Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Back to School 2013: Part 2

A few weeks ago Sam headed back to school, for his third and final year in Preschool! A look back at the past two years (cue tears):

Um, he looks like a baby in that 2011 pic. And he didn't stay small and round. My boy is so long and lean! This year's photo:

So, two funny things about this year's photo: 1) Sam put up a HUGE fight about wearing socks to school on the first day of school, to the extent that he was in such a mood he wouldn't let me take a picture on Wednesday. Which leads me to 2) When I snapped this pic today (Saturday), he was shoeless. Ha. 

Also, the pics from last week's Back to School Eve Feast! For future years, see here, here and here.

This year's theme was books, based on the classics.

I made signs for the food using A Beautiful Mess app on my iphone and printed them up at home:

We had Secret Garden green salad
A River Runs Through It smoked trout
The Catcher in the Rye quinoa
Grapes of Wrath red grapes
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory chocolate chip cookies

It was fun (and enlightening) explaining the plot of all these books to Maddie and Sam. So funny.

I did make crowns, as usual, but they were thrown together in a flash and I didn't take pictures. Basically, they were open books made of paper with words highlighted in them like "love, learn, read, fun" etc.

Happy Back to School everyone!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Evan: SIX MONTHS! (Half a year!) Already! Sigh.

My sweet little pea,

On Sunday you turned six months old. I might have shed a few tears about it at breakfast, as you scarfed down a huge bowl of mangos and rice cereal. Just like that, you're a baby who eats real food and moves across the floor. It's kind of surreal, and a lot of fun.

You still have your very own look. Blond hair, big blue eyes, not looking all that much like Maddie or Sam as babies. You do remind us of Maddie in how you are inquisitive and always watching people's faces. You are constantly taking it all in.

This month was like a developmental explosion. All of the sudden you are up on your hands and knees, then you're rocking back and forth, then you're pushing up on your toes into planks and downward facing dogs, and then you're walking your little tootsies forward to your hands. Next week: sun salutations.

It looks like you'll be crawling within the month. Sigh. And I had such high hopes for a baby who would stay a baby forever. You love to barrel roll across the floor (and the bed, in the morning, after nursing, bumping into Daddy). You are all hands, grabbing and snatching and spilling and stealing before we even have a chance to react. Thankfully it's just been a glass of water here and a fistful of salad there. Nothing too dangerous. Yet.

Often the first sound out of your mouth upon waking is a raspberry. It's pretty much your favorite vocalization other than the ear-piercing, blood-curdling scream that we hear multiple times a day. Usually in confined spaces. At your six-month well check the pediatrician was amazed by the capacity of such a small guy to make such a big fuss.

But other than the screaming, you're a pretty fantastic baby. You will still fall asleep in my arms and take naps on my chest. You are sweet and inquisitive. You love to give kisses, big open-mouth, slobbery, wet kisses.

If I place you on a blanket in the grass, you make a rolling beeline for the edge of the blanket where you love to touch, pull, pick, and lick the grass and leaves. A blanket is pretty much pointless now, as you are quite mobile and even more determined to get to the edge. The grass doesn't seem to bother you at all; rather, you love to feel it in your hands and beneath you.

You can sit up by yourself, not for long, but just long enough to grab some photos. Most sits end up with you throwing your large head back and landing flat. Thankfully it's usually on a soft surface.

I'm so thankful we made it to six months. Medically speaking, the remicade you were exposed to in utero has now worked its way out of your bloodstream. Your immune system should be that of a normal baby! Yay! We've managed to keep nursing, too, which is such a good thing. Not only did you need it to build your immunity up to this point, but considering all those weight gain issues and the supplemental feeding, I'm so glad you still love to nurse. I love it too.

At six months, you are 85th percentile for height, 42nd for weight, and your head is somewhere in the 60s. You've managed to climb out of the bottom percentiles and find yourself a pretty average-sized baby. Yay for us! And yay for real food. You eat just about everything I put in front of you: squash, sweet potatoes, rice, oatmeal, mango, bananas, apples, peas, green beans...and there's so much more to come.

All in all, it's been a good half of a year, little guy. Thanks for all the snuggles, the laughs, the midnight prayer times, and for completing our family. You are dearly loved.



Maddie: 80 Months

Dear Maddie,

Happy month-o-versary! It's so fun each 14th to gather my thoughts on the past month, record the new things you're doing, and laugh about all the conversations that have transpired. You are an engaging conversationalist, full of wonder and questions and awe. 

You are an AMAZING big sister and the most patient, loving, fun, enthusiastic playmate and helper. Every morning you run looking for your baby brother to give kisses, snuggle him close, give zurbits or "walk" him around the house changing "one, two, one, two, one two!" Evan absolutely adores you and no one can light up his face and body like the sight of your smile.

Last week you accompanied Sam into preschool, eager to see his new classroom and taking on the role of "student" as he showed you around, "teaching" you along the way. It was a sweet role reversal and I could tell just how much it meant to him that you would take the time to see all his favorite spots.

You're a late bird this year, which means we get a lovely little date two mornings a week. Today you decided on a HUGE maple bar at the donut shop. Your pink smile perfectly matched your sweatshirt as I snapped the photo and tucked the memory away in my mind. Even though it means more driving around in the morning, it's a treat to get this precious 1:1 time with you and I know even just twenty minutes together is good for your heart, too.

It's hard to believe you're a first grader, but at the same time you are so responsible and poised that you often seem older. You have remarkable emotional sensitivity and relational capacity.

On your first day of school, you triumphantly jumped in the car and deemed it, "the best day EVER!"

Of course, you are six. So there's bound to be some times where you act your age. Like throwing colossal tantrums about small things. And six year-old tantrums just aren't pretty.

One day you shared a funny story from school in which you shushed someone in line as your class was walking through the quiet zone. After you asked your classmate to stop talking, you laughed in spite of yourself because you had, in fact, been talking in the quiet zone. We giggled and giggled about that one.

In Hawaii it was fun to see you confident and carefree, excited to try new things without last Summer's trepidation. You rode on the boogie board, snorkeled in deep water, dove under big waves, and had a great time doing it all. By the end of vacation you were catching small rides on the boogie board by yourself and offering to teach Sam to do the same.

Right now you are still saying that you want to be a preacher/Mama when you grow up. But I can just as easily see you as a first grade teacher, adventure guide, occupational therapist, or lawyer. The world is your oyster, Maddie, just waiting for you to discover all there is to be seen. Thanks for letting me tag along on this amazing ride.



Saturday, September 07, 2013

Sam: Four and a Half (54 Months)

Hey buddy,

Well, we made it halfway through year four! (Pat on the back). And it was a big month. We visited Hawaii. You started your third year of preschool. You visited family in Wisconsin. And you handled it all with your typical Sam grace. You continue to crack us up with your funny faces, astound us with your detailed drawings, and drive us crazy with your stubbornness. 

In Hawaii we were able to sneak away for a couple "dates," one night we watched the sunset together in Waikiki:

At another point, we searched for the perfect souvenir. We passed lots of stores and many stands before you finally settled on the "perfect" drum. It was half the price but double the fun. It continues to bring us joy as you don your tie-dye shirt, camo shorts, and lead us in drum circles and chants. :)

You are in this great stage where you say, "Mom, mom, take a picture of this!!" and then make funny faces and pose. I pretty much love it (other than finding 100 pics of the same face you've taken of yourself with the flip cam). You love to make forts and hideouts and secret spaces and offices out of rocks and sticks and things around the house. I find little stashes of Sam supplies all over the place: forgotten apples and glasses of water, piles of sticks or rocks, backpacks filled with tools and hinges and coins and rope. I wish I could get in your brain sometimes to figure out the use for each little item.

You continue to be my snuggle bug. You live for nighttime cuddles. There are still several nights a week that you find your way into our room in the early morning, make a little "snuggle nest" on the floor, and wake up with us when the light enters the room. Sometimes I don't even hear you come in, but find you when I swing my feet over the edge of the bed. Thankfully you sleep through baby cries and even the occasional foot stepping on your sleeping body!

This month you created the most intricate drawing of a plumbing system. There was a toilet and then three pages of piping and a long, complicated explanation of where the pee pees and poo poos go after we flush them away. Your Boppa was very much impressed and might just be so proud as to hang the drawings in his office (being a waste water treatment civil engineer, and all).

We are so thankful for you, your kind and sensitive heart, your hilarious sense of humor, your endless energy, your creative brain, and all your hugs and kisses. Thanks for being our big buddy, for making us laugh and for reminding us to slow down and take time for cuddles. For as long as you will ask, I will happily end my day with you. Love you bud.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Back to School 2013

 It's that time of year: back to school! A time of fun, anticipation, a few tears, and lots of transitions!

First, a look back through the years (cue tears):

And here's our beautiful, smart, witty, lovely first grader:

Walking through the parking lot with Daddy:

Outside Room 9:

After school was out, she declared it "the best day EVER!!!!!" We are SO PROUD of our first grader! Love you Maddie girl!