Tuesday, March 26, 2013

How fun it is to play outside

(Title by Jared)
Washington has been giving us some very clear signs of spring.  Even though we had snow one day last week, and spent another 8 hours without power when a windstorm blew a couple of trees over onto nearby power lines, we have seen enough sunshine and green little leaf buds emerging for us to start some garden seeds.
 Although temperatures have been creeping up toward 60 degrees, most mornings are still below 40, so we aren't quite ready to plant outside yet.
 Do you know what spring means to baby? Growth spurt.  Benjamin has a new skill.  He doesn't roll over, yet, but he tilts his head to see what is above it as he lies on his back, and then pushes with his feet until he reaches it.  B is our first baby to start crawling on his back. Who needs rolling?
 Last Thursday, while Jared was in preschool, I took Eloise to swing and feed ducks at the park.  At 9:30 a.m. the weather was still frigid, but we had fun.
 Eloise liked that she could swing as much as she wanted, and that she could push the stroller instead of needing to ride.  She also liked being the center of my attention for a couple of hours.  Benjamin did not like the icy wind, but he coped by falling asleep very quickly.
 Yesterday was a gloriously sunny day. We picked Jared up from preschool and walked to the park for a picnic lunch.  We found every child under school age from all of the surrounding neighborhoods enjoying the park.  Okay, not every child, but it was very crowded on the playground.
After naps, we went outside to enjoy some more sunshine.  Jared took advantage of the time to cruise around our driveway on his bike.
 Eloise really wanted to play in the back yard, but I was going with Jared to the front yard, so Eloise, who usually wants my help with everything, surprised me by getting her own shovel and bucket, and walking herself down the treacherous and uneven steps into the backyard to dig in the sand.  She joined us in the front a little bit later, and rode around on her bike calling out, "I'm balancing!" Just like Jared.
 This guy never gets his picture taken when we are out playing because he spends the whole time with Mom.  He has never even been in the stroller, since both seats are usually taken, and snuggling with Mom is warmer anyway.  Here he is right after coming in, all cross eyed and adorable.  
Happy not freezing weather and sunshine, Seattle!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Eloise



 I always travel incognito
I always say au revoir to the Plaza whenever I go to Paris France

--Eloise in Paris by Kay Thompson

. . . or shopping for a baby gift with Mom.  This family might have a little too much fun shopping.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Four months old

Benjamin is four months old today! I'm not sure if you can tell from the pictures, but this outfit from Aunt Anni that he was blessed in is starting to make him look like a marshmallow.  
I'm noticing that Eloise's little pajama bottom is starting to be a theme with the pictures I take.  Benjamin smiles most of the time.  He is very ticklish, and very social.  If he is upset, he will often stop crying for a short time if one of his siblings gives him some attention.
So far, Benjamin has one word: Goooo.  I'm not sure what it means, but he always says it with a smile, so it sounds like he is happy with life.
 I left Benjamin and Jared in the dining room this morning while Jared finished breakfast and I got Eloise dressed.  When I came back, Jared said, "I was a little bit lonely because Benjamin doesn't know how to talk."
Benjamin is not a fan of his carseat, so I try to plan outings for his nap times.  He tends to be a very good sleeper on the go, and at home, but he is most comfortable with his mama.  He still takes the occasional two hour nap strapped to my chest as I go about the business of taking care of Jared and Eloise.  I think he is just a little bit lazy, but oh-so-sweet.  I'm a big fan of his two chins.

Benjamin had his four month checkup at the doctor's office today.  He is a picture of health, except for a recurrence of his thrush, which popped up last Friday, and the ubiquitous runny nose of winter.  Today he weighs 14 lbs. 7.5 oz. (50th percentile), is 24.1 inches tall (25th percentile).  His head circumference is 17 inches, which is meaningless to me because Jared and Eloise always had their heads measured in centimeters. It's in the 75th percentile.  He got four shots today, which he took like a champ, crying for less than thirty seconds, and then falling asleep instantly as soon as I put him in his carseat an hour and a half ago.  He is still asleep, in spite of a stop at the pet store to look at bunnies for Jared and Eloise, and a run through Walgreen's for the prescription to fight the thrush.
Todd might not agree with me, since Benjamin is showing early signs of being a committed mama's boy, but B is the sweetest tempered, calmest baby I have ever seen.   Happy one third of a year day, B!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Erin go Bragh

On Friday we had a play date with our neighbors with a St. Patrick's Day theme.  First, we had to get ready.  Eloise is a great helper.  Is this the first picture I have ever gotten of her keeping a headband on?  The headband (and the vacuuming) lasted for about three minutes.  
 Benjamin joined us for lunch before the party.  I love this chubby little smile.
 Then friends came.  Two of our neighbors got sick (more proof that winter isn't over yet), and one other friend who was supposed to come couldn't make it, so it was small, but fun.  We read a St. Patrick's day story, and played a game.  Colored pieces of paper got stuck all over our upstairs.  We had to collect them and turn them into a rainbow so that a leprechaun could leave us a prize at the end of the rainbow.  The prize was stickers, of course.  Stickers are big at our house lately.
 We had green snacks, and had a great time playing.  Owen and Casey loved drumming on the exercise ball.
Eloise was a little bit shy with other children in the house, but she started to get comfortable with everyone just in time for them to go home.
It was a low key party, but we love to get together with the neighborhood kids.

First day of Preschool

Jared has been getting more and more independent in the last few months.  While it has been nice to have a completely flexible schedule with a new baby at home, I have been looking for more activities to get Jared playing with other kids.  
During a playdate last week, I learned that some of the families in our ward are doing a co-op style preschool.  The moms involved take turns hosting the kids and teaching an alphabet letter twice a week for two hours.  I asked if we could get involved.
Today was Jared's first day of preschool.  To say that he was excited would be an understatement.  I have never seen him get dressed so quickly.  He was dressed and wearing his backpack already by the time Eloise woke up.
I dropped Jared off at 9.  Two hours later I picked him up all covered in flour from making pizzas for the letter P, and excited to talk about the other children and his preschool "lunch."
I love my big kid.

Winter Sun

The sun is out! Could it be spring?  We have had a string of sunny days.  On March 7 a tractor got dropped off at the building site next door, so March 8 we went on our walk/bike ride around the block and came home to watch the tractor from our back yard. 
 While we were outside, it was a good opportunity to play,
 and dig in the sand pile that used to be our slippery brick patio.  Boots have become part of Eloise's regular uniform, since she will run directly for any puddle she sees, whether she has boots on or not.
 On Saturday, March 9, we went on a family hike through the woods to St. Edward State Park.  I carried Benjamin, Todd carried Eloise, and Jared walked almost all of the way.  Round trip it was about 3.4 miles.  We stopped at this table for a snack right before we got to the playground.
 It was a beautiful day, and the playground was very crowded.
I was at the playground with the kids again on Monday, and there was hardly anyone there.  The weather was a little cooler and overcast.
Could it be spring?  Not likely.  Early Tuesday morning (2 a.m.) Jared woke up itchy and covered in spots.  We were worried that there might be bugs in his bed, so we changed his pajamas and his sheets, gave him benadryl for his spots, and put him back in bed.  In the morning it was pretty obvious that what he had was hives.  On Wednesday he had the hives plus massive swelling in his feet, so we took him to the doctor's office.  The doctor said it was all part of the same allergic reaction to something. He was probably having an allergic reaction to a virus.  He has completely recovered by now, but runny noses and mild coughs seem to be hanging on for the duration in our house.  The budding leaves on the plants are giving us hope for warmer temperatures and the end of cold and flu season, but we aren't there yet.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

One of THOSE days. . . weeks. . .

Have you ever had a day that you needed a week or more to recover from?  That was my day last Wednesday.   The day started a little early, so I planned our Wednesday trip to the library so that we could make a quick exit after story time, and be home in time for the pre-nap breakdown.  We checked out a stack of new books, and then we went to the bathroom before story time started.  In the bathroom we found our librarian fussing over one of the children who had been in the earlier story time.  The little girl had been running, tripped, hit her head on a sharp floorboard, and was gushing blood from her forehead.  I should have known that story time can't just have a one incident day.  
We made it through story time with two very tired kids.  Jared was sitting near the front, so he got his story time hand stamp with the first few children, and Eloise was sitting near the back, with me, so she waited for me to walk her to the front for her hand stamp.  As we were walking toward the librarian, Jared was walking away from her.  I watched him long enough to see that he was heading toward our bag of books (nowhere near the room exit), and then I turned my attention to Eloise.  By the time Eloise had her stamp and I looked around to account for Jared, he was missing.  I took Eloise and Benjamin and quickly checked all of the places where I thought he might be.  I thought he might have wandered through the doors to the lobby, back to the children's computer area, the bathroom, or out to the front lawn of the library, since it was a beautiful day, and we had been playing there earlier.  When I didn't see him in any of those places, I enlisted the help of our librarian, Miss Bernice, to locate him.  She went running through the library looking for him.  I think she was still traumatized from the experience in the earlier story time.  
On my way to check outside the library again, another story time mom pulled me back into the meeting room, where a stranger had brought Jared back.  He had gone out to the parking garage elevator, gone to the parking level where our car was parked, and then, finally noticing that he was alone, stayed in the elevator and panicked.  When he told me about the experience, Jared seemed most upset that the stranger who had found him in the elevator had first pushed the elevator button for the WRONG level, and then, noticing the crying preschooler, and pushed the button for the library level a LOT of times.  
He cried and cried and cried while Miss Bernice and I hugged him and talked to him, and eventually he calmed down.  
The few minutes when Jared was missing were some of the scariest of my entire life.  

Fortunately, Jared had recovered fully by Thursday morning.  He was his usual kielbasa brandishing self after only one night.  
 If only Wednesday's excitement had ended with Jared's reappearance.  All afternoon Jared and Eloise had one mishap after another.  Jared came through the day with a goose egg on his head from a little kitchen accident, and everything that touched Eloise made her howl.  It turned out that she had a fever of 103.  The fever lasted through Thursday and a lot of Friday, but she is mostly over whatever it was.

We have had some warmer weather lately, so yesterday morning we played outside for a couple of hours.  Eloise and Jared spent a lot of time tagging our house with sidewalk chalk,
 and riding bikes in the driveway.
 When it comes to playing outside, these kids are tireless.
 B took a two hour nap while we played outside.  I love the little animal ears on his jacket.
I gave the kids a ten minute warning for going inside at 10:45, and, five minutes later, Eloise's fever hit Jared like a ton of bricks.
I'm sure it would be easier to get over the scare of my life from Wednesday if we weren't doing 24 hour sick child duty.  This winter has been long enough for me.  Anytime now, spring.