Sunday, October 31, 2010

On Parenting

Over the last few months people have been asking me for parenting advice. Whether it's about babies or handling multiple children, I feel like I have some good tricks since I have three girls. In the spirit of helping other moms, I've come up with my favorite hints for survival.

1) Grow up! I know it sounds condescending, but I've seen many mothers and fathers fall into the trap of throwing pity parties for themselves. You chose to have a baby, your life changed, so now it's time to focus on how AMAZING it is that you get to raise a family. I know it's hard, and it sucks sometimes (like when your sleep, routine, "veg-out" time and basically everything is dictated by someone else), but working through it and laughing at the challenging moments really is the best thing you can do for yourself and your family. Sometimes I hum the theme from Rocky and it instantly puts me in a can-do mood ("Aha, you want to box with me little one? I'll show you!") versus falling apart.

2) Be supportive of your partner. Moms and dads are usually on the same team and probably have the same wants and needs. I know for me, I feel great when I think Conrad needs a break and I say, "Let me take Cate for you," or "Why don't you go and work out." etc.. It feels much better to try and anticipate each other's needs and give little gifts (of time to relax, doing a diaper change), versus getting into an argument on whose turn it is to do "X", or who does more. Focus on how good of a job your partner does.

3) Take children to the doctor. You are your only child's advocate. I get so mad when I hear someone say, "Well, he/she was crying for several days, and I just found out he/she has an ear infection." If your child isn't acting like his/her normal self, don't wait around like a dummy to get them checked out. How would you feel if you needed antibiotics for three days and no one took you?!

4) Clean your children. Diaper rashes happen, yes, I know. But, there is a correlation to cleanliness. I can say this because Cate has never had a rash. It's not because she's less susceptible to them, it's because I change her diaper frequently and I wash her after she poops. Imagine pooping all over yourself and wiping it up with a wipey. For those who do that, I challenge you to smell your baby's butt afterward and see if you don't gag. It is not okay not to bathe children.

5) Try to be in tune with your baby. If you're hungry, tired or cold, your baby probably is too. Who hasn't seen the parent in a coat and pants and the poor baby in a diaper and top. Are they crazy?!

6) Keep doing your core activities that define you as a person. Do you run? Have a recurring Thursday night out with friends? Work? Doing the things you like to do the most in life liberates you (expand your interests!) and helps get rid of the martyr syndrome. It also makes you more interesting.

7) Never be too busy for your family. Time is not static, and I firmly believe that you reap what you sow regarding relationships. If you're too busy for your kids now, they'll be too busy for you when you're old. Spending time with your family allows you all to grow together and become comfortable with one another.

8) Do the best you can. You know when you're making the right choices -go with that.

My Superman

In this picture taken Halloween '10, Conrad benched a clean and staggering 425 lbs! Notice how he even keeps his friend way back to make sure no one even touches the bar during this feat of strength! ;-)

About a year ago Conrad was telling me about a meeting he had with a group of his peers from work. They were going around the room saying little facts about themselves. One of Conrad's attributes is that he is freakishly strong (note the picture and caption above). Conrad has always been very strong as a young man and throughout adulthood. Besides doing well in weight lifting, he actually took first in state, in form, for martial arts in New Mexico.
It's amazing to know how strong he is on the outside because he is equally strong on the inside. I know I've said it before, but Conrad is amazing. He is the best and most loving husband to me, a beautiful father, and a wonderful person. I am so proud to be his wife and blessed to be the mother of his children. He is my Superman.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Ava is 5!

Ava, a.k.a., Squeakmouse, turned 5 this week! We celebrated her birthday last weekend at 321 Bounce with her classmates and some of her close friends. We had so many people show up that I found myself almost teary-eyed at the amount of support we have grown in 2 short years. It makes me proud of Ava to see her with peers who love and care about her. The generosity of everyone was amazing. When I mentioned it to Conrad, he reminded me of the old saying, "You reap what you sow." What a great lesson to learn re. relationships.

Speaking of relationships, my beautiful sisters came up from Portland to celebrate. Little did they know they were going to get roped into making 60 cupcakes for everyone. :-p Auntie Tash and Bianca, you're the BEST!!

Thank you to everyone for making Ava's birthday special. She is so happy to be 5!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Photography Class

I began my photography class two weeks ago and I am just loving it! It is so liberating to take a picture, review it, then know what I need to adjust on my camera for it to come out the way I intended. I have been having a blast learning, though sometimes I laugh when I wonder what people are thinking when they spot me 1) laying under trees; 2) creeping in the grass on my stomach; 3) taking what looks like pictures of random things (i.e. my for sale sign!).
I posted this on FB, but I'll say it again; I highly recommend taking an intro to photography class for anyone who takes pictures.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Random Stories

We've had some cute things happen over the last few weeks, and I realized that if I don't write them down now, I'll forget.

When I picked Ava up from school a few weeks ago one of her teachers stopped me to tell me something. She said, "Ava was the only one who knew the difference between fresh water and ocean water [they're learning about salmon lifecycles]. I asked, 'Does anyone know the difference between fresh water and ocean water?' Ava raised her hand and said, 'The difference is that the ocean has salt in it, and fresh water does not.'" Ms. C further commented, "Yes, Ava sounded like a scientist." I supressed my chuckle and thought to myself that I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Bronwen and Ava were invited to a birthday party held in a Tae Kwon Do studio (awesome!). Part of the package was that the children got about a 30 minute general lesson with the instructor. During the lesson he had each child kick a hand pad. Unfortunately for him he was holding it too close to his face when he was leaning over for Bronwen's turn, so when she kicked it, it hit him in the face. So much for his Tae Kwon Do catlike reflexes. "Hee-yah," my karate kid!

I started my photography class last Thursday, and Ava told me, "Ooh mom, I wish it were show-and-tell in your class. Then you could bring us." I love that little kid!

Why do I think it's so cute when that little baby yawns, stretches and farts in my bed? She is 100% love to me.