Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Years Resolutions

So people who have known me for awhile have seen me go through quite a few transformations. One of the largest (no pun intended) is the changes in my weight/body... I went from heavy to thin to now (and I'm not sure what to call now).

Here are some pictures for comparison.

Me at my heaviest:

Me at my thinnest:

Pretty big difference, no?

And here's me now:

So, not as big as picture 1 and nowhere near as thin as picture 2.

Something must be done about this.

New Years is just around the corner, and usually this means resolutions I don't intend to keep. So this year I'm going to keep it simple.

1. Eat healthier. 1 Vegan meal a week. Red meat once or twice a month. No soda. Cut back on oils.
2. Be more active. Walk 3x a week with the kids. Take tap classes with mom.
3. Try not to worry so much about my weight. I have two beautiful children (who are the reason I gained so much weight in the first place). They don't care what size pants I wear. I have a wonderful husband who still thinks I'm beautiful. There are 1,000 things in this world that are more important than fitting into my size 6 pre-pregnancy jeans.

Post Glut

Things Penny says that we find hilarious.

"I tickle YOU!"

"Oh son!" (in reference to Griffin)

"Daddy Bryan and Mommy Jeh-kuh"

"Oh Daddy!"

"Cut hair, haircut" (when we comb her hair)

"Tickle me" (when she wants to be tickled)

"Pah-poo-pea has food baby" (after eating)

"I'm fancy!" When she's dressed up

There's more. Lots more, but those are the ones I can think of right now.

Holy Crap my kids are cute


Don't believe me? Here's proof:

Pen in her new hat, matching gloves, new jacket, and Hello Kitty backpack - ready to head to the park

Griffin after his first ride down the slide.

"Woah, that was cool"

The kids swinging

Penny loves to swing!

So does Griffin!

Playing in the leaves

G with his buddy Gus

Going Vegan

We're not actually going Vegan (although a part of me would like to) but one of my New Years Resolutions is to eat healthier and expose the kids (and Bryan) to a wider variety of foods.

So for the holidays I received Veganomicon a Vegan cookbook. Some of the recipes are a little odd (for me, a lifelong meat-eater) but many of them look absolutely delicious.

I'm planning on cooking at least one completely vegan meal a week and then having vegan side dishes to compliment some of our meaty meals.

I will, however, be cutting back on our meaty meals and for a variety of reasons. Meat is very delicious, but factory farming is not. I cannot, in good conscious, continue to purchase meats so unethically and unhealthily raised and slaughtered. And we can't afford to buy "range-free" "grass fed" meat for every meal. So we're cutting back on the meat while still keeping it in our diet. Besides, Penelope isn't much of a meat eater.

Tonight's Menu? Marinated portobello mushroom caps and broccoli polenta.

I may or may not take pictures. I have a friend with a recipe blog who posts amazing recipes and takes beautiful pictures - I would love to emulate her, but my kitchen is a mess, my camera is crappy, and I don't want to commit to pictures of every meal since I doubt I'll remember.

But I will post later about whether or not it was a hit. The mushroom caps are marinating right now and it smells DELICIOUS.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The boy

Griffin is a goof. A big, loveable, hilarious, wonderful goof. Here is the proof:

And his sister is pretty funny too:

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Lets see how much I can get down before one of the kids needs me for something

That title was excessively long.

Anyway, I've been meaning to sit and write down all of the cute/funny/sweet/exciting things the kids have been up to lately. I figured that being on break from school would naturally give me more free time. Ha. Hahahahaha. Haha.

So I'll try and remember what I can and see if I can squeeze some pictures in at the end.

1. Penelope and Griffin have become almost inseparable. When she wakes up from her nap she wants to "see Bubba" and if he's nowhere to be found (i.e. in the livingroom or with Bryan in the office) she starts to cry "Mama, see Bubba! Bubba are you??" (which is how she says 'where are you') until Bubba is produced. She will also whisper when he's sleeping so as not to wake him.

He returns the affection. He laughs at almost everything she does and wants to do whatever it is she is doing. He loves to give her kisses (which are wide, open mouth ones that look like he's trying to eat her face) and he also loves to pull her hair.

They do really well sharing with each other. Poe will often want what he's playing with, but she's good about giving him a new toy - so they'll switch toys and that way no one cries.

Of course, they don't always get along, but they honestly get along 95% of the time. I'm a little amazed at how well they interact since all you hear when you're pregnant with #2 is the horrors of sibling rivalry. I'm sure they'll fight and yell at each other at some point, but I do think that they'll continue to get along rather well. Only time will tell.

It has made me think a lot about my relationship with my brother growing up. Of course, he and I have completely different personalities than Poe and Griffin - plus we were 5 years apart. We get along rather well now and I think we generally got along as kids, but we had some epic arguments. I moved out his freshman year in high school so we didn't really see each other a lot when he was in his obnoxious teen years (not that he's no longer obnoxious - he is).

2. Penelope has finally started referring to herself as "I". No more third person.

3. Griffin still isn't crawling. Maybe by New Years. I hope by then!

4. The other day Penelope had some friends over for t-shirt painting. She made a shirt for herself, one for Griffin, and one for each of my parents. Here's some pictures of her making the shirts and then a group shot of everyone in their shirts:

5. Christmas! The kids made out like bandits this year, our house is not big enough for all of their stuff. This has given me an excuse to go through toys and donate gently used items - I was planning on doing it anyway, but finding a place for new toys has made donation a necessity. We're very lucky to have so many generous people in our lives, but I have to admit the sheer volume was very overwhelming! Two kids can't possibly need all these toys, but we're still very thankful for all we received. Our kids are certainly loved by both sides of the family!

Here's some Christmas photos - I didn't get a chance to take any while we were in Reno :( and I should probably devote a whole post to our Reno trip, but I don't think I'll get to it. It was a great trip with the exception of one night in the hotel when Penelope was awake from 1:30-5am.

Griffin in his 2nd favorite position

My cousin Macy and I

Riley and Penelope during present opening

A sleeping Grandpa Larry

Cousin Jodee (8 weeks pregnant with her first!) and G-man

And I shall leave you with more upsidedown baby

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

This is what happens when she dresses herself

It's been a busy break so far. We're only on Tuesday and we've already had three play groups, a dozen art projects, and almost no TV (yea!).

I missed the stay-at-home-mom thing. But I know when week 2 rolls around I'll miss teaching. I'm really looking forward to having my credential, for a lot of reasons, one major reason is that hopefully I'll find a job where I'll have my own classroom. This traveling from class to class makes things a little more difficult than I anticipated - keeping track of student work, grading, communicating with students and parents... all much more difficult when you work out of a rolling bin.

Anyway. The kids.

Here are some pictures... hopefully tomorrow they'll nap as wonderfully as today and I'll get a chance to write a longer blog post.

So here's some of Penny's handpicked outfits:

(I think this one looks like Cindy-Lou Who on after a Caribbean vacation)

The other day Poe climbed into G's jumper. I have no idea how she did this.

Poe playing the drums, her Uncle Nic would be so proud

She would actually bow to the audience after each song. Freaking hilarious.

"Helping" me feed Griffin - she actually wasn't half bad :)

That's what I have for now :) If I don't post until after x-mas then I hope everyone has a very happy holiday!

Monday, December 13, 2010

I'm coming out

About a controversial topic... so only read on if you'd like to hear what I have to say about circumcision.

Before I begin, I want to discuss WHY I'm writing this blog. It's not intended to make anyone who made a different choice feel bad about their decision. Parents who chose differently are not bad parents or bad people. I don't wish to judge those who chose the other option, but I do feel very strongly about the topic. So strongly that I feel the need to stand up and say "I am against routine infant circumcision". I also felt the need to chronicle this in my blog so that Griffin (and Penelope) understand why and how Bryan and I made this decision because this has as much to do with our philosophy on parenting as it does with circumcision itself.

So consider yourself warned. I will not mince my words.

I wasn't always an "intactivist". When we were pregnant with Penelope our OBGYN asked whether or not we would choose circumcision (this was before we found out Poe's sex). Both Bryan and I answered in the affirmative; yes, we would have circumcised at that point.

It's possible my answer would have changed. After all, I was originally going to deliver in a hospital.

Once we found out Poe was a girl I didn't give the subject another thought. Why would I? It didn't matter at that point.

When we got pregnant with Griffin I was convinced he was a girl... but I still did a lot of reading about the subject and participated in a LOT of debates. They changed my mind.

Circumcision is a cosmetic surgical procedure. Meaning that it is, in the vast majority of cases, medically unnecessary. It is done for a variety of cultural and/or religious reasons; since Bryan and I are neither Jewish nor Muslim then we can eliminate religious reasons. That just leaves cultural.

(FYI - there are multiple Christian denominations that do not circumcise. In fact, 1 Corinthians makes a pretty good case that God did not wish for circumcision to continue after the death of Jesus. Here's a link to a blog that discusses the Christian aspect of circumcision for those of faith who wish to read it. There are also groups like Catholics Against Circumcision who are pretty dedicated to lowering circumcision rates among the faithful.)

Regardless, all the arguments left for circumcision were cultural. So let's examine those.

1. So baby looks like Daddy. Griffin will not have the same color eyes, hair, same size feet, or the same sized penis. They're different human beings and there's no need for them to look the same. I wouldn't get cosmetic surgery done so their noses match, why for their penises?

2. So he doesn't get teased in the locker room. I'm sure Griffin, at some point in his life, will get teased. For acne, clumsiness, the gap between his teeth, when his voice changes, etc. It's inevitable. Besides, the circumcision rate is as low as 33% in some areas. So odds are he'll be in the majority as a teenager.

3. Girls think uncircumcised penises are ugly. Um, ALL penises are ugly. And erect, the circumcised and intact penises look the same. Besides, if a girl refuses to date G just because he's intact then she's not exactly the kind of woman I want my son to date.

4. Intact penises are harder to clean. Actually, they're really easy to take care of. As a baby you just wash it like a finger. No pulling back, no scrubbing. Pulling back (retraction) is actually dangerous - the foreskin is fused onto the head of the penis like a nail is to your finger (this is for infants and young boys). When they get older it will retract on its own - then boys will have to pull back the skin and rinse. That's it. And for those out there who think boys won't do this easy cleaning think on this: have you EVER met a teenage boy who had to be convinced to touch his penis? Really? It's harder to get them to STOP touching their penises. Boys take half hour long showers for a reason: hint, it's not to wash their hair.

Then there are the "medical" reasons...

1. Circumcision prevents infection. Nope, nope, and nope. Prematurely retracting the foreskin can cause infection - but an intact penis that is properly cared for will likely never cause problems. Most problems are due to lack of basic proper care. The horror stories you hear of old men in nursing homes? Likely due to the fact that a lot of workers are not properly trained on proper penile care. Old people in Europe do not suffer from high rates of medical circumcision - so either American penises are somehow faulty or we're just not doing something right.

2. Circumcision prevents AIDS/STDs. Come on. That's just silly. Studies that have shown slightly lower transmission rates have yet to be repeated and have serious flaws in data collection. Many men in the US are circumcised and yet we have very high rates of STDs, so obviously circumcision is not the answer. Condom use is. I would rather my son learn proper safe sex procedures than trust circumcision will magically stop AIDS.

There are probably others, but these are the big ones I hear in these debates.

Finally, and arguably most importantly, the reason we have decided not to circumcise Griffin is because it's not our penis, it's his. He should be the one to make the decision. Unlike actual medical decisions (vaccinations, medically indicated surgery or procedures) there are NO HEALTH BENEFITS. It's like tattooing - it's a permanent, cosmetic procedure. It's his body and it's his choice.

It's really as simple as that. There are more arguments against circumcision - some more emotional and inflammatory than others - but what it boils down to is that his body belongs to him. Not to me.

If you'd like to learn more, please visit Intact America.

So Griffin, now you know why. And you should know that if when you're older you decide to get circumcised your father and I will support you.

So how does this demonstrate our parenting philosophy? Bryan and I believe that our children are individuals that are capable of appropriate levels of autonomy. We allow our children to make decisions for themselves whenever possible. At this point Griffin doesn't make a ton of decisions, but Penelope does. She can pick out her pajamas, clothes, what she wants to eat, what activities she wants to do for the day, etc. There are limits of course, she is only 2 and is not capable of complete autonomy, but she is capable of making some decisions for herself.

Some of their decisions will be cosmetic, but many will not be. Our children will be encouraged to explore a variety of different things - religion, politics, philosophies, etc. And like any parent I hope that they will agree with my stance on many of these issues, but even if they decide differently I will still love them and I will do my best to respect and support their decisions. Because the point of it all is that it's their choice. Their lives. Their bodies. I will do what I can to keep them healthy and happy so that they can grow up and follow their bliss.

And that's how I see it.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

One about the kids

First off, I wanted to thank everyone who commented or sent me messages/e-mails after my last post. It really does help to know that there are a people out there that have been in my shoes (or at least similar shoes) and that there are people who I can call if I need to talk or need a break. I feel better - getting it out there and publicly acknowledging the magnitude of my anxiety has helped tremendously. So thank you.

Now, about the kids :)

Griffin crawled yesterday! Well, it was a crawl. Singular. But hey, it's forward progress (haha, I'm so punny). I'm still hoping he'll be mobile by Christmas. For the last two nights he's also been sleeping better. Two nights ago he slept from 11-3:30 (in bed with us) and last night he didn't need an extra bottle. Bryan got up with him at 7:10 and I got to sleep in until almost 8:30. It was excellent.

Poe is stringing 5-6 words together and repeats EVERYTHING. I love her talking, especially the way she says her name "Pah-pooh-pea". She used to call herself "Penny" but now she just calls herself Penelope. I will endeavor to get it on video.

She has also now peed on the potty twice! And she loves watching her "Elmo's Potty Time" video so here's hoping "peer pressure" (from Elmo & crew) will help get her day-time trained by X-mas. We'll see.

She can also read. Well, sort of. When she sees "Penny" written she points to it and says "Pah-pooh-pea"! I'm counting it :)

I have more, but I also have pictures. So here they are... hopefully I'll find more time this weekend to blog.

Penny got this horse at a white elephant gift exchange with the mommy group... Jessica W made it and Poe LOVES it. So cute!

Poe & Jackson

Thursday, December 9, 2010


So one of the symptoms of PPD is anxiety. For me, it was the most significant and debilitating symptom and the one that prompted me to seek help. At times these periods of anxiety would develop into panic attacks and, on rare occasions, would be debilitating.

Things got better. Griffin was sleeping a bit better, I had a bit less stress, and my anxiety was manageable.

But recent events have brought me to what seems like square 1.

Maybe I should start at the beginning... hopefully that will help this all make sense. And hopefully it will mean that someone will have some suggestions, because I NEED YOUR HELP.

This pregnancy began on an anxious note. I lost my job when I was 5 months pregnant, Bryan's hours were cut, we didn't have healthcare. We were concerned with Penelope's motor skill development (which, thankfully, resolved itself). G was breech for awhile and we were concerned with delivery. I had TPA's and school work that ran up to his due date. Bryan started school. I was worrying about placement for student teaching.

And the ENTIRE pregnancy I felt as if the other shoe was about to drop. As if I was waiting for something to go wrong. I was convinced something was terribly wrong - because nothing was going right (or at least it felt that way).

When Griffin was born I half expected something to be wrong. The first words I said to him were "I love you so much" - in part because I NEEDED to say that in case something happened to him. I needed him to know how much I loved him in case he died. Or I died.

Sounds silly, right? But I was convinced that something was going to happen.

That fear has persisted. I am terrified that I'm going to lose the kids. That something will happen to one, or both. My overwhelming fear is usually focused on Griffin. But lately it's seeped to Penelope. Sometimes I find myself paralyzed with fear. Literally. I tell them endlessly how much I love them. And I do love them... but my mantra is recited not just because I love them, but because I'm afraid that something will happen and I won't get to say it anymore. I need them to know how much I love them. It's a physical need - I don't know how else to explain it...

And, of course, as I type this I'm crying. I can't help it. It's overwhelming and frightening how absolutely terrified I am that I won't see my kids grow up.

Part of it is that I "know" three people who have lost children since I got G's BFP (big fat positive, the pregnancy test). One who delivered a stillborn baby, one whose baby died of SIDS at 4 months, and one whose baby died after only 45 minutes on this earth. "Know" is in quotations because these people are friends/relatives of my friends/relatives. I've only met one of the families, although I did meet the 4 month old baby just weeks before his death.

Add to this, Griffin's sleep is HORRID. We're up 5-6 times a night. And we're back to co-sleeping. I get more sleep co-sleeping than if he's in his crib, but sleep-nursing is not great sleep. Bryan is there to help, but Griffin wants Mommy. And B just doesn't have the right faculties (i.e. breasts) so there's really not much more B can do to help out. We just have to get through this stage and hope it's not a long one.

Anxiety pre pregnancy + stress + continued anxiety postpartum + more stress = me.

I am a mess.

Some of you who have seen me lately may not see it. Heck, I'd bet this is news to a lot of people who see me regularly. I've been doing everything I can to keep it together; because that rational part of me KNOWS that I'm overreacting. KNOWS that it's hormonal. KNOWS that it's stress. This part of me knows that things will get better. Griffin will sleep better. The kids will be ok. I will be ok.

This part of me is starting to lose its energy.

I am currently sitting in a dark classroom crying.

I haven't gotten anything done this afternoon. And I have SO MUCH TO DO.

I'm also starting to feel a little nauseous. I hope it's just stress and not an actual illness.

And so, my friends, there you have it. We have discovered exactly how much I can take. This is it. I'm tapped out.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Happy Birthday Penelopotamous

Two years ago, at this very moment, I was in labor.

In a few short hours, Penelope will be two! So, to make myself even more weepy than normal, I decided to revisit her birth story and slideshow. Only watch the slideshow if you want to see actual pictures of a birth and breastfeeding photos.

Anyway, I read/watched and cried. Of course.

My baby is 2. TWO. Two YEARS OLD.

I love her more each day (which is technically impossible since I have loved her infinitely since the moment I saw her).

So Happy Birthday baby. Mama and Daddy love you SO MUCH that there are not enough words in the English language to adequately express how much we love you. And Bubba loves you too. LOTS. So does Harley. And Granny and Papa... and OiNic. And Nana, Rick, Grandpa Dave, Grandma Debb, Uncle Steve, Aunt Tree, Gadge, Ari, JJ... whew! Too many to list!

We all love you bunches.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Peepee on the potty!

Tuesday Penelope peed on the potty for the first time. Hooray!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I have 1,001 things to do and 1,001 things I want to blog about.

Blogging wins for now.

This weekend is Poe's birthday weekend, I can't believe she's going to be two already! We have the location, invites out, and drinks and crayons purchased. We still need butcher paper, plates, random decorations, and a party dress for Pen. "What?" you say, "a party dress? What is this, 1940?" Well to you I say :P

The theme is crayons since she loves to color, and so the kids will be able to doodle to their hearts content. I should probably bring some other toys or games as well since not all of the kids will be as excited to color.

If I get my act together, I will be making her a gluten and dairy free cake in the shape of a crayon. If I don't get my act together she'll get a gluten and dairy free cake shaped like a rectangle.

I promise to take pictures.

On the G front, the poor bubs is sick. He has it coming out of both ends and it is.not.pretty. We think it might be a formula issue, it seemed to start with the opening of this latest can of formula - but that could be purely coincidental.

The advise nurse wants us to call in the morning and get him an appointment, she and I were both concerned about dehydration. So it looks like we'll be seeing the doctor in the morning. Hopefully I can arrange the appointment for after school, it's a short day anyway.

Ok, I really should do something more productive. I have SO MUCH TO DO.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Potty Time

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I am ready to potty train Penelope.

She may or may not be ready to BE potty trained.

I bought a book called "How To Potty Train Your Child In One Day" and read the first two chapters. Meh. Some of the info is great, and I may use portions of the techniques, but the author advocates a "potty party" complete with cake and presents. I don't really have the time for that - plus, while I want Penelope to know that going to the bathroom on the toilet is good, I'm not sure I want to make it a holiday. I want to normalize it, not turn it into an event.

The author also says some very inaccurate and obnoxious things about cloth diapers, so I'm just ticked off enough to not want to use her technique. This may make me silly and/or petty, but whatever. You publish a book containing inaccurate BS and I'm going to look at the rest of what you have to say with a different lens. It is what it is.

I did, however, take the potty quiz in the book to determine in Poe is ready for the whole experience. She scored a 7/10 which the author says is close, but not quite ready. So we're going to wait until the winter break and see what she scores then.

In the meantime, she and I have watched some videos of Elmo singing about potty training and I've ordered her some Sesame Street books about using the "big kid potty". If Elmo does something then Penelope wants to do it as well.

It's already made an impression on her. Last night after I stripped her down for bathtime she walked into the bathroom and asked to sit on the potty. She also wanted ME to sit on the potty, so we sat (I was fully clothed, she was naked) together for about 5 minutes. I praised her (she didn't pee, just sat naked, which is a big step) and talked about how big girls use the potty. She told me "Elmo pee-pee potty mama. Cookie poo-poo potty" and was very proud of herself.

Of course, I think half the reason she sat on the potty for so long was because she didn't want to take a bath. She used to LOVE baths, but it's become a bit of a headache recently. She hates getting her hair washed/wet and cries about the whole experience. Plus, Griffin is a splash-o-matic and while Poe sometimes finds his antics amusing, she also hates getting water splashed in her face.

Oh well, whatever the real motivation was for her potty time last night, the fact that she sat (naked) on the potty for an extended period of time is a good sign.

I would love, love, love if she was potty trained by x-mas. Love. I don't expect daytime AND nighttime training to happen that quickly. If I can get daytime training done by the holidays I will be ecstatic.

Side note: Last night G went to bed at 9-ish, woke up at 12:15 and nursed, woke up at 3-ish for a bottle, and was still asleep IN HIS CRIB when I left the house at 6:50. This is awesome.

Monday, November 29, 2010


There are quite a few differences between the kids, and while I'm thinking about them I thought I should write them all down in the blog.

The kids' sleep schedules aren't all that different at this age. Penelope was on a much more predicable schedule, but we had the time/energy to actually stick to the schedule. Not so much anymore. G's down to 2-3 wakings a night, which isn't bad for this age. If I remember correctly P was between 1-2.

The biggest difference (for me) is HOW they get to sleep. Penelope would need to be rocked. We would also occasionally lay down in our bed with her until she tossed and turned herself to sleep. Griffin is a patter, pat him and bounce and he is.out. He also nurses to sleep and can be transferred right into the crib; even when Poe was falling asleep after eating a bottle it would still take a fair amount of luck to transfer her into the crib.

Griffin puts EVERYTHING in his mouth. Everything. Penelope rarely put anything in her mouth, even when teething.

G also likes to explore his manly-bits. Poe was never big into self-exploration. (They're both going to be SO EMBARRASSED) about this post when they're older :)

At this age, Poe was sitting and that's pretty much as far as it went. She would "walk" around in her walker, but she wasn't interested in crawling or moving around too much. Griffin does.not.stop.moving. Oh holy jinkies, this child will be into EVERYTHING when he eventually crawls. He's already into almost everything... right now he's just scooting on his bottom.

There's more of course, they're very different babies. But these are the things I was thinking about this evening after putting both babies to bed.

I should probably get some actual work done - I have a lot of planning to do, I start new units in all of my classes on Monday.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving in pictures

I didn't take nearly as many pictures as I had planned (not really surprising I guess) but I did get a few good ones. So here's the kids this Thanksgiving:

But these first two pictures need a bit of explanation... This was after dinner was over, so around 3:30, and Penelope had yet to take a nap. She was exhausted and in a very silly mood. So she and my brother invented a new game of peek-a-boo where they would rest their heads on the table and then bring them up at the same time and say "surprise!". It was hilarious.

So here's the first stage

And this is the second stage

They did this for awhile :)

More pictures:

At the table

Playing before dinner


Penelope hoarding the fruit tray

Riley, Penny, and I

Griffin and his great-grandpa

Bryan and I

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Giving Thanks

So this year has been rough. We've had a lot of stress and change - some of it has been good, but a lot of it has been pretty crappy. I haven't gone into all of it on the blog simply because I don't wish to share all of our lives with the interwebs, just a portion. But even though this year has been more than a little bumpy, we still have a LOT to be thankful for.

Every day I try and remind myself of at least one thing I am thankful for, even if it's something as simple as a hot shower. On really rough days it helps get me through. As the year draws to a close, fewer days in the week are rough ones, but I'm still trying to stay in the habit of recognizing and appreciating the everyday things we generally take for granted. It helps my mood and it helps put everything into perspective. After all, we could be living in Haiti and dealing with a Cholera epidemic.

So here are some of the things that I am really thankful for...some are big and some are small, but they all make my life that much better.

Bryan and the kids
Of course they're on the top of my list! We all drive each other crazy. Really crazy. But we love each other more than we irritate each other, and really, what more can you ask for? I'm thankful for having a partner who shares all the responsibilities of parenthood with me. I'm thankful he always takes out the garbage, that he gets up with Griffin at 1am, that he only snores half the week ;) I'm thankful that Penelope has adjusted well to being a big sister, that she rarely throws tantrums, that she is polite and sweet, that she loves books as much as I do. I'm thankful that Griffin and I are still nursing a little at night, that he is so happy, and that he has the best goofy grin ever. I'm thankful that we're all healthy (and that the kids have insurance).

My parents
We really couldn't survive without my parents. I'm not exaggerating. Between childcare and emotional support, they're always there for us and we really and truly appreciate it. They've made it possible for me to finish my degree and student teaching, for Bryan to go back to school, for us to *not* lose our minds. I don't know how people raise families without my parents. Really, I don't.

My December 08 Moms
Some of you know this, but some don't... when Poe was born I "met" a group of women with similar due dates on a site called BabyCenter. When they switched formats, a small group of us broke off and started our own support board. Over 2 years later it's still going strong. We've celebrated milestones, grieved over losses, argued (well, rarely), laughed, shared... they've been absolutely wonderful and I have leaned on them so much this year. I love those ladies!

My MSN Moms
My other support group has been my IRL moms - most of whom I met through MSN. Now that MSN is gone (well, gone-ish) we've moved activities to people's houses instead of the center, but we are all still close. They're a wonderful group of women (and men!) who are always there if I need them, and vice versa. Kim watches the kids once a week, we meet on occasional weekends for playdates, we spend holidays (Halloween!) together, celebrate birthdays, bring each other meals, have girls night out, go out for ice cream, stay up late on the phone, sew diapers... next year I think we might get all of our kids on the same toddler soccer team! I love my extended family.

You may think I'm being flippant, but I really don't think I'd be sane at this point in the year without coffee. Between 5:30am wake-ups, to night nursing marathons, to stress-based insomnia, coffee has been my friend. It helps make me tolerable in the mornings, and I'm sure my 1st period class appreciates it.

Mira Loma
I'm lucky to have been placed at ML... and lucky to be working with some great teachers. All of my Mentor teachers have taught me quite a few things about teaching - I've gotten ideas on management, curriculum, planning, grading, and even life.

Our house
We have a roof over our heads. The kids sleep in their own beds. We are very lucky. I don't LOVE this house, but I am very thankful for it.

Last, but not least, is you dear blog reader. If you've taken the time to read this then I thank you. You may not always comment, but I know you read - and the fact that you care enough to take a few minutes to read the drivel I write is very much appreciated.

There are a lot more things I have to be thankful for. I could write a book - but no one would read it and I don't have time to write a book anyway.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I hope your holiday season is full of joy and love. And I hope next year is better than this year.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Griffin is clapping!

I almost forgot, Griffin has started clapping! It's really cute :)

He's also a scooter, as in he moves from one spot to another by scooting on his butt. No crawling yet, just scooting.

Making cookies

So Penelope is getting to the age where she really, really likes to help. And I've been encouraging this by allowing her to help me cook. Generally she just gets to stir but she occasionally gets to add in ingredients. She's always supervised, and I do let her stir things on the stove (while I hold her) always with the admonishment that the stove is hot and we have to be careful. She repeats "hot, be careful!" and gently stirs whatever is on the stove. It works for us - I don't think all kids this age could handle it, but Poe is something else :)

Last week she actually helped me make a cake (for my Dad's 50th birthday) and today while Griffin was napping she helped me make peanut butter cookies. I took a few pictures but the camera battery died so I'll upload them later. She had fun - although she tried multiple times to eat the batter even after being told that they're not ready yet. I did let her lick the spatula that I used to get the PB out of the measuring cup, so I bet that's where she got the idea that it's ok to eat what's on the spoon. Oh well, she only got a tiny uncooked batter and there was only one egg in it so I'm not worried.

Her favorite part was to squoosh the PB cookies after forming them into balls. She tried to help me with creating the balls, but she just ended up smooshing the batter in her hand. It was funny.

Cookies just came out of the oven so I'm looking forward to sharing with her.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My children are weird

Occasionally Penelope and Griffin will sit next to each other and just laugh. Penny will do something and G will laugh, then P will laugh that G is laughing, and the cycle will repeat. It's nice having kids that are so easily amused.

In just a few weeks Penelope will turn 2. TWO. Two YEARS. TWO YEARS OLD!

Holy monkeys in a jar, where did the time go????

We're still working on a location for her birthday party. At this age the party is still more for us than her (and if we're being completely honest it's mostly for me, I think Bryan would be just fine with a low-key family thing, but I *need* a party. Don't ask me why, I just do ok?).

It's been so crazy here that party planning has fallen by the wayside. But my last seminar class is Monday and then all I have are TPA 3 & 4 (TPA 3 is practically finished), a few silly hoops to jump through for the CCTC (CA Commission on Teacher Credentialing), finishing out the semester of student teaching, and writing a thesis. Haha, "only".

So I won't be sane until at least February. If then. Hold your sarcastic comments please.

Other things:
*Penelope is perhaps the sweetest, most loving, and wonderful two year old in the history of toddlers. She is constantly giving hugs and kisses, loves her brother, the dog, her dolls, and everything ever. She tells me I look "bootaful" when I wear hats (which I will now wear every day just to hear her say it). She ASKS to be tickled and loves to try and tickle you. She hugs the dog at least once a day. She kisses characters in her books, she HUGS THE GROUND. Seriously.

*Griffin is a goober. He also sounds like Chewbacca. And OH MY GOODNESS is he a mama's boy. Penny was always more of a Grandpa's girl (and still is) but sweet baby-jesus-on-a-stick Griffin LOVES his mommy. I am not complaining. One day he'll slam doors in my face so I'll take the love while I can get it. Don't get me wrong, he loves his Daddy too - but the child will leap out of Daddy's arms when I pass by.

*Bryan and I are sick. Boo. Not really big news, but it's certainly no fun. Luckily yesterday was the last day of school before Thanksgiving break so I have a chance to recuperate. I'm looking forward to spending a week with the kids. I miss the SAHM gig. I have a ton of papers to grade, but I can do that during naps and at night - during the day I will soak in as much of my munchkins as I can.

All for now - must get back to my babies!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Just a few things

Griffin has become less and less interested in nursing. He arches and gets frustrated during the day but seems fine with nursing at night. So we'll stick to nursing at night and see how long it all lasts. If we end up giving it up then I'm ok with that. 7 months is a huge milestone for us both and while in an ideal world we'd nurse until at least 12 months, we all know that this world is NOT an ideal one.

Things are getting better. For almost a week he's been down to just two wakings a night, Bryan wakes up with Griffin for the first round and I get him for the second.

I'll end with some pictures. I do have a lot more to talk about but I don't really have much time. I need to get a few things ready for work tomorrow.

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Penelope's Growth

6 years: 50 inches, 47 lbs
5 years: 48 inches, 42 lbs
4 years: 43.5 inches, 41.0 lbs
28 months: 39 inches, 33.1 lbs
26 months: 38.5 inches, 32.1 lbs
21 months: 37 inches, 31.8 lbs
18 months: 35 inches, 30 lbs
15 months: 34.25 inches, 28.8 lbs
12 months: 32 inches, 27.1 lbs
9 months: 30.5 inches, 25.1 lbs
6 months: 29 inches, 21.2 lbs
4 months: 28.5 inches, 17.13 lbs
2 months: 24.75 inches, 12.12 lbs
At birth: 20.75 inches, 7.15 lbs

Griffin's Growth

5 years - 3 feet 11.25 inches (47.25 inches), 51 lbs
3 years - 3 feet 5.25 inches, 40lbs
18 months - 34.5 inches, 27.13lbs
12 months - 32 inches, 26.5lbs*
10 months - 31.75 inches, 23.4 lbs
7 months - 29.25 inches, 21.4 lbs
5 months - 28.5 inches, 17.9 lbs*
4 months - 28 inches, 15.5 lbs
3 months - 27 inches, 13.10 lbs
2 months - 25.125 inches, ?? lbs
1 month - 24 inches, 10.13 lbs
At birth - 22.5 inches, 9.1 lbs
*with diaper

Izzy's Growth

2 months: 23.25 inches, 10.8 lbs
At Birth: 22 inches, 8.11 lbs

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