Tuesday, July 3, 2018

SNAPSHOT 7/1/2018

Felicity: Her favorite color is "all the colors". Her favorite book, per her own report, is Three Little Pigs (Disney) but when she is actually choosing a book, she chooses "You Choose" or "The Gruffalo" or an older African folk tale about why the panther walks on four legs and dislikes men. Her favorite show is "Peppa Pig" because "it has no tigers or monsters, and the toys are just toys, they don't talk". Her favorite movie is Beauty and the Beast because "the beast seems bad but then he changes and ends up to be good". She keeps changing her favorite character. She wants to swim, but we have not had much opportunity this year- a HOT May followed by a COLD and wet June. She likes to tell stories. When Ben is there, they are about ants that do not get eaten, when Ben is gone they are about Ant's getting eaten. Her story telling is pretty cool, she uses all the little phrases and mannerisms that you would expect in a good story teller. She is so well behaved at daycare and plays very well with others, but at home is very emotional and constantly harassing her little sister. (So, in other words, she is a three year old middle child). She has cut her hair very short, so that she does not have to brush it, and she loves that. She struggles at bedtime, wants lots of attention, and always has "one more question". Eventually you can get her to cuddle her Crocodile and pink baby and role over near the wall to go to sleep. 

Amelia: She is walking very well now, and might start to run soon, but still hardly says a word. She always has a pacifier in her mouth unless you forcibly remove it, and I think these things are correlated. The only words she seems to have at all are "more" and "yeah". She says the first if its something she really really really likes , like Chocolate, or clearing the table. She says the second while nodding her head vigorously to a yes/no question. She does not seem to see the point in trying to say any other words. She likes to blow raspberries though. She likes to do whatever her siblings are doing, she likes to color, and to play with baby dolls. She loves to clear the table. She tries to build duplos. She flies toys through the air. She loves both of her parents. She likes to play outside. She will get filthy outside if you leave her to her own advice. He is sleeping OK, but not consistently STTN. But bedtime is pretty easy and she hardly cries unless Felicity is harassing her. 

Benjamin: Is reading up a storm. He is into the Captain Underpants books, and will devour one in a couple of hours if given the opportunity. He struggles with large groups, strict rules, and losing. He is getting better at losing though and has taken up a game at Grandma's called "herd your horses" where he often loses. He is learning to bike and he loves to swim at Grandma's house. He still is interested in ants, but not as obsessed as previous months. 

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Birthday Review

Me: 34. Not a big milestone, just firmly chugging along in the "mid thirties" categories". I admit I preferred 33, because it is a fun number. Work is going well. I am incredibly busy, and try to do my best. Some days my best is amazing. Some days my best still includes a lot of mistakes. I guess that is just life. My most recent self-observation is that, having taken on a couple of new teams, I am becoming one of those people who always mentions how busy I am. I do not want to be that person, and I need to figure out how to manage the larger-than-possible work load without projecting that image. Outside of work, I am enjoying life. I enjoy being a mother - MOST days. Of course there are difficulties. I enjoy the beauty of the city. I drink too much Star Bucks, don't clean enough, and life goes on. I also am on a Jane Austen kick.I am feeling particularly driven at the moment to simplify and downsize, and hoping to bring the kids along for the ride (DH is on board).  I have everything in life that I had dreamed about (loving husband, adorable kids, home ownership), and I do no not take that for granted, I am extremely grateful. I don't feel like I need anything else particularly to be happy, and that is a good place to be.

Ben: 6 yrs old, just wrapping up kindergarten. The past week he has been very cooperative and fun, it has been so nice to see. I love playing board games with him, doing math with him, watching him learn and grow. He can read quite well now and I think would be able to read any book within (or only slightly above) his vocabulary level. He still is very interested in Ants, and has an Ant farm that we all enjoy watching from time to time. If I had to guess, I think he will grow up to go into a science. Perhaps he will follow his own professed dream of being an author and write popular science. Or maybe he will research ridiculously specific questions only he cares about, like the social habits of the grey Siberian dust mite.

Felicity: 3 yrs old and pure spunk, she is definitely a three year old. She wants to accomplish great things! Climb mountains, run the household, and have other people cater to her every need. Of course. I would predict her to have an adventurous life - travel, hiking, outdoors. Maybe she will

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Ben @ 6 years

Ben has turned 6! Crazy talk. Firmly school age, no more possibility of preschool age.

There's a lot of things with Ben I haven't shared much online. I feel like I don't want a search engine turning up his kindergarten struggles in 20 years. That said, I also don't want to pretend our lives are picture perfect. Where does that leave me? Generalities haha. Ben is not a model student. If you want to chat about it, you can pm me.

So with that out of the way, all the great things! Ben is crazy smart, (perhaps too smart for his own good). He loves to learn, but hates being told he has anything to learn. He is quite intuitively good at math. He has a huge vocabulary. He loves board games. He plays many that involve complex strategies. His most recent obsession is various iterations of risk. He finally has gotten over his dread of losing enough to start playing chess with other kids at keyzone and more readily play head to head at home.

He is obsessed with military - history, custom, strategies. He recently met a real veteran (we don't know many) is infatuated. He also loves flags, army symbols, maps, etc

He loves nature shows, whether they be space or animals.

He is a home body. He would much rather stay home and play board games than go anywhere.

His favorite part of school is show and tell. The only problem is he always wants to take board games, which are way too large and easy to ruin. In December he solved this by making a paper copy of Chinese chess to take.

At school he talks about lots of friends. They play a game called "Savage" at recess, which is too imaginary for me to follow despite Ben spending plenty of time explaining it to me.

He still loves starwars, though we have not allowed him to see epi 7/8 and have cut way back on this viewing it in general. But he still loves the ships and characters.

He is a pack rat. Anything is precious to him and he hates things being thrown out, whether it is a broken toy or his sister's stained t-shirt.

He loves his sisters, although F is constantly wrecking his games. He still loves wrestling with her. He loves giving Amelia hugs.

He loves being read to. He loves audio books, the magic treehouse series is our go-to. He was scared of Harry Potter for a bit but is interested in it again, and many of his other recent fears (of going upstairs alone, for example) seem to be dissipating.

For Ben's birthday, we celebrated with a Brinner Party at Willowick farm, he had a ball. We will follow up with a flag-themed party for his friends in a couple of weeks.

We love you Ben!!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Snapshot June 30

Friday (June 30) I had the opportunity to take the day off with my kids. Normally DH stays home with all three on Fridays (and works 10 hr days the other four weekdays to make up for it), but he needed to work so I took it off. I was afraid it would be overwhelming, but it was really fun. I took the kiddos to a coffee shop story time in the morning and sipped a latte while Ben listened intently to the story and Felicity looked for (mostly benign) distractions. (Amelia slept on my chest the whole time in her carrier). Then in the afternoon we went to Play Front to meet an internet friend, a woman from one of my mommy groups who was vacationing in Duluth for the week and has a baby the same age as Amelia (Ok, ten days older). Aaron got off a little early and we had a pleasant evening.

The kids are all doing well. Our very short window of having one preschooler, one toddler, and one infant, which seems somehow perfectly balanced, is coming to a close as Felicity is transitioning to the preschool room. She was supposed to start the preschool room full time today, but she is struggling quite a bit with the change. She likes her toddler teacher and she likes the familiar. She is not one to jump into a new group of people, much  more likely to hang back an cling to a familiar leg for awhile until the temptation of a fun activity is too much to bear. Felicity, in general, is quite the handful right now. We do not know if its just her "terrible twos" or if it is related to the new baby and less one on one attention, but one on one attention is exactly what she needs. Any time that we are just at home and we are trying to do more generalized things, that are not focused on entertaining her, she wreaks havoc (mostly on Ben's board games, but will find other things to ruin, or ways to run away, if he does not have one out). This, combined w the fact that she LOVES to be outside (and Ben loves to be inside) has gotten us in the habit of divide and conquer, in which DH takes Felicity outside, often for long walks or to the playground (or just lets her ride her bike in the driveway) while I stay home with Ben and Amelia. Last Thursday DH had a soccer game he wanted to watch at 630pm, so we switched places and I took Felicity out in her stroller while he stayed home. It was so incredibly peaceful to be out with her, I hardly could believe it. She rode contentedly in the stroller. We pointed out things we saw, admired the clouds, the leaves, the smell, the breeze, and each other's company. I might not be giving that privilege quite so often now that I know how fun it is and how much QT it is.

Felicity in a nutshell.. wild haired, water-loving, nature-loving, cautious but excited, goofball. She loves pretend play (She found my old canoe paddle recently from when I was a child and played moana and row row your boat). She loves books. She loves water, and will happily dump it over her head, or wade into it fully clothed. When we recently met with her teachers regarding her transition to Pre-School we heard "I have NEVER Had a toddler who can do the things she can", which I guess runs in the family because this story is nearly identical to the ones my parents tell about my kindergarten screening. Her language development is extremely good for her age. She speaks in complex, multi-clause sentences and uses pronouns. She loves to make things up and do things that she thinks will get a laugh, talks often about a made up creature called a doo doo dah, and put clothes on wrong on purpose. This morning she wanted a sweatshirt and I found her socks first and handed them to her and she said "Thank you mom for finding me a sweatshirt" and attempted to put the sock over her head, didn't crack a smile until I called her out on it. Miss Fliss, we love you. ETA: I forgot to include two of my favorite things about her right now. First, when she says thank you. She says it A LOT too, whenever you agree to do something for her she will say thank you right away before you even do it. For example, this morning, "will you get me more cheese-its?" Me, "yes just a minute." Felicity - "Thank you !!! Thank you for getting me more cheese its". And she is SO EARNEST when she says it, as if she is pouring out her little heart with thanks. Also, she has taken to making the most hilarious facial expressions when she is thinking or trying to get you to agree to something. I need to try to get it on video.

Benjamin is rapidly approaching kindergarten. His academic feats are also a source of much pride for us. He loves his math and is already doing some basic multiplication, some basic fractions, some addition of tens and hundreds. He also loves science, loves star gazing and watching cosmos, understands the basics of evolution, and is so curious and always asking questions. Because of a board game he has lately been obsessed with the battle of waterloo, and flags, and many other things with history. As for the other softer skills, we are still working on them. LOL. He does not like transitions and will scream about having to leave the house, even if it is to go somewhere fun. We recently had to come up with a discipline plan to get him to stop saying "its your fault" "its not my fault" "you are killing me" and "i am dying" when daycare (or us) said it was time for the next activity. (Picture it.. .. "Ben, time to get in the car", "wahhhhh... YOUR KILLING ME... I WONT SURVIVE. ITS YOUR FAULT". Fun times. He has cut down on those specific phrases now and we have moved onto trying to curtail the screaming all together. He is a home body, he loves his board games, legos, and movies. He enjoys being outside but only after you force the issue. The issue can be forced easier if you promise to play something with him, such as pokemon trainer or a "video game". For example this weekend he played he was a spider chasing a treasure hunter all weekend with my high school friend who was in town. When he got near her he would pretend to bite her and then they would discuss how much life she lost, measured in "hearts". hahaha. We may have permanently changed the way his brain works by introducing him to games and strategy at such an early age. He also is our little skeptic, and recently did not want to throw a coin into the fountain because "the wish doesnt come true". A boy after my own heart. Ben, we love you!

Amelia is 4 months old tomorrow. She is having a 4 month sleep regression, but her sleep regression while annoying is still more sleep than I was getting with Ben or Felicity at this age. She is a very easy, smiley baby. She loves to watch what others are doing and was having a blast last night laughing at her dad and brother playing catch/dodgeball. We just got her a wubanub, our first one of these with three kids, and I think she likes it. She loves music, she loves being held. She likes sitting upright or "standing". She hates hates hates tummy time and has no interest in rolling. She likes her siblings, as long as they are being nice to her, which is usually the case. Ben and Felicity like to fight over whether to call her Amelia or Amy. Both are fine with us. She is growing so fast, and I just love holding her, Amelia, we love you!

I am good. Work is good. Kids are good. DH is good. Duluth is beautiful. We are trying to be better at adulting (cleaning, home maintenance, paperwork, etc). I try to pay attention to the little things with the kids and enjoy them, and not let exhaustion or laziness overwhelm the happiness. Life is good.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Snapshot May 31

Amelia is almost 3 months old (just five days shy!). Everyone comments on what a "good" baby she is. She is an easy baby (knock on wood), a happy baby. She eats well, sleeps decently, and enjoys existing. She does not colic, or cry herself to sleep. She likes to watch what other people are doing. She laughs at her brother shenanigans. She laughs when you tickle her. She always seems to find the tv to look at if one is one. She likes it when you look at her and make faces, she coos and giggles. She is not a big fan of tummy time but she does like to be upright, sitting or "standing" in your arms, holding her head up straight. I am enjoying learning more about her everyday.

Felicity 2yrs and 8 months old. She demands what she wants. Since she is two, this means what she demands changes about every 30 seconds. She enjoys taunting her brother. The most frequent argument is whether to call Amelia by her full name or by Amy. This occurs on virtually every car ride. She also likes to say things JUST to aggravate Ben, and he takes the bait every time "You can't eat, your poopy" is a common allegation made by Felicity. She enjoys pretend play- cooking in the kitchen, taking care of baby dolls, doctors office, etc. One of her cutest current phrases is "Why cuz??" She likes to talk nonsense just so she is talking, and if you interrupt her she say "No! I was talking first." She likes telling the teachers at daycare about whatever was exciting to her over the weekend. She is almost potty trained. Soon, when we declare her potty trained, we will be going on a train ride, because she loves the local train and loves to see it go by, even if it scares her.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Perfect 33



Its my birthday.

33

I am right where I want to be and 33 is a perfect number.

Three kids, a house, husband, job. I am living the dream.

Picture it. Its a weekend morning and the kids pile into our bed. Husband tired from an early morning. The toddler is trying to poke the baby. The cat is being annoying. I did not get enough sleep. The preschooler has already had 2 hrs of screen time and is currently still glued to a phone. And its perfect. Its right where I wanted to be when I was 17 and thought I would be a young mom, or 22 and getting married. We listened to country music - Front Porch Looking In. Husband and I fantasized about having pets and a house and kids. And now we have it and its perfect. We have arrived. This is it. This is life as I always wanted it. And it is reality.

Of course I am tired sometimes. I get frustrated. I want my 5 year old to listen. I worry. I want to sleep. I want a moment to myself or more money or longer vacation. Of course I still look to the future, wonder what comes next. Plot and plan and fantasize. That's just human nature.

But when push comes to shove, I can't think of anything more perfect, more glorious than sitting at Brighton Beach on a nice day, baby blanket spread out on a flat rock for my infant, while my toddler and her Dad fling stones haphazardly into the water and my preschooler runs off into the distance testing his strength, balance and boundaries. I can't think of anything better than the laughter of my two older kids when I pretend to warm up my vocal chords before breaking into their lullaby at bedtime, or the weight of that infant in my arms, old enough to smile but young enough to still fit cradled in one arm. Push pause. Freeze frame. Remember this moment as perfection.

I am incredibly lucky. My biggest pains are not my own. I hurt because the world is a cruel place, because our politicians do not care about the people I serve, because people hate, and most of all because friends or family are suffering. I cry because I cannot do anything to help people I love get to where I am, because biology doesn't care about hopes and heartbreak. But as sad or depressed as any of these makes me, I am crying for other people. There is nothing I can do to balance that out, so I just make sure to be thankful for what I have.

Sometimes, I wonder when my bubble will burst. Am I due for a personal crash? But most the time, I just sit back and try to soak it all up because this is temporary. Even without disaster, this sweet spot where everything is exactly how I always dreamed will change. The kids will grow up. I will be done having babies. No one will pile onto my bed too early on Sunday. I am sure other times will be good as well, but this moment is the culmination of the dreams a younger me dreamed.

33 is perfect, and I am happy to be here.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Busy..

When you get busy, and fall behind, you face the debate of whether to go back and try to catch up, or whether to just skip writing about some precious memories and start over on today.

I wanted to blog about the older kids meeting Amelia, how Felicity was nervous, but the gift exchange, and then her brother's ease, eventually brought her around; how Felicity tried to look down my shirt to see my belly was no longer "full" of baby. Those are about all the details I remember now.

I thought I might have time to write about the first week home, and other random cute moments.

But guess what?  Life with three kids is busy. EVEN when I am on leave, even when DH is on part time leave. Its going to get a lot busier when DH is full time again this coming week, and then in two weeks when I go back to the office. Anyways, I have had my hands full of infant.

Amelia has proven to be a fairly easy baby THUS FAR. (Knock on wood, always knock on wood). She only gets up once or twice during the night, and even slept through the night once already (about a week ago.... no repeat performance). She doesn't get fussy very long or very often. She eats well, poops well, and naps well (better every day). She tolerates the vast majority of her siblings poking and prodding, and just is usually pretty chill. She smiles in her sleep, and has given me 2 "real" smiles... but nothing regular or persistent just yet at 6 weeks. She has big beautiful deep blue eyes, brown hair, and the same eye lashes that have gotten constant comments for all of my children.

Felicity is 2.5, and she likes Amelia, is very curious about taking care of her. She is SO verbal and has constant constant questions (that are mostly in the form of statements. "Amelia is hungry? Amelia is eating? Amelia is eating your milk? You are feeding Amelia? Amelia is awake? Amelia is going [makes sucking noises]?" ... I am not exaggerating, that could be two minutes of my life. Then Felicity might try to "boop" Amelia's nose while she is eating and then when I tell her not to do that she will start jumping on the bed (which she knows is not allowed when I am on the bed w Amelia), and then end up in time out (assuming DH is there to administer it). Felicity says "Me-wa" rather than Amelia. We also have tried to get to call Amelia "Amy" but it is unclear if it will take. Today I told my mom, Felicity has always loved books, water, and sleeping. My mom added cottage cheese to the list.

Ben is 5. He loves Amelia. He wants to kiss her head, kiss her cheeks, pet her hair, tickle her, and hug her, hold her.... to such an extreme it becomes a problem and we have to "ban" him from touching the baby for a time. He is learning more and more to be gentle, and what gentle means when baby is so small. He also is learning to be a bit  more independent now that I literally have my hands full so often. Today he successfully got himself a bowl of cereal without any physical help from me whatsoever, and minimal advice on how to go about it. He is pretty interested in wildlife shows and dinosaurs right now, still loves board games. He is very interested in military stuff, fighting, machines of war, etc, but we try to keep a cap on it somewhat. He recently also has taken more of an interest in sports and after YEARS of cheering against anyone we said was a "good" team (Minnesota, OSU, etc), he suddenly realized last week how fun it can be to cheer for the same team us, so that is nice.

I am happy. Life is pretty good. I am working a bit from home and there are some important decisions going on at work. I enjoy the infant phase, and all of the freedom maternity leave offers. I am catching up on errands and projects I have been putting off for literal years, spending time with friends and family, eating at some fun restaurants. Amelia is portable and adorable. Sometimes I worry I dont spend enough time starring lovingly into her eyes, but I certainly spend a lot of time feeling her breath as she sleeps on my chest.