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Friday, April 8, 2016

March

So, major highlights of this month:

California Trip 

Potty Training 

Easter 

Sick kids 

Grumpy E 

Tantrum-y Harper 

Deciding to Move to Paris 


But first, let me tell you the funny things Harp said (that I remember).  She says funny things ALL DAY LONG, so there a bajillion of them.  She's honestly the funnier kid I can imagine.  But, here are the ones I wrote down:

- A lot of the time when someone asks her a question she'll respond by saying, "of COURSE you can!" It makes you feel super good!  Like, "Hey, can I eat the rest of your sandwich?" "Of COURSE you can Mom!"

- One day she was pretending to give me some candy.  She held out her hand and I pretend grabbed the pretend candy and pretend ate it.  Then she laughed and said, "Don't eat the wrapper mom!" like I was crazy.

- Last month I mentioned that her first childhood boogeyman is the lion (Aslan) from the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.  So, one day I was getting E in the car and she was running around on the driveway.  All of a sudden she goes, "Hold me mom!"  I ask her why and she replies, "Because the lion came out of outer space...and Africa...and is going to take my eyes...and nose...and mouth...and I'll be so cold!!!"  Each part of that sentence was such a surprise!  So funny.  Great imagination.

- When she's excited about something she'll explain it like so: "And after I take a nap...I'll wake up....and then ELLIE will be here!!!" followed by lots of laughing.  It's always a surprise what's going to come at the end of the sentence and it usually makes me crack up.  Sometimes she does it when she's trying to influence me to do something she wants.  She knows I think it's cute. 

- One day I said, "you're such a ----" (Can't remember what it was, but something like, "monkey" or "stinker.")  She goes, "I'm not a -----!"  I go, "well then what are you?"  She goes, "I'm a...cool...ASTRONAUT!!!"  Rock on.

- Today I was pushing her on this car thing and I asked her where she was going to go in the car.  Her response, "I"m going to my own place, with NO grown ups!  It's a place with no grown-ups!"  She wasn't mad or bitter or anything.  Just fantasizing about a place with no grown-ups!

Ok, now I'll go through the topics.

California Trip

We went on a mini trip to California because Tom went on a trip to NY for work and I figured it would be pretty lame if we stayed in Utah.  It was definitely the right choice!  The kids were SO happy to be around Grandma and Grandpa.

The plane-ride there was pretty easy.  Gave me hope for flying to Paris, which I'll get to later.  Harper was the darling of the flight.  Everyone was totally obsessed with her and fawning all over her.  This is a pretty normal occurrence.  She was very well behave and so was E.  E slept the whole time. Bless him.





We went to the beach.  I was pretty excited for this and it turned out to be a great trip!  There were a couple rough patches (unhappy baby and toddler afraid of sea water), but the good was really really good.


She was super stoked about be at the beach:












So, Harper was TERRIFIED of the water.  I think she didn't like that it was cold, I think the salt water irritated her skin, and I think she didn't like how it showed up at (to her) surprising times.  Anyway, for a long time I couldn't get her anywhere near it, even if I was holding her hands.  But there were some really sweet little girls playing in the sand by the water.  Harper loves nothing more than friends.  Except maybe ice cream.  So, when one of them asked her if she wanted to make (pretend) ice cream with them, she couldn't help herself:




She spent probably an entire hour happily scooping wet sand into a bucket (aka, making ice cream).  Such a delightful kid activity.  I love the beach!


E just wanted to snuggle.  He ended up falling asleep on grandma for quite some time.  Grandma was in heaven.

Handsome baby!

I just had to document this toy.  We got it from my mom when Harper was a baby.  She had used it for Cash (my nephew) when she was watching him while he was a baby.  It was Cash's favorite toy.  It was absolutely one of Harper's favorite and it has been one of E's favorites too.  It's super nasty now, but I don't care!  I don't why they love it so much more than some of the other toys that seem similar, but they do!




We also went to the La Habra children's museum.  It's pretty great.


Took this video on accident when I was trying to take a picture, but it turned out so happy!


This was her favorite thing in the whole museum!  Haha.  Ready to potty train?  I think so!




In honor of the move, which I'll get to later:









"Where are you going?" "To Paris!"



She had so much fun interacting with the kids from this school group who were waiting to come in!

Totally konked out when we got back.
At some point we were just relaxing on the driveway, taking in the beautiful weather and I took this super happy video.  Ah, California!


Grandma let her pick these pretty flowers.  What a treat!  Girl loves picking flowers.





Went to this great/beautiful park.  I swear, California.


Also went to the Discovery Cube:



sitting on dino poop


Earthquake simulator:


Good quality time with Grandpa and Grandma each evening.  I love the way E is looking at my dad in this video:


My dad had these little packets of jelly beans and he thought it would be fun to pretend to find jellybeans in Harper's ear.  Such a Dad thing to do :) .  She loved it (obviously!).  She still asks me if I can find things (treats, blueberries, on and on) in her ear.


There were some rough moment on the journey home.  Like, when I was checking us in for our flight and I realized that I didn't know where I'd packed their birth certificates, so I've got our luggage splayed out all over the floor and am frantically looking through it, on my hands and knees, with E strapped to me, apologizing profusely to the employee at the counter and Harp's nose starts bleeding and she starts screaming.  Yup, that was fun.  But, everyone was very nice to us the whole way through and once we got on the flight E fell asleep (bless him) and Harp spent the flight clutching my sleeve (scared of the loud, rumbling engines) and watching Daniel Tiger on my phone.  She looked close to falling asleep.  The flight didn't leave til, I think, 10pm.  She was, once again, the absolute darling of the flight and was on good behavior.  We had lots of offers to help.  One of the flight attendants offered her this sucker (but asked me first and spelled, s-u-c-k-e-r, which made me want to hug her -it's the little things).


E started babbling regularly this month.  He mostly says, "Dada" and "Baba."  I LOVE it.  Babbling is one of the cutest things ever, IMO.  See for yourself:


Now if we can just get him to say, "mama" I think I will melt completely.

Potty Training

This girl was READY to be potty trained.  She'd been begging me for months to let her sit on the potty and wear panties.  My reluctance payed off because it made her think I was doing her a favor when I finally gave in.  I'd been wanting to do it for a while, but it had never been a good time (holidays, vacations).  When we got back from our California trip I decided it was as good a time as any, so one day I just woke up and said, "let's do this."  It was totally informal and unplanned.  In fact, it was on a day when we were hosting coop (babysitting a couple other toddlers).  So, in the morning I just had her go commando and told her she should sit on the potty if she felt the pee pee or poo poo coming.  I told her that if she got it to come out on the potty she could wear panties.  She was SUPER motivated by that (having coveted panties for months).  She sat on it off and on all morning, then when her friends came over I put a diaper back on her.  After they left and she took a nap, we went back to it.  She had success that day and was SO EXCITED!  The picture below captures it perfectly:

She kept jumping up and down, which would cause her to inadvertently lift her shirt.  I told her to stand still and stop jumping so I could take a picture (mostly because I wanted her shirt to go back down).  She gave it all her willpower and managed to stop for about a half a second, then I could see that her little body started jumping (just a little bounce at first, then more and more, like it was taking over her body) despite all her efforts to get it to stop.  It was so funny watching her facial expressions!  It was like, "I'm so excited! (Jumping starts again)  Oh no!  Wait!  Ah!  I can't stop!  Stop jumping!"  Haha.  I felt bad, so I told her to go ahead and she went crazy.  Haha.  Such a cute toddler moment.

How she rolled outside during potty training.
She really caught on very well.  She went on the potty several times that first day.  Had a couple accidents the next day, then was pretty much golden after that.  #2 took a little longer simply because she didn't go #2 very often.  She had a couple #2 accidents and then got it on the potty on the 3rd try (which took about a week).  When we were in California my mom had promised to give her a "Minnie shirt" when she got potty trained.  She was pretty pumped about that.  When she finally went #2 on the potty (which was all we were waiting for at that point), she got the Minnie shirt and wore it for, like, 3 days straight.  Now that she's been at it for a while (speaking from April, when I'm writing this) she's gotten much more lax and she doesn't tell me when she needs to go.  I just have to say, "ok, we're going."  She has pretty good control, so she doesn't have many accidents, but we're back to using the Minnie shirt as motivation to get her to take the initiative.

She does tend to be more motivated with peer pressure though!  Potty parties are the best!
Taken right before she peed all over the ground at the Thanksgiving Point Farm Country.

Easter

We kicked off our Easter celebrations with an Easter egg hunt at the park, with her coop friends.  We did it together last year and had a blast, so we decided to do it again.  It was really fun!  I decided to dress the kids up for some cute picture taking opportunities.

Handsomest baby ever:













The whole gang

The eggs were filled with more than just candy.  Harp had fun putting all the stickers she got on her arm.  I love the unconventionality of toddlers.

After the hunt was over the kids had lots of fun with their bounty.  Harp got these little sponge things that come in a capsule that dissolves in water and then the sponge shapes expand.  She played with them in this bowl of water for like a half hour.  Got totally soaked but it was totally worth it:


The Easter hunt loot also made for a fun bath...with balloons!



After the bath I wrapped E in this towel.  He got in this trance and was soooo still.  Maybe he misses being swaddled?  Then, when I started unwrapping him he did this weird flinching move and gasp like he'd been pricked or something.  It was bizarre.



The Saturday before Easter we did an Easter egg hunt put on by the city of Riverton.  We were mainly there for free Easter bunny pictures though.



Harp was half terrified, half amazed by the the firetruck.

Once again (like Santa), the kids weren't scared of the bunnies at all.  They were totally mesmerized and delighted.  Harp, once again, told her bunny her life story.  E just basically couldn't care less.  He was a little mad at me because I'd jostled him around quite a bit putting his shirt on and putting his pants on the right way (Tom had put them on backwards) while in line.





They gave Harp a paper bunny hat and she was pretty happy about it:



Later in the day Ellie came over and we all went on a walk to see the ducks:



Then, actual Easter.  I kept trying to think of ways to impress upon Harper the real meaning of Easter, but it was kind of hard to think of ways to do so without being kind of morbid.  So, I guess it will have to wait until she's older.

We did Easter baskets though.  Got everything from the $ store (except one book from my mom).


When I explained to Harp that we were going to leave her Easter basket out and the Easter bunny was going to put surprises in it, she kept saying he was going to leave a lollipop in it.  I told her that the longer she slept, the more time the Easter bunny would have to put surprises in her basket.  Then I said, "Will he put very many things in your basket if you don't sleep very long?"  Her response?  "Nope.  Just a lollipop."  It was kind of like her version of sticking it to me.  Can't explain, but it was pretty funny.  Of course, I had to put a lollipop in there.


Sick Kids

The other "fun" event of Easter morning was waking up to find that E had thrown up all over, in the night.  

But let's back up.

A few days before Easter (maybe Wednesday?) Harper was acting SUPER clingy and snuggly. We were at the library when I finally realized she was sick because all she wanted to do was sit on my lap and snuggle instead of playing and she wanted me to carry her everywhere.  I took her home right away and let her just watch shows.  She was acting super sick and just laying on the floor, watching her show.  Sure enough, she threw up.


At one point, both kids were just laying on the floor, not moving.

It only lasted a day though.  I can't even remember if she threw up multiple times or just once because it was followed by so much sickness that it's all starting to blur.  Anyway, it only lasted one day, and by Easter she seemed 100% better.

So, back to Easter and E throwing up.  He was soooo pathetic and it was sooooo sad.  He threw up the entire feeding every time I fed him.  Afterward, he'd just get this sad, pained expression on his face and retreat into his binkie.  Wouldn't look around, would just sit there, like a lost little boy, sucking on his binkie.  So sad.


He'd usually perk up at the resulting bath, though.





Anyway, we assumed he had gotten what Harper had and weren't too worried about Harper getting it again.  Then, Monday she was super clingy again.

I got the bright idea to put her in the carrier and she LOVED it.
After she woke up from her nap, while E was still asleep, I brought her into the living room and we snuggled on the couch, as usual.  She started complaining that her stomach hurt and it dawned on me what was about to happen.  It was too late.  She was sitting on my lap, facing me and she just started throwing pureed PB&J up all over me.  In a futile attempt to contain the mess, I tried to catch some in my hands.  There was a lot!  I waited til she was done, then carried her to the tub, dripping despite my efforts, the whole way.  I couldn't open the shower curtain without getting barf all over it since it was all over my hand and I couldn't turn the light on until I put her in the tub because my non-barfy hand was supporting her weight.  I'm sure it was traumatic for her.  Anyway, we washed off together and chucked our clothes in the laundry.


When E woke up I had Harp in the chair and was nursing him on the couch next to it.  At one point I could tell she was about to throw-up again, but I was nursing E and had limited mobility.  I lunged (with baby still latched) for a big nesting box toy thing to catch the throw up and there I was, squatting in front of the chair, babe still latched on, catching throw-up with my free arm and to top it off, in the midst of it all, I caught sight of a huge booger on my shoulder from one of the kids.  Ah motherhood.

Well, unfortunately, I'd made an appointment to take E to the doctor for about an hour from that moment.  I couldn't imagine taking two puking kids to the doctor, so in my desperation, I asked Tom's mom if she'd just sit with Harp while she watched shows.  She graciously agreed to.  While at the doctor's I started to feel pretty queasy myself.  Luckily, Tom left work a little early to come to the rescue!  He got home not long after I did and helped me carry Harp (who was still puking) back downstairs.

I spent the rest of the night puking as well, while Tom took care of all 3 of us.  Then, sometime in the middle of the night, he started feeling sick too.  Luckily, by morning, I was over the worst of it (though not 100% by any means).  Harp didn't throw up any more after that one day.  Tom never threw up, but felt yucky for a few days and took off of work.  E got it the worst.  After a couple days of puking up all his breastmilk, the doctor ordered him onto a diet of just small sips of pedialyte and water every 15-30 minutes.  We did that for the better part of a day (and he was SO mad - I basically couldn't be in the same room with him, which sucked because that's when Tom was his sickest).  Then, we thought we could give him breastmilk again, because he hadn't thrown up for a while.  He threw it all up.  We went another 24 hours with no nursing, then tried it again.  He went 48 hours with no puking, then puked again!  

At the library, happily playing the day we thought he was better after he hadn't thrown up for 48 hours.  I swear I'm not trying to get other kids sick, I just kept thinking they were over it!


We went back to taking it easy.  A week went by with no puking, then just a couple days ago (we're into April now) he puked again!  The doc says he must have gotten a second bug, but it's been pretty bizarre.  I feel like he'll never get better and he'll never get good at eating solid foods.  We were just starting to make progress on it, then had to stop for this whole marathon sickness that has now been going on for about 2 weeks!  Poor guy.

That brings me to the next topic.

Cranky Baby


I'm sure a lot of it has to do with him not feeling well, but I don't think ALL of it does.  At any rate, E has been SO cranky this month.  Like, we've gotten to the point where, when Tom is home, I can't be in the same room as E because even if he's happy, if he sees me he'll immediately start to cry.  It's ridiculous.  Then, when Tom isn't home (aka, most of the time) he basically just cries all day.  The only time he's not crying is when I'm holding him, and even then he sometimes does.  He doesn't want to play with toys, he doesn't want to sit or be on his tummy.  It's no wonder the kid doesn't crawl yet!  How will he ever learn if all he does is fuss when he's on the floor?  It's definitely driving me a little crazy.  He's the best little baby ever when he's happy, but these days we haven't seen much of that.

Tantrum-y Toddler


Unfortunately, he's not the only one whose been crabby this month.  Ever since we got back from California, Harper has been ON ONE.  This has probably been the worst bad-mood stage I've seen her in. She typically goes in and out of bad-mood and good-mood stages (month on, month off kind of a thing), but never this bad!  She's basically thrown a huge screaming fit about every single thing I've said to her this month.  Plus, lots of "NO!!!" and "I don't like that!"  Even when I'm actively trying to do something that I think will make her happy, she finds a way to be utterly enraged.  Her little bouts of sickness have actually been the easier days because when she's sick she isn't so strong willed and just wants to snuggle.  Plus, then I feel ok about having her sit in front of the TV all day which, of course, lessens to tantrums!  Some of the things she threw tantrums about?  One morning I walked into her room to get her when she woke up.  I took 2 steps and she burst into screaming tears.  When I finally got her to calm down enough to intelligibly tell me what was wrong I found out that it was because my hair was down!  What the?  Then, later that day she threw a fit in the car because the sun was shining on her.  Then, when I put her down from her nap, after being in there a while, trying to sleep, she started throwing a fit again.  When I went in, I found out that she was screaming because, she said, " my eyes keep closing and I don't want them to!"  Yeah, that was just a few from 1 day.  It was like that (and worse) all month!  Between his crabbiness and her tantrums and all the sickness, I about lost it.  Thankfully, I can report that now (in April) she seems to have much improved and gone back to being a pretty pleasant kid.

One day I thought I'd be all fun and let her play with shaving cream.  It turned into her screaming bloody murder.  Oh toddlers.

Then, I washed her off with a "blue bath," which was a huge hit for both kids:


So we followed it with a "green bath:"



She also went through a period where she wasn't being really mean to E.  She was constantly hitting him, pinching him, stepping on him and so forth.  It was really sad and driving me crazy!  Finally, I stopped focusing on getting mad at her when she did it and instead would focus on E and making him feel better and then would ask her what she could do to make him feel better.  That has helped a lot.  She's been pretty sweet to him lately (April)


Paris

So, for a LONG LONG time Tom has been trying to figure out what direction he should go with his career.  Or rather, he's been trying to figure out how to get the direction he wants to go.  In short, he loves anti-money-laundering, but doesn't like working for a bank.  He has noble aspirations more than financial ones (though those too, to SOME extent) and the bank environment doesn't serve those aspirations well.  He'd rather work for an international organization or policy body or NGO or the government or something (aka, UN, Treasury, FINCENS, Interpol, etc.).  Unfortunately, while his current position is a good start, it doesn't seem to be enough for him to make that leap out of the private sector.  So, at some point he hatched the idea of going back to school and getting a Masters in Public Affairs at the Paris Institute of Political Studies (SciencesPo for short).  At first, neither of us (most especially for me) thought it would work out.  I mean, I thought he'd get in, but it seemed like too financially challenging of an idea to actually go through with.  I won't go through all the details that led us to this point, but basically, he got in and as we starting considering it again, it started to make more and more sense.  We were really unsure though.  After he got in, we only had a month to make the decision and tell the school yes or no.  It was a really hard month!  We were waiting on a couple KEY bits of information and the information didn't come until THE DAY we had to tell the school.  You can imagine we were a bit angsty.  Anyway, for better or worse we decided to go ahead and do it!  It's a pretty crazy idea (even for us), but we think it will be worth it.  Hopefully it will help Tom get to where he wants to be with his career.  And if not, at least we get to live in Paris for a year!!!  I mean, seriously, how awesome is that??  I could go on and on about that part (and other parts!) for a really long time, but I'll just say a few of the things I'm most excited about:

- The food: pastries (viennoiserie, in particular), baguettes, European yogurt, street markets
- Exploring with the kids: Carrousels, playgrounds, parks, puppet shows, toy boats, vintage childhood perfection.  I already made a google map with, like, 50 things I want to do on it
- The city: I love living somewhere with charm.  Just looking out my window and seeing Paris and walking down the Parisian streets will make me so happy

To celebrate the decision, we went to Eva's Patisserie (Boulangerie? Don't remember) downtown.

Harp is convinced that Paris = treats, bread, breakfast, hotels and the Eiffel Tower.  She's pretty right on.

We made this together and then she pronounced that it was the Eiffel Tower, which I thought was cool.


Other

One of the days when Tom and E felt sick still, and I felt a little queasy, but was better than Tom, Harp really needed to get out of the house, so we went to a new park.  It was a little cold, but not bad and she LOVED it.  It was a great park trip.  I think she appreciated having me all to herself, too.



One of the best parts was that she kept wanting to "explore."  There was this little hilly, grassy area in-between the two playgrounds that she loved.  She's not usually much for nature or grass, dirt, trees, etc., which has made me a little sad.  But, this day, she spend like a half hour just "exploring" (aka, running from one spot to the next) this grassy area.  The little hills were just the right size for her and she liked running down them.  It was delightful.



We also really had fun climbing the play structures together.  I always love it when she's in a more adventurous mood with play structures.  Sometimes she won't go down the slides or climb the ladder or really do anything, because she's too scared.  Then, other days she conquers her fears and does it all. I love those and this was one of them.  Plus, no one else was there and I didn't have E, so I could climb all over everything with her.  Right before we left we found this tree with a hole just the right size for her.  She thought it was so cool to be "in" the tree.



Harp wanted to be in the baby swing, so I figured, why not both?


We couldn't find his binky one day, so we gave him one of his newborn ones, with his old binkie clip.  It was like seeing an old friend.  He was SO intensely excited:


found the monitor

We got out of the car one day to find ducks on the neighbor's driveway!  Harp had a great time chasing around the "mommy" and "daddy" duck.  At one point they got separated (since Harp was chasing them) and we carefully herded them back to each other (Harp has a thing for "saving" animals, thanks to WonderPets).  It was a great little activity.

She just really wanted to hold him one day and, by some miracle, they both enjoyed it!



E has really struggled with eating solid food, but one day he was randomly ravenous for it!  It all started with Aunti Vicki's chicken soup.  He ate a bunch of it, then a bunch of yogurt, then a bunch of eggs, then a bunch of smoothie!




Here's him with the smoothie:


The next day he was back to wanting nothing.  So random.  What's frustrating is that we were just starting to get somewhere when the marathon flu happened and we haven't been able to give him any solid food for 2 weeks!  Arg.

One of our friends at church is a total baby-whisperer.  If I give her E, she'll just casually hold him on her lap and drum her fingers on his leg and he'll drift peacefully off to sleep.  It's amazing!





I just thought she looked so cute and little this one day.
And that's fun, crazy, angsty, frustrating, messy, yucky March!