Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The usual..

Catching up on things around here while I have a moment...I have been finding it very hard to sit down and write up posts lately even though we have so much going on and I really do have a lot I want to write and share with you. I'll try to do a quick summary while the boys are taking overlapping naps (this never happens!!).


Halloween was fun this year. We did a Frozen theme of course. Audrey wanted to be Elsa and I found patterns for dresses that my mom could make, so she willingly obliged to sew them for us. Audrey's dress was unique and different from the hundreds of other Elsa's out there, and she thought it was really awesome that Josh and I were dressed up too. The first time I tried on my costume she just stared at me in wide-eyed amazement and with such excitement. And when Josh walked in dressed up like Kristoff she was equally thrilled. JJ was cute as a button in his Olaf costume. So little and huggable. Nathaniel was a troll (you have to see the movie) so he just wore a gray outfit and a hat. We went trick or treating with Matthew and Cristina and Dad and Lisa like we usually do. It was cold so we all had on coats, but a few houses in to it, Audrey saw another Elsa. She walked right up to this girl, unzipped her coat and was like "I'm Elsa Too!". It was so funny and cute. I think she really enjoyed seeing all the costumes and of course she LOVED the candy. One house even gave out ice cream bars!




I took Audrey to see Frozen on Ice a few weeks back and it was a HIT! We met dad for lunch on campus since the show was at the Patriot Center and then we walked over and got some overpriced Frozen gear and overpriced snow cones and then found our seats. I was very pleased to see how good our seats were! Audrey could see everything perfectly. She didn't sing or dance but I wasn't really sure if she would...I think she was overwhelmed by all the noise and so much to see so she really just sat there staring and taking it all in. She was sad to leave and said she really really wanted Elsa to come home with us.


Lexi and Tiernan flew here for the week of Thanksgiving. It was very last minute but such a nice surprise to have them here twice this year! The kids had fun playing together (most of the time!) and I loved being able to chat with my sister whenever I wanted for a week. We spent the evening before Thanksgiving over at Lauren's having pizza and letting all the kids play. Then for Thanksgiving Day we all went over to Josh's aunt's house for dinner. SO GOOD. I didn't stuff my face as much as I wanted to because of the kids being crazy, but that's probably better anyways. :)

Now we are all the way in to December and JJ's birthday just passed and Nathaniel just turned 6 months. How!?? I love watching them grow but I do worry that it's happening too fast...so as usual I'll end yet another post by saying I'll try to write more updates when I can...expect photos of JJs birthday and Nate's 6 months soon.

This is 30!

Yesterday was my 30th birthday! Can you believe it? I still feel 17 some days. And other days I feel like I must be 75 years old. haha.

The birthday surprises started a couple of days ago. I really didn't want to do anything much for my birthday. Going out sounds exhausting, so maybe a nice dinner with Josh was really all I wanted. Josh and Maria surprised me big time with a one night stay in a hotel...by myself!! Ahh! This may sound quite boring and even lonely to some, but for me it is literally a dream come true. They told me about it a couple days ahead of time so I would be sure to not make plans. Then they surprised me with a gift certificate to a spa so I can get a massage or a facial or whatever I want! I thought about using it while I was away at the hotel, but decided my stay was too short and I will just use the spa day another time.

On the morning of my birthday, they surprised me with yet another gift - a MacBook Air! I have been wanting one for about 2 years but its something I couldn't justify for myself. I am so excited to finally have a computer I can (hopefully) rely on! I'm making an appointment soon to go in to the Apple store so they can teach me how to use it. Haha.

Later in the day we went to lunch with the Arnold's at Sweetwater. It felt very special to have everyone there celebrating with us. Of course the kids were all over the place, but Josh and the rest of the family handled them all so I could have a bit of a break. :)

After lunch I went home and packed a small overnight bag and said good-bye to my loves for the night! I checked in to the hotel and after sitting in peaceful, blissful silence for a while, I decided to head over to the mall for some shopping (ALONE!) and to get a new book. I bought myself a new pair of pants and Gone Girl, a book everyone has been telling me to read. When I got back to the hotel I grabbed a glass of wine from the bar and went up to my room to enjoy a quiet evening alone. I took a hot bath, listened to some music, sat in bed playing on the iPad, and then read about 2 pages of my book before falling asleep in the giant comfy bed. While I'd like to say I slept all night, that is not the case. I don't think my body knows how to do that anymore!? I woke up a couple times and then got up for the day at 7. I went down and grabbed a cup of coffee and sat in bed catching up on a lot of work and other things I wanted to get done before going back home. Took a long hot shower with the door closed. Ha!

Lauren and I also went out for my birthday drinks and a movie the week after my birthday. We made it through the drinks part, but we fell asleep a few minutes in to the movie. So old! We could have gone back to the bar for another drink, but I felt so tired and just wanted to go home. Such a mom move!

While it may seem silly and boring to some, this was exactly the birthday present I wanted. I feel rejuvenated and ready to take on the world. And the kids. :) I can't wait to see what the next 30 years brings my way.

Friday, October 24, 2014

New Things!

Well, everyone around here seems to be growing up tremendously day by day. A couple of updates for you, we'll start with the littlest one.

Nathaniel has changed. In a GOOD WAY! No more crying. No more screaming. No more bouncingswayingwalkingswaddlingohmygodpleasejuststopcrying. I don't know what happened exactly. Maybe it was because I started being more consistent with his reflux meds (likely). Maybe he just outgrew whatever it was that was ailing him? I think a large part of it is that I have slowed things down around here. I have high expectations that we must always be doing something and going somewhere and I think that just overwhelmed all of us. I am making more of an effort to be home for consistent naps and it seems to be paying off. For a week now, he's been taking 2 hour naps in the morning and sometimes 3 hour naps in the afternoon. It is amazing. I still find myself pacing back and forth at the 40 minute mark waiting for him to wake up screaming, but he's been sleeping right through. It is such a relief. I'm able to dedicate time with the big kids again, and they need that. Nathaniel now smiles and laughs and just loves it when we get close to his face talk and play. Right before things got better, they got worse. Much worse. I knew he was teething but I didn't expect any teeth any time soon. I was wrong! He popped two bottom teeth right after he turned 4 months. He is much better now, although the drooling hasn't subsided so I wonder if he may be getting another soon. 
He has started pushing himself around during tummy time so I have to watch him a bit more to make sure everything withing a certain radius is safe. He still doesn't tolerate laying on his back much and he wants so badly to sit up, but he isn't quite there yet. He just wants to be big!


Middle Child next. There are big things happening with Joshua Jr right now! At school, they start working on potty training at 18 months. His teacher suggested we start with him at home and see what his interest level is and then they would assess at school when to start. Well, he was very enthusiastic about the potty when we pulled it out, so last weekend (JSR was off work) we decided to try out some underwear and just go for it. The thing about just going for it, is that you can't really go back. So he's in underwear now when we're at home and at school. He typically will tell me when he has to go, but sometimes he'll starting peeing a tiny bit and then will run to the bathroom once he realizes he's wet. So we're not having big wet accidents, just tiny ones. I think our whole attitude and outlook with potty training is so different this time around and that is helping us be patient. With Audrey, we tried the 3 day training which worked, but had some drawbacks too (like pooping in underwear every day for 9 months) so really it didn't work. This time we are looking at it more as an ongoing effort with hopes that by January/February he will be fully trained. The hardest part right now is actually teaching him to pull up and down his underwear. His teacher insists that we let him do it and encourage him even when he is frustrated, but that's hard when I have so many other things going on at the same time and I just want to get it over with. I am learning every day to just SLOW DOWN and stop rushing through things.

He is so proud of himself when he has success, and he loves to dump out his little potty and flush the toilet. Its the little things in life. Although to him, I know this is a very BIG thing. Doesn't he look so cute in his undies? Thomas the Train, of course. He loves all things train right now, so I want to take him on a short train ride from Manassas to the Burke station and see if he likes that, or even spend a few hours at Burke Lake Park to ride the train. It'll have to be a mommy-son date though, I can't take all three by myself. I'm still too scared!
This is what trouble looks like.

Audrey is growing every day. Maturing, really. Three was a great age that I loved, but four is turning out to be fun too. She went from just asking "why" all the time, to asking specific "why"s. Some of her questions lately are:
Why does it rain?
Why is the sky blue?
What is in the clouds?
What is under the ground?
Why do we poop?

I want to take a trip to the library and see if I can find some kid books about some of these. Of course we can google (and we have been) but she just loves the library so I think she'd like doing this together. That is also just a one-on-one trip though. I have tried with all three and it doesn't work. JJ doesn't like books so much as he likes pushing them off the shelves. So we don't last long there.


She is so helpful (usually) and such a happy girl. She's really in to bugs right now, so we have a bug book we read (every single day) and she's gotten really good at identifying them by name, even when we see them outside. We just love watching her grow and learn and explore the world!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Four Months Old

Nathaniel is 4 months old!! Can you believe it? How fast it has gone!..and yet...how slowly.
 I haven't really posted a ton about him on here. Partially because I haven't had the time. And partially because it has been overwhelming to think about how I could write everything that's been going on with him! I spent 25 minutes writing a post about everything we've been going through and then I deleted it all. It has been a tough 4 months but I think we are getting past it and he is outgrowing it. Every day gets a little bit easier, I think.
 He is becoming happier day by day. More happy-awake times means we are interacting in a more pleasant way. He watches Audrey and JJ like they are the most fascinating beings on earth. He and JJ are buddies and its funny how he tolerates JJ laying on him and being rough with him (already!). They like to lay down with him and do tummy time - which is great for me because it keeps them all entertained long enough for me to get some stuff done!
His 4 month check up was last week and he's a whopping 18lb 5oz! He's in the 95th percentile for weight and 85th for height - 27.5 inches. He's healthy as can be (aside from the lingering reflux) and he's finally starting to be happy! Cooing, talking, Squealing as loud as he possibly can, smiling at us, and really just engaging with us. He tolerates tummy time really well and will sit for a few minutes in his jumper, longer if I am sitting with him and talking to him. He does NOT like to be alone! He's ok if he can see us, but out of sight and he loses it.
I'm trying to get him on some sort of daytime schedule, or at least a predictable routine, but it isn't happening just yet. I think that is more my fault than his. We are so busy every day, always in and out of the house and not usually home at the same times every day. I keep telling myself that things are "just about to settle down" and we'll be home more, but that seems to always be just around the corner. If he would nap in the car seat, it would be a lot easier. He is still sleeping on our bed and he'll probably stay there for a while longer. He wakes a lot at night and getting out of bed at 2am is asking way too much of me.
 He is so peaceful when he sleeps!! Love his chunky little body. He has started laughing and giggling when we tickle him too...so of course I torture him with neck kisses and tickles constantly!



Friday, September 26, 2014

FOURTH Birthday

Did you read that?? FOURTH BIRTHDAY?!!!
What can be said? Time Flies. Where does the time go? Can I press Pause? They grow up too fast. These are all so cliche, but all so TRUE. The toddler years are over. I look at her and realize that she is not a baby, she is not a mumbling wobbly toddler, she's a preschooler. She does puzzles, and tells stories, and studies bugs, and helps with her brothers. She isn't in to baby things...no..big things. No baby dolls, now Barbie dolls. She doesn't scribble lines, she draws pictures. She has an opinion and makes it known. She skips and runs and SINGS so much. She has a heart full of joy and happiness and she spreads that to us every day.
I'll try to stop the sappiness and leave it at that. Now for the FUN! We had her birthday party this year at her gymnastics gym. It turned out great! We had 16 or so kids and they got to play some games, jump on the trampoline, do an obstacle course, that kind of stuff. We had pizza and cake (FROZEN, of course) and balloons. When we were loading up the car to go home, I leaned in to snap her seat belt and Audrey said, "Mommy, my birthday party was so great. Thank You". I was so happy to know that she had a good birthday!!

We went home and opened presents...OMG so many presents...too many. Of course she doesn't think its too much. She got some pretty fun stuff and so this week has been awesome while she and JJ explore them all. Big things she got this year were dress up clothes (my mom made an awesome ELSA dress which she will wear at Halloween), Barbies, Frozen stuff, Princess stuff, clothes..stuff like that. Josh made her a dress up closet to hang her play clothes and store her shoes/tiaras/jewelry etc. It turned out so perfect! She loved it and now it sits right in the middle of our living room. Which she loves, but we...need a bigger house. :) My gift to her was tickets to see Frozen on Ice next month. I can't wait!


On her birthday I sent in a picture from her birth and every year of life so far, along with a few highlights of each year of her life. The teacher talked about it all and hung her photos up in the class for a couple of days. Special Day. We took her and JJ and Ian over to Kid Junction (kind of like Chuck E Cheese) for lunch and some play time. We ended up being the only ones there! I wasn't sure if that was a good thing or not. Good (easy) for me, but I wonder if they wanted other kids to play with. Anyways, it was fun and wore them out and after a quick dinner, the kiddos were all in bed pretty early.

Remember when I was first posting about her? And that stupid harness? Read about her first and third birthdays too, but not her second because I apparently never blogged it. Which is a shame since it was such a great age and a great year.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Montessori School

Audrey had her first day of Montessori school a few weeks ago. She goes 5 days this year, 3.5 hours each day. We made this decision in the spring..although we liked her preschool last year, we had done a lot of research on the Montessori method, toured the school, and ultimately decided that we wanted to try this school out and see how we like it. 

The school does a 2 week long "phase in" schedule, which is basically just a modified schedule for the kids. So the first day she just went in for a half hour to see her classroom and meet her teacher. The next couple of days were one hour, then the next few days were 2 hours, and so on until we reached the full 3.5 hour day. They suggested the students bring a plant to their classroom so they can have the responsibility of taking care of something living, and to "beautify" the environment. Audrey and I went to the garden center and she got to pick out a little plant that she liked and she got to choose where in the classroom to put it. 
On her first day (after meeting her teacher) we dropped her off out front of the school and that was it...she walked in with the teacher and left us in the dust! JJ was very upset to see her go. I didn't realize until that moment that her leaving for school would be an adjustment for him too. He probably doesn't remember last year that she went to school, and after having her home every day over the summer, it must have been scary for her to just get out of the car and leave. He sure does love his big sister!




















And that brings us to the next thing. JJ is now going to Montessori school as well, twice a week for 3 hours. With everything going on with Nathaniel (that's a whole other post), it has been really hard on the kids. They get very little attention from me most days. I had hoped that with Audrey being in school, JJ and I would have more one-on-one time since he doesn't nap in the mornings anymore. I figured yeah, I'd put Nathaniel down for a nap after we drop Audrey off at school and then its all me and JJ time after that. Well, that isn't happening. Instead, we drop Audrey off and listen to Nathaniel cry the whole way there and home. Then we all come inside and I immediately turn on the TV for JJ so that I can tend to Nathaniel. Most times that means taking him upstairs in an attempt to get him to sleep, then coming back downstairs and walking/bouncing/jiggling him trying to get him to settle or fall asleep, feeding him, changing him, and on and on...and point is, JJ gets nothing. No attention. No cuddling while we read a book. No playing. Just TV or playing by himself while I handle The Baby That Never Sleeps. He eventually does fall asleep but by that point I'm frustrated and stressed and have a short fuse and while I try my best to wipe the slate clean and treat the "big kids" fairly, they just aren't getting what they should be getting from me. SO ANYWAYS...we decided that JJ could benefit from being in an environment where he doesn't have to listen to crying and can do more stimulating activities than watching Little Einsteins. 
























He went two days last week and his third day was today. Teacher says he's doing great! He and Audrey get out of the car together and hold hands walking into school. SO cute. He doesn't even look back to check on me and doesn't cry or anything! Teacher says he is very confidant and sure of himself. That makes my mama heart happy. I really think this experience will be good for him. He's never really spent much time around kids his own age since most of our friends are actually Audrey's friends. I have seen him with some other toddlers and..well..he's kind of rough. He pushed a kid once over a train even though he already had like 4 and the other kid only had one. I don't want a bully baby. Those kids aren't fun. And I don't want him thinking the whole world is what exists at our home...lots of baby screams, fighting with his big sister, etc. yeah, so this will be good, this will be good. I'm obviously still trying to make myself comfortable with the fact that my baby boy is already out of the home and in someone else's care.

Audrey is still adjusting as well. We talked all summer about the fact that she would be going to a different school this year. She toured the school with us and we drove by it a few times and talked it up. She seemed ok. But once she started going for a couple of days, she realized what "new school" actually means. Her old friends aren't there. Her old teacher isn't there, nor her old classroom or her old routines. This must be tough on a 4 year old. While she says that she has fun at school and never has anything bad to say, she also still says she misses her old school and wants to go back. She asks about her "old" friends daily so we are making an effort to see them pretty regularly for playdates or picnics. I reached out to the mother of a girl in Audrey's class whom she says she talks to and eats snack with. We are having an after-school picnic/play date next week, so hopefully seeing someone from school outside of the classroom will make her a little more enthusiastic about being there.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Writing Emails

Tonight I am enjoying some peace and quiet. The kids are all asleep and Josh is upstairs in bed. I uploaded some pictures to the computer and sat down to write a blog, but instead decided to write emails to the kids. I am feeling a little sensitive and emotional and didn't really want to spill my guts here, so I figured I could lay the sappiness out in an email for them to read many years from now. I get like this some nights after the kids go to sleep. Its like all day I want a break but once they're asleep I can't stop thinking about them, how wonderful they are, the funny things they do, the joy they bring to me..

But anyways.. If you haven't sent them an email, please do! I have never opened any of the messages so I promise that they are confidential and will be read only by the kids when they are grown up! Dear.Audrey.Falcon and Dear.Joshua.Falcon at gmail dot com. Nathaniel will get one soon enough, I'll let ya'll know once it is done.

SO, in an effort to keep up with the blog, I have some recent photos, but not a really meaty post. I pulled out Maria's nice camera and have been playing around trying to document our days around here.

JJ loves two things. Wrestling - but that's hard to take photos of when I am pinning him to the ground. And trains. Usually he doesn't get to play a lot with them because big sister is always bossing him around and not letting him do what he wants with them. Today Audrey was out with my mom and Nathaniel was sleeping, so we pulled out the trains and played for a while. He's happy just pushing them around and around the track.


Audrey is all about her dolls right now. She has the 12" Disney princess barbie dolls (I think she has 4 or 5 of them, plus some of the princes) and also some of the smaller Disney princess figurines. We also got her the Anna and Elsa castles (from Frozen) and she plays with these ALL DAY LONG. She sleeps with the dolls. She takes them everywhere we go. She is always asking us to play with her and we do when we have time. Its nice when she has girls her age to play with, because JJ just doesn't know how to play the way she wants him to. It is frustrating for her, I'm sure!

Nathaniel is seeming bigger every day. Today was a good day because he napped pretty well for me. He even had stretches of awake time where he was quietly enjoying his bouncer or sat and cooed and smiled with me. He has such a big smile and its easy to forget my exhaustion when this face is looking at me.