Thursday, December 24, 2009

christmas season 2009

My favorite memories this year....
  • Saben's incessant, yet trusting questions about Santa, our elf Mary, and his love for Rudolph
  • Both kids getting attached to Christmas songs - Annika loves Jingle Bells and The Little Drummer Boy (aka rum pa dum dum) and Saben loves Rudolph. In the car, it was an eternal war over which songs we would listen too first.
  • Saben being an Angel in his school Christmas pageant. (his first christmas program ever!) He was the only boy angel, but he picked it out himself and didn't seem to mind. (I reminded him that all the angels the bible mentions were male)
  • Annika deciding to quit sleeping one week before Christmas. We do have that solved now, I am happy to report. It took some "tough love" but it worked! She now stays in bed and goes to sleep in just 10-20 minutes. (and it only took 3 days once we had a plan/strategy) As soon as we used our plan, she quit waking at night too. Unfortunately we let her drop her nap, which has been tough on mommy and is starting to show in her too.
  • Annika getting completely giddy off of Puppy Chow that we ate right before the Christmas eve service. She didn't hold still for more than 5 seconds for the entire thing and we were sitting right at the front edge of a balcony so I just sat making sure she didn't drop chapstick or her candle on the people below us. Or start screaming. If the service was an 8 on a ten point scale of insanity, dinner was a 9....but we got her asleep before she hit 10. Hurray!
  • A new car. We finally replaced our aging (not currently running) Honda yesterday, with a 2001 Mercedes E55 AMG. (after a two hour drive to Everett and back with the kids. Blech.) It is speedy. I drove it this morning for the first time and then Kyle spent most of our Christmas Eve "Look at Christmas Lights Drive" burning out at all the stop signs. "Look at those pretty lights kids!! Is that a Santa statue?!" "SCREEEEEEEEEEEECHHHH" (neighbors shudder at the psycho driving outside)

Lots more I'm sure I'm forgetting, but goodnight and Merry Christmas!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Saben: "Daddy, what would you wish for if you were at a wishing well?"
Kyle: "Probably world peace or and end to poverty"
Saben: "But what about legos?"

Friday, December 18, 2009

sleep drama

Annika has always been such an odd sleeper. The first three months of her life were hard, she would fall asleep, go into her crib and then wake up about 3-5 minutes after I left. Over and over and over. 2-3 hours worth some nights.

Then suddenly she started sleeping perfect and became the easiest child ever to get to sleep. I would lay her down in the crib awake and she'd just doze off, all on her own.
She had her set backs here & there, but we even transitioned her effortlessly to a bed.

The last few months since her & saben moved to their new bedroom, she's been sort of weird. You know, the whole bee thing. And she's always wanted very specific things in bed with her. I always sort of knew that if we didn't give them to her, she'd probably stay awake fighting us on it until midnight. But as long as you followed her special routine, she'd eventually settle in and go to sleep.

Week by week lately, things have gotten a bit trickier. More crying, a bit more screaming, more threats, discipline, etc. She'd stay in bed crying and when I went back in she'd ask for one last thing and then go to sleep. A few times she ran out of bed, we disciplined her and then she would stay in bed.

Then on Tuesday, nothing worked. As soon as we left the room she jumped out of bed screaming and crying and running to the door. Over and over and over. That night we used force because it was so new...holding her down in bed, putting her back in, holding the door shut so she couldn't escape the room. It was horrible. Then at 2am it happened all over again and I was awake for 2.5 hours. She finally fell asleep in the pack & play in our living room.

Wednesday, I took the "day off" to spend LOTS of time with her, gave her lots of choices all day and was very intentional about everything we did. At bedtime I would say "can I leave and come back to check on you in 2 minutes?" and it worked pretty well. She generally fell asleep in 10-15 minutes of that. She was up at 2am again, but only for 10 minutes or so.

Last night, it quit working. She would agree to us leaving and then freak out as soon as we were out of sight. (jump out of bed, run for the door, crying) She wanted to sleep in the pack & play again, so we moved it to the bedroom. We left her in there for 20 minutes at a time and she would be tossing & turning and never fell asleep. Eventually she'd start crying and we'd have to go back in. Finally at 9:45 I sat on the floor next to her for about 15 minutes and she fell asleep.

4am - awake again, had to sit on the floor until she fell asleep and did this twice because she woke up when I left the first time. Before this all started, she would wake up in the middle of the night maybe twice a week. Usually when she didn't eat enough dinner and would be starving at 4am. Six months ago, she NEVER woke up in the middle of the night.

So. Tonight. No sugar today, no nap, lots of exercise. We are moving her bed to the other room so she doesn't disturb Saben anymore. We will play classical music. I am not sure if I will sit in her room again, or try just putting her back in bed 100 times.

It is just so weird, it feels like she is suddenly slightly deranged. I mean, she sort of did these things before, but never, ever to this level. It was so sudden. We had lots of babysitters this weekend too, so I keep wondering if it is some sort of separation thing? Or too much Christmas sugar? It seems worse on days she has had candy in the late afternoon.

I am worried enough that I felt like I had to document what's been going on. I know some of you have kids that never fall asleep easy, but like I said - this is so sudden & new, except that her sleep has been getting steadily worse for about 3-4 months now. And I hoped writing it out might give me some new insight as I analyzed what's happened the last three nights.

My mom suggested the classical music and I'm excited because I think that might comfort her. It seems like a "comfort" thing more than a power play - yes, she is being VERY stubborn, but I think its out of genuine fear, not just wanting power. Everytime she wakes up (after a nap, in the morning or at 4am) she jumps up crying and runs for the door. She used to do that lazy stretching wake up, now its like she wakes up scared.

If you think of us at 8pm tonite, say a little prayer and if you have suggestions, we are all ears!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Are you ready for this?

I am pretty sure we could win awards with this photo. It is just too perfect. (be sure to click & enlarge)

Oh the drama. I knew neither kid wanted to sit on Santa's lap this year, Saben kept saying he didn't want to and Annika said "santa yucky" even though she adores his picture in books. But I figured we might as well try anyways so we could have the obligatory picture.

This is what we ended up with. Annika was terrified, quivering in my arms crying and Saben was trying to run away while Kyle held his arm. Both kids were definitely feeding off of eachother's fears. It was embarassing and ridiculous, but they did calm down enough to take this picture where no one is actually holding them down. Candy cane bribery was our savior.

It was only later that I took a close look at the picture and thought to myself "hmm...that Santa does look sort of creepy." And I couldn't put my finger on why....until I later noticed the white furry thing winding down his arm. It's a HIPPY SANTA! No wonder! Only in Bellingham.....

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Unravelling life's mysteries

I had an epiphany the other day as we drove to get our Christmas tree. I finally understood a mystery I have been contemplating for about fifteen years now. Let me explain.

One night when I was just out of college, a huge group of us were sleeping in a small mountain cabin in Austria. Boys on one side, girls on the other, so we could hear them. The entire trip, the guys had been reveling us with details of their late night shenanigans. Extraordinary accomplishments in the art of blue flames, an exemplary extra loud fart, feces in the toilet that were particularly fascinating.

The night we were all together, the guys just could not stop farting and laughing. It seemed to go on for hours and they laughed harder and harder.

**Warning: Graphic potty humor abounds below. And some huge sex stereotyping. Stop now if that last paragraph grossed you out.**

I remember lying there thinking to myself "Its not that its gross or anything. It just really isn't that funny. I have absolutely no idea why they are laughing so hard. NO IDEA." It has haunted me ever since then - why do guys think "potty humor" is so hilarious? What gives the toot its comedy power?

As I had babies and became surrounded by poo 24 hours a day, I did find humor in how bizarre it was - potty training Saben was definitely not something I was even remotely prepared for.

I also remember thinking how funny it was that most women/moms are not that grossed out by their baby's poo & toots - but often the dad really struggles with it and grimaces every time they change a diaper. I mean, it is gross, but I feel pretty much over it - its poo, what else is new?

So the mystery deepened - guys think poo & farts are soooo funny and spend their adolescent years taunting us with it, but when it comes down to it, it seems like moms handle the reality of it much better than dads.

Seeing how I don't really find poo & toots funny or all that gross, I figured I'd have no problem at all being one of those moms who just goes along with the kid's potty humor. No stifling giggles, my dream was to be matter of fact & honest about it, laugh sometimes, but no big deal. You know, the cool mom.

Then Kyle taught my sweet innocent 3 year old to call his poo "logs". And to say "take a monster dump". And I'll admit, I cringed. I told him to knock it off. I mean, I'm accepting of it and all, but seriously, does he have to start him in at such a young age? But for some mysterious reason, it stuck and Saben still always uses those phrases....

So we're on our way to get our Christmas tree this year, and Saben and Kyle were singing the song "Jingle Poop". (Jingle bells with poop instead of bells) I don't even remember which one of them started it, but I cringed again and told Kyle to knock it off. Its CHRISTMAS and we're getting our CHRISTMAS TREE. Please stop singing about POOP!

And guess what. They laughed harder. And harder. Every time I made the slightest response, it got funnier and funnier. And suddenly it hit me, the only thing funny about poop for boys is that from the very first potty joke they remember, mom has told them knock it off. It is pure rebellion, and its hilarious to watch mom get mad.

Potty humor has no comedy on its own, or at least a very limited amount. But throw in someone (most likely a woman) getting angry, embarrassed or fed up, and suddenly it is very funny indeed. And its not that women are grossed out by potty humor, its just so STUPID that they often don't see the humor in it. Because the humor is actually themselves & their reaction. Its a vicious cycle, and I am not sure its a war you can win.

Even if you think you are fine and cool about potty humor, your husband and son's main goals in life will be to push the edges of poo comedy as far as they can until they get a rise out of you. Because even if your husband says he wants you to be cool with it, what he really wants is for you to tell him to knock it off. And he will go to any length to get that response. The cooler you are, the more hideous things your husband will teach your son, until you finally break.

So really, you might as well just be mean, and make them stop at the first outbreak. Not sure it will help, but worth a try. Consider yourself warned.

Yes, I know girls laugh about poo too, (I certainly do on occasion) but much more fun to complain about men and pretend its all their fault.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Tree hunt 2009 - not a disaster!

Yes it is true, we actually had a wonderful, fabulous time hunting for our tree this year. I suppose realistically, it was only last year that everything seemed to go wrong (pouring rain, no camera, forgot cash), but it was still a huge relief that we had such a fun time this year. (sparkling sun, remembered camera, brought cash)

For some reason it was a stellar day for photos, both kids were in such good moods & the lighting was photogenic. I had a hard time narrowing it down to just these fifty pictures. ha ha, just kidding. There's only fifteen.

Annika fell down four times and each time she just lay there until someone helped pick her up. It was hilarious because she wouldn't put her hands down in the mud and was so upset about it.

Wow, a good shot with me & the kids! I told you it was a miraculous day. But just wait for it...

That's right TWO good shots. Amazing.

And then Annika's naptime rolled around. Whenever we skip naps, Annika gets super hyper. She insisted on taking her coat off and proceeded to go adorably nutso.

Watching Daddy cut down the tree. She was entranced.

I love this particular tree farm because it is in such a beautiful setting. I have realized these last few years that I am quite picky about my tree farms. (so odd, because I'm never picky about anything usually...) This one is about 80% perfect and we've gone to it twice now.

My adorable son.

The hug picture outtakes are the best, most of them Annika's face is getting all squished up and Saben has his head facing away from the camera. But we did manage to get one good one... Time for some more crazies.

Loading the tree, and really, we had so much fun. Wonderful.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


Today I cooked my first Turkey. Yes, its a bit late for the holiday festivities, but it was given to us by someone who couldn't use it and needed to be cooked right away. Did I mention it was a 20lb turkey? And that I am the only one in the family who even likes turkey? Kyle will eat it, but no one can make him enjoy it. And the kids might eat a couple ounces at most.

I wasn't even sure why I said I'd take it, but I've always wanted to try cooking one, and hey, I like turkey! I was ready to give it a go, freeze a ton and have turkey every day for months....But I also recently met this woman who lives in and works as a chaplain for some low income housing down the street. So I played all day with the idea of giving her the turkey and even sent her an email.

So I have this gigantic turkey in the oven, but it went in very late because it was so beautiful outside, I couldn't help but let the kids linger at the park. At 6:00 the thing still had an hour to go and we were starving. So we went out and got burritos.

While we were eating the takeout, I finally heard back from the woman I had emailed. The place she lives is housing for the diabled and elderly and since they are often sick or in the hospital, she goes to pray with them. She also helps organize meals, game nights & other outreach things to have people get to know eachother and helps those who are having a hard time supporting themselves.

She was anxious to take my turkey and I was so excited to find a home for my first bird. In 20 minutes, we were shredding it together and it will be used in soups, sandwiches & salads for various ministries to residents in the next few weeks.

I don't think things could have worked out more perfectly today.