Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Leavin' on a jet plane.

In just a few days, I'm going to say goodbye to these little smiling faces for the better part of a week.
A week!  Part of me is so excited--I'm going to be an Obama delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte--a once in a lifetime experience!

I won't have to change a diaper, wipe a little booty, or get up in the middle of the night because someone is fussing.

But, the other part of me is really going to miss these smiles.  The mad rush to the door with cries of, "Mommy's home!"  Family dinners.  Little people sitting on my lap just to snuggle.

And Big Man, who is more capable of holding down the fort than I, has once again absolutely encouraged me to participate in the things I love.  He's taken the week off, and will be, essentially, a single dad.  He'll also get a week of more sleep than he's used to getting, which is the small plus for him.

I received a really nice card in the mail today, from an old friend and teacher telling me she was so glad that I would be representing our county at this event--and telling me I should keep a journal so someday the kids can read about "Mommy's trip to the convention."  And, I will.  I've focused this blog on the kids, primarily, and not as much on the Big Man and me.  I have it printed every year, and hope that for the kids, they will be able to go back and read the narrative of their lives, and see pictures of so many days, and remember so many things.  But they will probably really want to know about what mommy and daddy did too.  So, Dani, Tori, and Tommy, Mommy's going to start telling you about the neat things she and Daddy do, as well as telling everyone what adorable little monkeys you all are!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Vital stats, and a few funny things.

In the battle for biggest baby, Tommy is the clear winner.  He had his one year doctor's visit today, and he measured 29.5", but the doctor said he was so squirmy, that the measurement was probably short, and weighed 26 pounds.  For those of you keeping track at home, Tori was 29.5" and 23 pounds 6 ounces, and Dani was 28.5" and 19 pounds 6 ounces.  Tommy WINS!

We were driving in the car this morning, and Dani asked, "Mommy why do all the houses have strings attached to trees?"  I had no flipping idea what she was talking about.
She kept insisting there were strings from the houses to the trees...I slowed down.  She was talking about power lines!  So I explained all about what they do, and how they work, but what a neat little observation.

The kids are obsessed with looking out the bathroom window to see if there's a moon after we get ready for bed.  Fortunately for me, it's been cloudy lately.  Tonight, Dani asked, "Mommy, why doesn't the moon have a face?".  (Only in storybooks, kid.)  And Tori, said goodnight to the moon at least two dozen times and refused to leave the window.  I eventually carried her to the bedroom, while she screamed at the top of her lungs while I dressed her for bed, and at least the next five minutes.  Dani even got teary, saying, "I can't listen to Tori like this mommy."  Fortunately, tiredness overtook them and they are sound asleep!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Anatomy of a family photo.

As you all know, I'm always taking pictures of the family.  I swear, the only pictures the kids will have of me when I'm gone are the silly, stick my arm out while hugging a kid headshots, because unless I ask Big Man, he doesn't take pictures of me and the kids.  We were at a party this weekend, and I was snapping pics, and my friend Melissa offered, "Why don't I take some family photos?"

AWESOME!  I thought.  Climb into seats, drag children over, assemble on laps and tell them to smile.  Bribe--if you kids sit still and smile, we can have a cookie.  Threaten--you guys better sit stil and smile or no cookies for you.  Beg--please, smile for mommy?

First try....are there three different cameras, because there are three different directions everyone is looking.  (Who knew this would be the best of the bunch?)

Okay kids, let's try this again--look at Melissa and SMILE!

Still three different directions--except this time, Tommy's watching the ants on the ground, and Dani appears to be waiting for the Rapture.
By this time, the squirming has commenced.  No one wants to sit still.  Tori's almost gone, and Dani's dress is bunched up as she slides down my leg to freedom!

At least Big Man's sorta smiling in this one! 

What's the trick?  I'm thinking I need some sort of toddler glue trap (like they have for mice) to keep them still and allow for dozens of photos--odds are that if we take enough, we'll end up with one with everyone looking at the camera, right?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Tommy is ONE!

Daddy baked a cake, went shopping for presents--and the big sisters even got presents too!  A first birthday, from Tommy's perspective.

Wow, this ladybug kitchen timer is really neat.  I sure like to play with it.  Why is everyone singing?  It's really distracting me.

Daddy took my toy away.  This sucks.  What's this thing in front of me?  It's awfully squishy.  Maybe I should just smear it around for a little while.  Hey, this is kind of fun.  Is it paint?  Am I drawing?  I should put some in my mouth maybe.

This paint stuff's pretty tasty.  But it's more fun to smear all over.  Thanks Daddy!

Little Dude is one today.  My last baby, isn't really a baby anymore.  He's running full-on into toddlerhood.  I swear, it can't be a year already...I just brought him home from the hospital.

He's our inquisitive little guy.  He never stops making noise, but really only says "da da".  He loves his sisters and they love making him laugh.  He can shake hands, and Tori almost taught him how to high five tonight.  He's almost as big as she is, and is just absolutely enamored with her.  While he's a bit slow in the talking department, he's got amazing dexterity.  He has never held his own bottle--despite the fact that he is a complete chow hound.  He refuses to hold it and will wail in anger until you acquiese and feed him.  He's great about playing on his own, unless he wants your attention, in which case, you must drop everything to pick him up, feed him or play with him.  He's so LOUD--screeches of happy and wails of frustration.  I often wonder what people walking by must think--I am guessing they refer to our house as the crying baby house.  Tori's in the 2 year old "I did not get my way so I will sit down and scream at the top of my lungs" phase.  So it seems like someone is always screaming in this house--and if it's not angry babies, it is the back and forth happy shrieking that kids do for no apparent reason, other than to torture their mommy.

As I unpacked some 2T clothes for the little dude tonight, it hit me.  He's the last one.  No more babies, just little people starting to grow up here.  I'm not packing things up anymore, but bagging and boxing them to pass on to another mom, because we won't need them ever again.  No more bouncer, or walker, or exersaucer.  Pretty soon, we'll say goodbye to the high chair, as Tommy will have a place at the dinner table.  I thought as I contemplated these things, I would be wistful and nostalgic, but truly, I'm not.  I'm excited about the promise in little Tommy (and Tori, and Dani) about the people they are becoming and their next "first".  I can't wait until he can talk back to me, and say "mommy".  It's going to be a great year, for Tommy, and for all of us.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Daddy 1, Mommy 0

Conversation in our living room tonight:

Dani: "And Daddy, there will be no screwing around."
Mommy: "Hmmm, Daddy, where did Dani learn that phrase?"
Daddy, looks at Mommy suspiciously, "I don't know."
Mommy: "Dani, who taught you that phrase, 'screwing around'?  Who says it"
Dani: "You mommy."
Daddy, smugly looks at Mommy.
Mommy: "Are you sure, Dani?  Mommy says screwing around to you and Tori?"
Dani: "No mommy.  You tell us, 'No screwing around'."

Daddy 1, Mommy 0

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Dani's Big Week.

Dani had quite the busy week.  To start, she got a haircut.  The at-home kind.  I was putting on my makeup Wednesday morning, with Dani and Tori "helping" me as usual.  Dani informed me she had to go do her hair and headed off to the bathroom.  She came back with a few hair clips haphazardly placed in her hair, and I thought nothing of it.  Later that morning, we were getting the girls ready for a day at Miss Ruth's.  Big Man was combing out Tori's hair, and I sprayed down Dani's and started to comb.  Huge pieces of hair were coming off in the pick.  A lot.  Like the way people describe their hair coming out after a few rounds of chemo.  I got Big Man's attention and held up a chunk so he could see, all the while standing behind Dani so she wouldn't panic.  Upon closer inspection, I realized the hair wasn't coming out at the root, but had been cut.  After breathing a sigh of relief that my child didn't have some mystery illness, I asked Dani whether she had cut her hair.  An instant, "NO!" followed by a follow up question by me and then an embarassed admission that she had used the scissors.  (And then the Big Man's question to me...."And why were the scissors accessible, mommy?")  Ugh.  I made a little pile of all she'd cut--good thing her hair is curly so it's hard to notice that there's a ton missing from the right side of her head.  We could have made Grandpa a nice little toupe with all there was!

We've been really struggling with Dani and the potty.  She's been in underwear for a few months now, but has steadfastly refused to poop on the potty.  She holds it all day, and then at night, sits on the potty and cries and begs for a diaper. It is a battle that she always, eventually wins.  As bedtime  creeps up, I just cave--we put them in overnight diapers to avoid nightime wets, and she will just wait until bed and poop into the (way pricier than a regular diaper) overnight diaper, which keeps her and Tori up, and drives me batty.

Last night, she had a little accident in her underwear, and I put her on the potty and told her to finish the poop there.  Tears, crying, and no more poop.  She admitted she had to go, but was scared.  So, mommy decided it was time for some tough love.  I put her to bed in her underwear, and explained that if she needed to pee or poop she should get out of bed and get me.  I knew that the odds were very good that she'd wake up wet, at a minimum.  This morning, she was soaked, but she didn't poop in her bed--that was my solace as I stripped her bed and gave her a quick bath in Tommy's toddler tub.  A few hours later, while I was in the basement folding laundry, Big Man opens the door and says, "Your eldest child is pooping on the potty and I think we're out of flushable wipes."  And she was!  And she said it was easy!  And that she wasn't afraid anymore.  For months she has been asking for this pink picnic basket toy, and I promised her that once she pooped on the potty, we would go get it.  So when Tori went down for a nap, Dani and I went to Target to pick up the reward, and a slushie (of course).

We came home and Dani reveled in her big-girl-ness!  We made cupcakes, and she helped me decorate them.  They were blue cupcakes with red frosting.  We all had one after dinner.

The red frosting was intense.  Tori looked like she was wearing lipstick, and Dani looked like she had walked into a door and was bleeding from her mouth.  At one point, she remarked, "Look mommy, it's like I have nail polish on."  She has absolutely no idea what this means:

Meanwhile, during Dani's big week, Tori provided much-needed comic relief.

And tonight, at bed-time, Dani was suddenly afraid to poop on the potty again.  Fingers crossed that she was over-tired and tomorrow she's back on track.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Lies, Lies, Lies!

So, little Dani is going throught the toddler phase of lying.  She just tells you what she wants the truth to be.  It can be as simple as she asks me for a snack and tells me Daddy said yes to the request (when he didn't) to last night's whopper.  At 2 months, Dani found her thumb and gave up the pacifier.  She was a comfort thumb sucker until about 3, and now only sucks it in her sleep.  Her two front teeth stick out, and  the dentist mentioned that we should do all we can to get her to stop.  It really never happens during waking hours, but lots of night when I check on her while sleeping, she is sucking it.  So, I bought a thumb-buster.  It's just a soft velcro-fastening thumb glove to put her in at night. Supposedly it changes the texture of the thumb and makes them not want to suck it.  I bought it in her favorite color (pink) and last week when it arrived she declared her love for it and asked if she could wear it during dinner.  Each night at bedtime last week she offered her thumb and happily let me put it on.  Last night (six days later) I'm putting it on her in front of Big Man, and he says "That's not the thumb she sucks."  Dani insists that it is, and starts to cry.  When I put the thumbbuster on her left thumb she is wailing and insisting she sucks the other one.  Busted.  Mommy got PLAYED!

The girls and I braved temps in the mid-90s on Saturday to attend a picnic.  It was good photo op, but brutally hot.  Tori really struggled with the heat.  Some of you may recall that two years ago, Big Man and I took Dani and infant Tori to the same picnic at a thoroughbred farm for an SPCA event.  I got some amazing pictures of Dani that day.  (Refresh your memory here: )
Here's Dani, two years later, at the same tree:

And I couldn't leave out little dude...who will turn ONE next week.  He's been crying it out at night, and I'm slowly catching up on 12 months of sleep deprivation, but heck, my baby's turning one.

Now I just need to get him to call me "mama"!  He only does "dada".  Everyone's "dada".

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Cry it out, my little friend.

My sweet little boy, at almost one year, refuses to sleep through the night.  I'm a bit out of my element, because Dani and Tori were sleeping all night at 12 and 16 weeks, respectively.  I never had to really try that hard to get them to sleep well--we let them cry, but 3 month old baby cries just aren't too hard to deal with.  But Tommy, he was the last baby.  And he has consistently gotten up one or two times per night all year.  And, I've been lazy and have taken the path of least resistance, which is getting up, giving him a quick bottle and putting him back down.  Half-hearted attempts on my part to let him cry it out have resulted in less sleep for me, so I've just given in.

No longer.  I drew the line in the sand on Monday.  He woke up at 11:30 (just as I was going to bed) and I gave him a bottle...hey, an excuse to watch a little of the Colbert Report, I told myself.  At 1:30 he was up again, standing in his crib and crying.  And I decided it was time.  I checked on him to be sure he wasn't wet or needing a change, gave him a hug, told him to go to sleep, and closed his door.  OH THE HUMANITY, the wailing.  Babies his age and size can really produce some volume...the neighbors may have heard him.  And he wailed, and wailed, for every bit of 30 minutes.  And then he slept.  On Tuesday night, he was up at 3am; hearing his cries, I went in, checked him, shut the door, and let him cry.  Five minutes of wailing.  Last night, it was 1:45am; same drill, but only about 3 minutes of wailing.  Perhaps one of the best features of this old house we live in are the solid oak doors, that really help muffle the sounds.  But it appears he's turned the corner!

It's hard to be too upset at such a cutie though:
And the rest of us are just enjoying summer, and farm stand veggies and fruit!
And post-dinner quiet time is always nice too.
It's been a crazy-busy roller coaster of things in our house.  It's hard to find time to sit and document it all.  But I need to.  I swear, I blinked and my babies turned into kids.  Kids!  How did that happen?  Last night, Dani told us we were all going to be in our own marching band and told us what instruments we would play in it.  She claimed the sousaphone.  Really?  The sousaphone?  (That's the marching band term for tuba.)  How the heck does she know that stuff?  Tori informed me that she would be playing the drums.  Daddy was assigned the guitar, Tommy the "zylee-phone" and then Dani said she wanted to play the cymbals too.  My little Dani, she's not afraid to play the sousaphone, but she's still afraid to poop on the potty?  Don't even get me started on that battle....that's a blog for another day!