Happy (almost) Friday! I hope all of you have had a great week so far. I finished my last day of teaching at Central today, and next quarter I'll be teaching an evening class at a different college closer to our home. I felt a little emotional driving to work today, thinking that I won't be making this drive to Capitol Hill as often anymore. There's something about working in the city that I just love, though I'm also extremely thankful (and a little nervous) for this new opportunity. There will be a new set of challenges and unknowns, but I'm trying hard to ease myself into spring break mode and not think about all that stress too much yet.
One thing I'm really looking forward to during break is to read with Z and N without having to worry about time. When our days get busy, we often rush through books and stories (most of the time, mama is too tired) but then I feel like we miss out on so many great learning opportunities that way, whether it be phonics, spelling, social skills, emotional management, etc etc. I've also been wanting to write more about books from Z and N's regular favorites. These are my favorites, too. I love children's literature, and that is not because it's the only thing I read nowadays ;) Anyway, these books will be great from the toddler years through preschool ages. If you know people who might be interested for book recommendations for the little ones in their lives, feel free to share it :)
1. A Day With The Animal Doctor, by Sharon Rentta. We were gifted a Mandarin copy of this book a few years ago, and it's become one of our favorites. I was thrilled to find the English version and other books in the same series at Barnes and Noble! Z and N were really happy, too and they love the other ones just as much. These are: A Day With The Animal Mechanics, Animal Builders and Animal Firefighters. The details in the drawings are incredible, and the content is very educational (I got to learn about how a house is built, too :)
2. Knuffle Bunny, by Mo Willems. Mo Willems is by far my most favorite author for children's literature. His humor is great and so relatable. Knuffle Bunny and Knuffle Bunny, Too are Zoey's favorite. It involves a favorite stuffed animal, school friends, communicating with parents and the difficulty and frustration that come with it. The storyline is simple, and it's definitely something a preschooler like Zoey can relate too.
3. My Visit To The Aquarium, by Aliki. Well, this is quite self-explanatory. Nathan loves aquariums and ocean animals and so if your little ones are the same, they would love this book too :) You also get to learn names of different fish, which is helpful.
4. A Sick Day For Amos McGee, by Phillip Stead. This is a really sweet story that Naynay likes. Amos, the zoo keeper, visits his animal friends daily and spends time playing chess, reading a book, running a race with each of them. Seeing Amos is what the animals look forward to everyday, too. One day, Amos didn't show up. The animals waited and waited and finally they got on the bus to Amos' house and learned that he was sick. So the animals stayed to take care of Amos and keep him company. A sick day instantly becomes a not-so-bad day when you are around people who you love and love you :)
5. How Did That Get In My Lunchbox, by Chris Butterworth. I found this at Whole Foods Market and am glad I brought it home with me. It has different questions on each page, asking and explaining what our food looked like before they get to us, such as carrots, apple juice, and cheese. Most are simple concepts, but presenting them in a kid's book with cute illustrations grabs attention and interest from Z and N right away (especially Zoey.) I learned some stuff, too!
Alrighty, again, thank you for reading! Have a wonderful weekend, and hope you get to spend it with those you love :)
Two weeks ago, when I took Zoey out on a tea time date, Naynay was really sad that he wasn't part of the plan. He whimpered and begged to come along (that afternoon Gary took Nay and Izzy to a park instead to do some hiking and play with sand, which Naynay really loved actually :)
It really has been quite awhile since I went out alone with Nathan, though. We used to do it all the time when Zoey was in school and Izzy was still in my belly, and it saddened me a little realizing I haven't done it at all with him since Izzy was born (whereas I've taken his sister out quite a few times.) So this past week I've been thinking about different ideas for our mom-son date, and thanks to my loving and supportive husband, we got away for a few hours this Saturday morning. Naynay and I went on a bus ride together to downtown Seattle, and spent 3 hours wandering around town - I'm lucky I've got a great walker with me!
We stopped by Cupcake Royale before we ate lunch (our excuse was it was too windy, haha. seriously though, we almost got blown away walking from westlake to pike place!) and then we came to The Bear and The Bee and shared a pulled pork sandwich. The whole morning everyone was commenting on how awesome his Husky hat was and just how cute he was overall. (I don't disagree ;)
Naynay's been talking about the aquarium and how we haven't gone in a long, long time (but really we just went 3 weeks ago). So we walked through Pike Place Market, checked out some seafood (ocean animals are his favorite), showed him the famous gum wall (he was like, can i eat some?!), and looked at sharks and seals at the aquarium.
After the aquarium, Gary and the girls came to pick us up and took us home. I love this man and how supportive and loving and considerate he is. Because of him, these precious dates with our littles are made possible. Also, have I mentioned how easy and stress-free it is to go out with just one kid? Such a nice break :) As for Naynay, he was so different when it was just the two of us together. So gentle, so sweet, and so easygoing. I think it was a date long overdue for him, too :)
I got off work early yesterday and got to spend some extra time hanging out with the kiddos in the afternoon. I had just finished feeding Izzy before Z and N came to find us in bed and then these pictures happened...
If someone asked me for a list of challenges about having 3 kids (and working part-time), the first and foremost would be time for my husband, and the second would be time with each of my babies. Compared to our lives 9 months ago, I am just not as available to Z and N whenever they want or need me, both physically and mentally. I know they are perfectly fine and very well taken care of by Gary, our nanny, and my aunt when I'm not there to play with them or do something for them right away. And I know they have adjusted fairly well with me being gone or unavailable at times: "mom needs to change izzy first before I can read to you", "let me feed izzy first and then I'll get food for you" - they rarely complain or get impatient in situations involving Izzy and her needs, which I really appreciate. (On a side note, though, I am a firm believer that not everything or every moment in our lives should be about the kids and what they want. I am always straightforward and honest with them when I need some occasional me time: "mom needs to eat breakfast too. let me eat in peace for 10 minutes at the table, go play first then i'll come join you." I think a healthy balance of moments like this in our lives with little ones can teach them to think about others more and that it's not always about what they want, even at home. Keeps a mama sane, too ;)
Anyway, I digressed. I meant to say that it's a different story when I have to put Izzy's needs before Z and N's. As much as they are such understanding, loving, sweet little spirits, it is in every sense important and worth making a lot of effort to have quality time with them where I am 100% present and not distracted. Gary and I make a pretty great team about this at home, but we've been talking about planning something special with Z and N more regularly.
So, last Thursday, I made a reservation at Queen Mary Tea Room for Zoey and I. I told her the next day that we were going to have a tea party together Saturday afternoon, and she was so happy that it made me so happy too! :) And truly, it was so. much. fun! We put on our matching shirts, navy blue shoes, and pretty necklaces. We sat across from each other, took turns asking each other questions and chatted for the whole hour without being interrupted by naynay or izzy. I loved watching her sipping on her chocolate peppermint tea, and she got to try cotton candy for the first time ever.
Sigh, I feel so lucky to be Zoey's mom. Gary and I seriously lucked out (and very very blessed, of course) I pray that she'll still want to go on tea parties with me 10, 20, and 30 years from now! :) :) Love you, Zobee.