Friday, January 27, 2012

What we did in January

The kids rarely give me time to blog during the times of day when I am inspired to do so, and at this rate I'll barely have anything to look back on when I want to remember all we did during this busy time. I'm going to try to start doing a post at the end of each month with pictures of some things we did, and a few words to explain. Here's what we did in January.

1/2: Went to Build-a-Bear for Cousin Michael's third birthday. Suzi and Ivey both made dogs. Ivey picked out a beautiful Esmeralda costume for hers. And then named it Bullseye.

Suzi named hers Spot, even though it didn't actually have a spot.

Ivey loved the pretend bath station best, mesmerized by the way air came out when you pushed the pedal. She finally pulled up a seat to get comfortable and stay a while. Eventually we had to pry her off of it because a line was forming behind her.

1/7: The weather was so freakishly warm we decided to take the kids to the zoo. The animals were so active! That elephant in the background pooped right in front of us and then another elephant ate it, as a horrified, gagging bunch of visitors looked on. So educational!

A rattlesnake in the reptile house slithered up to look at Ivey through the glass. She stared into his beady eyes. It was eerie. Then she burst into tears and we moved on to the next area. We visited the orangutans and the baby looked at us through the glass, too. Then the mama took the baby over under their shelter and they all looked at us like dumb humans don't even know to go in from a shower of rain. The monkeys screeched and fought, and then when the rain stopped and we got to play on the playground, the girls pretended to be monkeys too.

1/8: We finally started our homemade vanilla extract, after having the beans for weeks. It is so simple, just drop some split-open beans into a bottle of vodka and let steep for several weeks, shaking every few days. I can't wait for it to be ready to use.

1/10: It's been a slow month for crafts, after an almost-too-crafty December. But I did manage to get these arm warmers made for my mom, to match her pullover. I used the Katwise arm warmer tutorial, which you should definitely buy because it's great.

I spent a lot of time during this whole month reflecting on how wonderful our floor is compared to the carpet we used to have. It was an early Christmas present from my awesome in-laws.

Robert continued to eat lots of potatoes and Cheerios and some bananas. Bananas are his favorite thing to toss in the floor. At least half his potatoes end up smeared all over him, in his seat, and thrown in the floor too. But he does eat a fair amount of them, as evidenced by his diapers (yuck). Photo taken 1/10.

1/13: Suzi and Ivey watched The Nutcracker, which we DVR'd in December, and then performed their own unique rendition, which was pretty entertaining as well.

1/15: I made a toy pick-up sticker chart for the girls to help them get into the habit of cleaning. Not really my style, but I figured it was better than yelling at them. When the first row of stickers was complete, their reward was baking and decorating a cake. Mama and Daddy ate a lot of it too. Yum! The next reward is a special movie night with popcorn.

1/20: Robert figured out how to push up onto his knees! He now plays while sitting with his fat, adorable little feet sticking out from under his butt.

1/21: We have to bathe the boy a lot more now that he's in the habit of coating himself in sweet potatoes on a daily basis. He still hates it, screams, refuses to sit down in the water. But he is so cute and cuddly afterwards.

1/24: Allowing Ivey to feed the baby made such a mess, but it was totally worth it for the cuteness. Suzi fed him, too. She did a neater job.

Not pictured:

1/25: Zonker day. We spent about four hours at our favorite park letting the kids run out some energy and get some sunshine after several rainy days. Our friends Baby Adelaide and her dad came to play too! Then we went out to dinner with Daddy and bought Suzi some Beyblades and Ivey a Sing-a-ma-jig. A wonderful day and the kids slept great that night.

1/26: Casserole day. My mom and I went grocery shopping and then spent all day preparing a total of 12 casseroles (white chicken lasagna, pesto chicken penne, spaghetti bake, chicken pot pie). While the kids wore Grandpa out. Full freezers, tired mamas.

That's a little bit of our month so far! Now I'm off to spend some time with Ivey while the baby (hopefully) naps and Suzi plays at Grandma's house.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Bobber: Nine months old

Robert has changed a lot since my last post about him!

1) He's eating now. We usually give him YoBaby yogurt, applesauce, or sweet potatoes from Jordan's family's farm. He eats at least a half a container of yogurt in a sitting. He also eats Cheerios. I bought a container of puffs from Earth Fare, but he actually seems to prefer the (off-brand) Cheerios. Fine with me; they are cheaper anyway!

2) He still wins at hair, and we are still not cutting it. It's wavy and sticks up in the front. I love how even if you brush and slick it down, it pops back up. It reminds me of character out of a Dr. Seuss book.

3) Robert is not crawling yet, but he can scoot across the hard floor quite well. What he lacks in coordination he makes up in upper body strength--reaching and pulling himself along with his arms. He spends most of his play time on his belly, scooting around and looking at toys. If he sees someone or something he wants, you see that excited look in his eye and then hear slap-drag-slap-drag-slap-drag as he inches along the floor to get to it. He also loves to find small things in the floor to try to eat. He loves to sink his gums into a good book. One of his favorite hangouts is under his sisters' table because there tend to be crumbs there no matter how often we sweep. It drives me nuts. He gets plenty of floor time now, though. Just today he figured out how to pull up on a chair to his knees!

4) He still loves to cuddle, both with me in the rocking chair and in the Ergo with Daddy. Oh, and also in bed at night. It doesn't matter how asleep he is. He can tell you've put him down and will usually wake up crying if you do. Jordan and I take turns cuddling with him at night. He gets passed back and forth several times, since he still nurses regularly at night and I'm the only one who can do that. Sometimes I just want to sleep without him, but usually I don't really mind. I know I'm going to miss all these cuddles when they're gone!

5) Even though we tried putting him in the tub with his sisters to play and get washed, he continues to hate being in the water. Shower, sink, tub--one is as repulsive as the other to Robert. I feel so guilty washing him, but it has to be done occasionally! I'm too embarrassed to say how long we've let him go between baths.

6) Robert is still sporting a gums-only grin. People keep suggesting that he might be teething, but if he is he has yet to get a tooth to show for it. I love his toothless smile though! It's precious!

7) We took him to the doctor December 28 for a checkup, and while he is doing great, he is a lightweight. He has fallen off the chart a bit since we took him at a few weeks old, but the doctor wasn't that worried. He told us to encourage more solids, and we are (see #1). The same thing happened with Suzi at this age.

8) I can't remember exactly when it was, but Robert learned to say "Mama" at least a month ago and is now saying "Dada" too. He currently says "Dada" more often, but when he is hungry or wants to cuddle and I don't pick him up fast enough, he calls for me. Mamama, uh Ma-mahhhh!

Cuddle King. Sweetest boy ever. I heart my Bobber!

Friday, January 6, 2012

How the New Year's Eve 5K went

A few minutes after finishing, just before midnight!

I ran the whole thing! My official time was 32:34, and I finished about in the middle of the pack. It was great--definitely the coolest way I've ever spent New Year's Eve! I'm so thankful for First Flight. The hard part now will be staying motivated and continuing to run. The next race is not for a long time, and First Flight isn't meeting for a few weeks. I am also getting tired of running around my hilly little neighborhood, and need to find a better place to go. I want Jordan to run with me, but Robert makes that hard. We might buy another jogging stroller when we get our tax refund. We had one and weren't using it so we sold it. Oops!

Blurry pic of me crossing the finish line

My mom and dad kept the girls for the night, but Jordan came with me and held the baby. He had a bad cold, too. Poor sweet Jordy.

And, I wasn't going to write about this, but... Have you ever been in a race and realized you were the pacesetter for someone else? A lot of the people who ran the Resolution Run didn't run the whole thing. 30+ minutes is a long time to run if you aren't used to it, so some people alternated running and walking. There was this one (really skinny, taller, younger) girl who was ahead of me, and about a mile in she started taking walking breaks. I was running at a pretty constant pace. Whenever I'd get past her, two seconds later she'd start running again and would get ahead of me. This happened at least five times. Finally I think she got ahead of me by a minute or two and I didn't see her again, which was fine. It happened to a lesser extent with a pair of runners who finished a couple of minutes after I did. Anyway, it sort of psyched me out during the race. I'm not sure why. I mean, I was trying to run my own race but they were distracting! Also, I may have done this same thing to someone else a couple of months ago in a longer walk/run and now I feel like a jerk. Is this a common thing? I might need horse blinders or hypnosis for next time.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Suzi: Little girl, big imagination

So here is the long-awaited Suzi post.

Oh, Suzi, my firstborn. If ever there were a lesson in learning to discover your child, and not try to mold them into a preconceived notion, Suzi is it. And I am so glad.

The day of our mid-pregnancy ultrasound, Jordan and I invited my parents along to find out if we were having a boy or a girl. When the announcement was made, I said "YYYYES!" I envisioned a future of teensy jewelry and little pink baby shoes and a lavender nursery with lots of pink stuff in it. I thought of all the girly stuff I liked as a child and dreamed of sharing it all with my daughter.

Her first Halloween we dressed her as a tiger, but I tied bows onto the ears so people would know she was a girl tiger. We dressed her in frilly dresses and put bows in her hair for a while. But soon she started to develop her own unique fashion sense. She wanted to wear pants, not skirts or dresses. Nothing too girly. Eventually she began requesting clothes that were boy-ish. She finds fault with so many girls' clothes, even the shirts and pants, that I sometimes just buy boy's stuff for her. This Halloween she asked me to make her a Musketeer costume.

While most little girls pretend to be the mommy or princess, Suzi is the daddy or the prince. She puts on a deep voice, brandishes a play sword and hums dramatic music as she rescues Ivey from a dragon. She watches Tangled and assigns Ivey the role of Rapunzel. Suzi is "Flem" Rider (Eugene). And the best part of all this is that she's a good actor. She commits. She took a drama class recently and I think she might grow into it and want to be in some plays when she's a bit older.

She makes herself costumes. Rain boots are a staple, whether she is playing Santa or a prince or several other things. She ties a scarf or playsilk around her neck and calls it her tie. Sometimes she wears long ties, and sometimes she prefers a bowtie. In fact, on my crafting to-do list is a set of bowties for Suzi. Her favorite plaything is the basket of dress-up clothes we keep in the bottom of our hall closet.

Suzi's other main interests are drawing and writing. I started her out on Oak Meadow's kindergarten curriculum. We did a letter a week with review weeks every three letters. The thing is, Suzi already knows most of the letters and is itching to spell words. My mom works with her when she's at her house, and Suzi will take off on her own, writing a bunch of letters and a few short words in her free time. After learning that tricky Z, she can write her name. Her other favorite words to write: Ivey, toy and "at" words. My mom made her a little book of words ending in "at." Once when we were in the dollar store she begged for a Toy Story word search book and we bought it for her, figuring she could at least color in it even though it was really for an older child. Instead, she took it and began copying the words out of it--long words--and then asked us what she had written. She loves to write the word sister. I think for her official kindergarten year of homeschooling I am going to use the Oak Meadow science, math, health, and other activities we haven't done yet and unschool/supplement if necessary for reading and writing. If we let her lead the way, we'll be fine.

Sympathy note for Ivey, who had bumped her nose on the stairs. Suzi asked us how to spell the words.

What perhaps stands out to me most about Suzi is her love for creating. She draws constantly, and if she sees me taking something out of a box, or throwing something away, she will ask if she can have the item being discarded. She dresses her stuffed animals and herself in scraps of wool left over from my sewing projects. She turns cardboard boxes into cars and all sorts of things. Every day at least once I hear, "can I have that (thing going in the trash/recycling)?" It can be my spaceship!" Or a car, or a present, or a bed for Shroom, which is another story. On Christmas Eve, all by herself, she drew everyone a doll or a toy soldier, folded them up and asked me for the materials to individually wrap them. She is so thoughtful and loves to bring joy to others with her art.

For Grandma - a toy soldier under a rainbow

The flip side? She has never gotten excited over being led through a specific craft project or helping in a prescribed manner in the kitchen. She'll do it, but she much prefers to do her own thing and that has taken some getting used to for me and, even more, for my mom. Who doesn't want their little granddaughter to don an apron and spend some quality time learning Grandma's favorite cookie recipe? It's okay, though. Her imagination, individuality and natural drive to create are going to take her places. With Suzi, my most important role is to protect and nurture these gifts. Doing a better job of that is one of my goals for the new year.

That curly little head is full of beautiful ideas just waiting to be born.