Tuesday, April 25, 2017

april tuesday things

1. i love having a post ready to go for monday mornings, but that just wasn't in the cards this week. joining the WBI board has added some extra work to my plate, so sunday night i was working on the weekly e-newsletter and did not get my blog post written. such is life! 

2. april 21st was my blog's 7th birthday! (no, i didn't celebrate....). but this is my 773rd post on i carry your heart in case you are wondering. :) wow! if i combine this with my 3.5 years of blogging on livejournal in college, over a decade of my life has been written about on the internet. kinda crazy! i'm flattered that anyone besides me comes back week after week to read it, so thank you! 

3. a short recap of the weekend: first, a big shout out to thatcher for giving this frazzled mom a couple good kid-breaks. saturday morning i went to java bean and finished my invoicing for work, then stopped at the grocery store, and even read my book for a little bit while he took the kids to richmond beach for the morning. we spent the afternoon/evening playing with the kids and making dinner. sunday morning we decided to take a little day trip to the city of redmond (where microsoft is located). ashford tantrum-ed all the way there in the car. thatcher turned to me and said "want me to drop you off at the outdoor mall and i'll take the kids to the park preserve?" i felt a little guilty at first and said no, but he insisted. and i was so thankful. they had fun...





and then they picked me up and we went to a burger place for lunch. it was really good! 


4. i've finished another two books (and i'm making good progress on my next one). my reading rate has slowed down, but i've already read more books than i read in 2016, so that's saying something. the last two i read were both by jennifer weiner (best known for her book "in her shoes" which was turned into a movie). i always enjoy her books and these two were no exception: 


5. finally - and i could probably write a whole post on this - but i need to just vent. i've been feeling really burned out as a mom lately. ashford has been so difficult for the last 1-2 weeks. the threenager antics are so intense right now. i thought i would handle it better the second time around, but as it turns out, i'm not a saint. he spends 97% of his waking hours being as uncooperative, unpleasant, and whiney as possible. he is the master contrarian who throws a fit about every single situation (claiming he wants the opposite of whatever is happening). and to top it off, on the occasions that he does get what he wants, he still melts down about it - because...why not?! getting him dressed, leaving the house, and coming home from activities are huge battles right now. i'm hoping this phase will end soon. it is so incredibly draining especially because i spend 99% of my time with him. i have almost no patience left and i feel bad because azalea has to be the recipient of my frazzled parenting too (read: lots of yelling and hiding in the bathroom). most days i've been feeling like i am not cut out to be a stay at home mom. the continuous nature of this role is one of the most challenging things i've ever experienced. except for a small break or two on the weekend, i'm always parenting. there is no "end" or escape. i feel guilty saying that because i love my kids so much and i am so grateful to get to do this, but it's just how i'm feeling right now. it's so much harder than i ever imagined it would be. there is something to be said about having balance in life and my life is feeling a bit unbalanced these days. but i know this too shall pass. 

well that escalated quickly! :) my brother comes into town tomorrow and i'm pretty excited about that! 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

spring break and easter 2017

i mentioned that last week was spring break and while i would argue it was far from a "break" for this mama, i'm happy to report we all survived ;) i filled our mornings with fun outings and then we spent most afternoons at home because i needed to work and i want the kids (*cough cough azalea*) to get better at having downtime/entertaining themselves. we went to playgrounds, a coffee shop, the zoo - including a ride on the carousel:


we also went to the church playspace, and the co-working space (they had a school age art camp that azalea attended while ashford was in the preschool room). i was "on duty" as the point person at the co-working space, so it was a pretty hectic morning of running around and helping out the teachers. by saturday morning i was feeling so depleted from the week that i begged asked thatcher if i could get a couple hours to myself. so, he took the kids to carkeek park and i grabbed my book and headed to java bean coffee shop. i got a cafe vienna latte, a muffin, and enjoyed the rest of my book. it was heaven



it was a gorgeous sunny morning, so i walked down to market street. i ended up at buffalo exchange (shocker) and bought a cute dress that i ended up wearing for easter. i'm ready for warmer weather!! the rest of the day thatcher ran some errands, we took the kids to the playground with their bikes, and we made breakfast dinner. 

the kiddos were so excited going to sleep knowing the easter bunny was coming that night. ashford had a lot of questions including "how does the easter bunny get in our house?" and "is the easter bunny big or small?" azalea knows the easter baskets are kept on a shelf in the laundry room during the year, so she wanted to be "helpful" and get them out for the easter bunny. ha! 

here are their baskets this year: 



azalea got tights, colored pencils, bubbles, and some candy. ashford got a hot wheels, a lego train engine, crayons, and some candy. the kids didn't get up until after 7, which was surprising. they were thrilled to see their goodies when they came out. 







we hung out at home all morning, getting food ready and cleaning for our friends to come over for lunch. we skyped with family in minnesota and i also took the kids outside to do a little photo shoot: 


vanessa, matt, and ewan came at 11:30. we made a super traditional lunch (*wink*) of asian marinated pork and veggies with rice. it was delicious. they brought fruit and cupcakes and thatcher made a chocolate souffle as well. we were all stuffed and the kids were on a sugar high. it was pretty chaotic in our small space, but i was so thankful to spend easter with them :) 

 they tried peeps for the first time. apparently they don't have them in canada!

 we made a frozen pizza for the kids because #easy

azalea loves to hug ewan. he is like her second little brother. 

by the mid afternoon we were all crashing, so i took a nap with ashford and thatcher and azalea fell asleep on the couch. is there anything better than naps after holiday festivities? i think not! in the evening, we watched the "bee movie" and heated up some leftovers for dinner. it was a nice low-key way to end a busy week! 

now we're back to our routine and counting down the days til my brother comes into town (a week from today!) 

Monday, April 17, 2017

portland family photos

i was planning on a doing our easter weekend recap today, but we got our family photos back from jammie at hard luck rabbit photography over the weekend, so i thought i would post these first. i'm so happy with them! we hadn't taken professional pictures since january 2015, so i'm really excited to have some updated ones. jammie sent us about 50 photos, here are my favorites: 















if you need photography in portland, jammie is your girl! i also made a new banner for my blog, so if you are reading from a feed, click over and see :) 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

portland spring break adventures

you know by now that portland has become our favorite weekend destination while we've been living in seattle. it doesn't hurt that we have family friends who live there and are so generous to host us each time. we actually hadn't been down there since july, which is hard to believe. azalea started kindergarten, which made it harder to pop down for more than a night. also, last time we experienced a torturous 6 hour drive with the kids (it's normally 3 hours, but summer traffic between the two cities is crazy). azalea is on spring break this week, so we thought it would be the perfect time to go! 

we left saturday morning and made it down there in 3 hours (hurray!). we had plans to meet up with thatcher's cousins and their spouses for lunch, but we were about 45 minutes early, so we popped into a cute little coffee shop and then came across a historic fire station with a donation-based museum inside. it was a perfect place to kill time! it was super kid friendly, too! 



 

we headed down the street to "dick's kitchen" for lunch. it was nice to see lloyd & jammie, and jade & ben! the kids were a bit squirrly at lunch, but we managed to have an enjoyable time. the food was great too! here is our family with the (biological) cousins: 

not sure what ashford was up to. ha!

after lunch, we drove over to the pearl district because thatcher wanted to go to rei (he had a coupon that was about to expire and oregon doesn't have sales tax). by the time we got there, both kids were asleep in the car! so, i stayed in the car and read my book while thatcher went shopping. it was quite relaxing :) we stopped by a grocery store to pick up some stuff for dinner at kathy & garry's



then drove to their house for the night. they made a delicious chicken and salmon dinner and we enjoyed catching up with them. the kids had a ball playing with their kids' old toys and chasing their cat around (poor cat...). i think our family was in bed by 9pm. haha!

sunday morning they made us eggs, sausage, hashbrowns, and toast and then we all took the kids to the elementary school playground a couple blocks from their house. 



our family took the train into portland (they live just outside of the city). we went to "hot lips pizza" for lunch, which we've been to many times before. yum! the kids also played pinball for the first time and thought it was the greatest thing ever.


we had couple hours to kill before we were planning to meet thatcher's cousin's wife jammie to take family pictures. we rode the train around some more and headed to the oregon rail heritage museum a little early. 



our family + trains is like peanut butter + jelly, so it was a great location suggestion from jammie. we explored the museum for a bit before she arrived. then we spent the next hour taking pictures inside and outside with her. the kids were mostly cooperative, but they were definitely "done" by the end. here is a preview of one of the pics: 



i will do a whole post once we get the rest of the pictures back. i can't wait to see them. she did such a great job! 

after pictures, we went to get the kids a treat, as promised. we ended up going to a deli downtown and getting a cookie and a brownie to split and ashford fell asleep on the way there. 



he slept through the whole thing and even slept through a trip to powell's bookstore. thatcher carried him the whole time and we got so many "awwws" from people walking by. my giant baby :) we were all tired by this time and decided to take the train back to kathy and garry's. they took us (and their daughter london) out for dinner at "laughing planet cafe". it was a good quick-casual meal and we enjoyed it! we went back to their house after and just hung out until bed time. 

monday morning we had another delicious breakfast and relaxed at their house for a couple hours. then we packed up our stuff to head out for the day (and eventually out of town). we drove to park they recommended called "crystal springs rhododendron garden." it was a beautiful place!





 then we went to have lunch at "hopworks brewery", which is a great kid-friendly place we've been to a couple times before. i feel like that's how i judge every restaurant these days, but any parent of small children knows meals out are slightly more relaxing when you are in the company of other families with young kids (and extra points when places have toy areas!). we made one last stop at "back to eden" bakery for a treat before hitting the road back to seattle. the ride back took about the same amount of time, so that was a relief. 

a few other things i want to remember about this trip: we lucked out when it came to dodging the rain. it rained on and off while we were there, but it was usually when we were indoors. it also was abnormally cool, just like seattle has been. 40 degrees in the mornings and around 50 in the afternoons. going on a trip at the end of the second week of potty training was...interesting. there was definitely some regression over the weekend, but now that we are back, he seems to be getting back into the groove again. whew! sleep was also not the greatest. late nights and early mornings for the kids. finally, it was so nice to spend time with kathy and garry (and london) and stay in their beautiful home! i realized there are no pictures of them from this trip. oops! 

Friday, April 7, 2017

potty training 2.0

we are 12 days into potty training ashford, so i wanted to write about our experience this time. mostly so i can remember. and i know the grandparents like reading this stuff. probably no one else does, though. ha! 

you'll remember we first tried back in january, when he was newly 3. in my eyes we had waited until the "right" time. azalea was potty trained pretty quickly at 2 years, 10 months. i had always heard boys can be harder, so i didn't even attempt it until he turned 3. that first morning in january, he put on undies and a short while later, happily peed in the potty. this is going to be easy! i thought to myself. famous last words right? starting that afternoon, he adamantly refused to sit on the potty. and on the rare occasion we got him to sit, he refused to go. this was the case for a couple days. i tried to work through it, but he held his waste in for 7, 10, even 15 hours at a time (even when we put him in a diaper again out of desperation). he could not have cared less about the sticker chart, or getting treats for going. the same week he had his 3 year check up and i explained our situation to the doctor and he said "yeahhh...sounds like he is not ready. you should put him back in diapers, get him going regularly in those again and try the potty again in a couple months." sighhh. not what i wanted to hear, but he was right. a couple more days went by and he was still holding his pee (even though he was back in diapers) and eventually gave himself a uti. it was horribly painful for him and horrible to watch him go through it. it took a while for things to go back to normal. and i was scared to try the potty again. 

two months went by and everything had been back to business as usual for a while. the end of march and felt like the right time to try again. on a saturday afternoon we took him to the toy store and let him pick out 3 vehicles and explained that they were going to be special toys that he could have if he did a good job on the potty. that monday morning i printed a new sticker chart, showed him the container of chocolate chips, reminded him about the toys, and put him on the potty. and he went pee right away! we all clapped and cheered and this time he was excited to do the sticker chart and have his chocolate chips (score!). he peed a number of times that day (no accidents), and i though this is going to be so much easier this time, this is why we waited. tuesday was another great day. no accidents and he even peed in a kid potty at the mall (after I promised him mike and ikes from the quarter machine). i was starting to wonder when #2 was going to happen, but i wasn't too worried. wednesday afternoon was when things started getting dicey. all i can think is that the novelty wore off. we started to experience strong refusals to sit on the potty again, he started holding it for hours and hours on end (18 hours from wednesday to thursday!), and accidents started happening. that was the way thursday, friday, and saturday went as well. i was getting really discouraged, but didn't want to stop the process again because overall it was going better than last time. i was so confused how we started off so strong and it was quickly derailing again. any time i asked him why he wouldn't go on the potty, he would answer "because i don't." okayy then!

on sunday he woke up and it was like something "clicked" in his brain and he started going like a pro again. he went when we asked him to (with little to no resistance), held it when we went out (no accidents), and even went #2 on the potty for the first time! i was worried it was too good to be true, but monday was the same story. and every day since has been as well. it's been 5 great days now and i think we have officially turned the corner. i am so happy! he still is not a fan of public restrooms, and only wants to use his little potty at home, so those are things we will need to work on. but for now, we are in a great place of only wearing a diaper at night (he wakes up dry 90% of the time too!). i'm so proud of my boy!


Monday, April 3, 2017

hello april: the good and bad of the weekend

it was a weekend of some serious highs and lows here. nothing terrible, but the stress of fighting kids, potty training, etc just about pushed me over the edge on a few occasions. thankfully there was sunshine, nature, and hugs and kisses to make up for it. 

friday night we made dinner, gave the kids a bath and then they were off to bed. thatcher went to his friend chris's house for a game night and i stayed home and had a date with the couch where i drank wine and watched sex and the city. doesn't get much better. :) 

saturday was a rough day. the kids and i mostly hung out at home because we are in the throws of potty training. thatcher helped a friend move around lunch time, and i planned to take the kids to scooters for lunch and then to the library, but ashford refused to use the potty (it had been many hours) and was melting down left and right, so i canned our trip out. let me tell you, that went over real well with the two of them ;) it was not a fun day and if i'm being honest, there were some tears on my part. thankfully i got to escape to the grocery store in the afternoon to get ingredients for a dinner we were hosting for thatcher's co-worker and her husband and daughter (who is azalea's age). they came over for a few hours and we made asian-inspired pork and veggies on the grill for dinner. it was our first time meeting them and it was such a fun night! the kids had a blast together and the adults actually got some quality conversation in. win-win! the night ended on a much better note. 

sunday was a fantastic day all around. sunshine, fun family outings, as well as lots of successes on the potty for ashford and no accidents. i'm planning a whole post on our experience this time around. i know you are on the edge of your seat ;) the cherry blossoms were at peak bloom this weekend, so we headed to the university of washington, where there is a huge concentration of them. i had heard it's the place to go and that was definitely evident. it was pretty much a mob scene, but the flowers were worth it. 





he fell face first in the mud and was not a happy camper :(



 


not a cherry blossom, but how cool is this tree?!

we grabbed some lunch after and then took the bus home. after relaxing at home for a while, we took a trip to the library and then i got some groceries while thatcher took the kids home. we rounded out the week with dinner and a little family uno game before bed. next weekend we are heading to portand and i can't wait!

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