Wednesday, April 29, 2009

50% Staycation + 50% Vacation = 100% Fun

Friday night, Jeehon and I met up with two of our girlfriends at The Rogers Center, a hotel downtown. We had no kids. It was amazing.

This was my third time away from Topher in his short 13 months of life. This was actually Jeehon's first night away from Sungu in his long 22 months of life! Our amazing brothers and parents were on hardcore babysitting duty till Saturday afternoon.

So, Steph and Elisa, the two friends we met up with, had set up the whole stay/vacation. Steph and Elisa both still live in Toronto, which is why it was 50% staycation, and Jeehon and I were 'visiting' (though this is also our home, and always will be) which is where the 50% vacation comes in. But it really was 100% great times!

So we started off the night with homemade Smores cupcakes in the hotel room (thanks Steph, they were amazing!) then we tried to decide what to wear for our night on the town. There was going to be lots of walking involved so 3 out of the 4 of us decided to wear walking shoes. Jeehon opted to be Miss Fancy Pants since she would not at any point in the night have to pick up a 26 lbs child.

Our first stop was a restaurant called Marche/Richtree. All I needed to eat there was a plate of Rosti- shredded potatoes with a side of sour cream and smoked salmon. AMAZING. Jeehon got mussels, which were also to die for, and the other ladies also got Rosti with different sides. So good.

Then we walked around downtown and ended up at David's Tea. Or seomthing like that. They have these huge canisters filled with loose-leaf tea behind the counter, you pick one that sounds interesting to you, they let you smell it, and then they brew you a fresh cup. I had something called 'Kiss Me' which was a red tea with bits of peppermint and chocolate in it. Again- AMAZING.

We went back to the hotel room. It was about 9pm. And we were kinda pooped. So we sat and chatted. And just when it looked like a couple ladies were going to hit the hay, we decided it was time to eat again. So we got dressed and went down the street to a place called 'Smokes Poutine' where they sell, well, poutine. Poutine is a wonderful Canadian invention that consists of fries, cheese curds, and gravy. So we got an order of 'regular' poutine, and a 'Nacho Grande' poutine which had chili, jalapenos, some other stuff, and cheese, on fries. A great snack at 11pm! Gotta love the clubbing district.

We rolled on over back to the hotel room and had some great sleep in our matching pajamas (thank you Target for having cute and cheap pajamas!)

The fun and the eating commenced as soon as we woke up the next morning (at 8am. Glorious to wake up because of the sunshine, and ont because of a baby crying!) Steph and I took the streetcar over to the Drake Hotel where they have the best scones in Toronto, or possibly the whole world over. The cranberry ones have a bit of chocolate in them to balance out the tartness. Genius. Then we went to the best (but also most expensive) place for dim sum (which is a bunch of little plates of dumplings, or other appetizery looking chinese food) called Pearl Harborfront. Hilarious.

Anyway, I know gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins, and it sounds like we practiced lots of it on our amazing staycation, but there was so much walking and talking and fun-having involved that we really needed all that food to keep us going! In these hard financial times, staycations are the best things to go on- no real traveling costs, a chance to fall in love with the city you live in, with friends you love to hang out with, I would recommend that everyone go on a serious staycation at least once a year.

Monday, April 27, 2009

With love, from Canada.

Hello from the Great White North! Or, Toronto as I like to call it. There is no white here, or snow. But there was two weeks ago. Yesterday was pretty cold, then the afternoon was incredible, and today it is just hot.
I am here with Topher and Jeehon and Sungu, visiting our parents and three brothers. We have been having a seriously amazing time! Lily is at home with her daddy and a plethora of other adults who are feeding and fellowshiping with my two big babies :) I miss them all dearly and am looking forward to seeing them again Thursday night. But for now, I am here and loving it!
We have been eating tons and tons of awesome food, and hanging out with tons and tons of amazing people.
The plane ride over was not bad at all, but the whole ordeal in general really gets my stress levels at a dangerously high level. Topher was a champ, but did NOT want to watch the heavy portable DVD player that I then just had to lug around between Phoenix, Vegas, and Toronto airports. Oh well, I guess I shouldn't be sad that my son is not that interested in watching tv. He cried for about 5 minutes in total on our journey, which is nothing in the grand scheme of things, but any crying on an airplane is loud and everyone can hear it and is therefore annoyed at you. I am hoping for a five hour nap on our way home... Though tis unlikely that it will occur.
Anyhoo, I have to write a few seperate posts for some of the fun things we've done here, but it's been almost two weeks since I last wrote so I just wanted to drop a line and say Hey!, or as we say in Canada- 'h- eh!'

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

"Sleep Begets Sleep"

That's a quote from a lovely neighbor of mine who has had some trouble with her kids and sleeping. It's frustrating because with kids it seems the more tired they are- the less they are going to sleep because of irritability and a general craziness that they all seem to possess. But once they sleep well, it perpetuates more and more good sleep.

So here is how we are doing on the whole sleeping front:

-The first time Chris locked Lily in her room, she started banging on the door and screaming "Daddy!" It was the first time she ever said 'daddy'. It's cute enough when she calls him 'dada' or 'ah-bah', but 'daddy' is kinda the cutest, and I couldn't believe she waited till this particular moment to bust it out. She is so smart! It definitely made Chris' heart melt, and he definitely wanted to go 'rescue' his little girl, but after careful consideration (after I threatened his life) he decided to just go to bed.
Parents: 1 point (1 point for sticking to the game plan)
Lily: 0.5 (gotta give the girl something for trying!)

-Two nights ago, Lily fell asleep right after prayer time in her bed. So I slowly, and very stealthly, crept out of her room and decided to keep her door open. I am trying to remove as much trauma and drama from sleeptime as possible. So Chris and I went to bed pretty early too (10pm. Earliest in as long as I can remember.) And I was awoken by Lily at about midnight. I promptly got out of bed, carried her to hers, told her I loved her a bunch, stroked her hair some, and tried to leave the room. We kinda had a weird little exchage by the door. I felt like we were in some NFL videogame. I was on defense, Lily was on offense, and her goal was to get to the open door behind me. She went one way, I followed, she ducked out from my reach, she almost got to the door, but fortunately my arms were just long enough to grab her. I gave her a stern talking to, a spank on the behind, and I basically ran out the door. Lily started pounding and screaming, and was out like a light ten minutes later. Ten minutes! Not bad!
Parents: 2 points (1 point for being stern, and getting a workout in the middle of the night)
Lily: 0.5

-Nap time yesterday, Lily slept for 2 hours with the door slightly ajar. Amazing! Longest nap she's taken in about two weeks. I tidied up the house (I actually wrote that I 'cleaned' the house, but just deleted it, cause that is a downright lie.) and did a bunch of other random things. It was so great!
Parents: 3 points (a point for being productive)
Lily: 1.5 (a point for sleeping!)

-Last night Lily fell asleep in the car and stayed asleep when Chris laid her down in her bed. He left the door open and she came into our room around 11. (Yes, we were already asleep! Two nights of going to bed early- so glorious. Sometimes the dishes CAN wait till the morning, and the world will not fall into a black hole if I don't check my e-mail/facebook, etc.) She asked for milk, and I unfortunately got it for her (I thought it was 5am!) Then I put her in her bed. Told her I loved her. She thought about getting up but was enjoying her mlk way too much. I locked the door behind me and didn't hear a peep out of her till 7 AM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
7am people! That's amazing. I long go told myself that I am just one of those people whose day starts at 6 am. Everyday. 365 days a year...
Parents: 2.5 points (minus .5 for giving in to the milk request)
Lily: 2.5 points (another point for sleeping)

And that's what they call a win-win situation folks. Gotta give some major props to Jesus in the midst of all this. Cause I was kinda at a breaking point on Sunday and I definitely complained tons about this to anyone with working ear drums. So for those out there who prayed about this sleeping situation- Thanks!

So hopefully we are on the road to sleep begetting more sleep begetting more sleep. For Lily, and everyone here on E Lomita Ave.

Friday, April 10, 2009

On Lock Down

So I went to the pediatrician yesterday. The night before Lily cried in my arms for almost twenty minutes. She did not want me to stroke her hair, or rub her back, or do anything except just be there. This is hard when you are trying to figure out what is wrong with your child and they just cry and cry and cry. God has not given me any cholic-y baby cause he knows I could NOT handle that. So then Chris came in and had a turn with her, and he was done in 5 minutes. I attribute that to when I ask him to open a jar that I have been working on for a long time- I basically did all the hard work of loosening things up, or in this case- tiring Lily out.

By this time Chris and I were more convinced than ever before that there was something wrong with our Lilsters and that we had to take her to the doctor. Even if it was for some heartfelt pediatric advice. Surely I was doing something wrong.

Lily and I went to the pediatrician. We just went last week for her's and Topher's 2 year and 1 year well check-ups. (A bonus for being born within a week of each other!) So the pediatrician definitely recognized us, and remembered that I had mentioned Lily's sudden change in sleep. First she treated the treatable problem- Lily had an ear infection.

Then the pediatrician tried to treat the other problem- me. And Chris too. Apparently our inconsistencies were causing Lily to be confused and very very tired. And of course, that made plenty of sense. We wanted her to fall asleep on her own at the beginning of the night (which she fought tooth and nail) but then any where in the middle of the night she could be found in our bed, or in her bed with me, or with me on the floor next to her bed, etc. Yes, that's confusing for a two year old. I get it. The remedy? For Chris and I to arm ourselves for battle- and to lock her door at nap time and at night time and that's that. And the key to success was CONSISTENCY. One of my bigger weaknesses.

It sounds easy enough, to lock the door and not think about your baby in her room, but when you hear your two year old screaming for you behind their locked door, your heart breaks a little. And then after 30 minutes of it, you want to break something... But fortunately it only took about half an hour for Lily to fall asleep (or stop screaming) at nap time, and later in the middle of the night. I don't know why it's different from when I was told to stop using the baby monitor to get Topher to sleep through the night... Maybe cause with Topher I knew he was safe in his crib, and his mind isn't as 'advanced' as Lily's. I have visions of Lily climbing all over her furniture and hurting herself. Or being scared that we locked her in her room and that she is the only one in the house. Even though Chris and I went through a routine before putting her to bed that went a little something like this: "Sleeping time- door locked. All done sleeping time- door opened, hello mommy and daddy!" The main reason it was probably easier to 'train' Topher is cause I really didn't hear him in the middle of the night (even though his room is right next to ours) and I can always hear Lily. She's really got a set of vocal chords you don't want to mess with.

Yes Lily has an ear infection right now, so every time she cries- we go get her so that we can put those drops in her ear. Last night she went to bed at about 8 pm, woke up at midnight, stopped screaming at 12:30, and woke up at 6am. It was amazing! Yes 6 am is WAY too early for anyone to be awake, but it's a start! My sleep would have been all the more amazing had Topher not woken up at 4am with a fever (He caught Lily's cold! When it rains, it pours...) But to sleep in my own bed for the whole night- that's what dreams are made of.

And it is always humbling to remember that in order to have good kids, you really have to learn to be a good parent first.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

What to do?

So, I am just about at wit's end.

Lily will not stay in her bed and I do not know what to do. The last two nights (before last night) she crawled into bed with me and Chris- without my realizing it. I guess I have been pretty tired to not notice an extra 25 lb weight crawling over me to get into the middle of the bed.

Then last night Chris and I went to bed a little past midnight cause we watched '7 pounds', the new Will Smith movie. Kinda depressing, I gotta be honest. And about 10 minutes of me laying in my bed in blissful peace, Lily woke up. And my heart started pounding. I intercepted her in the hallway and brought her back into bed. Her bed. And then she patted the space next to her in bed so that I would lay down next to her. Why does she have to be so cute AND conniving? Anyhoo, I usually just lay on the floor next to her till she falls asleep so that I have an easier path to escape her room. But I succumbed to my baby girl's cuteness and laid next to her. Big mistake.

She started pulling my hair, in her feeble attempts to 'gently' run her fingers through my hair. We took turns sleeping it seemed. Everytime I woke up, Lily would be staring at me (yea, creepy) and then se would kinda drift into a superlight sleep. And then if I tried to move, she would wake up again.

Oh to sleep in my own bed for a whole night... when will this happen? It's like starting all over again at the newborn stage.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Stopping to smell the coffee

The Napping Wars have begun again. And yes, they are with Lily. Again. But she is armed and not alone- she has a cute co-conspirator and his name is Sungu. And I guess Topher heard about the war so he decided he would 'play' today too.

Jeehon battled the children last night, while I was at my Small Group and Chris was working. Barb was here for moral support, but she was busy making sure Topher and Gabe didn't hurt/kill themselves on our many many stairs. The big kids took turns coming out of their rooms, crying, screaming, and carrying on like- well, big babies. Why is there not a giant crib that is big-baby-proof? This whole big girl/boy bed is nothing but a big pain in my butt.

Now it's nap time- about 12pm. And the kids have been crying and carrying on for about an hour... oh to have some peace and quiet...

Ok. It's actually Saturday night now. And I started this post on Wednesday afternoon I believe. Things have definitely gotten much better, but the war's not over yet. Though it isn't nearly as painful getting the kids to go to sleep (painful on the eardrums that is), it is still very time consuming. But here's the big question that always looms about in my head- so what?

So what if it takes a long time trying to get the kids to fall asleep? The other day I was sitting outside of Lily's door, waiting for her to come out just so I could yell at her to get back into bed. And as I sat there, I could hear her 'reading' in bed. She would mumble something and then say 'there it is'. That's how we read books in our house! And now Lily was doing it by herself! Then later she started sliding the books under her door, and saying 'Uh oh!' and I was sure that was her clever ploy to have to come out of her room- but instead she just cried. She did this three times! It was all so ridiculous I just had to laugh. If she had been good at falling asleep on her own, I would have missed all of her funny ridiculousness.

Then today I was in her room trying to get her to go to sleep, and I just stroked her forehead, the way I used to when she was just a wee little baby, and she was falling asleep. She just looked so stinkin beautiful and peaceful. She isn't going to be a cute and sweet little 2 year old for long. I was really trying to stand there and drink the moment in. Everyday seems so redundant and difficult, but it really is going to be just a moment in the grand scheme of things! What is the rush? Why am I trying to get my kids to go to sleep so quickly? So that I can get on the computer and update my facebook page and blog about how hard it is to parent toddlers? Like that is more important than reading just one more story, or watching Lily drift off to dream land, or rocking Topher to sleep, even though he is more than capable of falling asleep in his crib on his own? Why am I always in such a rush?

A couple mornings ago, Sungu showed us just how tall and agile he is. He 'blindly' reached up onto the counter where the coffee pot was brewing my morning cups of coffee, and he pulled and dropped the pot on the floor. Somehow he managed to jump out of the way without getting a drop of hot coffee, or a piece of shattered glass on him. Amazing. Anyhoo, me being the coffee affectionado (read: addict) that I am, I had another pot from a different machine in the pantry. It fits in the coffee machine, but you have to tilt the pot 'just so' in order to fill the pot, and not the filter/grinds-area with coffee. So every morning I have had to stand at the coffee machine for about 5 minutes watching my coffee brew, drip by drip. And again- it's just five minutes in the grand scheme of my whole day. And it's actually been a very peaceful five minutes. So I am trying, really really hard, as a parent, and just as a human being who is too busy for their own good, to slow down, enjoy the big and small moments, and to stop and smell the coffee.

April Fools

Today is April Fools day, one of my husband's favorite days of the year. It's 2:06pm, and he has yet to pull anything- at least on me. He is busy at work, and I am hoping he doesn't even realize what day it is.

This is a quick post about the funniest/most ridiculous prank he has pulled on this special day. It was two years ago. Lily was two weeks old. Actually, a few days shy of being two weeks old. A whole bunch of our friends came over. I really can't remember why. Maybe to watch March Madness? It was a Saturday, I think. Anyhoo, we were all sitting around, piled up in our living room, watching tv, eating, and enjoying having a new baby in the group.

Chris leaned over to me as he was holding the baby, who was fast asleep. (Oh how I miss those days!) And he told me he had the best April Fools prank, and that I just had to trust him that Lily would be safe. Yikes.

So he proceeded to leave the room, with baby in tow, climbing over a few of our friends who were sitting on the floor. Chris was gone for about two minutes and came back with something swaddled in the same blanket that Lily had been swaddled up in. As Chris 'tried' to climb back over our friends who were sitting on the floor, Chris pretended to trip on our friend's knee and fell to the floor as dramatically as he could whilst 'dropping slash throwing' the swaddled 'baby' out of his arms. Time seriously stood still as Chris and I looked around the room at the different looks of horror, shock, fear, etc on our friends faces. I am pretty sure a few of them were about to cry. In my opinion that means Chris took the joke too far. In Chris' mind, that means he did a great job. As Chris scrambled to the swaddled up 'baby' on the floor, he pulled out a stuffed piggy, and yelled out 'April Fools!'

Fortunately for us, our friends have AMAZING senses of humour, (otherwise they would not be able to be our friends) even though it does usually take them a little while to catch their breaths after a Chris-Watson-Special.

So, tonight is the first time we are hanging out with people again on April Fools. Hopefully Chris will behave himself. But chances are he won't. The hostess has informed me that she and her husband are going to try to get Chris back. Maybe the joke will be that they invited us over or dinner, but really they aren't going to feed us at all... It's ok though. We (read: Chris) deserves that.

(PS. Lily was laying safely in her crib, while her poor little piggy was being thrashed around in the living room. Again- no need to call CPS, no children or live animals were harmed in the making of this amazing prank.)