Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Lukey, 15 months

Oh, my poor neglected third child with no professional portraits or anything that resembles a baby book! The least I can do is dedicate a single blog post once in awhile!

Fifteen months has been my favorite age with all of my kids - they are just out of the stage of being super physically demanding, and they are learning so much so quickly and becoming these cute little kiddos before your very eyes. Although I do have to say: I don't remember 15 months being this darn ornery! Luke never stops moving, not for one second. And he's a climber - I am constantly, no...constantly! pulling him down off of things. It's gotten to the place where he stands on the train table and I just sigh, because he can get down safely on his own, and I'm tired of chasing him off of it. The big kids have shortened their TV time in the morning (probably not a bad thing) because Luke drives them crazy turning the TV off and pushing other various buttons on the front.



He's still a peanut: at his most recent well check, he weighed only 21 pounds, 2 ounces (10th %'ile) and measured 30.75" (40 %'ile). But what he lacks in stature he makes up for in voice. The kid is LOUD. Observe (these are happy sounds, by the way):


video


Put that inside the house with a 3 and a 5 year old, and you'll find yourself seeking solitude in the bathroom once in awhile. But I love watching him learn to vocalize. He has several words that he says consistently that I love to hear:
Dada - yup, good ol' Dad.
DyeDye - Bye Bye
Date-Doo - Thank You
NaNa - Night Night
Mama - I'd like to think it's my name, but he uses it when he points at anything he wants (you can hear him saying it in the video)
No - he hears this one a bunch, see above
Oh-moo - Love You (I only know this because he repeats it when I say it to him)
Uh-Oh - obviously, anytime he drops something

He's drooling like crazy, cutting all four molars. We seem to be past the cranky part, though. He loves to be outside, and he will do anything in his power to keep up with the big kids. I give him a much longer leash than I gave to the others at this age, partially out of necessity and partially because I get more relaxed with time. Also, Katy's really good about watching out for him.



Everyone comments on his hair. It's so blonde, especially compared to the rest of us. And the curls - some days they are so precious and some days they are out of control. I really think that if I were to cut them off, they'd never come back, so I'm reluctant to cut them.



My favorite part of the day with Luke is when I put him to bed, I throw his blanket over my shoulder to get him to cuddle with me for a minute. Then I put him down in his crib and he gives me a kiss through the crib rails (it's funnier that way). My sweet boy, not much of a baby anymore. But I'll keep pretending.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Tidbits: Back to school edition

*It's been a month, and the new school routine is feeling like the new normal. I drop off or pick up from school 14 times in a week, but we're in a good rhythm. Thoughts on kindergarten will wait for another day.

*Soccer makes the evenings feel busy (2 games a week, plus 1 evening at church), but we're already halfway through the season and it will be over before we know it. Katy continues to love it and looks forward to every game. Everyone remarks on how tiny and fierce she is, but her size and speed limit her success on the field. (What I'm saying here is that she doesn't stand out as a strong player except for her spirit).

*One day when I picked David up from preschool, his teacher pulled me aside and said, "He is SUCH a sweet boy. Such a good, good boy." I told her there was nothing I'd rather hear as a parent.

*I have never had an allergic reaction in my life (other than hay fever stuff), but I found myself covered in hives one night this week. It was very bizarre and I still don't know what caused it. (I didn't eat anything new, hadn't used any new soap or anything). They are gradually going away but my FEET are itching like CRAZY.

*We met my grandparents at Young's Dairy for pumpkin picking and had a lovely time. If you ever find yourself in that part of Ohio (any time of year), I highly recommend it.


Cracking up at the goats

Notice anything different about her? She has suddenly decided that she likes to wear JEANS. Wha?!?!

Love my grandparents...Grandpa is fully recovered from a summer of hip fracture and pneumonia. They had some catching up to do with Aunt Mel.

Most bountiful pumpkin patch I've been to!


Cleaning with leaves


*We've been dragging our feet to pay the money to have a tree taken down (victim of Emerald Ash Borer). We had gotten several quotes and just...ouch.  As it turns out, someone knocked on our door and offered to take it down for a third of the price if we could pay cash, right now. So just like that, the tree is gone.

I just...I had no idea. Those two guys are supporting his weight along with shoes that have blades in the tree bark? I prayed the whole time he was up there.

Two hours of entertainment.

Here's where I got REALLY nervous - when the two guys on the ground sent a running chainsaw up on a rope to the man harnessed 20 feet in the air so he could remove a branch. Lord protect us!

See the four men pulling the enormous tree TOWARD themselves with the rope? Two of those men are my husband and my neighbor who came out to help.

Didn't hit anything or anyone. *shew*
*Katy is learning to read, and I am really enjoying working through early reader books with her. She is really motivated and it's fun to see her making connections. Today I found her first attempt to write a whole sentence phonetically.

She told me that it says "David is learning letters. No pictures." (I think she means that once he learns his letters, he can learn to read instead of just looking at pictures?)
*More to come...where did September go?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

One of Those Moments

You know those moments as a parent that make all the hard work and sacrifice worth it? They come in big and small sizes, and I try to make a mental note of them as they happen. This week I was fortunate to have a big one.

Katy's been looking forward to playing soccer ("on a team!") since last spring. She had two practices, which she enjoyed, but on the day of her first game, she told me, "But Mommy, I still don't know how to play soccer." She was just having trouble understanding how the game itself was going to work.

The evening of her first game, it was raining a steady rain. Since Brian coaches (and I'd have the boys on the sidelines), I had planned to send David with a neighbor to our weekly church program. But at the last minute, he figured out that he was going to miss Katy's game.  "But I wanted to go cheer for her! I wanted to see her play!"  So he came with us and sat in the rain with pompoms, cheering his little heart out for an hour with not one single complaint. Heart of gold, that one.

We had just pulled in to the overcrowded parking lot and unloaded our gear when I looked at the fields and realized that this was going to be very challenging for Luke. He was already soaked in the first minute, and I'd be chasing him through the mud all night. Just then, my phone rang, and my generous friend Beth, who lives right down the street from the field, offered to come and take Luke back to her house. I have some incredible friends. Seriously.

So each kid on the team plays three quarters and sits one out. Katy played the first quarter, in which she was very clearly trying to figure out what the heck was going on. When she came running over to me to sit out the 2nd, she was jumping up and down like a drowned rat: "Mommy!! That was so fun! I know how to play now! I'm trying to get the ball between those cones! I'm trying to keep the ball away from that red team! When do I get to go back in? When do they blow the whistle? Huh, Mommy? When do I go back in?" She was SO excited.



Third quarter, she went back in. Her team hadn't scored any goals yet, and I'm telling you they were a HEAD shorter than their opponents. (My sister came along, and she kept saying, "Not to sound like a soccer mom, but there's no way those kids are 5.")  Brian had come over to tell me something, and just at that moment, Katy kicked the ball between the cones. She turned around, face beaming, fist pumping, high fiving. We screamed. It was awesome.

And then she did again. Same reaction. It was awesome.

And again. Equally as exciting.

They don't keep score at this age, but if they did, Katy's team did not win, I know that for sure. But it didn't matter at all. We walked back to the car soaking wet, chilly, tired, and GIDDY. She loved it, can't wait for her next game.




And if she ends up playing a lot of soccer, I'm sure the honeymoon will pass and I won't always enjoy watching it in the rain. But for the first time, it was great.

I'm not kidding myself into thinking this means she's going to be good at soccer. It was just so fun to see her enjoying something so much, having some success, feeling good about herself. One of those moments that makes the hard work worth it.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Yaaaaaayyyyy!!!

Aunt Mel is back!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

David's turn!!


The advantage of sending David to the same preschool where Katy went? The start of school is so smooth. It's a familiar routine, even to him. He is completely comfortable there, has no hesitations, even knows his teachers by name. Some of his classmates are siblings of Katy's former classmates - so they are familiar faces as well.

The disadvantage? It was easy for this to feel so routine that I might miss the significance. My boy - my Bubs, my sweetheart - is a preschooler now. He has matured so much in the past several months. And the best part of taking him to school? He is my talker - so when I pick him up - he actually tells me, in as much detail as he is capable, what he did today. It's awesome. I love this kid.


Congratulations, Bubs! Mommy is so proud of you for being such a big boy! (Even if I asked you if you missed me and you said "no." Throw Mom a bone next time, will ya?)

Friday, September 02, 2011

Developments

So much is changing around here!

*David went from barely pedaling a trike to riding a bike with training wheels half a mile around the neighborhood! He is SO proud of himself.

*Luke is walking around everywhere, still with his hands up in the air. He falls quite often, but catches himself, stands back up and keeps going. He's seeming like a full blown toddler, it's incredible. (video to come)

*One week into kindergarten, things are going well. Katy seems to like it - she gets really excited about "specials" like music and computer lab. She has made one new friend in particular from the neighborhood that she talks about quite a bit. I think she is disappointed that there aren't as many toys and crafts in kindergarten as there were in preschool, but she still enjoys all the work they are doing.

*After months of being well, we've already had a mini-round of sickness. After only 3 days of kindergarten, Katy had a fever and head/neck ache that put her on her back for a couple of days and already ruined that perfect attendance record she was hoping for (I'm not even kidding). Brian was down for a day, too, and is gradually recovering.

*The PM kindergarten schedule is an adjustment for sure. Pro: if the stars align, I walk Katy to school, come immediately home and put both boys to bed and have 2 hours to myself. It's been over a year since I had any time with all the kids asleep, so that part is great (though numbered). Con: In this very same perfect scenario, I often end up waking one of the boys to go get her, which I hate doing. And it makes for drowsy and grumpy boys. The alternative is to make Luke take two shorter naps before and after K, but then he's awake while she's at school and I'm back to square one. I'm wishing I had a neighbor that I could hand the monitor to so I could run and get her without waking the boys. We'll see if something materializes.

*Brian is training for another half marathon, is within a few pounds of his lowest adult weight, got nomiated for a college-wide award at work, and still manages to upkeep two older homes and a side business. There isn't a lazy bone in the man, I'm telling you.

*Ever since Luke was born and I quit my part time job, things have been tighter and tighter. Every month we're cutting a new corner and we were starting to think about whether I should look for evening work or find another way to earn some income. But we just finished a refinancing of both our properties that is going to help SO much. I can't believe what a relief this is. I was starting to get nervous every time I started one of our 10 year old vehicles because I didn't know how we'd come up with another one if it died. (as I've said before, please no jinxing).

*We started out teaching David to do all his pottying sitting down. It was neater and he was more comfortable that way. Then somewhere along the way, I forgot this wasn't normal until someone at church commented that they tried to stand him at the potty and he looked confused. So I told Brian that his task before preschool starts is to teach him to pee standing up. It took 5 minutes and he's hooked. Let the battle of the toilet seats begin.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

The Busy Balance

We're in the middle of a 2-3 week period that is transitioning from summer to fall. It feels somewhat chaotic, because every day we have some sort of parent meeting/registration/orientation/gentle-start/meet-the-teacher/first-practice/get-to-know-you event. And I'm starting to realize, even though it's only kindergarten and preschool, how complicated it is to have kids in different schools. Imagine when Katy's in high school, David in middle, and Luke still in elementary. Talk about complicated.

I'm also having a debate in my head about how much activity is too much? I feel like everyone has opinions on this, and certainly there must be a different best answer for every family. Katy is in school 5 half days a week. I think the half day is important to note when considering the activities, because her school day is only 2.5 hours. David will have 2 half days of preschool, (different half of the day). We will do our church's children's program one evening per week. And Katy is signed up for soccer. She had her first practice last week, Brian is assistant coach, and she is REALLY excited about it. That will be two 30 minute games per week, walking distance from our house, for 6 weeks.

That seems like enough for now, I'd definitely prefer to wait until soccer is over before doing anything else. There are two other things that peak my interest: one is piano, the other is Girl Scouts.

My mom is an excellent pianist, and she's been giving Katy basic lessons when she sees her. We have a keyboard (Oma again), and Katy really enjoys playing. But this could definitely wait until winter. As for Girl Scouts, we got an informational letter home from school. Brian and I both did scouts for large chunks of our childhood and have very fond memories. I think they only meet twice a month after school. I don't want to overwhelm our schedule and not have down time at home. But Katy is home with me 5 mornings a week (plus weekends). So she has down time for sure.

Here's the thing about activities for us: Brian and I are both extroverts, and not homebodies. We prefer to be out and about, doing things with other people than staying home. I certainly value time at home, but staying home for long periods of time drives me crazy, and the kids just tend to pick at each other. I don't want to impose my preference on them, of course, but for now they have seemed quite happy to go out and do things. I'm never dragging them out the door, it's more like, "Let me outta here!"

So how do you find a balance? Do you have a rule for how much is allowed at once? How much do you think parent personality and kid personality play a part?