Friday, March 22, 2013

Turning Four

My sweet girl is turning four, and I'm just not ready. I can't believe she is already four years old. And, at the same time, I can't imagine my life without her. I've always had her in my life right? She is my wonderful little girl, my first baby, and a joy in my life.

Nicole loves to ask me questions, especially, "why?" That is her favorite question. The other day, this was our conversation...
Cole: Mommy, did you make me?
Me: Yes.
Cole: Why did you make me?
Me: Because I wanted a little girl, and so I made you.
Cole: Why did you want a little girl?
Me: So that I could have someone to love.
Cole: Why did you want someone to love?
Me: Because you make me happy.
Cole: Mom! Are you joking with me?

Many of you may or may not know this but my little Nicole is quite... particular. Some may say OCD, but I like to say particular. Every morning, she needs to know what the schedule is for that day or she will get really anxious. She likes to know what to expect. Also, she does not like to make decisions. It is too much for her to be presented with too many choices.

One day, I asked her what she wanted for lunch, a sandwich or chicken nuggets... she broke in to tears and said, "I don't know!" She couldn't handle such a decision as what she wanted for lunch. This resulted in a full on panic attack complete with hyperventilating and throwing up. I really have to be careful what I talk to her about because it has the potential to trigger her "particular" side where she doesn't feel in control.

Nicole is so smart though. The other day she said to me, "Mom, I'm going to teach you spanish." I said, "Okay, what is the word for... red?" She said, "Rojo. And blue is Azul." And I was floored. I had no idea that she had picked up so many spanish words and retained them. I knew that she watched Dora and Diego, but I didn't think she was retaining anything, but apparently she is. But, the spanish lesson got a little funny when I asked her words that she didn't know the spanish word for, so she just made up a word that sounded spanish-ish. So cute.

She is always asking to check out the spanish board books at the library, now I guess I will let her and foster this interest in spanish that she has. I guess if we are still in our house when she hits first grade, I could even put her in the portuguese immersion program at the elementary school in our neighborhood. Who knows.

Nicole is an excellent big sister and a really good helper. Whenever Dan is crying and we are home, she says, "Don't worry Mom, I know what to do!" and then she races out of the room and comes back a couple minutes later with her Dream Light (which is a night light that shines stars on the ceiling and plays music). And surprisingly enough, it works, it usually calms him down. Anytime I need something and I ask her for help she is always willing to help her mama. My favorite chore to have her do is to straighten the shoes by the front door. Dano has a shoe fetish and is constantly putting on any shoes that are by the front door and leaving them around the house and Nicole is good enough to line them back up when they get out of control messy.

Here are a few of Nicole's "favorites" right now.

Food: Macaroni and Cheese from Red Robin
Song: Hush Little Baby (she always requests this one)
Animal: Cat! She loves Hello Kitty and she wants a pretend cat for her birthday (because she knows I'm allergic to cats so she asks for a pretend one, "not a real one mama, just pretend."
Cereal: Cinnamon Toast Crunch
Show: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (when will she get over this one?) But she also likes Phineas and Ferb
Friend: She says that Dano is her best friend
Toy: That ugly pink bear that I crocheted for her. It just keeps getting uglier the more she plays with it. She sleeps with it every night.
Blanket: She confiscated one of my super soft blankets and wants to sleep with that every night rather than the brand new Hello Kitty bed set that she got for Christmas... sigh.
Clothes: Anything pink and with a cat on it. Oh and she loves wearing jeans because I let her wear a belt when she wears jeans, which she loves. She asked for more jeans for her birthday.
Book: A stupid Bearnstein Bears book that she got out of kids meal. I buy her all these awesome books and she loves the one that was in a meal that I hate because it has so many words it takes forever to read. My favorite is Llama Llama.
Color: Pink

Now, let me tell you the things that Nicole is afraid of:

Getting Lost: Everytime we got to the library, Nicole goes off to look at books and I go to look for books for the kids. The kids shelves are short, so I have to kneel down to look at the books on the shelves and the second that I am not in Nicole's line of sight, she freaks out. "Mommy? Mommy? I'm LOST! *tears*" I always respond when she calls, but she is so busy calling for me that she doesn't hear me and immediately screams that she is lost.

The Dark: This is a long standing fear. To remedy this one she has a night light, a lamp on her head board, a dream light, another night light in the hall, and a lamp on in the front room all night and a cove light on in the stair well so that she can get from her bed to our room with a light in every room. And yet, we still have problems with her saying it is too dark.

Spiders: This is new as she has just started to notice these little critters. We try to ease this fear by telling her the spider is not out to get her, it is just looking for food. But all the same, we squash them when we see them because I'm afraid of them too.

Me Leaving: Every night when it is time for bed Nicole asks me if I'm leaving her. I continually tell her that I am not leaving her, I am just going up to my room, but I will still be in the house. Maybe this is because I left her to go to work every day for as long as she can remember or maybe it is because Matt isn't here three nights a week and she fears that I will leave in the night for work and so will Daddy and then she will be alone. Sometime she is going to get that I am home for good.

Green food: What is it with kids and being afraid of green food? But, if Nicole sees green on her plate she immediately exclaims that she doesn't like it and isn't hungry. Doesn't even matter if it isn't a veggie. One time I had multi-color noodles and she refused to eat the green ones because they were yucky. But despite her fear of green food, I just keep feeding it to her. I'm just the kind of mom that makes her face her fears.

Nicole is so funny and fun to be around that sometimes I just can't get enough of this girl. Other times, I've had enough of this girl. Mostly when she is crying I have had enough... which is a not small portion of the day.

Nicole has recently decided that she doesn't need naps. We re-instituted naps a year ago after all the sleep-tastrifies that took place when we tried to take them away. But now, she has decided that she doesn't need naps. She does everything she can to stay awake during nap time. She is always really good during nap time and stays in her room and is quiet for an hour (so mommy can nap a little), but she does not like napping. Unfortunately, this has resulted in either her dropping from exhaustion at 4pm or she stays up until bedtime and has tantrums because she is so tired that she doesn't know what to do with herself. It is just like the problems we were having back in May when we tried to remove the nap. So, I'm missing the easy nap days. Or the times when I could trap her in her bed or her room for naps. Those were the days.

Nicole is really flourishing in preschool. She loves going to preschool and playing with her friends. Her best friend in preschool is a little boy who loves to draw and write just like Nicole does. Nicole surprised us the other day when she came home from preschool with a drawing that contained her name that she had written herself. I had been working on the letters in her name with her, but had never had her try writing her own name, but she just figured it out all by herself.

Nicole loves to learn! And, now that I am home, I am able to spend time with her working on writing and reading. She loves to practice her letters and loves to write her name. She also loves to ask me how things are spelled. Sometimes I feel like it is a spelling bee for me and I have to remember how to spell things. We are working on reading and she is doing really good with site words. She doesn't really get the whole sounding out concept but she sure can memorize words. Also, she looks at the picture in the books and she guesses what the words are in the easy readers more often then not. I've never taught a kid to read or write before so hopefully I'm doing it right.

I kinda feel bad for poor Nicole because she is my first child and I know that she is the guinnea pig for all of my parenting. I try my parenting out on her and if I do it wrong... well, at least I will learn from my mistakes and get it right with Dano. But, she is a good sport and very forgiving. I hope that she will always love me despite my parenting faults.

Nicole is one seriously grateful little kid... when she wants to be. If she is given a gift, she won't stop talking about it and will thank us again and again and again. So much so that I find myself wanting to give her more things because she is so grateful. Pretty sneaky Nicoley.

"Grandma, thank you for this sticker book. It is the perfect gift for little girls like me."
"Daddy, thank you for my new dress. I love it. Can I wear it? I just love it so much."
"Mommy, thank you for these delicious pancakes. I love it when you make me pancakes. Can I have more please?"

It is so hard to say no to her little voice. Everyone always comments on her voice. She has a sweet little high voice that really is endearing... until it is whining at me all day and won't stop asking me a million questions and won't stop saying my name... but I'm glad that she has a pretty voice. Hopefully it holds and she has a pretty voice all her life.

So, this is my Nicole at 4 years old. I love her. I'm so grateful for her. I wouldn't trade her for anything. She is the reason that I became a mother and she brought a joy and a purpose into my life that I didn't even know that I wanted or needed but has become a driving force in what I want out of life. I know some people don't see the allure of having children, but when I look at my Nicole, I look past all the challenging things that come with being a parent and I just feel happiness. She makes me happy and I love her.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Zoo

Last week was spring break for Matt so we decided to go to the zoo on one of the warm days. I forgot how far away the zoo is. It seemed to take forever to get there. But that is possibly due to the fact that Nicole whined the whole way up because she was car sick and had a bruised leg.

But, as soon as we got there, it was all smiles and fun. The kids loved looking at the animals. Neither of them remembered going to the zoo last year, so it was like going for the first time for them. Dano was so excited about every animal we saw. He kept saying, "Wow!" and laughing at every animal that we saw. They were both so happy while we were there that it was so much fun.

Luckily, we remembered to bring the camera, so now I will let the pictures do the talking.

 I love this picture because it turned out that I could see Dano's face in the window.

 The only pic of me since I was behind the camera so much.

This is Dano at the Giraffes. Dano surprised us by pointing to the smaller giraffe and saying, "baby giraffe" and then to the bigger one and saying, "mama giraffe." Which may not seem like a big deal to you, but it is the first time he has put together that small animals are babies and big ones are parents. It was exciting for us.

And this is a sand cat, which looks like a cat that is a little smaller than a domestic cat and... it was the kids favorite animal at the zoo. Not the elephants or bears or tigers or any of the really cool animals, nope, they loved the cat. Could have just gone over to Marie's to see her cats and it would have taken less time and a lot less money. But, I'm still glad that we went because we all had a lot of fun.

Sunday, March 17, 2013


So, a few weeks ago, Dano was playing with his piggy bank that he got for Christmas. I asked Dano to give it to me and he held it up for me. I reached down to grab it and then Dano threw it down on my right foot... and broke the piggy bank... and then there was a lot of pain.

My foot hurt so bad I had to immediately leave the room because I don't usually like crying in front of the kids; it makes them too sad. I elevated my foot and put ice on it, but it still looked like this.

These pictures do not do it justice. I literally looked like a golf ball size bump on top of my foot. It hurt so bad that I was sure it was broken. So, we called Matt's sister to take care of the kids and we headed off to the ER to get it looked at because it really hurt.

It was really quite painful, but they X-rayed it and determined that it was not broken. The piggy bank just broke a bunch of blood capillaries and the blood pooled up in this big golf ball sized bump. I think the bone was also bruised because it has been four weeks since this incident and the foot still hurts.

I was on crutches for three days and used a cane for weeks but now I am finally back on my own feet with nothing to aid me in my walking. I neglected to get pictures of the gnarly bruise that it left but just imagine my whole foot as a big ol' purple bruise and you will get the idea.

So the moral of the story? Don't give porcelain piggy banks to a one year old. They are not responsible enough to handle it. Also, if you are going to the hospital in your flood pajamas, make sure your legs are shaved.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Look

Recently, Dano has started giving us this look. This look where he glares at us from under his eyebrows and it is disturbing and super cute at the same time. I love it.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

What to do When You are Frustrated

Since I started staying home with the kids, I find myself frustrated with them more than I used to be. Since I used to only spend 3 or 4 hours with them a day (not counting the weekends), I felt like I was able to keep my cool and my patience. But, now that I spend every day with them seven days a week without any time away... I find my patience just doesn't last as long as I would like it to.

So, I have been trying to find ways to ease myself out of a frustrated state when the kids are just driving me crazy and won't stop fighting or crying or whining or asking me the same questions again and again.

Here are some of the things that I have found have helped.

I leave the situation that is frustrating me, go in my room for five minutes alone and turn on the tv just for five minutes so that I can calm down. The kids survive the five minutes that they are alone and quarreling with each other. And then I feel a little better and can go back to refereeing and putting kids in time out.

I sew. I go in the laundry room which is now also the office and my sewing room and I work on my quilt for a little while until I feel a little less frustrated with whatever situation that they kids are posing.

I word search. I have a word search app on my tablet and I love to play word search, so sometimes I just pull it out and distract myself. Plus, I'm really good at it so it makes it even more fun.

I do the dishes. Which doesn't really help my frustration so much because then the kids come in the kitchen and try to help which doesn't help and then I get more frustrated... but, the dishes do need to be done... and it does take me away from whatever conflict was occurring and a clean kitchen makes me feel happier, so I do it all the same.

That is all I have come up with so far. What are your techniques for cooling down? Or maybe you all never get frustrated with your kids? Maybe everyone else is a perfect mother who never gets angry and their kids never fight. But I feel like this is all newer to me because I haven't been full time mothering to two kids... ever. I love my kids, I love being home, I love spending time with them... I don't love the fighting and the crying and the noise. I suppose I will either find a better way to deal with frustration, or I will magically develop more patience.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Our Valentines

Matt and I celebrated Valentines early this year. Like three weeks early. I had won some ski passes to SnowBird at my work Christmas party last year, so Matt asked if I would give skiing one more chance. So, we decided to make it a big date that would take the place of our Valentines this year.

Matt reserved us a room at a Bed and Breakfast in Salt Lake and we left the kids with Momma Kimball and headed up to have our Valentines. The Bed and Breakfast was in this old "mansion" close to the Temple. I say "mansion" because I am sure it was a mansion in the olden days, but now it is more of a house with a lot of bedrooms. It seems the trend now a days is to have mansions with large open spaces, but this one just had like five bedrooms upstairs and two downstairs. Lots of bedrooms. It was a nice little place and our room was ship themed complete with ship wallpaper and plastic life saver.

For dinner, the night we got there, I requested Indian food, so Matt found an indian place over in Murray. We called DJ and Jenny and they came to dinner with us. They live up north now a days, so we don't get to see them as often as I would like. I keep hoping that they will move down closer to us, but it is like they work in Salt Lake. Totally lame.

So, we all met at the Indian place, that I can no longer remember the name of... I want to say Ali Baba.

My Lamb dish

Jenny and DJ

Lamb and chickpea dish

Matt got the special, complete with Kabob


Potato dish
The food was pretty good. My dish had a bunch of hard seeds and bones in it, which I disliked, but the flavor was good. But, it was super cheap, so I wasn't too disappointed. But, I think in the future, I will stick to Bombay House or Kohinoor. Those are my favorite Indian places in the valley. But, we wanted to try a new place since we were in Salt Lake.

It was really nice just to have a dinner where we weren't managing the kids. We could just eat our food and chat with DJ and Jenny. It is funny how nice it is to have a dinner where I am not fighting with the kids over every bite. Should have enjoyed all those years of uneventful dinners when I had the chance.

After dinner we went to Walmart for snacks that we did not end up eating and then headed back to our bed and breakfast. I thought that the room was nice and it was quiet because we were the only guests on the upper floor. In the morning, we got up and packed and went downstairs for breakfast that was already prepared for us. That is the awesome perk of bed and breakfast. Breakfast is made for you. Love it! I love not having to prepare my own food all the time.

Then, we headed up the canyon to snowbird for skiing! I was super nervous about skiing because the last time I went was 6 years ago when Matt and I were dating and it was a not fun experience. Read about that here. But because I had free passes, I told Matt that I would give it another try. Unfortunately, I'm about 40 pounds heavier since my last time skiing and I am not in great shape. Also, I was super nervous about it because I remembered that it was super painful last time that I did it.

But, I was trying to be brave and we went up and rented me some boots. The boots were the biggest problem last time I went. They were so painful! They were torture devices! If you want to torture me, there is no need for violence, all you have to do is put ski boots on my feet and I will talk! I have worn some really painful shoes in my time; heels, wedges, boots, platforms, ect, but nothing is as bad as a ski boot. They are evil. Anyway, we went to get me a ski boot, they picked one out for me, but it was so painful, so I asked for a bigger size that was less painful. I walked around in them for a few minutes, then I went back to the shop and asked for an even bigger size because my toes were going numb because they were just too tight. Finally, I got a pair that was not so bad, though still painful.

Matt, being the awesome husband that he is, was super patient with me and instead of using the ski passes that we had won, we got the kiddie pass (so that matt could use the full price pass another time). Matt took me to the kiddie training area and I practiced maneuvering on the skis and I rode the magic carpet and I felt comfortable enough to go over to the kiddie ski lift. But, let me point that I am not good on skiis. I have trouble moving around and it is a workout trying to go anywhere.

Another reason that we took the kiddie lift is that I am afraid of heights. Matt took me on a romantic ride on the ski lift at Sundance when we were dating and it was a terrifying ride that I did not enjoy. Bless his heart, he was just trying to do something nice for me. So, I rode the kiddie lift and it wasn't so bad. Although it hurt having the skiis pull on my legs as they dangled from the lift chair. When we got off the lift, I didn't know what I was doing and it ended with me falling. My first of many falls that day.

I am sure that you are asking yourself by now, Becky, where are the pictures of your skiing adventure. And I will tell you. Carrying skiis, a purse, poles, and boots means that I not only had my hands full, but it was all really heavy and I had no hands left for carrying a camera. Also, I don't know how I could have skiied and held a camera. With all the times I fell, that would have been bad news bears.

So, Matt showed me how you zig zag down the hill and how to slow down and turn and I did the best I could, but I just kept falling my way down that little hill. Every time I got even a little bit of speed, I seemed to lose control and fall and lose a ski. It was the opposite of fun. Also, it was super hot that day and I was just sweating up a storm. But, I toughed it out as much as I could and I went down the bunny slope twice before I had just had it and was completely done. I was hurting all over from falling so many times and my feet were killing me from the boots and I was feeling sunburnt and I was just done. Believe it or not, it took me like 2 hours to go down the bunny hill twice. That is how pathetic I am at skiing.

So, now I know for sure. I hate skiing. It wasn't just that my first experience was bad, it is that all skiing is bad. I won't do it again. I know that Matt, who loves skiing, had dreams in his mind of us being a skiing family where we could take the kids up together and teach them to ski and have fun ski days, but I had to shatter his dream because skiing is the worst. The only good part about the skiing was spending time with my husband... and removing the boots from my feet.

After my attempt at skiing, we ate at a restaurant at the resort and waited for forever for our food and paid way too much for the sub par food served to us. Then, we called it a day and headed home. I was not about to make another attempt on the slopes even though we had the time. I was just bruised and done.

And that was our Valentines. The dinner and the B&B was good and the skiing was bad. But, I did get 24 hours alone with my husband which was awesome.

On the actual Valentines day, a couple weeks after our adventure, we stayed in and watched Marie's kids for her so that she could go out with her husband. That was also awful. My kids were bad, Ree's kids were bad. There were lots of tears from the kids and from me. It was an unpleasant experience, but I did survive it. And, Marie and Anthon stayed and played Puerto Rico with me when they came to pick up their kids which was awesome because I love board games and ever since Sarah and Mark left, we don't have any one to play with us. Marie won the game, and Anthon swore he would never play the game again, but that is okay, it still turned my bad day into a good one. I really love board games. Another reason I wish DJ and Jenny were closer. They used to play games with me too.a

Oh yeah, and Matt did get me flowers ON Valentines. Daisies, my favorite. I got him nothing, because he is a better spouse than me. But, Matt likes to say that Valentines is really more for the girl than the guy.