afternoon, but Nola has been having a harder time with naps lately. She plays and plays, and we do our best to discipline her to stay in her bed but she just seems to take forever to fall asleep. And Violet thinks Nola is funny so her antics are occasionally encouraged. Never the less, we've decided to keep them in the same room. Maybe Nola will need to rest somewhere else in the afternoons.

I'm excited that they're together because now I will really finish decorating their room. Last night I moved the furniture around until I found a configuration I liked. Their room is small. The only things in it will be their beds, their dresser, the changing table with diapers, and a small nightstand with a lamp on it. I thought leaving toys out of the room might help encourage sleeping for Nola. Fingers crossed. And I would like to be more zen, like my sister Serenity.

No big plans for this evening. It'll be nice to hang at home with the family.

The girls still aren't asleep. It's 4:36. Should I give in? For Nola, maybe. For Violet, no way. I'm about to fall asleep myself, but it's much too late for that!

Oh, yeah, Violet hasn't pooped in her diaper since I posted about it last! About two weeks, I guess. But now that I've said that, she will probably wake up poopy or something. :) This blog always jinxes me.

And the picture is from our trip to the zoo on Memorial day. The sisterly love is overwhelming. And,yeah, we're zoo crazy here. We're going again this week with my sister Felicity. What can I say? We can't get enough of those tapirs and caymans.

Hope your Monday was as mundane as mine!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Worth It

Parenting is hard. I don't know how it will be in the future, but parenting small children is exhausting. Right now I feel... tired. They need lots of things. Some things that only I can give. It's hard work.

But...the rewards of it rock. I have never done anything, and probably never will, as cool as bringing people into the world. Nothing I have ever done, or dream of someday doing, is as wonderful as being Nola and Violet's mom. (Aside from being Ryan's wife. That was the best decision I ever made, and it just keeps getting better.)

Somedays I have to remind myself how awesome the rewards are. Really. Seriously. I have to stop, breathe, and think of the happiness.

Like chubby cheeks.

And back-lit, crazy hair running around my backyard.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Mundane Monday

Memorial Day! Ryan was home with us all day. Gotta love that. We headed to the zoo first thing. When I asked Nola what animals she wanted to see at the zoo the first one she said was, "Tapir." Her love for Diego has been renewed lately so that must be why she had such a random animal on the brain.

Were we crazy? The zoo on Memorial Day? Well, a little bit. But we got there early and sort of beat the crowds. Grandma Nita and Papa Tom came too. That made it special for Nola. Ry and I were going to ride Skyfari for the first time, but it was closed! We think it was because it was so windy. Everybody went through the aquarium while I went to nurse Violet. As I sat down at a table in the shade I discovered I'd forgotten my cover. (By the way, I just found out it is now legal in Nebraska to breastfeed in public. Ummmm...send me to jail about a million times over. Did not realize it was illegal. Still, you won't catch me whipping Violet's lunch out for all to see next time I'm out. Covering up is still my preference.) So off I went to the bathroom to nurse. Standing up. In the corner. Not fun. I started out in the handicapped stall since I had the stroller with me. Then I overheard someone say, "Well, I'm going to need the big one." So I thought I'd better not hog the handicapped stall from the actually handicapped people. Out I came. I don't think anyone even really noticed what I was doing. I think they thought she was sleeping.

After seeing the cats, we left the zoo and went to Mai Tai for lunch. It's a Thai restaurant. I thought Nola would be a fan of pad thai. It's noodles! She tried it. But after a few bites she turned to me and said, "Mommy, I want some french fries." Little honey.

We came home for naps. Even I fell asleep on the couch. After everybody woke up, we had some leftovers for supper and headed to a party for our friend Britney who just graduated from College. Nola was happy to see a table full of cakes and desserts. She chose white cake with white frosting and sprinkles. She even told Britney "congratulations" to earn her cake.

We had to run to Wal Mart to get dog food and breakfast. I also grabbed a white hat while we were there. It looks quite stylish if I do say so myself. But don't be fooled. If you ever see me in it, it's because I didn't wash my hair. It's not because I was in the mood to accessorize.

This picture was taken Sunday afternoon after naps. That little blanket Nola's holding is "Boolah".

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Potty Post Full of Too Much Information

Violet is 6 months old now. I have been taking her potty since she was around two weeks old. I just thought, "Why not?" I knew I wanted to do elimination communication with her the same as I did with Nola. I started Nola around 7 months, but thought I'd dive in with Violet from the get go. I was amazed at how quickly Violet caught on.

Here's the thing. Little babies pee a lot. A lot, as in, probably every ten or fifteen minutes. They've got some tiny bladders. This translates into a lot of opportunities for success on the potty. Violet pees pretty much every time the potty is offered. Most often, this is right after she wakes from a nap or right after I nurse her. Every once in a while I take her between those times, and it's more hit and miss.

She also poops in the potty. She went almost two months using the potty exclusively for pooping. It was around 4 and 5 months of age. So, I guess I would say that around 4 months she really caught on and was effectively controlling when she eliminated her bowels. (This is such a gross post.) It was around the same time that I stopped drinking milk. I still eat dairy products, but we buy almond milk for the whole family now. This diet change really affected her and she was only pooping about once a week. (My pediatrician says this is fine.) But it was still going in the potty!

We did a lot of traveling recently and she still seemed to have some serious control over her bowels. But then I started feeding her solid food. This threw off her groove. For about a week, she pooped two or three times a day it seemed like, usually in her diaper. I thought, "Oh man! Why am I even doing this? She doesn't know what she's doing. This is craziness." But then she figured it out. I guess the change in her poop threw her off and she wasn't sure how to control it or how to get it out. I don't know. But she's on top of it now. Well, her last poopy diaper was Sunday and today is only Wednesday, I realize. But she's been going just as frequently but putting it in the potty every time.

I think starting earlier is paying off. Nola was around 9 months when she started pooping in the potty successfully, 75% of the time. Poopy diapers have become rare enough already for Violet that it feels kind of weird when I have to change one. And we really don't spend our whole day in the bathroom, I promise. It probably takes me less time to hold her on the potty and let her poop, than it would to clean her up after a poopy diaper. I don't sit there all day waiting for action. She either goes or she doesn't. And then we move on with our lives.

I feel much less obsessed with this process this time around. I'm not gonna lie. I was a little crazy about it the first time. This time I'm so much more relaxed, and yet, look how successful Violet is with it! I guess I could have chilled a little last time. Sorry, Nola.

I can't wait until she is doing so well that I have an excuse to buy cute, teeny tiny cloth training pants. Don't tell Ryan.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mundane Monday

This Monday started out most beautifully. It began with breakfast at Cracker Barrel WITH MY SISTERS! Oh the sheer joy of sitting at the same table with my favorite people in the whole wide world. The only thing better would have been if my mom had been sitting there, too. (Of course, Ryan would have made the table complete for me. But he also would've been stabbing himself in the eye with his fork while sitting there listening to us women jabber.)

My sisters were in town for the engagement party for some very good friends on Sunday night. (All the happiness in the world to Kate and Drew! Although it appears there may not be any more happiness to wish them. They were overflowing that night!) Felic and Seren brought Jake and Macy. Ryan was a doll and watched all the kids so we could go out for dinner beforehand. As we got seated at Red Robin we whipped out our mile long lists of things-to-talk-to-my-sisters-about. There is never enough time at dinner to complete those lists, people. Never. Enough. Time. Later that night we headed to downtown Omaha for the party. It was fun to see us walking to Old Chicago. The three Nickerson sisters with their matching mini people in hand. (Ry took Violet in his car. I had to ride with my sisters. Going downtown is an entire half an hour of conversation I refused to miss!) We took this picture at the party. Nola was busy hunting down deer in the arcade and shooting them with the bright orange shotgun that was as big as she was.

Anyway, that brings us back to Monday's breakfast with sisters. Being with them reminds me how happy I am that Nola and Violet have each other. Sisterhood is such a gift. Alas, we did have to say goodbye. Nola did not want Jakey to leave. And she was disappointed she hadn't seen Macy's bag of animals sooner! We have a classy picture of Jake and Macy smiling nicely at the camera while Nola sits between them staring at the toys in her hands. Violet gave her aunts smiles now and then, but she was mostly sleeping while they were here.

After our goodbye we went home. It was a beautiful day and I got all ambitious and trimmed the tree in our front yard. (This is probably because Felic casually mentioned that it needed done. And I worship her.) It was hard work but it looks so nice. Ryan is annoyed that we now have a pile of limbs in our back yard. TREE limbs. Tree limbs. I promised I would take care of them.

Nolie followed me around in the yard with her rain boots on. We had a lot of "STAY OUT OF THE STREET!" practice. And also some, "It is not safe for you to play in the car." And a little, "Nolie, put down the hand saw." I'm not sure why she insists on sitting on the patch of grass between the sidewalk and the street. What's wrong with the grass in the shade IN OUR YARD?

Saint got out while we worked. He tore at the fence and dug enough of a hole to wiggle out of there. Yay! Nola told me, "I'll go get 'eem" as she ran after him. I told her he'd come back on his own. Violet was asleep inside so we couldn't leave. He did come back because he got hot and needed to take a dip in Nolie's pool in the back. I grabbed him and locked him up downstairs.

We ate some cold pizza for lunch. Then we all took a nap. Violet was still sleeping when we laid down, but she got up about an hour later. I nursed her and took her outside for some fresh air herself. We played in the front yard until Ryan pulled the Jeep into the driveway. You should see the smile on Violet's face when she sees her dad. *Sigh* Heart melting.

The day kind of went down hill from there. It was just one of those nights where having small children was a hard job. They were lovely little girls, but they were needy. We survived through supper and a bath, and an episode of Diego. Then the girls went to bed, and Ryan and I tucked ourselves into the tv room for a movie.

And that's that. Mundane Monday memories in a very large nut shell.