Friday, January 23, 2015

New Year and Holiday Fun

Welcome to 2015...This year is going to big for us, I feel it. :)
But first...rewind a bit. We had a really fantastic holiday season this year. Both my mom and Josh's mom came in town for Christmas, plus Lexi and Tiernan were here a few weeks earlier for Thanksgiving. I had a lot of fun Winter and Christmas things that I wanted to do with the family (ZooLights, ICE! at the Gaylord, Driving to see Christmas lights, Christmas crafts) but none of them got done. I didn't even get out a Christmas card this year! I think I still might make one and send it out just for fun. Josh says we'll feel bad years from now looking back and realizing we are missing one year out of our stack of annual cards. He might be right.
The kids and I did get to celebrate the season by baking cookies together (guess how fun that was!?!) and delivering them to our friends. Truthfully, baking with toddler/preschoolers is only fun for the kid. For the parent it is only stressful. Spilled milk, powdered sugar clouds in the air, JJ dumped out a bottle of Vanilla extract (house smelled good though)..and I could go on. But whatever, in the end, the cookies looked and tasted good and Audrey was SO HAPPY to put on her Christmas hat and deliver cookies to her friends. The day we delivered them she had the idea to get the Santa hat - and she looked so cute! I love that she wanted to wear the hat. JJ and Nathaniel slept through most of the deliveries.
We saw Santa at Fair Oaks Mall again this year and it was the first time Audrey told him what she wanted for Christmas - "a doll house and Rapunzel with the white dress". She also told him that the boys wanted toys. Nathaniel slept through all of this (!!) and I didn't dare wake him. The bigger thing that day was that they had photos with Olaf as well as with Santa. Naturally, the kids were more excited about Olaf.

We also got to ride on the Santa train this year. I waited in line in the rain with both boys for these tickets because every year I hear how awesome it is. It was pretty cool I guess...but honestly it seemed overrated. The train ride was fun and JJ thoroughly enjoyed it but I think Audrey was a little bored, and Santa only came through once and it was for only a minute. He didn't have time to talk to the kids or anything, just waved. Next year we'll probably skip this event.
We decorated Gingerbread houses for the first time ever - and neither Audrey nor Joshua really were interested! Well, Audrey was excited but it wore off quickly and then she just wanted to eat the candy. Joshua wasn't in to it at all from the beginning and he spent most of the time pouring out the candy and spilling it everywhere. It was fun though and at least we got to say we did it!
The kids got everything their little hearts desired, and then some more, for Christmas. Between Santa, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and us...they were spoiled. We actually started packing up boxes of toys in November in preparation for JJs birthday and Christmas. We also got rid of a lot. We still have unopened toys in their playroom closet from Christmas. I'm waiting for a rainy day (or snow day) to open them so we can make the surprises last a little longer..and bust the boredom on those long days at home. :) Thank you all for a great Christmas!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

JJ turns TWO!

We celebrated baby JJ's second birthday last month (so behind - ack!) and it was a fun time. The party was a train theme of course, since that is all he ever thinks or talks about. I did it pretty simple with some Thomas decorations and a Thomas the Train cake. JJ loved the cake the most I think. It came with a wooden thomas train as decoration and of all the new train and train-like-toys he got that day, this train from the cake was his favorite! haha!

We had a fun day with friends and family and got to spend the evening catching up with some friends we haven't seen in quite a while. It was a great day. JJ was passed out on the couch before dinner time so that tells me he had fun! He got more trains than he could ever have asked for and HE LOVES IT! He sleeps with some of his trains and he has favorite trains.

Josh made him a train table for his birthday. It was a pretty easy project and I think it was an awesome gift. Bad thing is that it is HUGE but that's also a good thing because he and Audrey like to sit in it and they can also make pretty big tracks on it. It has room for storage underneath and we plan to make a top for it so it can be covered and serve as a coffee table when not in use. Its never not in use...but maybe the excitement will die off and we'll be able to cover it someday. It was his first birthday build though, so I know Josh is very proud of it.

I got Joshua tickets to see Sesame Street Live for his birthday, so he and I made a day of it. We went to lunch and did some shopping and then headed over to the Patriot Center for the show. The crowd was a lot of 1 and 2 year olds so it was pretty rowdy and loud. JJ (like most of the kids) wouldn't sit still and watch the show, he really just wanted to walk around and dance. Luckily we were on the end seats so I let him play a bit on the stairs. haha. so safe. I let him pick out a t-shirt too, and he was excited to wear that around for the show.
All about our big boy 2 year old! He's dropped way down in percentiles for weight and dropped some in height. He hasn't lost weight, but just hasn't gained as much as they want to see. He was in the 90th and 80th percentiles previously so they're concerned that he's not eating enough or getting enough calories. And honestly the doctor is probably right about that. Audrey used to have eating issues, but JJ is so much worse. He sometimes eats once a day. If he's tired, he won't eat. If he's playing, he won't eat. I try all these techniques to try to get him to eat but when it comes down to it, I can't force feed him. The doctor put him on Pediasure once a day to boost his calorie intake a bit and then we have a weight check again in a few weeks. I've been giving him the pediasure in his smoothies and he likes it that way. Smoothies seem to be the way to go with him since he doesn't have to actually stop playing to eat it, and I can fit a lot of calories in it. I'm not overly concerned with him gaining weight but it does worry me that he doesn't take in enough calories. He needs nutrients, you know??
He is talking more and more every day. He's started stringing together two words like "mommy look!" "train go!" and the like. My favorite thing to hear him say is "Mommy Look! I did it! I did it mommy look!" He's so proud and loves to show off what he can do. He is very expressive about what he wants and doesn't want. He constantly is calling us to tell us about something or show us something. He is still such a monkey-do...anything he sees Audrey do, he's right behind her. Its funny because most of the time he doesn't even know why he's doing or saying something, he's just copying her. They play together quite a bit but also bicker a lot and he's content to play alone with his trains. He also got a trampoline for his birthday and that's been a big hit in the house with both kids. I like it because it burns off some energy since we aren't going outside as much these days.
We are still working on potty training, but he's doing great! I am so glad I took a different approach this time instead of the "3 day" approach. It is so much easier and less stressful. He wears a diaper if we're going to be out for a long time, or if we're going to a party or play date where he might not remember to stop and use the bathroom.
His favorite book right now is a book called, "Little Blue Truck Leads the Way". He's not that in to books in general but when we do read its usually this one that he chooses. His favorite TV show is Thomas the Train of course, and favorite food is smoothies and cookies. :) 
He still sucks his thumb and carries his lovie(s) everywhere and I love that about him. Its like this little aspect of his babyhood that sticks with us and no one is in any hurry to lose it. He is my happy boy, very easy going (most of the time), and loves to make us laugh. He likes to roar, growl, hide, make faces, and do absolutely anything else that can get our attention and make us smile. He's a little entertainer. :)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Nathaniel at SIX Months!

I feel pretty sure that this has been the fastest and yet also the longest six months of my life. I can't believe Nathaniel is halfway to a year old! And yet, I also can't believe we have made it this far. There were days I didn't think we would. There were some seriously hard days and we still have those days more often that I'd like to admit. But I think we are past the hardest of it and I'm sure it will get easier as he becomes mobile. Its just so hard having to hold him every waking moment!

SO here are his stats! He's 19 lbs 4 oz and 29 inches. He's pretty big! I can't remember the percentiles these stats put him in (the big kids were being terrors at this dr. appointment) but I think it was the 90th? Just like the other two, he's on the chunky side. :)

He had 4 bottom teeth as of his half birthday. FOUR! And now, just 2 weeks later, he's got 2 more and another 2 popping through on top. I know the teething is a large part of his fussiness. Most babies don't have 8 teeth until they turn one, Audrey and JJ didn't have any teeth at 6 months. So my hope is that once he has all 8 fully in, he'll be more comfortable and won't need to be held so much.

He loves watching Audrey and JJ. His play area is in the living room (obviously) and so he's right in the middle of the action with the other two running around. He really wants to play with their toys and he's starting to pull his knees up under him to attempt to crawl. Right now he's rolling and army crawling his way around and can get to things within a couple of feet - If he doesn't get frustrated and start crying first! He took his first bath in the big tub last night. I was very brave (out of necessity) - I put him in the tub with Audrey and JJ! All three in the tub with him still being new to sitting up was pretty scary on my part, but I didn't have another option. Josh was working late and they needed a bath. So I either put nathaniel in his jumper and let him cry while I bathed them and then give him a bath later after they went to bed, or do it all together. Well, I've been doing that for the past 6 months and I'm over it! On to the big tub! I definitely had to watch them all closely and I don't think Audrey and JJ liked that they couldn't splash around, but they'll get used to it and he'll be bigger before we know it.

He's started eating pureed food. So far he's had green beans and squash. At first he didn't like it, but I think it was just the new texture thing. Last night he happily ate half a jar of green beans and wanted more! He's also gnawing on bananas and apples when I put them in this little mesh feeder thing. He loooooves apples and tries to steal them from us when we eat them! I'm just afraid he'll bite off a chunk and choke so I am not ready for him to have them yet.

He's like Audrey in the sleep department - he doesn't sleep! Well, he does just not long periods of time like JJ did at this age. Overnight he sleeps about 12 hours but still wakes up every 2 hours. Or more. He sleeps in the crib for naps and the first stretch of sleep, but I bring him to my bed around midnight so I don't have to keep getting up. I don't mind that - I've always liked sleeping with the babies. :)

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 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 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 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 of course I torture him with neck kisses and tickles constantly!