Friday, November 15, 2013

The quest for a Little Free Library

We’ve recently had a windfall in our household. A $100 windfall, to be exact.

About six months ago, someone on Facebook turned me on to Little Free Libraries. Are you familiar with those? They’re these miniature libraries that are located at a house or business. Only, you don’t check out books, you trade books. No librarian, no fines, no cards. Just you and this little library in a box. What a fantastic idea! Turns out, they exist all over the country! There are quite a few of them here in Lincoln, including the one that I frequent: The Losh Free Library.

 After visiting the library a few times and following the new arrival updates on Facebook, I expressed interest in starting our own. This was really just a “wouldn’t that be fun” type of interest. But, someone was listening (or reading, rather). On October 2nd, Ben and I received an anonymous letter from a “friend” of the Little Free Library program who lives out of state and wants to see this project grow. That anonymous letter included a crisp $100 bill. “Here’s your push,” it said. This letter was similar to the anonymous letter than the Losh Free Library received that same day with a $200 donation.

Wow. Really, wow. So, here we go. Our first purchase was an upcycled Little Free Library that was being auctioned off at the Common Root Fundraiser. Although I paid way too little for it, I’m happy to have some of that donation left to purchase an official Little Free Library stewardship and name plate!

Next step? Building the post for it to sit on, stocking the library, and making it official! Speaking of official... we need a name! Taking suggestions!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Busy. Yes, very busy.

It’s been busy in the Coleman house. Very, very busy.

The kiddos are great. Sullivan is exploring the world – and our house! No corner is left undiscovered and no shelf is safe. He’s a raptor testing the fence. The first sign of a non-baby-proofed area and he’s all over it! He’s trying to convey his emotions and not having a very easy time. We hear A LOT of screeching from Sully. When he’s frustrated, he often stares straight into our eyes and gives us little pinches on our arms. We’re trying very hard to break that habit. (The time-out corner is well-used in our living room.) That said, he’s using his sign-language more and having a great time leading us around by our fingers, instead of just demanding that we come by yelling!

Scarlett is just a precocious wonder. The type of stuff that they’re learning in school and that fact that she can reason just as well as an adult just amazes me. I was giving her a quiz the other day about every-day things and I asked her, “What do they call soccer in England.” Thoughtfully she answered (in her best British accent), “soc-cah.” I pretty much lost it! Scarlett is also testing the fences. We’ve caught her telling little white lies and therefore, she has been spending a little time being grounded. While I really don’t think that kind of stuff is a huge deal, I really want her to feel like she should be honest with us at all times. I feel like we’re doing well when she randomly tells me, “Mommy, I want to tell you the truth…” and then launches into how she really doesn’t like that juice, even though she drank it not to hurt my feelings. J
In addition to the other activities that divide her time, she got to participate in a twirling clinic, ride the Zamboni at a Stars game, and go to a Husker game!

Ben has been busy starting a Lincoln chapter of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, which is a club of-sort for Irish men. He’s belonged to the Sarpy County Division for a couple of years now and wanted to find something closer to home. Nothing existed, so he’s starting the very first! They’ll have their first meeting in a week or two, so he’s been very preoccupied with the planning stages.

I wish I could say that I was just holding us all together and riding the wave while all this is going on, but alas, I’ve been just as busy. Work has had me a bit stressed, but pretty happy. I recently took on a liaison role between Admissions and Recruitment. What that really means is that I’ve been doing my own job, plus part of another one. It’s been very rewarding, as I’m seeing some of the projects that I’ve been involved in from the ground-up come to fruition. Stressful, though, because Recruitment is down a player and we’re all stepping up our games. With that added responsibility, I’ve seem to become more visible in the office. All the years of volunteering for EVERYTHING have paid off. When someone needs help on a project, I’m one of the go-to people. While that is stressful in its own right, it feels good too. I’ve also recently gotten my notary public certificate, which comes in handy in our office.

Lastly, Scarlett’s mom has become a Girl Scout Troop Leader! I didn’t really want to do it, at first. After some other friends came on, I’ve warmed up to the idea. It takes a ton of training and a lot of planning, but we’ll have our first Brownies meeting in two weeks! No more collapsing on the couch when the kids go to bed, that’s when the GS planning begins!

All of this, and I’m wondering whether I can scratch my back-to-school itch, too. I don’t think I can handle it with everyone else, but the desire is there.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Roller Derby Summer

This summer, Scarlett has been very much into the Roller Derby. She went to her first game when she was five, and has gone at least twice a season since.

I don't necessarily think that she's interested in the game, as much as she is interested in the women who play. Scarlett's favorite part of the night is at the end, when she goes down to the floor and gets her program and shirt autographed by the players.

They started a junior derby this year, which Scarlett is dying to try. It's pretty expensive and time consuming, but looks like a lot of fun. I personally think she's a little too delicate and sensitive. One little girl at the bout kept getting knocked down by the blockers and spent the rest of the game crying. I can imagine Scarlett doing that.

My favorite player is Kobra Kai. I LOVE her name, because it reminds me of old times. She is one badass chick, with arms full of tattoos and lots of flair. Sadly, this year is her last as a derby girl.

Scarlett's favorite is Flash Gloria. She sports shorts with yellow trim and a lightning bolt on the rear. She used to also sport a lightning bolt on her cheek. Flash is very much the star of the show, so it's no wonder that Scarlett attached herself.

Scarlett and her favorite derby girl, Flash Gloria!

It's a great place for kids. They've got kids-size merchandise and coloring tables. In fact, each time that we've gone, Scarlett has colored a poster for at least three of the derby girls! Kobra Kai put hers up on her Facebook page!

Scarlett went to Paint Yourself Silly for Derby Night. All proceeds went to No Coast Derby!

Go No Coast!

Friday, July 26, 2013

The pox

Not just a thing of the past, folks. In the past few weeks, Sully has had a rash (ha!) of bugbites. Chiggers, we thought, since they appeared mostly around the diaper area and around his neck and upper arms/back. Well, when he developed one on his eye, I started to worry. One quick call later and we were on our way to the pediatrician.

Turns out, Sully had developed chicken pox. I seriously didn't think that kids got those anymore! After all, he had been vaccinated! (Or at least he's had the first dose.) The pediatrician explained that even vaccinated children can get the pox, although it's usually much milder and clears up quicker. Even so, he had only seen one case in his 10 years and that was from a Chinese child that hadn't been vaccinated!

Well, itchies be damned, everything is speeding along, as usual. Sully is starting to clear up, Scarlett is thinking about going back to school and we're trying to fit all of the remaining summer still into these last few weeks!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Argh Summer!

Wow, long overdue. I would never have thought that summer would turn out to be busier than spring. In my crazed mind, I was picturing a leisurely summer, dotted with various activities. Scarlett was going to take the summer off from three of her activities, so that would mean more free nights, right? Ha! Scarlett may have more time to play outside with her neighbors, but we have been anything but free. It’s been a whirlwind of traveling, birthday parties, recitals, household projects, library visits, and catching up with friends.

The whole family traveled to Colorado to visit Timmy in June. This was Sullivan’s first big road trip and to be honest, I was dreading it. I love him to bits, but he doesn’t let me hit the easy button on anything. Surely the 8 hour drive was going to be rife with screaming, crying, arching and general displeasure. It really is what I expected. I was genuinely surprised when the ride passed with very few hiccups. We left very early in the morning so that the kids could sleep in the car. After a little mid-morning nap, we did a little eating, reading, playing, singing, movie-watching (Scarlett) and before we knew it, we had arrived! Not to say that there weren’t a few screeches, but they were all for very specific reasons and not just for the hell of it.

Sully even tolerated getting in and out of the car within the next few days with little complaint. I didn’t think that he could match Scarlett’s ease, but I was very pleasantly surprised.

Ben, Scarlett and Sully throwing coins into the fountain at Casa Bonita.

Last weekend, Ben and the kids accompanied his parents to Ohio. I’m a little ashamed to say that I was looking forward to a little time alone. Of course I was going to miss my babies and my husband, but the thought of getting some long abandoned projects done put a big smile on my face. (I hope that those of you with children can relate. If not, I’m a total jerk!)

According to Ben and his parents, Scarlett was a phenomenal backseat companion. Sully was pretty good, although he did hone his screeching tones on the long car ride back.
Scarlett and Sullivan with their cousins, Micah and Lucy.

I’m hoping to get back to a more regular blog posting schedule soon. Sorry for the delay!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Bye-bye bottle!

We've finally done it! Our house is void of bottles, bottle-washers, bottle drying racks and cooler bags! NO MORE BOTTLES!!

Can you tell how excited I am about this? Having said that, though, I want to point out that it was far from seamless.

Between day care and our house, the bottle had become a crutch. Sully is upset, get the bottle. Little bit of a fussy-pants? Get the bottle. I've got to trim his nails and clean his ears - get the bottle! As you can see, we had to learn new methods of coping to accompany our lack of bottles.

My plan was to wean down the bottle feedings to morning and night only for a while, and then go from there. Well... that didn't really happen. How could it when we were using it as a bandage to fix every little issue? I would say to myself, "Sullivan is only one; we've got plenty of time. I won't let him suck on a bottle when he's two." It's probably true. The clincher, though, was hearing my co-worker talk about weaning her son off of the bottle within a week or so. With no fight and no fuss. What? He's not even one-year-old!

Okay, we're doing this. Cold-turkey, the bottles were gone. We didn't wean and we didn't temper down, we just thrust a sippy cup in his hands and let him figure it out. We did it that way with Scarlett and she was fine. But this is Sully we're talking about. Our boy, our fusser, our whiner. The one who never does ANYTHING the easy way. Nope, he wanted nothing to do with it. He would willingly drink from a sippy cup, unless it contained milk. Sully pitched that crap right back to us, literally pitched it, in an often violent and emotional throw.

No worries, we've finally reached a comfortable stage. Sully started drinking milk again within a week, this time from his sippy cup. He doesn't love the idea of waking up to no bottle, but I rest easier knowing that he will soon forget that he even had a bottle.

Friday, April 12, 2013

One-year goals: An update

Well, things are chugging along. Our first goal, with Sully's one-year birthday come and gone, was to establish a good bedtime routine that wouldn't involve us lulling him to sleep each night. I have to say that things are going better than I thought they would, although it is far from perfect.

Sully has milk anytime between 7:30 and 8 p.m. If he falls asleep while drinking, we usually let him be and just carry him up to bed. If he is still awake, we carry him upstairs to go to bed. A book is read, the light turned off and his musical monitor is on for one song. We leave the room, regardless of whether he is standing in his crib and crying or ready to sleep. For the first week or so, there was a consistent 5-8 minutes of crying, although it was the whiny crying, not the scream my head off, trouble breathing crying. Within two weeks, we were down to 2-3 minutes of crying and occasionally not at all. Now, we can consistently put him down without tears.

Like I said, it's far from perfect. He does sometimes still cry. He does sometimes still wake at night, although we usually got 3-5 days of full nights of sleep. I'd like to chalk that up to teething or some other random issue, but I just don't know. However, I can handle this. I'm a lot less tired during the day and a much happier mommy!

Bring on the bottle!

Monday, March 25, 2013

The official one-year stats

Height: 33 in

Weight: 30 lbs.

Head: 19 ½ inches

All in the 97th percentile

Our to-do list is to phase out the bottle and heavy-duty sleep training (establishing a strict bedtime routine). The doctor suggested phasing out the pacifier too, but I don’t think anyone in our house in ready to give that up.

This all is very new territory for us. We did very minimal sleep training with Scarlett and at a much earlier age. She seemed to get it after a few nights. I know that it won’t be that easy with Sully, which is one of the reasons that we’ve been putting it off. Eliminating the bottle was equally easy. I gave her a sippy cup with milk in it on the day after her first birthday. After handing it back to me a few times, she just accepted it and moved on. Lastly, Scarlett was never into binkies – as much as we wanted her to be!

I’ll keep you updated!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Happy First Birthday Sullivan Patrick Coleman!

Yesterday was Sully's first birthday! I can't believe the long and hard year it's been (insert joke here)!
In the scheme of things, this first 12 months was just a little hill in the very long and winding road of life. I know this is true, as I experienced it with Scarlett, so I tried to remind myself as often as I could to stop and smell the roses. I took time to gaze at Sully, remembering every line, crinkle, crease, and dimple of his face. I tried to sigh a little less every time I extracted him from the stairs, knowing that in a couple of short months, he'll be able to climb the stairs by himself. Most of all, I try to enjoy when he won't let me put him down. I'm sure the time will come when he won't even want hugs from his uncool mom!

Here's a little photo blog of the last twelve months.



Monday, March 4, 2013

It's getting hectic in here!

 It’s been a hectic week. In addition to our normal events, lessons, and activities, we’ve had some extra excitement (and stress) this week!  Girl Scout cookie sales are in full swing and we've been stepping over boxes for a while now. If you need any, let us know. I'd love to move them out of my house!

Scarlett also participated in her second science fair for Hill Elementary School. This is never something that I expected Scarlett to get involved with. I wasn’t a science-y kid and I’m not really into science now. She must have gotten those genes from Ben! So over the course of three weeks, Scarlett and her friend Abbi worked on their Solar System project together. They colored and painted planets, read interesting facts about each one, and made their own bubble letters for the title. In the end, the came up with a very colorful interesting display. Below are some pictures.
At left is Scarlett’s Science Fair project last year. The photo about is of her and her partner this year.

Sully has had his own big adventures this week. He’s been standing on his own more often and taking a step or two when he feels like it. He is a bit lazy, as he won’t walk if we get near him. (Nor will he hold his own bottle for long, the little brat!) He’s quite adept at holding his sippy cup, however, and no longer eats baby food. Sully also loves puzzles and is working really hard at stacking blocks. He excels at knocking them over!

On an interesting note, he’s been finding private places to have bowel movements. I know that some professionals find that toddlers that hide have problems potty training, but I hope that’s not the case.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Hey all! I know it’s been a long, long time since I’ve last blogged. I don’t really have a good excuse. Life just happened, you know? The holidays are an especially busy time for us with numerous Christmas celebrations and Scarlett’s birthday. Work is also extremely busy during that time of year, so I use my breaks to work instead of blog!

Sullivan, who is now almost 11-months-old, has been growing like a weed and is still going strong. He now wears 18-month clothing, so it’s getting hard to keep up with his constantly changing wardrobe. He has also gone from army crawling to doing a one-legged crawl to bear crawling. It’s hilarious to watch and he gets around very quickly! He also walks along holding furniture and has even ventured a few seconds of standing by himself. I don’t think it will be long before he’s taking his first steps.

No full words yet, but he’s getting very close. He constantly babbles and roams the house saying, “te, te.” I’m convinced that he’s trying to say “kitty!” (That would be incredibly appropriate, since Scarlett’s first word was “ducky.”) My mom is convinced that he’s saying tea. Who knows!

Scarlett is also growing up quickly. She had her 7th birthday, which included gifts that she donated to the Salvation Army. She’s way more mature and good-natured than I was at that age. Scarlett also enjoys school and her many activities. At some point she’ll have to pick and choose, but for now she likes being so busy!