Friday, March 30, 2012

Sleeping and being happy

Miracles have been happening in the baby sleep department. For three nights in a row, Julia has put herself to sleep! It happened like this: three days ago, I was talking on the phone around Julia's bedtime. She wanted me to read stories, but to keep her distracted so I could keep talking, I let her nurse. Once I was off the phone, she was done nursing and ready for books. (prior routine= books, nurse, bed) So I read her books and then, on a whim, tucked her in bed with her baby doll and stuffed chicken and said "now you lay there and go to sleep. I'm going to go do some work, and I'll come back to check on you in a few minutes." I left the room, fully expecting wails of protest, but to my amazement, she stayed in bed, did not protest and after about 15 minutes and a couple checks, she fell asleep! I didn't dare to get excited yet, but the next night she repeated the performance!! By the third night, I was feeling pretty awesome about it all. She does wake up after a couple hours, but if I'm still up, and I get her up and offer her a drink of milk, she'll put herself back to sleep again. When she wakes up again and wants to nurse, I've been working on saying no. Sometimes she'll go back to sleep with little protest and sometimes she gears up for a cry about it. If she's in crying mode, I let her nurse. I'm back to having family living in close quarters, and letting her cry is too disruptive to everyone's sleep. I'm definitely hoping that I can get her much closer to accepting not nursing at night with gentle discouragement. I think she might do ok sleeping in a separate room now, but that thought will have to wait until we move wherever we'll be moving to this summer.

She's also been more interested in dressing and undressing herself. She can get pants and socks off, and pants on by herself now. She continues to love shoes, and occasionally manages to get them on too. She's pretty good about leaving her clothes on, but I do have to keep her clothes put away, because if she comes across a fresh pair of pants, she generally decides she ought to wear those instead.

I've also noticed a difference in both Julia's and my emotional health since leaving Alaska. Up there, we were both so stressed by the confinement of the house that Julia was having daily tantrums and pushing my buttons to the point where I'd yell at her. (resulting in us both feeling terrible!) At the time, I thought it was just related to her getting closer to the "terrible twos" but now I can see how hard it was on us to be cooped up. Since we've been down here, with a variety of places to go play, friendlier weather, and more people around on a regular basis, she hasn't had a single tantrum and I haven't felt even a bit close to the point of rage where I want to yell. I am VERY thankful for that, but feel bad that to get to a better emotional place, we had to leave Dave behind for awhile. I'll be so happy when he comes down to join us after the school year is over.

We've had a quiet week of playing and long walks. (Everyone around here likes to complain about the rain, but I am SO happy to have no snow on the ground, so I can take Julia for walks in the stroller!)  It's spring break down here, and Grandpoppa Jack and Joe and Grace all went to Washington for a little week of vacation, so Grandmomma Dawn and I have been trading back and forth at going to work/study and watching Olaf and Julia. My classes begin on Monday. In addition to Anatomy and Physiology part the third, I'm going to take Nutrition as well. I've had a few conversations recently that have made me think more about heading towards a nurse-midwife degree instead of a more direct entry midwife route. So much will depend on where we end up moving to, but meanwhile I can try to get as many general requirements out of the way as possible.

Olaf wanted a viking helmet cake!
dyeing some easter eggs
re-discovering the sandbox
dirt and mud!
mud and dirt!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Doing the sixth move since Julia's birth.

We've spent a full week in the Seattle area, mostly in Mount Vernon with Grandpa Dave and Grandma Gini. Activities have included going to the grocery store (remember, no buying power for a couple months makes getting salad ingredients a mystical experience) library, children's museums, playgrounds, visiting friends and hanging out with family.
Hanging out with Erin, who is cooking us an amazing breakfast of eggs and chard and avocado
In the Mt Vernon children's museum
very serious about her cash register duties
A rocking train!
and slides!
Grandma Gini gave Julia a new baby doll
hanging out with Grandma Gini
She was happy to see her table and chairs that Grandpa Dave made.
Pondering a career as an ice-cream truck driver
pondering a puddle
and running in with glee a second later
Making birthday cupcakes!
sampling the cupcakes!
and a little birthday party for Julia with Great Grandma Olive and some others at her care center.
She's very skilled at unwrapping, but less concerned with what she's opening
a little train!
a happy two year old!
At the Bellingham kids cafe where we had lunch with Julia's Godmother, Bekah.

hanging out with Grandpa Dave. She's no longer scared of him, and is rather charmed instead. Very cute!
at the Everett children's museum with Auntie Caroline. She's a big fan of her auntie too.

There was a pretty awesome rooftop playground to explore
and dinosaurs to meet

She found a skittles wrapper and looked at it like it was a golden ticket!
some kettle drum time

and a soapy sink bath at Auntie Caroline's apartment.

and oh, does she love an Iphone.
Grandpa Dave gave Julia a remote control car for her birthday. She loved it before the battery was inserted, but was rather scared after the remote capabilities were revealed.

at Grandma Gini's we had birthday brownies and ice cream.
 Julia's now two, and getting bigger. She still loves her baby dolls, and now sits down in a little chair to give them "nunnies." She's also nursed a little christmas m&m figure and a little plastic chipmunk figure, so her nurturing knows no bounds.
She is increasingly sensitive to low grade rumbling noises. It seemed to start when she got scared by a shop-vac awhile ago, and now she gets very nervous about any sort of rumbling, vibrating sound, such as that of an electric toothbrush or a remote-control car.
She asks about Daddy pretty regularly, but accepts hearing that he is teaching in Chuathbaluk. One morning she woke up crying for him, but that has only happened once and my heart just about broke.
This past week she's focused in on facial expressions in pictures, particularly sad faces, asking "sad??" in the sweetest concerned voice.
There's also been a noticeable increase in two word statements, often with her name involved, such as "ja-da down" or "baby sad?"

After a week of visits and play, we packed the car and drove south to Klamath Falls. Grandma Gini came along to entertain Julia and is returning by train. It was a very smooth trip, and I was grateful that Julia and I were not doing it alone. We took many breaks along the way, and a favorite of everyone was going to Ikea. Gini had never gone to one, so it was really fun to show it off. We made it all in one day, and when we reached the house and burst in, Julia saw Olaf and just leaped into his arms. It was very sweet! Gini stayed with us a day before returning by train. It was sad to see her go, since Julia is very fond of her.
taking a break at a playground.

Julia was really thrilled to be reunited with Olaf.
re-discovering her trikes
playing legos with Olaf
We celebrated Olaf's birthday two days after Julia's, with dinner and cake and presents and the m&m game. (we have a jar of m&ms, and everyone guesses the number. we count them and the winner gets praise and bragging rights. We've played this at every birthday since I was about 6, and it never gets old!) Now we are settling in again. I've got a week before my class starts, and I need to write a paper for my online class (developmental psych) and take one more test before I'm done with that. It's spring break for Olaf and Joe, so the house is full!
Dave has now applied for 80 principal and teaching jobs, and we're still waiting to see if any of them will result in interviews. I desperately hope that this summer we'll be moving a final time, and then not again for quite a few years!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Leaving Chuathblauk

This post is a little delayed, but it is hard to keep up with posting when traveling! Here's the events of our departing. We left Chuathbaluk on March 9th, the start of spring break. Dave hired his secretary Robbie to drive us down to Aniak, which was very nice of him considering that earlier that day he had gotten married! The day was cold, maybe 20 below, but I bundled Julia in a million layers and fretted the whole ride down that I was freezing her again. Thankfully this was not so, she was fine and toasty. We arrived at the home of Mike and Dolphin, who were not in residence. They were in Anchorage, awaiting the birth of their son. We stayed in Aniak for three nights, hanging out and enjoying the change of scenery. We met the neighbors, Carrie and Paul and I was immediately sad that I had not met them before. They run a small time daycare for their grandson and a few others, and invited Julia to come play. She settled in like she attended daycare every day of her life. It was really fun to watch. She really liked the other kids, loved the toys and was very comfortable with Carrie and Paul. She's definitely not the same clingy baby of a year ago.

Waiting to go!
She was refusing to wear any clothes up to about 15 minutes before we left. I bribed her with fruit snacks to get pants on.
In Aniak, we met up with the Haydens, our neighbors last year. Julia and Kiley played together beautifully all afternoon! Not one altercation!
Julia at daycare! Kingston, their grandson is to Julia's right. They hugged goodbye when it was time to go!
Carrie and Paul
Saying goodbye to Daddy. Julia took full advantage of the situation to beg some chocolate off of Daddy
and what do you know, he had some!
but she had to pay for it with kisses! She'll say "I love you" now, "Ah-doo!"
We said our sad goodbyes and had an uneventful flight to Anchorage. She ate m&ms and  slept! In Anchorage, we had a couple hours wait, but filled the time fine with getting our bags transferred, eating frozen yogurt, watching a little movie, going through security, ect. Our flight from Anchorage to Seattle was in first class! I've NEVER gotten to fly first class, and was pretty thrilled. (Dave was a sweetie when buying tickets!) The seats were roomy, there was free food and drinks, free movie players, and even a little flying wing pin for Julia. Julia was very well behaved, but the flight was long nonetheless, and I was happy to arrive in Seattle just before midnight. My friends Erin and Mat picked us up and kept us overnight, and the next day Grandpa Dave came down and brought us to Mt Vernon. We heard later that Mike and Dolphin had a 9 lb 7oz boy named Fisher Moon! That's our sort of middle name! I'm sad we missed that by a day, but Dave will get to meet him!