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.
So, last night I was looking at Pinterest for ideas for a certain party theme for the combined first and third birthdays coming up for my girls. The thoughts that ran through my head:
- I haven’t had a big birthday party yet for them, so maybe this year we invite the family down, invite the neighbors and maybe some friends from A’s school.
- All the themed food ideas I have are for dessert… what am I going to have that isn’t sweet?
- Oh shoot. I can’t use Nutter Butters for that dessert/craft… it has peanut butter. I better find something else to use since there might be an allergy.
- what am I going to do for favors?
Today I read this. I love it.
5 Ways We’re Making Parenting Harder
- By Megan Spreer
- on August 21, 2013
Is it me or has parenting become exponentially more difficult in the last 10 years? When I was a kid, I remember spending my days eating Spaghetti-Os, watching marathons of Muppet Babies, and playing outside for hours and hours with no adult in sight. You know what that’s considered now? Neglect.
Maybe this is always true of the current generation, but we seem to have deemed ourselves parenting experts and consider everything our parents did to be wrong. In some ways, this is a good thing (e.g. Riding in the backs of pick-up trucks). In other ways it’s just absolutely ridiculous. For example:
1. Birthday Parties
What in the hell has happened here? I remember going to birthday parties as a kid. We simply played for a bit, sang “Happy Birthday”, ate some friggin’ cake, and watched our buddy open up some presents. Why on Earth have these things morphed into themed parties that take hours of planning, hundreds of dollars and are only appreciated by the people who aren’t being celebrated? It’s crazy! For HJ’s first birthday, I fell victim to this whole fiasco. We had a Milk & Cookies theme and I stressed myself completely out as I accounted for food allergies, activities for older kids, balloons during a helium shortage, and the perfect shade of pink in every corner. I was still so stressed out by the experience that HJ had a grandparents only party the next year.
2. Elf on the Shelf
Simply singing “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” used to be enough to put kids in check. Now they have a snitch. Not just any snitch, but one in which Mom and Dad have to place in humorous and cutesy positions every night to entertain the kids and remind them to be good. Because completing Christmas shopping, baking for holiday parties, seeing family, going to light shows, and wrapping presents isn’t enough to keep us busy during that month. We need to add a stupid elf to the list. (Full disclosure: HJ and B’s elf is currently in my closet, ready to make her debut this Christmas.)
3. Organic EVERYTHING
Yes, organic is the best way to feed a family. Avoiding pesticides, GMOs, additives, and other preservatives is preferable, obviously. I get it. That being said, I still need to be able to afford to actually feed my family. Have you noticed how organic food is nearly double the price? AND everything can be organic these days. There’s organic t-shirts, organic cleaners, and organic candy. There’s even organic diaper bags. Seriously? We really need the bag that carries my kid’s poopy diapers to be organic? Are we eating it later?
4. Kid’s Sports
I played sports as a kid. I was in dance, gymnastics, tee ball, softball and volleyball. The difference between kids’ sports back then and now is the fact that our sports didn’t eat up every free friggin’ moment of every day. Thankfully my kids aren’t old enough for this yet, but I have seen it from family and friends. As soon as their kid starts a sporting activity, I NEVER see them again because it never seems to end. They are always at practice, a game, or a tournament. As soon as the summer league is over, then the fall league starts. Fall’s over? Oh, great! The spring league is here! I don’t blame parents. I blame the coaches and league organizers. Do these people even have kids?
As much as I love it, I have to admit: Pinterest is an a-hole. It further perpetuates the notion that parents must do everything perfectly and be the best at everything. Just the other day I saw a pin that taught parents how to apply tattoos to bananas for school lunches. Are you kidding me?! It’s not enough to make lunch for your children, but now we have to decorate it? Ridiculous. Also, because of Pinterest, I am guilted into thinking I should have a water table, a colored rice sensory table, make my own finger paints, sew pillowcase dresses, put lunches artfully into cute little bento boxes, and that I should be setting up monthly photo shoots with my wiggly kids. No. No. And no. It’s difficult enough to keep them alive, fed, clothed, bathed, and away from my secret candy stash.
Can we collectively agree to take it all down a notch?
And, I have Elf on the Shelf… haven’t done it yet, but this might be the year. Thinking about signing up A for 3 year old soccer or gymnastics. However, I refuse to drive a minivan.
I have a secret.
I have a little fantasy world buried in my imagination where my closet is organized, my house has enough space, my laundry is always done, my kitchen counters are clean, my legs are lean, my lawn and gardens are manicured and my horizon is a hill full of wildflowers and blue skies… and every Friday night is date night.
My goal is to someday have that world.
I have been struggling with time management lately. My average bedtime is 12:30am, my nine month old baby still wakes up at least once or twice a night, I get up when my almost-three-year-old does at 7:15, I work from my home (which means I have mess makers in the house ALL DAY LONG… we eat three meals a day here, play with toys and do crafts, and go through more clothes than I ever imagined in one day), and we have had a super busy summer piled high with more summer colds and sickness than I have ever experienced. So, to summarize the world’s longest run on sentence and never-ending thought; the last six months have been rough, and sucked the life out of me. I feel like we have been busting our butts, burning the candle at both ends, and getting nowhere fast. I feel like we are in one of those hamster wheels with no way off. It feels like that imaginary world is so out of reach. I keep telling myself, “After we finish…, When the kids feel better…, If we could just catch up on some sleep…” But, we’ve been saying those things for years. Life is rushing right by while we’re justifying our lack of time to do things. So, we are taking some steps to try to make our lives a little less stressful, and more fun. Wish us luck.
If any of you know me, (and I’m pretty sure that if you’re here, you know me… I don’t get random visitors here) you know that I’ve written about my running adventures a bit. I had a few years… 5? where I did triathlons, and running was my least favorite part. But, I did it because there is nothing worse than getting to the end of a race, the run, after doing so well in the swim and bike, and feeling absolutely miserable because you’re not trained enough to run. The last time I ran, like anything other than in the yard with Amelija or to get out of the rain, was in December 2009. I wrote a little about it here… The funny thing is, (not related to the title of the post) that the cramping was happening, I’m sure, to the fact that I was just pregnant with Amelija. And I mean just. Her due date was Aug 25, race day was Dec 12. I obviously didn’t even know yet. So, if you do the math, that’s three and a half years since I’ve done any kind of cardio/running. I actually did try to bike on my trainer when I was pregnant with Amelija, but my belly, even as little as it was early on, got in the way of my legs. Oh, I guess I swan a few times, and I mean a handful of times while I was pregnant with her. Still… she’ll be three in September. Still too long. Oh wait, I did some P90X after I had her. And the last time I did that was when I was just pregnant with Julija. Again, I didn’t know yet… but I was trying to do P90X yoga and told Tim I had to quit because I kept blacking out and feeling lightheaded. Of course, he thought I was a wuss. A week or two later, we found out we were expecting. So, now it’s been 17 months since I’ve done anything physically active. And I miss it! I’ve had the urge to start running again. I even took my new running shoes out of the box and started to break them in during my walks. (I used to have at least one new pair of running shoes in stock so I could switch them out when I started to feel the old ones wearing out. I still had a pair in stock!)
I wrote a post here back when I training for a half marathon, and it looks like I was trying to motivate myself or get out of some kind of rut or funk. It’s funny to read it again. I miss running… or maybe it’s the solitude that I miss. Or doing something just for me. Or having more than a half a second without having someone calling for me or crawling up my leg wanting to be held. Or maybe I miss the feeling of accomplishment. Or maybe that “hurts so good” torture. Or maybe I miss feeling good about myself. Or maybe it’s the peaceful time in the early morning when the world it just waking up… or going to bed I guess. I used to occasionally run in to raccoons that would scare the bejesus out of me while they were scampering away from apartment dumpsters by MSU, having filled their bellies during the night, and heading back home to go to bed. And sometimes I would see the most interesting birds hanging out in the meadows around the trail by our house in Overland Park. The fog and the early autumn light set the perfect scene to highlight their silhouette on their flowery perches. When I was in Florence, I would run in the morning, and it was so quiet; no one out. I would stop at an overlook and see the city just waking up. I remember the only sound was my feet on the pavement. Some days I would run to the woods where it was said that Galileo would do some of his experiments, although I didn’t venture too far in for fear of wild boars. I was deathly afraid of them.
I miss being in tune with myself; paying attention to my emotions and what my body needs. Maybe that’s the core of what I miss about running. Whatever it is, I need to start doing it again.
Oh my. My sweet baby. How is it that the days seem to be endless, just trying to stay awake and keep calm until the kids get to bed, yet the time goes by so fast?
Julija is six months old (well, in my normal fashion, I’m late on this post so she’s almost seven months old now). A half of a year has passed since she’s come into our lives. It seems such a short time, but it feels like she’s been in our lives forever. There’s nothing little about her based on her stats. Ok, her head is a little small. Here are her stats from her six month check up on 4/25:
weight: 17 lbs (64.25%)
length: 26.6″ tall (77.12%)
head circumference: 16.38″/41.6cm.
I know you shouldn’t compare, but people often comment on her chubbiness. I always say that Amelija was chubby when she was this age too. Here is how Amelija measured at her six month check up – weight: 16 lbs 12 oz (70%), length: 27″ (90%), head cir: 16.5″ (30%). They are pretty darn close. Here is the link to Amelija’s 6 month photo shoot http://kristinandtim.blog.com/2011/03/03/six-month-photos and her 6 month stats http://kristinandtim.blog.com/2011/03/16/six-month-check-up/.
Julija is very different than Amelija in personality though. Amelija would smile at this age, but that was about as much reaction as you would get. Julija has a very broad spectrum of emotions. She laughs and laughs when we play with her. She laughs when you toss her in the air, fly her like an airplane, blow raspberries on her, or smooch up her chubby cheeks. But, she can stick that bottom lip out a mile when she gets sad. She can play hide and seek already! When I change her diaper, sometimes I put a clean diaper or her pants over her face and the pull it off for peek-a-boo. She will take them and put them back over her eyes so we can play again. It’s so fun! She got her bottom two teeth at four and a half months. She’s been eating solid foods on and off since 4 months old. It started with blended prunes to help her digestive system. We slowly added a few more foods, but waited until at least between 5 and 6 months. I’ve read more things lately stating that research says that babies aren’t really ready for solid food until at least 6 months, even though many pediatricians say it’s ok starting at 4 months. She’s never had baby cereal, because I also read that if you start on them grains, it should be brown rice or oatmeal. I need to stop reading! There is so much conflicting information out there. I never know what the right answer is. So she’s pretty consistent with her two favorites, sweet potatoes and applesauce. She will eat avocado if it’s mixed in with something sweet, but won’t eat it on its own. She likes banana, but we don’t give it to her often because it didn’t sit really well the first time. She loves all fruit and graham crackers too. She is a really good eater. She lunges (as much as she can from sitting in a bumbo) toward the spoon. Some things make her cry if you want too long in between bites… like pulled pork. I found that out today. She has been sitting up on her own since mid-April (so just before she turned six months). Sometimes she gets herself stuck if she leans too far forward, or gets her legs turned funny trying to reach something. She is napping better than she ever has this last week. Hopefully we’ll get into a better schedule now. She really hasn’t had one yet, and I haven’t pushed it. I would love it if she did though.
I love her. I hate how I have little bruises on my biceps because she pinches me when she nurses. I love how her eyes disappear into her cheeks when she smiles. I love being able to make her laugh. I love how she twirls her feet. I love how she snuggles into me when I pick her up. I love how she sings her little comforting coos when I sway with her to comfort her. I love how she has a huge smile when I come to get her after she wakes up. It makes me realize that I am the most important person in her world. I love how she is going to have green or brown eyes. I love how her big sister makes her smile and laugh… how she lays next to Amelija to get a good night hug, with a huge smile on her face. I love how she reminds me of Amelija, but is her own person with a new adventure.