Monday, June 23, 2014

The cost of nights like this

Nights like tonight cost us
   ... A lot for the trip to the ER
   ... Lots of worry for our daughter
   ... A painful night for her with a late night blood draw
   ... A split family for the night, each with one kid
   ... And heartache that our daughter has to go through this for a temperature that most parents just give their child some tylenol for.

But knowing we get the privilege of seeing her smile and watching her funny imaginative stories because of these nights keeping her safe and healthy here with good health care  ... Priceless.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Life is Precious- pictures

Went to a family baseball game
Went on a hat themed boat ride for Blake's 30th.
And took more cute pictures!

Life is Precious

Almost a month has gone by since my last post, and a big part of that is that my moments kids free are so precious and so few that I have to discipline myself to use them to write a blog.

Part of me was wondering why I even take the time to update this blog at all, but I did come up with a few reasons, enough to try to dedicate at least a little of my spare time each month to keeping it somewhat up to date. Part of its purpose is for the family and friends who don't get to see us often, but also don't do facebook and so are deprived of updates on our lives unless I remember to share on here. It also is a great tool to preserve family memories to look back on someday with pride (and I have ambitions to one day pay to have this blog basically printed out into a book so that it can sit somewhere in our house in the very unlikely case that somehow the site/internet no longer can be accessed). I used it often in the past as a cathartic release of my thoughts and emotions, but I thankfully haven't needed it for that reason much lately.

In any case, I did decide that I owed it to my few faithful readers and to myself to ideally have at least one post a month.

I have been thinking a lot lately about how life is precious. There have been a variety of stories, both people I know personally, blogs I follow, even fictional TV shows I watch, that have involved death or dire medical needs. I won't lie, and say that it doesn't bring me down to think about it, but I always come back to a place of thankfulness.

My heart goes out to people who are having to mourn loved ones or watch loved ones battle cancer, or see their babies in NICU etc., and all those situations are frequently in my prayers.

But sitting around and being sad for them doesn't help them, and it doesn't help me, but taking their sorrow as a lesson does. Life is precious. My two little ones are precious, my husband, my parents, and all of my family is precious to me.  I have many friends who are precious to me too.

I would love to keep each and every one I know and love living forever, so I would never have to go through the sorrow of living without them. But people don't live forever, and we never know how much time we have with them. So I want to try to make every moment with those I love a good moment, because I don't know if I will get another one.

My two little ones are not always easy... we have our tantrums and our late night wake ups. Just today, I was frustrated with Grace as I had to hold her still to take out her latest style as she screamed like I was torturing her. I haven't been able to use the bathroom in peace while both kids are awake and in my care because Remington has decided that it is the best thing ever to take the cap off the part of the toilet that covers the screw... and I don't want him playing with either the cap or the screw, so I get to play the keep away game while I am in there, and he gets more and more frustrated with me as I deprive him of this thing which he apparently very much needs.

Remington loves to explore, especially Grace's toys, especially when she is using them, so I constantly have to keep her from resorting to violence against him and attempt to move him away from her current interest (usually with limited success).

There are definitely many times when I feel my frustration level rising with these two, and I look forward to my runs when I get to escape from the stress of the house and just get some exercise.

But I know that even if my kids live long happy lives, their time of being 9 months and 2 and a half is so short. So for all of my hair pulling incidents, I also get the joy of seeing Grace say "Happy birthday" to pretty much everything these days- happy birthday socks, happy birthday underwear, happy birthday dog poop (no joke), etc. I get to watch Remington laugh over games and activities that only a baby could stay occupied with as long as he does- rolling a ball (or throwing a ball, both are good), and patting the table or a chair.

I get to hear about my daughter's sweet heart as she gave up a toy she was playing with to Remington one day when he was crying (I was running, Blake told me the story). I get to see my son's sweet attachment to his sister, as he constantly follows her around (to her distress, but still).

I love seeing Grace make more sentences, and tell me about her drawings and her stories about her dolls. I love seeing Remington get closer to his first steps, get better at clapping and waving and tell us lots in a baby language that only he understands.

For all the challenging parts of motherhood, I am thankful to be at this place in my life, and will continue to do my best to focus on the good, because life is precious.

p.s. I'll do a pictures post too, but Remington just woke up, so typing and blog time is up for now.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Salon Day

I decided to skip the stress of the latest lengthy style on Grace's hair and take her to a salon for the first time.

Thanks to the bribe of getting to choose lunch, plus the bribe of a ice cream drink, Grace was actually really well behaved. 

We passed the two hours or so with three main activities- letting her take selfies every five minutes, literally ( I set a timer), her doing her doll's hair, and finally, at the end, letting her play phone games.  

Here are some of the many, many pictures taken. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Mother's Day and life with an 8 Month Old

I think sometimes the holidays/ special days get too much hype. My Mother's Day was not the idyllic "life as a mom is sparkling, wonderful, fairy dust" kind of day that you imagine Mother's Day ought to be.

My Mother's Day was a "life in the trenches, screaming, spit up, tantrums, crying, crazy" kind of day.

Other days in May were way better in terms of my feeling loving towards the kids, and our happy life together.

Some of this is not new to my facebook readers, but my day started off bad, had some good moments, got really bad, then ended nicely.

At 12:40, we both woke up to Grace screaming from a nightmare. Let me tell you, nothing gets your heart racing faster than that kind of scream from your child in the early morning hours. Blake gets her back to sleep, only for us to be woken up by Remington a short time later. The night ended with a second Remington feeding followed by a spit up.

I did have a nice breakfast with my mom, and after breakfast I did some shopping, but then I had the worst nap time in a long time, if not ever with Grace. Part of the problem, admittedly, was me. I was not staying consistent, but alternated between trying to be loving and calm, and trying to be firm and strict, trying everything to get her to just go to sleep. But because Blake was gone (car issues) on a Sunday, and he normally isn't, she was extra grumpy (and maybe I was too?). Long story short, we played the naptime struggle game from 1:30 or to till 3:50, when we finally got her to sleep.

Should I have given up earlier? Probably. But with that much time invested, I didn't want her to "win." Besides, she looked crazy tired, and would look almost asleep, only to wake up again and make sure I was there.

I was so frustrated by the time Blake got home, I started crying as I described my day. Awesome Mother's Day, right? Yet this is the whole reason that we mothers appreciate a day to be celebrated, because we have so many mixed moments. We love the ups- the laughter in the car, the silly stories, the requests for hugs. But to get those ups, we have to take our fair share of downs- the nightmares, night nursing, spit ups, tantrums, messes and all the other challenges of raising kids.

I will admit that I sometimes feel that I love the kids the most when I am not the one in charge of them. Like yesterday, Blake was in charge of the kids while I got ready to run, and yet, I kept being distracted by wanting to watch them play with him. But if I was the one having to play with them, I wouldn't have enjoyed it half as much.

But we did have a nice dinner with Blake's parents after her nap, rounding out the day.

I will probably have better Mother's Days in the future, as the kids grow up, but then, I might reminiscence about the good old days when they were little. 

In other news, my baby is 8 months old today. He loves to get into all sorts of trouble. No longer is he able to just be set down somewhere and he just contentedly stays there. Not this boy, he has places to go! You put him in a sitting position, and within a minute he is off in crawling position, off to explore his environment. Then whenever he finds something of about knee height or higher, he pulls himself up to standing (until he randomly tips over) so I then have to scurry over to wherever he is at, and be ready to catch him when he randomly lets go.

If we are in the kitchen, and I open the fridge, he crawls as quick as he can to investigate the inside, and pull up to standing in there. Same with the dishwasher and the cupboards, and pretty much any restricted area. He is close to walking, though not there yet, and already a handful.

He talks all the time, sometimes with words we think we recognize. He is eating lots of baby foods, all homemade except for his rice and oat cereal. Recently, we started freezing them in silicon muffin cups, which worked great, and allows us to make his food in bulk.

He is generally a happy kid, with a sweet smile showing off his four teeth. I still have moments that I can't believe he is here, and yet he continues to be more little boy and less baby every day.

For the sake of captions, just a bunch of pictures.
  photo 1399828482190_zps5e8b740f.jpg

 photo 1399828482531_zps17ceaf43.jpg

 photo 1399828483652_zps232a2db8.jpg

 photo 1399750419004_zpsbca3ca18.jpg

 photo 1399828478132_zps9271e8fd.jpg

 photo 1399598796968_zps361b7e9e.jpg
Grace ate beets :-)

 photo 1399416817596_zps5b3e6f68.jpg

 photo 1399500870298_zpsdbc8d8c0.jpg

 photo 1399501172194_zps021359f0.jpg

 photo 1399500861956_zps00091e8e.jpg

 photo 6231C219-05E4-425D-968D-A3A6DDBA5437_zpsufssqmyb.jpg

 photo 4368943E-299F-46D3-B90F-C03743337F41_zpsmiac96bo.jpg

 photo D0051B72-1D24-4589-8A34-2C4F71F9CDCA_zpstffdynjn.jpg

 photo 818F63A3-4515-4968-B6AA-12CBA94308DF_zps7gef3sus.jpg

 photo 524744D0-D9F1-4D26-A30C-D892FBF8AE12_zpsjzpyv1xt.jpg

 photo 8CBC5346-DA14-40A6-A0AF-E6E4AFBE05EE_zps7rvxjqla.jpg

 photo 0D7F32CD-74F2-43D2-8D33-AB6A3D2763BA_zpsg6olsz7t.jpg

 photo B98CF1C6-7F2A-4358-9334-383B1AD485B8_zpsq5ihstun.jpg

 photo CF171A17-8FC7-4DF0-A0F1-6B0995373C14_zpsylo2nrjr.jpg

 photo C8AC7ACC-B3BD-4231-8232-D5F0F14710D8_zpsfi9xeifh.jpg

 photo 8E89FC90-FF56-4A0B-B7D9-44343259EB6B_zpspllatufr.jpg

 photo DCD15B5A-B08F-4E47-987A-385A6DAD56B8_zpsqszdbuyh.jpg

Monday, April 28, 2014

Easter and a Wedding

Last Easter was the first holiday that Grace celebrated with us. When the family looks back at those pictures, the biggest thing that we notice is how very skinny Grace's legs were, and how much healthier she looks now.

This Easter was Remington's first Easter (at least on the outside). We also decided a while back to make Easters in the Olsen household a bigger deal than probably the average family. Our logic was that both kids have fall birthdays, quickly followed by Christmas, and it is a long time to ask a kid to go between Christmas and a fall birthday if they are waiting for some certain special object. At the same time, we don't want them to think that just any given day they want they can get cool presents. So we settled on Easter as the spring occasion that we have an excuse to give them some nice bonus gifts before fall rolls around.

The biggest thing that Grace got was a bike. It is a training bike, but not a tricycle and doesn't have training wheels. For now, she moves it by sitting on the seat and walking forward. As she gets better, she will, in theory, be able to get some momentum and then glide forward a bit, improving her balance more before she ever gets pedals. We chose blue so that someday Remington can inherit this bike, maybe around the time she graduates to a bike with pedals.
 photo CYMERA_20140420_074049_zpse97457e0.jpg

 photo CYMERA_20140420_081414_zpsff0dadab.jpg

Remington's "big" presents included a pop up toy, some blocks, and some wooden cars. (Though, Grace seems to be almost as into his presents as he is, he just loves to explore everything in the room).

 photo CYMERA_20140420_074927_zps4d61f131.jpg

 photo CYMERA_20140420_075455_zps623451dd.jpg

 photo CYMERA_20140420_080602_zps044f9046.jpg

She did decide to wear her helmet throughout the rest of the egg opening.

After church and a brunch with my parents, we came back home, she had her nap and colored eggs for the first time. She had a blast, and was sad when we said that we didn't have more eggs to color, and actually have asked a few time since then if she can color eggs again.

 photo CYMERA_20140420_171923_zps263cd8c8.jpg

 photo CYMERA_20140420_172510_zps3a67b343.jpg

The other big event since the last post is that Blake's brother Graeme got married! Blake was in the wedding party (obviously) as the best man, and both of our kids were in the wedding as flower girl and ring bearer.
 photo 988860_10154136945725121_8364766651780896917_n_zpsf62a3823.jpg

 photo photo32_zps0790b04c.jpg

This left me in an interesting position. I termed myself "wagon bringer" as my main task was bringing Remington down the aisle in a wagon. But in practice, I was an excellent ambassador of sorts.

I had this unique position on the wedding day where I had to be around since 1-Blake had to be around, and 2-my kids had to be around, but I didn't have the same responsibilities as the bridesmaids. So, for example, I hung out with the bridesmaids for a bit, then while Grace was taking a nap, I spent some time with Blake and the groomsmen, and kind of spent time in both "camps." This left me in an ideal position to notice things like the guys' thoughts of when they should get ready did not match when the photographer thought they should get ready. Basically, they thought they were supposed to get started getting ready when they were actually supposed to BE ready and having pictures taken.

I heard their timing... thought it sounded off, went back to the girls to check, and confirmed that yes, they were supposed to already be getting ready, and I relayed the message back, and we didn't get too far behind schedule.

I was responsible for getting the ring from Jami, and her photo shoot, over to Blake so he could hand it to Graeme at the wedding.

After the ceremony, Jami realized that something was left at the hotel, and someone had to go back to get it, but everyone around her at the time was supposed to be getting pictures taken... except me, since I wasn't bridal party. So I was able to head to the reception, and get someone on the task of going back to the hotel.

There were a few other minor things where I found that while I wasn't important in any official capacity, I could be a great help for that exact reason.

There were a few bumps along the way, including Remington, though he has awesome sitting skills, tipping back in the wagon at his key moment in the ceremony, so I really pushed him along, not pulled the wagon.

Grace did great, better than expected, though she did dump out her animal cookies (her bribe to be good) during the ceremony, and then wanted to sit on my lap with Remington, which was interesting.
The hardest part for her was waiting her turn to go down the aisle, but I started singing some dumb song about "wait your turn" which she LOVED and I'm sure to the annoyance of everyone else, I sang that song on endless repeats till it was her turn to just keep her happy.
 photo photo3_zpscf549ffb.jpg

 photo photo31_zps44b13d7c.jpg

 photo photo1_zpsb9aed265.jpg
Remington, for his part, loved Grace's flower basket and petals and was kept amused by getting the remaining petals out of the basket, and trying to put them in his mouth (and being stopped by mom).

Best part though was that Jami and Graeme had the foresight to invite my parents, so after the ceremony, my mom took Remington (who quickly fell asleep) and my dad took Grace (mostly to the photobooth over and over again), so Blake and I could relax and enjoy ourselves after a stressful day.

 photo CYMERA_20140426_204244_zps58cf88f6.jpg

 photo CYMERA_20140428_141957_zps8c46bd99.jpg

 photo CYMERA_20140428_142052_zpsc2bb154d.jpg

We recently used our salt block to cook, and I truly notice the difference in flavor. First we made bacon and egg on it, and then more recently (no picture) we cooked chicken on the grill with the salt block on top, and it really added enough flavor to the chicken that I didn't even want or need sauce with it!

 photo CYMERA_20140422_182220_zpsd18e42e4.jpg

The rest of this post is just "My kids are so cute!" pictures randomly from the last couple weeks.

 photo CYMERA_20140418_155857_zps2c4cc22c.jpg

 photo CYMERA_20140422_093915_zpsac24b9a8.jpg

 photo CYMERA_20140422_155519_zps8b328dcc.jpg

 photo CYMERA_20140422_160641_zps226ccf4d.jpg

 photo CYMERA_20140422_160756_zpse14c5424.jpg

 photo CYMERA_20140422_161833_zpsc0b75c70.jpg

 photo CYMERA_20140428_132948_zps5064b381.jpg

 photo IMG-20140419-WA0003_zpsb74a7c46.jpg

 photo CYMERA_20140428_184956_zps9336a5d0.jpg

 photo CYMERA_20140428_185031_zps6826b8e5.jpg