Movie night magic

When we were sleep training Kiwi, Eric and I slept on an air mattress in the living room. Peeper was enthralled with it: It was just like the bouncy castle, except in the house! As she jumped on it, her expression was all, OMG YOU GUYS! You’ve been holding out!

When we tried to deflate it, she deflated, too, into a heap of tears.

Eric and I looked at each other. “Would you like to have a sleepover on it later on?” Eric asked. Peeper immediately perked up.

Peeper talked about her sleepover the entire day. I was looking forward to it, too. I imagined a movie night with popcorn and snuggles and a toddler falling asleep on me. But all day she acted more like Meet the Fockers than a Disney flick—everything that could go wrong went wrong.

She refused to eat. She sassed. She demanded. She threw fits. She threw toys. I was ready to call off the whole sleepover.

Somehow Eric, whose job as a special education teacher should have depleted all of his patience, kept a cool head. We pushed through Peeper’s bad attitude and got set up for our special evening together.

I’m so glad we did.

Toddler movie night sleepover
Finn enjoyed the sleepover, too. Can you spot him in his camouflage?

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A bug’s life up close

Peek in a creek - Ten Thousand Hour MamaSpring has come early to Portland. All week the sun has been out, sparking thoughts of running through the sprinklers, popsicle-sticky fingers and sipping wine in the afternoon sun.

Yesterday I threw open the windows and door to the deck. Peeper, of course, darted outside to play in the sun. I took advantage of her independence and Kiwi’s nap to do some dishes.

“What kind of bug is this, Mama?” I heard Peeper ask from outside.

I stepped onto the deck. There was Peeper, lying belly-down on the porch, her nose mere inches from a beetle.

“I don’t know, sweetie. What does it look like?”

“Hm. It’s kind of black and kind of white. It’s very interesting,” she said.

Together, we watched the beetle march up the side of the house. Then it must have tripped over an invisible thread of a spider web. Suddenly, a tiny spider—maybe a tenth of the beetle’s size—darted out. The spider crawled over the beetle, leaving iridescent strands over its hoped-for prey.

Peeper and I watched the drama. Would the beetle escape, or would the spider catch a giant lunch?

The beetle ended up breaking the spider’s hold. After another minute, Peeper pushed herself up off the deck and went back to playing basketball in the planters.

I returned to the dishes. But I smiled as I scrubbed oatmeal from a pot. For a few minutes, Peeper had invited me into her world. I watched the age-old struggle of eat or be eaten with the wonder of a child.

As Peeper notices the smallest of details, she inspires me to see our world anew. She pushes me to ask questions and, when I don’t know the answers, to find out—or at least imagine what could be. She makes me want to get down and examine life nose-to-nose.

Weekly smile: Rock of ages

Driving home from preschool earlier this week, we got stuck in horrible traffic. A semi and car had crashed ahead of us, and we had no opportunity to exit before becoming mired in the standstill. As my car crept along, idling more often than moving, my impatience grew.

Then Peeper started singing from the backseat.

“Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer,” she began. She paused then added, “Sing it with me now, Mom!”

We spent the rest of the trip home singing Raffi and Christmas songs at the top of our lungs.

A music-loving family

Music has been central to many smiles in the last week. I brought out a tiny toy piano, which has fast become Kiwi’s favorite toy. She’s clearly a virtuoso, as this video shows.

Tummy time jams from Catherine Ryan Gregory on Vimeo.

Another night, Peeper exclaimed, “Let’s start a band!” The whole family got in on the action—banging drums, strumming a ukulele, tapping piano keys and jingling bells.

If only we’d remembered to break out the mini accordion Nana got Peeper for Christmas!

We’ll announce our tour dates soon. Until then, we’ll keep jamming.

Rock of ages

Trent’s World hosts a Weekly Smile link-up, where bloggers post tidbits of happiness. The internet could use a little more positivity, and I’m glad to share what made me smile in the last few days!

Happy house-iversary

One year ago we moved into our West Linn home, which, thanks to Peeper, we still call New House.

We’ve been here long enough that people have stopped asking us how we like our “new” neighborhood, house and town. But I’m just as grateful today as I was on that first day we moved in.

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Full of gratitude in 2016

I recently read my friend Deb’s post about being grateful, and her spontaneous list inspired me to count what I’m thankful for, too.

Tales from the Motherland is hosting a LinkUp for bloggers to post their own gratitude missives. The instructions are easy:

If you’d like to join in, here’s how it works: set a timer for 10 minutes; timing this is critical. Once you start the timer, start your list (the timer doesn’t matter for filling in the instructions, intro, etc). The goal is to write 50 things that made you happy in 2015, or 50 thing that you feel grateful for. The idea is to not think too hard; write what comes to mind in the time allotted. When the timer’s done, stop writing. If you haven’t written 50 things, that’s ok. If you have more than 50 things and still have time, keep writing; you can’t feel too happy or too grateful! When I finished my list, I took a few extra minutes to add links and photos.

To join us for this project: 1) Write your post and publish it (please copy and paste the instructions from this post, into yours) 2) Click on the blue frog at the very bottom of this post. 3) That will take you to another window, where you can past the URL to your post. 4)Follow the prompts, and your post will be added to the Blog Party List. Please note: the InLinkz will expire on January 15, 2015. After that date, no blogs can be added.

Will you join in? All it takes is 10 minutes!

The end of the year is the perfect time to reflect on the many, many good things in my life. I’m looking forward to 2016, but first, here are 50 small things for which I’m grateful.

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Wipe out diaper need 

Diaper changing pad - Ten Thousand Hour Mama

It’s a cliche that babies go through a lot of diapers, and for good reason.

So many diaper changes

Eric and I had been through the ’round the clock diaper duty with Peeper, but somehow we had forgotten by the time Kiwi was born. It seemed as if just when we changed Kiwi, she’d wail, letting us know she was wet again.

Before long, we’d run out of those impossibly tiny newborn diapers (the one size I hadn’t stocked up on). So off the grandparents went to the grocery store—and came back with a package each of the leading brand. (Eric’s dad didn’t know which I preferred so he hedged his bets.)

Diaper donations help families

Unfortunately, for too many families, the constant diaper changes aren’t just an amusing, if exasperating, rite of passage into parenthood. Diapers are crazy expensive and aren’t covered in assistance programs like WIC or food stamps, so moms and dads may have to make do with fewer than their little ones need.

In fact, a staggering 5.3 million children don’t have enough diapers—putting them at higher risk for infection and rash as their parents wait longer between changes and even dry out used diapers for reuse, I learned from the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN). What’s more, the lack of disposable diapers sometimes keeps kids out of day care—and parents out of work.

AWHONN is partnering with Kimberly Clark and the National Diaper Bank Network to provide free diapers to the one in three families who struggle to buy enough diapers in the Wipe Out Diaper Need campaign, which runs this week.. If you have extras that your littles have outgrown, you can donate to food banks, assistance programs or a diaper bank (find one nearby here). You can also donate here (that’s what I did; $1 buys six diapers that go directly to families).

When I change Peeper and Kiwi’s diapers lately, I think about all those moms and dads who need to wait a little longer before changing their babies so they don’t run out completely. Instead of bemoaning another wet nappy or even a blowout, I’m grateful that we have enough.

This post was not sponsored or solicited. I found out about the campaign and chose to write about it because many people, like me, didn’t know about the problem of diaper need.

Two months: Kiwi

If the first month of Kiwi’s life was figuring out what the heck we were doing with our newly expanded family, the second month has been about getting to know this beautiful, engaging, curious tiny person.

I can’t get enough of her.

Baby two months old

Getting lost in my baby

I memorize the locations of the freckles on her head. Before too long, her hair will grow longer and I’ll never see them again.

I admire the delicate curves of her ears. They remind me of the swirl of a seashell or the whorl of a knot on a tree.

I feel her gentle breath on my skin as she breathes in and out.

I know the telltale fussiness that tells me she needs to burp (which is different from her tired, hungry or overwhelmed fussiness). And I can feel the burp inside her before it bubbles up. (“Good burp!” Peeper congratulates her every time.)

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