Friday, January 30, 2015

A Ruthie Post

I feel like Ruth has grown up lately. In a very big spurt. When we moved here I had just barely started buying and putting her in size 3T, but she still fit some 2T. She is now wearing size 5/6 in the big kids section! WHAT?!?! 

But besides sizes, she is also getting a pretty grown up personality. What a personality this little firecracker of mine has! Independence to the max. Sometimes I feel really sad about how much I feel like I squash that big independent self of hers. So it makes me really happy that some things don't have to be squashed, and on the other things, I'm working really hard on letting her be big--like cracking the eggs when we cook.

One place where I am constantly reminded of her exuberance is her wardrobe. She knows what she wants, thats for sure. Sometimes I think I should make this a fashion blog and just take pictures of Ruthie three times a day (she changes that often). Really, that might be my big break--she is so confident! Today she had on a skirt with neon pink flowers, a shirt that was a peachy color (totally hideous against the neon pink) with a HUGE glittery rainbow on it and pink converse sneakers. But at other times today she had on one black church shoe and one sparkly pink princess shoe (both of them on the wrong foot, haha). She also had on her strawberry shortcake dress several times, and Ikea has added some fairy shoes and hats to her collection which she wore, and tried really hard to convince Will to wear, several times throughout the night.

When we walked to get the mail today she was one black shoe, one pink shoe outfitted, I had taken Will's shorts off (does anyone else have toddlers whose pants stink even after the diaper change? I seriously can still smell it so I end up not putting the shorts back on, anyway...) and he wanted to wear Ruthie's pink cowboy boots. So he had these tiny little stick legs poking out of his diaper and into these clonking, big boots. Molly had also just had a diaper change and I had not put her pants back on (I blame this habit on Sterling) and had one sock on but one sock off. A nice lady in a fancy BMW stopped us on our road just to tell us how picture perfect we were. She pointed out Ruth and Will's shoes, the missing shorts, Molly's missing sock, and just said she thought it was the absolute cutest! While I think it might be a show of how insane the 3-baby thing can be, it was such a great comment to remind me to enjoy it all!

Back to Ruthie. One thing that makes her seem grown up is she is always trying to cut deals with me. "Mom, can I watch this show?" No. Pick a different one, I don't like that one. "Can I watch this show after breakfast? Just a little bit after breakfast?" Ummm...still no. 

She is also obsessed with keeping a cup of her own chocolate milk in the fridge at all times. She gets a drink of chocolate milk before bed (the dental hygienist in me cringes at this, but it has been our fail-proof lately of getting her to bed without screaming, which is a recent and very much improved situation) and then Will takes a drink from the same cup. She always has to go over with me, several times, how "if Will doesn't drink all the milk, I need to put it back in the fridge. But if Will does drink all the milk, I need to make more and THEN put it back in the fridge. Because then in the morning when she wakes up she can say "dad! Can I have my chocolate milk?" and he will get it so she can drink it." It's quite a long explanation, and we have to go from beginning to end every single night. It just cracks me up how detailed her instructions and conversations are lately!

Ruth is also really big lately on playing pretend and my favorite part is how she designates what Will is going to be and what he is doing. He pretty much plays along, or doesn't, and then we have to talk about how Will can play his own games sometimes, haha.

She sings. A lot. Tonight she picked Baa Baa Black Sheep and then she asked for the Shoe Song. We don't know a shoe song. So she said she'd sing it. It was quite lengthy and had all sorts of funny phrases throughout. It makes me laugh that she just comes up with songs to sing. She is in LOVE with Annie (its on Netflix right now) and sings "yesterday was plain awful" a lot, which is really cute.  She still loves to dance and every single book she picks out from the library is pink, or sparkling, or about a ballerina, or all of the above.

We just moved her up to a booster seat thanks to the Toys R Us carseat exchange running through this month--and yes, she does fit all the height and weight requirements, and yes, it does sit where it should on her shoulder, and yes, her knees do bend at the end of the seat like they should, and yes, I did thoroughly check EVERYTHING to make sure she is big enough for this change, and yes, she does sit still and face forward (better in the booster than in the five point, which, no matter how tight it was, she always wrangled out of) and even if she is three, it is still completely safe--- and she is the best at reminding us to buckle her. Frantic screaming "MOM! BUCKLE ME! MOM! IT'S NOT BUCKLED!" It's ok Ruthie, we still have ninety thousand things to lug out to the van before we can even leave. But I'm glad she's on the ball. Same with prayers at dinner and Will having his shoes on, and all sorts of particular little details. It's cute and sweet and sometimes really aggravating.
(Sorry, rant due to all the fb posts on mom's moving their kids up too soon. I moved her into a new one so Will could have hers and Molly could move into Wills--his faces forward or backward and is a 5lb to 40lb one---and I was going to buy another five point harness, but did the research and realized that since she is tall enough and big enough, it is perfectly safe to buy a seatbelt booster, one that has a back, but the back can come off, so she can use it from now until forever.)

She is the greatest helper and I just can't believe how big she is getting. Big enough to be a Sunbeam. Big enough to pour her own milk (if the gallon is less than half full). Big enough to crack an egg. Big enough to do so many things that are WAY TOO BIG! Oh, I love that little girl oh, so much! I don't know how I would survive without her! She is just the best.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Our Weekend

Sterling took a test on Friday afternoon, which meant we had the entire weekend to play! Friday I got the kids pictures taken at JCP (none of the Targets around here have a portrait studio, ruff) and Ruth's and Will's turned out ADORABLE! Molly's, made me a little sad. I ended up buying a membership because it was only six dollars more than paying the sitting fee for three kids. I might take Molly back and try again--but I was so irritated at the photographer! Molly was in the BEST mood and so SMILEY and the lady would click three seconds late every. single. time. I wanted to grab the camera from her. Someday it would be sweet to have a backdrop at my own house :).

We took the weekend to get some housework accomplished. Boring, I know, but we were feeling pretty good about life since we just got to see so much of each other on Monday, and we had a lot that needed to get finished. Friday we hung out with some great friends and Saturday we spent cleaning, organizing, grocery shopping, and I had to write a talk for church. The highlight for me was that Sterling took the kids for FOUR hours while I went through all of their clothes and reboxed and organized (it seems like all of my kids hit a major growth spurt all at once!). Four hours without ANY kids?!! It was complete bliss, I tell ya what.

Now on to some cute bedtime pictures:
Are these PJs also from you, Kate? I am in LOVE with them!

I'm a little concerned here, mom. 

I asked Sterling if he would hold Molly up to show off her cute PJs. It took some coaxing since he was pretty enthralled with Amelia Bedelia, haha. Molly smiled SO CUTE and Sterling...????

He acts all innocent. We have proof though, babe! 
Ready for Sunday, curlers and painted nails, haha.

Our church rotates times, and the start of this year meant we changed to 1-4 church time. The struggle is real. Will won't take a nap early enough to get one in before church. Molly needs to eat right as we are leaving. Sterling has meetings from 10:30 until church time, so I feel like I don't see him at all. Then we get home, feed the kids, put them to bed, and commiserate about how we didn't see each other. 

So yesterday we decided to get up and enjoy the morning. We went to a little pier next to the Deering Estate, and it was BEAUTIFUL. Also, cold. (I've lived in Miami long enough that 60 degrees is cold. In fact, our van said 55 degrees when we first got in...although it was to 66 by the time we left.) I'm not complaining though, truly. This 88 degrees in January was REALLY killing me.
Roots growing over the wall.
OCEAN! It still amazes me that in six minutes (literally) we can be at the ocean. Pretty much we're toast if there is some massive hurricane, haha.
Love my menfolk.

It sparkles. I love when it sparkles.
A pelican. We watched this guy for some time. Did you know the big ol' bottom part of their beak that they carry stuff in is actually elastic? As in, wobbly and disappears when he puts his head down? For some reason I thought the bottom beak was hard and always looked shaped the same way.

Now it is Monday and back to the grind. This morning was already eventful in that we saw a banana spider at the park and then got torrentially rained on. I'd post a picture of the banana spider, but I don't want to look it up. It was bad enough seeing it in real life, and I don't want to continue it. Luckily, a fellow mom waited for it to drop slowly down from a tree and then softly crunched it with her foot so her son could come look at it, because he likes spiders. That's a nice mom for ya. I, on the other hand, was trying not to lay down and go into fetal position. I have NEVER in my life seen a spider so huge. I never want to again. Although, I hear banana spiders are pretty common around here. Yuck. 

Oh yeah, and I think it's goodbye to my husband for the next month because we just wrote out his schedule and...well, it IS med school that we are here for. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

So. Tired. Help!

All righty all you folks (ya know, the two of you) that read this blog, I desperately want some advice! My kids don't sleep. At all. Ever. 
Ruth has never been very great at sleeping. When I had Will I realized just how tricky she could be because he was SOOO much easier. She usually wakes up at night. Once, sometimes twice(yes, even now at 3 years old). She is always up at the crack of dawn. She has not taken a nap since she was 18 months, and getting her to bed is the HARDEST. Usually we find something that works really great for a month or so before she goes back to screaming-like-her-arm-is-getting-sawed-off-slowly for at least twenty minutes before crashing. The lack of sleep definitely catches up with her and about every three days she has some major meltdown, and then I realize she is just REALLY tired. So sometimes she'll fall asleep while driving, only then you have to be SUPER careful about waking her up because if she wakes up just right then she does the same screaming fit in this not-quite-awake-not-quite-asleep phase that lasts at least twenty minutes. All in all, she's not the greatest at sleeping. Right now we've got a grand system involving stickers and chocolate milk and...well, basically bribing. But's its working for us right now. 
She still gets up super early and she still gets up during the night, but as long as it was just her and a couple times to nurse the baby, I was doing all right.

Well, now things have changed. Will can crawl out of his crib. My angel sleeper that sleeps every where and any where and all the way through the night without any problems. So yesterday I took his mattress and put it under Ruth's bed (a makeshift trundle bed, if you will) so that he won't fall into the dresser or Ruth's bedposts while crawling out. I was worried about him going to bed (it took an hour two days ago, when he realized he could crawl out) so when he didn't take a nap due to piano lessons at our house, I just kept him up. He went down no problem, it was beauteous. Then he woke up at 4:40am (which is what he did yesterday) bright awake and ready to play. 

Then the Molly problem. She has been going to sleep at 7pm with the other kids and just waking up every three hours to nurse, as per my kids usually are. Lately, she has been waking up at 4am and wanting to play. As in, she has to be held by my fingers to help her stand up, or be nursing, even though she's really not nursing, otherwise-- she's screaming. Which is miserable for everyone. Especially poor Sterling this morning who had to take a test at 8am. 

Mostly though, this means I am up from 4am on. With Molly this has been going on for about a week now and slowly killing me. Now two days of Will and our morning looked like: mom huddled in a blanket on the couch while the kids at dry cereal while watching Peter Pan. Then two hours and fifty billion meltdowns later, Will and Molly are already down for naps and it is only 9am.

Sooo.....any suggestions? I already plan on putting their bedtime later than 7pm. Seven has always worked for us, and in the past the later I push it Ruth has still woken up at 6:30am, but maybe it would help Molly and Will. I did keep them up later last night, and I took Molly with me to Relief Society, so she was up until 9:30pm, but I know that it takes a couple weeks to kick in. Any other suggestions? If I lock Ruth in her room she'll wake up freaking out, but that's what I used to do when she was Will's age so she stayed asleep. But now they share a room. 

Please make my children sleep. That is all.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Two Bottom Teeth

I felt like Molly was looking especially cute this afternoon and instead of going to bed, I thought I'd share. Because I spent the afternoon rearranging the kids' bedroom - due to Will being able to climb out of his crib (impromptu rush of spring cleaning jitters--took everything from underneath Ruth's bed and put it in the closet and took everything out of the closet and put it in our room so Will's mattress can slide under Ruth's bed and he can sleep there so he's not falling out of anything!) - and now Molly is sleeping in there, too. Which means I can have lights on and make all the noise I want in our bedroom. It's a little bit of a freeing experience, haha. Don't get me wrong, I'm a little sad about it. But not sad enough to keep her in our room. I'm not a co-sleeper, and I like having our room to ourselves in the evening. 

And a quick photo of Will, because he is just so adorably handsome I couldn't resist. 
Laughing at Ruthie. Ruthie's are good for that.
Those eyes.
Look, mom! I have two bottom teeth! (The faces that girl can pull!)

Awww, Molly! We love you and your two bottom teeth! 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

EVERGLADES - Shark Valley

A couple posts ago I said we had the perfect day. This was it, too. 

Sterling went back to school at the beginning of January with a vengeance, so it might have only been a couple of weeks, but we needed some family time! This was SUCH a fun activity-we loved the bikes, the weather was divine, there were no bugs, all of the kids were amazing and so happy, the gators were out to be seen and I just feel like I could pick this for my Groundhog's Day! Sterling and I spent the first hour looking at each other and grinning and saying things like "This is the best day ever!"

We went to the Everglades and did a 15 mile bike loop in an area called Shark Valley. It's about thirty minutes from our house (there was no traffic, so it really only took that long!) and we chose to go there because they had bike rentals.  Also, it is free to get into national parks on national holidays, so MLK was the perfect day! We had heard from a LOT of people that the time to go to the Everglades is now, because in the summer it is just too hot and has too many mosquitoes and bugs. Since I could barely walk outside of our house this past summer, I can't really imagine. Oh wait, getting from our car to the beach at Bill Baggs State Park last summer is a very strong memory. I can imagine. So we really wanted to enjoy this in the winter. It was perfect. We did not see or feel a single mosquito and it was cool enough in the morning that I had in the kids in jackets! Felt almost cold! (Ya know, bordering low seventies is cold these days.)
Molly only cried right then (we hadn't started biking yet) and as soon as we got going she was an angel the rest of the time!
Our first gator sighting! We were pretty stoked. Got off the bikes, took a picture, showed the kids, etc. We did that for the next three or four...or seven, haha. Then we realized that we wouldn't even make it a mile at that rate, let alone 15 miles, haha.

At first I thought I should put Molly on my back, since I am used to carrying her that way, then Sterling reminded me that he bikes every day with his backpack that is twice Molly's weight. Good call, babe.
Another gator!
The Everglades. We watched a minute or two of a video at the visitors center on our way out and they said that most of the Everglades looks like this (all 10.5 million acres!) and that this is truly a wetland, not the mangrove trees that people imagine. Mangrove trees are true swamps, which are separate from wetlands. The Everglades is the only wetland in all of North America.  
Two gators!

I thought this was as close as I'd get to a gator, and I was pretty scared. This is where all the gators are that we have pictures of--right along the road, ready to snap you at any moment!!!! Later, we crossed a bridge that a gator was sitting on so we actually got SIGNIFICANTLY closer to one. But it was smaller. 
Great Blue Heron--we saw TONS of these. They are really gorgeous. It was fun to see all the birds and then go back to the visitors center afterwards and identify all of them. They are all HUGE (this one is probably as tall as my shoulder. At least.) and so different and crazy colors. It was awesome. 

This is when Sterling's chain came off and we stopped to fix it and a nice retired zoologist stopped to help. I gave him a wipe to get all the grease off at the end and said sorry that it smelled like baby and he said "I will use it proudly! I worked with all these supposedly tough guys and they would squirm at the thought of changing a diaper! I always wanted to laugh, because we worked with really gross things, so a diaper? I changed a lot of my sons diapers thirty-two years ago!" It was hilarious. He was very kind and we were very happy that he stopped to help!
If you look through the grass in the very center of the picture there is an anhinga. I don't know why I don't have a better picture since we saw them pretty much constantly, but we thought they were pretty sweet cause they hold their wings out when they are perched and their neck looks furry. Weird. I also didn't take a picture of the turkey vulture, which I should have, just because they were HUGE! If anyone is interested, we also saw a Louisiana Heron, Green Heron, Osprey, Purple Gallinule, Great Egret, and tons of other ones that we didn't end up identifying.
I told Ruthie to get really close so I could take a picture and she started walking right up. So then Sterling got really annoyed at me and made Ruth stop right there and gave her a lecture on not getting any closer to them. oops!

Can you see the one swimming out there? 
The one on the bridge we had to cross. 
At just about the halfway point (mile 7) there was a tower you could walk up to look out over everything. It was pretty sweet. Plus, it had flushing toilets--the visitors center didn't. Isn't that odd? Anyway, the lookout was really sweet. 
How many gators can you see? I can see five.

 There were lots of things to read, that mostly said every creature in South Florida depended on these wetlands.

I took this picture while biking! Skill, I know. We also had an awesome system going where Ruth would put some snacks in my hand and I'd pass them over to Will. Good times.

Aww, too sweet.
Poor Ruthie. We stopped at basically the last mile because Molly started to cry and I knew she just needed to be fed. But when we stopped to nurse her, Sterling's chain fell off again so I told Ruth to sit down and we could have some snacks. She took one step, biffed it, and got some nasty bloody knees. She walked like her pants were wet the rest of the time and it was pretty hilarious!  Up until that point (minus the one stop for the chain) we had not had one crying child or mishap at all! Yay for 14 perfect miles!

Ruth and Will got their Junior Ranger badges and I am so excited to get a collection started for them! We love National Parks!
It took almost three hours total. The shop didn't even charge us at all for Sterling's bike, because of the chain, so it ended up being super cheap, too! It's crazy that we live thirty minutes away from the Everglades. I told Sterling that it is just weird to me. I dreamed about going to all sorts of places, Boston, Niagara Falls, Bannff, the Redwoods, even Europe and New Zealand or Australia. But never Florida. And never the Everglades. But they are REALLY cool and Florida has some pretty sweet stuff. I'm glad we got to go!