Thursday, June 30, 2011

This Is Life!


First things are the bunk beds set up in Paprika's room! Let's just say that Tuesday, the first night of having the bunk beds, was very interesting...


My favorite thing about keeping this blog is going back and looking at posts from years ago- the most candid ones are my favorite and really bring me back to that time in life.

I really want to remember that night. People (usually without small kids) often wonder why everything takes so long when you have small children. Well, here ya go. This was bedtime on Tuesday. I realize no one besides me probably wants to read this...but I just have to write it down!

Mr. M was working very late that night (he worked until 5am, in fact)- so I knew I would be putting the girls to bed by myself. No biggie...happens a lot. Well, since it was the first night of the bunk beds, I put Ginger to bed first in her room because I knew Paprika might take some adjusting.

Long story short, we bought these bunk beds kind of on impulse...we have missed things on Craigslist before and knew this might be one of those "ones that got away" if we didn't snatch it up. Needless to say, we were ill-prepared since we didn't have some twin-sized mattresses ready to go.

In hindsight, we probably should have stored the bunk beds in the garage until we were really ready for them, but Paprika was so excited about it we wanted to build on that momentum.

We figured we could skate by with an air mattress for a night or two, and it would be fine.

Earlier in the day, I had gone to Target and gotten a twin-sized air mattress to put on the bed. But it was too short. After blowing it up and checking it out, it just didn't work. So, we packed it back up and returned it, and I got a plush, thick air mattress that seemed pretty darn good!

I set it up on the bottom bunk and made the bed look as good as it could. I even put two pillowtop mattress covers on it to make it extra plush. Overall, it was pretty impressive for an air mattress, if I do say so myself.

I put Ginger to bed and afterwards when I came into Paprika's room to put her to bed, she was crying. She did NOT want to sleep on the bottom bunk, she wanted to sleep on the top bunk. She was inconsolable.

So, even though I had made the bed and put all the extra stuff up on top, I told her I would switch the mattress to the top bunk. I hoisted it up there, got it all situated, and re-made the bed (since of course the sheets had come loose).

Then I realized that the air mattress was far too thick for the top bunk - it peeked over the top rail, which is a major safety hazard. So, I told her I was going to have to deflate it a bit to make it the right size.

Deflated it. But then, the mattress covers and the fitted sheet would not stay on in the deflated state of the mattress. So, I wrestled the covers and fitted sheet for awhile until they were passable.

Then Paprika was too scared to climb the ladder, and insisted that she sleep on the bottom bunk. I tried coaxing her up to the top bunk, but she started to cry and would not go.

So, you guessed it...I moved the mattress down to the bottom bunk. Of course all the covers and sheets fell off, so I had to re-make the bed. I re-inflated the bed (hoping not to wake up Ginger in the process!), because now that it was on the bottom bunk, I wanted it to be comfortable for her and it really wasn't comfortable half deflated.

She crawled into the bottom bunk and started to cry again. She now had the courage to sleep on the top bunk, and really really really wanted to try it. Could I please move the bed back up top? guessed it! I moved the mattress again up to the top bunk, partially deflated it, and re-made the bed as best I could.

Now, mind you...I still had to read stories to Paprika, sing her songs, and do the whole night-time routine.

I hoisted my 5 month pregnant behind up the ladder, sat on the very deflated air mattress (which was most uncomfortable)...and read her a story from her Strawberry Shortcake anthology, then did the night-night songs.

Climbed down the ladder and turned out the light. Then, I started my night-time cleaning routine (basically making the house look like a bomb did not go off earlier in the evening). Then, I took Daisy outside to go to the bathroom. Fed our ferral cat, Meg.

Finally settled down to have a glass of water and relax....when I hear crying!

I go to the door of Paprika's room and she's sobbing uncontrollably. She can't sleep on the top bunk. She has to sleep on the bottom bunk. The top bunk is too scary.

So, you guessed it. I re-inflate the mattress and move it to the bottom bunk. I re-make the bed, and put on the mattress covers and the sheets. Instead of neatly folding everything else, I toss it to the side and decided to deal with it in the morning.

Now, Paprika is finally happy and ready to rest.

I go to check on her 15 minutes later, and she is asleep. Yay! Success!

By this time it is almost 2am, and I am really pretty darn exhausted but I need to unwind. I get in bed, read a few blogs on my laptop, take the dog out one more time, and turn out the lights a little after 3 AM.

What do you know...who should wake up two hours later, at 5:00 AM? Paprika! Now she is awake and will not go back to sleep, not even in our bed.

Running on just three hours sleep, she decides she is up for the day. I spend a good hour trying to get her to sleep, then give up and put on a Barney video for her. Then, I have to take Daisy out and feed her breakfast. By the time I am just falling back asleep, the construction across the street starts just shy of 7:30am.

I decide that I, too, am up for the day...but dreading it because Paprika has swim lessons and school today, and I know she will be tired. But you know what? She wasn't tired at all. She did her swim lesson, did the best in preschool she's ever done, came home and played, and did not fall asleep that night until after 11pm. Yup!

But...I made sure that the second night of sleeping in the bunk beds would be better than the first. Because after I put on Barney for Paprika, got Ginger up and dressed, and got the girls breakfast...I went to the mattress store and got two very plush, nice twin-sized mattresses! I really could not handle another air-mattress kind of night.

I ended up getting two floor model mattresses- they are super nice, and because they were floor models, they were practically a steal. No one has actually slept on them, and we are putting waterproof, thick mattress covers on them anyway, so I figure it's okay. Right? Is that gross? I don't know. They looked new to me! The saleslady said they had just been on the floor for a few weeks and they wanted to rotate them out for the July 4th weeekend.

When the saleslady told me they could not deliver until Sunday, possibly Friday...I decided that just was not going to work. So, after going to Home Depot and being aced out of an hourly rental truck, we ended up at U-Haul and rented a truck for the day. By 2pm, the mattresses were set up in Paprika's room, ready to be slept on!

Of course, Paprika was not ready for bed for nine more hours. But when it was time for bed, Paprika told me she had to sleep on the top bunk, I said: Baby, you are going to have to earn that. Show me you can sleep until it's bright and sunny tomorrow, and I will let you sleep up there tomorrow night.

I took the ladder out of the room, so there really is no way she can get up there.

When I went in to check on her 20 minutes later, she was asleep. And she stayed asleep. Hallelujah!


Not that it was all bad. Earlier in the night, Ginger really wanted to see the top bunk, so I let her climb up there (supervised, of course)- and Paprika soon followed. They were chanting: We're the kings of the castle!

I am really glad the ladder detaches so easily. I have been storing the ladder out of reach of the girls so they can't go up there without me supervising...

So, that was our first night with the bunk beds! If you are still reading, I commend you. It was one of those nights that make you stronger as a parent. Ha!


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A New Era!


On Monday, we got the girls bunk beds. We found a set of Pottery Barn Kids bunk beds on Craigslist, and it was too good a deal to pass we went for it. The people selling the bunk beds ended up living really close to us, and even helped deliver the beds to our house. Score!

I am going to miss Paprika's big comfy queen sized bed! Remember when I set it up when we first moved in? I wanted to stay in her room! Ha!


But, times change and with three bedrooms in our house, it will be nice to have Ginger and Paprika sharing a room. It will free up a room for guests, and eventually for a nursery for Pavenzia (hopefully).

Plus, Ginger and Paprika will love being together in the same room...they have been asking to stay together for awhile now. We thought about just letting them both sleep in the queen bed together, but I think all the rolling around might mean neither one of them gets sleep, and we don't want that!


I figure we can transition into this bunk bed situation really slowly by setting up the bunk beds in Paprika's room and keeping Ginger in her room for the time being. After Paprika gets used to the bunk beds, then we may move Ginger's crib into Paprika's room, since there will be room for it now. There's a big difference between a Twin bed and a Queen! No way we could have fit the crib in Paprika's room before.

Then, when Ginger is ready to move out of her crib (I am not rushing that!), then we can either split the bunk beds into two twin beds or if Paprika is old enough, we can leave them as stacked beds, and Paprika can sleep on the top bunk and Ginger can sleep on the bottom bunk.

Are you confused yet? Because it has taken me a lot of mental gymnastics to think of all the sleeping arrangements possible and come up with the best one!

Now, we just have to buy mattresses for the bunk beds! We set up the bed tonight with a make-shift air mattress on the bottom bunk for Paprika. It's a little bit like camping, but these things are exciting when you're four years old...right? Crossing my fingers this goes well! ;-)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My 10 Week Old Bay-bay!


Daisy is now 10 weeks old. Well, 10 weeks 4 days, but who's counting, right? Haha.

She is growing. I need to weigh her because I am certain she's gained at least a few pounds in the two weeks we've had her.

She is doing awesome. I am learning so much about puppy training, and every day I realize even more that I know nothing! Haha. It feels like first child syndrome. I monitor Daisy's every move. She's not eating?! Must be dire. Should I call the pediatrician...I mean vet? Then it turns out she just wasn't hungry that second. ;-)

I was babying her a bit much...which started to cause some dominance issues. Just normal stuff...basically, she started to think that she was #2 in command (behind me). She was nipping at the girls a lot, and getting out of line.

At first we tried spraying her with water when she nipped at the girls (because I read about that little tip online)...well, she loved it. She is part water-dog, and thought the water sprayer was a fun game. I threw out the spray bottles on the second day, and instead now we just turn on the sprinkler for her and the kids when they want to get wet!


I came to realize that she really needs structure and discipline. We set up the crate for her, and now when we're not home she goes in the crate...and when we're eating, etc. she has to wait in her crate. I do not like the crate, but she really doesn't mind it (and hopefully will love it eventually). We still take her out with us just about everywhere, but sometimes I just make sure she goes into the crate so she knows that she is not quite human. ;-)

Ginger thought it was great fun to set up the crate. These photos were actually taken when we had the crate in the living room. Now the crate is in our bedroom, and the kids don't have access to it- so Daisy has a nice and safe place to retreat to during the day. It's her den and the girls know they aren't allowed to go in it. We also put a divider in it to make it smaller for Daisy, so it's a little cozier for her. As she gets bigger, we can expand it for her. comfy!


This is the look that says: I know I'm not supposed to be in here, but I'm so cute I can get away with it for a moment. Haha.


The other thing that has made a huge difference is that I got a hands-free leash that I wear attached to Daisy when we are in the house and Daisy starts to assert dominance or her prey drive kicks into high gear. I wish I had a picture of the leash- basically, it goes over my shoulder cross-body, and then Daisy is on a very short leash attached to me. She can only go a few feet when she's hooked up, and it's great because it allows me to keep her very close and correct her when she starts to nip, etc. Of course, it is also great for housetraining, too!

When we're home during the day, we leave the backdoor open and Daisy has free reign over her kingdom...or should I say, queendom. We blocked off all the holes and openings in the fence, so when she's back there, I know she can't get out. She loves to play outside, and especially lay down beneath the shade of the orange tree. You can see all the "toys" she's dragged out there to play with in her shady spot! :-)


Having the backdoor open during the day has been great for the house training. She is having very few accidents now, and will go outside on her own to go to the bathroom. Of course, I still take her out all the time and praise her and give her treats to reinforce - but just having that open access to the yard has helped a lot. Overnight she is great- we wake up once (sometimes twice) at night and take her out. I wake up naturally anyway a few times/night, so it's no biggie.

Here she is enjoying just relaxing in the between her adventures hunting down birds, insects, and the bushes she likes to attack! :-)


That's the scoop on Miss Daisy Doodlebug! I can't believe she's been with us for just two weeks. It feels like she's always been here. Love her!


Friday, June 24, 2011

Birthday Girl!


We had Ginger's second birthday celebration on Saturday. Paprika ended up just having a 24 hour stomach bug- so she was fine by Friday night. So thankful for that!

Since we were going to U2 that night, we decided to keep things really low key. Grandma Pat came down for the day to celebrate with us.


We decorated the house just like we were having a big party, ordered a big chocolate cake that said "Happy 2nd Birthday, Ginger!", got balloons, party hats, toy horns, and made a big deal out of the whole thing.


Paprika's favorite part was decorating the house and singing Happy Birthday to Ginger.


Ginger loved opening her gifts and being the center of attention.


And of course, she loved the cake! Paprika picked out the cake- and made sure it was chocolate cake with chocolate icing...and purple writing on it, of course!


Things got a little silly...


The girls played with some of Ginger's new toys:


After cake and opening presents at home, Grandma Pat and Mr. Mustard took the girls to the park to feed the ducks and play at the playground. They had so much fun! Feeding the ducks is one of Ginger's favorite things to it makes sense she got to do it on her special day!


I still can't believe my baby is 2! Right after she turned 2 she started acting more grown up! Saying longer sentences. Being more independent. She is really turning into a little girl. So far, no terrible 2s yet. She's still as sweet and funny as ever!


Love her to the moon and back, and we are so grateful she is in our lives! :-) Happy Birthday, Ginger!


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Video Games!


Paprika started summer school this week. It's a Pre-K program at her same co-op preschool she's been attending for a year. So far, it's going really well. There are only about 10 kids in the class, so that helps!

At home, she has discovered Starfall and Nick Jr. Boost games. She is a computer nut, and loves video games (just like her daddy!)

Starfall is a free, learn to read program available online. It focuses on phonics, and she loves it.

We tried out Ticket to Read, which is another Phonics-based reading program. You can get a free 14 day trial on their website. I had heard really great things about it, but Paprika did not like it at all. I sat with her while she was playing it, and have to admit, it was a lot like watching paint dry. Super repetitive, not very challenging, and the buttons were unresponsive (so she would get the answer right but the game would register the answer as wrong). Thumbs down.

Our library has video games (which is how Paprika got introduced to video games in the first place). One day the library closed early, and Paprika didn't get to use the we found the same games they have at the library at the Nick Jr. games website for free. Those games are like crack to Paprika, and she loves them...but I didn't really feel like there was anything educational about them.

So, I checked out the educational sister site to Nick Jr. Games, which is Nick Jr. Boost. All the games on Boost are educational- they have math games, reading, art, patterns, and Spanish games. You can get a free trial for a week...but it works out costing more in the long run if you use their free trial (tricky, tricky). I bought the 3 month plan for $21, which I figured was the least risky option, since if Paprika didn't like it, I was just out $20.

She does love Boost, but the thing I don't really love about it is that she can navigate the site so easily. So, when she plays the Boost games, she just focuses on what is easy for her...Art and pattern relationships. She never does the Math games, for example...and if I set them up for her, she can change back to what is easy for her within seconds of me leaving the computer. They also have videos kids can watch, so it's easy for her to switch to the videos instead of doing the learning games...and I am not a fan of that, either!

The plus side of Boost is that it has different levels- from Kindergarten to grade you can tailor the difficulty of the problems your child is presented with.

So far, I think my favorite program is Starfall. I really like the pace of it, and I love that Paprika loves it, too. It's not commercial- so your child isn't being hit over the head with Dora or Diego. I am still not a huge fan of video games, but overall, Starfall seems to be the most innocuous of all the programs I've seen online.

I have thought of ordering some learning games for her- but am not sure where to start with that. I was this close to getting Hooked on Phonics and Hooked on Spanish, but haven't taken the plunge.

Anyone have suggestions for fun, educational video games or software? I am all ears!


P.S. I know young kids playing video games is controversial. We got rid of our television years ago and we're very responsible about what and how much media our kids encounter on a daily basis. Paprika really responds to computer-based learning...much more so than other kinds of learning. We are just trying to find a way to connect with her and help her learn all that she can in the ways that she enjoys most. So this is just one avenue of many we are pursuing (and no, she does not just sit in front of a computer screen all day). I just had to get that out there! Whew!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

20 Week Ultrasound!


Today I had my big ultrasound appointment with my perinatologist, Dr. R. Pat came down from Santa Barbara to watch the girls, which was soooo nice of her- considering she had just been here this past weekend for Ginger's birthday and U2! Thank you so much, Pat!

Mr. Mustard was able to sneak out of work for a few hours to be at the appointment, which was great. Of all the appointments I've had, this is the one I was the most nervous about. I call this appointment the "bad news" appointment- because pretty much everyone who gets bad news at an ultrasound gets it at this appointment. Not every case, of course...but having been in a pregnancy and infant loss support group now for almost 3 years, most of the bad stories you hear of people finding out something is wrong with their baby (past the first trimester) happen at the 20 week anatomy scan.

Needless to say, I have been distracting myself as much as possible leading up to today's appointment - and I had braced myself for whatever news we would hear.

The appointment took almost 3 hours! The ultrasound was very very thorough (right down to counting all the bones in the fingers and toes). I love Dr. R. I don't know if I've told you before, but he was on the team that saved my life back in July 2008. When I delivered the twins, my placenta would not detach and I went into a very serious emergency situation. He was the perinatologist brought in to make sure I was going to be okay. He and Dr. K worked together, and know...I trust them both a lot.

So, it was great to see him today under less dire and somber circumstances! He is also the perinatologist I saw when I was pregnant with Ginger, and we had a nice chat about that, too.

I was a little concerned today because the ultrasounds were sooo thorough and were taking so very long. But he was just being very careful, and checking every little thing. He said Pavenzia looks 100% healthy and the pregnancy looks 100% as it should.

And yes, they confirmed that she is still a she!

Here are her little feet and toes!


I am so thankful for a great appointment. Today is the first day of Summer, and what a wonderful way to start off the season!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

U2 360 Tour!

Saturday, Mr. M and I went to see U2 in concert. It was a show two years in the making (we bought our tickets in 2009) - so when the day arrived, it was kinda surreal!


We got an email saying that parking was going to be insane, so we left early and decided to just enjoy the late afternoon at the stadium, indulge in some overpriced stadium food, and relax. It was a great idea...we encountered very little traffic and had no problems parking!

The girls stayed home with Grandma Pat. She drove down from Santa Barbara to babysit. Thank you, Grandma Pat!

Of course, Pavenzia came along for the ride. Here is my 19 week belly pic:


We got there before the stadium filled up. We had assigned seats close to the front. General admission (GA) was in the center of the field. In the future, I might just get the GA tickets- but with me being pregnant, I am so glad we had the seats. We considered trading our tix for Red Zone, which is standing right up against the stage- but it was kinda crazy down there and not something I wanted to risk pregnant. Next time!


The stage was pretty incredible! It looked like an alien ship had landed.


Mr. M taking in the sunshine:


They brought in some nice, gourmet-ish vendors to the event, so the food was actually really great! I even split a Pepsi with Mr. M (I haven't had a soda since last Thanksgiving)- I needed all the energy I could get! Ha!


It was pretty special having Pavenzia there with us. I was wondering what she could hear...especially when things got loud.


Lenny Kravitz opened. I saw him in concert about 15 years ago! So it was a blast from the past! :-)


Of course, the excitement really started when U2 came out to play. It was an incredible, amazing show. Mr. M and I agreed it was the best concert we've seen! I really don't know how it could have been better!


Mr. Bono, himself...


At one point the screen at the top of the stage expanded to make this sort of hive-looking thing. I think maybe it was supposed to be the alien light beaming them up into the ship? I don't know, but it was spectacular!


Overall, it was just a really great night. The kind that you file away in your memory as a night to really remember.


We took a bunch of videos of the show. Here is the start of the concert:

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Birthday Girl!


Today is Ginger's second birthday! We decorated the house for her, and we're enjoying cake and opening presents. Plus a trip to her favorite place - the park to feed the ducks! Mr. Mustard's mom is down visiting - so she is celebrating with us, too!


I realized that I haven't written about what Ginger is up to lately. This list of things she's doing is mostly for me, since this is her baby book, and all!


Ginger is talking a lot now. Her vocabulary is exploding. She loves being read to, and her favorite books are: How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight, How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food, Inch By Inch, Swimmy, and the Dog and Cat books by Matthew Van Fleet.

She can count from 1 to 20 in English and Spanish, and knows her alphabet. She can recognize numbers- so if you show her a #6, she will say "Six" and "Seis." Ginger also understands number concepts - so if you show her a plate of eight cookies and ask her how many cookies there are, she will count out eight. If you take away three cookies, she will say "Five" or "Cinco"...stuff like that.

She can also recognize all the letters out of order- so if you show her a capital A or a lowercase "a" and ask her what it is, she can say "A!" I would say she's right about 85% of the time with those.


Ginger loves to put her own shoes on, and take them off...and of course has to pick out her own outfits! Her best friend is her big sister, Paprika, but she is also excited about Pavenzia and will point to my tummy and say, "Pavenzia inside! Come out now, please!"

Ginger is very attached to her mama, and loves to snuggle me. She is still nursing about 6 times/day (doctor says it is fine)- and it is really her favorite thing in the world. All attempts at weaning have been futile - so I'm not pushing it. She will wean when she's ready.

Her favorite stuffed animal is "brown puppy" - she takes him everywhere. She loves all stuffed animals- but especially dogs and horses. She also loves baby dolls and will cuddle them and nurture them. She has such a soft heart.

Ginger is so full of energy and smiles. She is a big ray of sunshine in our lives, and I can't imagine our world without her. She is such a source of joy to all who know her, and wherever she goes, she makes friends! Love you, Baby Ginger! Happy Birthday, my big 2 year old girl!