All right I feel better. Which means this post is pretty boring.

In the morning after kindergarten drop off I'm taking the girls to Children's Hospital for EJ's x-ray. They have a walk in x-ray clinic. You just show up! And get an x-ray! Crazypants! Then we have an appointment at 4pm to... actually, I'm not entirely sure what it's for. My understanding of what the referrals are for and what the appointments actually ARE are not the same. So. Some people would, you know, find out. Me, I'm pretty SURE I know what's going on and that is overriding my general dislike of dealing with all of these things. Mom of the year! 

But I think it's going to be okay. Even if it's not okay, things will be okay. She's walking now - I had her perform for the preschool parents AND the kindergarten teacher. Everywhere we go people comment on what a happy baby. And as of the last week or so the kid does not shut up. Ever. She's either happy bubbling or indignant barking or demandy whining. I just feel like things will be okay. 

Perhaps I can say this because my in-laws want to take the big kids to the Seattle Center (the big park and various museums and playhouses and concert halls by the Space Needle) for this giant bounce house festival thing? I don't know. Sounds like the ninth circle of hell to me. But this means I don't have to think about having two other kids with me at the consultation appointment, and Phillip is going to meet me there, and afterwards we'll have a Parents And Youngest Child date at the fancy outdoor shopping center. I am thinking sushi and retail therapy at Crate & Barrel. 

Besides, I feel like everything is GOOD. Sometimes it's going too fast, but it all feels like good stuff right now. Shoot you guys, I made DINNER. Honey mustard pork chops, asparagus, sauteed mushrooms and zucchini, and leftover mac and cheese for the boy who subsists on preservatives. I used my treadmill today (while watching Veronica Mars. I'm reviewing.) I have a plane ticket to Sacramento. I've joined the Y. Pretty much the only thing bugging me right now is how behind I am on laundry and the fact that my stylist is not available for a haircut on Saturday. OH WAIT. I just checked and there was a cancellation for the precise time I would have requested. OMG. STARS=ALIGNED.

I shall now wait for the laundry fairy to appear. 

In the meantime, I'll show you what I made today:

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I do not know what is up with all those weird LINES! They don't exist in real life. Do I blame the camera? ANYWAY. This is the present for Jack's teacher, about to have her first baby in May. I could have just bound up the pages and made a cover out of cardstock or whatever, but just buying a scrapbook sounded SO much easier. I bought letter stickers and baby stickers and then gluesticked the whole thing together. Each piece of "advice" is on its own page with a picture of the advice giver.The only things I'm missing are a class photo, which I totally didn't bother to buy and therefore do not have a picture to copy and put in the book, and a picture of one kid and I don't know how that happened because he's the one I worked with FOREVER.  The student teacher is going to get back to me about whether we're giving it to her this Friday or next and I'm thinking I'll make Orangette's pink cookies, except they'll be light blue and green (it's a BOY.) So yeah, part of me feels like a total teacher suck up (perhaps I have a history), but I also think it's really cute and she'll love it. 

Okay people, think good x-ray thoughts! I'm fairly certain I'll be stresstweeting from the appointment. Doesn't that sound super fun?! You are SO EXCITED!

Today's REAL accomplishment is that I did not raid the Easter candy

Thanks for all your kids-at-church thoughts. It is LOVELY to know that I'm not alone. I think the feedback peaked with the call from my mother reminding me that she used to take all five of us to church, ALONE. My mother, so encouraging. 

Actually, she really was, telling me about how her mother used to take her to the Italian Mass, just HER, and my grandpa would take the other kids to the regular Mass, and how super special it was. So now I am thinking that the easiest thing for Team Cheung to do is have the morning person take a kid to an early Mass (me) and the not-so-morning person take the oToday's ther kid to another Mass (him) and no one takes the baby anywhere because she's SO GODAWFUL. I am hoping that we will settle into a new parish by September, sign the kids up for Sunday School, and maybe Emma will have pushed back her nap an hour or two bringing joy and immeasurable patience to her parents. 

I would also like you to know that I finally called Children's hospital and set up the appointments. After a big mix up about ultrasounds and x-rays and what these referrals were actually FOR. I managed to commit myself to going to the hospital twice in one day, the second time probably with all the kids, and ugh, we're just not going to think about it. 

Especially because: DUM DE DUM DUM! Emma is walking! YOU GUYS! I KNOW!

Okay, so, it's not like walking is her preferred mode of transport. And it's not like she really does it of her own accord. And she absolutely refused - plopped down on her bottom in the middle of the hall - when I tried to get her to walk for the kindergarten moms at school pick up. I can't say we're all the way there. But she's MUCH steadier than she was in that video I posted a while back, she can cover more space, she can stand up on her own, and on the very rare occasion takes a few steps on her own. Like everything else with Emma I think the progress will be Wretchedly Slow, but DUDES. Finally. I'm looking forward to a child who doesn't make everyone think she's miserably handicapped and her mother doesn't care enough to buy her a board with wheels to make the scooting easier. 

I feel like this news should be Momentous and deserving of it's own blog post, but the fact is she's been doing this for about a week now and I just wasn't sure when I could Officially Call the walking, you know? Her grandparents have been saying "any day now!" since CHRISTMAS and perhaps the news is more a relief than occasion for champagne and cake. 

(Oh you guys, like I would ever say something is NOT an occasion for champagne and cake.)

I also cancelled the dentist appointments that took me an entire year to schedule because I last minute-ish decided to go to California for Spring Break. Just me. Oh yeah. What, you don't get a Spring Break? I DO, SUCKAS! God bless the state of Washington for putting on the Spring Fair that week, my parents for wanting the kids overnight so they can take them to the Spring Fair, and my husband for not minding single parenthood over a weekend. I better start slathering on the fake tanner now so all the Californians won't be blinded. 

In which a light bulb takes forever to switch on; home video with drunken stumbling, cleavage, bad hair

I spent most of my day poring over community center brochures and dance studio and church and martial arts websites trying to find something ANYTHING for my kids to do this summer. I don't need long term day camps. I don't need full time childcare. I just want some stuff to DO, to hang our summer on. Last year we did Vacation Bible School and ballet. This year I'm shooting for VBS and swim lessons, at the absolute least. 

BUT NOTHING WORKS OUT OMG MY EYES ARE CROSSING FROM THE STRAIN. I couldn't find a single stupid affordable thing that 1) BOTH kids could do (4 and 6-year-olds aren't often in the same group) and 2) would fit with Emma's schedule and 3) OUR schedule, with Phillip coming home from work and dinner and what we like to do on weekends. Impossible! 

Then I looked up the nearest YMCA and you guyyyyyyssssss... The Y is pricey which is why I've never considered it, but I started to think about how we won't be paying for preschool anymore, how they have AMAZING childcare and kid spaces, how many kid programs they have, swim lessons, how I could even just go there for lack of anything better to do on a weekday morning and exercise while my kids play. Is this not a win win win win win situation? And there's no contract so if we decide it's too expensive/not worthwhile to keep for the fall, then we can drop it! 

I emailed a local gym too, one that's super close to me with the same sort of child care and the same swim lessons. I'll see what it costs to go there (of COURSE they don't tell you on the website) and I'm thinking I'll probably go with the Y just because they have way more kid activities, but still. I'm feeling RATHER PROUD of this family-size solution to not only our inevitable summer doldrums and swim lesson quandaries, but how to get some exercise in when I have all the kids. 

I know other people join gyms. I just did not think I was one of those people. This is a whole new horizon for me, Internet. 

While I continue to pat myself on the back, please enjoy this video of Emma's nightly Walking Boot Camp session. I don't know, you guys. My one wish was that she'd start walking before her 18 month appointment, but that appointment is THURSDAY MORNING and, as you can see from this video, THERE IS NO HOPE. This morning my friend said, "It's because she's so tall!" but... I think my friend was just being nice. 




You know the baby started sleeping great because I stopped whining about it on Twitter. She started 1) taking regular-ish naps at the same-ish time and 2) sleeping through the night which was... lifechanging. Our other kids stopped taking a bottle right around 12 months, but we were still giving Emma a bottle before bedtime AND giving her another in the middle of the night to put her back to sleep at, oh, 16 months. 

Not that I feel horrible about that. I don't. We either gave a her a bottle in the middle of the night and she went back to sleep or we listened to her moan and yammer for two hours until we gave up and gave her a bottle and then she'd go back to sleep. Was she hungry? I don't think so. Did she need to eat? Of course not. Is it what worked? YES. 

But one day I tried putting her down without the bottle and, unlike the other times I'd tried this same thing, she didn't point accusingly at her nightstand wondering where her bottle was. And a few nights later we were able to just stick a pacifier in her mouth instead of going through the whole bottle rigamarole at 2am. And then, more often than not, she would just moan and yammer for a little bit and go right back to sleep on her own without any interference from us. 

The last few days though? All messed up again. I don't know. I'm so tired. I mean, I'm always tired. I have these really wild chaotic dreams (a side effect of the crazy pills, I believe) and I wake up tired and I SWEAR it's because those dreams are so CRAZY. They're not nightmares (though sometimes they're scary) and they're not, like, super fantastical wackadoo, but like last night: my stylist was cutting Anderson Cooper's hair and then me and Anderson became besties and somehow Phillip showed up and we were running from The Law? Or something? I DON'T KNOW YOU GUYS. But I will bet all the money that I would be better rested if I just stopped DREAMING. GAH. 

Okay I got off track. I AM TIRED. And now I have 1) a baby who doesn't feel like napping anymore and 2) moans and yammers FOREEEEEEEVER in the middle of the night. We haven't reverted to a bottle or anything like that, but two or three times in the last couple days we've had to get her out of bed and sit with her a while - we haven't had to do that in weeks. And the napping is even worse. I have a VERY TIGHT SCHEDULE on preschool days, people. There is a LIMITED NAP WINDOW. If she doesn't nap in that window she doesn't nap. And then both of us are miserable. 

I'm not saying this is unusual or even all that terrible, but it's annoying and I can't exercise because there's no set time to exercise and I want to take naps all the time which I NEVER used to do. Gah. And sometimes I think about how when JACK was Emma's age I had a TWO-MONTH-OLD and you guys? I would die. You know I love babies. I LOVE BABIES. But the thought of taking care of my two big kids and my not-walking nearly-18-month-old AAAAND a brand new baby makes me want to sob. I mean, POINTLESSLY sob, because obvs I don't HAVE a two-month-old, but still. How did I have two babies before? How do people who have two babies do it NOW? Why am I thinking about this BECAUSE IT IS POINTLESS?

All of this to say, the baby is blabbing in her crib instead of sleeping and all I want to do is crawl into my bed, but then I might not eat lunch which means eating crap all day long and it is SUCH a struggle and OH GOD MY LIFE IS SO LAAAAAAAME.

The more the better

Oh you guys, my baby, my BAAAABEEEEE, she is best most cutest thing in the WORLD. I can say that because the other two are decidedly NOT babies and this is a baby type of Squee. I just LOVE HER. She gives kisses now, INTENTIONALLY, and it's the sweetest and tonight she used her hands to direct my face towards her and then I DIED. I DIED OF SWEETNESS. Phillip and I are just smitten. I know it sounds barfy and eye rolly and obnoxiously mommyblogger, but it's the truth. We are in LOVE. 

I look at her sometimes and think: what if you weren't here? WHAT IF YOU WEREN'T HERE? It's weird, because life had simplified quite a bit by the time we decided to have Third Baby. No more diapers, sleeping through the night, several hours of the week spent at preschool. We could have just gone on and not looked back. I've always been terrified that I will never feel DONE having kids, that I will always feel like someone's missing. But there was definitely a point post-Jackenmolly where I thought: two is fine! I am good with two. I have my boy, I have my girl, we fit in our car, four chairs at a table, etc. Emma definitely upsets the symmetry in our family, her presence requires more car, more space, more energy. But oh wow, I can't believe there was ever a time when we didn't have her. 

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This weekend I met a woman who asked me a million questions about my kids and when I asked if she had any (she was maybe in her late forties, early fifties) she said, "Oh, the Lord had a different path for us." But then she went on to tell me about some of her "honorary" kids, young people she mentored throughout her life, and how they still come to her house and stay and call her up and write letters, even though some of them now have Big Important Jobs or live in different countries. I just had this feeling of rich fullness talking with her. I wanted more kids, more people, more family. 

Calm down, Phillip Cheung! I am not starting Fourth Baby negotiations. Honestly, I'd be quite happy to never be pregnant or give birth again. But I would joyfully grow this family, if that is the path the Lord has in mind for us. I would adopt, I THINK I would foster, I'd let college student cousins live downstairs, I think I would even host foreign exchange students. I actually think this is something that Phillip and I are good at, sort of gathering people in. Ish. I don't know. I guess it's more that both of us want to provide a place for people, and feed them, listen to them, entertain them. Something like that. It's the whole idea behind the bakery. It's why we bought this giant house. I hope there are always people to upset the symmetry and make me figure out how we're all going to fit in the car. 


Update on EJ, with whom there is always something Up

Okay, NOW the reason I'm not showing you the entry way is because I wanted to find the OLD pictures, the OLD OLD ones, from when we first moved in, and that will take me a while. Today is not really the day to spend one's free time hunting through the vast and disorganized digital photo folders, today is the day to huddle on the couch under your zebra print blanket playing back to back games of Hashi. (Attention Hashi Players: I finished that app. I FINISHED IT. I had to buy a new one. This is a sickness.)

Something is up with Emma. I don't know what. And it's hard to say anything is ever up with her, since she's sort of in a continual state of Upness. She's never napped or slept through the night or eaten or pooped or ANYTHING consistently. At times she's great at some stuff, horrible at others, and the next week it will switch. Every time we think she's going to start predictably sleeping through the night, she starts her 2am wakeups all over again. Wait, there is ONE consistent thing with Emma, and that is her perpetual good naturedness. But THAT is what's suffering lately, leading me to think there is more Upness than usual. 

She's been a huge pill for two or three days in a row now. I mean, that's not a huge deal, I know, but it's WEIRD FOR HER. Even when she's sick and not sleeping and then goes and busts her head on a chair leg, she's STILL smiley and cheerful. Not so much lately. The last three days she's had a puffy pink eyelid. I've kept a careful eye on it and that seems to be the extent of her affliction, but I finally took her in today just to see and they were all, "Huh! That's funny. Let's wait and see! Please give us a $20 copay!" 

But AT the doctor she screeched and wailed and FLIPPED OUT. Possibly because he was holding her eyelids open and being, you know, a weird doctor, but still. This baby doesn't really flip out much. So... I don't know. Probably telling is that she took an afternoon nap today for the first time in absolutely forever. Blargh. 

Okay, Phillip is home and I've tried out a WW recipe (curried barley with chicken and lentils? sound good?) and I'm ready to talk grown up talk. Pictures of paint later. Again! 

I might be biased but this IS this cutest thing ever

So my baby isn't walking or crawling or even pulling up, when you try to do baby signs with her she smiles at you like you're an idiot, she's reverted to old [and horrible] sleeping patterns, and she still takes a bottle and a morning nap, both things my other kids gave up before 12 months. 

She does, however, have a fairly advanced first word. 

RIGHT?! She sort of says "mama" (though not in reference to me, of course) and she often says "uh uh" which I know means "uh oh", but COME ON! So what if she's just repeating sounds?! THAT'S WHAT FIRST WORDS ARE!

I am totally writing this down in the baby book, I don't care what you say. 


It's past my bedtime and I've had a large glass of wine

Because I know you're dying to know how all this Nap Drama is playing out, here you go: I kept her up today. No morning nap for YOU, Delinquent Baby! I took her to Target after the preschool drop off, then we came home and she watched me clean up the kitchen and fold clothes and we also watched that new show Partners that I REALLY want to like but just CAN'T yet... She was getting cranky right around when it was time to pick up Molly. She fell asleep in the car on the way there, was wide awake on the way home, but happily dove into her crib and slept for nearly two hours. 

So I'm calling that a win right there. I am not quite sure how to do life without a morning nap yet - like, that's when I run, it's often the time where I, you know, RECOVER from the craziness that is a kindergarten/preschool morning. But I would a million times prefer an afternoon nap to a morning one, so we'll just keep moving in that direction and I guess everything will figure itself out. I used to be quite the devotee of the 1pm daily date with the 30 Day Shred, and when I was doing that I looked a heck of a lot better in my pants than I do now. Maybe it can happen again.


It'll work itself out, right? Right. And then when it gets crazy I will just sit back and think about how I will have two children in school next year and a baby who (God willing) will have fully transitioned to the afternoon nap and what a glorious year that will be. Eyes on the prize!

One more day and Phillip comes home. And the kids don't have school on Friday so we're headed to my mom and dad's and probably their pumpkin patch, since they live out where there are things like Farms and Country. I have friends who've taken their kids to do all that Fall stuff already, the pumpkins and the apple orchards and YAY NATURE but dude, I am not up for that sort of thing. Not right now. Maybe next year, during the Glorious Year, but right now I will happily take advantage of my parents. 

And Saturday? Have I told you what we're doing Saturday? Phillip bought me tickets to Wicked for my birthday and the show is Saturday night. EEEEEEEEEEEE!!!! I have already seen Wicked, in London, with The Original Elphaba (EEEEEEEEEEEE!!!) but I'm sure this touring production in Seattle, that known musical theater hot spot, will be awesome. Seriously. I know the entire score backwards and forwards, so if anyone forgets a line I'll just bound up on the stage and take over. 

Anyway, on Saturday we are pawning the children off - ALL of them! - to the other set of grandparents and we thought it'd be fun to get a hotel room downtown that night for after the show. Except! There are no hotel rooms! None! I was able to find ONE room: the Hyatt at $385. !!!! I am thinking we will be FORCED not to spend money and Phillip and I positively HATE being forced not to spend money. How annoying.

However! Things to look forward to! Always good. Also: a month from tonight I will be eating dinner at a fancy restaurant in New Orleans with 59 ladies of the internet and HOLY CATS, once again, I cannot believe we are pulling this off. FIFTY-NINE.

Wow, I just totally cheered myself up via blog post. GO ME!  

The power of positive thinking

I am really very disturbed at how many of you had babies who gave up the afternoon nap instead of the morning nap. I didn't think this was a possibility. I had never heard of this. Such a predicament never entered my mind. 

AND YET. There was no afternoon nap today. Again. OH DEAR GOD. 

I haven't quite come to the point where I've decided that this IS what's happening, that she IS transitioning to one nap and she's doing that by dropping the sacred afternoon nap. But once I do - IF I do - I will probably attempt to push her morning nap later and later. Where I bump into trouble is the fact that I pick up Molly at 12:30 three times a week. So. Afternoons are just gonna blow, huh? 

Emma's also not EATING. It's been about two weeks now. She'll have three or four or five bites of something, then refuse the rest. Her disdain doesn't seem to be directed at any particular food, just food in general. Unless I give her chocolate chips. Which I never do. But she never turns down chocolate chips. Not that I give her chocolate chips. I'm just saying. 

So can someone list out all the possible reasons why a baby, who seems otherwise perfectly normal, suddenly refuses to eat? I'd like that list so I can properly fret. My "eh, it's probably teeth, I don't know, she'll get over it" outlook is feeling unnaturally and uncomfortably calm, completely out of character. 

Speaking of that sort of character, I saw the brain doctor on Friday. I sat in Friday rush hour freeway traffic until I absolutely could not stand it, then I crossed over to Aurora and sat in THAT traffic, then I found my way to the doctor's office downtown by a little method I call Driving Towards The Building That I Think Is His. I actually drove straight there, I was 15 minutes late, I'd already called to warn them - and then my appointment was all of ten minutes long and could have been handled completely over the telephone. But I suppose they don't get to bill telephone calls? 

ANYWAY, we (he) made some modifications to the Treatment Plan and, like always, we'll try that for a few weeks and see how it goes. I also vowed never to schedule another appointment at 4:30 on a Friday. I am also staying away from fancy dark chocolate, I am making extra sure that the barista heard me when I said "decaf" (and ignoring the Looks of Judgment), and when I start to despair about the business travel, I start thinking about the frequent flyer miles. 

Our ten year anniversary is next summer and Phillip is all about zoning out on some Mexican beach, sans children obvs, for as long as possible. And I... I sort of want to do a FAMILY trip. Is that weird?! The original plan was to take everyone to Hawaii and hang out with my old college roomie and her husband and new baby. The kids LOVED Hawaii when we went for her wedding. We had such a fun time TOGETHER. I still want to do it! And Phillip just looks at me and goes, "THAT does not sound RELAXING." As if I have ever wanted to do something relaxing in my entire life. 

But yes, frequent flyer miles. Hawaii! These weeks of solo parenting will one day be capped off with white sandy beaches and mai tais. I AM THINKING POSITIVE HERE, PEOPLE. 


Naps: the Holy Grail

By 12 months-ish, both my big kids had dropped or nearly dropped their morning nap. In fact, I think there is no whinier four months of blog posts on this website than the four months Jack was transitioning to one nap. (10-14 months, by the way. I don't remember a lot of milestone dates but those are forever ingrained.) Oh, Me With Only One Kid! You're so cute!

Emma? Not so much. Like absolutely everything else, she's acting totally different than her siblings. Her morning nap has always been her best one, and she's still totally happy to dive into bed two hours after she wakes up, just like a good baby. But if we don't have to pick anyone up and I just let her sleep? She'll sleep over two hours. In the morning. Not every time, but often. And then the last two days? No afternoon nap. Someone please tell me that I don't have the version of baby who drops her AFTERNOON nap. 

So poor EJ is a GIANT WRECK by 5:00 and I struggle to keep her up until 6:00. There was one day where I knew her morning nap had been so late/long than I didn't even try to put her down again until after we picked up Jack at 3. But then her bedtime is so late and I don't want to deal with that. So when she hadn't gone to sleep by 2:15ish yesterday and today, I just got her up. It's her own fault! 

I'm not sure if we're transitioning quite yet, nor do I have ANY idea what that transition will look like, but I am, of course, nervous in advance. Right now, with the kindergarten and preschool schedule, Emma has two short-ish windows for naps. One in the morning, one in the afternoon. If she drops the morning nap, I CAN'T just put her down for her afternoon nap earlier, because we pick up Molly at 12:30 three days a week. Or I could, but I'd have to wake her up from her only nap that day.

I am not sure what to do. Which is silly, because there isn't anything to do right NOW, and when it's clear that she's beginning to drop a nap, I'll just do whatever needs to be done that day. Just like all the other school days we've done so far. I've actually been a little surprised at how things have just sort of worked out the last several weeks. Yes, there are definitely days that definitely aren't ideal, BUT we get through them and everyone's fine. I don't feel like I'm giving Emma a complex or anything. And more often than not, she takes her naps within the correct nap confines and all is well. No one is more amazed than me. (Probably no one is amazed. So just me, then.)

As usual, it's the schedule that gets me down, but now that I have a one-year-old I'm remembering how AWESOME the one-to-two-year-old range is. They are just so CUTE. Still babies, but more communicative babies. Usually more mobile too, though EJ is still uninterested in forward movement. Actually we've caught her doing a bit of almost-scooting (for which we tell her, "GOOD JOB, EMMA!" and clap and then SHE claps, so now it's scoot scoot CLAP FOR HERSELF scoot CLAP FOR HERSELF scoot scoot MORE CLAPPING.) 

She's wearing 18 month clothes and I'm honestly not sure how long those are going to fit. I think she is just the cutest thing. I think I thought my other babies were the cutest things too, but now they're tall and scrawny and fight all the time so it's been a while since I've gobbled their cheeks. Grumble grumble.