29 July, 2013

WOLCOTT FARM
















This is our second summer visiting Wolcott Farm and again, it didn't disappoint.  The farm is off a dirt road in the rural town of Ray, MI and is a great little family outing.  They have a variety of farm animals, a large garden, indoor reading area, and soon there will be a playground complete as well.

Admission is free, and you're encouraged to ask the farmer questions and welcomed to pet whichever animals you can. Our favourites were the baby goats and dairy cows. It was a perfectly cool day and we packed a picnic lunch to eat before driving home.

24 July, 2013

CHILDREN CLOSE IN AGE, PART V: QUALITY TIME & FLEXIBILITY


If you're just joining, be sure to also see previous posts of things we do with three children under two-years-old.



Quality time.
In the final weeks of my pregnancy with Philippa we focused a lot of energy on going out of the way to make special time with Sebastian and Katharina. This may look different for every family. For us it involved a trip to the aquarium, panting nails for Katharina, one-on-one dates with each of them, etc. It was really important to both Peter and I that, in our excitement for baby no. 3's arrival, we didn't lose focus of who and what were right before us, and how things would never be that way again.




KEEP CALM and BE FLEXIBLE. 
This has become our life motto. Well, one of them. 
With three children one and under, we do need a little bit of routine. But truth be told, I am not a schedule person, or even a routine person, and neither is my husband. We don't run a tight ship.

We can't stress or panic when the baby wakes early and we haven’t finished reading to the toddlers.  The baby won’t starve. Read to all three of your darlings. When Monday got off on the wrong foot and the newborn needs nursed (which may still require a totally still mama and two hands) and the toddlers can’t spoon feed themselves oatmeal, you make it work. Maybe the baby waits ten minutes, or the toddlers start with apple slices. 
We’ve taken and left a lot of parenting methods, but this is universally true: your baby will, at some point, sleep through the night, and he won't meet his bride at the altar with a pacifier in his mouth. 

Whatever parenting techniques you personally choose to implement, here is the bottom line: you can’t schedule spilled milk (if you even drink it); you roll with the punches. And please, happily take them as they come, because they’ll be gone before you even feel the sting. Both the babies and the chaos.




AMERICA






in Pittsburgh, our last date before Peter headed back to Edinburgh.

my in-laws. some of the most wonderful, hilarious people in my life. 
these cousins are 6 days apart. Philippa is oldest.  : )


all day, every day.





Sorry for the long silence, but we're now settled with my family in Detroit for the next couple weeks before the littles and I hit the road again to see more friends and family here in the States. Peter is safely back in Edinburgh where he'll complete an extended 2-month internship while the littles and I have a holiday. We all miss him loads already but the anticipation of our sweet reunion is keeping us going.


Wondering about our transatlantic flight with three under two? We're thrilled to have only positive things to report. None of the children made a single fuss, all napped, and Sebastian and Katharina especially, were ecstatic to be in the air. We really couldn't have asked for a better journey.

I hope to not have such a long silence on here the rest of this summer! Check back again soon.

10 July, 2013

CHILDREN CLOSE IN AGE, PARTS III & IV: NAPS & LIFE


Napping together. 
For our children, nap time is determined by us as the parents, and not by the child. This has enabled us to continue our social schedule (yes, even when we had a newborn). And that has always been important to us.

When Philippa was a newborn and eating every 3 hours through the day, her nap times were often a bit staggered with Sebastian and Katharina's. However, as she's gotten older and stretches longer between feeds without negatively affecting my milk supply, we purpose to make Sebastian and Katharina's afternoon nap match with hers.  Philippa’s afternoon nap is typically 2-2.5 hours and Sebastian and Katharina will sleep for 4. You can see what a large gap of time this gives me in the afternoon.

Our afternoon may look similar to this:


noon: lunch together
1pm: naps
3:30pm: Philippa wakes, nurse
5pm: Sebastian and Katharina wake
(playtime until dinner)



Of course there are occasional days when one child ends up "off"

and he needs a nap an hour earlier than the other two, and therefore maybe wakes before the others even go down. When I have a sick child, this is often the case-- the sick one needs more sleep than the healthy. The under-the-weather one may wake from their nap just as the other two are going down. 

Here is what that means-- the opportunity for quality time with one. Take it.

But in general, structuring nap time holds loads of benefits, including but not limited to social flexibility, quiet/personal time, dinner prep time, grab-a-baby-sitter-and-run-errands time. . .



Don't allow your life to cease
And make time for what is important to you. 

When Sebastian and Katharina were 11 days old Peter and I went on our first date as parents. We had visitors over the night Philippa was born. Obviously, you know what your body can take, and do not push yourself post-partum; a short hiatus from normalcy is normal. But don’t become swallowed in multiple young children that you lose what you are to be about and what you love. 

When my children were smaller it would take upwards of 30 minutes for us to get out the door, often just to get out for 30 minutes.

But as mother, you can make getting out the door an exciting activity or a hectic mess
Everyone feels better when you keep active and it is healthy for all of you. With and without your babies make time for what you love, be active, and get out.




08 July, 2013

ARTHUR'S SEAT

Saturday was 71ยบ perfect. We grabbed a taxi at the Royal Mile and were dropped off to climb Arthur's Seat, a dormant volcano right in the centre of Edinburgh.

Next time I'll prepare better and pack a picnic and plenty of water. But the views from the top are spectacular, and this was well worth our morning.

Hiking this group of hills has been on our "to-do" list ever since we first visited this city in 2011. Of course older children would be even better suited for the hike, but our children did most of the climbing like experts themselves, and Philippa didn't have a single complaint about her view from the baby wrap. We are thankful to have had the chance to do this this summer.









she was happy to sit here as long as necessary. . . and munch on deer poo when we weren't looking. 


pit-stop for oranges.


we are so thankful for our Bumbleride. I don't know of many other strollers that could so gracefully climb this terrain.


After Arthur's Seat we walked to Holyrood Palace "to ask the Queen for a drink of water", as Peter told Sebastian. Unfortunately, the Queen had just been to the palace so it was not open to visitors. It reopened yesterday.

We settled for scrumptious vegetarian paninis outside a cafe on the Palace's end of the Royal Mile and watched the beginning of a proper Scottish wedding at the church across the road. I hope the tradition of bagpipers and tartan kilts never dies.



05 July, 2013

8 MONTHS || 4 JULY





Today Philippa turned 8 months old. She started chatting "mama" and learned to crawl like Mowgli. She also waves on command, is learning to sign for more sweet potatoes, and has one tooth.

She is such a pleasant baby that brings us all a whole lot of joy and we're so very thankful she was given to us.

PS Happy Independence Day, my American friends!