Tuesday, December 2, 2014

10 + 11 Months

One post a month shouldn't be too tough.  But it is, apparently.  I completely missed the 10 month update.  Sorry Teddy.

But, sweet boy, when you don't get much sleep, everything seems tough.  Let's see, two months gone, what all has happened.  Fall was beautiful, lots of time outside.  Halloween was cold, but you made an adorable chicken.  November was even colder, and you experienced the snow for the first time.  Big fan.  The only thing that allows you to tolerate your snowsuit is when you get to play in the snow.  You experienced your first sled ride, your first cake, your first dum-dum and your first playground slide.  Not in that order.  All of them: love.

You went through some tough weeks, followed by some attempts at sleep training, and you finally started sleeping through part of the night.  Not up 4 or 5 times, so better.  Still, though, at your best you were up two or three times.

Finally, last week, days before your 11 month birthday, I couldn't deal.   Half of the night you were up every hour.  I gave up.  I was too tired to care.  I put in ear plugs and you apparently fell asleep.  Eventually.  I'm not proud of my parenting moment, but then you slept until 8 am!  Astounding.  The next day, at nap time, I let you cry again.  You fell asleep for a few minutes, then up again.  More crying.  But then you fell asleep for 3 hours.

So, full on cry it out.  And it worked.  You are now going to bed at about 6 or 7, and sleeping until 6 or 7 am.  You often wake up at about 5 for a bottle.  But that is astounding!  I feel like a real person again!

You are a busy, crazy little boy.  You love climbing in the dishwasher, eating the dog food, pulling power cords out of sockets, and chewing on christmas lights.  You aren't allowed to do any of these things, and it makes you mad.

In the past few days you've actually started to take a few steps at a time.  So close to walking.  I think your sister has hindered you a bit; when you look like you're about to walk and she comes barreling toward you, you just plop right down.  Can't say that I blame you.

Not a great eater, but a terrific cuddler.  The list of things you won't eat is still longer than the list of things you will.  You will eat beets, peas, tomatoes and broccoli (sometimes) but not carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, green beans, or most other vegetables.  You like cheese but not eggs.  All fruits, of course, are a-okay.

But, until last week, you would regularly nap on me.  Just cuddle right up and fall asleep.  You love exploring your world, but also love crawling over to me and tugging on my pant leg to be picked up.  At almost 1-year-old, you love being in the Ergo, faced toward me, snuggled up and warm.  I love it.  I hope you stay my cuddly, fuzzy headed little boy forever.  

You both adore and fear your older sisters.  You both adore and abuse you.  You are loved, but it is not yet a patient love.  That will come in time.

I absolutely can't believe you're almost one.  This year has been a total blur.  So glad I took a lot of pictures.  I look forward to sleeping more, and hopefully remembering a bit more.  A little less craziness.  Still crazy, but crazy together rather than crazy individually.  You are such a part of this family now.  Baby.  Baby T.  Teddster.  Mr. T.  We love you.  We can't wait to see the little boy you become, but will miss all your babyness.

Get some sleep, sweet boy.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

those cute moments

I am behind on all things blog.  I haven't written MJ's 5-year post.  Or Teddy's 10 month post.  Having these hang over my head has prevented me from posting at all.  Here are some tidbits from our life right now.

MJ is in the habit of asking very probing questions right now.  What is the last number?  Where did the first people come from?  How are ribbons made?  (Not so much that last one.)  I have mentioned before on here how much her non-stop chatter gets to me.  However, the other night she stayed at a friends house and I totally missed it.  It was nice to spend some time with Greta and Teddy, but I missed having conversations.  I missed my buddy.

For the past couple of months, MJ has been napping daily.  Considering she stopped napping at 3 1/2, this is quite a change.  Previously I felt that so many of her behavior issues were because she's tired all the time, and if she just slept in she would act better.  Although she never succeeded in sleeping in, now that she naps she is such a great kid, all the time.  Granted, she's often up until 9 (or even later!) but the tradeoff is a well behaved and pleasant child.  With her napping, that means I often have a triple-nap happening, and I have even come to rely on that afternoon nap for myself.  It has totally messed with my sleep schedule, though, and I don't even know what a normal sleep schedule would look like for me anymore.

G is so very 2.  She still screams when she wants to frustrate me, but she is also so resourceful.  Rather than ask if she can have something when she thinks we'll say no, instead she climbs into the cupboard and just gets it for herself.  Although she regularly whacks her brother, she also has started to share with him.  She frequently goes out of her way to make sure he has a toy, or a snack, and will even fish things out of his mouth that he feels compelled to chew on.  Tonight she got herself some cereal, and then shared it with her brother.  I didn't understand what was funny but they were laughing hysterically.  It was such a bonding moment.

Although G likes her brother, she adores her sister.  When MJ spent the night at her friends, G was at a total loss what to do with herself.  The girls play together constantly.  Although there is fighting, it is always short lived and quickly resolved, usually with minimal violence.  A favorite game is MJ on a horse pulling G in some basket, or a line of baskets that are a "train" or something similar.  Another fave is MJ sitting and calling for G to bring her things; sometimes it's tea for her sick baby, sometimes it's biscuits for the queen, who knows.  Sometimes even G devises the game, usually something simpler like "steal the baby doll and run away as fast as you can", but they are both entertained and take turns.

And then there's baby Teddy.  He is called "baby" so often that he really just learned his name.  G has a tough time saying "Teddy" so we tend to all call him "baby".  He is still crawling, though I continue to think he'll be walking soon.  He pulls up on everything, all the time.  He will let go and stand for 10 seconds or so.  And he will use walker toys for short distances.  I can't help but wonder if he's making sure he's extra steady, knowing Greta will probably knock him down once he starts walking.  Although it will be nice to not keep my floors so clean (not that they're that clean), he's so darn cute when he's crawling.  He points his hands inward, very gorilla like, and books it across the floor.  He crawls over to me to be cuddled, then squirms to get down and see what his sisters are doing.  Lots of babbling, "dada's" and "baba's" and "mama's", all of which don't mean anything yet.  I thought he waved at me and said "hi" last week, but he hasn't repeated it.

As for sleep, he's finally doing some of it.  Through sheer force, borne of fatigue, he's finally sleeping through the night.  He tends to wake up at 5:00, though, or a little before, ready to start the day.  5:00 is early.  Especially given my wonky sleep.  He usually gets a catnap in the morning, then a long nap when the girls sleep at about 1:00.  Many days that long nap is mostly on me, which I can't say I mind.  I love snuggling with him, and it seems to help, but has definitely become a habit for both of us.

All in all, times are good.  Winter has hit.  I can tell it's going to be a long one.  With MJ's school getting out at 11:00, but most things not opening until 10:00, I'm already feeling pent up.  And it's been about a week.

Here's hoping sleep settles in.  The baby sleeps.  And sleep....

Thursday, October 16, 2014

16 October 2014: Greta wins the playground and MJ learns to smile. And Teddy didn't fall down the stairs.

The third day in our week.

I head to bed at midnight (on the 15th), after finishing yesterday’s post and reading for a bit.  I’ve discussed my weird sleep schedule a bit.  It’s working for now, so I try to embrace it.  Greta starts crying at 12:30 so I go in to check on her.  She’s frustrated, and pushes me out of her bed, but then gets upset when I leave.  Weird.  We do this a couple times, and she finally calms down and goes back to sleep.  So do I.

Teddy wakes up at 5:50 in the morning!!  I think that counts as sleeping through the night.  That definitely counts as sleeping through the night.  We’ve made some progress!  I give him a bottle and he goes right back to sleep.   At 6:30 he's up again crying.  Husband and I debate a bit who will get up, but meanwhile Teddy goes back to sleep.  The next kid up is Greta at 7:10 and Teddy is awake shortly there after.  Hubs gets up with them for about half an hour and then I follow.  All in all, the best night of sleep the kids have had in a long, long time.  Now if I could just get it together.  

Hubs loves to wrestle in the morning.  I hate to wrestle in the morning.  So glad he fills that niche for them.

Tucking Dad in so he can get some rest before his shift.

Hubs plays with everyone for a bit, then heads back to bed.  He has to work late tonight, so he gets some extra sleep.  

I scurry to get everyone dressed, make coffee, pack my gym bag, pack the diaper bag, pack snacks for the playground post gym.  Dad never gets the kids dressed when he gets up with them.  No biggie, but they’re much more difficult to dress later in the morning because they’re so squirmy.  If they’re still in their sleep coma they don’t squirm so much.  We are in the car by 840, despite the fact that I’ve been moving non-stop to get out of the house for the past hour.  I thought we’d be early but arrive right at 9.  On the way to gym I listen to reporting about Ebola, and from the back seat MJ asks

“Mom, what is a True Love’s Kiss?”

Ugh.  More about the boy?  I don’t know.  I explain it’s when two people love each other and give each other a kiss.

“Did you and dad have a True Love’s Kiss?”

“Yes, sweetie, but we were 20.  You are 5."

The drop off at the gym childcare goes shockingly easy.  The kids are excited to be there, and no one cries!  I’ve been a member for a month and a half and have never had a complete workout and shower; I always get called back before I’m done.  Fingers crossed.

I can tell it's been a while since I ran because my playlist feels fresh again .  Though one ear of my new headphones is already busted, I can't make a pair last!  The insoles I got in August are feeling really good.  I thought I may have to stop running, but these have helped immensely.

There are so many of them.  Milling about, whining about the hand sanitizer, ready to leave.

I run for a little over half an hour, then do some push-ups and ab exercises.  Nothing crazy.  I don’t really stop to rest because I desperately need a shower.  I get a lightning fast shower, dry off, and throw on some makeup.  I’ve been at the gym for one hour.  When I walk back into the childcare center everyone is still happy!  It feels like an amazing day.  Teddy is clearly tired, but not crying.  I no longer feel like I’m torturing them bringing them here.

This girl can always be found on a swing.  Thankfully, she has branched out a bit.

Monkey see, monkey do.

One of the few glimpses I caught of this girl.  She's often plotting with some new friend on the playground.

I forced them to sit with their snack.  One of my few rules at the playground.

We are back in the car by 10:15 and drive to a nearby park.  A mom friend organized a playdate for today.  Nearly all the kids in Minnesota are off school today and tomorrow, so I definitely want to do some fun things with MJ.  The playground is new, and absolutely swarming with kids.  A picture of mom hood.  The weather is beautiful, everyone is trying to take advantage of this gorgeous fall.  When we arrive, I give each of the girls a banana and put Teddy in the Ergo.  I expect him to fall asleep, but he is wide eyed, staring at all the commotion.  He falls asleep for the last 20 minutes.  At one point, MJ is running around screaming at the top of her lungs because a boy is chasing her.  Greta is a bit hesitant at first, but quickly adjust and climbs everything with no fear.

I push the playdate as long as I can.  It’s beautiful outside I’m actually getting to chat with some friends.  Before I realize it, I look at my watch to see it’s 11:20.  Greta is laying down on the play equipment and humming to herself, which she does when she’s trying to put herself to sleep.  Shortly thereafter another boy runs into her and she melts down.  I pile everyone in the stroller and we head to the car.  We’re in the car by 11:45, and as I start the car MJ says

“You didn’t say ‘We survived’  You always say that when we all get in the car after a crazy morning”

Hmm.  Didn’t realize this was such a regular thing to leave my mouth.

Some post nap cuddles with the skeleton on our front porch.  This picture wins the day.

Food.  Everyone's favorite activity.

The one who didn't get a nap yet.

Another MJ portrait.  Her height is not helping the double chin situation.  Also, this shirt was clean 2 hours earlier.  These children make me filthy.

We've been trying to teach him how to wave, but this was totally an accidental shot.  He was probably throwing food on the floor.

I was teaching MJ about fake smiles and real smiles.  So I took a shot of G, and a shot of MJ. 

All day she kept trying to give me a real smile.  

Her finished bat chandelier.  So proud.

Since we haven't seen what he's up to in a bit.

On the way back home, Greta falls asleep in the car.    When we stop, I pick her up and carry her up to the porch. I drag everybody inside, but leave a bunch of stuff in the car for now.  Quick and easy lunch, peanut butter and jelly and frozen peas.  Everyone plays after lunch, and I finish MJ's bat chandelier.   

Meanwhile, Greta takes one of the Nerf bullets, chews it into tiny pieces, and swallows half.  I'm done, I take the gun and all the bullets away for good.  I put her in timeout in the bathroom.  It sounds barbaric, but when she’s being destructive or dangerous to Teddy and I don’t have the hands to deal with her, I put her in the downstairs bathroom.  This way I can still hear her, but I can fix the situation before I let her out.  While she’s in there she decides to go potty and is successful.  She asks for a treat, and I tell it won’t happen until later, which she’s okay with.

Potty training has devolved into a lot of naked Greta time. 
My naptime selfie.  I love that he's almost 10 months and still loves to snuggle.

At 1:30, we all head upstairs.  Greta goes down for a nap first, followed by Teddy (easy this time!) and MJ.  I lay down next.  I read for a bit and do some other internet errands.  I love my bed.  It is my relaxing spot.  I close my eyes for about 10 minutes but don’t actually fall asleep, then I hear Teddy.  I go and get him and bring him into my bed at about 2:30.  He falls right back asleep on me, and now I am somewhat obligated to do the same.  I don’t think I fall asleep, I feel almost hypnotized, but I must at some point because Greta stirs at 3:50.  Oh my, the kids slept late!  Awesome!  Teddy wakes up next, and we go wake up MJ.  G is a total mess, likely because she’s hungry, but she refuses to do anything other than scream.  We go downstairs and eat a snack of yogurt and who knows what else.  I am losing it a bit, with Greta’s constant screaming and crying.  She begs to go outside, to go bye-bye.  At about 5:00 I acquiesced.  My kids usually eat dinner really early, so a 5:00 trip to the playground seems risky, but we troop down the block.
This.  For the next hour.  Terrible twos.

Again, trying to give me a natural smile.

These two will conquer the world some day.

There’s a group of older neighborhood kids there.  Not the best behaved neighborhood kids.  We live in a very nice area, but go a couple blocks away and it can get dicey.  We’re at the edge of the gentrified boundary, and these kids are some of the evidence of that.  Most of them appear to be between 7 and 10, but there is also ~4 year old girl there, presumably with her brother.  Hearing a 4 year old say “Shut up mother fucker!!” is alarming.  She also said a couple other things I won’t even write in my blog.  Not to us, to her brother, I think.  She was actually a very nice little girl, but clearly not in the best home situation.
A bit tough to see what's happening here, but I didn't have the balls to whip out my good camera.  G is nonplussed, waiting for them to move so she can climb on.  Eventually they do, and are very nice about making sure she's safe.  Even the surliest youths have a soft spot for little girls.

MJ was intrigued a bit.  I decided to stay for a while, largely so I could talk about it with MJ when we left.  Greta ran around, oblivious.  At one point Greta decided she wanted to play on the balance beam they were all hanging on.  She stood next to them for a while, about 10 of these older boys, just staring.  Not the least bit intimidated by them.  Finally she decided to try to climb on, since they weren’t getting off.  The boys actually made a point to move off so she could go on, and were very nice about it.  I read somewhere that the presence of little girls makes boys and men more empathetic.  This seemed like a perfect example of that.  When we left, I talked to MJ about the behavior of the kids at the playground.  I asked her what she thought, and she said she thought they were “rambunctious”.   I told her I didn’t like their language, and they were saying things that neither kids nor grown ups should be saying.  She asked, “Like what?”  I couldn’t even bring myself to repeat it.  I can’t decide whether that was the right decision, or whether I should have specifically told her the words that were bad.

A rare October sprinkler.  Greta could not pass it up.

These photos taught I should be using the Sport setting on my camera more often.  

The toddler convinced the big girl to join in.  These photos just justified the entire cost of my camera.

And finally, a real smile.  It took all day, but we got one.

The view from here.  Poor Teddy never gets to join in the fun.

My classy socks with flip flops trend.  These shoes feel better on my feet than any others, so sometimes you just gotta rock it.

Wall walking.  Not my favorite activity.  

Our own personal dirt pit.  MJ decided she's building a "dirt castle".  Hopefully the city puts a tree here sometime soon.

We played outside when we got back home.  Teddy crawled up the stairs like a pro.  I don’t even have to worry much about him anymore.  The girls walked along the retaining wall and befriended some ladies out walking their dogs.  I sometimes think, if we moved these incredibly social girls out of the city, which we sometimes discuss, they would lose their minds.  It was so incredibly nice outside, and it supposed to be chillier starting tomorrow, so stalled as long as I could outside.

Caught drawing on each other.
It was already 6:30 when we went inside so I made nachos for dinner.  I love nachos.  Before having kids, I used to eat nachos for dinner on an embarrassingly regular basis.  I fix them real meals 95% of the time, but sometimes I want nachos.  Seems not much worse than pizza.  And I made some guacamole, and there were beans.  So maybe it’s better than pizza.

After dinner, Teddy crawled around a bit and then melted down.  I gave him a bed and he was still totally restless.  I rocked him until he calmed down some, then I put him in his crib and he fell asleep.  I came downstairs, where the girls had gotten some halloween candy in my absence.  It kept them quiet, so okay by me.

At 7:15 G told me she was ready for “Night night”.  Wow.  With such a late nap I thought she’d go to sleep late, but it was actually earlier than usual.  I put a couple things away, and knocked something off the top of the fridge which hit me on the nose.  The pain was excruciating, and I at first thought I broke my nose.  I curled up into a ball on the floor.  MJ asked if she should press the emergency button on the alarm and I said no.  After I calmed down, I explained that would have been a perfect idea if I hadn’t responded.  And then I showed her how to also call 911 on my cell phone.  Without a home phone, these are the tools we have.  I will be curious to see what  my nose looks like tomorrow.

I took G upstairs.  She tried to go potty but nothing happened.  She brushed her teeth, we put on pajamas and read a few books.  After she piled dolls, legos, books and a wood alligator into her bed she climbed in.  Easy peasy.  I thought she was down for the night.

I came downstairs and MJ and I lit the jack o’ lanterns for Dad to see when he comes home.  MJ helped pick up the living room, and at about 8:00 I told her she could watch something.  I cleaned the kitchen, did some laundry, and called it a day.  At 8:45, I read a story with MJ and sent her to bed.

However, when I went upstairs I heard G yelling.  I went in and she had taken her pajamas off.  That girl.  She refused to put them back on, and wanted to come out and play.  She looked as though she had fallen asleep, I have no idea what woke her up.  She was not happy that I made her stay in her room.  I left her, naked except for a diaper.  She yelled a little then quieted and went back to sleep.  In the middle of this, MJ went in, but G didn’t seem to care.  9:40 MJ came out again.  These naps cause her to stay up late, but she’s so much happier so we work with it.  Since I get a nap, too, I can stay up a bit later and the math works out.  

At some point, I may go back and read through these posts.  I'm sure I'll be appalled by the grammar situation happening.  Right now, I just need to hit publish.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

15 October 2014

Day 2 in my week... I don't think I can keep this up!  Might skip tomorrow, will have to see!

11:00 p.m. I finally lay down to go to sleep.  It could be said that I have some poor sleep habits.  My most awake time of the day is the time from about 7 or 8 until about 11.  I thought this would change with having kids, but it has not.  Even when I'm exhausted I can rarely go to sleep.  I lay down and decide to read for a bit, but find myself going down the rabbit hole of Ebola new articles.  I feel slight panic when I think about it, so not a great bedtime topic.  At midnight I finally turn off the light and go to sleep. I'm not sure why I let myself stay up so late.

2:20 a.m. I hear Teddy squawking.  I go in to give him a bottle and he quickly finishes 6 ounces.

5:55 a.m.  I hear husband up, getting ready for the day.  I feel bad that he will have such a long day, but five minutes later Teddy lets out a few cries.   Greta opens the door and barrels into the room.   Looks like my day will be long, too.  Greta is upset that dad is leaving, but Dad calms her down and she climbs jn bed and cuddles with me.  Teddy has quieted down, I get about 10 more minutes of rest before he insists on assistance (messy diaper).  The day has begun. I get him dressed and head downstairs for breakfast.

Morning Mom.  We're ready.  
An open stair case is an invitation.  When I try to grab him he crawls away as fast as he can, then laughs hysterically.
The cleanest he'll be all day.

6:30  a.m.  Everyone's hungry, mom is not moving fast enough.  I hear MJ 10 minutes later, but it takes her 20 minutes longer to wander downstairs.  Independence is a glorious thing.  She comes downstairs wearing a too short dress and gets upset when I tell her she has to go put on pants if she wants to wear it.  A constant problem.  Greta spilled food on her Pajamas and freaks out about it.   I tell her to go upstairs and ask sis for help picking out clothes and getting dressed.

For once, she's looking into the camera. I explained to her that I'm trying to capture a whole week, she decided she's on board.

7:00 a.m.  MJ is finally downstairs for good.  I give her the leftover oatmeal that Greta and Teddy didn’t finish.  I have little baggies of it put together to make it easy every morning.  I keep Teddy in the highchair, against his will, until I'm done putting the dishes away because he won't leave the dishwasher alone.   Greta decides she has to go potty and goes and sits on the potty for a good 20 minutes.  She doesn't succeed but I'm still impressed for how long she'll sit there.  I start tying MJ's bats to the chandelier that she's been working on.   It's a Target craft project that required putting stickers on 25 bats. It took a very long time to finish.  Teddy chews on the end of a laptop cord that husband has left plugged into the wall and starts crying. I send a passive aggressive text to hubs.
Stringing bats on a chandelier.  I showed MJ how to use the camera so she could take some pictures; she told me this was a good one, so I had to use it.  You're welcome internet.
See that power cord plugged in behind Teddy?  I didn't.  Two minutes later there was crying.  Teething on power cords = bad.
Cooperative play.  I feel like it's going to be a good day.

7:40 a.m. I change Greta but she's missing pants. I go upstairs and get dressed myself.   Teddy immediately starts crying downstairs, and the girls keep screaming “Teddy’s crying!!!!”, which is entirely unhelpful.   I go downstairs to give him a bottle but he's mainly just tired.

Greta would rather try to shoot something than put pants on.  

Helpful big sis, zipping up G's coat.
Photo credit goes to MJ.  Let's see how many embarrassing photos I can put in this post.

At 8 o'clock we start getting ready to go. I scramble to get the diaper bag ready, as well as a bag for Greta because she'll be going to her “school: this morning.  It’s really just a “Mom’s morning out” program at a nearby church, but we wanted the opportunity for her to socialize regularly.  We are out the door by 8:15.  We take MJ to her classroom and then I pick up some soup spoons in the teachers lounge; last week the PTO made soup with veggies from the school garden.  I look forward to the time that I can help with things like this, but right now all I can manage is loaning some spoons. 

Ready to walk to G's "school".  This is the diaper bag I leave with her, and she loves being in charge of it.

We are back home by 8:30, and I pile everyone in the stroller to walk to Greta’s school. It's about a three-quarter mile walk, but her school doesn't start till nine and it’s a beautiful morning.  The first couple weeks the drop off was tough, but now she loves it and looks forward to it.
A couple of the beautiful houses on my walk to school.

Greta's "school".  I've always loved this church.

We arrive by 8:50 and the doors are open so we march right in.  She happily goes to her classroom, drops her bag and coat and starts playing. She doesn't even care when I leave.  I ask what songs they've been singing, because she comes home singing songs I can't recognize.  Turns out she has been singing the Itsy-Bitsy Spider, but the Greta version is tough to decipher.

Ready to start her day!

A far cry from the wailing child I left a few weeks ago.  I questioned whether I was making the right decision; turns out I was!

We're back home by 9:10 a.m. and I put Teddy in the car to run some errands.  I thought he might fall sleep in the stroller, but instead he falls asleep in the car.  He sleeps for about half an hour and then I go into T.J. Maxx.  I have to return a necklace I bought last week which instantly broke. I pick up a sweater for myself and a pair of pajamas for Teddy while I'm there.  Then I head over to Target.  I need a number of grocery items, but I get distracted by the Home Decor section and the “$15 off $75” offer.   I'm such a sucker for their coupons.  I end up putting a bunch of sofa pillows in the cart, that I probably don't need, and realize it's already 10:30.  I rush through the rest of the store and get the other things I need, and then go to the checkout line.   The checker takes forever. I've gotten fairly skilled at being able to tell which are the fast checkers, but sometimes they all appear to be slow.  That was the situation today.  It takes 15 minutes just to get through the checkout line.  Teddy is restless the entire time because I forgot to bring his bottle.  Furthermore, I'm running against the clock because I need to go pick up Madeline.  I do my best to subtly rush the cashier but she doesn't take the hint. When she's finally done I rush to the car, pile everything in and drive to get MJ.  

I drive up to her school at 11:10, just enough time.  I usually walk there with the stroller, so MJ doesn't quite know where to look for me.  I put her in the car seat and drive to pick up Greta.  I would usually walk but for some reason don't feel like it right now.  Partly because I expect Teddy to meltdown at any moment and I don't want to get stuck on a long walk if he does.  We wait for quite a while at the door to get her, and I chat with some other women I know from a local moms group.   We discuss the photo session, because it was set up through the moms group.  It somehow makes me feel better to hear that other people's kids were as crazy as ours.
There's construction happening over there.    It was torture that he couldn't crawl closer.

Every surface must be crawled on.

We get home a little before noon but I have a hard time convincing everyone to get out of the car.  Greta frequently stays in the car, buckling the buckles on all the car seats when we stop.  I give Teddy a bottle on the front porch while Greta plays in the van for a bit. I finally drag everybody inside, mostly against their will, and start giving them lunch.  

All the kids are fascinated by the motion activated owl.  Though this guy is a bit hesitant.

Teddy gets the quiche from yesterday, and I make grilled cheese sandwiches for the girls.  I tide Greta over with a banana until they're ready.   Meanwhile, since Teddy is in the highchair, I can get the groceries from the car and bring them into the house without Teddy trying to dive down the front stairs.  MJ helps me drag things inside.  I work on getting everything into the kitchen and try to remember not to burn the grilled cheese sandwiches.   I focus on getting the refrigerated and frozen stuff put away, because I know I don't have time to finish everything right now.  

I finally sit down and eat a sandwich and some soup with the girls. Teddy finishes and insists on getting out of the highchair, so I know that my time putting things away has grown short.  Everyone is done eating by about 12:30.  Greta plays with a puzzle, MJ works on her homework, and Teddy keeps trying to get into the dog bowl.  I continue to try to put things away, and also pause to vacuum, which I didn't finish yesterday.  I keep seeing Teddy put gross things from the floor into his mouth.

G eats very little, and instead pokes holes in her sandwich and shoves peas in them.  If the photo distribution in this post was representative, at least half of them would be of the kids eating.

MJ helps me put groceries away, but must pause to check out the Halloween candy selection.

This girl loves puzzles.  One of her top three activities right now.

The water bowl!!! Yes!!!

G is totally going to be one of those people that blinks in all the photos.

She plunged right into her homework.  The first couple weeks she hated it, but now she seems to love it.  Not sure why the change.  I think because there's enough of it she no longer feels like each one has to be perfect.  She realizes this is practice, and she needs to be getting better, but not be perfect.

Baby plumber butt is still so cute.  I love when G imitates Teddy.  Is this her trying to play with him?

Oh gosh.  And I thought it was bad before, now he found the food.  Time for bed.  

G is very concerned that he not try to crawl up after her.  So safety conscious.
1:00 PM.  Time for a nap. I grab a bottle and convince everyone to go upstairs.  We read a couple stories in the girls room, one about Spot, of course and one about Madeline, of course.  I tuck in Greta and MJ goes into the guest room to lay down, and then I take Teddy into his room to give him a bottle.  While I give it to him I look at my phone and see a free piano listed on Facebook.  I text husband with my brilliant idea.  I lay Teddy down in his crib but he isn't settled. I go tuck MJ in while he fusses a bit.  It takes him a while to settle down but finally succeeds.  While I’m tucking in MJ, husband calls to inform me the piano idea is not a good one.  I asked him how firmly he feels about this, and he assures me his feelings are quite firm.   I know deep down he is right, but of course I argue anyway.  That is the kind of relationship we have.

1:40 p.m. I lay down and hope to get a nap.  I read some blogs for a bit, including one that I feel compelled to comment on, even though I know I should be sleeping.  

2:15 p.m. Teddy wakes up. I guess he was still hungry when he fell asleep.  I give him 4 oz and then rock him to sleep.  He’s a crappy napper.

2:35 p.m.  Up again!  This makes me feel a bit better than I couldn’t be asleep if I tried.  This time he puts himself to sleep quickly.  I finally close my eyes, not sure if I'll fall asleep, but quickly feel myself start sinking.  I wake up about 3:50 to the sound of Greta yelling at the door.  Teddy starts crying shortly there after, and then MJ comes out of her room.  Everyone is up, everyone piles on mama, everyone is hungry.  But for the first time all day, I feel totally rested.  This daily nap, for all of us, has become a ritual for me.  I rely on it.  I never used to be a napper, but for some reason now my body needs them.  I think, in part, because the end of the day is the hardest part of the day.  It’s when the kids are at their worst, and I therefore need to be at my best.  It also gives me the energy to get things done after the kids go to bed, so I don’t actually accomplish any less.  These are the things I tell myself to make myself feel better. :)

We head downstairs. Everyone gets pears, Greta gets yogurt, and Teddy gets cheese.  While they're eating I continue to try to clean up the kitchen, which I don't seem to be able to get ahead of.  I make some chicken meatballs for dinner and stick them in the oven.  Everyone finishes eating and we head out back for a bit to enjoy the nice weather.  I spend my entire time keeping rocks out of Teddy's mouth.  For a while I let it go to see what happens, and he sucks on them a bit, then spits them out.  I notice that one of the legs on Greta's baby doll is about to come off.  It has looked like it's about to come off for a couple months now, but it is now hanging on by just threads.  I try to explain to her that it will fall off soon.  She starts crying, apparently understanding what this means.  I'm curious to see how she will feel with a legless baby doll, as there is no real way to reattach them.

My beautiful girl.
She loves to take the leaves from the Day Lilies and "weave" things.

"Slide down my cellar door..."

My other beautiful girl.

This is her feelings on baby potentially losing a leg (or 2).
Sometimes G likes to lay in my lap and pretend she's a baby.  I'm just thankful I have at least one cuddly child.
Her weaving, complete.  See also: I preferred when she didn't know how to pose.  The fake smile kills me.
5:30 We eat dinner.  Teddy eats a ton, meatballs, spaghetti, cheese, Cheerios, peas and some frozen peach.  Greta chews up her carrots and spits them out, eats no meatballs and some of the spaghetti.  MJ eats everything.  Teddy is filthy and smells bad from all the food he's smeared on himself today.  I let him out to crawl around a bit.  He keeps biting me, which he thinks is hilarious.  Unfortunately, so do the girls, so my firm "No!" is ineffective.

MJ's arrangement of my frivolous pillow purchase.  I like them but don't think the color works.  There is some blue in the room, but nowhere else.  What say you internet?
After dinner Greta says she has to "go poop" and I set her up on the potty, and bring her some books.  She has said this a lot, so I'm skeptical, but she starts yelling "MOOMMMM!!" in a few minutes and I go in to find her dumping her potty in the toilet.  She spills pee on the floor, which is gross, but I am amazed that she initiated this moment.  Fingers crossed, but it seems that potty training this girl will be a breeze.  Of course, she instantly wants a treat.  And she poops in her diaper 10 minutes later.  But whatevs.  

At 6:45 Teddy goes to bed.  He is squirmy and wants to play, even though he's exhausted and fussy. I sing to him to try to calm him down, which works until I stop.  He fusses but finally goes to sleep.  Meanwhile, the girls are angelically quiet downstairs.  This has been a work in progress, but they finally understand the sanctity of putting babies to bed.

 I clean up the kitchen.  We go outside and light up the Jack O' Lanterns for Dad to see when he gets home, and meet some neighbors a block away out for a walk.  We've been discussing proper things to say to strangers, and how "Where are you going?" can be rude and nosy.  A better thing would be "How's your day going?".  So of course, MJ asks the neighbors this, making her sound like she's about 75 years old.  I'm used to over the top verbal eloquence, but it still catches me off guard some times.

I took an obscene number of these pictures.  Can you believe this is the best shot?  

I will never understand why Vito's dog food is such a source of fascination.
The girls play out back, in the dark, while I put stuff away inside.  We have piles of produce on the counter.  I don't know where to put it all.  If I put it in a cabinet I will forget about it and it will rot.  

I send G upstairs to put on pajamas at 8:00, and she melts down.  I finally calm her down, read her a couple stories, and by the end of them she is pushing me out of her bed so she can go to sleep.  Husband gets home at 8:45, chats with MJ, eats some dinner, then him and MJ go to bed.  And here I sit, in my quiet house, loving the silence and the peace that comes after a long day with little children.