Sunday, September 23, 2012

Layla and the horses

Since Layla's mommy (me) is an avid horse enthusiast, it probably does not come as a surprise that she has already been around some horses. Over Labor Day, she actually met my (former) horse, who is having a very happy retirement at a new owner's lush pasture not far from his old home. Unfortunately, Layla was too crabby to take pictures (the horse was not, unbelievably - he's 28 this year! - and we got some nice ones of him).

Today, we took her to the Puyallup fair (near Seattle) where she got to ride ponies. She absolutely LOVED it. She had a huge smile on her face the entire time (except when I left her side for a minute so they could take a professional photo - she cried on both tries and we didn't get a good one).

Also at the fair: a TRAIN (which we rode), an airplane ride (she figured out how to get the airplane to go up in the air just as the ride was finishing - what fun!), a HUGE slide (her dad was more scared than her), and, of course, buttered corn on the cob. We had a great time!!!

A very weird thing happened - our friends, who we have not seen all summer, crossed paths with us at this fair as we were heading out. The fair is HUGE, with many entrances and many different areas - it's unbelievable that we were all there on the same day at the same time and saw each other. Plus, I had been missing them in our long absence from each other. It made the whole day even nicer.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Rolling into fall and trying to get some sleep

Well it looks like summer is ending. Boo-hoo! The neighborhood wading pool closed a few weeks ago and the outdoor pool we've come to adore closed this weekend (we made it for one last round at each). The weather just took a turn for the cooler and it finally started raining again (contrary to popular belief, summer in Seattle is actually very dry).

With the fall comes a different pace - days are shorter and not always nice, rainboots are often needed for an outdoor stroll, and everyone starts sleeping more... except Layla.

About a month ago, Layla decided sleeping was for wussies and she would have none of it. First, she had lots of problems falling asleep and was staying up well past 9 pm (a dramatic turnaround from last year). Then, from midnight until four, almost every night, she would keep us all up by repeatedly waking up and yelling and demanding things until often the Studly Hubby would give up and go in there and sleep on her floor (we have a mat and a blanket, so it's not horrible, but still). It was reminiscent of the early days just before we decided to sleep train. As before, we discussed strategies - and tried EVERYTHING we came across. A few things worked (one great trick; tell her you have to go check on something and will be right back... then duck out for a bit and often she falls asleep in the meantime), but often the problem came back after a couple days of relief. In the end we decided to lean on her newly developing compassion and cognitive reasoning (advise, again, from Dr. Weissbluth, whose great book 'Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child' got us through the sleep training phase). Every night we instruct her she needs to 'be quiet, close your eyes, and try to go to sleep' and when she wakes us up and that makes us very very tired. Tonight I told her she could even wake up the neighbors! and the neighbor's cat!! It seems to be helping, although intermittently.

I think not sleeping is one of the hardest things about being a parent. The Studly Hubby and I joke that we have PTSD from the first year... and it's tough to have to deal with it again. I tend to do really stupid things like drive into poles and ship empty boxes internationally (both have been done). Hopefully this phase will pass soon and we can all get some rest.

Finally... the Costco membership

After having a baby, the Studly Hubby and I naturally decided to join Costco. For a year, we discussed the possibility. For the next year, we developed a plan of action. We decided to go during an off-peak time, after a large mocha-latte and a few days out from our last good run, and when the weather was bad enough not to miss a rare sun event but not so bad that everyone else had decided to go too.

Our recent trip to Iowa provided some extra motivation. My mom and the Studly Hubby's mom (collectively, the 'Grandmas') both have memberships and LOOOOOOOve it there, and told us so. Then they spent a few hours telling each other about all the great things they've discovered there, such as GIANT teddy bears (the size of a full-grown man), granola bars by the100's, and the weekend food sample frenzy. The giant teddy bear was a present for Layla, which she loved.

So last weekend we finally went, bought a membership, and took a spin around the store. It was pretty intense. We did buy a few things, and had some great food samples (greek yogurt with honey... mmmmm...). We didn't find any giant teddy bears. But, we did find the legendary Giant Bag of Pistachios, and bought it immediately. YUM.