Wednesday, July 28, 2010

To-Dos

Last week I posted a bunch of stuff that I wanted to do during the brief period of time between Long Beach and Crescent Bar (zoo, aquarium, water spray park, etc.).  Um, yeah, we didn't do most of it.  We ended up spending a few days staining our fence (well, Paul did while I kept the girls out of the way) and then we substituted Lake Tapps yesterday for the original idea of Lake Sammammish State Park or the water spray park.  Oh well.  We've had a great time so far, and Paul has a few Mondays off in August so we'll hopefully make it to the zoo then.

It's amazing how fast 3 weeks goes.  It seems like Paul's 3-week vacation just started, but we're leaving tomorrow and when we get back, that'll be it!  Gone.  Back to work.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Day at the Lake

We had the best day today at Lake Tapps.  Paul's company has their own private section that is SO nice!  They have their own campground, lots of picnic/BBQ areas and a great swimming area, all with goregous Mount Rainier in the background.  The girls enjoyed playing in the water and running up and down the...not dock, but a breakwater/walkway type thingie.  We had a picnic lunch and just had a great time hanging out as a family.  I love that we can do things now and not have to worry about rushing home for naptime.  While the girls do usually nap from 1:30 to 3:45 or 4:00 (heaven!), if we're gone somewhere and we don't make it back by then it's no biggie.  Today we left around 3:30 and they just crashed in the car (missing out on ice cream at Ben and Jerry's, but they got some later at home).  They only got a 30-minute nap but that's ok. 

We were going to go to the zoo tomorrow, but have decided against it.  Paul twisted his ankle today so he doesn't think he'll be up for all the walking involved, plus we leave again on Thursday for Crescent Bar so we have lots to do around here, which I think will include me getting a pedicure.  Ahhh...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Vacation, Part 1

Last week we went to Long Beach, WA, a cute little coastal town right on the Pacific Ocean just north of the mouth of the Columbia River (i.e. the dividing line between WA and OR).  We had a pretty good time, although the weather was cold and cloudy much of the time.  We did have a few warmer spells but it mostly hovered around 60, 61.  Nonetheless, we enjoyed playing on the beach, building sand castles and flying a kite, and took a day trip to Cannon Beach, OR, about 45 minutes South.  And of course, I ate my weight in Salt Water taffy.



Anyway, on Tuesday we did a horse-back ride on the beach.  I was figuring that I would have to go alone while Paul watched the girls, but to my surprise they let the girls ride in front of us, so we could all go together.  They had never been on a horse before but they weren't the least bit scared.  We were on HUGE horses, too--Shires, which are a DRAFT horse breed (draft horses are the big work horses, like the Clydesdales in the Budweiser commercials).  But they were also really lazy.  Such a disappointment for an experienced rider like me.  Most places in the USA that rent horses for trail rides or what-not only let you walk, I guess for liability reasons.  But these people allowed us to trot!  Cool!  However, our horses refused to!  I was kicking the heck out of this guy and he would. not. move.  So that was kind of disappointing, but it was still fun to take the girls on a beach ride.


The day before we left, we went to Paul's company picnic where the girls got to ride in a bucket truck (he works for an electric/gas ulitily).  That was awesome.  Unfortunately, our camera's battery had died so I only got pictures on my cell phone, which I can't seem to upload.  I did get some cute pictures of the girls eating ice cream, however:






And playing on the playground:


No fear

Staying at Home vs. Working Outside the Home



This week's topic at Multiples and More is staying at home versus working outside the home.

Do you work outside the home, or stay home with your kids?  I stay home.

How did you come to that decision?  Frankly, the decision was made for us because of the cost of TWO in daycare (or with a nanny).  I had always wanted to stay home anyway, but didn't think we could afford it. I had every intention of going back to work after the girls were born, not because I wanted to but because I thought I didn't have the choice.  But as it turned out, putting them both in daycare would have consumed most of my salary, so what would be the point of being away 50+ hours a week (I had a horrible commute) for a few hundred dollars?  So, I "got" to stay home after all.  It's very tight financially, but SO worth it!

Are you glad that you made that decision?  Absolutely.

What is your favorite aspect of working, or of staying at home? Being there for all the "firsts", and just being there.  Your least favorite aspect?  Lack of money.  I miss shopping (or rather, buying).  I miss eating out.  I miss going to movies.  I miss going to plays/concerts/museums/festivals/etc.  I miss traveling.  Of course, even if we had the money, most of that would be limited anyway due to childcare issues (not much family nearby and haven't found a teenage babysitter).

If you stay at home, did you have to make adjustments to your lifestyle in order to make this work?  Absolutely-see above.

Do you plan to continue what you are doing now, or will you make a change in the future?  I plan to go back to work once the girls are in school full-time.

What advice would you give to a mom who is pregnant, and trying to decide whether to stay home with her kids, or go back to work?  First of all, I would encourage anyone to stay home if at all possible.  For some it's just not possible and I get that.  But let's be honest--if you could ask any newborn to 5-year-old whether THEY would prefer their mommy at home or working, I seriously doubt many kids would say "working", even if they really like daycare and I realize some kids really do.  My personal feeling is that children should be cared for by their parents, not a hired stranger (again, if at all possible).  To me, that just makes logical sense.  But, I realize SAH is just not for everyone (however, if it was the "sitting around on your @$$ all day" aspect that was turning them off, I would invite them over for a day for a serious education as to how totally inaccurate that is!), so I would just say that they need to do what they feel is best for them and their kids.  While being home affords you the opportunity to be the primary caretaker, spend much more time with them, let them set their own schedule and be there for all the "firsts" (not to mention being able to hit Costco and Target during a weekday morning when it's much less crowded), some might feel it's better to work outside the home and be able to afford vacations, a bigger/nicer home, more activities/lessons, college, etc.  I can totally understand that.  It's up the parents to decide which is more important or desirable.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Multiples and More Question of the Week: Crying it Out (CIO)



This weeks QOTW topic at Multiples and More is on the controversial subject of CIO, or crying it out, a sleep training method.

How do you feel about CIO?  Personally, I'm not a fan, but if it works for others that's fine.  It really wasn't an option for me, having twins (as it was, the second either one of them made a sound I was in there in a flash to quiet and/or remove them in an attempt to not wake the other), but even if it were I don't think I would have used it.  I just couldn't stand by and listen to my baby cry for 20 minutes.  Although, Kayley did go through a phase where she just wouldn't go to sleep at bedtime and we finally did just let her cry for 20 minutes one night, despite poor Olivia having to listen to and put up with her.   The next night it was only 10 minutes and the next night it was back to normal.  Because I knew that the only reason she was crying was that she simply wanted to stay up and play, I was able to tolerate it.  But if it had been a situation where I didn't know why the heck she was crying, I wouldn't have been able to not try to comfort her.  So as far as using CIO on a regular basis, I don't think I could have done it, even with a singleton.  Fortunately, my girls started sleeping through the night (STTN) at 2 1/2 and 3 months, and if they did wake up in the middle of the night it was pretty easy to get them back to sleep.  I never really needed any kind of sleep training.

Did you use this method for sleep training?  No.  See above.

If you are against it, do you feel that it is damaging in any way to a child?  Probably not long term, but I just can't help but feel bad for a baby left to cry for long periods of time without being comforted.  Even though I know that with CIO it's only after you've ruled out hunger, dirty diaper, sickness, etc.  Still, what if they're just scared or just wanting mommy for whatever reason?  I don't know...

How well did/do your multiples sleep?  Very well most of the time.  They've gone through phases where they only sleep 8 1/2 or 9 hours at night (but napped for 3) or skipped their nap a few days a week, but for the most part they've been really great.

Do you think you are/were more likely to allow a child to CIO because he/she is a multiple?  On the contrary!  Being a multiple ruled it out completely.  It's all about doing everything possible to NOT wake the sleeping baby!

What instances do you think it is appropriate, or inappropriate to allow a child to CIO?  I think it's totally up to the parents to decide if it's appropriate for their child/situation.  While I personally am not a fan, I don't have a problem with other people doing CIO if they feel it's right for them.  The only time I would say that it is NOT appropriate is if the child is sick or other things like hunger have not been ruled out.

Vacation

Paul has the next 3 weeks off work and we have tons of plans.  We are heading to Long Beach (WA) on Sunday, so today I'm going to be busy doing laundry and packing because tomorrow we'll be gone most of the day at his company picnic and then I have my monthly girls' night tomorrow evening.  We'll get home Friday, and then the following Thursday we leave for Crescent Bar again.

During the week in between that we're home, we want to:
  • Go to the zoo again, hopefully with much better weather than when we went on Memorial Day.
  • Go to Lake Sammammish State Park to play/swim/have a picnic.
  • Go back to the water spray park since I couldn't manage it well by myself.
  • Go to either the Aquarium or Children's Museum, maybe both if there's time.
I hope that we'll be able to fit it all it, considering that we also have tons of home projects to work on, namely staining our fence and hopefully painting our living room.

Should be a fun and busy three weeks.  And once we're home from Crescent Bar in early August I'm going to get serious about two things:  Diet/exercise/weight loss and potty training.  Ugh...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Playdate

We had a playdate today with my friend Laura and her 4-year-old daughter Linsdsay at Coulon Park in Renton (her older son came too which was great-extra eyes and arms!).  I've been there before (took the girls a little over a month ago after dropping a friend off at the airport-it's on the way there/home) but didn't realize they have a really nice, huge playground.  I just knew they had Ivar's and Kidd Valley, a boardwalk by the lake and a bunch of nature trails.  Anyway, it's a really cool park.  The girls had a blast playing on a bunch of stuff we don't have at any of the parks around our house, and loved their fish and chips from Ivar's.  We saw ducks, including a mommy duck with 11 tiny ducklings (so cute!) and turtles.



Lindsay (with Jordan and Kayley in the background)


The girls wanted to hold Lindsay's hand(s).  So sweet.


Octoduck, plus 3 more somewhere.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Family BBQ

Last weekend my family had a BBQ at my brother and sister-in-law's house.  It was so fun for us because most of my family lives an hour and a half away and we don't see each other that often.  My niece (daughter of said brother and sister-in-law) has two little ones also, a daughter that's 11 months older than the girls and a 4-month old boy, so it's fun to get them all together.  In the past the 3 girls haven't really interacted very much but now that they're a little older they did much more so this time so that was fun to watch.  We were blessed with a nice day, so the girls got to play in the wading pool.





They had a total blast, especially after their uncles threw the slide into the mix.

NOW we're talkin'...

Tomorrow we have a playdate with a friend and her 4-year-old at Gene Coulon Park in Renton.  It should be a beautiful day for fish and chips by the lake.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Hot Day at the Water Spray Playground

Today I had a moms group playdate at Crossroads Community Park in their water spray area.  I never knew this place existed so I was really excited to find out about it.  It's a great park with all these cool whales, dragons, rock walls, etc. that spray water, as well as a big dry land playground.  Today was really hot so I was really looking forward to it.  But, as has happened before, I never actually found the group!  I had forgot the organizer's phone number at home so I couldn't call, and I've never yet met anyone so I had no idea who was with the group and who wasn't and there were way too many people to just start asking.  In any case, we still had fun, although it was really hard for me to keep track of both girls by myself so we didn't stay too long.  I'm hoping to go back in a few weeks when Paul is on vacation and can come with us (we could go on a weekend but I'm sure it's a zoo).

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Praying for Cash

No, not as in money.  While at Crescent Bar over the holiday weekend we met a family with a 20-month-old son with cancer.  His name is Cash.  It's in (or around) his brain stem and is inoperable.  He was diagnosed at 16 months after the family was initially told it was something else that was very common and harmless (I forget what).  He has undergone radiation and some other new, state-of-the-art therapy (proton something-or-other?) in Houston (they live in Washington).  Oh, and they have a 3- or 4-year old son and a 6-week-old son.  This woman has been flying (or maybe driving, since most 3rd tri women can't fly?) while in the last few months of pregnancy and now with a newborn.  Can you imagine the stress?  Dealing with all this while expecting a new baby?

The good news is that he seems to be responding very well to the treatment (which has also included a stem cell transplant from the new baby's cord blood (or whatever).  And this woman's attitude was amazing.  She was so positive and optomistic.  A true inspiration.  I just feel so bad for this poor little boy who has had to endure all this, and can't even imagine what his parents are going through.  So anyway, if you could pray for them I (and they, I'm sure) would appreciate it.  Thanks.

Crescent Bar

We spent the 4th with the in-laws at Crescent Bar.  The girls had a blast again in the baby pool, and this time we could just sit comfortably by and watch and not have to been in the water with them, hovering in case they fell over or whatever.  On Thursday Paul and I got to leave them with grandma and grandpa and go wine tasting at a nearby winery with spectacular scenery, so that was a nice little "date".  Saturday they had an awesome fireworks show, and Sunday the girls got to be in the annual 4th of July parade.  The neighbors in the condo below did a whole Hawaiian theme and had extra leis and skirts for the girls (actually just one skirt that we cut in half and duct-taped), so we walked behind their "float" (decorated golf cart) with the girls in their umbrella strollers.  I thought they might just walk at least some of the way but they were pretty tired from staying up late the night before so they were perfectly content in their strollers.  It was a fun trip, but unfortunately the weather wasn't as great as it usually is, albeit a ton better than here on the west side!  It was pretty windy most days, making it not very pleasant for hanging by the pool.

Oh, and I'm happy and very proud to report that not only did I not gain the usual 3 pounds this time around, but I didn't gain ANY!  As a matter of fact, I LOST 0.4 pounds!  It's a miracle!  I allowed the occasional splurge hear and there but for the most part I tried to eat like I normally do at home (which required me bringing some of my own food) and it worked!  Plus I did a good, 45-minute, fast, partly uphill walk 2 of the days, and lots of other walking (like in the parade) the other days.  Now, if I can just get through our week at Long Beach and our next Crescent Bar trip, I can hopefully start making some real progress.







Getting ready for the parade






We won for Best Costumes


The girls in their 4th of July dresses

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

New Toy

I'll get around to posting about our 4th one of these days, but in the meantime, summer has finally arrived here in the Pacific Northwest (a day late--usually it's July 5th) and the girls got to try out their new water table.







It wasn't long before they decided it would better serve as a wading pool...




And not long after that they decided to just water plants instead...




Moments after deciding it was safe to sit down and open a book, I looked up to discover this scene unfolding...


When in Rome...


Tomorrow we'll try swim diapers and bathing suits...