Wednesday, February 25, 2015

29 Months: "I don't want to, Don't say that"

Can't get enough of this kiddo!

Almost Two and a Half years old!
This month Micah:
  • has entered a super willful toddler phase.The most common phrases in our household the past few weeks have been, "I don't want to." and "Don't say that". 
finally enjoys riding his balance bike!

  • has been using the pronoun "I" instead of his name, so using first person instead of third person. It is amazing how much that alone changes how old he seems. 
becoming super creative

loves tortillas!

  • has fought me several days for hours each time to not wear pants. On one occasion I gave in and we made our rounds to two grocery stores with pants on his head. On a second occasion we ran two errands with no pants on at all (socks, shoes, shirt, and sweatshirt...just no pants!). On these occasions my parenting skills and patience were fully tested and although I couldn't help feeling a bit of embarrassment, overall I just had to swallow my pride and look to the long term when we could laugh over each occasion.
Let's just call this one a super toddler moment
  • has been loving puzzles. He has been completing a lot of his large piece puzzles all on his own. 
problem solver in training
  • has been showing some signs that he will be ready to potty train soon, like requesting the potty as soon as he has finished going in his diaper and trying to take off his diaper himself immediately after going. I still think we have a ways to go before really hopping on the potty train, but at least we are starting to see signs.
  • got time with his Nana and Mommy in a staycation by the stadiums going to the Flower and Garden Show, the Home Show, on a ferry to Bainbridge Island and their children's museum with his friend Isaac and my friend Krista, and swam in the hotel pool with me!

Stay cations are cool

Loves time with Nana, especially when she brings fun new toys like binoculars 


social butterfly?

Fun at the Flower Show
  • continued to randomly count and talk about letters and read himself stories and fill in the pauses when being read to.
  • loved rhyming. Phil and Micah do lots of rhyming like "frog, log, sog, bog..." and Micah likes to randomly make up his own rhyming strings too with lots of nonsense words and some real. 
Avid reader already!
  • went to his friend Kaiden's 3rd birthday party at the Everett Children's Museum (which is the best one in the area by far!).
  • played with his friend Abby at a coffee house while her mom and I chatted. He also got to play with his friends Brooks and Maeava when our families went out to dinner together.

these two!
  • Decorated cookies and played with friends at the Kiddush Club Havdalah Happens on Valentines Day.
cookie face!

Valentines day surprises!
  • had to deal with his Mama being gone on two work trips, one to New York and one to Southern California. Definitely harder on mom than Micah, but I could tell he did miss me. 
  • went to preschool and allowed Mama to join him one week! He really is so comfortable there and has great teachers and great kids and parents. When I was there, he played with play dough a lot, played "vet" with the doctor kit and stuffed animals and played with the trains and cars a bit. He was really concerned that I wouldn't know "the popcorn song" and was pleasantly surprised when I was able to keep up. :-)
  • has gotten the most horrible cold he's had so far with a super horrible cough and a double ear infection! It was the first sickness that truly took him out of commission, put him in a lethargic-lay on the couch and just want hugs and snuggles all day for five days-state. We are just rounding the corner now.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Let it Go New Mom: How to Appreciate the Self You Were Before, You Are Now, and That You Will Become

Photo Credit

New moms, listen up. It is time to put on that little black dress again. Only this time you're not going dancing and drinking all night. You're not going to happy hour with your strappy heals and that hot man of yours. This time you are attending a funeral. This funeral is definitely sad, but no blood was lost. There will be tears, but there will be smiles and laughter too. This funeral is to mourn the loss of your prior self. That self with the big unstretched boobs and no C-section scar. That self that had time to worry about who to meet up with or who to call to catch up with each day. The self that only got wet when you were either turned on or working out (yeah...remember that?! Hopefully you're one of the lucky ones that has an insane ability to push through tough times and kept doing cross fit or whatever even while puking in your first trimester. I was not one of you people). Mourn the self that went to the gym, that went out for dinner, that traveled the world. Heck, let's mourn the self that went to the grocery store alone or maybe went to the grocery store romantically dancing with your man flirtatiously in the aisles to the piped in cheesy tunes. Hell, let's mourn the margaritas with friends, the laundry for one or two only, the long steamy and peaceful showers, the days where you knew parenthood was a hard job, but you just really didn't get it. Let's mourn our ignorance, our naivety. Please, new mom, go find a big ass candle right now and a blowtorch in memory of the person you once were. 
Photo Credit
Now, right now, you can go back and add those chew beads and burp clothes to your little black dress. Go light a new candle with a match you probably got at one of those clubs or happy hours in your prior life to recognize the journey you are now on. Let this candle recognize your new self; the one that is soaking in spit up, bowl movements, and breast milk. Maybe you're lucky and aren't that moist all the time (or are where it matters most if you know what I'm talkin 'bout ��). But, even you sweetheart, have changed. Even you who is already back to work and/or using babysitters or nannys already. Even you who has already weaned your baby from the breast whether you wanted to or not. You have changed. You are no longer just you. You are an us, a we, a MOM with all caps. You feel guilty when you wish you could be a working mom. You feel guilty if you wish you were a stay at home mom. You feel guilty if you are not feeling guilty… You feel guilty with being content as a working mom or content as a stay at home mom. Let it all go mama! Stop the guilt. This is you.
Photo Credit

You are doing your best to grow your baby. It's damn hard, but you can do it. Some days we all need pep talks to suck it up and deal, and suck it up we do. Right now mom, every minute might feel like eternity, but you've gotta keep the big picture in mind. You've gotta remember that by 12 or 18 months you might just be missing the snuggles and the less independent days. Or maybe you won't and that's ok too. You are a mom now and the best thing you can do is trust your motherly instincts. You've got good ones. You know what will work for you and you're family better than anyone. Better than any teacher or coach or parenting book author or blogger like myself. You most definitely know what's best for you, so please take all that I say with a grain of salt. This is a letter towards you, mama, so don't worry that I didn't write to your wonderful partner or extended family and friends just now. Right now we aren't mourning their prior lives and recognizing their current lives. Don't get me wrong, they are awesome and important and probably have changed a lot too, but right now we are talking about Y-O-U. You: hard working, sometimes scared, worried, nervous, anxious, guilt ridden and stressed. You: sometimes happy, calm, joyful and blessed self. You: who sometimes has all of those emotions in a matter of minutes. You: who is likely still hormonally imbalanced (no offense!). Look hard at that candle in front of the you right in this moment.
Photo Credit
Now get out another ceremonial match and an even bigger more beautiful candle to commemorate the self you are about to become. The mom that will grow more and more independent again. The mom that lets go of all the internal pressures (because lets be honest, we are our own worst enemy and no one pressures us like ourself). The mom that gives up the guilt or at least recognizes that crap for what it is and moves on. This candle is seriously a shining light of hope. On your darkest mom moments. On your darkest mom days. When you feel like you would rather be doing anything else than changing diapers and rocking an overtired screaming baby, when you feel like you can't cry anymore, remember to have hope.

Photo Credit
This is a candle to also represent perspective. Remember the long term. Remember that one day soon your baby will be a toddler, then a kindergartener then an 8th grader, then perhaps graduating college or having their own babies. Remember that you'll hear other parents tell you that preschool, elementary school, middle school, high school is the worst phase. Remember that you can listen to them and get worked up about it and dread that particular phase. Or you can choose to let it go in one ear and out the other, choosing to trust your mama instincts throughout each phase. You can choose to trust that no matter what phase your child is in, it may be hard, but that you both can and will get through it. 
Photo Credit
Good job mom. Good job for recognizing and celebrating the you that once was, the you that now is, and the you that you can be. Go ahead and let those candles glow and burn long and low as you hop back into those yoga pants and sweatshirt (the ones that actually make you look way better than they currently make you feel), and go hang out with other moms. Moms that have kids your child's age or moms that have kids a bit older than your child. Both are great to realize that #1: you actually do have it pretty good,  #2: you may just be in a tough phase,  #3: it's going to get easier more often soon enough, #4: you are doing an awesome job and finally #5: being in the presence of others who have similar thoughts and happenings is really freaking good for you. 
Photo Credit
Way to go mom. We tip our hats to the new you, the old you, and the you of the future because bottom line is…they all rock! Feel free to share with me other ways that you've found help to commemorate, celebrate the most significant change in your life. Please share here with our readers what you do to cope on your hardest moments. Maybe your kids have grown up and you had almost forgotten the most challenging times. Share that here to provide hope to our moms having a rough day gaining perspective. What else did this remind you of or make you think of? Maybe you've experienced a father who needs similar encouraging words. Share, share, share since we know sharing is caring and caring builds community. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Christmas Traditions with a Toddler (plus free Christmas Bucket List printable)

Candy canes, teddy bears, gingerbread houses, oh my! Santa, Christmas Carols, cookies, oh my! Fabric the elf, Christmas books, snowflakes oh my! Wish list, hot chocolate, presents oh my! Cousins, cousins, and more cousins oh my! Scroll to the bottom of the page for our Christmas Bucket List free printable!
Fun with friends downtown Seattle to see the Teddy Bear Suite and the Gingerbread Houses
Just like with our eight not so crazy nights of Hanukkah, we started getting in the Christmas mood right after Thanksgiving. Our family tradition is to kick off the holiday season by venturing downtown Seattle to see the Gingerbread Houses and the Teddy Bears. This year we added a few traditions in our own West Seattle. We went to the tree lighting ceremony where Micah had his first hot chocolate and I took Micah to meet Santa and sit on his lap at one of the stores in the Junction (that Santa happens to know my friend Heather's dad really well ;-) so it was extra fun talking with him). Micah was just in awe and pretty speechless upon meeting the jolly old elf. We didn't go full out on our own house lights this year since we'd be gone, so we just strung up a pretty pathetic little display on the porch, but it seemed to add to the holiday cheer a bit and of course Micah liked them.
Adventures of Fabric the Elf
First Candy Cane!

First "gingerbread" house!

First time meeting Santa

Snowflake fun

This year it felt like Christmas was one big extended holiday as we celebrated first with Phil's family on Monday, with my extended family in Turlock for Christmas Eve, and of course with my mom's side of the family at my parents house on Christmas Day. Yes there were lots of gifts that were very much appreciated, yet as cliche as it sounds, the absolute best part was spending time with so much of our family! We couldn't ask for a better one!

Thomson Family Early Xmas

Turlock Laffin Family Xmas Eve (the cousins…sorry other generations…next year we need everyone!)

Christmas morning surprise!

Christmas Day entertainment: Thomas' dance show!

Christmas Day 2nd cousins!

Thompson Family Christmas

this one is too classic to leave out! Cousins chaos on Eucalyptus St.
And for my first time ever, I bring you a free printable! Just click the link below and the image below is all yours!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Eight (Not So) Crazy Nights

The awesome felt menorah that my mom made for us!

If you imagine Hanukkah being eight crazy nights with super Jewish people doing super Jewish stuff, than you definitely need to keep reading.  My family has been on the west coast for many generations and before that we came from Cleveland, Ohio not Jewish New York. What I'm trying to say is that Hanukkah for us in not full of Bubbies with super thick eastern accents pinching your cheeks and wishing you a "Happy Hanukkah, now eat your brisket and latkes daaaling." Our family is the one that is so interfaith we almost don't realize it's the first night of Hanukkah and are thankfully reminded of it's start thanks to the DJ on the country radio station who for some reason wishes everyone a happy hanukkah even though at no other time do they ever act like their listeners could possibly be diverse in any way! Oops, major tangent and run on sentence! Our Hanukkah is one that brings a bit more light and cheeriness to a special week of the year. Our Hanukkah is one where I reminisce on my childhood in Aunt Helen and Uncle Herm's basement, sneaking gum balls from the gum ball machine and cool gifts like Barbie roller skates. It's one where I hope that maybe someday Micah and his future cousins (hopefully) will get the rest of the family wrapped up in a large theatre production after dinner is done like I did.

our interfaith decorations

edible dreidel 
at the JCC's "Almost Hanukkah Under the Stars"

This Hanukkah was all this and more. The best part was that we got to spend part of it at home in Seattle and the other part of it with our extended family in California. Leading up to Hanukkah we decorated our house, spun the dreidels lots, went to the JCC's Almost Hanukkah Under the Stars with the Sababas and Recess Monkey (and lots of games and crafts), and ate latkes at our temple after services. Then, in California we got to light the candles several nights with Nana and Papa and even got to celebrate with cousins, Aunt and Uncle, Great Aunt, and Great Gramma too. Hanukkah is warm and bright and just so special. It's also hard to keep track of. ;-)

One of Micah's big gifts from Mom and Dad, a tool belt and real tools!
Such special moments continuing tradition with my little one

Phil's Latke Frying Game Face
So fun getting to light the menorah together again!

All 11 of us together again! 
And yes, this happened. Hanukkah can be fun and funny and weird and crazy!