September 2, 2015

Our favorite things: Beethoven's Wig

Beethoven's wiiiiiiig
Is really biiiiiig.

Or not, I don't know, I wasn't there. But I do know that the Beethoven's Wig: Sing Along Symphonies albums are awesome and I wanted to share.

We discovered Beethoven's Wig at the library probably six months ago when I was looking for something a little different than our usual car music fare. Since then we have checked them out and listened to them a handful of times, always to the girls' delight. I finally purchased all four* albums and we've been playing them almost nonstop for two weeks.

The BW people took a variety of "classical" songs (I use quotes because I would hardly classify Joplin and Sousa as classical composers, even though they're included) and wrote silly lyrics to go with them. They're ridiculous and brilliant and the girls LOVE them. They sing them all the time, even though the words can get a little weird because little kids have no idea what "repertoire" and "symphony" mean. Por ejemplo: 

Mila: "Listen very carefully / to this noted simpaly / See if you can recognize / Ivan's great surprise"  
Margot: "BAM!" 
Mila: "There's that burst again / You will hear it now and then / every time that Barry cries / Ivan simpaly the great surprise" 
Margot: "BAM!

(It's Haydn's Surprise Symphony, in case you can't tell, and their version cracks me up every time.)

Margot's favorite songs now include Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik and Schumann's The Merry Peasant (which I always knew as The Happy Farmer but I guess that's a translation issue since they're pretty close to the same thing).

Mila adores Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture and Brahms' Hungarian Dance #5...but apparently Beethoven's Fur Elise is "scary" and gives her nightmares. Weirdo.

As for me, I much prefer having Chopin and Vivaldi and Bach in my head all the time to so many other songs geared toward the kiddos. (I'm looking at you, Raffi, you evil genius you.) Plus it's super impressive when your two-year-old wanders around humming Mozart. At any rate, we're big fans. That is all.

The image below are affiliate links to the four albums we have and will take you to Amazon to either buy or just find more info. I think there are one or two others available in the series but these are the ones we own so far.


August 31, 2015

Mila Monday

Amelia: 221 weeks + Margot: 123 weeks

After we go grocery shopping, they like to sit in the car and listen to music while I unload the trunk.
Given that we've done laundry, bought groceries, baked banana bread, and built a "giant fairy castle tower" today, it's probably okay that I didn't even comb their hair this morning. Right?

(And yes, that is the TARDIS in our garage. No big deal.)

August 28, 2015

Comparing Pregnancies

I've spent a decent chunk of the last five years being pregnant, and even though I've done this twice before, I'm still caught off guard by certain aspects of pregnancy. Each one is different, of course, but you'd think by now I'd have a good handle on what a Braxton-Hicks contraction feels like. Nope. I'd forgotten. That was a fun surprise.

For fun--and so I can remember, because mom brain is a very real thing and I will totally forget--here's a quick comparison of my three pregnancies so far:
About 30 weeks pregnant with Mila. Photo by Kelli Nicole Photography. Look at that lil belly!

Morning sickness

1) Minimal nausea, the worst of which was brought on by brushing my teeth. Also, every time we visited my parents during the entire pregnancy, the change in elevation on the way home would make me throw up.

2) Very little nausea, totally gone by the second trimester.

3) Constant nausea throughout the first trimester--relieved only by eating--but no vomiting.


1) A little more tired than usual, but given my weird and flexible work schedule at the time, it didn't really interfere with my life.

2) Tired easily at first and napped with Mila on occasion. Not a huge issue most of the time.

3) I could sleep any time, anywhere. Seriously I just want a nap all the time.

Feeling baby move:

1) First felt around 17 weeks. In the 2nd trimester she would suddenly drop really low like a bowling ball, which I hated. In the 3rd, she was head down and would stretch out, pushing down on my pelvis and up on my ribs, which I also didn't love. She always responded to David's voice and would kick back if I thumped my belly.

2) Not sure how soon I felt it, but I remember her movements were usually full-bodied. Big stretches here, big pushes there. My belly was more often lopsided with her than either of the others.

3) First felt around 12 weeks. Strong quick punches and kicks and full somersaults. I feel like a popcorn popper, getting thumped around from all angles inside. The other day he kicked toward the back and I felt it in my tailbone! That was a first.


1) Strawberry milkshakes.

2) Egg salad early on and syrupy breakfast foods later.

3) Loaded fries and smoothies.
About 35 weeks pregnant with Margot and pretending I was all fancy. For what it's worth, I outgrew that purple dress like three months ago.

Tests and health concerns:

1) Some extra early monitoring because I was "high risk." Bypassed the glucose test by doing a finger prick blood sugar test that came back normal. No other issues except being group B strep positive and needing antibiotics during labor.

2) Completely avoided glucose testing (woo!) and had no other health issues except GBS again. Went overdue (remember that? So fun.), had a small amniotic leak that led to low fluid levels and a scheduled induction...which was unnecessary because she was born two hours before our appointment.

3) Took a modified glucose test (jelly bellies instead of orange drink FTW) and passed. Everything is normal so far, and I'm so grateful. I am much bigger this time around--I started out heavier and am well beyond the weight I was when Margot was born AT ALMOST 42 WEEKS--so that's fun. But it's less a health concern than a vanity one.

Biggest struggle:

1) Labor. (Read all about that one here.) I was more frightened than I expected to be, couldn't really voice my concerns (because I was so busy focusing on contractions), and too tired to push well at the end. I lost a lot of blood after she was born, and took longer to recover than I might have otherwise.

2) My body's preparations for labor. I started having Braxton-Hicks contractions as early as 20 weeks. My pelvis was so loose that I worried it was going to crack right open. By 38 weeks I was dilated to a 3 and could walk myself into regular contractions very easily. It was so frustrating to have so many "false starts." And then she came late, but at least she came quickly!

3) The heat. I knew being pregnant in summer in Phoenix was going to be rough but I had no idea just how bad it would be. Right now, sitting in my 74 degree air conditioned living room, I'm sweating. I dread having to go anywhere because ugh. 115? Kill me now. I haven't been active at all because the heat wears me right out, and I worry a little that I won't have the stamina I need during labor.

Favorite things:

1) The gratitude. I was just so dang happy to be pregnant finally that it made everything seem awesome. I don't remember any aches or pains; the whole nine months are just a blur of happy gratitude.

2) The confidence. I had already had one baby and felt really good about my ability to birth and parent another one. I felt beautiful and happy and knew that even though it was going to be hard, we would get through it because we had already done it once before.

3) The girls' excitement. Mila especially is looking forward to having a new baby in our family. She loves to feel the baby kick and talks about him all the time with anyone who will listen. It's been so sweet to share my pregnancy with my two little buddies and watch Mila help Margot prepare to be a big sister.
Another difference: serious downgrade in the quality of pregnancy photos. This is me today (about 31 weeks along):  hair still air-drying after a shower, no makeup, terrible quality phone pic, and feeling so humongous I just don't care. Good times.

I'm so lucky to have such easy pregnancies and labors. I'm even more lucky that I get to do it again, for the THIRD time! Three babies! Really, I'm overwhelmed and terrified, but I can't help feeling so incredibly blessed. I'm uncomfortable and grumpy and huge and tired, but you know what? I wouldn't trade it for anything. These beasties of mine bring me such joy, and I can't wait to add to that in a couple months.

Now if only it would cool the heck down and October would get here a little faster...

August 24, 2015

Mila Monday

Amelia: 220 weeks + Margot: 122 weeks

Sometimes you can't remember the last time your kids had a bath. And sometimes they smell like barf-breathed puppy dogs when they wake up. That's when you do this:

And you take a cell phone pic because: CUTE. Also you brush their teeth. Because Mondays are hard enough without dealing with stinky children all up in your face. Amen.

August 21, 2015

Preschool, Year 2

I agonized a bit over preschool this year. I wasn't sure if we should send Mila to the same place as last year or if I should find something more rigorous with the option of going more than 2 or 3 times a week. She's so smart, and I want her to be challenged, but I also want her to love learning. She is way too little to be jaded about school.

And then I decided I was thinking WAY too much about this. It's preschool for heaven's sake! She's four! Right now the goal should be having fun, learning basic school and social skills, and having fun. Heavy emphasis on the fun.
This article from Design Mom sealed the deal for me. Far more important than what school my kids attend is how involved I am in their education. My clever articulate girl has something to contribute to any class, and she can learn so much from her classmates and teachers, no matter who they are. If she is thriving, who cares whether it's at an expensive "top-rated" school or a friend's house?

Plus (let's be real here) it is much less stressful to just stick to what we know. More cost-effective too.

She was thrilled to do her "homework" to prepare for her first day and was ready to go half an hour before we needed to. When she skipped off happily yesterday without remembering to say goodbye or give me a hug, I felt really good about our decision. She's happy. I'm happy.

My girl will learn because she loves to learn. As long as I continue to encourage that--always and everywhere--she'll be just fine.
(See last year's first day of school photos here. She has grown so much!)
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