Monday, June 25, 2012

Just what I needed to hear...

For almost 2 weeks I've been waking Annika to go to the bathroom before we go to bed (usually around 10:00pm).  You may recall we started "operation: dry bed" about two and half weeks ago (you can read more about it here and here, if you want), and we're still going at it, with limited success, at Annika's insistence.  However, the past two nights Annika has stayed dry all night, with the help of the "dream pee".  Usually she is very unresponsive - barely awake - when I get her out of bed.  I make her walk to the bathroom, though - I don't carry her (except for a few nights when she seems completely out of it).  Last night, though, she said something to me in her semi-conscious state, when I was helping her wash her hands afterwards.

"Mommy, you're the best."


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Homemade popsicles

It hasn't exactly been "popsicle weather" around here lately, but that hasn't stopped us from experimenting with a bunch of homemade popsicle recipes.  The kids love having popsicles (there's just something about a popsicle that's so much fun), and I like making our own so I can make them a bit healthier than the store-bought ones.  Here's the recipes we've tried out so far:

Lime in the Coconut Yogurt Pops

I shared the link to this recipe before, but I'll share it again - you can find the recipe here.  I thought these were so good, but Carey wasn't too much of a fan (he's not a big coconut fan, so I guess it wasn't too much of a surprise).  The Greek yogurt makes these really creamy and gives you a little extra protein.

Chocolate Fudge Popsicles

These were a big hit (no surprise!), and I thought they tasted as good, or better, than store-bought Fudgesicles.  You can find the recipe here.  There's not really anything healthy about this recipe (other than the milk!), but at least you can feel good about the fact that you're just using simple ingredients (that you probably have on hand already), and not a bunch of unpronounceable, mystery ingredients (she lists the ingredients in store-bought fudgesicles below the recipe, if you're interested).

Strawberry Popsicles

These ones disappeared before I could get a picture of them, but you can find the recipe (and some lovely pictures of them) here.  These were really good, and just 3 simple ingredients - strawberries, lemon juice and honey.  I can't wait to try them again with some delicious, local strawberries which should be in season soon!

Pineapple Orange Banana Popsicles

Again, no picture of our batch, but there are lots of great pictures, and the recipe, here.  The great thing about this recipe is that it just uses fruit, so you could even eat these for breakfast!  We haven't done that yet, but Annika thought the idea of eating popsicles for breakfast was a good one. :)  I'll admit, these weren't my favorite (too "banana-y" for me), but I'd like to try out other "only fruit" recipes because I love the idea of a healthy snack that seems like such a treat.

On a side note....
You may have noticed that I only included links to the recipes, and not the actual recipes, in this post.  I did that very deliberately.  I felt that it wouldn't be right to copy the recipes and publish them here, given that I didn't come up with them (and didn't make any changes to them).  Even if I provided the link with the recipe, you'd really have no incentive to visit the original site, since I'd have given you all the info that you need, and I would be "stealing" pageviews from the people who actually came up with these recipes.  It may not seem like a big deal to some of you, but I've been thinking a lot lately about these kind of things (especially since Pinterest seems to be covered with images and links that aren't giving proper credit where it is due), and I just wanted to do my part.  What are your thoughts on the issue?  Given how a recipe can be passed around, copied and handed down, does it really matter who came up with it in the first place?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Father's Day crafts

Annika is now at the age where she understands things like Father's Day a little better, so we did some crafts together as Father's Day presents for Carey.  She had made him a card already at preschool (smart teachers - the kids made Mother's Day and Father's Day cards at the same time, because preschool ended in May), and she also did several drawings on her own for him.  I found a few ideas on Pinterest and we gave it a go.

Here was my first inspiration:

I liked the handprints, and the bad pun ;), but I thought it would be more fun to use paint, instead of tracing the hands on paper.  Here's how ours turned out:

Is it as attractive as the one in the first picture?  No way.  Was it made with love?  Definitely.  You see, I discovered a few things while doing this project.  First of all, if you cover an 18-month-old's hands with paint, he will not want to make a neat and tidy handprint.  He will want to squish it around and make as big a mess as possible.  18-month-olds do not care what the picture looked like on Pinterest. :P  Annika was a bit better with doing the handprints (they had done painted handprints in school, so she had some "experience"), but she was not content to leave it with just that.  After I painted on the letters, she decided that it needed something more and painted on some glitter glue.  Would it have looked better without the glitter glue?  Probably.  But then it would've been MY craft, and not hers, and having a picture-perfect craft was not what was most important.  Sometimes it's more important to let your child feel like they're making a significant contribution, even if it means giving up some control.  Note to self: don't even bother trying to make any of those other adorable handprint or footprint crafts on Pinterest (at least not at this point).  Better to invest in some fingerpaints and just let the kids go at it. ;)

This was my other "craft" idea from Pinterest (okay, it's not really a craft, but I'm not sure what to call it):

I sat down with Annika and asked her these questions and wrote down her answers.  I thought it would be fun and cute and funny, but she got so stressed out by the questions that she didn't know the answers to!  Seriously, she almost started crying when I asked her some of the questions like "how old is Daddy?" or "how much does he weigh?".  I had to reassure her that she could take a guess and it would be okay, and that it was just for fun!  My little perfectionist. :P 
Here's the answers that she came up with:

Even though the crafts didn't go exactly as I had planned, I think they turned out great, and surprisingly, Annika actually kept them a secret until Father's Day (we had done the painting almost a week beforehand, and she is normally not good at keeping secrets for that long!).  She was so proud and happy to give her gifts to her Daddy on Father's Day, and I think he was quite happy to receive them.

Monday, June 18, 2012

1000 gifts: #171-180

Gifts this week...

171. Long distance chats that only cost 70 cents (yes, I know Skype is free, but sometimes I prefer a phone call!).

172. Exploring a great park on a beautiful morning.

173. Annika's s-l-o-w-l-y growing sense of adventure.

174. Sidewalk chalk

175. Homemade popsicles (recipes coming soon!)

176. Emmett sitting so well for his haircut.  Note to self: just before nap time is a good time for a hair cut - he was practically falling asleep in the chair!

177. Some progress on "operation: dry bed" (at least enough to give me the motivation to keep going with it!)

178. My boys :)

179. My dad, and the opportunity I've had to get to know a different side of him as "Grandpa".

180. Time well spent as a family.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Children's Museum

Yesterday was a rainy morning, and we decided to go to the Children's Museum, rather than stay home and do boring things like clean the house.  We had received 4 passes to the museum as a Christmas gift, but so far we hadn't taken the time to go.  I had been there once before with the kids, on a tour with my Y Neighbours group, but at the time Emmett was too little to really take it in, and Annika was too timid to actually explore and play (since we were on a tour we didn't have to pay to get in, but we also only had limited time at each gallery.  By the time Annika worked up the nerve to go play, it was time to move on :P).  This was Carey's first time there.  Afterwards we went to The Pancake House for lunch, and it was a really good day. :)  Here are a few of my favorite pics...

Annika's face and hands

 Peek-a-boo Emmett!

Both the kids really enjoyed the water :)

I think this was Carey's, umm I mean Emmett's... favorite part ;)

The 4 of us looking up at the mirrored/"star" ceiling

Emmett enjoyed crashing towers

Annika's favorite thing was the slide. 
She was tentative at first, but by the end she was stretching out her arms and "flying" down the slide.

We went home for nap time (I think we all fell asleep, except for Annika), and then by evening headed out to a family gathering (a pig roast!).  The rain held off for the evening, which was good, because we were all outside.  However, it must have been raining in other parts, because on the drive home we saw this amazing double rainbow.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Update on "operation: dry bed"

It's now been a week that Annika has gone without Pull-Ups at night, and I'm not sure exactly what our next step should be.  She's had one night when she stayed dry all on her own, and one night when she stayed dry with a little help from me.  That night I took her pee before we went to bed, and then again around 2:00am when I heard her wake up crying (she wasn't wet though - I think maybe it was a bad dream or something because she was almost back to sleep when I went to check on her, but I figured since I was up, I'd take her to the bathroom anyways). 

The past few nights I've been waking her up to go to the bathroom before I go to bed (around 10:00), which I'm not sure is the right course of action, but I figured we'd give it a try.  I know that some think of this as "parent-training" rather than "potty-training", but I did find some research and support for it when I was Googling info on night-time dryness the other day (of course, you can find support for just about anything on the web :P).  One of my reasons for wanting to try it is that I was hoping that perhaps with this "scheduled" bathroom break, she might be able to stay dry for the rest of the night, and that having some successes would encourage her and make her feel good about herself.  Like I said in my previous post, she's been a champ about the whole thing so far, and it's even been her decision to keep going with it.  I'm not sure that I would want to continuously wake up in a wet bed, but she is sticking with it.  Yesterday she even told me that she wasn't going to wear Pull-Ups again.  And when we put the last disposable bed mat on her bed today, she said "I guess I'll have to get up and use the potty from now on, because that's the last mat!" (I do have washable mats that I plan to use from now on, though).

I love her enthusiasm and positive attitude, however, it also brings me a bit of concern.  She doesn't want to wear the Pull-Ups any more, and while that's great - what if she just keeps on wetting the bed each night?  I'm finding it quite tiring, physically, being woken up every night.  Some nights it takes me quite a while to fall back to sleep and then I'm exhausted in the morning.  Nevermind the pile of stinky laundry, once we switch to the washable mats. :P  How long do we keep this up?

In terms of laundry, I have to say that Annika is thoughtful in that regard - she figured out pretty early on if she slept in just her jammie shirt then there wouldn't be wet underwear or shorts, so that's at least few less items in the laundry.  Or maybe she just likes the comfort of going commando.  No wonder she doesn't want to go back to wearing Pull-Ups. ;)

Anyways, that's where we're at.  I guess for now we'll just keep at it, as long as Annika wants to, and I'll just have to start using the BIG coffee mug each morning. :)

This moment - chalk

"A Friday ritual. A single photo (or two!) – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember."

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Operation: dry bed

As I mentioned in my last 1000 gifts post, we've been trying a little experiment with Annika at night.  She hasn't worn a Pull-Up at night since last Thursday.  So, how's it going?  Well, not that great.  She's had one dry night so far, but she's been wet every other night (or even wet multiple times in one night).  I was hoping that maybe going without the Pull-Up would help her body become more aware and she would either stay dry (which she used to do on a regular basis, and now does once in a while) or she would start waking up to pee (which she also used to do, but now never does), but so far that hasn't really happened.  However, she's being a really good sport about it and tonight she actually decided on her own not to wear the Pull-Up.  I was quite willing to put her back in the Pull-Up to get a good night's sleep after several disturbed nights, but I didn't want to discourage her.  We've been using GoodNites disposable bed mats, so at least I haven't had to do tons of laundry so far.  However, they're not cheap and they create quite a bit of garbage, so I don't want to use them long-term.  I've got a few washable bed mats (like the ones you have in the hospital - but I didn't take them from there!  These were from my mom), so maybe we'll give those a try next, if Annika wants to keep this up.  I'm also looking into buying some cloth training pants, just so I don't have to keep investing in Pull-Ups!

One funny story from Friday night, the first night - I kept waking up, almost every hour, as I was a bit nervous about the whole thing and I was expecting to be woken up.  However, each hour passed and it was all quiet from Annika's room and I was starting to get excited that she would make it through the night dry.  However, on Saturday morning Annika came into our room, fully dressed, and told us that her bed and underwear were wet.  I asked her why she didn't come and tell us when it had happened during the night.  "Well", she said, "I just put on different underwear and slept at the other end of the bed."  What a resourceful girl. :)

Monday, June 11, 2012

1000 gifts: #161-170

I'm thankful for...

161. Sunny days and rainy days.

162. The fact that both kids enjoyed their swimming lessons.

163. Coffee with friends.

164. Sunday school teachers who care so much about our kids that they continue to make an effort to connect with them (and us) even though Sunday School is finished for the summer.

165. The fact that Annika will now go down to Children's Church because Emmett is now allowed to go down as well (which means no kids during the sermon - I can actually sit and listen!).

166. Little sprouts in our garden.

167. Our treadmill.

168. Annika's willingness to try going without a Pull-Up at night.  She's such a trooper to put up with our little experiment (which hasn't been overly successful yet, but we'll save that for another post!).

169. Rocking Emmett to sleep last night - haven't done that in forever.  I'm also thankful that I got to rock him to sleep at 9:00 pm, and that when he woke up crying at 2:00 am he just went back to sleep on his own. ;)

170. Pinterest and all the neat ideas for camping/the cabin that I'm finding (recipes, activities for kids, etc).  I'm getting excited for summer!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Third time's the charm... or not

This week the kids finished their swimming lessons.  Emmett was in swimming lessons for the first time, and I think he enjoyed it.  He was probably the youngest one in the class (the parent/baby class goes from 6m up to age 3, so it's quite a wide range), so he wasn't really doing the stuff the other kids were.  But he liked going down the slide and he liked playing with a ball in the water.  I think it was good water exposure for him, and we'll probably do the class with him once or twice more before he turns 3.

Nice sunburn Carey!
Annika was in Sea Otter (a transition class between the baby class and "real" swimming lessons) for the third time, and for the third time she didn't pass.  I'll admit, I feel a bit disappointed about that, because I think as parents we all want to see our children doing well and improving, regardless of what the task is.  However, despite the fact that she's still quite hesitant in the water, she seems to enjoy swimming lessons and luckily she's still at an age where she's unaware of things like "pass or fail" or "levels", so it's not like this was a blow to her self-esteem. 

There were a few factors this session that I think may have slowed her progress - first of all, she had a different (male) teacher than the one she's had for her past 2 times in Sea Otter (a very lovely girl who was actually Emmett's teacher this time).  Those of you who know Annika know that she's slow to warm up to new people (and often even people she's familiar with!), so even just getting used to someone new (and someone male) was a challenge for her.  But it was also probably good for her, in terms of social skills.  The other thing that could've made a difference was the fact that the shallow pool was closed for 4 sessions (out of 10) and they were squished into the deep pool.  Not only did they not have enough space, but they had to wear life jackets and the pool was quite a bit colder.  By the end of the lesson most of the kids were shivering and anxious to get out of the pool.  I actually called and complained about the number of closures (not that it was the pool's fault - they couldn't have prevented it - but still, we weren't getting what we had paid for) and they gave me a 4-lesson credit for each kid, so that makes up for it a bit.  Note to self: don't enroll in after-supper lessons again - the risk of kids barfing in the pool is just too high (luckily we never saw it happen though - gross).

Annika with her face in the water

Even though she didn't complete the level, I was very proud of her at the last class.  For the last half of the class they got to play with a few special toys, like a canoe and a big, blue tub to sit and float and spin in (you can see it upside-down by the side of the pool in the picture above).  In fall Annika didn't want to go in the canoe or the tub, not even by herself, and she went in both of them this time with the other little girl in her class.  She also went down the slide 3 times, something that she had been quite hestitant about in the past.

I spoke with one of the instructors about the fact that Annika seemed to be having such a hard time with the level, and she said that it wasn't uncommon (she actually said that her own daughter had done Sea Otter 4 times).  She said that sometimes the summer lessons can be helpful for kids (instead of going once a week for 10 weeks, the summer lessons are every day, Monday-Friday for 2 weeks), since they don't forget as much between classes.  I remember those lessons from when I was a kid, and I remember not liking them at all.  In fact, I never went back to swimming lessons after that because I had such a bad experience.  So, after asking for some other opinions (some people love the summer lessons, some don't - gotta love Facebook for getting feedback!) and talking with Carey, we decided that we wouldn't do the summer lessons and just try to swim with her as much as possible over the summer (and try to work on the skills that she's missing) and then see where she's at by fall.  We might consider a different swimming program, like through the Y or the university, or maybe give it one more try, since we do have a credit with the city.  Regardless of what we do, I want to make sure that it's still enjoyable for Annika, as that's what is most important at this stage.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Size doesn't matter

You know what's great about kids' clothes?  Shorts. 

Kids can wear the same pair of shorts forever.  Last summer Annika was still wearing a pair that were size 18m (and she was just over 3).  Sure, they were a bit shorter on her than at 18m (I think they started out as capris and ended up as shorts), but they still fit perfectly in the waist and bum.  Emmett (who is now 18 months) is currently wearing the same shorts that he wore last summer.  The pair he had on yesterday was a pair that I had originally bought for Annika's first summer.  Can anyone guess what size they are???

They are almost a bit snug, because baby got back with his big cloth diaper bum, but they still do fit.  So do you think you know what size they are??  Scroll down and see!

Were you right??? 
Make sure you leave a comment and let me know if you guessed correctly!

Can you believe that?  Size 3 months and he's wearing them at 18 months.  Granted, they are huge for an actual 3 month old.  Like I said, I bought them for Annika's first summer (she was 3 months in mid-July) and she never wore them that year because they would've fallen off her (this was before I started using cloth diapers - they might have stayed on with a cloth diaper).  But thankfully I didn't put them in the giveaway bin just because she was older than the number on the tag.  They've gotten a lot of wear since then! 

Hmmm, I wonder if I could still squeeze Annika into them now.....  ;)

Monday, June 4, 2012

1000 gifts: #151-160

Giving thanks for...

151. The Chapters and Starbucks gift cards I received from my Y Neighbours group at our last session, as a thank-you gift for being the leader this past year.  What a perfect combo - a good book and a good coffee. :)

152. The fact that, although our official Y Neighbours session is over, many of us will continue to get together over the summer.  Having a regularly scheduled playdate is something that both Annika and I need!

153. The way Emmett leans his head back onto my shoulder when I read a book to him.

154. Time spent sewing.

155. Time spent outside.

156. Clean floors (although finally getting around to cleaning them meant sacrificing time that I would've liked to spend sewing or outside!).

157. Delicious homemade popsicles - check out the recipe here. If you like lime and coconut, you'll love these!
Ooh! That's a bit sour!!

158. A good weekend on my own with the kids (Carey went fishing with his friends for the weekend).

159. Supper with friends (fellow "fishing widows") on Saturday evening.

160. A weekend of good weather and safety for Carey and his friends.