Friday, February 24, 2012


While nursing the baby at 6:30 AM this morning, I realized . . . oh yes, that's right . . . Diego grew out of his shoes this winter as well.  I usually thrift a pair of "the next size up" for the cooler season each year, but this month he started complaining that they were pinching his toes.

Then, at breakfast this morning I realized another recent development: his Scooby-doo undies are too small.  The ones that were almost too big for him last winter.  Just this week he went back and back and back to his underwear drawer until he could find a pair that fit.  Everything else squeezed him.

So it wasn't just the pants.  I'm so sthmart.  Gee willikers.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Growth spurt

Amazing.  Within the last few weeks, Diego has somehow outgrown his size 6 pants and now wears a size 7.  He's been complaining about being squeezed and I finally got wise and pulled out our size 7 stash and three of the five pairs fit perfectly. 

How does that happen??  Though I have thought he looks so much taller and just bigger recently, eyeing him up and wondering how he was ever such a little guy like his baby brudder.  So close, so far away...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Brudders

....and this picture is already almost two weeks old.  We made an extremely quick trip to the Twin Cities the weekend before last to see Squeeze's grandparents in Wisconsin and enjoy a leisurely visit to Como Park.  'Twas lovely, but too short (ultimately probably approx. 24 hours minus driving time).

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Change can be such a good thing

It's amazing.  I wonder if I will ever have the ability to truly appreciate where I'm at in life.  I feel like I spend so much of my time feeling the burn.  The intensity of mothering young children. 

I yearn for down-time, feeling jealous of others who have the time and ability for quiet reflection or pursuit of interests.  I feel like a some kind of emergency director, barking out orders constantly: "Yes", "No", "Please stop!", "Tell me why I am asking you to stop X, Y, Z", or "Pick that up and put it where you know it goes, please", or "That's fine, but you're going to need to clean that up as soon as you are done with it", or "Please leave your brother alone" or "Stop!" or "Green chair, red couch" (my version of "time out", the proverbial "re-set button") and so on and so forth.  The endless minutiae.

Where's Shawna?  Where am I...?  Sometimes I get tired of being "the mother" all the time...

And then . . . my little cherubs.  Those sweet little boys, who love us so much.  They can't help that they are unbelievably energetic, excited little things who love to be with us constantly, want to tell us everything, make messes wherever they go, and have the burning desire to explore and discover everything around them.  God bless their dear hearts.  I hope I am good enough for them.

* * * * *

That being said, I went through a bit of a crisis this past December.  After the ferocity of the garden harvest and food preservation, houseguests, travel, and a newly mobile baby (literally . . . just 10 months old at the time), I was whooped.  My homelife felt like it was spiraling totally out of control.  (Take this with a grain of salt . . . this is a. borealis speaking here . . . I tend towards the grand and overdramatic.)  Things needed to change.

I reflected on the problem and rested.  I brainstormed.  I checked in with friends.  I grounded our little tushies and tried to stay home as much as humanly possible (that in itself helped a lot).  I spent a lot of time re-working things in my head.  Over a period of weeks and months, I feel like I've finally worked into a very effective rhythm.  I feel happier and more connected with my little guys.  It is such a relief.

What did I change?  We stay home more.  I started doing a weekly menu outline.  I assessed my goals for each day and week, then incorporated them into a revised (AKA "new and improved!") daily routine.  On my daily To Do List, I incorporate both necessities, i.e. "clean the bathroom" or "vacuum sunroom/bedroom", and desires, i.e. "Memory with the boys" or "read aloud" or "post on blog".  Having a more structured routine also helps me know how to direct the flow of traffic without being sucked into the bog of "I've got to do it now!", which usually results in the boys running wild and general daily timeframes spiraling beyond my control.

I've also started seriously incorporating the boys in clean-up, more than ever before.  Sure, they put their dishes in the dishwasher.  With my assistance, they pick up around the play table on a semi-regular basis.  They pick up the "storage toys" as soon as they are done with them, things like Tinker Toys, Magnetix, or playdough.  They put their paper and crayons and scissors away when they are done with them.  All under my direction, of course.

But what I have changed is adding them to the responsibility of keeping the entire house picked up and clean.  I can't take the toy-strewn mess anymore.  The sandbox-like kitchen floor.  The rubbish-flecked carpets.  Junk everywhere.  I can't. take. it.  Now I have them come with me from room to room, picking things up and putting them away under my direction.  I have the baby in the backpack, assisting them, then vacuum.  We do this on an almost-daily basis.  I don't have to do it alone anymore.  Alone, or not at all.

I also posted my New and Improved! routine in clear view to help keep me on track.

The Daily Flow
  • 8:00-ish AM: Breakfast, Clean-up/Cod liver oil, Get dressed
  • 9:00-ish AM: Free Play (them), Clean/Catch-up (me) . . . depending on the day/level of focus, include them in on the work
  • 11:00-ish AM: Table Time OR Directed Play OR Clean/Tidy together
  • 1:00-ish PM: Lunch, Audiobook, Clean-up
  • 2:00-ish PM: Free Play, Read Books
  • 3:00-ish PM: Nap/Quiet Time
  • 4:00-ish PM: Game Time w/ Diego
  • 5:00-ish PM: Dinner Prep (me), Quiet Play (them) i.e. playdough, Magnetix, Leapster
"Table Time" is the term I coined for work we do together at the table, anything from coloring and drawing to letter-writing and misc. crafts.  Everything is more exciting with a name for the little guys and helpful in the fact that they know what to expect when I say, "It's table time".  I've also noticed that it is easier for me to remember my goals/intentions when it has a snappy little name . . . not that "Table Time" is replete with bells and whistles.

I finally feel like I have a grip on life: able to manhandle my living quarters into submission, I feel happier and more connected with my children.  I even get a little bit of a break in the afternoon on most days. 

It feels so good.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012


I've been tending to a cranky, sometimes-feverish baby teething molars.  Poor Schtinky.  He spent more than one night blazing heat like a little furnace and whimpering like a wounded puppy.  Last night was the first normal night of sleep since Thursday of last week.  He slept solidly from 8:30 PM to 8:30 AM.  The poor little guy . . . he hasn't been able to even nap normally. 

He's been rather a pest as well, either cranky and clingy, or climbing on Mount St. Something (the back of the potty seat to get at pretty little rocks on the window sill -!!!-, the perfectly-positioned toy vacuum for an extra boost to get up on play table, the toy box, the side of the tub, etc.), or trying to sidle in and destroy whatever project his brudders are working on.  He's been in the sling, the backpack, or my arms for most of the last week.

My poor breasts have been on a roller coaster ride as well, if you can believe it.  He abdicated food on last Friday, which is fine . . . he still gets most of his nourishment from nursing anyway.  But then, all of a sudden on Monday, he didn't nurse as much (or start eating for that matter) and that resulted in some, errrr . . . issues.  Think poor, sore rocks.  That lead to plugged ducts on my left breast, which must be a weakness for me at this point in time, because I just dealt with the same thing in the same spot a couple of weeks ago.

So I started to self-treat with warm compresses (hot salt in a pillow case) on the go, holding it in place with my hand or pinning it with my left arm.  That didn't seem to resolve the issue by itself (it did last time), so I started taking Vitamin C and echinacea yesterday afternoon.  The plugged ducts spanned about 6 inches, from the left side all the way around the top (the most I've ever dealt with at one time); very tender to the touch. 

By bedtime last night, nothing had changed after more than 24 hours of treatment and I started wondering if I was going to need to get radical; but I was so pleased to note at this morning's 4:00 AM nursing session that the swelling and tenderness had totally cleared.  Yesssssss.  Thank goodness.  Now I can get on with life.

All that is left of our issues now seems to be phlegm in the baby's lungs.  It is the strangest thing.  He hasn't been sick, nor has anyone else.  We haven't been anywhere in over week.  I can only conclude that must be somehow connected with the teething.  Strange.