Jul 27

16 months

So Mika’s 15 month post just never happened. It feels like she is growing older at ridiculous speed, but I still want to keep writing these posts so I can look back and really remember what it was like to have a 16 month old toddler. So let’s pick up from now…

Dearest Mika,

I swear that every morning I wake up, you’re a little more clued in to what’s going on. I feel like one morning soon I’ll wake up to you reading the paper or something.

I guess the main thing that has changed since your 14 month checkin is that you are now completely upright. No more crawling! You can walk, you can jog, you can twirl and you can dance. You even like to push your own stroller on occasion. Needless to say, this has changed our daily activities – more playgrounds and wading parks, zoo trips and farmer’s market strolling.

You’ve taken us by surprise by starting to tell us when you need to go toilet. At first we didn’t understand (you say ‘baaaaaby’ because there is a picture of a baby on your diaper box), but now we get it and we still don’t quite know what to do. I think we’ll probably read a book or two and then decide how to tackle it. I thought toilet training was so far away!

You are so eager to learn. You copy new signs and watch us with such intensity to make sure you are getting it right. You can make signs for dog, cat, bear, food, more, please, bath, bus, car and finished.
You speak at a phenomenal rate but we have no idea what you’re saying except for the very clear ‘yup’, no, hi, bu-bye, agua, bebe, & papa. Everything else is still your own language!

Meal times are all you now. Your hand-eye coordination is amazing and you make sure you get every last drop of your oatmeal.

People are always amazed at how social you are. You’ll say hello to every child on the playground, you’ll take a 5 year old’s hand and let her lead you around the park, you love to sit and watch the big kids and you have no fear when it comes to dogs. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to teach you to be weary of people and dogs, but for now I think it’s gorgeous that you are so bold and brave.

When your papa gets home from work, and you’re tucked up in bed, we sit down and I tell him all about our adventures. I show him pictures and video from the day and he relishes every drop.

You and I are figuring things out together. We visit parks, beaches and wading pools. We ride the bus and we walk everywhere. We have spanish group on Mondays and sometimes we go to the library for story time. Sometimes I even run around the lake and you sit so peacefully in your stroller and call out to all the dogs that we pass. When we go to the supermarket you get a free piece of fruit and you devour it with such passion.

Baby girl you rock our world so big. (Lack of sleep lately, due to a certain someone, has made my vocabulary as bad as like, whatever).


Jul 24

A special date for friends and family

The weekend was slow. We’re still suffering from the cost of furnishing our house and paying rent in the same month…but we take great delight in budgeting and finding ways to have fun that doesn’t cost a thing, so it was a pretty nice weekend.

We decided to record a wee video about our day at the market and then on Sunday night we managed to make a little story out of the footage and edit it into a save the date video for our wedding. I love it – it’s slow, relaxing and full of Mika – just like our Sundays usually are.

We can’t wait to have our friends and family join us in Seattle for a big week of partying and celebrating.

Ivan + Pamela :: Save the Date from Ivan Cruz on Vimeo.

Jul 16

The Rhythms

I’m reading ‘Simplicity Parenting‘ at the moment and i’ve just read and re-read the chapter on the importance of rhythm in our lives. Put simply, the book says that increasing the rhythm of your home life is one of the most powerful ways of simplifying your children’s lives.

Having been ‘in transit’ for the last 2 years makes establishing a rhythm seem like a completely unachievable task. However, as the book explains, establishing a rhythm is important and can be achieved through small and simple steps.

When I think about my own childhood, the rhythms are what I remember. Of course I remember the family trips and the big events too, but what I get really nostalgic about are the things that it seemed like we always did. Banana pancakes made by Dad on a Sunday. Story time or reading before bed. Being picked up by mum after school and having an after school snack. Making a fire in the winter times. Watching the same television show on a Saturday evening whilst eating homemade pizza. (Heh). Walks along the beach when it rained.

And I’m sure that during the early years of my life there were rhythms that I’m not even aware of now:

Children depend on the rhythmic structure of the day – on its predictability, its regularity, its pulse. They benefit from dependability and regularity throughout childhood, but especially in the first three years, when the greater learning takes place unconsciously. Not only can children find security in the patterns of daily life, they can begin to find themselves. In the day’s most regular rhythms, its high notes – the meals and bathtimes, the playtimes and bedtimes – young children begin to see their place in the comings and going, in the great song of family.

Doesn’t that sound amazing and so delightfully simple? But in today’s ‘busy’ world it can feel so….boring, to have such predictability. I often worry that Mika doesn’t have enough books, especially when reading is something that I hold in such high regard. But children like repetition. They like predictability. They like to have the same book read to them every single night. As an adult who has so much stimulation on a daily basis, it can be easy to forget that children are OK with and even better off with simple, regular activities.

Sometimes I feel as though we always need to be doing something different. We need to be jumping from here to there, to different activities, playgroups, settings – anything to keep her stimulated. But DUH of course we don’t. Even as an adult, when I have multiple appointments to keep, things can get overwhelming. If it’s overwhelming for me then I can’t imagine how it must feel to a small child.

This weekend we did something that we have never done since arriving in Seattle: We hung out around the house. We ate brunch at home, we walked to the market briefly, came home for lunch, played outside, read books, played inside, slowly did the cleaning, the laundry, I napped, we cooked and we finished the night eating cereal and drinking tea. It was so relaxing and wonderful and it felt like how I remember Sundays – a winding down and slow preparation for the week ahead. Going to bed with a clean house and folded laundry, meals and shopping lists ready for the week ahead, replenished and excited for the new week.

I know Mika is still young but I can’t wait for her to recognize the little routines that will one day feel like home to her.

Jul 11

Beautiful Seattle from my iPhone

Seattle is beautiful. The first few photos are from an early morning run to Gasworks Park in Fremont and the light was so gorgeous and breathtaking and the air was so still – I wish I could capture more of it in the photos.

Last weekend we completed task:buy awesome things from the Fremont market and choose items to be delivered from Ikea and last night we finished task:build Ikea furniture which took 2 full evenings of me almost passing out from exhaustion and Ivan getting his DIY on til the wee hours of the morning. I built the drawers, played the music and made tea – Ivan did everything else. And now we have a bed! It feels so.so.so good. Finally.

And so now begins the proper wedding planning. We have a much overdue Save The Date to prepare and some very exciting venues to check out in the next two weeks.

Two random fun facts:

1. I’m reading ‘Cinderella Ate My Daughter‘ by Peggy Orenstein. I have lots to say but will save it for another day.

2. I want to go camping so badly. We’re in Washington and it’s summer and we must go camping. It will happen.

Happy summer.

Jul 06

Week 1

Summer. Summer is a smell. It’s water on hot concrete, BBQs and grills, fresh grass clippings, coconut sunscreen and warm night air. We’ve been in our house for almost one week and I love it.

Things that irk me & delight me. We ride the bus a lot. It irks me so much when the bus driver is grumpy or mean to someone. It also irks me when people are rude or unkind to others on the bus. And when the bus driver is extra lovely or when people are super kind, it delights me so much.

This makes me extra aware of how I act towards people – it’s so true that even a smile can brighten someone’s day.