31 May 2009

Nursery Bound

This Sunday, Blake will officially be old enough to attend nursery during church. This is a day that parents eagerly look forward to. It means that they are no longer sitting through Sunday School and other meetings trying to entertain, feed, and keep a restless toddler quiet. It symbolizes the end of strolling the hallways in a desperate attempt to get the wiggles out and return to class. It means being able to actually listen to the lessons being taught and maybe even participate. It results in toys, friends, space, and snacks for the inquisitive and fidgety toddler. It is truly an anticipated milestone.

For us, the privilege of nursery is the opposite of anticipated, in fact, it is completely dreaded. Since we rotate church times, we have the awful meeting time of 1:00pm this year. Being in church from 1-4pm is basically a nightmare for trying to fit in nap time.

So, I have dreaded, fretted about, and worried over the onset of nursery every day since I found out about the afternoon meeting time last September (worrying is what moms do best). So far this year, we have had a system that has worked pretty well for us. We all go to Sacrament Meeting together because we feel that is the most important meeting. Then, one of us takes Blake home for a nap which is still at 2:30pm, an hour and a half later than usual. The other one of us stays for Sunday School and then we switch again for the 3rd hour. We rotate who goes to which meeting from week to week. We live close enough to our church building that this system works quite well. It actually is nice because instead of being out in the hall the entire time with an overtired toddler, we each get to sit and listen to at least one lesson. Of course it is not the ideal situation. We would like to both be there for all meetings, but it has worked for us thus far.

Now, we have the dilemma of nursery vs. nap. We're torn, because we think that nursery is an important experience for every child of this age to have. It represents the beginning of their church-taught gospel education, independence from us, and is a great social tool that every toddler is entitled to. However, consistent nap time is also a high priority, especially for a child this young. I'm not a stickler on many things, but when it comes to taking naps, they are set in stone in our household.

Most of my inflexibility when it comes to nap time is in relation to Blake's temperament. He has never been very spirited, active, strong-willed, intense, or easy to anger. He is, however, an incredibly cautious child. He tends to be happy and peaceful but he does not like surprises. He lives life in the slow lane. He really assesses before he does new things. He thrives on a predictable, unchanging routine. He falls apart when he is forced to tweak his napping schedule, sleep in a new place, or change time zones. It often takes him up to 3 days to get back on schedule when he is thrown off for a day. He will sleep in his crib and no where else, including our arms and his carseat. He shys away from unfamiliar people and places. He struggles with separation anxiety and offers generous waves and bye-byes only after guests have walked out the front door. He is ultrasensitive to things such as lights being on, food being dropped on the floor, and items not being in place. He is also very clingy, trailing me from room to room all day long.

I have read from several books concerning cautious temperaments. Gratefully, I have learned that Blake's temperament was not caused by my being overprotective (which I often worried about). He has been this way from birth as each child is born with unique traits and behaviors. He will get better and braver, as long as I am gently encouraging. The best thing I can do for him is provide a predictable schedule, weaved with repetition and routine to help him feel safe and confident.

My point is that his cautious temperament mixed with an unfamiliar nursery at 2:30 in the afternoon is basically a recipe for disaster. This is why I have worried about it for the past nine months or so. However, despite everything, we still really want to try out nursery because it feels like the right thing to do and eventually will be a great stepping stone for our child. I also was recently called to teach Young Women's during the third church hour, and Troy has his own responsibilities during that time, so the debate about nursery is soon not going to be about if Blake goes, but rather how we are going to make the transition.

We are not the only ones with a toddler that are dealing with the afternoon church time. It seems like everyone is coming up with a solution that works for them. One toddler lays down her blanket and sleeps in the middle of the nursery each week (I can guarantee that Blake will not do that). Another toddler goes to bed at 11pm, wakes up late, and doesn't even take a nap till 4pm. The other children in nursery are older and are transitioning out of nap time, so they just skip the nap altogether.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who has dealt with this predicament. Here are some options I have come up with so far:
  1. Try to get Blake to take a nap from 10:30am to 1pm, just before church. This is my favorite option, but I am worried that Blake will just play in his crib, will barely fall asleep, and then we'll have to wake him up again.
  2. Skip the nap altogether and put him down super early for bed. This is my least favorite option. First of all, an overtired, cautious child in nursery is not a good idea. Also, when Blake's bedtime is adjusted, he generally gets thrown off for several days, and will start getting up several hours earlier. I don't want to spend half of the week making up for missed sleep on Sunday.
I am counting the weeks until we're back at the 9am meeting time.


28 May 2009

Ribbon Jar and Meal Plan

My little one has been taking long afternoon naps lately which has left me a lot of time for my favorite thing: new projects. Here are a few things I have completed recently:

Ribbon Jar

I love ribbon, but my collection used to consist of this tangled mess:

Now, they are spooled on doll pins for a much nicer display. The ribbons are easier to find as well. Eventually, when I have more ribbon (which I'm sure will happen) I'll organize them into jars by color. And eventually, maybe I'll have of a shelf full of these jars, looking like a candy jar rainbow. Only in my craft room dreams.

Meal Plan

To say that cooking is my least favorite task would be a grandiose understatement. I thought that if I turned meal planning into somewhat of a craft, it might become slightly more enjoyable and, if nothing else, more organized. I started by typing out all of my "tried and true" recipes. I had so many overflowing cookbooks, Internet printouts, handwritten jargon, and unorganized chaos that this was quite a task in itself. I threw out recipes that I never used and typed up the rest. I had the cards printed as 4x6 pictures and then laminated them.




Next, I made a box to hang on the refrigerator to hold the recipe cards. At the beginning of each week, I pick the meals I want to make for that week and put them in the box holder. That way I don't have to scribble down my meal choices in my planner or on the grocery list like I usually do, only to misplace later.

I covered a lunchbox tin with coordinating papers and ribbons (of course) to hold the remainder of the recipe cards.

I divided the cards into categories and made dividers and tabs.
Maybe, just maybe, this is my first step to enjoying cooking.

Maybe someday, I, too, will baste and sauté with feeling and pleasure.


26 May 2009

Memorial Day Weekend

It started out like this:

The weather was beautiful. We played in the sprinklers, planted some much needed trees and flowers, and went to a few wedding receptions.


It ended like this:

Downpouring rain and the stomach flu. Blake couldn't keep anything down all day Saturday, he had a high fever, and we almost brought him to the ER because he was so dehydrated. We went through 6 changes of clothes, 4 loads of laundry, 3 baths, and 2 carseat covers. Then on Monday, I got it too. 

I'm convinced that we are doomed for the Memorial Day holiday. Three years ago, I got stuck overnight in the Chicago O'Hare airport while trying to fly home to my brother's graduation. Two years ago, I was the most sick I have ever been (it didn't help that I was pregnant and on a camping trip). Last year, it also rained all day, and this year wasn't much of an improvement. I think it might be safe for us to not make any big plans on Memorial Day next year.


21 May 2009

TP

I never know what to expect when it has been a little too quiet for a long period of time.



Look at that little smirk. He completely knows that he is in trouble.


19 May 2009

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

We went to a minor league baseball game for Family Home Evening. It made us all miss the Red Sox a little bit, but it was still fun.

Blake especially enjoyed himself.


He "danced" by stomping his feet on my legs every time they played music.

He played the "take off mommy's sunglasses" game.

There was a lot of clapping, which Blake thoroughly enjoyed and eagerly copied every time the team made a great play.

He shared ice cream with dad and Aunt Tricia. What a life.


14 May 2009

Zoo

Tricia and I ventured out to the zoo today. Blake is getting to the age where he can actually enjoy such outings, and it was nice to go before all of the children get out of school for the summer.

Tricia was a good sport for going to the local zoo when she just got home from a 3 week African Safari with Troy's parents. We didn't see anything quite like this behind the cages and glass.

This was about as good as it got. Sorry Tricia, no elephant parades at the zoo.

Blake's favorite animals were by far the monkeys. Who wouldn't want to watch tiny mammals jumping around? It looks like I am touching the monkey in the reflection.

We also saw some giraffes.

There were tons of exotic animals around, and what was Blake the most interested in? The tree, of course.

Blake and I were excited to find a playground after hours of riding around in the stroller.

We probably need one of these for our living room.


11 May 2009

Mother's Day

Our Mother's Day weekend was a little unconventional. I have been working on end-of-year DVD slideshows for the school I used to teach at all week, and I barely finished them on time on Saturday. I didn't feel very deserving of a holiday honoring mothers after neglecting my son while I worked all week. I am so glad to be finished and allow Blake to have his mom back. Thankfully, he still loves me and wants to be my playmate.

Troy and I were supposed to go on our 2nd date of the year on Saturday night, but our sitter cancelled. It worked out because I was asked to fill in teaching a church lesson on Sunday. So, instead of going out, I spent the rest of the night preparing. I couldn't relax until the lesson was over at 4pm on Sunday, but Troy got up in the morning with Blake and made his weekend breakfast for us which was very nice. After church, we talked to both of our missionary brothers (they only call on Christmas and Mother's Day), and spent time with Troy's mom and family.

It is always nice to feel honored and special on Mother's Day.

Big Troy and little Troy wore matching ties (not planned).

Troy's dad and sister prepared us quite the spread and Troy made some pretty drinks. I don't think I have ever seen my father-in-law cook anything, let alone a layered lasagna. It was delicious and I was impressed.

The moms in the house ate on the traditional special plates.

Happy Mother's Day!