Tuesday, October 30, 2018

My New, New 12 Basics

Previously, I wrote this post, and then forgot about it. Four and a half years later, here's my updated new, new list (living things excluded):
  1. Our king-size bed – so great for a family snuggle
  2. Our Kitchenaide stand mixer – not because I need it, but because it was a wedding gift from my parents
  3. The baby’s changing table – we upgraded our baby changing table to one with drawers which is such a better use of space
  4. Our wall-mounted pot rack – because our kitchen is tiny, and this makes it so much easier to put things away
  5. Our latte mugs – because any cup of coffee is better when it’s bigger
  6. Our washing machine – it’s an LG brand front-loader and I like that’s dependable (five people go through a lot of clothes)
  7. My Adidas Samba shoes – because they’re so comfortable for walking, and they’ve traveled with me from New Mexico to Iceland
  8. My iPhone – because it’s my camera, alarm clock, timer, list-keeper, GPS…
  9. My SPF 55 face sunscreen + my Egg Mellow Cream moisturizer + my Glam Glow Nude Glow illuminator – because I mix all three together and wear them every day
  10. Hair ties
  11. My blanket scarf – so warm, so practical, and travel great on a plane
  12. My Pandora bracelet

What happened to our old stuff? Here's an update on the items in my earlier post:
  1. my bed – upgraded!
  2. my iPhone 5c – upgraded!
  3. our incense burner – we still have this
  4. our pets – we still have our dog and one cat (sadly, one cat passed away)
  5. paper – much less useful to me now that I do more things on my phone
  6. hair ties – no change
  7. the baby necklace – I still have it, but I now wear my Pandora bracelet for a similar purpose
  8. the baby fig tree – it died, sadly
  9. my loveseat – we sold it because it wouldn’t fit in our new, smaller home
  10. my Emu brand boots – they were a bit too big, and also impractical for the weather in my area most of the time, so I donated them
  11. our first decoy duck, and our Korean wedding ducks – we still have these
  12. my blue poppies print from Target – this was donated and I don’t miss it
I guess I am more focused on functionality than ever before. I do think I'm closer to actually being a minimalist now than I've ever been before. I followed the Marie Kondo method and got through the Clothing, Books, and Documents categories. The Miscellaneous (Komono) category has me a bit stymied,though.

Six-Month Rosiebebe Update

If I’m being completely honest, I was somewhat apprehensive about having a daughter – I didn’t know what to expect. But, it’s been wonderful – much better than expected. She’s such a joy to be around, and is such a happy baby. She’s willing to smile at everyone and is just the sweetest!

The Best Things
I feel an almost magnetic attraction between Rosiebebe and myself. I just love being around her, and I think it helps that at this point in my life, I’m more confident in my childcare-providing skills.

The Worst Thing
It’s still pumping. Breastfeeding is hard. I have read articles that suggest that breastfeeding isn’t actually any healthier for the baby than formula, and I fear they’re right, and that I’m doing all of this for nothing. But I also remember how much Serious Kiddo threw up / spit up as a baby, and how grumpy he was most of the time, and if there’s any chance that it was due to formula, then I don’t want to risk that for Rosiebebe. I have been travelling both for work and to see family, and pumping makes that much more difficult.

Her Personality
She's a very sweet baby!

Her Size
At her five-month appointment almost a month ago, she weighed 5 lbs. 6 oz. (58th percentile) and was 27 inches tall (97th percentile). She has long legs! Her head circumference was 16 1/2 inches (63rd percentile).

Her Favorite Things
She loves feeling the texture of things, from her wood-paneled bedroom walls, to wicker, to our sofa cushions. She likes listening to the sounds things make when she scratches them with her nails. Her favorite toy is currently her moose teether, but she also likes her jumperoo. She has stopped using pacifiers, although sometimes she'll suck her thumb or even her entire hand.

What’s Different This Time Around
I would say that I’ve become more of an actual minimalist, not just an aspiring one, and as such we have less baby stuff around, from clothes to toys. This time around we also have less money due to some unrelated job matters, so we’ve got to be more careful about how we spend our money. And of course, another big difference this time around is that we’re in a different, smaller house than before.

What’s the Same
It’s mom guilt – no matter what I do or how I do it, I’ll always feel mom guilt that I could or should be doing more. I also feel like people are constantly judging me – am I too hands-off as a parent, or not hands-on enough? Was three kids too many? I don’t think so, but even my own parents think it was.

Monday, October 29, 2018

The Bear at Just Over Three Years Old

Always in Motion

Enjoys Playing with his Little Sister

He Likes Taking Photos with my Cell

After a Blue Ring Pop

A. His Schedule – Ted is an active kid – the easiest days are when he gets a lot of stimulation (via sports or interacting with people) followed by a power nap. On the days when he doesn’t get enough activity, whether he naps or not, he is difficult. These days he pretty much gets up when the sun rises, and gets sleepy once the sun has gone down.

B. His Size – Bear is 31 lbs. 2 oz. (38th percentile), and 40 ¾ inches tall (96th percentile).

C. His Personality – Bear is a fun-loving guy. He loves being the center of attention. He’s affectionate with his sister, and his pet dog. He seems to experience higher highs and lower lows, mood-wise, than most people.

D. His Favorite Things
  • Colors: He likes all colors, especially when something is what he calls “rainbow” (which I’d call “multi-colored”) – he seems to like red, green, and yellow best and seems to have high color acuity
  • Shows: His current favorite thing to watch is what he calls “makeup show” on YouTube, which YouTube classifies as DIY shows – he’ll watch cooking, craft, or Play Doh DIYs, but he likes makeup most of all – he also likes what he calls “slime show” which is when makeup and candy are mixing together with slime (these videos are popular, I think because people find them oddly satisfying)
  • Toys: He has a large stuffed dog that he calls “Zoie,” and he is also found of his fireman Halloween costume and his kiddie makeup – he now uses a large tote to haul his most prized possessions around the house with him
  • Time of Day: Any time that he’s outside
  • Bedding: He still loves his white-and-blue fleece moose blanket and his multi-colored throw pillow
  • Foods: He still likes meat, yogurt, fruit (like bananas and strawberries), and cheese, particularly American cheese
  • Activities: These days he enjoys his swimming class, gardening with his dad, and going places – he really likes getting out of the house
  • Animals: He seems to like all animals, but particularly his pet dog
  • Heroes: He likes Spiderman and Batman; he also enjoyed meeting some real firefighters at a recent firefighters open house we went to

E. Things He Does Not Like
  • Chocolate
  • When his older brother doesn’t share a toy with him (to be fair, Bear is pretty good about sharing his own toys with his brother)
  • Being told what to do, even if it’s a reasonable request, like his teacher making him wash his hands
  • Sleeping alone (he prefers to sleep in our bed, but we don’t let him do it every night)

F. What He’s Thinking About
  • He is already looking forward to his birthday, which isn’t until the summertime, and he likes to look at and curate his Amazon Wish List
  • He’s enrolled in karate through his school and he seems to like that – he showed me a board he broke with his foot with great pride
  • He told me a story recently about how his classmates didn’t want to play with him, so he resorted to hitting them – I hope they learn to get along and play together

G. Surprises – The better Bear gets at expressing himself with his words, the better my relationship with him gets, although it’s still a bit of a struggle as he and I don’t have a lot in common as far as our personalities.

H. The Best Things – I’d say the best times with him are either when he’s calm, such as right before bedtime when he’ll perch on my or my husband’s lap, or when he’s trying to be helpful to others – he will always jump up to get something for his baby sister, for example.

I. Family and Friends – He is finally able to remember some of his family members who he doesn’t see often, like his cousin Tyler.

J. What I’m Doing Differently This Time Around – I don’t think I’m doing anything differently with Bear than I did with Serious Kiddo. I will say that Bear is an easier three-year-old than he was a two-year-old.

He is Actually Five?!

My Serious Kiddo is now half of a decade old!

A. His Schedule – On the weekends, he tries to get up before everyone else so that he can watch his YoutTube shows in peace, without us trying to limit his screen time, or his brother trying to dictate which show to watch.  One thing we’ve been trying to do recently, with great success, has been to limit his screen time.  The results are that he’s actually more content (less bickering with his brother) and plays with his toys more.

B. His Size – He seems to be of average size.

C. His Personality – He seems to be an introvert – he likes people but he needs periods of quiet time to recharge (his brother is the opposite – Bear loves attention and being in the middle of a party!).  He is also kind of bossy.  One thing he can’t stand is to lose a game – we need to work on his sportsmanship skills.

D. His Favorite Things
  • Colors: Red, but also sometimes brown or gold
  • Shows: It varies – he’ll watch a movie every now and then but prefers YouTube shows
  • Toys: He just received a Decepticon Transformer that he’s quite happy with; he also likes activities that involve building or creating things, such as Legos
  • Time of Day: Probably nighttime
  • Bedding: He likes sleeping with a green coral fleece blanket; he’s not too picky about where he falls asleep
  • Foods: He loves deserts – chocolate, ice cream, lollipops – you name it
  • Activities: He isn’t that interested in sports with the exception of swimming – he really likes that!  He also really likes it when someone reads him a story, and has even learned how to get Alexa to tell him a bedtime story
  • Animals: Cats and dogs, especially our cat
  • Heroes: Optimus Prime, I think

E. Things He Does Not Like
  • Bedtime
  • Limits on his screen time
  • When his brother won’t leave him alone

F. What He’s Thinking About
  • His friends and his toys; he seems to like his daycare – Mr. Julius draws pictures for him that he seems to really enjoy receiving

G. Surprises – I’m surprised that he has a somewhat adversarial relationship with my husband – their personalities are not very similar, or so it seems to me, and this inherently creates conflict and a lack of mutual understanding – so much for “like father, like son.”

H. The Best Things – For me, I’m happiest when my Serious Kid is doing something that I also like doing, like flipping through the IKEA catalog.

I. Family and Friends – He still remains close with my mom, and less so with my dad. He seems to have made friends at his new daycare, which is a relief to me, and he has maintained his friendships with the kids across the street and with his closest friends from his old daycares.

J. Parenting – One new things I’m trying very hard to do is to institute a seven-minute cleanup time ritual at night – the hardest part (other than keeping the kids on task) is getting my husband and my mom (when she’s at our house) to buy into it – they are so reluctant! But I do think that a tidy house is almost essential for my mental health, and it’s so much easier to accomplish bit by bit each day than doing a marathon cleaning session a few times a year.

As mentioned above, I’m also trying to limit the kids’ screen time.  It’s not that I’m worried that what they’re watching will corrupt them – it’s more so that I think we all need more space and time to actively do things, rather than just passively watching things happen on TV.  I thought it would require more parental attention and engagement from us to make this switch, but it’s honestly not any more work than when the kids were watching a lot more TV.  They do find things to amuse themselves with, and are spending more time talking and connecting with us and each other.

My Completed Cross Stitch Projects this Fall