Thursday, December 27, 2018

Holiday Highlights - 2018

Thanksgiving - For Thanksgiving we traveled to Des Mointes for a week, where we got to spend a lot of good time with Unkin Steve, aunt Sheila, Grandma and Grandpa (my in laws), my SIL, her husband and our adorable Nephew. I did a lot of puzzles with Sheila. Ben and Fliss are ALMOST old enough to just send downstairs to play.. but not quite. It was fun watching the kids unwrap early Christmas presents. We also got to go on a double date with SIL to see Bohemian Rhapsody.

Christmas - Since we had three days off as a family leading up to Christmas we decided to start things early and gradually opened gifts on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Then, Christmas morning (Tuesday) we opened Santa's gifts and went to my parents house for the whole day.

Ben got a lot of books board games, and a kit to design his own board games. He was super pumped about the game "through the ages" - a super long complex strategy game that is technically for ages 14+. As far as I can tell, Ben understands it better than DH due to watching you-tube videos about it .

Felicity got a real, working vacuum, peppa pig toys, puzzles, and board games. She was super excited about a triple bunk bed for her doll house and wants one in real life so that Amelia can share it with her and Ben. We enjoyed coloring Peppa Pig together on Christmas.

Amelia got some duplos, a mini golf set, and lots of little things. She was amazed by the christmas lights this year, and if the tree was turned off she would point at it until you turned it on and then crack a big grin. She also loved unwrapping gifts and if you were not fast enough in telling her which presents were hers, she would start unwrapping any she could get her hands on. Uncle Josh made her a super fancy rocking chair. She loved it. She also figured out how to climb up on Grandma's dining room chairs and was very proud of this fact.

On Christmas day we exchanged adult stockings and spent all day eating. We went on an "adventure" out walking in the woods where I was reminded I am raising city kids. When we got back from that all three kids passed out and I had a chance to do some Christmas puzzling.

It was a fun day and fun Christmas, but oh so tiring!!

Felicity on her 4th Birthday

Felicity turned 4 on 9/22. We had a big party, which is exactly what she wanted. Her exact requests for her birthday party this year were
1. A LONG party at home
2. "Chocolate Donut Cake"
3. Attendance of two family friends R&R
We were able to accommodate all of the above, and ended up with about about 13 kids and just as many adults eating donuts - the adults having good conversation, the kids running all over playing. Felicity's gift was a fancy dollhouse. I fretted so long trying to decide what kind to get, worried about the compatibility with her current toys and whether the house would be worth the money and have the accessories she wanted. It turned out my worries were in vain - while the Calico Critters are not technically compatible with Disney "little people", she has mixed them seamlessly and installed the calico critters staircase on the balcony of her beauty and the beast castle.

Felicity at four years old.
On her fourth birthday she thought she would suddenly be able to read (she couldn't, and that little pout of sadness when she discovered this was too adorable).
She is fiercely independent and fiercely snugly at the same time. She wants to do so many things herself- pour milk, clean serve food. Other moments she acts like a total baby (goo goo gah gah and everything) and insists she cannot dress herself or stand up.  She always wants more hugs from mom, regardless of how many I already gave her. Her and dad have a whole routine of all the different types of hugs they must do before he can drop her off at school (upside down. backwards, frog, leg, etc).
Felicity is a little monkey. I think if you let her grab your pinky she would find a way to use it to hang off of you. She is always lifting her feet off the ground.

Her vocab is constantly growing, but she still puts Fs infront of most 3-syllables, and also many 2-syllable words. Like Adult is fuh-dalt. Disaster is Fi-Saster. It does not matter whether she can say the correct starting sound, she just adds an F. Pajamas are Fa-jamas. She also has a bad habit (that is more related to inability to make the starting S sound) to say Sucker with an F... 1

(That is where I stopped typing, and I never went back! Want to publish this so it stays part of my records).

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Bedtime Conversations

This was all one conversation with Felicity, but I broke it up into little sections on topic

Felicity: what do tigers eat
Me - little animals that live in the forest like deer and wild pigs and rabbits
Felicity - do they eat humans
Me - yes, if they have the chance

Felicity - what do lions eat
Me - animals that live on the savanna, like antelope and other things that live there
Felicity - do they eat humans
me - yes if they have the chance

Felicity - what do bears eat
Me - berries and fish and whatever they find laying about they don't really hunt like the other things
Felicity - do they eat humans
Me- not really, they don't really hunt
Felicity - if a bear was eating my sandwich ( something that I do not understand at all here)
Me - if a bear wanted your sandwich you would let the beer have it and you would get out of there quickly... They won't eat you but they're not exactly safe either
Felicity- if there was a bear in our house trying to eat my sandwich I would run past all the other houses and and get you until I found one that was safe
Me- there won't be a bear in our house, bears do not like houses, the closest a bear would get to our house is to eat our trash because as I said earlier they like to find things and eat them, so if we throw away food they will smell it, and tip the trash over and eat it but then they will be afraid of us and run away. Wild animals don't like houses
Felicity - remember that time at bedtime when there was a bear eating our trash?
Me- yes, and remember when I said something it heard my voice and got scared and ran away you don't need to worry about any wild animals coming into our house

Felicity - remember the time that a dog tried to eat me I think we were at a dog park
Me - no I do not remember that at all, where were we? You have never been to a dog park
Felicity - it was a mean dog and it growls and it was going to eat me I was so scared let's not go to that dog park again,
Me -I do not know what that dog park was, but if we ever go somewhere that you are afraid because of that dog, tell me and we can do something else
Felicity- ok! Sounds good (seems genuinely relieved)

Here's a conversation with Ben the same night

Me - why are you out of bed
Ben- I'm getting the next Captain Underpants book, book 10
Me- don't stay up too late reading
Ben - don't worry, I am just going to read this comic book part and then one more chapter after that you don't have to worry, I will only read about two chapters and each chapter only takes a couple of minutes, and then I will go to bed

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.