Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Paxton's entertainment

As Paxton has gained mobility, he has been having fun exploring and chasing his older siblings.  With each new ability, a whole new world is opened up to him.

For quite a while, this was one of his primary forms of entertainment.

And in case the photos aren't a very good indicator of his actions, we have a video as well.  We like to double-up on the capturing of little habits like this.

Not long after he learned that they were doors, he figured out how to open them and keep them open.  And now the contents are constantly scattered throughout the apartment...


They're pretty dang awesome.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Science in Action: Our Butterflies

For Kendra's third birthday, my dad gave her a butterfly garden that included a coupon to send away for a batch of caterpillars to raise into butterflies.  Pretty neat stuff!  But since she is a February baby, I put it away to wait for warmer weather so that we wouldn't be sending butterflies off into certain death upon release (assuming we could get them to fly away at all--the crickets I buy for our tarantulas go dormant very quickly during the winter).

And somehow it slipped my mind during the months of warm weather.  It was as if, I don't know, I was preoccupied with growing a baby while raising an infant and toddler.  Or something.

But I did remember this year and at the tail end of summer, I sent away for Kendra's caterpillars.  By the time they arrived, they had all spun cocoons and were dangling from the cup's lid.  Unfortunately, I have no documentation of this stage.

So we set up the garden according to instructions and waited.

And waited.

Aaaaand waited.

It was really only about a week of waiting, but that's a significant chunk of time to a four-year-old!  Finally though, one day while Kendra was at school butterflies started popping out of all those little cocoons.  It happened very quickly and I never saw any of them come out, they just appeared one by one.  There was a cocoon that had detached from a hanging position and looked a little off compared to the others that we thought had died but we placed it in the garden anyway.  At one point I thought I saw it moving but after a full minute of trying to hold still enough to see it, I gave up.  But then a few minutes later, another butterfly appeared.

She was thrilled.

It didn't even bother her that she hadn't been able to witness the actual hatchings.

Elliot was pretty into them as well...

We kept them around for about a week and then waited for the warmest day to release them.  We decided to take them to the butterfly park that is part of the nearby city park and make a family event out of it.

Then we had to find the perfect spot.  We definitely had a good selection to chose from!

 And from there, it was time to let them go.  Even though they were technically Kendra's butterflies, I let Elliot release a couple as well.

It was a super cool time for the whole family--we will definitely be doing this again!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Kendra's Wish

Since we told Kendra that we are having another baby, she has been very persistent about her desire that this baby is a girl.  In fact, she announced that it definitely was a girl as soon as we told her I was pregnant.

At first it was sweet but after a while, I got a little nervous because she didn't seem to understand that we don't really get to chose.  But hey, we still had a 50/50 shot so I didn't worry too much.  And if it was a boy, we had months to let her wrap her brain around it--she's a pretty smart and capable girl.

So when she got home from school today, I showed her the pictures from the ultrasound I had while she was gone...

I think she approves...  :)

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Easier with Three (and a tent)

I have said before that sometimes, parenting is actually easier with more children.

I know, it defies all logic.  And don't get me wrong, that's not true all of the time, there are pleeeeenty of times when three is pretty crazy.  But seriously, sometimes, it really is easier.

Especially once they get old enough to all play together and they actually do it without someone's life getting put into mortal peril (seriously, sometimes I wish I had the Weasley family clock so I could always see that one).

Our poor little tent has seen better days, as you can tell from the bent poles.  But it still does provide lots of fun on rainy days and also helps make life easier with three.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Our Trooper

Our Elliot is such a sweet boy.  Well, most of the time--there have been some Terrible Two moments, I'll admit.  But he really is just so terribly sweet.

Which is why it broke my heart a little when he was blessed as a baby (as is custom in our church) and not one but two times, it was said he'd face great trails in his life.  Granted, that could very well be the words in any blessing for anyone, but the thought of my baby, my sweet innocent baby, having to face a lifetime of trials.  Oy.  And it was the first thing I thought of when the ophthalmologist handed me a prescription for glasses when he was eight months old and my heart broke a little more.  And again when he told me he needed to start wearing a patch 3-4 hours a day a few weeks ago.  I know that there are many other children who face much more difficult trials, especially with medical conditions...but this child is mine and it's still hard to see him face trials, even smaller ones than other children.

But he adapted to those glasses remarkably well.  Exceptionally better than I had any hope that he would.  I put them on him and he pulled them off a few times an hour the first day, a few times total the second day and then not at all unless he was tired.  He rocks those glasses.

We have been patching for just over a week, and it's been a bit more work.  But he's also rocking his patch, too.  He knows we put it on first thing in the morning, and he patiently lets me do it.  The first few days, he pulled it off many times.  Sometimes Paxton did it, too.  He got abrasions on his skin where the adhesive was, but I've learned to destick it a bit by putting the part that goes on the most sensitive of his skin on my hand first, and it cleared up and hasn't been a problem since I figured that out.  He's been pulling it off less and less and the past few days he's even come to me to ask, "All done patch?"  Today was the first day he made it the whole 3-4 hours and didn't take it off once.  Not a single time.  I guess he's figured out that if he does, I'll just slap another one on him until I say it's ok to be All Done.

But it's been pretty remarkable to me to see how well he's adapted to this little bit of adversity, too.  Today hasn't been the easiest day--there have been a non-zero number of fits and he starts pulling on that dang patch when he gets upset.  But not today.

And as if this weren't enough, I've also taken this week to really, really, REALLY transition him into the toddler bed.  We knew it would be harder this time than it was with Kendra because it was just too bizzarely easy with Kendra...we put her in the bed and she wouldn't leave it until we came to get her the next morning for at least a year and a half.  Not even to get a toy or blanket that fell out.  With Elliot, we've given it a half-hearted attempt a few times over the past few months but more of an experiment to see if he was ready.  He wasn't.

Monday night was the first really for realsies night, and it was...not nearly as bad as I thought it might be.  It took me a while to figure out that what I'd read wasn't going to work for this child, but again, I figured it out.  And after about forty-five minutes, he finally got out of his bed for the last time.  Then he played a little, in what seemed like he'd be doing anyway if he were in his crib and after about fifteen minutes of that he grew very silent and still.  I stayed at the doorway for an extra half an hour just in case, but nothing changed and I quietly shut the door.

The next morning, I opened the door and expected him to come out automatically (Kendra rises much earlier and closes the door behind herself).  But he started calling out instead.  I went into his room and asked if he was ready to get up, which he enthusiastically indicated that he was.  I took that as a good sign.

The next night, as I tucked him in, he asked me something to the effect of, "Can I get up?"  I replied, "No, baby, you need to go night-night."  "Go night-night?"  "Yeah, you need to get some rest now."  "Okay."

And that was that.  I kissed him and took up my perch at the doorway.  Not a peep.  Not a movement.  So again, half an hour later, I shut the door.

This morning was like unto the first, he waited for me to come and get him before leaving his bed.

Tonight when I tucked him in, I didn't even bother with the half an hour.  He's got this down.  For now.

For certain there will be days when he rips the patch off too early and there will be nights we'll have to put him back in bed...but wow.  I'm super impressed.

Mortality at any stage is just...HARD.  I've accepted the fact that there is no point where it just gets easy.  Granted, some things get easier as time goes by, but new challenges will always come to replace the ones that are no longer challenges.  And it starts from birth--I am so utterly convinced that birth is just as difficult for the baby as it is for the mother!

So I am just in awe of my sweet little two-year-old who handles these hard things...the things most children his age don't have to handle, like wearing glasses and patches as well as the things everybody has to do like learning to stay in a bed even when you're physically capable of leaving it (though technically he started learning that a few weeks ago when he proved he was fully capable of leaving his crib and reentering it without assistance at will).

He is simply a fantastic little person and I am so very blessed that I get to be his mother.

(His siblings are also both fantastic little people in their own regards as well and I am incredibly blessed to be their mother, too.  But this post is just about him.)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sleepy Boys

I am acutely aware of how exhausting it is to be a parent of small children.  My, oh my, how aware I am of that.

Though what I sometimes lose sight of is their end of it.  It's exhausting to be a small child.  To just get dragged where ever someone else wants to take you when ever they want to without asking.

This happened to Paxton early in the summer when we took a walk down to Wal-Mart as part of a family outing one Saturday...

Then there was another time we were out shopping and Elliot seemed a little out of sorts.  I didn't realize just how out of it he was until this happened:

Passed right out, poor guy.  Luckily I had most of the stuff we needed by the time I saw him like this so that we could get him home and in bed.

Because it certainly is exhausting to be a small child...

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Dr. Kendra

We gave Elliot a little vet's toy kit for his birthday, and while he bonded quite firmly with the enclosed puppy, someone else in our family really took a shining to the actual kit...

It's pretty fun watching her grow up--she is such a neat person!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Elliot's favorite pastime

Grant is very faithful to his pre-parenthood pact.  Elliot got to enjoy some time with it this summer.

He was pretty upset with me every time it started raining and Daddy wasn't home.  "Rain?  Rain?"  But that's Daddy's special thing.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Firehouse

We got to tag along with a group of friends who arranged to go to a local fire station last month.  The older kids were pretty excited about it, too.  When we arrived, Elliot kept doing this:

Ooooh, the excitement!

We actually had some unusual activity during the presentation, as a call came in.  Within a few minutes a dozen or so people arrived and suited up in their equipment, it was pretty impressive, especially considering that they were ALL volunteers.  Another station ended up arriving at the scene first, so they didn't need to go out after all and one of them posed for some pictures and let the kids try on her helmet.

We learned about all the different trucks and what their functions were (it was quite education for me, too!) and what situations each truck might be used.  Then all the kids got to go inside the trucks.  Boy were these guys in HOG HEAVEN!

Elliot, in particular, was particularly enthralled.  In fact, I'm pretty sure he would have stayed there all day if I had let him!

So much fun!

The Scrunchy-Faced Smile

Paxton spent the first chunk of his life not being very impressed most of the time.  But, since he's become mobile, the world just seems to hold more for him.  And his personality has just blossomed, leaving us with the simple deduction that he is simply delightful.

Just check out this scrunchy-faced smile he's constantly giving us!

It's pretty much his trademark.

We absolutely love it.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Quality Time with Daddy

I love watching the relationship Grant has with each of our children.  He really makes an effort to spend time with them.

It makes it easier that there are some common interests...

And they have a good deal of fun just playin' around the way that only Daddies and little boys do...

Littler boys also have lots of fun playing with Daddy...

Kendra has actually been getting the sweetest deal with the Daddy Time these days, though there haven't been any pictures so far.  He's been taking her on Daddy/Daughter Dates every week and it's pretty clear they have fun together--now every time we drive by the bowling alley, she tells me about when Daddy took her there.

So much fun!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Big Girl Bed

Kendra went through a crazy growth spurt this year--she actually still seems to be just growing right up.  I hear that's something we're just going to have to get used to because apparently children turn into adults whether they get their parents' permission to or not.

Who ordered that?

But, besides almost altogether skipping a size (or two) of clothes, one way that became abundantly clear was that I suddenly noticed that she just did not fit in her toddler bed anymore.  Which wasn't such a big surprise as she had moved right out of the "toddler" category and into the "preschool" one long ago.  Though I felt bad as I realized when I would take Elliot in to go to bed after she'd fallen asleep that every night she was laying diagonally with her feet hanging off the edge or that she'd be curled up in a little ball to stay on.

So, we decided it was time to upgrade!

After a lot of consideration, we decided to get her a junior loft bed.  It's got a twin mattress on it and it's up off the ground but not too high up.  She was pretty excited when we told her about it and eagerly awaited the delivery and assembly of the new Big Girl Bunk Bed.

And she has been an extremely happy camper with the whole situation...

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Our adorable frog

We're pretty sure Elliot has a spirit animal.  And it's definitely a frog.

He randomly starts hopping and ribbiting all over the place. It's pretty amazing.  And covers an impressive distance many times...

Friday, July 26, 2013

Life with a collector

A year and a half ago, I told this story about Kendra and her collections.

She is still very much into collecting things and amassing her collections around the house.  And every day I still find them all over the place.  She's pretty good about going through the house with me and picking up at the end of the day, but sometimes we rush to bed or sometimes I don't see them all before she gets tucked in so I pick some up myself.  Though often enough I find them in a very unexpected place and at a very unexpected time.

I can't tell you how many times I've pulled back my covers on my bed and found something similar to this:

My theory is that she likes to play on my bed because Elliot doesn't particularly like to play there and Paxton is still too short to clamber up there.

I further theorize that things end up under the blankets covered when Elliot does join her and she doesn't want him to take her toys away.

I am especially inclined to apply that latter theory to this specific photographed example.

That particular collection of dinosaurs belongs to Elliot, but Kendra was the one playing with them.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Making requests

When Kendra was Elliot's age, she had a very adorable and rather unique way of making requests.

Elliot has developed his own difficult-to-record and very adorable way of asking for things.

He approaches me, usually quite abruptly, with his request.  Though since some of his words sound awfully similar to others he uses, I repeat it back to him most of the time to make sure we're on the same page.  But then when I confirm it, he just casually replies, "Okay," as if I had made a suggestion and whatever, it sounds alright to him.  And he walks to where ever the thing he's asking for his located because he might as well entertain my suggestion out of politeness.

It goes a little something like this.

He runs to me, "Mommy!  Milk?"

"Oh, sure, honey.  You want some milk?"

He starts to walk to the fridge, where he knows the milk, "Okay."

And often a second time, in a quieter voice, "Okay."

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Bath time with Paxton

Paxton is by far the most-oft bathed of our children so far...it's a natural byproduct of being the 3rd child and having 2 older siblings who need to be bathed far more often than infants do, but as long as the others are in there, heck, might as well toss in the baby.

Once he learned to crawl, he began making a beeline for the tub as soon as he heard the water running (I start with the others and then bring him in to quickly bathe him while they play).  That was a surprise!  One day I looked down and saw this:

Just chillin'.  Waiting patiently for his turn to get in with his big sister and brother.  Y'know, whenever I get around to it.

And such it was every bath night.  But all too soon after he started crawling, he started pulling himself up as well (seriously, like within 10 days at the most) and then this was the scene I beheld.

Kendra and Elliot are both pretty good with him...most of the time.  Sometimes excessive splashing occurs, but Paxton bears it, like everything else, pretty well.

Fun in the tub!