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.