Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Overview of the 7 C's

As I mentioned in my Favorite Twin Cities Kid Spots post, the Minnesota Children's Museum is one of my favorite places in the Twin Cities.  I briefly volunteered for the MCM as a college student, and couldn't wait to take my own kids there to play.  We have been members since Miss A was quite little, and I'm sure we'll continue to be members and supporters for years to come.  A few months ago I noticed a post on Facebook that the MCM was looking for Smart Play Ambassadors, so I immediately applied.  A few days later I found out I was selected as a Smart Play Ambassador for 2014.  I'm really excited to have this opportunity to support a place I love, and share more information with you about the benefits of play for children whether at home, school or the MCM.

Always a favorite spot at the MCM!
Today I'm sharing a brief overview of the 7C's.  The 7C's are seven proficiencies children will need to be successful in the 21st century, including things like confidence and creative thinking.  As a middle school teacher, the 7C's are a frequent focus in our staff development, but children build these skills starting in early childhood.  For a brief overview of the 7C's, take a look at this article from the Minnesota Children's Museum (make sure you read all the way through the article to see how you can win a family 4 pack of tickets to the MCM!).  

My little artists in the Curiosity Center.
Full disclosure, my family and I are provided with a free membership to the Minnesota Children's Museum in exchange for being a Smart Play Ambassador.  Of course, all opinions are completely my own.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

DITL: Spring 2014

I recorded this DITL on Wednesday, April 16.  This was not a normal day for us, though I'm not exactly sure what normal is.  I took almost all of the photos with my iPhone, and edited them with Pic Tap Go (love it!).  Right now Miss A is 4 and Little J is almost 2.5, and I'm 24 weeks pregnant with Baby #3.  

5:45am: My alarm goes off.  Today I got to sleep in!  I have the day off work because I have a doctor's appointment, so we can get ready at a little slower pace.  Normally I shower right away, but today I start with breakfast in hopes that eating early won't mess up my glucose test.  

6:15am: I take a shower and get ready (hair and makeup).  I take awhile to wake up in the morning, so it completely slips my mind that I'm planning to do a DITL today, and I don't take any pictures until after 9am.  Oops!  

6:30am:  Wake up Miss A and turn on a cartoon.  Her current favorite is My Little Pony.  Miss A is a lot like me, and needs some time to wake up before getting ready in the morning.  She is pretty snuggly when she first wakes up, so I take advantage of that to snuggle for a few minutes.

6:45am:  Wake up Miss J and get her dressed.  E is up, so he steals a few snuggles from Little J.  She's in a good mood this morning, and she's singing "Let It Go" as I get her dressed.  I find it on You Tube and play it for her (I should really invest in the soundtrack at this point).  When Little J is dressed she joins Miss A to finish My Little Pony, and I help Miss A get dressed. 

7:00am:  We're out the door and on our way to Miss J's house (day care).  For most appointments, I take the girls with, but I don't want to try to entertain them while I wait for the glucose test.  I have been dreading this test since I set the appointment, so having a little time to myself is helping make it better.

7:30am:  Drop the girls off at day care and head to my doctor's office.  

8:10am:  I'm early to my appointment, and found parking easily (yay!) so I check in on social media before heading in to the office.  

8:30am:  Check in for my appointment and wait to start my glucose test.  Side note, I used to be scared of needles, now I'm worried about drinking an overly sugary fruit punch drink.  A nurse calls me back and I start the test.  I drink my super sweet, flat fruit punch.  Ick!  After I finish the drink, I go back to the waiting room until my actual appointment.

8:50am:  The nurse comes to get me for my regular appointment.  I've gained more weight at this point than I would have liked, but otherwise things are looking good.  When my doctor comes in I talk to her about some of the less pleasant parts of my pregnancy experience.  She recommends Benadryl or Unisom to help my sleep.  She also prescribes me some compression socks (as if having a 3rd child wasn't making me feel old enough!).  I have really bad varicose veins on my left shin.  I had the same thing when I was pregnant with Little J, and they went away after she was born (here's hoping that happens again!).  This time my leg hurts by the time I'm done teaching, so I'm hoping the compression socks will help.  Baby's heartbeat sounds great (around 140)!

9:15am:  Back to the waiting room until my hour is up for the glucose test.  I go through my planners, grade some papers, and read the newspaper while I wait.  

9:35am:  Time for my blood draw.  Glad to have the test done, now just to wait for the results.  I REALLY don't want to do the 3 hour test (or have to manage gestational diabetes).  

9:45am:  I'm done and heading back to my car.  I walk out in what looks like/feels like some sort of April blizzard.  There is so much snow!  I am not happy.  I get to my car and start heading back toward day care.  

10:30am:  I have a little extra time, so I decide to stop a Target to finish up some Easter shopping.  It is so peaceful to go shopping by myself!  In a bit of wishful thinking, the Easter Bunny has decided to bring lots of summer supplies in Easter baskets (and skip the candy for the girls).  One of the things E gave up for Lent this year was candy, so I pick up some treats for his Easter basket too! 

11:15am:  I get to day care to pick up the girls.  They love playing with their friends so much!  I'm happy that there is no snow near day care.  We drive back home.

11:45am:  We're home, and while it's not snowing, there is snow on the ground.  Grrrr.  The girls think it is awesome because one, they're a little Frozen obsessed right now, and two, they love eating snow.  

11:50am:  The girls play in the living room while I get lunch and laundry started.  

12:15pm:  Lunch time!  Today the girls are having chicken nuggets, clementines and bananas.  I'm having the fruit and some leftover ham and cheese pasta from last night.  For some reason they did not like dinner last night, even though it's pretty much mac and cheese with ham in it... both things they normally love.

12:45am:  Project time.  I saw this Block Party Kit on clearance at Target a few months ago and picked it up figuring we could do something with it.  We're having a baby shower for my brother and SIL soon, so I thought this would be a fun project for the girls to do for their new little cousin.  I got everything set up, the girls started, and... most of the paints were totally dried out.  Major project fail.  I had some acrylic paints from a previous project that they used to do a little, but not enough for all of the blocks.  Each girl finished a block, and we called it a day.  I'm still trying to figure out what to do with the rest of the blocks now...

1:10pm:  Time to clean up from the project.  I think the girls trying to wash their hands is pretty cute.  When their hands are clean(ish), they go play.  We crawl around the living room play kitties... not surprising with Little J.  Miss A cries because she wants to play something different.  

1:30pm:  Little J and I get her ready for rest time.  Quick Mommy/Little J selfie.  I change her diaper, read a story and tuck her in (with about a thousand kisses).  

1:40pm:  Miss A time.  She colors a picture for me to take to work (Yay!  Normally pictures are only for  Daddy.)  and practices her name.  I check my email, and have a message from my doctor.  Passed the glucose test!  So happy!  I also take a few notes on the day so far.

2:00pm:  Now for Miss A's rest time.  I read her a story and give her 2 tokens (if she still has one at the end of rest time she gets a sticker for her chart).  

2:10pm:  Both girls are quiet, so it's time for me to have a treat (Diet Coke and Rolos) and get some work done.  I napped Monday and Tuesday, so today I really need to be productive.  I clean up lunch, the kitchen and my purse while listening to Best Life Ever Podcast (Heather and Julie are awesome!).  I also fit in an episode of Stuff You Missed In History Class while ordering a patch for our air mattress, paying some bills and checking in with work stuff.  Then I take a little time to check in on social media and read a few blogs.  I check outside and the snow is gone!  Yay!

4:00pm:  I get both girls up from their rest time.  I say rest time, because there was no napping today. This should be an interesting night.  Little J almost always naps, and tonight is a late night for us because of swimming lessons.  Miss A did keep one of her tokens, so she gets a sticker for her chart.  If she gets 10 stickers this week she gets donuts on Saturday morning.  The girls decide to play in the playroom while I fold some laundry.  Laundry note: I have fully embraced Laura at Navigating the Mothership's organizational tip to skip folding kid clothes.  Seriously, it has been a huge time saver for me, and makes me much less cranky when I find that the girls have taken everything out of their drawers.  It might make my mom crazy, but it's working for me ;)

5:15pm:  E is home!  Yay!  The girls are excited to see Daddy, and they all snuggle up on the couch for a cartoon.  We try to limit TV time, but they do get to watch a show sometime between nap time and dinner most days.  The afternoon is Little J's pick, and not surprisingly she picks Sofia the First.  I go upstairs to spend a little time on the elliptical and try to catch up on Scandal.  I am so far behind right now!

5:45pm:  I start making dinner.  Tonight we're having spaghetti.  Little J injures herself and runs to Mommy for some snuggles.  Not super easy to cook with a 2 year old, but I make it work.   

6:10pm:  Time for dinner.  Everyone sits down to eat.  We talk about what everyone did during the day.  The girls actually eat quite a bit tonight, and pretty quickly too.  Good thing because it's time to get ready for swimming lessons.

6:30pm:  I get the girls ready for swimming while E gets ready too.  I put the girls in their suits with pajamas over the top.  

6:45pm:  We leave to walk over to the elementary school where the girls take swimming lessons.  We're really lucky that the school is less than a block from our house, so we can get there and back really easily.  I signed the girls up for the spring session thinking it would be good weather for walking.  Not tonight.  Tonight it is snowing and slick.  

7:00pm:  Swimming lessons start.  The girls have swimming lessons at the same time.  Miss A is in the big kid Waders class, and Little J is in the Tiny Tots class with E.  I hang out in the pool area to watch and help when swimming lessons are done.  Miss A loves to show me how she can go under water, and Little J's favorite part is jumping in to Daddy. 

7:25pm:  Swimming lessons are done.  I take both girls in the locker room to shower them off and get them dressed.  Straight to pajamas tonight so they can go to bed as soon as we get home.

7:45pm:  It's a whirlwind of craziness when we get home.  We have been trying to get the girls in bed by 7:30pm most nights and we've already passed that.  We brush teeth and get both girls tucked in bed.  We normally read a few stories before bed, but have to skip that tonight because it's late and the girls didn't nap.  

8:00pm:  Both girls are in bed, so I clean up dinner while E does some work.  When the kitchen is clean, I get more laundry to fold and a treat, Thin Mints... yum!

8:20pm:  E and I watch Parks & Rec while I fold laundry.  Then I put my feet up and relax for a bit.  I really love every character in Parks & Rec.  Such a great show!

9:00pm:  We head upstairs to get ready for bed.  I iron E's shirt for the next day and pick out my clothes for work.  Little J is restless so I check on her while I brush my teeth.

I think I'm sleeping by 10ish, up again a little after 11, then sleep on and off until I'm up for good a little after 5am.  Not the best night of sleep.  Time to get up and start Thursday.  Here's how Thursday went.  Like I said at the beginning, not sure what "normal" really is.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Easter Weekend 2014

We had a terrific Easter weekend, and I hope everyone else did too!  The girls and I had Friday off, so we got to have a long weekend, which was much needed after some craziness during the week.  We got to sleep in a bit on Friday, run errands and meet up with some fun friends for lunch at Bread and Chocolate.  Here's a mostly photo wrap up of our weekend!

We ended up waiting until kind of last minute to dye our Easter eggs, but we did get it done Saturday night.  Both girls were really excited to help, but didn't have a lot of patience to wait for the eggs to change color.  There was a lot of stirring and checking the eggs, and Little J ended up spilling the purple all over the kitchen.  Thankfully I was able to get the purple off the floor, and we're planning to paint this room soon anyway.  

On Easter morning the girls slept in until about 7:30, and we all got up to start our day.  I made a deal with Miss A on Saturday night that she had to take a bath and eat breakfast before hunting for Easter eggs, so she was pretty cooperative getting ready for the day.  New twirly dresses didn't hurt anything.

Little J testing out her new dress.
 The Easter Bunny hid the girls' eggs and baskets in their rooms, so Miss A got us started in her room.

Then we moved on to Little J's room.

Each time Little J would find an egg she would yell, "I found it pink one!  I found it blue one!"  So cute!

Each girl got a new swimsuit, beach towel, bubbles and cup in their Easter basket.  They're both very excited to use their new summer gear for swimming lessons later this week!

The silly Easter Bunny always gets confused and brings extra Easter baskets for all of the neighbor kids to Neighbor B's house.  We'll be so sad to see them go later this year (thought I can't blame them for moving to Arizona after the winter we had!).

Our attempt at a family photo :)
After finding Easter baskets we headed to church.  We were even a little early, which almost never happens.  Before church, we always ask Little J, "What are we going to do in church?" and she tells us, "Be nice and quiet."  It doesn't often work, but it's sweet when she says it.  The readings and the Pastor's message for Easter Sunday included the line, "Do not be afraid."  Each time she heard it, Little J would tell us (quite loudly), "Don't be afraid!"  She might have been a little disruptive, but she certainly understood the message.

We ended up with the most beautiful day for Easter this year.  It was in the 70s and sunny all day.  I spent hours sitting outside on our deck, and playing with the kids and loved every minute of being outside!

Look at my big girl!  I don't know what it is lately, but she seems to be growing up extra quickly.  Such a spirited personality.  I've also been extra emotional about her growing up, probably because I know these are the last few months of Little J being our "baby."  But I'm also really excited to see her move into the role of big sister!

I also love our backyard swing.  I wasn't so sure when E decided to make it last year, but I love having it now.  Both of our girls, and any other kid who visits, loves the swing.  Even E and I can use it, which is also pretty fun.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Snapshot Five

Thursday morning Little J woke up acting strange.  She would cry any time I picked her up or moved her, and refused to move her left arm.  She said her arm 'urt, but couldn't point to a specific place.  Nothing strange happened the night before, so I assumed she slept on it funny or something.  I missed work on Wednesday because of my glucose test (I passed...yay!) so I didn't want to call in last minute.  I got both girls ready and we headed to day care.  Little J fell asleep in the car (very uncommon) and when I tried to get her out of her car seat she was crying again.  I talked to Miss J about her arm, and watched Little J struggle to get in her booster seat by herself, only using her right arm.  Something was clearly bothering her.  I headed to work, and called our clinic as soon as it opened to talk to a nurse.

The nurse I talked to wanted us to come in right away.  She said they didn't have any openings, but the doctor would work her in.  I called the school secretary to have her find subs for me, and got out of school as quickly as I could.  I drove over to day care (thankfully super close to where I work) to pick up the girls to find my sweet little 2 year old running around like her normal little self, carrying around a big plastic Easter egg.  Miss J told me that after about half an hour she started using her arm a little, and then was totally fine.  I called our clinic back to see what they wanted me to do.  The nurse (who was a little cranky with me this time) said that if she really, truly seemed fine then it was okay for us not to come in.  I had Little J show me a bunch of things she could do with her arm, with her smiling and laughing the whole time.  Not the same little girl I had dropped off an hour earlier.  So I left the girls at day care and headed back to work.

I picked the girls up again at our normal time, and headed home for lunch.  We played for a bit, read a story and got Little J ready for her nap.  I went back a couple of times to tell Little J to get back in bed, but after that it got really quiet, so I assumed she was sleeping.  Miss A and I worked on a project, and then I sent her to get ready for nap.

Miss A called to me, "Mommy, Little J is sleeping somewhere that is not her bed."  I walked over to Little J's room to find this:

No wonder little girl has a 'urt arm when this is how she naps!  After such a crazy morning with her, I couldn't believe she climbed up her dresser during nap time!  (Don't worry, I put her back in her bed as soon as I snapped a few pictures.)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Baby #3: Weeks 21-23

24 Weeks
Due date: August 2nd

What I'm loving:  Real spring weather!  This winter has been terrible, but the past week was beautiful, including a day in the 70s!  Baby is also a lot more active now, and I love feeling baby's kicks.  E can even feel baby move now, which is extra fun.

What I'm looking forward to:  More spring weather!  Having the next two Fridays off work!  Being done with my glucose test.  I had a terrible experience with the 3 hour glucose test when I was pregnant with Miss A, so getting it done, and hopefully passing on the first try, would make me very happy!

What I'm missing: Sleep!  I have not been sleeping well at all.  I'm up multiple times at night, and have trouble falling back asleep.  Which leads to a lot of naps.  Which takes up all of my time to get things done during the afternoon.  I also think not sleeping is part of the reason why I am craving so much sugar lately.

How I'm feeling:  Tired. Which in turn makes me cranky.  I know that I'm being much less patient with my girls, E and at work.  I'm hoping the upcoming long weekends will help me get some extra sleep and energy.

What I miss:  Having energy.

Exercise:  I'm back to consistently exercising 3 or 4 times each week.  The spring weather has made it possible for me to run outside, which feels great!  I have been having back pain, especially on work days when I'm on my feet a lot, so doing cardio and stretching have been helping with that.

Cravings/Aversions:  Sugar!  I baked, and then ate, WAY too many cookies this past week (this recipe... they were SO tasty!).  Still loving sugary cereal too.

Diet:  Ok.  We've been out of town the past two weekends, which means a lot more eating out than usual, but at home I've really been working on increasing my servings of freggies every day.  Now to work on limiting the sugar!

Differences between pregnancies:  I feel like my belly is different with this baby.  Maybe less round?  Less pregnant looking?  I'm not really sure how to describe it, except to say it seems different than with the girls.  I'm sure that my stomach muscles are not as strong, considering this is the 3rd pregnancy in about 4 years, which may be why it feels different.  I also feel more tired (I think).  In my 23 week post with Little J I mention sleep starting to get uncomfortable, but not too bad.

Other Thoughts:  We've been talking a lot about names over the past few weeks, but have come up with nothing that we both really love for either a girl or a boy.  A couple weeks ago I had a dream that I had to go take care of Little J and Miss A right after baby was born, and E and my brother ended up naming baby without talking to me.  Since then I've been bothering E to figure out a name almost daily, but we're stuck.  It's such a big decision, and we've had trouble deciding on a name each time.  We were down to two names with Miss A when we got to the hospital, but we had many more in the hospital with Little J.  I know we still have some time, but I'd like to have it narrowed down to at least a few for each gender.

Miss A has also been really sweet about baby lately.  She loves to give my belly hugs and kisses, and last week she brought a big pile of books over by me so she could read to the baby.  I think part of it is trying to avoid nap time, but I think she's also excited for baby to get here.  She has switched to team pink lately, hoping that baby is a girl, because she "doesn't like boys."  Little J has also started giving my belly kisses sometimes.  She still seems a little confused about the whole baby idea.
All 3 bellies