Sunday, January 29, 2012

Weathering the Winter

It's the last day of January.  Our days are somewhat chilly and dry, which doesn't help my little girl's hair at all.

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Without putting any effort into math, I'm going to guess we're about halfway through winter.  And it hasn't been too bad.  But that's also because the weather has been rather mild.  Or perhaps fickle is the better word.  One day I'm dressing Jack in his snow clothes ...

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... and the next we're playing pirate ship off our imaginary tropical island in the backyard.

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We try to get outside any day that's "not cold."  Jack and Jude can work off some energy...

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Julia gets a change of scenery ...

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And I don't have to come up with things to do, because it's all right there.

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We can stay out there a long time, because apparently we don't even need to come in for potty breaks anymore.

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Why yes, that underwear is inside-out.

Please don't think the above incident was my idea.  I was busy taking pictures of Jude, looked up for a moment and saw that in my lens.  On one hand, we're very happy that Jack has taken potty intiative on his own lately, (if it wasn't for his terrible aim I'd hardly know he even goes to the bathroom!).  But seriously, who taught him this?? Someone must have told him it's okay to pee behind, er in front of, trees!  I blame it on a cousin.

But sometimes being outside isn't an option, and we have to find other ways to get through these winter days.  Of course, there's always the old standby - puzzles. 

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Jack is still our crazy puzzle boy. In fact, our cupboard is overflowing with new puzzles - bigger, trickier, smaller-piece-ier ... he's all over those bad boys. He usually insists on having "a little help", but when it's finished he's more than willling to take all the credit.


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He's starting to get to the age where we can play games too.  "Memory" is a favorite.  Although, we have to play with all the cards facing up.  And he also likes to pick my matches for me and yell "I fine it for you!"  So it's hardly a competition.  "Bingo" is another favorite.  And, since this is more of a "chance" game than a "skill" one, he's actually beaten me every time. 

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Sometimes I try to get all educational with my kids and bust out the preschool workbook I picked up at Wal-Mart ages ago, or my own homemade creations from numerous blogs for toddler activities.  Jack's all-time favorite of these are the tracing sheets.  Sooo simple to make - just make some shapes with a dashed line, print it off and laminate it.  (Okay, so it might be a little hard if you don't have a laminator.  I picked mine up from Amazon a few months ago and LOVE it.  The price really seems to fluctuate on this thing so if you're not in a hurry wait for a better deal.)

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Okay, so he doesn't quite grasp the whole "trace" concept yet...

The boys are both very in to blocks, legos and towers latey.  It's just hard to build something before they immediately start tearing it down.  I've also realized that often my kids won't play with a toy because they don't know how.  They never play with the blocks on their own.  But it's their most requested activity when I'm available to join them.  Same thing with our train set. 

As much as I despise the Thomas show (um, boring!), I love this wooden train set.  I'll admit it, I enjoy setting up the rails and town and that sort of thing.  Once it's all set up I'm done though, the fun is over.  But that works out for the boys because they much prefer actually playing with the train than putting all the pieces together.

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But I can't always be available to entertain my kids and be tower and train track repair woman.  Sometimes my kids need a little nudging to do things on their own.  Jude for instance.  In the mornings, he has roomtime where he plays by himself in his room.  And every morning he throws a fit when I put him in his room and shut the door (the boys have a dutch door, it's perfect!).  But the moment I walk away he stops crying, picks himself up off the floor, and starts playing quietly.   For an HOUR!  Jack's in school, Julia's down for Nap #1, and Jude is safe and secure for an entire hour.  (This is how I get things done people!)  We have a play kichen in the boys' room with pots, pans, food and a grocery cart.  Jude will not play with this at any given moment in the day.  But if you shut him in his room he goes to town making imaginary feasts.  And then after a while he'll stop and go find some books to read.  It's so good for him to get some alone time.  See, Mama knows best, even if he disagrees with me for 5 minutes every time.

Unfortunately, it's on rare occasion that I can leave both boys alone together.  At least, not without something or someone getting broken.  So together times are usually heavily moderated by mom (or dad when he's home but sometimes it's hard to moderate when you're the one wrestling on the floor ...).  Play-doh is perfect for both boys, although Jude tends to eat it more than play with it.  I just wish it wasn't so messy.  And it's a nice reminder that, despite having 3 small children, I still tend to hold on to my particular/organizational habits because it drives me CRAZY when the Play-doh colors get mixed together.  Ew, just typing that makes me shudder.

So this one time, when Play-doh was getting old and I needed something else to occupy my children until naptime, I decided paint sounded like a good idea.  Oh silly me, what was I thinking?  Because paint and toddlers is usually NEVER a good idea.  Although I will say the boys totally enjoyed it.  And thankfully it was washable.  As soon as they were done I locked the paint away and prayed that they would forget and never ask for it again ... at least not for a while.  It wouldn't matter anyway because the only color we have now is brown.


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Note: These pictures were different days, same shirt. I definitely can't do all this in one day!
 Of course, after fun things like painting, Play-doh, playing outside, helping Mama in the kitchen, "sorting" beans (all over the house), or just plain eating lunch ... a bath is in order.  Usually I try to save "Tubby Time" for the evenings when Jon is home.  But lately we've found them a nice way to break up the day.  "Tubby Time" is touch-and-go though.  Both boys need to be having a "good day" for this to happen.  Otherwise one starts splashing, and then the other joins in and between the two of them they have enough guts, and stamina, to outsplash Mom's commands and the whole event goes downhill. 
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But when they're good, they can play nicely in there for an hour.  And I can do fun things like fold laundry.  Jude likes "Tubby Time" because of the "open bar" and unlimited beverages... *shudders again*

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You may be wondering where the Little Miss is in all this activity-talk.  Well, she's either sleeping, or eating, or sitting quietly and taking it all in.  Because she's perfect.  Really.  This is a totally different baby than just a few weeks ago.  She is just the most content, pleasant, sweetest little thing I've ever laid eyes on.  She doesn't need me to entertain her, she's got two brothers that do enough of that on their own.  But we both appreciate our mommy/daughter quiet time when we get the wild things down for a nap in the afternoon. 

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A cup of tea, a Luna bar, and an hour or two of peace and quiet.  That's how I get through the winter day!

What about you?  What tricks do you keep up your sleeve to endure these long hours in-doors?  I'd love to hear your ideas because there's still a good bit of winter to get through and so far not much snow to keep it interesting!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Let me count the ways ...

Recently this article was floating around Facebook.  The title, "Don't Carpe Diem" caught my attention, because I'm a big fan of carpe-ing the diems and I was shocked someone would suggest otherwise. So I started reading and found myself nodding and laughing and sighing ... It's a good article, read it.

Her premise: You don't have to cherish every little moment.  You don't have to enjoy every single minute of motherhood.  Whoa. I'm so glad someone admitted that.  Because, I'll be honest, there are some times when I'm blogging or recording memories of my kids and I stop and wonder, "Do I really want to relive this experience 20 years from now?  Is this something I really want to remind myself of in future? 

Sorry Jude, but the poopy diaper that followed your blueberry binge, not gonna muse over that one when you go away to college and I'm feeling sentimental.  And Jack, when you dipped your head in the toilet this week?  Yeah, no need to repeat that event.  And Julia too, as much as I love having fallen asleep all those times while still holding you in your favorite position ... well I'm not sitting here wishing you'd revert back to those days.  As Dorothy Parker once said (and as Melton quoted in her article), "I hate writing, I love having written.”

Well, I love having parenthood. 

I also love Melton's distinction of time:
"There are two different types of time. Chronos time is what we live in. It's regular time, it's one minute at a time, it's staring down the clock till bedtime time, it's ten excruciating minutes in the Target line time, it's four screaming minutes in time out time, it's two hours till daddy gets home time. Chronos is the hard, slow passing time we parents often live in.


Then there's Kairos time. Kairos is God's time. It's time outside of time. It's metaphysical time. It's those magical moments in which time stands still. I have a few of those moments each day. And I cherish them."

And so it got me thinking.  What are those special moments with my kids where time stands still?   What are those instances that will live on in my heart forever?  What are those little things that, 20 years from now, will have me saying, "I've so enjoyed being a parent!"  Little things like ...

When Jack bursts out in hearty laughter.  His deep, real laugh.  Whenever it happens Jon and I give each other the "He's so awesome, I can't believe he's ours" look.

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Jude's happy dance.  Part Irish jig, part tap dance.  It still amazes me that the littlest things can make someone so happy.  And I love that his happiness goes all the way down to his toes.

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Watching Julia sleep.  Her arms curled up around her ears, her lips utterly relaxed, her breath coming out in tiny, little puffs.  She's the perfect stress reliever.

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When Jack wakes up from his nap and needs a good, long snuggle to keep him going.  My amazing firstborn, you'll never be too big for Mama to hold.

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When Jude stares off into the distance, his eyes bluer than the sky on a crisp, cold winter's day.  I'm dying to know what he's thinking, what's running through that little mind.  I'm sure we'll see his ideas played out in the future, but for now I just love watching them take root behind his lashes.
 
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When Julia clings to my shirt.  Her hands and finger are so tiny, and yet she manages to wrap them around and hang on for dear life.  I'm so flawed, so human, and yet she trusts me implicitly.

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When my kids play together.  When Jack retieves a toy for "Little Buddy."  When Jude climbs up next to his big brother on the couch. 

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When both boys smother their baby sister with kisses.  I love having front row seats to the development of my favorite "best friendship."

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I could go on, but if I leave my children unattended for too long they'll go on to do those other things, the ones that I don't plan on remembering.  But the best part is, we're only at the beginning of this venture.  I'm sure there are many, many more kairos moments to come.  And I'll remember to count them.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Jack- and Jude- isms

We've got two talkers in the house now, so twice the chatter.  And twice the entertainment.

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Someone was just told he had to share.

Jackisms
"Mommy, you're a princess.  You go on a date.  I'm the baby."  He says this whenever he's looking at one of our wedding pictures.  I get the princess part.  But I don't know how he knows what a date is (Jon and I haven't been on in almost a year!)  and the baby thing makes me wonder just how much he knows about love and dates.  What are they teaching my kid in school?!

"Four more minutes."  Apparently he's teaching himself time lately.  He's a bit stuck on the four minute thing though.  It's his response to everything.  "Jack, do you need to go potty?" "Yeah, four more minutes!" "Jack, time for dinner." "Okay, four more minutes!"  He seems to have only one other concept of time, and that is -

"No, not today. Tomorrow." As in, "Jack, let's get ready for school." "No, not today, tomorrow." "Jack, are excited for church?" "No, not today, tomorrow." "Jack, it's time for a nap." "No, not today, tomorrow."  Sorry buddy, it just doesn't work like that.

"I've got monsters in my ears." He's really in to cleaning out his ears lately.  Good thing they usually need it.  This is his way of requesting an ear cleaning since he's not allowed to do it by himself.

"Julia has claws." And this is his way of requesting that Julia get her fingernails cut. 

"Mommy, I have lion hair.  I get a haircut.  Now I have tiger hair." Yes, yes you do.  Exhibit A.

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"The pee pees, they're coming!  The pee pees are coming." I just love the way he personifies his urine.

"They have friends.  The pee pees want to play with their friends." If only we could all aspire to be as friendly and caring as our pee-pee.

"I have a green dream." Every once in a while Jack will wake up in the night crying.  If you ask him if he had a bad dream he usually responds with, "Yeah, I have a grean dream."  He often brings it up the next day too.  I have no idea where this comes from.

"Thank you Mommy ... that's good manners!" I don't even get a chance to commend him on his good manners anymore, he takes care of that himself now.

"I sorry Mama, I so sorry." This is a tough one.  He was wrong, he knows he was wrong, and he knows he's about to get in trouble.  So he quickly prefaces with this line and then I'm not sure how to respond.  "Yes, I know you're sorry.  But sorry means you won't do it again.  And you said you were sorry the last time you your unraveled all the dental floss, or dumped out all the soap, or dipped your cup in the toilet and offered it to your brother..."

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Judisms
Hi language has exploded these past few months.  He says a lot of things right now, so they're not even funny. :(  But his little voice, oh how I wish I could bottle it up and save it for all eternity!!
"I no-know." = I don't know (usually includes palms lifted and a shrug.)

"Hotttt!" = he points to anything and everything that is hot and lets us know, several times a day

'Nack = snack, we hear this often.  For being so skinny, the dude's a bottomless pit!

"Teat" = treat

"wah-dee" = water, always before bedtime.  Because every kid knows the best way to stall going to bed is to feign insatiable thirst

"doos" = juice

"huh-kay" = okay, i.e. sure mom, whatever you say

"Daddy, where go?" "Daddy, werr." = Where did Daddy go?  Daddy went to work!

"Dack" = Jack

"Due" = Jude (he's finally just started saying his name, but not very often)

"Yaya" = Julia

"chuck" = truck

"choo-choo" = train

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Julia
We can't leave the newbie out.  I've been trying for weeks to get her little squeals and peals on video.  But she always goes radio silent when she sees me and the camera.  I finally figured out I could catch her if she didn't see me.  Thus the shot of my daughter's feet and bottom ... and my messy, unmade bed.



Seriously, what am I going to do when my kids grow up and know how to pronounce words correctly?  And can hold intelligent conversations?  And get all smarter than me?  I'll have to find something new to laugh at.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sharin' Cousins

Jon's sister, her husband and their two kids came to visit this weekend.  They just recently moved back to the east coast and we're enjoying actually getting some face-time with them.  Jack was especially excited about spending a few days with his cousins Aviel and Gabe.  So excited that he was jumping around on the couch cushions for 10 minutes trying to watch for their car to pull up.  The anticipation continued to mount as he showed them around the house, his room and his toys.  And then that's where it stopped.

See Gabe and Jack are a little over a year apart and not so keen on cooperative play.  Or sharing.  So we adults played referee most of the weekend. 

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I've been trying to think of ways to help Jack understand why some of the things he does are "wrong."  So this weekend I tried to focus on his heart.  It didn't work.
"Jack, sharing shows love.  It's nice to share with your cousins."
"No!  No sharing with cousins."

"Jack, sharing comes from a kind, clean heart.  When you don't share it makes your heart dirty... Open your mouth and let me see what your heart looks like."
"No. No clean heart!"

Forget that strategy.  We're going back to "Share with your friends ... or don't share, and sit in your room by yourself."

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We also found that just putting on a movie helped alleviate the sharing situation, "Despicable Me" in this case.  Because that's the movie that Jack has requested on a daily basis since Christmas.  It's getting really old ... for everyone but him.  He runs out the house pointing at people saying, "Freeze ray!  Freeze ray!"  Or he finds the gray, rubbery middle of an old tennis ball, raises it in the air and yells, "I've got ... the mooooon!"

So while we adults weren't preoccupied with dissolving toddler tantrums, we played games, had a movie night and cheered for our football teams.  Us "girls" even got an afternoon of shopping in.  And that's where the trouble started.

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Happy AND healthy!
Poor Jon.  He doesn't volunteer to cover for me for long periods of time very often, and when he does things tend to go horribly wrong.  So when he called to see if we were on our way home yet I figured something had gone awry.  Apparently Jude woke up from his nap crying, and when Jon went to get him he was covered in vomit.  As well as his clothes, hair, bed, blankets...  Pleh.  We had thought that maybe it was the result of getting shot in the face with a few squirts of "Shout!" that Jack had retrieved after opening the washing machine door and climbing up onto the detergent shelf.  But apparently it was some sort of stomach bug because before long Jack was suffering the same ill-effects. 

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He sticks even closer to mom when he's not feeling so well.

We knew things were going downhill when we got buzzed out of church by Jack's Sunday School teachers because of his unbearable gas. :)  By the time we got home no one could bear to stand within a few feet of the poor guy.  He ended up with horrible diarrhea, that we're still dealing with today.  The night wasn't any better.  Jon and I tag-teamed cleaning up Jude's barf and changing out his pajamas and sheets throughout the night.  I was touched when my man got up with the boys in the morning and let me sleep in ... until I heard him yelling for me a few minutes later.  Both boys had "blow outs" and while he was attempting to clean up Jude, Jack threw up all over the bathroom.  My extra 5 minutes in bed ended all too quickly.

After almost 6 years of marriage, my husband and I are still learning new things about each other.  For instance, this weekend we learned that he'd rather clean up poop, and I'd rather clean up vomit.  So we've made a good team for the past 3 days.  I'm just thankful he had an extra day off work this week so I wasn't entirely on my own!  There's nothing quite like being stuck on a work call when your 3-year old has a potty emergency!

And so that's how it goes with kids.  When one's sick, the rest are bound to follow.  What a way to wrap-up the long weekend.  It's funny, I can't for the life of me figure out how to get Jack to share his toys.  But he seems to have no problem sharing his germs.  Hmmm maybe I can work this into a new object lesson ...

Monday, January 9, 2012

1, 2, 3

1.) Jack.  He's getting so grown-up.  He has full conversations, with observations, questions and rebuttals.  A lot of rebuttals.  We're trying to work on being "respectful" and not "talking back."  But have you ever tried to explain these terms to a 3 year old? 
"Jack stop, you're being disrespectful."
"I not being disspeckle."
"Please don't talk back."
"I not, Mom.  I not talk back."
We're really starting to delve into the whole character education thing.  And I feel like I'm in way over my head! 

But we are getting much, much better with sharing.  He shares all the time, and usually lets me know it.  Some time he'll run all the way up the stairs, through three rooms, just to tell me, "I sharing Mama, I share with Jude."  He's constantly sharing toys with Julia, who could care less unless he sticks them on her face.  And while he still steals toys from Jude on a reguar basis, he usually follows it up with a replacement.  I suppose that doesn't make the situation any better.  But Jude doesn't seem to mind.  And surprisingly he's very good at sharing food.  It's actually almost helpful at this point - I give him the grapes, ask him to divvy them up for he and Jude, and then he's occupied while I get the rest of lunch ready.

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We had some snow flurries this week!

I just realized that it was a year ago next week that we started potty-training Jack.  Ugh, what a process.  For the most part, he's doing well.  It certainly helps that he's able to pull his pants up and down on his own now, especially since he almost always decides to use the bathroom when I'm nursing the baby.  And just in case you are wondering, yes, I can feed a baby and button a 3-year old's jeans at the same time.  Sometimes he gets a little carried away, he must be getting more and more confident in his "abilities."  Just tonight, I caught him attempting to pee into the cup that he usually gets his nightly drink of water from.  Ummm, what are you thinking kid?!  Unfortunately, we're not quite out of diapers yet.  He still needs one at night and when he's napping.  And I'm not sure how to fix that.  So I guess, for now, I technically still have 3 in diapers.  Bummer.

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Even I concede, he definitely needs a haircut.

Jack moved up a class in preschool after Christmas.  He's now in the 3-year old class, which I think is a better fit for him.  He's still very excited about school and all the new things he's learning.  He walks around the house singing the alphabet and counting nothing in particular.  And his current favorite discussion point is size.  As in, "Mom, you big, I little."  "Mom, you have big teeth.  Jude has little teeth."  "Mom, you reach the truck?  You have big arms.  My arms are too little." 

We're also learning how capable he is of holding a grudge, or at least remembering an offense.  His new teacher gave him a "red light" on Friday for not being a good listener, and he had to go in time-out.  Ever since then, any time you mention anything about school, he just brings up his time-out, and that Miss Bonnie didn't give him a treat.  We had something similar happen last month so I'm trying to lessen the blow by explaining that he wasn't a good listener on Friday, but that he was a good listener today.  And that Miss Bonnie still likes you and thinks you're fun and she said how good you did today, etc.  And still, all he talks about is the one day he got a time-out.  Well, hopefully it won't happen again.

I'm celebrating my greatest Jack-victory this week - naps.  Finally, I've got him back to consistently taking a nap in the afternoon.  It took a few adjustments, a little tweaking and a lot of persistence, but (after several months of trouble) we're finally back on track.  I was congratulating myself on the fruits of my labor yesterday when I told my mom the good news.  "Oh, I'm so glad," she said, "Your dad and I were just praying this week that Jack would start to take naps again."  ... Soooo, maybe it wasn't me after all.  In the end, it doesn't matter.  Thank you Lord that my son regularly takes a nap, along with my other two kids, and I get some quiet time in the afternoon!  Now why didn't I think to pray for naps 4 months ago??

2.)  Jude.  Or as Jack likes to say: Jude-buddy, Little Buddy, Judey, and Juden (I have no idea why he calls him Juden).  Of course, just when I feel that my oldest is getting ever-so-slightly easier, my middle child enters the difficult age.  Really, 18 months to 3 years must just be the worst in my experience.  Methinks he doth protest too much.  Jon does an excellent impression of Jude's growling "Noooo!" and his piercing "Heyyyy!" both which he uses when things don't go his way - which is all the time.  Jude hates taking Jack to preschool in the morning.  He's always excited when it's time to go pick him up, but the early morning drop-off is the pits.  And he fights me all the way. First we have to run circles around the house just to get his coat on.  Then I have to practically drag him out to the car.  And then I have to use my knee to hold him down so I can buckle his seatbelt.  Some mornings I just want to pull Jack out of school simply because Jude makes it so difficult. 

He also fights his bib, getting his teeth brushed, having his diaper changed and being moved off the chair/couch/anywhere he shouldn't be.  I've talked about it before but Jude LOVES the kitchen.  He got his own little kiddie kitchen for Christmas but it doesn't hold a candle to the real thing.  He's also figured out how to push a chair from the dining room, across the floor and up to the counter.  On Sunday, he did this at least 10 times.  Each time Jon and I set him back down and moved the chair back to the table.  And each time he did it again.  It wouldn't be so bad if he didn't go digging in the knife drawer, shoving things in the toaster and attempting to turn on the stove.  I do love that he's so interested in what's going on though!

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He's quite the observer.  Jon built a fire pit in our yard this weekend while the boys were playing outside.  Jack roamed the yard, playing on his "pirate ship" and looking for treasures in the "beaver dam."  Meanwhile, Jude stuck right by his dad and watched his every move.  Unfortunately, he's now fascinated with fire.  Later in the day, Jon went out to run some errands, and in the time it took me to use the bathroom Jude had snuck out the back door and walked all the way down to the fire pit in his socks.  I found him there staring at the fire saying, "Hot! Hot!" 
Aside from that escapade, he generally likes to stick close to one of us.  Most mornings find Jude sitting right next to me at the table, playing with his shape-sorter or a container of pom-poms while I work on emails.  And when I'm nursing Julia he's always right by my side, usually giving her kisses or attempting to touch her eye. 

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But my favorite part about Jude right now is his cute little voice.  He's saying so many words, I didn't even get a chance to keep track of his first few attempts.  But I like his jabber even more than his words.  He talks so fast, and thinks he's really saying something meaningful even though it usually sounds like "sksh, sksh, sksh", I have to laugh. 



I suppose I have a love-hate relationship with the 18 month stage. The kisses and the talking really make it all worth it.
3.) Julia.  There's not much new to say since my last post.  Just, I love having a girl.  More than I thought I would.  I always figured I was more of a boy mama.  And when we found out we would be having 3 babies in 3 years I assumed 3 boys would be the most convenient way to go.  But I'm so glad we had a girl.  She's just so different.  Everything she does is sweeter. 

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I've been trying so hard to get a video of her cooing and giggling, but so far no success.  So for now, just pictures.  And there's not a lot of variety with babies. 

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And that's the latest on our three. They change so much and so often, it's impossible to keep up.  And just when you've finally figured out one thing they're off to the next.  But it certainly keeps life interesting... and gives us plenty to talk about!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A fresh, clean, new year

New Year's is quickly becoming my favorite holiday.  It's so fresh and clean, with so much promise in front of it.  I was so eager to usher it in that I was actually awake when the clock struck midnight.  Okay, so maybe it was due to one of my offspring waking up and not my eagerness, but hey, that's an improvement over last year!

I think it's safe to say our little family is on the upswing after last week's colds and coughs.  We had a few rough days, and a couple of long nights with a feverish Jude smooshed in between us.  Well, he wasn't smooshed.  For being so little, it's amazing how much space Jude can take up when he's sleeping.  He also still likes to think that he can sleep on top of me.  When he realized it wasn't really comfortable for either of us he opted to just lay his head on my chest and curl his little legs beneath him.  A few hours later his fever broke and he decided to let me know by kissing me on the forehead.  Boys. They sure do love their mamas!

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And girls... Julia's made of tough stuff.   She still has a nasty cough, enough to make me cringe when she goes into a fit.  But the little sweetie continues to sleep all night.  And coo all day.

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And Jack is much improved.  He had to take some antibiotics for the pneumonia but he appears to be fully-recovered and back to his Jack-like ways!

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I've decided, the only thing worse than being sick yourself is having a sick kid.  And the only thing worse than having a sick kid is being sick yourself AND having a sick kid, or three sick kids. So as excited as I was to throw open the shades on this new year, all this coughing and snotting has set things back a bit.  Thankfully, the only person in the family who wasn't sick had a long weekend.  There's something about having your husband home that makes parenting so much more enjoyable.  And we did have a wonderful weekend, with much accomplished around the house.  Namely, removing the Christmas decorations.  It seemed to go so fast this year, it felt like we barely had the tree up.  But now it's all put away and the house is ... well, sparse.

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I suppose it goes with the whole "newness" theme.  It was a little too bland for me, and the current cold snap we're in has me thinking of snow.  So we hung paper snowflakes on the window.  And now I'm REALLY wishing for snow!

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I actually laminated these bad boys so hopefully they won't get "lost" like all thes ones I made over the past few years.  And in case you're wondering when I had time to cut these all out, well Marmie was a huge help!

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The only trouble with the cold weather is that it keeps us inside.  Well, it would, if Jack didn't have preschool.  So that's three days a week when I'm forced to heat up the car, bundle up the little ones and venture down the road.  I suppose it's good for us all to get a little fresh air, even if it takes a good hour to get us to that point!

And being stuck in the house gives us plenty of time to think and plan and do.  I've got a lot of great ideas for 2012.  I'm sure some of them will never come to fruition, but it makes me excited just to think about them.  The fresh, clean, new year seems to stretch on and on forever.  But I'm wiser now and realize just how fast the time goes. Here's to a new year and filling the next 360 days with as much happiness as possible!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

End of the 4th Trimester

Our littlest love turned 3 months today.  Shocking, I know.  The newborn stage is so fleeting...

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Three months also marks the end of the "fourth trimester."  As a mom the third time around, I believe in this concept even more.  Especially because it is currently 8pm and my sweet daughter is sleeping soundly in her crib.  Or the fact that she took all her naps in her own bed today.  Or that she's been getting better and better at going to sleep all by herself, without me trying to all my tricks.  It seems like in the past two weeks, despite the craziness that is Christmas and all the festivities that surround it, and despite the fact that she too is suffering from a terrible cold and cough, Baby Girl has been doing exceptionally well.

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Jack excitedly came to tell me that he was sharing Monkey and Mr. Chimp with Julia.  You can see how thrilled she is.

We seem to be getting over the gas issues too.  We did have a few bad episodes over Christmas but that probably had more to do with my holiday eating habits than any problem on her end.  And it's so much more relaxing.  She's content, I'm content, the house is slightly more peaceful (well, as peaceful as it gets with two old brothers).  And I feel like I'm starting to get my life back.  I watched a few movies this weekend, worked on a project and am reading a book.  I don't mean to sound self-centered but sometimes I don't think we give enough credit to "me time."  It's amazing how much better I feel when I actually get a few hours a week to focus on something non- children, work, chore, etc. - related.  Something just for me.  And heaven knows we've been lacking in that area for the past 3 months.

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Julia's preparing for life with two older brothers ("rattle" compliments of Uncle Jared).

So the fourth trimester has ended.  If she's anything like her brothers I'm gearing up for one heck of a fifth month.  Which is why I'm jumping into projects, books and movies now while I have the chance.  She is a lot like her brothers.  Certain facial expressions will remind me of Jude.  She's so stinkin' easy to nurse, like Jude.  But she's very sensitive to overstimulation, like Jack.  (We had a few screaming fits/nursing strikes over Christmas vacation after some very long days).  And most people say she looks more like Jack.  But she also has some quirks of her own.  Unlike her brothers, she has yet to take a binky.  And I generally don't even try anymore because I've seen how much work it is to break the habit later! 

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Also, she insists on being held upright (unless she's eating).  The boys were always content in the cradle hold where I'd sway them to sleep.  Not this one.  She likes to be upright, front and center.  She sprawls over my chest with her bottom resting on my arm.  One hand clutching my shirt and the other wrapped around my arm.  And then she nuzzles into my shoulder and breathes those sweet little baby puffs on my neck.  And heaven forbid you try to sit down.  My legs get so tired with this baby.  Our wonderful little glider hardly gets used these days.  And can I just say how sqeaky our nursery floor is?  I never noticed it until we had a baby, that must be held standing, and walking, and pacing.  And I can't seem to find a few quiet boards to tiptoe on.

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The boys shower her with kisses ... and germs, unfortunately.

But for the most part, those days are over now.  She's already discovering new things she can do without me, even if they are as simple as going to sleep or calming herself down.  She's already branching out on her own, gaining her own confidence.  And she's already making her place in this crazy little family.  I just wish I had more time to take her in, and all her beauty and grace, before she grows up too much and hardly needs me at all.  I guess, while good, the end of the fourth trimester can be tough on mamas as well.
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