Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Trains

From when we first learned that we would be having a boy after already having a girl, I wondered how different he would be from his sister.  And there are definitely some things that seem to be fully BOY.  We were very intrigued by how drawn he has always been to trains.  The kid really, really, REALLY loves trains.

I think he first saw them at the library, where there are a couple of train tables set up.  It was really interesting to see how strongly he gravitated towards them.

Boys love trains, apparently.

So he was particularly delighted to find model trains running at a park in Albuquerque last fall...




He spent quite a bit of time running between those two switches and keeping the trains going on and on.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Halloween and Fall Photo Dump

Kendra is old enough now that she gets to pick her own Halloween costume (until I start doing family themed costumes--then she just gets to pick what color light saber she wants when she wears Jedi robes or what color her Star Fleet uniform is, etc).  She likes what she likes what she likes, and last fall we were very much in a Wreck-It Ralph phase.  So when I asked her what she wanted to be for Halloween, she immediately answered "a girl Fix-It Felix".

So this was my first foray into actually crafting a costume.






And who would Fix-It Felix Jr. be without Wreck-It Ralph?


Paxton had a cute little monster costume but stayed home with me to pass out treats because it was a cold and wet night and he had a cold.  And I did not get a picture of his adorableness.  I also made myself a maternity skeleton shirt as I was 4 months pregnant with Bridget at this point, but something about starting a pregnancy 40 pounds overweight did not make me inclined to pose for pictures throughout.  Call me crazy.  But there is this shot with the shirt visible in the background...


Though after Halloween, Elliot was plenty interested in the Fix-It Felix Jr. getup.

 
Many Saturdays, Grant takes Kendra out on little outings just to have some one-on-one time with her.  There is usually ice cream involved.  I couldn't decide which photo from this series best represented the experience, so I included them all.  Hey, it says "Photo Dump" right there in the title of this post.





There is something about watching a kid sink their face into food that really makes it look delicious...

On a trip to the craft store for supplies for the Halloween costumes, Elliot passed out in the cart.  It was somehow sad and adorable at the same time.


And while he has always been more of a climber than his big sister, during the Fall Elliot really started taking on new heights by making a habit out of climbing into Daddy's loft bed.

Isn't he helpful?  He noticed the fan was off, so he was spinning the blades himself.  That didn't make Mommy's heart stop or even skip a beat at all when she walked in and saw this.  Though there is a queen-sized bed right under him, so even if he would have fallen, he would have been just fine.  Daddy might even have been trying to teach him and his sister to jump down onto the bed from the loft.


And then there's Paxton.  Dear, sweet Paxton.  We joked around a lot when he was a baby that he was not impressed.  But we noticed that once he gained mobility, the whole world got much more interesting for him and he toddled into becoming an extremely fun little boy.








He is the last of our children to turn in for the night (actually sleep has always been an issue for this poor little guy--I'm a little worried that he will have sleeping issues for his whole life like his father) and one evening we turned around from watching a show to find him like this:



Just happily dangling his legs from his perch on top of the piano.  Not that Mommy's heart stopped a little at all that time, either.

He does something hilarious whenever I start the dishwasher.  He gets down on his belly right in front of it and carefully examines the source of the noise.  He's very curious about it.


He's just a pretty sweet little guy in general...


I already mentioned that I was well into my fourth pregnancy this past Fall.  I am very blessed in that my pregnancies are very easy...but that's "easy" in a relative way.  On the easy end of the spectrum is a more accurate way to describe it because even my "easy" pregnancies are consuming.  And this was my fourth pregnancy in five years, which meant I was growing a person while caring for three other small people.  Not to mention this pregnancy started nine months after the last one ended.  I was also over 30 when this one began and man did that make a difference...

The point is, I was just wiped out.  Like, all of the time.

Which means Grant couldn't resist taking this picture because it sums it up so well...


That's me.  Passed out cold, with a piece of bread I was offering to Paxton in small bits in my hand.

I was really, really tired this Fall.

But I have all these really amazing kids to show for it, so it was totally worth it.

If the mountain can't come to Mohammad...

We currently live in a place that's fairly difficult to access.  There is a small airport in town, but it can be difficult to find a decently-priced flight and they always involve layovers.  Many people who visit this town end up flying out of Pittsburgh or Baltimore or one of the other major airports 3-4 hours away.  It super bums me out sometimes because I now have 4 children and I've never taken them home...there are dozens of people who have never met any of them and I miss them terribly.

And if the mountain can't come to Mohammad, then Mohammad has to come to the mountain.

Unfortunately, not all of my loved ones are able to come and visit, but back in October, my Mom made it out. Grant was out away for a conference and we didn't do much besides just hang out at home, but we had some fun.




Mom has been writing letters to Kendra since last summer, and it is a highlight of her week to get mail from Grandma O'Brien, but it is super duper extra special when she comes to visit.  :)

Monday, July 7, 2014

Bunnies

The farm we went to for pumpkin patch-ing had a little pen where they let children come in and pet bunnies.  Oh.  My.  Goodness.  Kendra and Elliot were soooo into it!




Elliot was mystified by the bunnies, but a little apprehensive.  He mostly offered for them to come to him when left to his own devices, but did pet them when Grant held them for him.  This video captured it.


And Kendra had a little something to say to another one.  Firm but kind.


But she really bonded with one of them in particular.  She spent quite a bit of her time and focus on this one bunny.  She even named it, and as far as she is concerned, she gave it the best name in the whole wide world.


No bunnies were harmed in the making of this family outing.


The Pumpkin Patch

Yes, I know it's July and we're closing to our 2014 trip to the Pumpkin Patch than we are to the one we took in 2013..but I just had my 4th baby in 5 years, it's sort of my umbrella excuse for everything.

And they had SO much fun, I still wanted to share it.





It was an unusually warm day (good thing we were out enjoying it, considering the winter that laid ahead of us), so we stayed out in the patch for a long, long time.  It was also the end of the season so we had to really go to the far edges of the patch to find kid-sized pumpkins.  As you can see in the above photos, sometimes our eyes were bigger than our ability to carry...but we finally did find some perfect Kendra, Elliot and Paxton (who is not pictured here because he was riding on my back as he was only just learning how to walk)-sized pumpkins.





While we trekked back from the edge of the patch to the stand where we could weigh and pay for our pumpkins, Elliot demonstrated an example of how boys are different from girls.


Go figure, right?  Take your kid to the pumpkin patch and he spends most of his time just digging around in the dirt.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Manners

Elliot and I have a little conversation several times a day.  I'll ask him, "Are you my sweet, sweet boy?"  And he'll answer, "I AM your sweet, sweet boy!"  It's actually cutest when I'm trying to pull him out of a foul mood because he kinda hangs onto a little pout in his voice when he says it, but he will say it.

I spent a lot of time in my adult years prior to motherhood caring for children, and I have never met a child quite like Elliot.  He is just SO lovey and has been a snugglebug from the very start.  And he evokes such strong emotion...when this child cries from hurt feelings, a tiny piece of my soul just dies.  It's actually created quite a problem to discipline him because even lovey snugglebugs need to learn how to share toys and understand boundaries for ornery behavior.

Last week, he had an eye appointment.  He goes in several times a year and once a year they dilate his pupils get get a really good look.  They examine him, give him some drops, wait half an hour and examine him again.  He was due for this procedure at the appointment last week...and oy.

I took three of us to do it this time.  He laid in my lap while I pinned his arms down.  The doctor held his head still and a nurse pried his eye open and gave him the drops.  And we had to do it twice.  It was horrible.

He was still crying when it was over, but he choked out between sobs, "I want my glasses, please."

And when the doctor handed him his glasses, he sniffed very loudly and half-sobbed, half-whimpered, "Thank you."

My sweet, sweet boy.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Rockin' Out

Kendra has demonstrated an appreciation and love for music for most of her life.  So it wasn't too big of a surprise to see her coming down the hall one day like so...



And to our delight, there was a soundtrack to boot!


The tune isn't an original composition, but rather a fun little diddy from Bubble Guppies.  They're no Fraggles, but they have some catchy songs.

The Bug Fair

Kendra has finally developed a long-term memory.  When we mentioned last year's bug fair, she totally remembered the one from the year before that she attended with Grant while Elliot and I stayed home because Paxton was only one week old.  Turns out, I'm a major home body for quite a while after I have a baby...

She was excited for days before the event.  "Mommy, is the Bugs Fair today?"  "No, Sweetie, not until Saturday."  "Is the Bugs Fair today, Mommy?"  "No, not until tomorrow.  But I'll bet they're setting it up today..." And then afterwards she mused many days, "I think the Bugs Fair is still there..."







This little girl sure does like holding bugs! (Seriously, I mean, mealworms?  I could not do that...)  And she was very happy to show her little brother all the ropes.








Although eventually, he had enough fun for one day and ended up like this for a good few minutes:


There was a fun musician there about the time we needed to sit down for a while, so we stopped and enjoyed some tunes.  Before we left, though, someone needed to dance...


It was a pretty fun day out for our family.

Last October.