Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Life with Littles at Home

Life with two continues to mean usually not as much blogging time! I often take pictures and think "I want to share that!" and even think of a cute caption to go along with it, but usually I don't want to pull away from playing with the cuties to get on the computer in the moment, and then there's always a million other things to be done... 

Plus, I've gotten bitten by the photobook bug again, so am using any extra time I can to work on our 2015 family picture book. I'm learning sometimes to just take 10-15 minutes even if I don't "have" it during the time both girls are asleep in the afternoon. There are always so many many chores, but Ryan's helped me see that sometimes, I just have to give myself permission to breathe. I don't know why being creative in terms of photos or sewing helps so so much, but it really does. I so often don't, because I see the to-do list so full, but when I do, there's often a happier wife and mom around, which is better for everyone even if the laundry has yet to be put away.

Hadassah is full of energy and enthusiasm and ideas, and her favorite thing is "I want to help you, Mommy!" Though sometimes that seems like a nuisance, I have to remember that I trained her to be with me, and this help is going to be so useful in the long run! Already it's nice to have someone who can return the laundry hamper to the room or rinse the dishes, though often dishes just doubles as play-with-water time for her, and makes us both happy!

But, often I can just work, work work and get to nap time and realize I never sat down and just played with her. And while I don't want to be her sole source of entertainment, I don't want to miss these times of play and creativity and imagination. So, though it doesn't always happen, I've made it my goal to stop chores and do "Mommy-Dassah play" around 9 AM. Though Ellie's naps aren't always predictable, she is usually asleep at that time. :) We aim for 10 minutes of free play (it's always fun to see what Hadassah thinks up to do with me, or we play dolls or something), 10 minutes of reading time (I read a book to her then read my own book while she looks at a stack of hers), and some art/activity. Usually followed by 15 minutes of room time and then a morning snack. Hardly ever goes perfectly according to plan, but I've been aiming for this for the last month, and it really does help. She's always happier to play alone after some time with me, and has gotten used to me running around doing chores (with her helping where she can!) around 8:30-9 AM. :) 

And when I get buried in feeling like there's always so much work to do (yesterday was a prime example!), I want to take time off and just focus on mommying. People won't usually notice if the floor is mopped, but these childhood moments are what I'll remember. Often writing "play with Hadassah" and the activities I want to do that day on my to-do list helps me make sure they do. Partly because I love checking things off, but also just to give myself "permission" to ignore visible things and get down and play with little hearts.

So, what follows are a conglomeration of photos from the past month. Some are art project ideas (many of which came from Pinterest or blogs!), and others are just too-cute-not-to-share moments from our daily life.

 Making these butterflies are quick and children always have fun decorating them! We've done our share of babysitting two other kids at a time to trade date nights or for doctor's appointments (both of our American friends here are expecting their third baby!) and I've done these multiple times with great joy on the part of the kids. They're usually the ones to ask to do them again!

 Dassah still loves to sing and dance. I love seeing her praise the Lord. :) She often wakes up singing, and though I'd prefer quiet at 5:45 - 6 AM, hearing "Christ is risen, He is risen indeed, oh sing hallelujah!" coming from the room of a toddler is a pretty sweet way to start the day.

 We used the leotard my niece passed along to have her first "ballet lesson" for a mommy-dassah play time a few weeks ago. Pretty fun for this former dance teacher mom. And while when it's my own child I'm amazed at how much she can do if she wants to, with attention spans and physical ability, I'm glad I held firm to not having group ballet classes until the girls were 4 years old! ;)

 But still, dancing at home? So much fun. :)

 Ellie loves her exersaucer and smiles even more if she has a big sister visiting and playing along too! Hadassah gets big smiles whenever she comes near Ellie, and Ellie will follow her with her eyes whenever she can. Makes my heart so happy! And though there are still moments of aggression towards Ellie (usually when Hadassah wants attention), they are getting less as the ability to play together more goes up.

 Last week we used sweetend condensed milk and food coloring to make easy fingerpaint! Hadassah enjoyed helping scoop the stuff into an ice cube tray and squeeze colored drops and mix them around. Then we did some finger painting together...

 It doesn't really dry well, so we had to eventually throw the stuff away (after brushing against the sticky stuff one too many times!) but it made some pretty pictures! After tiring of fingers, Hadassah painted with sticks...

 Then a paint brush...

 Then a roller...

 The enjoyment lasted for quite a while, so of course when Ellie woke and I decided to nurse while Hadassah was occupied, she decided to start painting herself. Thankfully I noticed and called out "hands in the air!" before she got to her clothes! ;)

 I've seen ideas for kids sticking things to contact paper everywhere, but couldn't find any here. But I found a roll of wallpaper for just the equivalent of $2 on Taobao, and it serves the same purpose. :)

 Laundry still does have to be done, and taking down two loads and hanging one up can take 30 minutes at a time... So I have to include the girls in it when I can, and now that the weather is nicer it's easy for them to hang out on the balcony with me. Ellie can sit up safely in one of the empty boxes I had stored out there, so when Hadassah saw that, she wanted a box for herself, and one for her Ni-night too of course!

And laundry is so much more fun to do when you have cuties looking up at you! :)

 Pinterest is full of heart-shaped animals these days, and so we made one the other day. Hadassah was concerned that this fox didn't have any legs, though, so we added two. You've got to love how imaginative toddlers are and how it doesn't have to look totally realistic in order to please! :)

 Occasionally Hadassah will mimic what I'm doing with Ellie with a doll or other little friend. The other day she took Ni-night, laid her down on the rug and said, "I'm changing her poopy diaper." Then she took her to the rocking chair and pretended to nurse her, burp her, and then "she has a potty diaper now!" Then she took her to Ellie's high chair and fed her some "rice cereal" and "a little bit of ice cream" (I promise - I've never fed ice cream to Ellie!!). Then it was playtime. Ni-night got to be in the exersaucer some, and then she sat next to me on the couch (as I was letting Ellie jump on my lap) and had Ni-night jump too. Then, it was bed time. She went through the whole bedtime song and what we say "I love you ni-night, but Jesus loves you even more. Have a good sleep, I'll see you after your nap!" and put her in Ellie's crib. The first time didn't go well. She had to go back in because "ni-night is crying!" and do the routine again. Then she told me, "Now she's not waking up. She's having a good sleep." I tell her she's learning to be a good mommy. :)

She told me at lunch today, "I'm so glad God gave you a baby!" We talk a lot about how someday she will grow up and that maybe she'll get married and then God might give her a baby. :)

I call this one, "Baby, meet baby." Ellie had a fun time playing with Hadassah's doll this afternoon while big sister was sleeping. She kept reaching for it, squealing and talking to it. And of course, trying to eat it. 

And last but not least, with all the spring rain, these rain boots for Hadassah were definitely one of our best buys. It scandalizes the grandmas and grandpas outside often, and we usually end up having to change wet socks and pants too, but it gives her so so much joy and satisfaction to splash in puddles. Childhood is just too short to deny her that joy... 

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