Tuesday, February 28, 2012

It's Raining It's Pouring

March is coming and the girls requested new holiday decor.  I'm not huge on St. Patricks day but it isn't quite time to work on Easter so we are making all sorts of rainbows around here. Red Fish spends most of her time making rainbow projects anyway.  This rainbow project pushes the boundaries towards being more craft than art and there is still a part of me that thinks craft is a dirty word.  The most important part is that the girls had fun making it and enjoyed the process.  They dipped the cotton balls in a big bowl of Elmer's school glue and cut up strips of tissue paper to make their rainbows.

Reason #427 My Girls Love Their Daddy

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Some Things Never Change

February 12th, 2010
February 8th, 2012
I still find them together in the crib pretending to sleep.  I love that they are holding hands.  Also- New Fish sure sleeps with a lot of stuff now.  She is never getting out of this crib.  I plan to leave her in there for as long as possible.  She started jumping a few months ago but then stopped after a few times.  With her sleep record, I'm thinking four might be a good age to move her to a bed.  :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Snack

This is a typical snack made by Red Fish- cherry tomatoes, apples, carrots and a glass of milk.  Notice that New Fish doesn't actually partake.  It isn't a bowl full of sugar.  Funny how different they can be.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Modge Podge Projects

The girls are constantly asking me to teach them new songs or to play a music game.  They are OBSESSED with playing games and they love to sing. I get tired of the music games we have much faster than they do but our music time is so much more fun for them if I have a visual aid, a book or a game for them. A few weeks ago, a friend of mine suggested making dice with different songs on them.  I made the large dice a few weeks ago out of an old Christmas decoration and modge podge.  The girls have used it nonstop and learned a few new songs (the other three they already knew but weren't a part of any of our other games.)  I coudn't find the bigger block size at the craft store but I bought some smaller wood blocks to make more and started putting them together today.  The girls wanted to help so the dice aren't as neatly made but they are in love with them. I tried to stick mostly with songs they don't know although there are 5 or 6 they already do.

So far we have dice wtih- The Bear Went Over The Mountain, Head Shoulders Knees & Toes, She'll Be Coming Round The Mountain, Ring Around The Rosies,  London Bridge, Skip To My Lou, Here We Go 'Round The Mulberry Bush, A Tisket A Tasket, When The Saints Go Marching In, The Ants Go Marching, Baby Bumble Bee, Five Speckled Frogs, 5 Little Ducks, Where Is Thumbkin, I'm A Little Teapot, Down By The Station, I've Been Working On The Railroad, My Bonnie, There Were Ten In The Bed, One Two Buckle My Shoe, I've Been Working On The Railroad, John Jacob Jungleheimer Schmidt, The ABCs,  BINGO, & It's Raining It's Pouring.
 The girls loved helping me modge podge the dice so much that Red Fish decided they needed their "own project."  They shredded up paper and painted it onto a collage with paint brushes and a bowl of modge podge.  I told them about how some artists name their artwork.  When I asked them what they would name their collage, both girls had an immediate answer.  Maybe they always name them in their head or this was just what they were thinking while they were working.  The names cracked me up. I'm going to have to ask them for names more often.
"Umbitty Tools" by Red Fish
"Danger Jellyfish" by New Fish

Monday, February 20, 2012

Ski Day With The Girls

The girls with my Dad at the top of the lift.
 Awesome ski day today. It was beautiful and sunny.  I'm totally totally exhausted.  Skiing with kids is a lot of work!  All of those layers and ski boots and getting them down the bunny hill is a serious job.  I loved today regardless of the work.  I spent the first part of the day carrying New Fish on my back for the first time.  It was surprisingly easy and she LOVED it.  She would shout "Woohoo!" the whole way down the mountain.  She said we were "flying" when we were on the lift and she couldn't stop talking about how beautiful it was.  Her appreciation of the outdoors makes me happy.  New Fish wore a bicycle helmet since we only have one ski helmet.  Next year she will be old enough to ski herself.  Crazy. 

First family ski picture!
 I only planned on carrying New Fish for a couple of runs and then had a backpack full of fun for the ski lodge.  She didn't want any part of that plan.  She only hung out in the lodge for lunch and then she was back in the backpack for more runs.  She even fell asleep on Two Fish's back.
My Dad with the girls in the lodge for lunch.
 After lunch Red Fish wanted to ditch the bunny hill and move onto something bigger.  We still stuck to the green circles but it was dramatically more difficult terrain.  She does really well making her wedge on the skis and is making progress turning on the bunny hill.  On the more difficult hill I have to hang onto her harness and kind of hold her in front of me.  It is akin to doing a squat with a fifty pound weight and sliding down a mountain while shouting "Pizza Pie!  Make a pizza!  Now lean left!  Now lean right!  Good, good!"  Brutal on the legs.  Great for the mommy points.  On the smaller hill we just hold onto some leashes attached to her harness so that she doesn't completely take off.  These ski lessons are of my own design.  I really need to talk to some experts and find out the right way to teach a kid to ski.  Any advice out there?

Two Fish and Red Fish

Sunday, February 19, 2012

What Quiet Looks Like

Red Fish stopped napping last year.  It was a serious problem because she still needed some down time and I still needed time to do my graphic design projects.  I try as hard as possible to not be on the computer all day and make sure I concentrate on the girls.  Nap time helps make that possible. So, we instituted quiet time.  For the most part it goes really well.  Basically she just has to entertain herself for an hour and a half or two hours while New Fish sleeps.  If she gets too antsy and I have gotten my work done, we do speech during this time as well.  I've been spending a lot of time reading to her and New Fish just after quiet time and nap time are over and they seem to really need some cuddle time before dinner.

Quiet time is quickly being observed religiously.  It has had it's ups and downs.  Sometimes I have to set up play areas or projects for her ahead of time to keep her occupied.  Other times she just does her own thing.  Red Fish spends time playing in the toy room playing make believe.  She is allowed to spend a little time on the computer playing her game.  She also fills pages and pages in her coloring books or sits in her bed and looks at books.  She is allowed to do artwork that doesn't require close supervision.  She uses tempera cakes almost everyday.  The house is filled with rainbow paintings and collages.  Seems we both are getting some art done during our daily quiet times.  Fingers crossed it keeps working!  Quiet time and freezer meals are making being a working mother work right now.

Surprise Saturday Lunch

Go Fish with Grandma

Hugs With Bockum

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Pick Me Up

This year, I made a lot of goals.  I decided that life was about creating yourself, not finding yourself.  I just needed to work harder to create the life I want instead of feeling overwhelmed and out of control.  I wanted my mantra to be- just handle it.  If I didn't like the way things were working then I'd just change it.  I started working out, eating better, studying the scriptures more and just trying to handle things better.  I made more effective schedules for the girls and I and tried to manage my workflow better.  Some things like the freezer meals are really working for me and reducing my stress level.

It's February.  A gray nasty February with no snow.  Now that the winter blues and cabin fever have set in, I have hit a major slump again.  I don't want to work on any of my goals.  I'm feeling major mommy burnout.  I'm still doing all of the things I need to.  The girls have had plenty of reading, art, music and mommy time. They have had fun days at the children's museum, puppet shows, library days, dinosaur museum and aquarium trips.  We've been to swim lessons.  Their world is fine. Nothing is terrible.  I'm caught up on work.  The house has been in slight disarray but not spinning out of control.  I'm just not feeling it though.  I'm cranky, tired and not feeling like taking care of my responsibilities or changing anything.  I needed (and maybe still need) a reminder of why I'm trying to change things.  A reminder that things can be different.

  And then, yesterday a tender mercy of the Lord was sent my way via my two darling daughters.  When I got up in the morning, they were already playing together in the toy room, a lovely way to start the morning.  Then, they played for six hours straight.  Seriously.  No fighting.  No tattle telling.  No screaming or whining. No entertainment required.  I brought them snacks and lunch.  I helped them change outfits (about seventeen times.)  I sat in my room and worked on my computer in complete peace for six hours and listened to them sing, dance, giggle and play make believe.  It was amazing.  I caught up on tons of graphic design work.  I made important phone calls.  I felt like a different person at the end of the day.  They were perfectly happy.  I hated to break them up for New Fish's nap-time.  Red Fish had to tuck New Fish in bed in order for her to cooperate.  The toy room looks like an atomic bomb went off but it was totally worth it.  We took dinner over to my Mimi's and met Two Fish and had an indoor picnic. (I forgot to take my carmera.) It was the most peaceful day- a ray of sunshine into the gray of winter.  Sun and outdoor play will come again.  The changes I'm trying to make will be worth it.  I've just go to keep from burning out, it's just winter blues and cabin fever.

A few more peaceful days of happy little girls playing make believe and finding something fun to look forward to will get us through it! Now, who wants me to plan something fun to look forward to and get me through the rest of the winter?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cub Scouts

In our church, we are given "callings".  Basically, we are asked to fulfill a position of service in the church and it could be anything from the easiest hymn book coordinator to a leadership position.  It is interesting to have this opportunity to serve in positions I wouldn't dream I'd excel in or even necessarily want to do.  I can't say that I have always had the best attitude when I start out in a new service opportunity but I usually end up learning a lot.  I've never had to teach adults in church but I've had a lot of different opportunities to teach kids of a variety of ages and teenagers.  Right now I'm doing music with the young women.

In one of my last callings as a nursery leader (my second tour) I had a bit of a bad attitude.  I was tired of entertaining toddlers.  Our ward was trying to make nursery more than two hours of toys with a snack and a lesson.  We were encouraged to come up with projects for the kids.  The kids in the nursery are 18months-3years and I had Red Fish with me who was only a year old.  It completely stressed me out to come up with projects that could be done by a large group of toddlers dressed in their Sunday finery.  The interesting thing is that it really pushed me to think about art and little kids.  It was what initially got me into thinking up projects for Red Fish.  I'm sure I would have gotten into art with my kids on my own but being a nursery leader gave me a jump-start into thinking about how I wanted to deal with art and toddlers.

Two Fish and I were recently released from working with the cub scouts in our neighborhood.  We've had nine year old boys over for weekly activities for the last year and a half.  It has been a huge learning experience for me.  Everything I know about dealing with a group of little boys came from growing up with brothers.  I don't have any boys of my own or any kids that age.  I was never a scout,  obviously.  Two Fish has three brother and was a scout but claims to remember nothing.  Since Two Fish work outside our home much more than I do, it made sense that I planned most of the activities.

Cub scouts is an amazing program!  I'm so impressed with all of the learning opportunities it provides.  I learned a lot while preparing their lessons and activities. The biggest thing I learned was how to deal with boys. I learned how to get a large group of wild little boys to settle down and concentrate on an activity.  That was a huge feat for me.  I got to teach them about the ocean and fish and some of my other passions.  We did art projects and built bird houses.  We passed over dozens of goals. For the most part, I really enjoyed my time with them!

In the last few weeks we had several guests come speak.  We talked about science, food, marketing and communication.  Then last week we cooked salt dough and made dinosaurs and habitats.  It was a lot of fun.  I think I am going to miss scouts.

Red Fish's island, cave and dinosaur.

The best part was that my little girls adored the cub scouts.  The boys were very kind to them and really let them be a part of the group.  The girls are devastated that "our cub scouts" won't be coming around anymore.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentines Day

 Red Fish had a Valentines party at school.  She came home with a bag of treats and a crown.  She is always so sweet about sharing with her little sister.  I love it.  We decided to make and decorate sugar cookies even though Red Fish had already done it at school.  New Fish did most of her decorating with her tongue.
 We delivered Valentines around the neighborhood to all of their little friends.  It took us two hours of walking the dog door to door to deliver them all.  The girls LOVED it. 
 After Two Fish got home from work, we dropped the girls off for a "date" with their grandma and cousins.  They decorated cookies again- lucky girls.  Two Fish took me to a Valentines day dinner and dance to hear the same band that played at our wedding.  It was a blast.  We are terrible dancers but once we just embrace that fact we dance our hearts out anyway!
Unfortunately this was the only picture we got of the two of us.  Nice and blurry.  I loved being with the love of my life for Valentines!

The Sounds Of The Sea

According to New Fish-
The sea horse says: "Honey honey."
The turtle says: "Snap snap"
The octapus says: "Swish swish"
The crab says: "Pinchy pinchy"
The fish says: "[kissing noises]"
The jelly fish says: "slimy slimy"
The urchin says:"pokey pokey sink sink"
The whale says: "Ahhh-wooooo"
The dolphin says: "Chirp"

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love Dinner

We had our annual Valentines- family love dinner tonight.  The girls attended in their pajamas so we could make sure that they still made it in bed on time.  It was a school night.  The girls helped me decorate and set the table and Red Fish helped bake a cake.  We had ribs and mashed potatoes and a salad with plenty of berries in it.  The girls really love berries of all kinds.  Fancy drinks are always a party requirement.  We even had a little candlelight.  We talked about how special and important it is that we are a family and that we love each other.  It is always fun sharing this holiday with my three Valentines!

Monday, February 13, 2012

So Cute I can Hardly Stand It!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Preparing The Valentines

 I think New Fish may have found her Valentine.  My girls LOVE our good friend's baby C.
The girls have been busily creating their Valentine creations.  We cut hearts out and painted them over several days and then they have been gluing them together today.  We need projects with multiple steps so they take longer.

Colorations Liquid Watercolor Paint 8 oz.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

WIndow Hearts

We made stained glass hearts last week using this method and then cutting them into a heart shape.  I'm all about limiting the mess while we are trapped inside.  Our front windows are completely plastered in Valentines day creations.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Love At First Sight- Again

For love stories 1 & 2 see my previous posts.

The short version of our family love story would be-
One Fish met Two Fish and they were best friends.  They fell in love and became a family.  They knew there were kids coming but they never knew when or where or how.  They met Red Fish through the help of angels and it was love at first sight.  They all fell in love and became a family.  Then 22 months later, New Fish was born and it was love at first sight all over again.  We all fell in love and became a family again.  Everyday we love each other a little bit more and it never ends.

That short version can't encompass the details but neither can the long version.

There is something about the way my girls smile at me that melts my heart on a daily basis.  I wonder how they got so cute. I wonder about how I got so lucky. I wonder why I am so blessed to be their Mom.  My girls arrived in different ways but that moment of holding them for the first time was the same.  That first moment of recognition was exactly the same for both children.  That first few days of total wonderment of examining their feet and studying their little face was the same. It didn't matter if we started in a hotel room or a hospital room.  Those feelings of complete awe were the same.  Waking up every day to be with them is a joy.  Even when I get major Mommy burn out, there is something about their earnest little faces that turns it all around and totally melts me. 

I counted down the days to Red Fish's first birthday so that we could start our adoption paper work over.  I was feeling that familiar pressure that another baby was headed our direction.  The adoption paperwork process is a lot of work.  It takes organization and appointments and hours to fill out questionaires and pages of your most personal information. You have interviews about the state of your marriage, a home check to see the state of your house, financial checks, background checks etc.  I barreled through like a woman on a mission and I handed over our check.  My baby was coming.  This was the way to get babies into our family.  We were approved in December of 2008.

Of course, Heavenly Father has a sense of humor and just when I thought I had the plan figured out- he reminded me that I am not the one in control.

Two Fish's whole family had a slumber party at our house for New Years Eve .  I spent the night on the bathroom floor sick as a dog.  That was when I realized I was probably pregnant. This would be pregnancy number seven for me. I bought a home pregnancy test out of habbit, not because I actually expected it to work.  Usually, I had to go to the doctor for a blood test.  When the test was positive I was more than a little shocked.  That should have been my first clue that things were different for once. 

I was afraid to dig out my pregnancy books because there are too many bad associations with them. I had packed them up too many times. Every little cramp or weird feeling sent me to the verge of panic.  I was a total mess. It didn't feel real at all.

The first time I heard New Fish's heartbeat I actually screamed.  It was my first baby heartbeat.  I scared the ultrasound tech to death.  Every single week they would struggle to find her on the doppler and I would always end up with an ultrasound and I would sob when they found the heartbeat.

I started going in for ultrasounds every other week and I had to give myself twice daily injections of heparin.  The first time I had to stick myself I cried and cried.  My Dad called and said that if I couldn't do it in the next five minutes he would come over and do it.  That inspired me to do it because I was afraid of having someone else do it.  Eventually, it wasn't a big deal at all. I threw up at least once almost everyday the entire time I was pregnant.  I thought for sure once I passed the first trimester that it would end.  I thought for sure after she was born it would end but I threw up for three more months.  I remember waving to some of my neighbors after I had just puked in my front yard for the third day in a row.  They probably thought there was something seriously wrong with me or that I was some kind of drunk.

Looking back it was actually a very lovely time. I felt so completely connected to the miracle of motherhood.  There is something humbling and beautiful about truly knowing what a special gift children are.   I felt wrapped up in this giant bubble of love that I would be able to experience two different ways of having a child arrive.  I felt overwhelmed that I was lucky enough to be entrusted with two little spirits.  Red Fish was little and cuddly and still napped, which was great because I was so tired.  It was kind of like life came to a grinding halt and all I could do was concentrate on getting this little life here.  (Well besides attempting to keep the house, work some and take care of my one year old!)  It was exciting and exhausting.

31 weeks