Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pumpkin Patch

Since I was up taking care of Paxton anyway, and Frankenstorm hasn't knocked out our power yet (though we're hardly out of the woods), I might as well do a little bloggin', right?  Right!

Kendra's Preschool class took their first field trip the week before last.  The usual class was cancelled and we all met up with the high school students at a small farm just outside of town to go to a pumpkin patch.  I took the opportunity to leave the boys home with the babysitter and had a special little date with Kendra, just her and me.  I loved that.  The boys are awesome and our family would not be complete without them, but sometimes I miss that special time Kendra and I had one on one before Elliot was born.

We rode out to the patch in a trailer hitched up to a tractor and got our pick of the pumpkins.  There were still lots to chose from, and we searched around for a nice Kendra-sized one just for her.

After the tractor brought us back to the farm, we had some time to wander around.  They had a little corn "maze" we enjoyed (though it was less of a maze and more of a loop) strolling through a couple of times.

I have no idea what she's pointing to, I think this is just her pose of the day...

 There was also some livestock to take a look at, and all the children got quite a kick of out it.  Kendra was the first one to grab straw and start offering it to the cows, and soon there were lots of handfuls of the stuff getting shoved towards big wet noses.

My first trip with small children to a pumpkin patch was ten years ago when I went with the class I worked with at a daycare center during my second year of college, and I also went while I was a nanny.  Kendra and I went to a different farm with our local friends our first fall here, but this was the first "school" trip and it was way weird for me to be a parent and not a teacher.  It was also super weird to be with the high school students.  I am thirty years old, I have traveled multiple corners of the world, I have a family of my own that includes three children and hopes for more--how do I not feel like a grown up?!


There are actually two classes of students who teach Kendra's preschool class and one of them gathered to take a picture, so I snapped one, too.  Unfortunately this class doesn't have either of the girls who are particularly attached to Kendra--hopefully I can get pictures of them another time.

What's worth noting about this picture is the ratio of high school students to preschool students.  Most preschools have several students to a teacher (the daycare I worked at tried to keep it 5:1) but this situation has multiple teachers to a student, it's wild.  Not all of the preschoolers are in this picture but there actually are only five or six missing.  Not hard to see why any child wouldn't have a ball here, it's complete individual attention!

I had met the students at the open house before the preschool began, but it was fun to get to know them a little more and see them in action.  They're a fun group and it was definitely a fun trip!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Practical Science for Preschoolers...

A couple of weeks ago we had some unseasonably warm nights (or maybe they were perfectly seasonable, they were just much, much warmer than the previous few nights) and when I set something out on our little side porch, I noticed there were lots of slugs rolling around on and near it.

So Grant decided to bring a couple inside to show them to Kendra.

She was pretty hesitant to touch them, even though Daddy was clearly not being attacked by them or experiencing any melting flesh of any kind.  In her defense, they were awfully slimy...

She was happy to examine them more closely when we put them on a plate for her, though.  We considered keeping them longer (read: Grant suggested it and I determined I was only up for maintaining the current number of dependent organisms in our home alive and thriving.

But we had fun with them even though they were short term visitors and not long-term additions to our tribe.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Getting dressed

As Elliot has gained mobility, he has naturally taken much greater interest in our home and our stuff.  I thought I was brilliantly using space when I purchased a small coat rack to mount on the wall and I asked Grant to install at the kids' height since it would be for them and they could learn to grab their own coats and put them away themselves.

Well.  Elliot has the part about grabbing stuff off it so totally nailed.

He played like this for as long as we let him when he got these things down.  And these are the only documented cases--he hands us coats to put on him fairly regularly.

Funny guy...

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Our Pretty Girl

When I saw Kendra for the first time, after I took a second to absorb the fact that looking at a baby meant I wasn't in labor anymore, I was so taken with how beautiful she was.  I could not believe that gorgeous little baby could be mine.

And I still think that every single morning when I see her after she wakes up.

Our pretty girl.

Extending his reach

Our first three weeks home with our third baby have been pretty smooth, all things considered.  It's still life with a newborn (not to mention his two older siblings) but we've learned a few things from the first two times around that have lead us to make different choices that makes everybody's life easier around here.  And we are extremely grateful for that!

However, we have not been so quick to apply the lessons we learned the first time we had a toddler in our house now that we have one roaming around here again.

Like how quickly a reach can extend...I took for granted that the peaches would be fine set on the counter over the dishwasher.

Well, at least he's eating a healthy snack and enjoying it, right?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Keep calm and Rock Chalk on...

The kids' Aunt Amanda keeps them well-decked in Crimson and Blue.  :)

Saturday, October 6, 2012


It turns out that when you have babies less than 16 months apart, sometimes the older one needs a lot of convincing that he's not actually "the baby" anymore...

Which might be why Elliot ends up like this quite a bit of the time:

 It's not soooo much of a problem if I remember to snap the tray down in place, but he isn't afraid to refine his climbing abilities to pile in on top of the tray.

Luckily, he hasn't tried to climb on top of Paxton while he's laying down in the swing.


Friday, October 5, 2012

Choo choo!

As we prepared for Paxton's arrival, we went through all our stuff and downsized/dejunked.  That meant we also had lots of empty boxes and bins laying around for a while.

Well, we might just see boxes and bins, but the kids sure see a whole lot more...

I can't remember who climbed in first and who followed, but they played like this for quite some time.

Then Daddy came along and things got really fun...

I am really, really sorry if that song is now stuck in your head for the rest of the day...

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The First First Day of School

I never went to Preschool, and I never really thought I'd send my kids to one.  And then I got pregnant two years in a row and didn't want Kendra to have another time in her life like when Elliot was born, which I now refer to as "The Summer of Dora the Explorer."

So I started asking around about where the kids at church went to preschool.  Apparently, the high school offers Early Childhood Education classes and the practical application of them is that they teach a preschool class for children in the community.  We had friends who went last year so we applied and so Kendra "goes to school" for a couple of hours three days a week, which sounded about perfect for us (including the fact that it's also free).

When we first told her she would start going to school, she wasn't so sure about it but after we took her to the Open House and bought her a new backpack, she was pretty into the whole idea.

So the week before Paxton was due, she had her first first day of school:

She's having a pretty good time as far as we can tell, and we're all glad that she's got something that's just for her.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

More from the hospital

Grant got his turn to post about Paxton's birth, but I thought there were other things we were able to capture that were well worth sharing.  :)

First, a before picture.  This was taken on the night of my due date because I realized I'd never taken a belly picture this pregnancy and I was having what turned out to be false labor but operating under the assumption that I'd imminently be giving birth.  But I didn't.  For another 12 days.

We actually had a rather stressful start to that day, but this wonderful lady helped soooo much:

It's one of the most unflattering pictures of myself I've ever seen, but I don't even care because I want to remember her.  Caring nurses make such a huge difference.  I did not want to be induced, but she did so much to put me at ease and helped us to get as close as I could to the birth experience I wanted, despite the induction.

It was a very speedy labor.  Paxton was born pretty close to five hours after the pitocin drip was started.  I was so surprised when all of a sudden the doctor placed a white, wriggling baby on my belly--it was over already?  (I will say that although surprised, I was also incredibly relieved because birth does not hurt any less the third time around, from my experience.)

They left him with me for a lot longer than I remember getting to hold Kendra or Elliot, which was really nice.  Here is his very first video:

I love that we have footage like these for each of our kids.  That when they're our age and having children of their own, they can take a look at recordings from the first moments of their own lives.  One of the two pieces of unsolicited advice I give almost all expecting parents I run into is to get really great cameras because these are precious moments indeed.

One of the most tender parts of having each of my children has been the first "talk" I have and tell that baby everything that runs through my mind.  Something about talking to them like they're people who can absolutely understand me (even when I know they don't) makes me feel like a mother.

It is always so nice to not be pregnant (and especially in labor) any more and have time to cuddle the product of all that hard work.

We are so very pleased to welcome Paxton Lee into our family!

The best way to spend a Sunday afternoon

Grant and I agree that there is something about taking a nap with a sleeping baby on your chest that definitely makes for the most restful kind of nap you can get.

Which is awesome because neither of us will turn down an opportunity to take a nap these days.  :)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Getting settled in

Since Paxton was born at 10pm, we were kicked out of the hospital approximately 48 hours later (apparently insurance used to cover an extra night if a baby was born at 8pm or later but then changed the cut off to midnight--I'm guessing that the person who made that call has never given birth).  And so we quietly arrived home to start our adventures as a family of five...

Things are going pretty smoothly, all things considered.  It's still life with a newborn around here, but Paxton is a pretty laid back sort of newborn (we have a theory that since he was so late, he acts more like he's a few weeks older than he is) and we have our experiences with two other rounds of life with a newborn to make some different choices which has turned out extremely favorably for the whole family.

Kendra and Elliot are taking everything in stride and are both devoted siblings.  Elliot has a particular interest in his new baby brother.

And if you tell him to sit down so he can hold him, this is what happens:

I have very, very quickly grown fond of the phrase, "my boys" and use it as often as possible.  :)