Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Annika's words

When Annika says more, it sounds like "Mehhh"
No, sounds like "Nehhh"

hmmm....that's not very funny, maybe its the way she says it. Sort of flat toned, straight faced, through a little hole in her lips, barely moving them. It is very funny in reality, but maybe you have to hear it. Especially when you ask her questions and she replies with these words as if she's a bored teenager.

"Did you poo your diaper?"

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Baby Galileo

Saben & Annika watching "Baby Galileo" baby einstein video about sun, moon & planets.

Annika: Ball!
Saben: That's not a ball Annika
Annika: Ball!
Saben: That's not a ball! It's venus!
Annika: Baaaaaa.....
Saben: Those are planets Annika
Annika: Ball!
Saben: There's our earth! It's not a ball Annika.
Annika: Ball!
Saben: No, that's not a ball, its jupiter Annika.
Annika: Ball
Saben: Those are not balls Annika! Those are planets.

Ad naseum for 30 minutes....

Monday, January 26, 2009

Lately, I've felt so overwhelmed trying to capture the kids personality in this blog. I should just make myself write every day so I get some of it down. It's one thing to record the antics of one 18 month old (saben when I first started), but quite a another to capture the delights of a sweet but stubborn almost 4 year old and the capers of his crazy opposite 18 month old sister.

It doesn't help that I feel the moments scurrying past so quickly - my youngest who is not a baby anymore and my oldest who is finally a true child. Both are entering new stages at the same time and it can be so overwhelming, exciting and nostalgic.

Annika - 18 months

Loves playing outside, getting filthy dirty, running, jumping, sliding and never seems to get cold, even when she is waist deep in puget sound in 30 degree weather.

Fearless, even when she is waist deep in puget sound in 30 degree weather or up to her neck in a swimming pool. Loves jumping off things into our arms, going down huge fast slides and climbing on rocks. LOVES splashing in water (see puget sound escapade above).

Extreme ups and downs - 75% of the time she is laughing & giggling, but that 25% where she is mad - watch out, she screams, cries and stubbornly does not stop until you do what she wants

Is observant, curious and exploratory. She talks less than her brother did, but you can tell she is paying attention and figuring everything out. She understands a ton and loves doing what you ask her to do (go get your socks annika!).

Her first words are barely understandable, but include: Cheese, all done, more, no, "ssss" for saben, dog, cat, eyes, ears, hair, hand, etc.

Eats quickly, makes a huge mess & then plays in her food as soon as she is full. Loves cheese, beans, yogurt, bananas. (fruit, protein & some veggies) Doesn't really like bread, cereal, etc. (carbs) unless it is sweet.

Finally loves books - especially the ones with real life photos. More on those books later...someday.

Saben - almost 4
Still loves rockets & planets.

Could sit and create art for hours on end. Loves to cut, decorate things, use his glitter glue. It is his very favorite thing to do.

Likes to make us laugh and would be in heaven if he had our undivided attention all the time. (he tries to get it by being silly, naughty, etc)

Will talk non-stop for 30+ minutes, without any encouragement. Especially tends to do this to people he doesn't know. Likes to "teach" people things that he knows about planets, etc. His voice changes when he does this, probably to mimic how I talk when I teach him things. Adorable.

Can write most of his letters, but doesn't really read yet, except for a few words like his name. Loves being intellectually stimulated, but rebels against it sometimes too.

Loves the shows "blues clues" and "super why" and the movie "cars". His favorite music is from the Cars movie.

Makes aggressive noises to keep kids/annika away from his toys. Likes to play hit/sword fight/wrestle and other testosterone releasing physical activities.

Generally well behaved, but extremely rebellious at other times. Seems to help to offer him "choices" so he feels in control and give him lots of attention (pre-emptively before he acts up).

Hates being cold, always wants to stay home, inside. But loves it once we get out of the house. Has been very reluctant to have me leave him places lately - mops, sunday school, haggens child care. But still loves preschool.

LOVES playing with friends, especially Simon & preschool.

Finally is starting to "eat what we eat" at dinner time, but still a struggle to get him to eat enough and try new foods. Slowly but surely..... Encouragement & small steps worked ten times better with him than threats or hardballing him. (we tried everything!)


Brand new nephew

Annika loves water

Art, art, and more art

Cold sunny days in the park

Experimenting with the new camera & bribing uncooperative subjects

Silly boy

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

sweet miracle, I finally updated my reading list after 11 months of neglect.

Nap Rebellion

Sun: Annika in bed for about 1 hour without sleeping, finally let her get up so we can go to the park before the sun is gone. (probably a mistake)

Mon: Annika finally napped after talking/crying in her crib for over an hour

Tues: Annika in crib for 1 hour, screaming at the end, finally allowed out because Saben was sleeping

Wed: Annika in crib for over an hour so far, have to go pick up Saben from preschool in 30 minutes, probably won't nap again.

What am I going to do?

Update: Today Annika fell asleelp 15 minutes before we have to leave to go get Saben.

Also, Annika has been napping perfectly since she was 8-9 months old. I just lay her in the crib and she goes to sleep, no fussing. This "no nap" thing came out of nowhere.....

Funniest email forward ever

A first grade girl handed in the drawing below for a homework assignment.

After it was graded and the child brought it home, she returned to school the next day with the following note:
Dear Ms. Davis,
I want to be very clear on my child's illustration. It is NOT of me on a dance pole on a stage in a strip joint. I work at Home Depot and had commented to my daughter how much money we made in the recent snowstorm. This photo is of me selling a shovel.
Mrs. Harrington

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

One hour in the life of Annika

While mommy helped Saben go potty after grocery shopping....

Stealing Mommy's lunch
While Mommy gets out hummus, grab pickles and drop them. When mommy sets down hummus to get pickles, grab hummus, then grab pickles as she goes for her camera.
Look at the pretty lunch mommy made me!
Baby loves hummus.

I didn't get a picture of her screaming for an hour in her crib after lunch because she does not think 1.5 year olds need naps. Poor Saben fell asleep for his nap while she screamed (they share a room) and I finally took her out just so he could sleep in peace.

Friday, January 16, 2009


Tomorrow, we will have sun. Even if we have to drive a couple hours, we are going to make it happen. Let me know
1) if you have sun
2) if you want to meet for a playdate
3) if you are within 2 hours of us

(because it is super foggy here, but rumor has it that someplaces it is burning away to reveal sunshine. I just don't know exactly where those places are.)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

While the Husbands are gone, the wives will play

Kari's guide to keeping your sanity while "single parenting"

Every year, Kyle goes on at least two looooooong trips - 10 to 15 days apiece. He also does quite a few shorter ones - weekends, 4-5 dayers, etc. In the olden days, without kids, I just used to get a little lonely when he was gone. With two kids, it is much harder, but I've also gotten so much better at coping, its often nearly painless. and fun. No more tear filled phone calls or moping on the couch eating bon bons until 2am.

Lucky you, I am going to share all the secrets and strategies I've learned for coping over the last couple years. Your main objective is keeping sanity and not burning out. If you a mom, this is your number one priority, your kids are depending on you and having a weepy mommy doesn't help anyone. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF, your mood will be so much better.

Planning ahead is key. Make some calls, do your grocery shopping & have a schedule in place before he leaves. It is so easy to get apathetic & depressed (at least for me. Please say its not just me) if you don't have things already planned, things you can look forward to.

It's also tempting to "make life easier" while he is gone by doing nothing, slacking on housework, taking it easy. This doesn't work (for me anyways), it just leads to the aforementioned apathy & depression, screaming kids, miserable mommy.

Without further ado, here it is:

Kari's plan for fun times without the man.

1. Plan ahead - make some phone calls and make sure you spend time with other adults at least every other day while he is gone. Every day is even better. Full schedules help the time go quickly.

2. Plan some fun, extra special activities to do with the kids. Rent a movie & eat popcorn together, go ride the ferry. Make it a special time for all of you - a family tradition that the kids get sort of spoiled whenever Daddy is gone.

3. Try bumping your schedule. I always feed the kids at 5 or 5:30 and have them in bed by 7 or 7:30 when Kyle is gone. That's just a 30 minute difference, but leaves room for....

4. Eat a big lunch, then wait till the kids are in bed to cook and eat your dinner. So much easier than trying to do it all while they are awake, think of it as your special treat for doing such a great job that day.

5. Make an effort to cook & eat your favorite foods. Usually your husband is having all his meals paid for on trips, so spend the extra money on yourself. A $15 bottle of wine will last you 2-3 nights (if you have those special corks & air remover tool) so that's only $5 a night! Way cheaper than having you BOTH drink nice wine and finishing it in just one night.

6. Instead of ordering take out, which is a pain to pick up by yourself with two kids, invest in some quality ingredients that are quick to prepare and will cost you the same as takeout.

Sure, $15 for fresh picked dungeoness crab meat is expensive. But mix it with some cream, fresh tomatoes, pasta.... That's a $20 meal for just one person, but you could easily spend that on a boring ol pizza if it was for both of you. And it'll come together in less than 20 minutes, I promise.

My go to dish for quick, delicious & relatively healthy - sautee sea scallops or filet mignon in a hot pan with oil. Lay them on a bed of salad greens. Saute shallots in the same pan till soft, add some white (fish) or red (beef) wine, reduce for 2 minutes, then toss in fresh herbs (parsely for the scallops, tarragon for the beef) and whisk in a tablespoon of butter. Drizzle over your meat and greens - voila - delicious salad.

And it is so much cheaper to cook for just one person. If it was both of you, that'd cost $20! For just you, its only $10! Awesome! Just look how thrifty you are!

5. Plan ahead to have movies your husband hates (foreign, musicals, anything with sarah jessica parker or richard grereer in it) around to watch while he is gone. Better yet, choose a tv series. Whenever Kyle is gone, I watch The Office every night. It's almost like they are my special friends who visit me whenever he is away. Wait...what was that about retaining your sanity?

6. Clean up the whole house every night. Do the dishes, pick up toys. I know it is oh so tempting to leave it since no one will know except you, but falling behind is a nightmare and it will keep you so much more energized to have everything clean in the morning. Trust me, I've tried both. Discipline makes you feel lots better than loafing.

7. Get yourself a babysitter for one night. Everyone feels bad for you when your husband is away, so make sure you take full advantage and have a friend watch the kids one night so you can go do something fun. Trust me, if your husband was the one home alone, he'd DEFINITELY do this (even if you were only gone for 6 hours), so you should too.

8. Obviously cooking & good food are my "thing". If yours is something different, just substitute "buy yarn and start a new project" for "buy filet mignon". Or whatever floats your boat. Just be sure to rationalize your purchase as explained above - you are actually SAVING money by not paying for your husband's food this week.

9. Play some really silly games with your kids, the kinds that usually only Daddy plays with them while you watch and laugh. They miss him & this will help.

Hope this helps, or at least made you laugh. I'm off to get the kids their 5pm dinner so I can enjoy my crab fettucine in peace....

By the way, for those moms who eat alone every night and watch the kids long hours while their husband is in school/working two jobs/in the military/etc - you are my heroes.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Hotwire Hate

Nevermind, I hate Hotwire.

Obviously we are probably NOT going to Portland this weekend (flooding all over our state, no way to leave Western Washington except by boat or air) and Hotwire apparently will NEVER change your hotel reservations, even if you are caught in the worst flooding in 500 years.

On top of that, our basement is seeping ground water. The one we've spent the last 8 months remodeling.

I am very very grateful that it happened now, before we did our drywall or flooring. But still.....there goes a few more thousand dollars into the remodel to get the drainage fixed.

And I am grateful that our sewer did not back up and flood the basement like it did a block away on our street. And I am happy we are mostly healthy except for colds. Sounds like the flu/vomit fest is making the rounds of everyone we know.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


I booked a hotel in Portland this week on hotwire and got such a good deal ($83 a night for The Nines) that I had to go see what was available in Seattle this weekend.

I use these two sites (BetterBidding and Bidding for Travel. This list is super helpful) so that I know what hotels I am probably getting when I use Hotwire**. So here's what I saw for this weekend:

Pan Pacific - $119 a night
Most likely the Vintage Park for $99 a night (it was hard to figure out exactly what this one was)

Someone should go stay at one of these hotels, especially if you are pregnant and won't get to do it again for a long time. Or haven't had a night away from your little one in a long time. ; )

**You can actually get hotels for even cheaper on Priceline if you don't care where you stay, but check those two sites I mentioned above for bidding strategies before you do it. It is super easy to get the lowest possible rate for a 4 star hotel. (Someone recently paid $80 for the Vintage Park thru Priceline)

Saturday, January 03, 2009

My gift

Kyle got me a lovely Nikon DSLR for Christams, so now I can take pictures inside again! And do lots of fun things like choose my aperature and ISO! And spend hours and hours reading my camera manual!
Sweet sweet husband. Thank you!

Christmas Pictures

Annika's new pet "Rody"

About an hour after breakfast, Annika returned to the table and spent quite a bit of time frosting the rest of our cinnamon rolls

Sampling her work.

Around lunch time we headed to my parent's house, barely getting our honda up the road to their house. Kyle had to put chains on and do quite a bit of shoveling.

More fun trying to get a cute picture of the kids together in their Christmas outfits.

Annika trying on her new clothing as well as Saben's new slippers and Daddy's new hat.

Annika's favorite gift of the day was Saben's slippers. She kept putting them on, and they finally ended up sharing them Gossie style.

We spent the night at my parents and then headed down to Kyle's parents house for another day/night. Apparently I got tired of taking pictures, because I don't have many good ones from their house except for this beautiful shot of my sister-in-law and my neice baking in her tummy. And her odd husband.
Annika meeting her cousin Hailey.

We finally returned home and Saben is here with his "big" gift from us - a toy rocket. He is also wearing his art apron & the slippers and is intently watching the rocket video we bought him.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Annika sock hands

Annika has really been into her clothes lately. She got these socks that are striped, and she seems to think they are mittens because her mittens are multi-colored stripes. She always makes me put them on her hands in the house. She loves putting on her coats as well, I can't figure out if she's just sick of being inside, or if she just enjoys wearing them.


On Christmas Eve this year, my precious nephew, Seth Ari Voelker, was born. We get to meet him for the first time on Sunday and could not be more excited. Every time I read about my brother being a Dad, I seem to get tears in my eyes.

A couple hours after we got the news that Seth was born, we found out some dear friends (Nancy & Abraham) who moved to Portland a couple years ago had lost their baby girl, just weeks before she was due to be born.

In November, I had spent a weekend in Seattle with Nancy and some other girlfriends. One morning I laid my hand on Nancy's belly and felt her girl moving. It struck me that morning that I probably wouldn't feel that in my own womb again, and I got all choked up with the miracle of it all. I feel so blessed to have met her little one in this way, that she gave me this memory I will never forget, even though I won't get to meet her face to face until we meet in heaven.

Christmas Eve, I also found out that another long time friend had lost her step dad to a sudden tragic accident when he was trying to help the neighborhood remove a tree from some power lines.

Through all this, we cried, we rejoiced, we prayed. We loved on our children, showered them with gifts and Christmas memories and had a wonderful time visiting all the family in the area. (despite the many complications due to snow & lack of 4 wheel drive on our suburban)

My heart has been so full of all these things, I did not want to ignore them on my blog, but I didn't know how to write about them (or wasn't ready) either.