Monday, October 24, 2011

Teddy is 3

I am getting bad at keeping this blog updated. Teddy turned 3 years old on October 7th. I can't believe that my little boy left babyhood and now toddlerhood behind.

Teddy,

You are now 3 years old. I can't believe how fast time flies. It seems like only yesterday I brought you home from the hospital and got a lesson in how different two babies could be. You have grown so much during your third year and have grown into a curious little boy. You went from barely saying any words to communicating in sentences.

I can't believe it has been 3 years since you were born. You were my healing birth and you actually latched on right away and had no issues breastfeeding. Breastfeeding became how you spent your first months. It seemed like you wanted to nurse 24/7 if you were awake and you didn't sleep very well. You woke all night long for 15 months. You were still waking 6 times on a good night when you turned 1. You didn't cry for hours but you were fussy baby. You wanted to nurse all the time and the only other time you were happy is if you were in a carrier and I was moving.  There was no chilling out in the bouncer like you sister used to do. Luckily I was ok with nursing in public by then and perfected the art of doing it discreetly. I learned how to nurse in the carrier and we just went out. With Delia I used to try to schedule it so I didn't have to NIP very often or I would do nurse in the car but with a second child I had to adapt.

You taught me that just because something worked with your other child doesn't mean that it works for every baby. You were night and day different than your older sister. You were fussy and irritable until you learned how to crawl. You woke up frequently at night and I tried all the tricks in the book but it didn't matter. I even taught you to put yourself to sleep in your crib because everything said that if they can put themselves to sleep they will do it at night. Wrong. I heard that going to a chiropractor could help fussy babies and even though you were 14 months I thought what the heck. I tried everything else at that point. The night after your adjustment you slept better than you ever did and only woke up twice. I took you a few other times and then you jumped out of your crib. I went to you earlier at first but it happen again.  I moved you to the bed with Delia and you stopped waking in the night completely and have you slept through the night ever since.

You were a very different toddler than Delia. You were all boy. You got into everything and you didn't learn after modeling something over and over. You had no fear at all and took risks. I had to hover around you at the playground because you could climb anything but would walk right off the side if I let you. You ignored all the dolls in the house and were fond of tools and banging with them. You were always hopping, crashing into things rolling, twirling, running, banging and climbing.

I got a little worried when you were not talking at 18 months and you were not following directions like Delia would at that age. You ended up qualifying for speech therapy. Now that you have grown I know that you understood everything we said you just had selective hearing and don't like to follow directions. You didn't say much until a few months after you turned 2 and then it was like a light went off and you really started talking. At first you were missing some major sounds like d and t but once you picked up those two sounds you were talking well. At your reevaluation for early intervention you were age appropriate in speech and had the speech of a 2.5 year old. It still amazes me how fast it can happen. You now can talk in complete sentences and have a large vocabulary. You have a good memory and pick up on things really fast. Once you started talking you also started asking why. You were very curious and wanted to know how everything worked.

Before you turned 2 you gave us a run for our money with aggressive behavior. That was the hardest thing I had to deal with as a parent. You started biting, hitting and scratching. The biting didn't last too long but it was followed by scratching. You were frustrated because you couldn't talk and you didn't realize just how bad what you were doing was. You got kicked out of an indoor playground once. I know people judged me for how you were acting and thought it came from me. I responded to you consistently every time and took you away and had you make the other kid feel better. You targeted kids younger than you. It was a trying time. You got through it though and you are now a very sweet little boy.



This summer you were finally big enough to use Delia's old balance bike. You took to it on the first day trying it and were soon running with the bike and gliding down hills on trails with your feet lifted the whole time. I was on a quest to find a  2 wheel bike that fit you and finally got one at a bike shop. They had to cut the seat for you. You never pedaled so you had to learn that but once you did we took the training wheels off and you learned at 2 years 10 months.

At 3 years old you love riding your bike, tools, yelling really loud, dragging, pulling, stomping, throwing and jumping. You like building things and pulling the wheels off of trucks. You have broken many toys. You can finally dress yourself but usually won't. You like cooking and playing dress up and acting silly. You talk really well and have a good vocabulary but you cannot pronounce blends, f, soft c, s or r which makes for some really cute words like wewereal, tilly, wog, and lide (cereal, silly, frog, slide) You are very loud and boisterous. You ask a lot of questions and remember things really well. You still do not follow directions or care if you now you aren't supposed to do something. You still sneak and get things you are not supposed to. You get cold very easily and don't like being outside for very long. I have to force you outside. You get cold very easily even when I dress you warm. You don't know letters, numbers or colors and that is ok.

Teddy after birth

Teddy 6 months

Teddy 1 year
Teddy 1.5

Teddy 2

Teddy 2.5

Teddy 3


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Delia is 5

Delia turned 5 on September 20. I can't believe it has been 5 years since the birth of my first child and that I have been a mom for 5 years now.

Delia,

I can't believe it has been 5 years since you have been born. They aren't kidding when they say time flies and to enjoy you while you are young. I couldn't wait to become a mom. We tried for a while and I was so excited when I found out I was pregnant with you. I spotted and bled early in my pregnancy with you and they didn't see a heartbeat when I went for my 6 week ultrasound. I though the worse but 2 weeks later we saw a cute little baby with a beating heart. You gave me a few movement scares during my pregnancy since you were a mellow baby and your placenta was in front of you. My doctor scheduled appointments to listen to your heartbeat to reassure me. I was so happy when you were born and couldn't believe you were here and you were alive and you were here to stay and would get to go home with us. We had some trouble with learning to latch but we got through it. I am glad I stuck it out even though it was hard in the beginning because I loved the bonding the closeness of breastfeeding and it became a big part of parenting a baby and a toddler. You were a very mellow newborn and were content as long as you had a full belly. You slept pretty good and got up to 6-8 hour stretches before I knew it. Since you were my first it was a learning experience.

 4 months hit and you started getting emotional and sharing your opinions and it hasn't stopped since. You started waking at night and you got fussy and particular. It is 5 years later and your emotions till run high. You started throwing tantrums early and still can throw a mean tantrum. You were easy going in other ways. You were not a toddler who got into everything or took risks. You would climb the play equipment on the playground I could be confident you knew what you were doing and wouldn't do anything crazy. You were also a perfectionist. You couldn't even stand on your own and one day I stood you up and you walked across the room. We were worried about you talking and then your 2nd birthday hit and before I knew it you were talking in complete sentences with good articulation. Although no one would probably believe me when you first started walking and talking because you were very slow to warm up and didn't like being put on the spot a trait you still have. It takes you time to warm up to some people and situations. You were very cautious your first year of preschool and since it was a class of 20 kids you didn't really have a chance to open up. We found a smaller school for your next year of preschool and you made friends and loved going to school. You talked about your friends from school but you still were a bit cautious and reserved and didn't fully open up. This year you are doing great in preschool. All the kids in your class like you and you are making friends easily. You are not a outgoing kid but you are holding conversations with other kids now and making friends.

You always have been a very imaginative kid. You started playing with dolls imaginatively shortly after you turned 1 and you have continued that ever since. You are so imaginative in your play and it is fun to watch your creativity grow. You remind me of me when I was a little girl with your dolls. You make up all kinds of scenarios and act through things that go on in your life.

You have been a great big sister when Teddy and Cora were born. When Teddy was born you were 2 and you cried when they took him to do a hearing test because you didn't want him to go. You always asked if Teddy was going to come to when we went out and liked to wear your matching pj's or overalls. You were always so nice to him when he was a baby and a young toddler and he looked up to you. When Cora was born you also were a great big sister. Since you were older when she was born you could help a little and you loved to hold and carry her. You named one of your babies Cora and dressed the baby in Cora's clothes. You have always been so sweet to your siblings until Teddy started talking and acting like a kid and not a toddler. Then you guys started fighting like cats and dogs. You do get along good together and play well together and enjoy each others company for the most part but you guys sure can fight too.

You can now ride a 2 wheel bike and have gotten good at it. You can ride it on trails with hills. You are a cautious kid so that is pretty impressive. You have been hiking with me since you were a baby but you been hiking on your own since last summer and have done 3-4 mile hikes. You have been dressing yourself since 2 and are good at picking clothes and have a real sense of fashion. You always liked pink and wearing fancy dresses. You like princesses, dressing up, hair pretties and sparkly girly clothes. You will not wear jeans and would only wear dresses for over a year. You are definitely a girly girl. I wasn't a girly girl and still am not so this is new to me.

I can't believe it has been 5 years. It has been a learning experience and since you were my first we made some mistakes and learned the ropes and settled into becoming parents. I read a lot before you were born but once you were here I found my own path. I can't believe it has been 5 years since that beautiful sunny fall day when we became parents to a tiny baby who had joined us from the womb. It has been quite the journey watching you grow. I wish I could hit the pause button sometimes but it is nice watching you change and grow. I am glad to be your mom and can't wait to see what is ahead.

Love mom


Days old

1 year

2 years

3 years

4 years

5 years

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cora is 1 year

I don't know where the past year has gone. It has flown by. I can't believe my baby is now a 1 year old. Her birthday was on September 14th so I am a little late with this post. Tomorrow is Delia's birthday so I have to do her post too.

Cora,

I can't believe it has been a whole year since you were in such a hurry to arrive that Grandma wasn't here yet and we didn't make it to the hospital. You were born in the bathroom and caught by Sarah. We didn't know you were a girl or your name until you were here. Before I got pregnant I thought I was going to have a girl but once I was pregnant my intuition wasn't as strong. I think it was so I could really be surprised like I wanted. You were born with dark brown hair and I was thinking of naming you Edith and call you Edie because I thought you looked like one. I am glad I went with Cora instead because it fits you much better.

You were born with your own personality. You were even different in the womb so I guess I shouldn't of been surprised. You were some where in between your brother and sister as far as mellowness when you were born. You weren't as intense as Teddy but you weren't as mellow as Delia as a newborn. You liked to sleep in the swing and didn't like to be put anywhere else. You loved to be in the moby even if I wasn't moving a lot. You were a decent sleeper but had to be swaddled in your swing. You loved nursing but luckily gave me breaks too. Delia and Teddy liked you right away. Delia named her baby Cora and play acted the role of Cora's mom. She dressed her babies in your clothes and diapers. She loved holding you and when you got a little bigger carrying you. Teddy liked you too but we had to watch him because he didn't know that he couldn't wrestle you or grab you by the head. He still tries that.

You learned how to smile and laugh really early. You were laughing before you were a month and soon Teddy and Delia were cracking you up. It was a sign of what a happy baby you would become. You learned to sign for milk, yes, bye and eat. You can clap, play peek a boo, give kisses and shake your head yes to let us know you want something. Mommy not too good with signs or you probably would of learned more. You love to eat. Num num is one of the only words you say. You eat more than your brother and sister at a sitting sometimes and right now you will eat just about anything. I hope that doesn't go away. You were born sucking on your tongue and smacking your lips when you were hungry and you still do that. I remember you used to do that in your sleep and you were pretty noisy. We started food at 6 months and you took to it like a champ quickly developing your pincher grasp and mastering all kinds of textures. At a year you are now the easiest baby. You are pretty happy and you sleep pretty good most nights. You are starting to show your displeasure but you don't seem to be a get into everything kid or super emotional either. I am hoping that translates into an easy going toddler ; )

You were born with a muscle condition in your neck called torticollis. Your older sister had a milder version of it that went away at 4 months. I think it must of happen in utero that has my babies preferring one side. Your head tilted to the right and you favored looking to the left. I did stretches and encouraged your head to go the other way but you still had it at 5 months and it was affected your center of balance and your gross motor skills so we started physical therapy and brought you to the chiropractor. You improved a lot in not much time between the two but it took a long time for the tilt to disappear. You learned to get around by army crawling and eventually progressed to hands and knees crawling. The torticollis definitely affected your gross motor skills and you have a very cautious personality so you will probably take a while to walk. That is ok because we know you will.

Right now you like putting everything in your mouth, eating, music, nursing, riding in a baby carrier and watching your brother and sister.

I can't believe how fast this year has gone by. I wish I could hit the pause button and I will miss your baby years. It went way to fast the third time around. I am excited to see what is to come and to see you change and grow.

Happy Birthday

Cora as a newborn

 1 month

2 months

3 months

 4 months

5 months

6 months

 7 months

 8 months
9 months

10 months
11 months

12 months





Thursday, September 8, 2011

Another school year

The school year actually starts in August in Alaska but preschool starts in September. We are sending Teddy to preschool this year as well as Delia so it is very expensive for us this year. In May I was scrambling to find a school since the part time program at Delia's old school ended. We aren't religious but I found two good church preschool programs. I liked one a little better since it had nice classrooms and a lovely playground but the times didn't work out since one kid would of been in the afternoon class and one in the morning and they had overlapping days. Now that the kids have started I actually really like their preschool. There are 2 teachers and 1 assistant and they all been doing it for over 20 years and have a lot of experience. They have a very rigid structure and a firm but gentle manner. They do more academics with the older class and more play with the younger class.

Teddy started on Tuesday. Since he was a rough kid at 2 and is still very sensory oriented and a crazy kid I was a little worried how he would do but he did great. He ran right in the class and made himself at home. His teachers reported he did great. He was happy and followed directions.

If I had my way Delia would be starting kindergarten. I think the cut off is too early in Alaska. It is expensive to test in and although I think she would do fine in Kindergarten. She isn't super ahead either. When I went to school there was a December cut off so I was the oldest with a January birthday. I didn't like being the oldest and felt like a lot of the kids were immature. Most of my friends in high school were older than me and not even in high school. I know that makes me biased but being nearly 19 at high school graduation and nearly 6 when starting kindergarten seems so old to me. I didn't like being almost 18.5 at graduation. It is a later start to the adult life that I was ready to start. If she was in school and struggling I would  have no problem holding her back or repeating kindergarten but I wish she at least had a chance to go. I love fall babies but I should of not had a bunch of babies born around the cut off.

Anyway Delia is in her last year of preschool. She is very shy and although she loves school she didn't open up as much as she could her first two years. A class of 20 was a little big for her at 3 so I found a smaller class the next year. I don't think she will outgrow shyness and introverted nature with another year of preschool. I think it will just be a part of her through her school years like it was for me. I hope she will have some patient teachers and the kids will also be patient with her and get to know her. I heard the peer pressure is lessened in the charter schools and I hope that is true.

This year was off to a great start for her. She ran into the classroom on her first day excited about the doll corner. Her teachers reported she was happy and held conversations with them so she is already doing better than last year and it is only the first day. Her teachers are confident that she will do good.

As much as I love Montessori type of schools I don't think it was the best fit for her and it doesn't allow her to open up and be confident. Her teacher last year thought she was so cautious and shy. She wouldn't hold full conversations at school. She also wouldn't follow the teacher's direction completely all the time or do all the activities. I know Delia and I know that she was capable of more than she let on at school. She was just feeling put on the spot and flustered a lot. I love the idea of Montessori but I am seeing it doesn't work for her. She does much better with a program that is structured and disciplined in a different way. She does best where she can sit back and take things in. The hands on approach doesn't work for her.

Since Teddy and Delia have different styles and are very different kids and we have a lot of alternative charter options in Anchorage I might send them to different elementary schools. I am glad I found a school that works for both of them this year. I think Delia is a little old to just be in school for 7.5 hours a week and I was thinking she would actually do better with the structure in a sit down kindergarten classroom rather than a preschool with a lot of free play and independent work. She is doing great even with a much bigger classroom this year. I know she will still be shy but I think she open up more this year and hold conversations with her teachers and maybe a few of the kids.

 I am excited to see how Teddy does in school. He is a outgoing curious kid with tons of energy.

Teddy on his first day of school

Delia on her first day of her last year of preschool

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Berry Picking

August is the month for berry picking in Alaska. This year a moth hit blueberry plants in Anchorage, Girdwood, and the Kenai Peninsula. The caterpillar in the spring stripped the blueberry plants of leaves. It will take about 3 years to recover. The Kenai Peninsula got hit first so they will recover faster.

I tried my favorite Girdwood spot with my friend Sarah while Mike watched all the kids at the blueberry festival in hopes that maybe it wasn't bad at that elevation but it was a no go. I did hear about a good spot for high bush cranberries, currants and rosehips and I hit that spot three times. We also traveled to the Denali Highway for blueberries and camped over night with the kids in a pull over they had at the campsite. Since it was a long drive for an overnight and it was a rainy weekend we didn't tent camp. There were lots of blue berries there but they were low bush ones so they are hard to pick.Teddy was being crabby while we were picking so even with an extra adult we couldn't pick as much as I hoped. Delia picked a handful and Teddy kept saying he picked 3 blueberries while holding up his empty bag. I always try to do lots of outdoor stuff with the kids but I guess Teddy is my city slicker at least now. Hopefully he will get better ; )

I went with some people from the local food challenge group last weekend to try for some blueberries closer to home but it was too popular of a spot this year with other local
 spots being hit by the moth. We only got a little and then went for some of the other types of berries at the other spot. I will not names these spots by name on here ; ) Last weekend was a gorgeous weekend for hiking with just the baby and it nice to share the ride with others.


Delia blueberry picking


What he really looked like berry picking grumpy with an empty bag 


Teddy ready for bed

Breakfast while camping


Picking with just the baby on a gorgeous day







I did get some berries and will do the next post on the processing of the berries. As usual though I promise to do better next year and get the mother load. ; )



























Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Preserving tomatoes

We planted a bunch of tomatoes in our pallet cold frames but so far except for one red tomato we only have green tomatoes. Since I use a lot of tomatoes I was hoping to grow a bunch and have some to preserve. I haven't been able to really switch to a mostly local diet this year or have my own yard for expanding the gardening. I was hoping to switch a few things that I use a lot this year. Luckily I heard that Bell's nursery sells the tomatoes that they can't sell at the grocery store for cosmetic reasons at 5 pounds for $5 at their store. I have now brought two 50 pound batches from Bell's nursery that I made into spaghetti sauce, salsa and diced tomatoes.

For the first batch I made an oven roasted tomato sauce and a tomato sauce with tomatoes that were just peeled. I used the rest of the tomatoes that were left for diced tomatoes. I peeled the tomatoes that were not roasted by boiling briefly until the skins crack and dipping in cold water for peeling. The oven roasted ones crack for easy peeling. For my second batch I made another roasted tomato sauce and a roasted salsa and diced the rest. Both sauces were tasty but the roasted sauce was more flavorful and less watery so I decided to roast the tomatoes from now on for sauces. I also used a local onion and some basil and parsley from the farmer;s market in the spaghetti sauce. The salsa had cilantro from the farmer's market. It was a lot of work but it gets me excited for when I hopefully have my own  mini homestead in my backyard where I hopefully will have lots of veggies to can and process.

50 pounds of tomatoes

Sliced in half sprinkled with olive oil and ready for the oven

The helpers peeling the oven roasted tomatoes



Boiled until the skins crack for easy peeling

A local farmer's market onion for the spaghetti sauce

I started  the sauce with the onion and garlic

I pulsed the tomatoes in the blender 3-4 times and added fresh herbs

Both sauces cooking from the first batch
The roasted sauce is on the top
Diced tomatoes peeled and seeded 

I canned everything using a pressure canner for 20 minutes. You don't have to use a pressure canner for tomatoes but it fits more cans and takes less time and has a better chance of preserving than the hot water bath so I used the pressure canner.

We got a tomato corer for the second batch and it saved lots of time

A really big tomato

Salsa in the blender with fresh local cilantro
I pulse 3-4 times

The baby wanted a tomato

The second batch ready for pressure canning
 Spaghetti sauce on the left front, diced tomatoes in the back and salsa to the right

Keeping the baby happy during the processing with wild berry smoothie

Entertaining themselves in a box

In a box with a cracker

It was a lot of work and very messy between the tomatoes and the children but it will be nice in the winter when we have yummy local goodness.