Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Bed Time.

We just moved Lily into a big girl bed and it is going GREAT! I was absolutely terrified of doing it, mostly because Sungu just moved out of his crib a week before, and things weren't going so great. When I say Sungu 'moved' out of his crib, what I mean is that he JUMPED out of his crib. Twice. Because he is an absolutely crazy sleeper, Jeehon has him sleeping on these two huge mats on the floor. There are still times when you go in to check on him that half of his body is on the mat and the other half is not. Being on the floor just seemed like a smart and safe move.

The main issue with Sungu was that he didn't take you seriously when you told him to go to bed, and stay in bed. Or at least he didn't take Jeehon or me seriously. Everyone takes Chris seriously (people under 4 feet tall that is) so when Chris puts Sungu down, the boy stays down.

So it was with Lily. For the first two or three times. I would put her in her cute bed that Barb painted (so awesome) and two minutes later she would be at the door wanting to come out. A good spanking, and some serious tiredness fixed her of that bad habit in no time at all. EVen if she gets out of her bed, she doesn't leave her room, which is the main concern for me. I can hear her in her room, looking through her books, dropping her books, and eventually getting back into bed where she falls asleep so beautifully.

My advice for parents getting ready to move their monkeys into beds would be:
1. Have a stiff drink before starting the ordeal. Just joking. Be armed with patience for sure.
this could take any where from a few minutes to a few days and nights.
2. Be stern so they know you are serious about bed time being bed time. Chris Watson is willing
to give lessons for a small fee.
3.Get a rail of sorts for the bed. Lily's bed is up against the wall, and it has a foot board and head board. We didn't have the rail the first night she slept in bed, and wouldn't you know it, she fell out of bed in the morning. Fortunately it was about 7am, so it was an o.k time to fall out of bed, if even there was a good time to do such a thing. Her fall was broken by her crib mattress that was strategically placed beside her bed, but wouldn't you know it- her body landed on the mattress but her face hit carpet. At least it was carpet.

Now Lily is officially a big girl, or close to it. Next month we shall embark on the magical journey that is Potty Training... Stay tuned!

"Up. Kaka. Don't! Nana. More! Sookal." etc...

My little Lily is growing up so fast. I know I complain SO MUCH about how slow she is sometimes (namely with speaking) but she has really been stepping it up the last couple of weeks! Or maybe I have been stepping it up the last couple of weeks?...

The key to our success has been making the kids ask for things that they want. This was at the prompting of Sungu's pediatrician, when Jeehon took him in for his 18 month well-visit a few weeks ago. Lily is really good at throwing a fit when she wants something, so I used to be in the habit of giving her anything and everything I thought she might want. And quickly. Milk. Juice. Oatmeal. Crackers. A new diaper. Jun Lee. The Backyardigans. A hug. A timeout. Whatever.

The first couple days of doing this were pretty hard, for everyone. There were lots more tears from both Lily and myself. And everyone who was within earshot of the two of us. (That's within a mile radius of our house.) Sungu was repeating everything Jeehon was saying like a champ, and Lily continued to cry. And then she started doing it too! And I was so beyond elated. I remember one time I was ready to give up and just throw the 'kaka' (cracker. Yeah I know, it sounds a lot like 'ca-ca' which doesn't mean cracker at all) at her, and then she said it.

In that moment I seriously remembered this sermon I heard about patience and perseverence. The pastor talked about a bamboo shoot that someone had planted. They waited and waited and waited for it to grow. It grew so slowly that the guy was about to give up. Until one day it just shot up and grew at an unexplicable exponential rate. And that's my Lily. Kinda.

She definitely has a wider variety of sounds that she makes. She is even using more of her baby sign language, and has a few favorite korean words ('ah-bah' which is dad, and 'sookal' which is spoon.) She said 'Nana' and 'Papa' today, and I was even able to get it on my phone and video-text it to Barb and Jerry. And Chris is working at the PHoenix Open this week, which means Lily won't be seeing her dad for the next few days, but she excitedly 'spoke' to him on the phone today and almost said 'I love you'. Chris was pretty happy about it. But I have to admit that my favorite of all her words is of course 'Mama', which she has been saying for awhile now, but she uses it a lot more. Sungu and Topher are saying it too, and I really believe there is no sweeter sound than 'Mama' on the lips of babes.

Happy now?

I updated my profile. Yes, I am 28. No, I am not ashamed. But like my mother, I will probably celebrate my '28th' birthday for the next fifty years. Happy now Gagnons? :)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Watson Hair

As many of you know, my beautiful husband is bald. I have had postpartum hairloss twice (I am presently growing a new patch of hair as we speak. Basically looks like an out-of-place patch of grass. Attractive, I know.) My dad is also bald, and beautiful. I fear for Topher a bit, especially since he REALLY does not have very much hair, even in his youth. When he gets 'bed head', it is the cutest thing in the world. It doesn't happen often, but I caught it on film when it did last week:

Lily is really the only one in our family who has a lot of hair. And it is crazy. We try to get it up in piggies whenever we go out, but when she is tired she insists on pulling them out. And then she needs her hair to be covered ASAP styles or else...
(I put up these pictureblogs when I don't have enough time to write a 'real blog'. Kids are awake from their nap already! Bye!)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Living INXS (not really like that 80s band)

I mentioned before that Chris and I went through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University at our church, withour small group. And I think I mentioned that it has since changed our lives. Though it's all for the better in the long run, we have not had any 'fun' since Dave entered our lives. And from the looks of it, he ain't leaving anytime soon... Which is again- a good thing.

Our idea of 'fun' in our lives P.D (Pre-Dave) looked like this-
eat out whenever we felt like it, drink a bunch of starbucks coffee, golf like it's going out of style, be part of a group that owns Season Tickets for the Suns, watch musicals at the Gammage, watch a bunch of t.v. on our ginormous t.v., buy stuff, donate stuff, buy more stuff.

Our lives W.D (With-Dave) looks like this-
eat at home, drink coffee at home, watch golf at home on our ginormous t.v., watch the Suns at home on our ginormous t.v., listen to cds of musicals that we have gone to in the past at the Gammage, buy only the stuff we need, sell stuff on craigslist, still donate stuff (if we can't sell it on craigslist.)...

Do we still have fun? Yes! We are Watsons after all. But I was so used to having fun that we couldn't afford! t is just taking some time for us to get adjusted to life as we should have always been living it. We were living as if we were rich and without a care in the world (or a budget.) Now we realize we are not rich (or at least not as rich as we were pretending to be), and we have quite a few cares in this world (lots of them concerning our budget!)

So, here are the most important things I learned from good ol' Dave Ramsey, and if you are thinking of going through Financial Peace University with him- I would highly recommend it. Just get ready to change your life...

1. Sell Everything: get rid of stuff you don't need for real survival. We live with some serious excess in our lives. Chris and I were prime examples of that. There were so many things we thought we couldn't live with, Chris especially. Here are some things we have gotten rid of, many with tears and some resistence, but none without gain (monetarily speaking.)
-Chris' motorcycle. Chris got this in the beginning stages of our marriage and thought he NEEDED to have this. Though Arizona has pretty great weather all year round, it's not as great for motorcycle riding as you would think. In the summer, it gets a touch hot here in the desert. Being exposed to the sun, on a machine made of metal that is exuding heat because it is on is not that fun. Though he sold it begrudgingly, and he actually did this P.D- it saved us in our monthly bills.
-Excessive Entertainment. That included the Suns tickets and going out to see musicals and playing golf. Chris still occassionally golfs. But nowhere near as much as he used to. I rarely to never golf, but that's a combo of being W.D and W.B (With Babies). The Suns tickets were the hardest to give up, but we will get them again one day...
-Our psycho cable bill. We had a butt-load of channels P.D. Over 200 of em I think. I mean we could even listen to music on our t.v. It was pretty sweet. And ever so unneccessary. Chris did not want to skimp on the extra sports package, even though that was the first thing to go. Then the HD. (I could never tell the difference between HD and non-HD anyway!) Then the extra-extra channels. We still have 100 channels (which is plenty!) But our bill went from $120 to $60sh! Talk about excessive. (I know, we could still trim diwn a bit more... give us some time!)

2. Debt Snowball. What this is a plan to get you out of debt fast. Dave tells you to make a list of all your debt and to attack them from smallest to largest. And as you know out one debt-item, you add what you had been paying towards that first thing to the next, and so on and so forth. We had some absolutely stupid credit card debt cause we just got careless one year (yup, all that debt was accrued in just one year) and boy are we paying for it now! But we have just a little bit to go and we will be credit card-debt free! Then we will move on to the car, and then the house... I mean houses...

3. The Cash-in-Envelopes System. We are now on a cash-only system. (Our bills still get withdrawn automatically) We have envelopes for different things like Gas, Food, and Stores. When we started this, it was really shocking to see that our money was finite. Once you spent it, it was gone. Unlike using a credit card, or even my debit card. You just assume there is money out there for you to spend, so you spend it! Very easily. I knew I had a serious problem when someone asked me for my i.d. once (no I was not buying booze, nor was I being pulled over by a cop) and I instinctively pulled out my bank card cause that's just what I always did- pulled out trusty Mr.Debit.Visa. My trusty old friend and I are no longer on speaking terms in this W.D era, and I can barely remember his phone number (aka my pin.)

4. "Live like no one else, so that later you can LIVE like no one else." This is Dave's catch phrase and I thought it was so stupid when we started. But it's very true. I can live like 'everyone else' right now and keep buying crap I don't need, and pretending to have more money than I do. Or I can stop the vicious cycle of being servant-to-the-lender, and eventually save money, then spend AND GIVE money that actually belongs to me! (I would just like to say that we still give money in tithes and offerings. Dave does NOT tell anyone to stop doing that. Good job Dave.)

So, there you have it. At leat for now. Maybe I will remember something else that was amazing about the program, but for now that should do it. Chris and I are definitely feeling much more at peace about our finances, and one day in the distant future, we will run up onto our fully-paid-for roof top and scream "We are debt-free!"

And this is truly what God wants for all of us- to have peace- in our marriages, in our finances, etc. And the best thing that I maybe didn't mention about Dave Ramsey is that he is Christian, and he knows that everything he has is because of the good Lord. And when you surrender your finances to Him (God, not Dave), He will bless the crap outta ya! Remember my Christmas- miracle washing machine? And my walking around Target or the mall with no purchases is nothing short of a miracle too! At least according to Chris.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Blind Leading the Blind...

We have just started letting Topher try to feed himself.
This only happens:
1. after he has already eaten most of his food with mom or dad or imo's help.
2. at dinner time.
3. when he is about to get thrown into the bathtub

Here's how he is doing:

-Holding the wrong end of the spoon, with the food-filled-side of the bowl facing outwards. So far, not so-good

"What mom? dump the food onto my tray? ok!"

The mess begins...

-Still holding the spoon the wrong way, but at least he still has it.

"Hey mom, is the spoon supposed to go into my mouth, or the bowl? The bowl? Ok. This isn't that hard."

"Mom! Look! The spoon is in my mouth! The right way! But I'm still hungry. I managed to get food on my eyebrows, my shirt, my pants, in my diaper, on the tray, and on the floor, but there wasn't any left to go into my belly. can you teach me to lick my face? That might be easier. Mom? Mom. Please stop crying..."

Anyway, it's not the easiest thing in the world- the whole spoon-in-hand-to-mouth coordination. But it's even harder when this is the example set before you :

"What-ever! Bowls and spoons are for losers!"

"Hey, did you just ask me to clean this up? I didn't make this mess..."

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Credit Scores. What the...?

So here is a non-mommy related post for you. It's about credit scores and how beyond backwards they are.
Chris and I tried to refinance last week cause of how low interest rates are. So this mortgage guy, who is a friend of a guy that Chris works with, came over to our house and gathered a bunch of info about us, and James and Jeehon (cause they are on the mortgage with us.) Then the mortgage man calls us back and tells us all our credit scores have dropped. And here's why they have dropped: cause we paid off all our credit cards! (except one.) Everyone keeps saying that we should have kept the accounts open, but here's the other thing- due to inactivity on the card for a couple months, the banks decided to close them. Superduper.
Just when you're trying to live a good, responsible, debt-free life, The Man sticks it to ya.
Thanks a lot The Man.

Still Kinda Ignorant, Still Pretty Blissful

Man, I do not know why I didn't turn that danged monitor off sooner! So Friday, Saturday and Sunday night were all AMAZING. Woke up at about 8am everyday. Thanks Tophy!!!! And even Lily got in on the whole sleeping-in-thing! It was pretty incredible. This morning I woke up at 6:30 and heard Topher crying through the walls. I left him for 30 minutes, hoping and praying that he would still just fall back asleep, but it didn't happen. So I got him at 7am, fed him, and bit the bullet and just started off the day, a little cranky, a little tired, but still thankful for the 3 nights of amazing sleep I had this week!
For those of you who have little ones here is some advice from my doctor-
If you start this process of making them cry through the night with no food, and no holding, they will get it in about 2 days if they are 4 to 5 months old. (check with your doctor before you take any real advice from me. I only have a b.a., and it's only in English Lit. I am barely authorized to read stories to my children at night.) If you do this when your baby is 9 months old (welcome to my club) your child will take about a week and a half to learn this amazing skill called 'sleeping through the night'. And if you wait till your child is over a year old, it could take up to a month. Yikes.
I know I gave up in the middle of trying to make Topher sleep on his own, when I was doing it on my own, but the whole no-monitor-thing is your best bet. Good luck and good nights to all!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Blissful Ignorance

Topher had his 9 month well-check yesterday. I really like our pediatrician cause he almost always gives me good news about everything, and has never made me feel bad about the way my kids are developing. When Lily was uber-chubby and in the 90th percentile for weight and stuff, he just said "She's healthy!". Then Topher dipped down to the 7th percentile for his weight this month and Dr. Leavitt said "He's active!" Thanks Dr. Leavitt! You rock.

Then we came to the end of our appointment and the doctor asked if I had any questions or concerns. I told him that Topher still is not sleeping through the night. Dr. Leavitt told me to just let him cry and work it out, no holding, no feeding. I told him about my failed attempts, and how I let Topher cry for 50 minutes straight that one time. He said to let Topher cry till the morning if I had to. This would not scar him in any way, and if need be I should buy earplugs.

Interestingly enough, Dr. Leavitt told me that if I had tried this when Topher was 4 or 5 months old, this process would have taken 2 or 3 days. But now that he is 9 months old, it could take up to a week and a half. But if I waited to try this when he turned 2 or 3, it could take up to a month. So 'better late than never' is a good cliche for the moment.

But the best cliche for last night is 'ignorance is bliss'. I decided not to even turn Topher's monitor on, and away I slept. I was awoken by Topher's stirring and gentle crying at... 7:45 am! I don't know if Topher cried last night. If he did, I don't know how long he cried for. It was kind of amazing. And when I got him this morning, he was in a good mood and happy to see me, so we're still friends and he is not holding a grudge, if there is even one that needs to be held!