Come see our new blog site! www.fredricksfam.blogspot.com
Long story short, this host site had too many problems for me to deal with, so I changed. I couldn’t get in touch with anyone in support to get help… seriously no email or phone number listed. The only contact info was a snail mail address! I had so many problems logging in, or more accurately, not being able to log in. And, so many other sites offer blog to book options, and this one doesn’t. So, I moved. Hopefully some day I can move my content over, but right now I can’t get it to export properly, (and can’t get anyone from this site to help), so that might not happen.
I apologize for the rant, but I’m hoping maybe someone from blog.com will run across this and get some of the issues fixed!
Come check us out and see some updated pictures soon!
So this is happening…
And I realize that most of you know already, because if you read this blog, you know me personally, and I’ve likely talked to you in the last few months.
I was going to apologize for the late announcement, and say, “I am the world’s worst blogger” and so on, but honestly, as much as I love blogging, I feel like I just don’t have the time or desire after spending so much time on the computer for work, and feeling like I’m ignoring the kids or the laundry or making food. And, of course, it’s spring so we’re busy with all things outside. But, hopefully I can get that in another post soon. In the mean time, I’ll say, right now, everything with baby #3 is going ok. We had/have a couple of issues, but things are looking good. Baby is healthy and growing well. No, we didn’t find out the sex, so we’ll see what happens around Aug 20. I am having more round ligament pain and pain in my lower back than the last pregnancies, so that’s annoying. But, this time I’m seeing a chiropractor, and that’s helping. This time I’m older, everything is pre-stretched, and I have TWO other ones to carry around and look after, and all of that makes for a pretty exhausting pregnancy. I have to say, it hasn’t been easy. But, we are looking forward to our growing family! We even had to buy a new car so we could fit everyone in!
I recently heard an interview on NPR, with author Jennifer Senior, who wrote the book All Joy and No Fun. Part of me was really, really glad I heard the interview. Here’s why. For years I’ve been beating myself up about my parenting. It’s hard. It’s supposed to be fun, right? Every day, it’s hard. Even days that are supposed to be super fun, like going to the zoo, or a birthday party, or a friend’s house is not always super fun. Just trying to get packed up to go is a job. You’re trying to pack while your toddler is unpacking for you, and your 3 year old is asking for the third breakfast of the day, and you realize that you’re almost out of diapers so you better throw the diapers in the laundry quick, and the kids have been so excited for their super fun day that they woke up too early which means they’ll be cranky way before it’s nap time, and when you get there you have to haul around half the car with you so you have snack and diapers and drinks…
need I say more? You end up coming home exhausted, and although it was fun for the kids, it wears them out too, which makes for a super fun evening (insert sarcasm here), because they’re exhausted too. So, it’s nice to hear that I’m not the exception in my feelings as a parent.
One of the things I heard in the interview is that the average college educated woman is 30.3 years old when they have their first child. That means that you’ve had 5 – 10 years of being in a professional environment. Things are organized, adults can rationalize, and logic runs life (for the most part). Then you’re thrown into this world where, the long and short science of it is, a child’s brain DOES NOT function like that… ever… for many years. So for the stage that my kids are at, we’re living in a world like this… not only can they not rationalize, also, they have no concept of anything except the present. The future, like “after dinner you can have that cookie” makes no sense to them. So, there’s that. And for me, a logical, sort of organized, slightly OCD person, this does not work well.
So here’s my bigger problem. It seems somewhere in my life, I decided that being a stay at home Mom was like the best. job. ever. In my little mind, it was like better than that fairy tale wedding you’d been dreaming of since you were 12. Huh? Really? Who gave me that impression? 99% of the time, we’re not doing learning projects and sensory tables and making cute crafts and doing obstacle courses outside, and all those things you imagine you’ll do when you’re a perfect parent. The kids are dragging toys through the house while I’m trying to make progress on the state of our house (and my husband says we usually make negative progress, so that’s a fail). I’m trying to do grocery shopping, or cook, or laundry, or have 35 seconds where my brain isn’t constantly bombarded with, “Mom I need more milk.” “Julija’s hitting me.” “Can you open this?” Or just the cry that means the big one is picking on the little one. Or, do my actual job which I get paid for, and I need to put in 20-25 hours a week (from home). So, (mostly) stay at home Mom is not all fun and games. So what is the best gig? Who knows. Below is an excerpt from her interview. http://www.npr.org/2014/02/04/271416048/are-we-having-fun-yet-new-book-explores-the-paradox-of-parenting
On “housewives” vs. “stay-at-home moms”
In the 1960s if you stayed home with your kids, what were you? You were a “housewife.” You focused on your house. You didn’t focus on your kids. You focused on your house. Your house had to be clean. You had to master the differences between oven cleaners and floor waxes and stuff that made your wood nice and shiny, but you put your kids in a playpen, that’s what you did.
And now if you stay home with your kids, you are a “stay-at-home mom,” you focus on your kids. You are a professional mom and you focus on the right toys for your kids, the right educational things for your kids. So all the women who are working, when they’re not working they want to be professional moms too, so they’re pouring all of this energy into their children in their off hours. And by the way, their houses are suffering. Their houses are a mess. If you look at the American time use surveys, no one takes care of their house anymore. That’s a very clear downward slope.
Well, at least I’m not the only one with a messy house. That makes me feel better.
So, here’s the other thing. From about 1890 – 1920 activists pushed against child labor and suddenly children went from being “economically worthless to emotionally priceless… and became these exalted creatures at the center of our lives.” One of the things that came along with way of thinking is that parents now feel they need to raise their children to be happy, and that is a main goal. How does one do that anyway? If your child isn’t happy all the time, do parents feel like they failed? How can parents live up to that kind of pressure?
Another thing I heard in the interview that having a child is like this transcendent moment. That’s true! I cried uncontrollably, happy tears, the minute my kids were born. And, that’s about where that feeling ends. Don’t get me wrong, my kids make me happy, but they also make me really mad, and tired, and cranky. I love seeing them learn new things, create something new, play together, and take care of each other. So yes, having kids is all joy, but no fun.
Part of me was not happy…
Sleep deprivation. She states that the population is divided into thirds when it comes to sleep deprivation. One third seems to be ok, cranky but functional. The next third is really cranky and not fun to be around. The last third are the ones that are catastrophic. And you don’t know which you’re going to be. So, the problem is that this goes on for weeks, months, or years. Awesome.
Children don’t improve parents’ happiness at all. They may be responsible for more highs, but are also responsible for more lows. Here is a paragraph that caught my attention.
Children alter the adult relationships into which they obtrude. Indeed, Senior says, they provoke a couple’s most frequent arguments — “more than money, more than work, more than in-laws, more than annoying personal habits, communication styles, leisure activities, commitment issues, bothersome friends, sex.” Mothers are frequently overwhelmed by their attempts to excel both at their paid jobs and at child care. In 1965, when most American women didn’t work outside the home, mothers nonetheless spent almost four fewer hours a week than today’s mothers do providing child care. Fathers, on the other hand, spend three times as many hours with their children now as they did then, but do better at keeping some downtime reserved for themselves; they do not judge themselves the way mothers do, and experience few of the pressures that make women feel so guilty about being away from home during the workday.
I’m not away from home during the workday, but my attention is. But, it seems that the expectation of being a parent has changed drastically since I was growing up. A stay at home Mom then was busy with making a roast for dinner or vacuuming, or having coffee with the neighbor, but the love of their parents was never questioned. We always knew we were loved, even if we weren’t being hovered over all the time. Now it seems the expectation is that we have to be deeply interactive… the helicopter parent. Yet, we are still expected to keep a clean house, and feed the family, and have social lives… oh wait, and be the parent that has kids craft time every day, and teach them things they are supposed to learn in school because we all want to give our kids a head start, and go to the science museum, and teach them responsibility by giving them their own garden spot, and… the list goes on. So that’s where I think most of my stress comes from. The expectations seem over the top. Am I the only one not meeting them? I’m pretty sure this is why I get frustrated. I’m stressed that I’m not meeting the expectations, and the house is a mess when Dad gets home, and dinner gets cooked twice a week and then we eat leftovers, and the toys are everywhere, and we don’t have anything “constructive” to show for what we did that day… so it’s frustrating, and it builds up and flows over to the kids when they are constantly needing things when I’m trying to get something done. And then I’m a terrible parent.
Disclaimer – I love my kids. I would not change the fact that I had them. In summary, although it’s rough some days, and I think I’m a bad parent most of the time, I need my kids and I love them.
Here is a link to the interview. http://www.npr.org/2014/02/04/271416048/are-we-having-fun-yet-new-book-explores-the-paradox-of-parenting
We had one day at the end of January that was in the 50′s. So, after nap time, we drove to wine country (in Missouri) to a neat little park, covered in white sand, and took some pictures. It was getting a little chilly as the sun was setting, so their noses are little rosy, and their patience was a little thin. But, here are some of my favorites.
The lack of pictures is embarrassing.
Picture this… A whirlwind weekend of Thanksgiving and Christmas festivities; the picture perfect Thanksgiving dinner, surrounded by family, the next morning heading out early to the tree farm to pick the perfect tree with the whole family, celebrating Christmas the next morning, and then packing up our new gifts and heading home finally on Sunday.
Or picture this… visiting friends with two little boys who are perfect matches for our girls to play; a kid-friendly pizza place for dinner, a Christmas lights display by the river, sledding, jumping in their bounce house, homemade meals, and such a wonderful host and hostess that we stayed an extra night.
Or how about this… a family Christmas party; a beautifully decorated house, the smells of hearty chowder and delectable desserts when you walk in the door, singing Christmas carols to neighbors while the sparkling snow gently falls, and kids in footie jammies being carried to the car at the end of the night.
Or the traditions of Christmas eve… spending it with family, driving up to see the lights from the windows glowing out over the cold snow, oyster stew at a festive table lined with chairs and so full we barely fit, cousins running up and down the stairs playing together.
Or the joy of Christmas day when the house you grew up in fills up with family; smoke lifting from the chimney means the house is warm and inviting you in from the cold, Mom busy in the kitchen, the tree lit up, adorned with ornaments and candy canes for the kids, the presents piling up as people arrive, brothers and sisters sharing memories, stories or just catching up, gifts from lists and homemade things given with love, the kids new toys spread around the house, laughter coming from all rooms of the house, and finally the last ones leave with their arms full of gifts or kids… the memories of Christmases past in the house filling your mind as the night winds down.
Or the family tradition we have of going sledding or skating the day after Christmas; the family lakehouse kitchen filling up with homemade food for the day, hot chocolate and chili to warm the soul, the kids yelling with delight as they sled down the hill, and the snowmobiles bringing them back up, walking around the frozen lake, looking for tracks of one kind or another, red noses and rosy cheeks after a day of play outside.
And finally, the quiet cabin in the northwoods… the only ones you meet on the road are the deer, the moon peeking through the trees, building a snowman on the lake complete with a carrot nose, making circles on the frozen lake with your skates, watching movies snuggled on the couch, and the faint smell of woodsmoke in the air.
Ok, so maybe it ALL wasn’t so picturesque. But in my mind, this is how I remember it. We did have a lot of winter driving, lots of snow, some rain and sleet, and it was COLD, especially for those of us that have outgrown the Minnesota/Wisconsin weather with too many winters away. We didn’t have any major road trip incidents this time, which is always lucky for us. But my favorite part of the holidays, is being able to spend it with family and friends. So, it’s all worth it.
Here are some pictures from our holidays.
I thought I should post these, since at the rate I’m going, I might get to blogging about their birthdays in a few years… I know I posted pictures of them individually, but we also took some of them together. We took these at the end of August, so Julija was 10 months, and Amelija was a week shy of 3. I love to watch their relationship forming. I hope they are the best of friends. I hope Amelija takes care of Julija, and I hope Julija leans on Amelija. I hope they play together, learn together, and grow together, yet learn to be their own people. I love to see little things that Julija does that I remember Amelija doing too. I love to see things Julija does that Amelija never did. It reminds me to stop comparing. I love them both, in their own way, but I love seeing them together. These just melt my heart.
The last “what we’ve been up to” kind of post was for May and June. So that means I have 2 or 3 months of photos and updates to post here to complete summer. I’ll try to summarize and keep it short, but this might be the most random post ever! It seems strange to be writing about summer when it’s freezing cold outside, and we’re picking up leaves in the yard, we already went trick-or-treating, and we’re getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving. Better late than never, right?
We celebrated the 4th of July with our usual tradition of going to the parade in town. We rode bikes this year, and I brought a dress to throw on instead of my sweaty shirt when we got there… makes for better pictures.
We took some naps and then went to a friend’s house for a smoked salmon dinner and fireworks. Amelija had a great time chasing chickens and running around with Klara, and Julija and Althea were born on the same day so it was fun to see the progress they each were making. Although the spot for watching fireworks was beautiful, it was on a hill that sloped right into the lake. The whole time I was watching Julija, making sure she didn’t roll right down!
And that weekend, we extracted honey. It’s quite the project, but honestly, I think the hardest part is set up and clean up. Our neighbor, Ray, and Tim’s friend from work, Jim, came over to help with Tim’s work honey. Lisa and Ryan came to help with our honey. They made the cutest little honey jar favors for their wedding! But first, they took a trip to the zoo with Amelija. The weekend can’t be all work!
We got to take a little sightseeing trip to the arch for an outing for Tim’s work. It was really nice, especially because we’ve lived here for about 2 & 1/2 years and hadn’t made it there yet. We took the tram ride up to the top, and spent time at the museum that is under it. We also had lunch and a sightseeing boat tour. It was a warm and sunny day, so we got a few good pictures.
We took Amelija to the pool a few times so she wouldn’t forget how to swim, but her favorite part was the yellow slide. We don’t have lakes to swim in here, so we have to settle for pools. We get lots of lake time when we go on vacation to Minnesota and Wisconsin in the summer. This year, our Tour de’ Midwest Summer Edition started in our old town of East Lansing, MI for the wedding of a couple of our Tri club friends. It was fun to see some old friends, and our walk by our first house. Gigi came with us to watch the kids while we went to the wedding. She was such a great help. We went to the zoo with the kids, so they had some fun, too! Then we went to Minnesota to spend some time with family up there. We went to our timeshare in lake country, spent time with Nana and Papa, my sisters and brothers, went to the lake house, saw some friends and had some great summer fun. We played at parks, had bonfires, played with sparklers, went swimming, tubing, boating, row boating, ate sweet corn, played with cousing, and just about checked off everything on our summer to-do list in a couple of weeks. And if all that wasn’t enough fun, we also had the chance to get together with Tim’s college roommates and all of our kids. It was only a couple of hours, and it was a wet, cold, rainy day at the park, but it was great anyway.
On the way home from Minnesota, we got a flat tire in Eau Claire… because we can’t have a road trip without incident. (Remember on the way to Tour de’ Midwest Winter Edition 2012, we got a snow pack from the top of a truck through our windshield, and had to do an emergency replacement in Madison. I think Wisconsin is bad luck.) The flat tire put us behind schedule, so we arrived at our friends’ house late. Dave and Mary have two boys; one about six months older than Amelija, and one just a few months younger than Julija. It works out great for playing! We were late for dinner, their baby was already sleeping, and we were tired. So, we had dinner, which Mary was able to put together without an oven, and the older kids went to bed. It was Amelija’s first sleepover, and she slept on a blow up bed in Zach’s room. She did great. They talked for a little while, but not long after, they were both sound asleep in their beds. The adults stayed up and talked for a bit, and checked out their custom-built home. Unfortunately, Dave had to work the next day, so Mary hosted us for the morning. They have a beautiful piece of land, and Tim and the kids did a lot of playing. Then, before long, we were off to visit Tim’s Uncle Stan and cousin Tommy. There, we had awesome, fresh blueberry pie, went fishing, and had a nice dinner out with Tommy and Katie. Then, it was time for the late night drive to our hotel, a quick play at the park next to it, and then on to home. And, I made it to August. I’m only THREE months behind now.
Funny to think how much changes in one year… So glad we have Julija in our lives now.
Check out some photos from my pregnant with Amelija photo shoot here.
Photos taken Oct 2012 at Heritage Park and Shaw Nature Reserve.
I started this post weeks ago, and never finished it…
They always refer to a new baby as a bundle of joy. I disagree. Maybe you are joyful for this new creature, but they are only joyful about 10% of the time. The other 90% they are pooping, eating, crying or sleeping. Julija did a lot of crying as a baby, and little sleeping or pooping. I’ve said this before, but Julija was particularly difficult for the first four months of her life. She is totally making up for that now. She is so fun and funny. She bops her head when she hears music, waves to people in the grocery store, and laughs and laughs when you smile at her, tickle her, blow raspberries on her, play peek-a-boo, or anything else that’s playful. She loves swinging on the swingset, being outside, and bouncing and rolling on Amelija’s bed before bedtime. She is a little firecracker, and beelines for trouble. She picks peppers or tomatoes right off the plants in the garden, and eats them up, ripe or not. She loves, loves, loves groundcherries, and if you stop husking them for her, she’ll find them and eat the whole thing herself, husk and all. She also loves melon and tomatoes. She eats bananas right out of the peel! She’s eating so much now, and lets you know, without a doubt, when you’re not feeding her fast enough. She still has greek yogurt with banana or applesauce for breakfast. For lunch and dinner, it’s usually a mix of grains, beans or pasta with cooked veggies of fruit. Oh, and lunch meat… I know it’s not great, but she loves it. She’s a big fan of feeding herself. Sometimes she yells until you set the spoon full of food on her tray so she can pick it up and feed herself. She also loves my smoothie, and drinks it right from the straw. We’re working on sippy cups, and she’s make huge progress just in the last few days. She actually tips it all the way up and sucks at the same time. Her favorite thing about it, though, is throwing it on the floor. She still won’t drink out of a bottle, so it’s me, the cup, or nothing. I can’t wait until she can drink cow’s milk.
She still presents some challenges, like standing up while holding the concrete bird bath… the one that has a separate top from the stand… and I freak out and think she’s going to pull the top off right on top of her. She still puts everything in her mouth, and going outside is like a marathon, running between playing with Amelija, and pulling sticks, sand, rocks, woodchips or plants out of Julija’s mouth.
As of 9/22/13… She’s almost 11 months old! She is still crawling, and climbing. She climbs on everything. A couple of weeks ago I found her on the stairs, on the outside of the railing on the third step. She climbs up the slide on the playset. She climbs on the little rocking chair and stands on the seat, holding on to the back. She climbed in the gator today. She loves the sandbox. If it’s open she crawls right in, grabs handfuls and lets it run out. If it’s not open, she’ll sit on top and stick her hands through the crack in the middle of the cover and grab sand. We are in trouble! She loves driving things, like matchbox cars. Those are her favorite. She loves putting things in containers and taking them out. She stands at Amelija’s play kitchen and fills the sink with toys and takes them out again. She knows how things are supposed to work; holding her sock by her foot trying to get it on, or her shirt on her head. She tries to put the two halves of plastic eggs together. She learns something new every day! About a week ago she had a fever that lasted about 4 days, and she didn’t sleep well. It’s time for her first set of molars! She is full of challenges, but there is so much I love about her. I think she’s going to be musical like her Mom. She already plays the piano, mostly gently, with both hands. I think she’s going to need little sleep like her Daddy. She’s not very good at napping, and doesn’t have a good schedule like Amelija did. She’s pretty coordinated, but I’m not sure she’s going to be super athletic, like Amelija seems to be. She’s a little firecracker. Her emotions are so drastic. I thought Amelija was going to be our drama queen, but Julija might give her a run for her money.
We took her 9 month pictures the day after she turned 10 months. Oh well.
My Dear, Sweet, Amelija,
I can’t believe you’re three already. Last night I was getting a little emotional about it. It seems like in the last couple of weeks you have started growing up a little too fast for your Momma to handle. You’re being so helpful and independent, from getting your own water and cup out of the cupboard that’s up so high, to helping feed Julija and the cat. At the park you’re trying new things; the monkey bars, climbing high on the shaky ladders, sliding down the fire pole, and jumping higher or farther than before. You pick up on things when we spell them… like ice cream and zoo. You hear things when we don’t think you’re listening. You test and you push. You’re a little parrot sometimes. Last night you asked Daddy to lay with you before bed. When he said no, you said, “Ok. You have two options. You can lay with me for one minute, or you can lay with me for two minutes.” This morning it made Daddy laugh.
I love the way you get a huge (or “hooj”as you say it) smile on your face and wrinkle up your nose and your eyes disappear. I love how you tilt your head to the side and nod with a half smile and say “yeah” long and drawn out. Even the word ice cream is sounding so much more grown up… the “cr” sound coming along so well instead of “team.” You see the tiniest things and remember what we think might be insignificant in everyday life. You remind me that being a kid is the best time of your life. You make me slow down and take time to play, but at the same time you wear me out with your nonstop doing! Your smile makes me smile. Your tears make me sad.
Tonight, you asked me to lay down with you at bedtime. First you asked for 8 minutes, holding up your fingers, “Momma, please you sleep with me for this many mintues?”
“Oh honey, that’s too many minutes. I would be sound asleep if I laid there that long.”
“Ok, this many minutes?” holding up 3 fingers.
“I can do that.”
So I tuck you in and lay beside you. You snuggle your face up close to mine.
“Please you say Happy Birthday Momma?”
“Happy birthday Honey.”
“You’re welcome Honey. I love you Baby. That was very good use of mann-”
“Sshh! Close your eyes and stop talking.”
“Sorry Baby. You make me smi-”
“Sshh! Close your eyes and stop talking, Momma.”
Do you know how hard it is to go to “sleep” with a perma-smile? I thought my heart was going to jump out of my throat, it was so full.
We work hard at teaching you manners, and the things you should and shouldn’t do, how to hold your pencil the right way, and buckle your shoes… clear your dishes and put your cup back in the fridge, but you’ve taught me so much, too. The dishes and laundry can wait so I can rock with you and tell you I love you tons and tons. I can work while you are sleeping so I can squeeze one more minute of watching you color or cut and glue. You taught me how to be selfless. You taught me what my priorities should be. You taught me to pay attention to the little things. You taught me to love more than I ever thought was possible. I can’t wait to see what else you teach me as you grow. You have such a wonderful spirit, and I hope I nourish it. You are my beautiful girl inside and out, and I love you, my Amelija.
Love you tons and tons. Happy Birthday, Baby.