That space sounds awesome, Cindy! Pics?
Birthdays ... Funny you should mention it today, because this morning I booked us two nights at Whistler, and a horse-drawn sleigh ride in the snow, which is what E wanted instead of a party.
Ok I need help from you experienced mamas! I can't seem to nurse Aria down and be able to get up and have a life or relationship with my husband! I tried for over an hour tonight to remove my boob from her mouth and if I get it out, she stirs moments later. I often do move her to the side carred crib but after we've both been asleep for a bit and she is more ok if I am still near her. I broke down and got out a pacifier tonight and DH in there trying to bounce her to sleep on the yoga ball. It's gotten ridiculous. I've spent about 15 minutes alone with DH after she's gone to bed since she was born. I want my evenings back!!!!! Advice???
And here is a pic of the downstairs room. There is also a futon/couch and a desk in the room.
There are bins for: stickers, paper, pens/markers/stampers. reusable sticker books, letter/number workbooks, things to glue on (sequins, pom poms, etc), beads & jewelry stuff (she is SO into beads right now!), ribbons/string/glitter glues/regular glues, different kinds of pastas to make necklaces with, face paints, her scrapbooking stuff, modeling clay and a few random bins of projects. Her easel is set up right outside this room. The clothes are hung up high bc the hooks were already there - but she can reach them by standing on the shelves. The shelves are about waist high for her so perfect for working on and she likes to sit on them and draw. You can see the crazy tape dispenser on them - but she actually hasn't used it much yet. Harder for her to rip it herself than I thought it would be.
Off to check on DH...
Happy New Year ladies! We had some friends over last night with their kids. I made dinner and they brought desserts/snacks. I had the girls take a late nap so they could stay up later. We're in the midwest, so we watched the Times Square ball drop at 11:00 our time, then everyone headed home to take the kiddos to bed. We made it later than I thought we would. It's not often we get the little ones to cooperate much later than 9:00! DH was up in the middle of the night, sick. He thinks it was the shrimp cocktail someone brought. I didn't eat any of it and I feel fine, same with the girls. A couple of friends who were here aren't feeling too well this morning either... they also ate the shrimp. I just hope it's not an actual stomach bug starting up. That has been spreading around town like wildfire the last couple of weeks. We have pretty much been holed up at home since Christmas, hoping not to get it. DH went back to work yesterday though...
Birthdays... Owyn has been saying for at least a couple of months now that she wants a Cinderella birthday party. Last year, she wanted Strawberry Shortcake and I was able to pull that off without any actual characters. Just the colors and lots of strawberries. I'm not sure how I can throw a Cinderella party without actual characters. I really just want it to be tasteful and not Cinderella in your face... I have a good friend who makes gorgeous dress up clothes and Halloween costumes (Pecan Sandies on Etsy if you want to check her out!), and she has a beautiful Cinderella dress available right now. It's way too expensive for me, but she might let Owyn borrow it for her party. I hadn't planned on doing a big party this year though. I thought I'd have her pick a few friends and do a small tea party for them. They can all wear their princess dresses. It'll probably end up being something like 4 girls, plus Owyn. Then, my family always gets together once a month to celebrate any birthdays that month. So, we'll celebrate with the whole family then, maybe with cupcakes or something simple.
Cindy: I love the playspace! I threw a kids' Christmas party here on Friday last week and it was SO crowded in my living room! I do it every year and it's amazing to see how much we've multiplied year to year. Greta was a newborn last year and my friends have added two more babies since then. It made me really hopeful to find a house this year and next year we can have the party in a much bigger space! Hopefully a finished basement!
Well DH failed at putting Aria to bed too. I went up after I wrote and he was lying in bed with her next to him kicking away. LOL. Then she was all awake and happy and cooing loudly until we all finally fell asleep at quarter till 12. So we all missed midnight. Didn't even open our champagne. I must get this figured out!!
We got the birthday party thing figured out last night. M and her friends are really into fairies right now. We found up on our refridgerator last night a cupcake decoration set that M got last Christmas from my MIL. Has 4 different fairies on toothpicks to stick in cupcakes and some cute cupcake wrappers. That brought up the idea of a fairy party. I'd seen a really cute one written up on a blog I follow earlier this yr. So we pulled up that blog entry and got some ideas and M is VERY excited about having a fairy party. She agreed she'd rather have fewer kids and do that than have lots of kids at the YMCA. She is now obsessed with looking up craft and gift bag ideas and watching youtube videos about it. We let her watch 1 youtube video about making clothespin fairies while we ate our chocolate fondue last night and now she keeps asking to see more. So I think I will do a make your own wand craft and make clothespin fairies. Maybe a pin the wings on the fairy game or some other game. And for favor bags we'll make pink sparkly playdough and put it in a cute container and also make fairy dust out of talc and shimmery glitter and put it in a cute bottle w/a cork. I thought I might have them do that themselves but it sounds too messy to do with a bunch of kids and likely indoors. That can be a project for me and M to do beforehand. I some really cute ideas other people had pinned on pinterest just by googling. I'm not on pinterest - but it's neat that i can access someone else's ideas. :-)
Mal: I hope your DH feels better soon! Your party idea for Owyn sounds cute. I would be scared about borrowing a dress though and having to not get cake on it!
Happy New Year, and Happy 2nd Birthday to Lituya! We had the party with the neighbors and friends the other day, but will probably have a little cake and open her handful of presents sometime today. Or maybe we should do chocolate fondue. She'd probably love it.
Birthdays - Other than my kid who's birthday is today, I haven't thought about it at all. All your ideas sound neat, but I admit I'm somewhat glad theme parties aren't really a thing here. Katmai says he wants to have sushi, a strawberry cake, and go bobbing for apples. We'll probably invite everyone over for a simple party. My kids don't know that a party is anything other than people + food + maybe sledding or the beach or a fire, depending on season.
Cindy - Wish I had some help for you. Both of my kids have gone through phases where I couldn't sneak away from them after nursing down, but they were at least short phases. That playroom looks great! I have nothing close, but am very proud of the 10' x 8' ish space I've carved out and arranged for the kids play and projects.
Mal - Hope the sickness turns out to be nothing. Everyone here and in town has had a persistent cold for weeks.
Starling - Yes, I have been reading project-based home schooling. And it's awesome. Just the little bit I've managed to integrate in the past few weeks seems to be having some fairly amazing results. And the knowledge that I don't have to go back to being all scheduled with preschool after break is a big relief in my life.
What's the direct link to your blog? I've only followed the FB links, so don't know the address.
I've got to get that book! It's been on my list for a while. Once we recover financially from Christmas and buying a 1/3 of a buffalo I can buy it. Our freezer is full though- just not our bank account! It's a lot of money upfront but actually costs less then half of what we get buffalo burger for in the store. And F can eat it (she can't eat beef or pork) which is of course the biggest plus. Local, grass fed...win!
Love the play space Cindy! We recently put up a "homeschool" shelf in our dining room to house all of our art supplies and things. Fiona is loving having the easy access!
Birthday: this is the first year F has talked about wanting a party. I'm not sure what we ill do yet. If I could count on decent weather I would ask families to join us for a hike in the woods and then come back here for hot cocoa and cupcakes. She'd love a fairy party! I'd love to see a link to that blog Cindy! When I was little we made soft pretzels at all of my birthday parties. My mom had dough ready and everybody got to shape thier own. Then we played games while the baked and we got to eat them! I think that I could manage a recipe F could eat with her allergies but several of her friends also have multiple allergies and I don't think I could accomomodate all of them. I figure I'll make Fiona friendly cupcakes and the other allergy kids can bring their own because that is what we do when we go to any bday party. I do need to come up with some sort of plan though.
Moving: We learned Roseburg is out. Still waiting to hear about the Corvallis job. Another position opened up in Newport. Its temporary though- not to exceed 4 years. Dh is digging around trying to get more details on it. It's actually his same position he has here but for the NW division rather then the AK group. Erin, I know you say you'd never leave AK and I do worry a bit about it. We have no family here though (only in SE Alaska). I want my kids to know their grandparents, Aunties, uncles, cousins...not just see some of them once a year. And my Dad is turning 80 this year so its time for us to make the move. I just hope the right thing comes up for us soon. It's hard to be in limbo. Do we order a new batch of chickens this year, should I be planning our garden? Kodiak has been a really good place for us but from the moment we moved here it never felt like home to me either. SE Alaska will always have my heart but not Kodiak. Not to say we won't miss it but I hope you get what I mean.
Mal - Even some foodborne illnesses can be spread person to person, so make sure there's lots of good handwashing going on! Hope he feels better :)
Cindy - Great playspace! R would have that destroyed in seconds. Crafts are not his thing :/ And it took a very very long time for R to be able to stay alone in the evening. It sucked and I never really found a solution.
Sue - I hope you get an answer on something soon. I've been in limbo for what feels like my entire life. Even now, I don't know for sure if I'll get a placement even within driving distance of here. Which would really suck. I hate the idea of changing R's daycare, and moving, just for a temporary placement :/
Re Birthdays - I took R to a party place today to pick something out. Unfortuantely it's all incredibly tacky themes but I let him choose. He chose Star Wars, which I'm not sure he's even seen but he says he watched at my cousin's house. He's also into super heroes, so I thought he'd pick the Avengers or Spiderman, but he wanted Star Wars. He only has 4 close friends at daycare so it'll be a small party. Just a playdate basically with snacks and cake :)
I love the playdate with snacks and cake - that is what we did last yr plus 1 craft/game and letting them put all sorts of sprinkles on their cupcakes. I'm hoping this year won't be TOO different.
Here is the link. I love this blog. I think we will have the kids make the clothespin fairies she hung for decoration. And copy a bunch of her other ideas.
That's a lovely space, Cindy! And what a gorgeous blog!
Sue ... I really hope you end up in the Pacific Northwest. Not only for your sake, but so that we can hang out! Just be sure to have a place with a driveway where we can set up our tent trailer (that I'm hoping to get).
Ever ... I wonder if you set up something like that that R would trash it for a while, and then leave it be and see it's worth after the novelty had worn off? He likely doesn't wreck havoc at daycare, right? I have similar thoughts about screen time for E. I wonder if I removed the novelty if she'd police herself? Just thinking as I type ...
Mal ... Did anyone else get sick? I was the only one in our house. I probably picked it up at the hospital.
MOVING: Just popped in quickly to tell you mamas that we're thinking of moving too. Back to the mountains! We're heading up there today to make sure that we're still in love with the place, and to check out a couple of properties. I know that we're in an amazing community right now, in a very home-schooling friendly neighbourhood, and in a co-op that is second to none.
However, here's our thinking: We want to be out of the city, back to the forest and rivers and mountains. We want the kids to be able to go outside and play and have it not be to the same local playground every day. We want them to experience space and wild and small-town-ness. And DP can transfer or get another well paying chef job in Whistler. And I can transfer back to my old station. There is a new community centre there, but no pool and no ice rink. But the lake freezes for skating, and there are several swimmable lakes nearby. It's about three hours drive to Vancouver. My mom said she'd come up for a week or so each month so that she could look after the kids while I did a bunch of shifts on the ambulance, and I can also be on call while DP is home.
BUT: It's another move, and we're not sure that we'd want our children to be teens there. It's hard to say what kind of kids they'll be. I worry a bit that there won't be a lot of other homeschoolers, but then they can make friends with other kids anyway. I wonder if we'd move again in five years? But I really want our children to have that backyard experience, in a friendly small town. And the wilderness is literally at our back door there! Hotsprings, forestry camp sites, hiking, etc!
Talk to me, mamas. What are your thoughts? I really value your opinions!
Starling - I think you should do what feels right for now, and not worry about whether it will still work when they are teenagers. I agree that small towns and access to nature is awesome! And I think it would still be awesome for teens. They will leave for university at 18 and have many years to experience larger cities if that's what they want. And I'm sure there will still be lots of opportunity for developing friendships. When I start working and can actually buy a house I definitely want to be outside of town (and my town is a small city, not even close to Vancouver!) I loved growing up in the country and miss having that for Royce. Hopefully when he's 5 we'll be settled somewhere we can explore more :) And get a dog. He's already started asking constantly if we can get a puppy.
I've actually spent this morning coming up with a list of places to look into for finding a practicum placement for this summer. Hopefully I'll get to stay where I am but I needed to prepare some back up plans.
Starling: i'm even jealous of your day trip up to check it out! It sounds amazing. I know it is a tough decision. I love nature and all the myriad of things it has to offer. But I know how important your community is to you as well. I think you ought to go for it. The kids are very portable right now and if you do decide to move in 5 yrs, then hopefully you had 5 yrs of amazing memories made and then you move on to something that fits your family better in the moment. My biggest concern about moving 5 yrs down the road would be switching schools and making new friends - but that won't be such an issue if you are homeschooling. Let us know what you figured out today!! Would love to see pics of the properties you're checking out so I can travel vicariously!
Starling - I'm probably the one who's in the most similar situation to what you're thinking, so lets see if I can make my reasoning somewhat coherent.
Wilderness - I can't overstate the value of having wilderness for a neighbor. I would prioritize wilderness expeditions no matter where we lived, but the day to day of tracking rabbits and voles in the snow, tidepooling at the beach, snowshoeing over a frozen lake, berry picking, etc... would not happen nearly so often if there were more logistics involved. I also found when we visited the city for awhile that I am far more interested in toddler-speed walks in the wilderness than I am with playground visits and similarly-slow walks in the city. I think it's easier in nature for the whole family's interests to overlap.
Community - I love having a small and supportive community around us, and I think the kids benefit from the multi-age friendships that are inevitable in a small town. From a mom's perspective, I think it's great that all the adults in the community know the kids, and think it makes it easier to let them have more freedom. (teenagers may not think that's so cool). Our community puts lots of effort into making interesting activities happen for all ages, so even though we lack many of the formal classes and resources of a larger place, there doesn't seem to be a shortage of things to do.
School - Most of K and L's peers will probably go to school. I don't think it will be a problem, though it does put it on me to make sure they do get a chance to know the kids their age (which they do already, since many of their parents are my friends). In smaller communities, the kids have fewer scheduled commitments, so seeing them outside school hours is probably easier. There are a few homeschooling families in town, and I don't think they're ostracized. I know at least the older homeschoolers often do it through an official school district program so they can participate in sports, etc... at the school. That's so far in the future I'm not worrying about it at all.
Teenhood - I can see how a teen might find a place like this somewhat isolating, especially socially (for those kids who don't fit in well with the few other kids their age). My husband struggled with this somewhat as a teen. But I think many teens have some amount of struggle anywhere, and he thinks he probably would have had some social struggles in any setting. In the end, what calms my anxieties is the looking at community adults who grew up here, left for education/years in the big wide world, and came back voluntarily. My husband, and his sister included. I see these people who value this community and place enough to come back with their kids, and figure their teen years can't have been so bad!
hope that novel helps!
Sue - I know what you mean. And I'm in a very different place, family wise, with half our extended family here, and most of the rest of them fairly mobile (single, no kids, can come visit us). Maybe you can end up back in SE AK someday if you love it there. Or maybe you'll find somewhere else that just feels like home. That feeling is powerful, and I feel very lucky to have found it where we are now.
Starling - I really wouldn't worry about the teen years there you've got at least 10 years before that is a consideration. We live in Northern BC partly for the outdoors living that is so close to us. The river and the forest are a close walk. I really value this. The lakes, the outdoor rinks it's all accessible and we take advantage. I'm a far cry from Erin but I see the value of having that wilderness right near by. I find it calming and ground and I believe E might too? I think of all the amenities of the city and they are awesome when I go on vacation but not for the every day... Just my two cents.
Well, we had a wonderful time up in the mountains, and we love this house to bits, but we just can't make the math work. Childcare is the crux. In the city, I get paid for full shifts, but rurally I'd have to go back to holding a pager, for $2/hour. I can't fathom paying a babysitter $15/hour to be with the kids while I hold the ambulance pager (that may or may not go off) for $2/hour. Up there you only get paid when you get a callout.
If DP could take her salary with her, we could scrape by, but we'd be in the same position that we were in when we left ... working our butts off and not having any time or money leftover to enjoy what the area has to offer.
DP really wants to make it happen, so perhaps we'll move and rent?
Disappointing. I wish the math was more on our side!
On the positive side, we had a lovely impromptu road trip and a great night in the lodge up there, swimming in the heated outdoor pool in the dark with the stars twinkling overhead and the snowy forest all around.
We ran into at least a dozen people that we know, and all of them asked when we were coming back. We miss that town!
Absolutely, we'd love something smaller. In that town, houses don't come any smaller. So we'd be into a condo, or apartment, which would be fine, but they're about the same monthly payment as having a house with a suite that brings in rental income. We're in <1000 sq ft now, and it feels too big. We'd love a small house. But everything up there is Super Size Chalet-style!
Starling - Nothing wrong with renting. Or seeing if someone will lease you space on their land to put up a yurt. :) If being on call averages more than $15 an hour (with shifts you're called and ones you're not), paying a babysitter could be fine. If calls are too infrequent, maybe it would make sense to only be on call when DP is around? or to pay less money for a young teen to hang out and play with your kids for that time, knowing that it'll only be rarely that she'll be watching them totally on her own?
If you can find a way to work it out, being somewhere you love is wonderful. But being stressed about money all the time is not wonderful at all. We swing the rural thing pretty well, but we have a very cheap life here. I can see how it's a tough call! Glad you had a good weekend, either way.
Nilla - Our expeditions are rather more epic, but our backyard wilderness is just that. Woods, little creeks, ocean beaches, little lakes, a few meandering trails through them. Probably not much different than yours. When we moved here, I wondered if all my travel over larger and more impressive glaciers, volcanoes, etc... would ruin me for appreciating the close-in more ordinary wilderness. But I find I love it more than ever.
Starling, have I told you that you make me laugh? I can't remember why, specifically, but you are such an effective writer. But of course you don't need me telling you that! As for the house, I love it love it love it. DH would drool over it too.... I love the openness of it. Tons of possibilities. Have you thought about asking the seller whether s/he would be interested in renting it? Then you could sort of try it on for size. We are renting here, and its not bad. I like that it keeps me from spending money on the house. I hate the faucets, among other things, and if we owned i would be changing them. Here, I just deal with it and put it out of my mind. As for permanency, I think a five-year plan is permanent enough. Its hard to anticipate what the kids' (or your) needs will be in five years, so if you think you'll be happy there at least until H is school-aged, I'd say go for it.
Nilla, ITA with Starling about soft tissue damage. Its hard having your partner less than 100%, especially when he's feeling badly about it. Fingers crossed that things improve for him and Em soon.
Ever, enjoying your time off with R? Are you guys having adventures or staying in? Your pictures are beautiful, by the way.
Cindy, I'm having a similar problem getting Mallory to sleep. Aubrey's bed is in our room still, and I like her there. But, this means I can't nurse Mallory down in our bed, because they will keep each other awake and Aubs would not be able to resist the urge to cuddle with Mallie. So Mallie ends up falling asleep on my boob in the rocking chair, which means I'm trapped. When I pop her off, she wakes 80% of the time. If I try to lay her down, she screams. I've had some luck nursing her down on the couch and sneaking away, but it never lasts long. My long term plan is to move Aubs into her own room when the weather gets warmer, and then start nursing M down in our bed. Something I tried with Aubs was the "Pantley pop off" from No Cry Sleep Solution--basically you pop the baby off your boob when she's asleep, and if she cries, give it back, then pop her off again...and keep doing it until she stops resisting. I mean, there was more to it but that's the part I remember. Basically the key was to do everything gradually. The rest of the book was pretty much crap, but I should reread it in case something might work for Mallie. I guess that wasn't very helpful, but I wanted to commiserate.
Mal, I have the Cinderella dress that I made for Aubs to wear on Halloween when she was two...I may be able to change it a little so that Owyn could wear it if you'd like. What size is she wearing? I was thinking I could cut up the back and put ties on so that it would be adjustable--only problem might be the arms. If she's about a size 4 then I could try to get it to fit Aubs and then send it to you--there's no way M will ever wear it because she's so much bigger than Aubrey was.
Birthdays. This is the first year that Aubs gets what Birthdays are about, probably because she's been to a couple of parties now.
I'm ready to go back to school. I'm bored and R is driving me nuts. Just this week left though and R goes back to daycare this Friday. We did some visiting just before Christmas and over New Years but we've also had lots of down time at home which is nice. Although the past week since we got back we've been sick, first him then me. So that wasn't good. And today we were both feeling better and I was going to take him skating but had to run a couple errands first and he was SO miserable, throwing massive tantrums because I wouldn't buy him something. So we went home and now he's sleeping. I'll be so glad when his birthday is over and we can forget about the whole 'gift' thing because he's been a greedy monster since before Christmas.
I've sent out some resumes and need to make some phone calls but I don't have any time too. Probably Friday when R's in daycare and I don't have to worry about him interrupting. And I updated my will today. Not much else is new and exciting.
I tried the Pantley pull off with R, but he would not give up the boob until he was asleep. I had to be super sneaky to get away and even then it wouldn't last long. He's still like that while he's falling asleep although now once he's asleep he's out for the night and nothing will wake him. He still likes to snuggle, be in physical contact with me. He even still asks about 'num num' and it's been almost a year (in April)! R is a super sweet kid in a lot of ways but he definitely is quite needy sometimes. I'm not used to it so this month home with him has been testing my patience. I've lost my temper a few times I'll admit. It's just a lot combined with the tantrums. Gah. I need to go back to class.