Wednesday, January 30, 2013

We All Scream for.....

When we departed on vacation, my Mom gave me one simple request: she wanted to find an ice cream shop and get Matilda an ice cream cone.

A pretty simple request to execute and approve.  And Tillie did not mind this very special treat (although to be fair it did end up being frozen yogurt).

She was feeling very independent and wanted to do it As in most things these days.

 And she held onto that cone until the very last drop was gone. It was a vice grip of death.
All done with a giant smile.
Family "Cool Dudes" photo
Then we headed to the little saltwater lagoon to burn off some of that sugar.
Tillie has very sensitive feet. A wet spaghetti noodle will literally halt this girl in her tracks (not even joking). So we have been in sandals and water shoes most of the trip.
But we thought it would be good for her to feel the sand between her toes, so stripped off her shoes...
"Ummm...Mama? This feels funny"

"Does anyone care that I have sand on my toes?"

"Very, very slowly"

"I'll stand here, but don't make me move."

Monday, January 28, 2013

Barely Alive

After a wonderful morning of exercise and poolside fun, we were barely able to keep the kid alive.

Between major sunscreen (non-baby) in the eyes causing blinding, 
Nate kicking her down a slide (I may be overdramatic here), 
Grandma missing the landing and Tillie drowning (again, melodrama for flair),
Surviving a rough and rowdy crew of boys at the pirate ship,
and slipping and falling on a book in the villa....

This girl had a bruiser of a day.

It's a good thing she looked so cute while doing it....

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Travelin' Girl

At risk of jinxing our travel home, I have to say that Matilda did AMAZING on the way to vacation. We had a whole backpack filled with 'tricks' to get her through the almost 4 hour flight, and the only one we had to pull out was 2 books to help get her to sleep.

It was our first full-day today, and the weather didn't totally cooperate but that didn't slow this girl down.
We splashed in the Toddler Pirate ship....

Then we moved to the big pool after an almost 3 hour nap. I thought for sure Matilda would be a little leery of this as well, and she proved me wrong yet again.

Before we left on vacation, we had to print some family photos off for Tillie's new daycare and we realized that we literally have SIX photos of all 3 of us in 2012, so we decided it was a must to try to capture some of the 3 of us before we become a family of 4. Here was our first attempt:

We went for a very fun dinner tonight and Matilda had a TRUE smorgasboard: a whole grain roll, some french onion soup, some mahi mahi, some shrimp and noodles in garlic sauce, some green beans and zucchini, a taste of grouper, and an entire ear of corn. We were extremely concerned about the welfare of her gastro-intestinal track by the end of the meal.

We kept asking her if she was all done and she kept saying no. Until finally, Nate rodeo-clowned her into drinking some water and we quick hid the remaining food........clearly she is making up for last weekend.

More fun in the sun to come tomorrow!

Friday, January 25, 2013

All Porked Out

While this blog could be a commentary on my growing belly, it is not.
Last weekend, as we took turns escaping our germ-ridden home, Nate volunteered to do the menu-planning and grocery shopping.

And he came home with a massive pork shoulder.

Hunks of meat are not my thing. Or in my top 500 things.
"But it was only $8....!" the husband exclaimed. Plus, lets be honest he knew I would not be touching that thing.

I was skeptical that we would actually get 'our money's worth' since leftovers tend to sit in our Friday for all too long for comfort.

But between Pork BBQ Sliders, a Pork Enchilada Bake and Pork Carnitas we did a pretty good job with it. I'm not going to lie--I could go without pork for a good month, but I have to hand it to Nate.

He made me eat my words...literally.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sick Day

For working parents, we have been super lucky to have only had 1 day with Tillie out of daycare this in the past year and half. Until this Monday, where it was clear that based on the weekend, and what was still coming out of her bottom end, she should not be attending.

See these eyes.....they are saying--if I go to daycare I may just cry all day.

So Nate and I whipped out our phones and played a game a calendar roulette. Who had what meetings when, and whose were most important, least missable. I"m not sure who you call the winner or loser of this...but I ended up at work and Nate stayed at home with Tillie.

The good news was that she had gone from lap-dog sick...

To 75% of the Tillie we know and love. Except for the fact that she really is still not interested in anything but water---and cheese for whatever reason.

Daddy Daycare was a hit and a huge success as he kept her busy with lots of fun activities. Which was good because it was freezing cold and this girl really really wanted to go outside since she had been cooped up all weekend.

So, with the out of doors not being an option, they traced animals....

Put felt letters into blocks, and moved them from big boxes to small boxes...

Played with wooden blocks...
Painted. You make look at the picture below and wonder if Nate taped Matilda's mouth shut. This is not the case, but rather a MUCH more logical explanation. When Matilda sees masking tape (which is what we use to tape down the sheet of paper for painting) she wants us to rip a piece off and make her a mustache. I kid you not.

And finally, further proving my theory that you literally cannot let this child do something ONCE that you don't want to fight forever....after two days of being sick and having the TV on (which is never is when Matilda is up), Matilda was addicted to TV. The problem is she can reach the power button on the side of the TV so she can turn it on at her will. Nate fought it all morning and then finally put it on Public Access TV so that if she turned it on, it was playing old school polka music.

That didn't deter her.

Needless to say the TV is now just unplugged.

So now we are back to work, back to daycare, back to the regular routine of life.
Except for the appetite. Water and Cheese still prevail as the food of choice......Not my first choice of food after vomiting everywhere, but what can I say, she is a Sconnie at heart.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sad Eyes

This weekend was the type of weekend you look forward to more than normal:
Playdate with great friends
First Swim lesson of the season
DATE NIGHT with a babysitter lined up (perhaps the 2nd time this has actually happened in 19 months)
Brunch with some of your dearest friends

This weekend ended up being more like this:
Wake-up every 2 hours
Strip the crib
Strip the baby
Clean up puke or diarrhea
Try to get baby back to bed
Hold baby all day long
Talk to triage nurse
Feed baby water through syringe

Here's the thing---looking into Matilda's sad sad eyes broke my heart.
And 99% of me was REALLY bummed that our super fun weekend had come to a screeching halt.

But 1% of me (and it was a very small 1%) soaked up and savored every second that this child laid on me, hugged me, rubbed my ear, and caught a snooze on my chest. Because I realize that she is getting older and 'busier' but also that Baby GH is on her way, and pretty soon my lap is going to have to be shared. So while we are one exhausted family, I am also one filled-up mama.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


We are attempting to go screen-less one night a week.

No TV.
No Phone.
No Ipad.
No Laptops.

It shouldn't be that hard, but it IS.

First of all, I love TV and I love the internet.
Second of all, so many of my to-do's are ON the internet--finish our 2012 Family Yearbook, menu plan from Pinterest, BLOG.

But all of those digital to-do's seem to take-over because they involve the couch, a blanket, and the ability to multi-task. The reality is that lots of the physical to-do's get ignored.

Hence the screen-less nights.

Well, tonight was a screen-less attempt. As you can tell from the fact that I am blogging it wasn't a total success. BUT here is what I will say:

In one short hour, we cleaned out an entire area of our basement and a two-drawer file cabinet and filled one gigantic garbage bag that Nate hauled out to the curb. It felt awesome. I am on a huge 'chuck-it'  kick. Get rid of everything possible. Nate--more of a pack-rat---but we are working on it.

One hour. That was it. So by 8:30 we green-lit the screens. In the future I suppose we could curl up with books, play a board game, or do something else. But tonight, we celebrated our small step to a more productive, less screen-lit world.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Like a Glove

Do you know how you feel when you find a pair of pants that fits perfectly and you never have a 'fat' day in them? Or how you feel after a long day when you curl up on the couch with a blanket, cup of tea and a good book or guilty pleasure TV show?

That is how I feel about Tillie's new daycare. It is a perfect fit.

For the last year+, Matilda had been coming with me to the General Mills Daycare, where I was incredibly thankful to get to see her almost every day for a quick snuggle and have the extreme convenience for pick-up/drop-off. It made my transition from career woman to working Mom easier. But looking back, I now question if it make the transition better or just easier.

We had a fair amount of issues there of which I won't elaborate, so it was with cautious optimism that we entered Kid Zone in our neighborhood. When we toured it, we immediately liked the energy and it was a huge bonus for us that they are located in the hood (so some nights she gets valet bike service from Nate!) and had a focus on good, quality food. As in a chef on site making all of the food each day. As in a garden in the back growing fresh food for the kids during the summer. As in, all infant purees are made fresh on site with organic produce. A far cry from the Lorna Doone cookies and mini blue berry muffins at our last daycare.

But we knew there was SO much more to daycare than the food, and location.

Matilda has always been on the cautious side, slow to warm-up and skeptical of new people. Within 15 minutes of our transition time in her new classroom, Matilda had found her new BFF, Kathy--whom I later found out was the Chef for the place. What can I say, Matilda knows who butters her bread. Literally. The second day of transition, Matilda walked into the room by herself looked back at me and said 'bye-bye'.

It was so clear to me as her parent that she was comfortable in this room. That she felt secure. And confident. The teachers warned me that the first full week could be tough--that she might cry at drop off even though she didn't at her drop off days. I held my breath each day. And day after day. A squealing, delighted Tillie when she saw where we were headed and a smile and a wave when I left.

The room feels in control. Which for a room of 18+ toddlers ranging from 18-34 months is a feat in and of itself. This was a HUGE change from the 'toddler transition' room at the previous daycare, where it felt the kids ruled the room. Every time I am there the kids are being directed with activities and there is a quiet energy in the room.

But the biggest difference is the feeling of community. The Director of the daycare emailed Nate and I on the first day and sent a pic of Tillie, saying she knows the first day is hard on the parents too. We have been reached out to by a number of parents. And the staff have been absolutely incredible. They already know Matilda better than her previous caregivers. What we hear about her are stories about her and her personality rather than things that happened.

Today, Mr. Leon (her lead teacher) told Nate that typically kids choose a favorite teacher, but Matilda doesn't because she is so task-oriented. Whichever teacher is doing an activity is her current favorite. It is such an insightful observation that makes me feel like they understand her.

I write this post for two reasons:
1) If you are looking for an amazing daycare, that is non-profit, and serves the overall health and well-being of your children and family, Kid Zone in St. Louis Park is worth taking an extremely hard look at. We are overjoyed with the center and cannot speak highly enough.

2) One cannot underestimate their 'mom gut'. I have ignore it a few times, only to have to realize after some hard time that there are certain things you just know because you are the mom. I wasn't ever truly happy at the previous daycare, but I thought maybe I had unrealistic expectations or demands since I am a first-time Mom. But our immediate love and impression of Kid Zone is that it wasn't unrealistic expectations on our part, but rather unrealistic rules/regulations/facilities/etc on the place we went before.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Lend Me Your Ears

Friends, Romans, Countryman,
Matilda demands your ears.

Not, not for listening.
For comfort.

Comfort, you ask?
Well, yes.

Up until about a month ago, Matilda would be perfectly content to suck her two little fingers, snuggle in your lap and play with your fingers while reading a book.

Now, you can argue that the playing with fingers thing is also kind of strong, and I would have to agree with you to an extent.

But now, this ear thing has come about and it makes finger-playing seem like a totally normal pastime. Matilda will literally move your face side to side, play with both ears and assess which one is worthy of her.

It's not just anyone's ears that will suit her either. It is typically Daddy's, but mine will do in a pinch.
Apparently Grandpa has some pretty stellar ears as well.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Growing Up

Today was the first day of work where Matilda didn't get to come with me. I realize how spoiled I have been to get to keep her with me until the last possible second before heading up to work. To be able to pick her up the second I finished up my last item on my to-do list.

She is going to a place in our neighborhood, so the drop-off came to quick today. I didn't get to hear her sing in the car, watch her read books in her car seat, or wake her up after a quick cat nap. I didn't get to carry her in through General Mills, waving to the Doughboy, hearing her say hi to everyone that passes.

Instead, I drove 3 blocks (just enough time for her to pull her hat off), and we were there.

My worry and anxiety about this transition has (so far) been for naught. Matilda was SO excited when I pulled her out of the car and she saw we were headed back to the place we visited last week. She saw kids playing in the gym with giant legos and her "OH MY GOSH" face lit up.

And we walked into her room, where she for a oh-so-and-maybe-too-brief second paused to come over to my leg and then she was off. With her new friends. New teachers. New toys. New things to be learned. And I was equal parts so incredibly proud of her and so incredibly sad as the realization of how big she is getting set in, and how fast time is going (and why hasn't anyone invented a time freezing machine yet)?

And then I drove away.

And started concocting a plan for how Nate and I can strike it rich and both of us can quit our jobs and play all day. The plan still has a few holes in it, but I'll keep working at it, because this age is just too fun to bear missing any moments.

Can you tell how much Matilda loves her Daddy??

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Ho-Ho-Holidays

The anticipation of the Holiday season and all that it can hold always sets in for me right after Halloween. And I've discovered (at least it was my eureka! moment this year) that it's called the Holiday season for a reason.

It's not about one day. Or the night before one day.

It's about making the most of all of the days where the Christmas spirit is alive and full in your heart. And the beautiful thing about this is that it takes all of the pressure off of that 'one day' and creates opportunity to make the most out of each and every moment possible.

So, since I discovered that this year, I can't say that I was amazing at this sentiment. But I plan (as part of my 2013 resolutions) to carry that sentiment with me for all of the Holidays and not just Christmas.

Our Christmas season was fantastic. Matilda enjoyed a full week with Grandma and Grandpa since she graduated from General Mills daycare. I had to make two stops on the way home, and it caused us to miss her before she went down for her nap and Nate was NOT happy with me.

We spent a very long weekend with the family and got to see the 'other' Ekern's. Matilda made Emily's year as she immediately warmed up to her and remembered her Auntie Em.

And Aunt Marna and Emily and Meghan had the honor of helping Matilda open her first Christmas gift of the season--how fitting--a book (of which Matilda is still obsessed)

And a purse--and old one of Em's. Matilda loves carrying around bags. Those that are too big, too heavy, etc for her. So this one was just her size.

Cousin time is Tillie's favorite time. Whether it was her 2nd cousin's or her 1st Keaty Cousins. Matilda ADORES Finnegan. She likes Leo but right now more in the "I'll trade you one of my toys for one of yours" way. Finnegan on the other hand, can crack this girl up with one little tickle. Little smile. Or even acknowledgement of her existence. If only it was that easy for me. :)

Tillie had lots of smiles to go around.

I can also safely report (without jinxing myself--yes the superstitions remain) that Matilda did AWESOME with the tree. For whatever reason, we just kept telling her to say "hi" to the tree, and she would. I think she got into my parents tree a little more--mostly because the cats resided beneath it, but probably because it was about 12 feet high.

We also have our first official baby doll. Perfect preparation for Baby GH.
Lots of kissing, rock-a-bying, eye poking and throwing.
I'm hoping for more of the first two and less of the last 2 once the real baby arrives....

 From our family to yours, I hope you all had a memorable and love-filled holiday season.