Sunday, February 28, 2010

Movin' on up!

Doesn't he look extra happy about something?

This was the week Aaron moved out of his crib, and into his big bed. To say I had been dreading this step in development would be a bit of an understatement. Aaron is so much busier than Meredith ever has been.....the prospect of putting him in a bed he could get out of was disheartening to say the least! I love my sleep, and wasn't keen to start missing it again!
We've had some test runs, most of which have gone somewhat miserably. At the camper last summer we had Aaron sleep in one of the big beds to avoid putting the playpen back in. It took close to an hour every nap time and night to get him to sleep, and there was simply just no leaving him to manage to fall asleep on his own. The most memorable evening of trying that resulted in him removing the screen from the emergency exit window, and putting his head between the slats of the mini-blinds. We tried staying at a hotel with friends on Boxing Day, and I ended up driving Aaron home to sleep in his crib after two hours of trying to get him to sleep in the hotel room. His lap-sleeping suppertime antics in Mexico spared us a week full of painful bedtimes there!
The strategy we used with Meredith was to take the side off the crib to convert it to a toddler bed. On the first night we told her she could not get out of the bed on her own, and needed to call for Mom or Dad if she wanted to get out. We told her the side would go back on the crib if she got out of the bed. And to our amazement, she stayed in bed. In fact she incorporated the message so well that just this past year we had to reprogram her with a new message! We concluded that now, at age 5, she was old enough to go to the basement to play if she woke up early on a weekend and nobody else was awake.
We had no confidence that the same sort of conditions would work for Aaron, and yet by some miracle, they did! And some proud of his big bed is he!

Perhaps working in our favour is the fact that his big bed is a lovely loft bed, passed on to us by Aunt Judy, which he is unable to climb out of independently. The logic of raising a toddler higher off the ground to keep him from getting out of bed is questionable, yet remarkably effective. We're seven days in, and no head injury to report, so I'm proclaiming it a success.

Perhaps they are more alike than I think...

And so the crib that I well remember assembling with a giant pregnant belly in my way in our little house on Amherst Street was taken apart for the last time in our house today. We're excited that it will be used again soon though. Our new niece or nephew due to arrive at Uncle David and Auntie Krista's house in two month's time will surely find it a cozy nest as well!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Viva Mexico!

We survived international travel without an international incident.
We didn't even get searched on our return to Canada, and that's saying something where travel with our family is concerned.
We've been home for a week now from a fantastic week-long holiday in Playa Del Carmen. The laundry is all done, the suitcases are put away, and I think the sand is finally out of all of our creases and crannies by now.
This is the first time we've flown with Aaron since he was about 10 months old. This time last year, we were contemplating a winter holiday, but stopped thinking quickly when we realized that the prospect of taking 1 1/2 year old Aaron on an airplane was enough to give us protracted nausea. Last year we opted for a holiday we could drive to, and spent a fantastic, snowy week at Elkhorn Resort.
Either we're a year more delusional, or Aaron has changed considerably, and air travel it was. Our flight left at 6 a.m. from Winnipeg, so we woke the kids at 3:30, popped them in a taxi, and headed to the airport with them in pyjamas. It's a five hour flight to Cancun.
Five hours.
How people fly a second farther than that with small children is beyond me. They are people of greater intestinal fortitude than I!! Though I will say, the flight down went off without a hitch, the kids seemed so entertained by everything that happened that the time passed quickly, despite the fact that neither of them slept a wink. And all seemed right with the world when we arrived at the resort and saw this view:

The early morning flight time meant we still had lots of time to enjoy the pool and the ocean on our first day, before heading for dinner. Aaron quickly established what was to be his nightly dinner routine.
Step 1. Get changed for dinner. Make oneself look as handsome as possible, so as to attract even more attention.

Step 2. Eat 1 to 2 bites of the food offered. Doesn't matter if the watermelon is carved like a marlin or not, you still only eat a bite or two.

Step 3. Crawl in to Mommy's lap, close eyes, and fall asleep.

Six out of seven of the nights, Aaron didn't see the end of dinner. Some nights he barely saw the beginning! It put to rest any concerns I had about how difficult it was going to be to get him to sleep, seeing as we were all sleeping in one giant bed!

The bed really was the only downside of the holiday. After the first night Dave commented to me, "Hmm, that review on TripAdvisor was right, it is like sleeping on a box spring." I was kind of glad I hadn't read that review. We slept with the kids between us on this so-called mattress, and two wigglier sleepers you never have met.

We had the great good fortune of being able to travel at the same time as Dave's sister Adrienne and her family. It was so much fun to have Auntie A, Uncle Mojo, and Amy and Claire to share the holiday (and the frozen drinks!) with.

The kids loved all that time to play with their cousins, and still managed to make new friends. Aaron generally attracted the front desk staff and senior citizens from other parts of Canada. One afternoon, he and Uncle Darrell went to the bar to get drinks and were a long time coming back. When they eventually returned I asked Darrell if the line-up had been really long (as it often was) at the swim-up bar. His response? "No, we've had the drinks forever. We had to stop on the way back to say hello all of Aaron's people."

Meredith made friends with a Norwegian girl named Emma who could have passed for her twin at a quick glance!

The older cousins loved the lure of the waves and spent hours jumping and body surfing.

Our kids preferred to swim in the pool, I guess for the greater sense of control they had with their smaller size there. Meredith swam across the pool time after time, and seemed tireless. It certainly paid off, as her first swimming lesson home she graduated out of her class and is moving on to Dolphins! Aaron loved holding onto the hand rail thoughtfully placed in the pool for toddlers and persons with mobility difficulties and letting his feet float up behind him. As the week progressed, he got braver and braver and would creep ever deeper, constantly asking "Is this deep Mommy?"

Dave has been taking a photography course and put his new knowledge to quick work during the trip, taking photo after amazing photo. I'll make a separate post with more of my favourites of the scenery and sights around us. But here are a few of my favourites of our family:

Now if only there wasn't the matter of that five hour flight home.....

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

What's goin' on...

January flew by in a haze of wintery weather and reacquainting ourselves with the weekly routine. We had the seriously nasty weather, and the unseasonably warm weather, and it seems like February is already following a similar pattern. The kids couldn't play outside one day last week due to cold temperatures, but have been out every day this week. Strange weather afoot! They've got new snow shovels and I laughed all the way to work one day last week after telling Aaron he "had to stop shovelling and get in the car for daycare." Imagine having to ask your child to stop shovelling.

The news of a massive earthquake in Haiti was everywhere in January. Images were spread across the newspaper every day and Meredith came home from school asking for money to donate to a project the grade 5 students had taken on to provide aid. I struggled with how best to describe the situation to her in a way that would help her appreciate how very fortunate we are in our daily lives without unnecessarily frightening her or overwhelming her empathetic nature. I ended up taking the kids out shopping for all the pieces necessary to creat a relief kit for the Mennonite Central Committee. It was a much more concrete way for them to see how our family could provide for another family in need. The kit contained essentials such as toothbrushes and toothpaste, soap and shampoo, combs, nail clippers, laundry detergent and so on. Also on the request list was four bath towels, so after much consideration, our relief kit was complete with Diego, Dora, Tinkerbell, and Cars beach towels. Meredith wanted so badly to add some toys for the kids, so the towels seemed to be about the only compromise we could make on the essentials. Aaron was helpful in his own way, asking if Haiti liked blue toothbrushes as though Haiti were a single person. I can't fathom the struggles of young families in that country in the days and weeks that have followed the quake, and it has made me extra thankful for the health of my family.

The other topic of prolonged discussion was our upcoming trip to Mexico! We leave in three days, and the small people in the home are some excited. Their suitcases are packed and have been wheeled around the house a million times. As they are going to miss the Valentine's parties at school and daycare, we made some lollipop valentines for Meredith to take to Kindergarten tomorrow,

and mini cupcakes for both of them to share with their daycare friends.

I'm excited about being in Mexico (and about not making meals or doing laundry for a WHOLE WEEK) but am so leery about the 5 hour plane trip with Mr. Busy Pants that it's throwing a bit of a damper on the anticipation. Nothing being done the plane ride and sampling my first margarita by the pool won't fix.

Christmas 2009 - Part 2

It is completely pathetic to be so behind in your blogging that you're writing about Christmas in February.

But it needs to get out of the way so we can move on to the events that followed!

Christmas Part 2 (or partie deux as our budding francophone reminded us) involved a day full of food and fun with the Poole clan. Complete with Auntie Barb's famous cinnamon buns, and Auntie Krista's famous cheesecake. Not hard to see why we love these people. :)

Morgan was her usual sweet self, and allowed her cousins to make funny faces at her, her Auntie to squeeze her, and isn't yet quite old enough to eat a full portion of Auntie Barb's cinnamon buns. She's a keeper.

Aaron introduced Morgan to the life skill of sharing. It went something like this.
Morgan opens a lovely new toy which is a ride-on car/walker combo with lights and sounds and a shape sorter.
Uncle David quickly puts said toy together.
Morgan gets one swipe at a triangle, and Aaron takes off on the car, only to return after being threatened with bodily harm and nearly run the poor child over.
I can hardly wait until she's big enough to dish it back!

Uncle Brad nursed a nasty headache, which is a dangerous thing to have in a house full of small children with new toys. Fortunately the Advil/Magic Bag/Ashka-cat-on-the-lap worked it's wonders and he felt better in no time. Or put on a brave face so he could have his share of the cinnamon buns.

Meredith fell in love with her new rag quilt, specially made for her by her Nana. It's so bright and cheery, and toasty warm.

My children were truly blessed this Christmas to have two families that love them so deeply, and enjoy spending time together.
The cinnamon buns didn't hurt either.