Bedtime Adventures March 30, 2011
I always envisioned as the girls got older that we’d all snuggle together in bed, read stories, say prayers, and then each child would contentedly go their own beds and drift off into blissful sleep. Needless to say, I haven’t yet achieved my vision. A few days ago, I unwittingly let the kids have a too-long and too-late naptime…which meant, come bedtime, no one was ready to sleep. I decided to let them stay up for awhile longer…they all piled in Taran’s bed to watch the beloved Wiggles on his iPod.
Taran was very sweet to allow Laurel to hold the iPod.
Unfortunately, Clare soon tired of letting someone else have all the fun.
I figured they needed a bigger screen to watch, something they wouldn’t fight over to hold.
Pretty cute, huh? I thought so, but this didn’t last for long, either.
In reality, they even have issues gathering for a story. Moreso the girls than Taran. They’ll each compete to sit in my lap, grab the book in mid-sentence, turn the page before I finish reading. Rather than snuggling, they wind up pushing the other off my lap, swinging their arms wildly, kicking, whatever it takes to make their point. Their misadventures are what caused them to scratch my right cornea in January (courtesy of Laurel) and my left in March (courtesy of Clare). They’re officially toddlers for one more year, and I don’t know how much more my poor face can take…maybe I’ll invest in a hockey mask for bedtime!
What’s Happening? March 21, 2011
Sorry for the delay in writing – life has been happening at a breckneck speed it seems! Ari has increasingly time consuming duties with work, which has left the primary caregiving to me. There are things that we used to do together that I’ve been tackling alone. At first (and even now), I struggled with feelings of being overwhelmed, alone and resentful (not towards him, but towards his demands). But God has shown me that this is a period for growth and reminds me that my reliance is on Him.
So many blogs (with good intentions, I’m sure) portray a life of close to perfect mothering. And I don’t even like to solicit advice on social media, as I fear how other mothers who barely know me will silently tsk tsk at me, or even worse, offer advice…I am not good at accepting correction, even when I admit I need it! But I figure if you are reading this blog, you must at least know me well enough to the point where I can be more transparent. And the original purpose of this site was to document our family’s life; I still aim to do that, for both the good and the bad.
So, with that long preamble, I introduce one of my struggles…bedtime. Taran is good to go for the most part. We read him a story, brush teeth, say our prayers, turn on his music (either George Strait Christmas album or the Wiggles), leave the room, and he’s asleep within minutes. On Friday and Saturday nights, he gets to go to bed with his iPod, which has kid movies and songs loaded on it.
The girls are a different story. For some background, bedtime has been an evolving routine since birth. From their earliest days, the parenting wisdom went out the window in favor of whatever would get us the most amount of sleep. In the first few weeks, that meant sleeping on our chests (one baby per chest, that is). Gradually, they were able to sleep in their own cribs, with Clare in a pack n play in our room and Laurel in the nursery. (They woke each other up when they slept together…and nothing is worst in the middle of the night than two awoken babies!) However, they were each rocked to sleep independently then laid in their cribs. Lately, with Ari’s workload, I’ve had to figure out how to put them to bed at the same time. Let me tell you, this has not been a fun task. Sometimes they would struggle with me for up to 2 hours, and my patience and energy wore thin as all I wanted to do was lie down and go to sleep myself.
I’m happy to say that after a couple of week’s transition, more often than not, they are able be laid in their own cribs and soothe themselves more independently. I still rub their backs for a minute, and they may get up a few times and fuss. But I’m able to tell them, it’s okay, Mommy is here, but it’s time to go to sleep…and since they understand us now, they actually get it and lay down and go to sleep!
The point of all this is, if Ari did not have the extra work, there would have been little motivation for this wonderful change. They are getting too old to be rocked to sleep anyway, and this ultimately is so much more efficient for everyone. During this time, God truly has been working all things together for good.
What else has been going on? We’ve had a bout of illnesses over the past couple of months…everyone but me had a stomach bug, which entailed many yucky cleanups of clothes, rugs, and even the carseat. Laurel scratched my right cornea in January, and Clare decided she wanted to share in the fun and scratched my left cornea this past Thursday. If you’ve never had an eye injury…WOW…this is painful. What made it worse is that I don’t wear glasses or contacts, and trips to the eye doctor have been very difficult. I freak out when something gets near my eyes, even eyedrops. It took 10 minutes to get a bandage contact lens on me, and I was hyperventilating the entire time. Laurel sprained her ankle from a mishap on the slide on Friday, and she’s taken to crawling again…I’m glad she’s resourceful, but it’s kind of sad to see!
This has been a long post, so I’ll have to put more lighthearted items another day. Hopefully the delay will not be so great next time!
Happy Birthday, Taran! February 6, 2011
Today, our sweet boy turned five years old. His birth was the impetus for the creation of this blog, and I’m so glad to have a written (and photographic) chronicle of his childhood.
Taran was so excited about his birthday this week, counting down the days till its arrival. His first party of the day was at Splatters Paint and Pottery with 11 of his closest friends. I was a little worried that not as many kids would come, for the distance (most of them live near Gainesville) and the fact that I had planned his party on Superbowl Sunday (oops!). But he had a great turnout.
Clare and Laurel colored instead of painting, but they were glad to be part of the fun nonetheless.
You can see a snippet of the birthday song here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2aBJWnfk3A
Happy Birthday, sweet Taran!! Whether you’re 5, 25, or 45 years old, you will always be our little boy!
About Us January 20, 2011
Can I freeze time for a little while? The kids, in my opinion, are at the perfect age right now. I know there’s no such thing, and each age brings its own joys. Almost-5 and almost-2 are pretty terrific, though. (I’m saying that because it’s been a good few days…I guess I might think otherwise by the weekend! :))
Since Christmas, Taran has shown greater maturity about his behavior and demeanor. I thought age 4 would be a breeze, but it began with freak-out tantrums and rounded off with talking back/mouthing off to Mommy and Daddy. Taran is definitely not perfect, but he’s getting much better about accepting discipline and listening in general. That, and he continues to be super sweet and precocious. 🙂 I love that I can be, according to him, his Mommy and his best friend at the same time. What a privilege!
Taran and Ari definitely have a special bond. Their closeness is evidenced in how dependent their emotions are on their relationship. I tease Ari about how he can totally enamored with Taran one minute and at his boiling point in the next. Likewise, Taran loves being with Daddy, but if Ari is upset at him or disappointed in him, you’d think the world was coming to an end. When we’re all home, if Ari leaves the room, it’s a pretty sure thing that Taran will following shortly after…wandering around the house, calling, “Daddy? Where are you??” Daddy is also the one who rough houses and plays “fight games” with Taran. (Thank God! Taran has injured me one too many times – I’ll leave the rough stuff to the boys!)
It has been so special and meaningful to watch Taran learn about God and grow to love Him. I think Taran knows God not as just something to talk about at church, but as a real part of his life. We talk about how God has created everything, even the Publix we shop at (that was Taran’s conclusion – who am to refute that?). We’re also learning how we can pray anytime and for anything, because Jesus is our friend and wants to hear from us always – whether we’re happy or sad. Taran takes the request to pray for things quite literally. One day he threw a heavy toy at the fireplace, and Grandma exclaimed, “You better pray that glass isn’t broken!” Taran suddenly dropped to his knees, clasped his hands together, and desperately pleaded, “Dear God, PLEASE don’t let the glass on the fireplace be broken!!” Wish I could have been there for that! 🙂
Clare and Laurel are so much fun as well. I think I’m fully within my rights to say they are the cutest, sweetest little girls in the whole world. 😉 I am still fascinated by this stage between baby and small child, where they appear to be sweet babies but are actually interactive little people!
It’s been wonderful watching them grow up together. I always wished for a sibling closer to my age, and now I have twins – and my girls have each other! I pray that will always be close. It’s so cute to find them calling each “sister”, hugging, sharing, and playing together. Of course, just as many times, they’re stealing each other’s pacifiers (a sure way to make them cry), fighting over toys, or babble as loud as possible to intentionally wake a sleeping sister (or Taran).
Taran is a great big brother to his little sisters. He tries to instruct them in proper behavior – “No, no, sweetheart, that’s not yours.” He is also responsible enough to watch them (in a secure environment) so I can steal a shower many mornings – love that! Most of all, they have a ton of fun together. Lately, every evening, Taran brings out his keyboard (which was actually Ari’s as a child) and with the flick of a few switches, strikes up some crazy 80’s dance beat. The three of them spend forever dancing themselves silly and cracking each other up. Even Ari participates (if you know Ari, this should come as no surprise!).
It goes without saying that Ari adores his girls. I think as they grow, he’ll be the strict one regarding clothing, curfews, etc. For now, however, it’s all playtime!
I think Clare and Laurel are ready to potty train. They have been fascinated by the toilet for months now – unfortunately, that has manifested itself into sneaking into the bathroom door and playing in the toilet, mischievously giggling amongst themselves. (Ew!!) This week, we asked on a whim whether they would like to use the potty, and the walked right to it, let us take off their diapers and plopped themselves down, grinning proudly. They haven’t made any “deposits” yet, but their willingness is exciting in and of itself! And I’m excited to not pay for diapers anymore in the near future! 🙂
As you can see above, the kids really enjoyed the snow…eventually – while my adventurous, no-holds-bar Laurel plunged right in, Clare was more wary of the cold white powder, and Taran tired of playing in it once his hands got wet.
From a fashion standpoint, I love the cold weather! I get to wear comfy sweaters, boots, stylish jackets. Best of all, winter clothes hide the flab I would desperately love to be rid of, while summer seems to expose it! I am, however, looking forward to the Spring so we can get outdoors more. The noise level in the house seems to increase exponentially with each passing hour spent indoors. Suwanee has plenty of great outdoor spaces, too. I was sad at first when we moved a couple of years ago, but I have truly enjoyed living here. We have great parks and playgrounds within a very short drive, and the city has a great town center with regular festivals and concerts. Ari and I are suckers for anything remotely resembling a fair! I volunteered at Suwanee Day last year and plan to do so again this year.
I’m also venturing into organic gardening! I’ve always wanted to grow my own vegetables, but even house plants die under my careful watch. Suwanee has a Harvest Garden, where residents can lease a plot to grow organic gardens. I and my friends Heather and Mechele are sharing the plot – I’m fortunate that they will actually know what they’re doing!
I’m glad that our family is getting to a place where we can enjoy our community more. The first year and a half of the girls’ lives, I’d say we were “barely getting by” – barely getting enough sleep, barely getting to work on time, barely remembering to feed, change, and bathe everyone – we were mostly in “maintenance” mode, with little extra time to spend on the special things. There were definitely fun times, but it was a lot of grunt work, too! It’s been wonderful for Ari and I to have more time to ourselves after the kids go to bed, or to treat ourselves to a date night. It’s also been great to have time to ourselves. Ari often plays trivia with a friend on Wednesday nights, and I try to have coffee or dinner with girlfriends every now and then, or participate in community activities. Our next step, hopefully, will be to begin volunteering or charity efforts. That will be much easier as the kids get a little older and when our church opens a campus close to our house this year.
We are looking forward to 2011 and experiencing what God has in store for our family. Hope you all are, too!
Happy Christmas December 30, 2010
The Youngs have had a lovely Christmas this year. As usual, we go overboard with the kids, and I struggle to balance the true meaning of the season with my desire to shower them with gifts. That being said, I am very thoughtful about the gifts I give. I only entered Toys R Us once this season, and that was actually for my nephews. We do our best to give gifts that encourage creativity, imaginative play, and make the least amount of noise possible. 🙂 This is the first year Taran has really asked for anything. He is into being a “rock star” lately, so we got him a toy electronic guitar. (An exception to my noise rule – but it the expression on his face was all worth it.) We also got all the kids trikes and bikes. I’m hoping that will motivate Ari and I to get outside and be active once the weather warms up!
Here are a few snapshots from our day.
We also got SNOW! I was so excited to take the kids out to play in it after dinner. Unfortunately, by the time we got everyone bundled up, Clare was asleep and missed the experience. It took about 20 minutes to gather proper winter clothes to go outside, followed by 15 minutes of play, and at least 20 minutes of clean up (the wet floor, and wet children) once we got back inside. Sometimes the simplest things can take forever with small kids!
The Youngs enjoyed a wonderfully fun and noisy Christmas day at home. I hope you all had a blessed and lovely day as well, and held the remembrance of Christ’s birth in your hearts. Merry Christmas from our family to yours!
Fall Fun November 14, 2010
The Youngs are truly enjoying this gorgeous fall weather. Only a few times this season has it been too cold or rainy to get fresh air or play outside.
Halloween was a fun time for all. Taran dressed as Woody from Toy Story. Clare was a little ladybug and Laurel was a butterfly. All three were super cute.
Taran got to trick-or-treat with Brody, a friend from preschool. They had a blast together.
To enjoy the fall colors, we made a trip to Unicoi State Park, near Helen, GA. The entrance to the day use area is an expansive field nestled in a valley of the North Georgia Mountains. The views were incredible, and the kids loved running around uninhibited.
The girls are 18 months old now, and I’m continually amazed at how fast toddlers pick up new language and ideas. Long gone are my passive, inquisitive babies – they are now truly little people! This may bore some, but I feel the need to record their favorite words and phrases, as we did for Taran on this blog when he was a wee one.
Food and drink:
Meatball, juice, “muh” (milk), cheese, peas, chicken, bread
When you ask if they like a food (they like pretty much anything), they vigorously shake their head yes. It’s almost like a head and torso shake! (They will also shake their heads no just as hard if they don’t like a food – the intensity is almost scary!) They also ask for “more” and can tell me when they’re “all done!” Soon after follows “up!” – as in, get me out of this highchair!
Toys or activities they enjoy:
Book, bay-bee (baby doll), ball, blocks, bath, Dora, Elmo
Body parts they can name and point to:
Belly button, eyes, mouth, nose, hair, toes, foot
Note: We have learned to first ask where there mouth is, and then their nose – because the finger that excitedly enters their nostril when pointing to the nose would wind up entering the mouth!
They are cutest when pointing to their belly button, as they lift their shirts and triumphantly gaze downwards, exposing their chubby little tummies. 🙂
Other common phrases include:
Hi, bye-bye, Mommy, Daddy, Me-Ma, Taran (or some variation), “Care” (Clare), Laurel (amazingly, they say this very well!), mine!, no (they don’t say yes, though they do nod vigorously in agreement), paci, “T” (TV), “show”, “mee-mo” (remote) (because I’m constantly wandering in search of it, saying “Where’s the remote??)
Every now and then, they will utter full phrases, such as “What’s wrong?” (when one sister is crying) and, “Is that the paci?” (a question you get when you mistakenly give them a paci with a different design, leading to utter oral confusion) Clare has gotten in the habit of exclaiming, “I’ll be back I’ll be back!” (which we utter often when we have to leave the room for a few minutes, leaving the girls behind the baby gate – in this case, it was Me-Ma going to the garage)
A little dinnertime exchange this evening struck me as so funny. Laurel was reaching for Taran’s food (not an unusual occurance, even after she’s eaten a full meal). Ari, who was standing a few feet away, said, “No, Laurel, that’s Taran’s food,” to which Laurel loudly protested, “No, mine!” and then “Dad-eee! Dad-eee!”, trying to win him over to her cause. 🙂
They are also learning to scoot down the stairs on their bottoms, which can be a long process. It is also made more difficult by the fact that they don’t always go at the same pace, so that one baby is a couple of steps below the other one, and I’m walking backward, trying to shield any potential falls while risking my own balance in the process.
Though they have switched personalities many times as they’ve grown, Laurel has been the mischief maker as of late. She hates being confined to her stroller or carseat, and only tolerates it if she’s moving. Otherwise, she’s protesting, whining, trying to get out of her belts, and generally unpleased. Clare, on the other end, is pretty content to sit as long as her basic needs (milk, food, clean diaper) are taken care of. A few nights ago, all the good paci’s had mysteriously disappeared. Clare had the lone Gerber Nuk, but Laurel had to fall asleep without. She tossed and turned all night. The next morning, at an early hour, Laurel was downstairs in the living room with Me-Ma. When Clare and I came through the gate, Laurel ran toward her sister and top speed and embraced her in a hug. How sweet! I thought. They held each other lovingly for a few seconds. Then, Laurel pushed back from the hug, looked into Clare’s face, and proceeded to snatch the good paci from her sister’s mouth. She ran off at breakneck speed, leaving Clare to crumple into tears. This all happened so fast, I’m convinced Laurel conceived the plan as soon as she saw Clare that morning!
The girls pretty much understand what we are saying, and can follow simple commands. “Sit down,” “Bring me a… (toy, book, baby, diaper, remote, etc.). They know when it’s time to wash their hands, and they certainly know what “eat”, “drink”, “breakfast,” “lunch,” and “dinner” means – they scramble towards the fridge and paw at it, as if they haven’t eaten for days.
I’ll likely be updating this for a few days as I think of more of their nuances. Again, this part of the blog is more for mine and Ari’s sake than anyone else’s, so feel free to skip these parts!