Sunday, July 10, 2016

All Grown Up

Yeah... so it has been two months since I posted. Oops!
In my defense, I have moved to some other versions of keeping track of our lives - mainly a "line a day" journal in which I keep one line as often as possible for myself, Ben, and Felicity. But I did not mean to abandon my blog.

It has been a crazy two months. Here is what we have been up to -

-  I have been selling Usborne Books, averaging four parties a month.
- For my Birthday we went up the shore and had a glorious picnic and fun time hanging out at the Baptism River and Silver Bay Marina
- I travelled to Columbus in June for a frozen embryo transfer. We STILL are waiting to find out if this was successful, so don't ask.
- Aaron and Ben traveled to Des Moines to help his parent move there!
- We had a good Independence Day! Aaron was sick, but I took Felicity and Ben to the Superior Parade, we had BBQ at my parent's house, and I took Ben to see the fireworks (from Marshall)

Here is what the kids are up to -

Ben is starting to learn manners and act like a human being! Sometimes. He is into Legos, Ninjago (a lego Ninja show). We bought clearance Star Wars playdoh that he is loving.  He is still a picky eater, but seems SLIGHTLY more likely to try something new if we say he will like it.  At least once daily he asks "what kind of dragon are you?" and we have to invent a new dragon to play as. Aaron just introduced him to Pokemon Go and he likes that. His speech is still not clear, he will continue speech therapy in the fall. He loves playing in water. He is interested in learning to read, and in science.

Felicity is talking more everyday. The last time I posted we were excited she was saying things like Nooooooo. Now she is saying multiple sentences and surprising us with new vocabulary. Today's new sentence was "I'm coming!", which she shouted out down the sidewalk to her dad today who was already at the garage. She loves to be outside. She likes vehicles. We went to the airshow this weekend and she laughed at the noise of the Jets. She likes to point to a vehicle confirm what it is, and then say vroom vroom. She likes to identify possession - who owns what. She is still saying Ommy for drink , and I do not know the link. She is fearless and will climb anything, is doing some serious big kid obstacles at the playground these days. She wants to do anything she sees her brother doing. She jumps  (It took Ben forever to jump! So this surprised me!). She wants to do EVERYTHING herself, I would say she has hit the terrible two's early.

Hope that is a good update!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Sunny Weather

After lingering cold, yesterday a new weather pattern moved in and we suddenly have summer temperatures (too warm for my liking!). I love being able to open the windows though, and seeing all the summer close out there.

Last night we went to the Lyons Club Pancake Dinner at the DECC. It is a massive affair, and it was our first time going. It was also Ben's first pancake dinner. He was so excited about it going in when we described the concept, and the actual event did not disappoint. He was especially happy about the blueberry syrup they had. Felicity was pretty tired, so its hard to tell if she liked it or not. We also all had our vision screened by my friend Sam with this cool camera that you just have to look at to tell if your eyes have certain issues.

Felicity's new developments this week... she is saying a lot of things specific to her books, like the book that says "oops" and the one that says "noooooooo". She tries to mimic these dramatic sounds. She is also trying to say more other things like "all done", "please", etc. When we have made it to the playground, she has loved the slides. She has also tried some "big kid" obstacles like ladders and the like, she jumps right in and tries!

Ben has been pretending to be an animal or monster or creature basically non-stop. Bloody Devil (a giant black and red sea serpent he made up), or Alligators, or Spiders, or Spinosaurus (apparently from Jurassic Park?) . He plays he is the baby. He asks repetitively if we are still playing we are the parents. He likes when I call him "baby ____" instead of Ben. He has been loving Magic School Bus books recently.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Felicity at 19 Months

Felicity is 19m old!

She has peed on the potty 4 times so far! She is very interested in using it.
Its hard to remember what changes since the last time I posted.
She loves to brush her teeth, wash her own hands, and of course play in any running water. She loves baths.

She is a hungry girl, she eats so much on somedays! But she is already showing the same picky eating that her brother has. I suspect she is actually modelling his behavior. I was trying to get them to try cantelope. She refused. Then Ben refused. Then I dared Ben to lick it. He licked it and immediately took a bite (because its good!!). She immediately wanted some.

She is much more likely to eat something if she can put it on a spoon or fork. She uses utensils more, and better, than her brother. She likes BBQ sauce, oranges, beans, and cottage cheese the most. (and Jelly Beans...)

Her language has started to take off a bit in the past two weeks. She tries to say more and more things. My favorite thing lately is the way she says "oh". A common morning conversation would be:
Felicity: Da da daddy? (Pointing at the bed where he sleeps)
Me: He is at work
Felicity: Oh.
She also likes that rhythm... da da daddy? Ma ma mommy? ow ow owie? She uses it a ton.
She is still using Owie to mean help sometimes, though she does seem to understand help is a word too.

She continues to be pretty awesome.

Friday, April 1, 2016

I*N*D*E*P*E*N*D*E*N*T (Do you know what that means?)

Felicity is asserting her independence these last few days. She want's to do everything herself.

The most comical (and ridiculous) example of this has been the drinking fountain at daycare. Yesterday at pickup she stood on the little stool at daycare and begged for us to push the button for her to make it run (owie! owie!... we need to replace this with HELP lol). When we pushed the button and the water stated, she would try to drink it. But she is not tall enough, so she would whine. But if you tried to pick her up she would cry and kick and squirm. Basically she could not physically do the task, but refused help. Fun times!

She wants to serve herself food, and not sit in a high chair. She wants to use adult plates and bowls. She wants to fill her own "big kid" water cup and drink from it herself (she climbs up on the toilet to reach the downstairs bathroom sink). She tries to put on her own socks and shoes. She loves to put on her own hats. She wants to run with the big kids (and in general, run away from us). 

It is a frustrating.. but fun. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Felicity At 18 Months

Felicity is 18 months old today!
Yes. Time flies. This morning I got the comment at daycare from another parent -  "How is she already in the toddler room? I thought you were just pregnant?". I told her I felt the same way.

Felicity grows and changes every day. She gives the best kisses, and pretty good hugs too. And she likes to do these things.

Her vocabulary is still pretty limited, but she is in that phase where she thinks we can understand much more she is staying then we actually can, so lots and lots of trying new words. Her "for sure" words are Mom/Mommy, Dad/Daddy, Dog, Water, More, Owie, Hi, and Bye. She can say Yes (Yeah) if you remind her to use it, but much prefers to just break into a big toothy smile and giggles when the answer is yes. She shakes her head vigorously for no.

Felicity is very into self care and cleaning. She loves to help find her socks in the morning, and tries to get close on and off. She can put her own hat on and occasionally manages to get a boot on. She likes to pick things up, and wipe things off. Sometimes she dumps something out just to get to wipe it up. She loves being helpful. I love how when she is eager to do something (like leave the bedroom, go downstairs, leave the house etc), you can stop her and tell her what needs to be done first, and she tends to calm down and do it or try to help with it. (Example: Its in the morning and she is eager to go across to Ben's room, and maybe is whining or pounding on the door. I can say "Felicity, we need to get socks for Ben" and she will come back around and start looking for socks. Or, "Felicity, I need to put pants on me? Where are my pants" and she will come look at what I am wearing and maybe go to the laundry basket. Its a lot of fun.

Felicity loves to read books. Her favorite things are anything with dogs in them, or flaps, or objects to open. Did you know "Going on a Bear Hunt" has a dog on every page? Felicity does. She also has "Spot the Puppy" and a lot of Hello! Magazines that she loves. She likes adults reading her books, but she also loves just sitting on her own, "reading" (babbling) as she turns pages.

At daycare, she has been in the toddler room for about two months. She seems to love being there. She arrives home entirely exhausted, and has therefore been going to bed at 6pm on days she was at daycare. On days she stays home or with grandma she naps more and can stay up later. She is sleeping through the night most of the time, and I just gave her a pillow and blanket, though she isn't really using them yet.

Felicity likes to play dolls, play with stickers, and draw or color. She likes to take the helmet's off Ben's lego guys and put them back on. She has been doing A LOT of puzzles, with some help, but she gets better every day. She uses "owie" to mean help, so if a piece won't fit she says "owie!" which is both adorable and confusing at times. She likes to be outside. She likes walking in snow, or on grass. She has an opinion about what shoes she wears, and what jacket, but the opinion changes.

When Felicity is really excited, she does this hilarious little rapid leg motion that we now call "crazy legs", and its sort of a nickname for her. We also call her Fliss, Baby Girl, Felicity Jane, and sister. Mostly its Felicity though. I think my mom calls her Little Bits.

I am still absolutely in love with her. More every day, if that is even possible.

Monday, March 7, 2016

First Hockey Game

On Friday night we took Ben to his first Hockey game, or, at least he first one he has any chance of remembering at all.

He did NOT want to go. He wanted to throw a big fit and stay home. But, we persisted. We wanted it to be HIS night. He made that a bit hard because he was asleep for the beginning of it, and very grumpy, but eventually he caught on. We took him to Perkin's for dinner so he could get breakfast food, which he loved. Then onto the hockey game. He was mesmerized as soon as we walked in, loved going through the skywalk, loved the atmosphere, loved the bleacher seating. There was a lot of empty space and he could run around.

When the game started, he watched pretty closely for the first 8 minutes or so of play, even craning his neck to see around other people. He liked the checking. Then he started to get restless and we moved to a less crowded section so he could move around more. He loved when UMD scored goals. We were really not sure how much he was following, but shortly after a goal got disallowed I was explaining how to read the scoreboard and he caught the difference ("2? I thought we scored 3 goals!"). We stayed until the end of the 2nd period, he was looking more and more tired and less and less interested. As we were leaving he said "Maybe you can watch the rest of the game on TV while I am in bed and when it is over come up and tell me if we won" and " maybe some time after my next birthday, after my five birthday, we can come back here and I can play hockey". It was adorable that he was so interested!

Really, the biggest and best outcome of the night was that we showed him it can be fun to root for a a good team! The atmosphere- the band playing, people screaming, jumping up and down, totally got him hooked. Maybe eventually we can translate to rooting for good guys in movies and fiction....

Thursday, February 25, 2016

First Pigtails

Yesterday Felicity had her first Pig Tails. That is all.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Little Days (17 Months Old)

Felicity is 17 months old today.

I keep having the thought "Ben did not do this" and then wondering if maybe he did and I just don't remember well. I want to remember these days better.

I want to remember the way she sidles into my lap when I am not paying attention, so that suddenly my arms are full of her and she is doing whatever activity I am doing (this happens most frequently when I am playing something with Ben, like Lego).

I want to remember how much fun it is to have her try to say new words. She screeches as she tries to push her shopping cart over the lip of the tile, and I say "do you need help? Can you say "help please?"" and she says something that is vaguely but definitely like help please.

I want to remember how she says yes by a cacophony of laughter or a strange half nod movement of her head.

I want to remember her giggle. And what random things can make it come out.

I want to remember the sight of Benjamin leaning over to gently kiss her cheek in the bath.

I want to remember her walking around with a book pretending to read in a song of sounds.

I want to remember the feeling of her falling asleep in my arms as I rock her quietly in her room. And how she sometime hums and sings herself to sleep.

I want to remember her crazy legs, and that we call her "Crazy Legs" as a nickname because the little excited shuffle foot stomping she does.

I want to remember the curls of her hair and the softness of her cheeks and the deliciousness of her skin.

And how she tries to brush her own hair. And my hair.

And how, when she is in a clingy mood, and I try to put her down, she hangs off me like a monkey and uses her little feet to climb her legs back onto my hip.

And how she sits and waits on her little stool when she wants cheese-its.

And how she likes to look out windows.

And how she tries to crawl away from me, across the bed, when I am trying to get her dressed, and its a game to her and she giggles and laughs as I pull her back.

And how she tries to life her little foot up in the air to point at her sock or shoe.

And how she always picks the blue markers when she colors.

I will do my best to soak it all up.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Happy Birthday - Water??

Ben declared today Water's birthday. Water is a stuffed Elephant that Aunt L gave him a few holidays ago (maybe last Christmas? I am not entirely sure). She sewed a heart on the elephants chest to customize it and make it a good "patient" for a vet kit she made. Ben came up with the name Water.

Recently Ben was playing with water and pointing out the heart. I said "Do you know who put that heart on there?" Ben asked who. I said "Aunt Laurelyn, do you know why?" Ben responded, with a huge grin and hugging water tightly, "because she loves me!"

I am finding that there are a lot of little things like that that people did for Benjamin when he was smaller and did not really understand at the time that he really loves now. I look forward to pointing out more special connections in his possessions as the days pass!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


Ben... his personality. How do I describe it? The easiest way I think is - he likes the bad guy. We joke that we loved him too much as a baby because he seeks out the darkness and the baddy's like crazy. From Darth Vader to the Green Bay Packers.

He also has quiet the imagination. Anyone who has hear about his character "Good Darth Vader" knows there is an entire world of Star Wars universe in his head that did not come from the big screen. Now he is doing that to Harry Potter as well, and I want to record it.

Enter Rogue Falcon. Rogue Falcon occurs in "special" Harry Potter titles like "Harry Potter and the Greatest Dark Wizard". You can only watch these special movies if "you are very very very good that day". (Can you tell we have been using screen time as a reward/punishment?)

Rogue Falcon is the greatest dark wizard of all time.

When he was a boy, Rogue Falcon just went by Falcon. He added the Rogue part when he was an adult. Falcon was put into Slytherin because he told the sorting hat that his parents had been in Slytherin and that he wanted to follow in their footsteps. Falcon plays seeker for Slytherin. Falcon is bad all the way through. When he was little,  Falcon was already bad. When he was a student at Hogwarts he let a Basilisk loose on the school. However, the Basilisk didn't attack the castle, it turned around and started attacking Falcon, so Falcon brought in a Black Shadow to fight it.

What is a Black Shadow you ask?

A Black Shadow is from Ben's fantasy "How to Train Your Dragon" Universe. A Black Shadow is a dragon that cannot be killed. Its scales are like Dragon Hunter Arrows, and they have tiny hooks on them. Because Black Shadows cannot be killed, it is better to be friends with them. You can tame them by feeding them Tuna and playing with them. If you do these things, then the Black Shadow will not go back to the wild. A Black Shadow is a Black Dragon with red eyes and yellow markings around its eyes. It can shoot back whatever another dragon shoots at it (so if a Skrill shoots lightning at it, it can shoot back lightning, if a Gronkel shoots molten rock at it, it can shoot back molten rock). Black Shadows are very very very big. Bigger then Alpha dragons. They also have lots of babies, and the babies are very very cute.

This is my son's imagination. I am sure that I will hear MUCH more about the adventures of Rogue Falcon in the coming days and weeks. I dislike that it is a bad guy, but there is not much I can do about it. I did ask if I could create a Harry Potter character for these special movies,  and he said sure. I told him its a girl, a Keeper for Slytherin. I named her Xanthe Chaffin. I told him she is so smart and good at magic she will prevent all of Rogue Falcon's mischief. He seems to disagree....

Friday, January 29, 2016

16 Months Old

Felicity turned 16 months old a few days ago.

She has rapidly transformed from a baby to a toddler. She runs. She climbs. She jumps (well.. off of things.. especially if her brother did it first). We had her conference at daycare to begin the process of moving her from the baby room to the Toddler room. She has been making long visits to the toddler room this week and seems to be enjoying it quite a bit. Today she was devestated at drop off when she had to go to the baby room.

She understands most of what she say, but seems to have little urge to try to say things herself. I am waiting for a speech explosion. I think Darth Vader will be part of this speech explosion.

She started sleeping through the night, all on her own, without any prompting or effort by me, about two weeks ago, which is fantastic. This also means we are moving slowly towards weaning. She only breastfeeds at bedtime, and now DH has started to rotate with me, so she is breastfeeding once every other day.

Her favorite things include reading, pretending to read, eating (anything and everything... so much its hard to believe sometimes), sitting on benches, walking on couches, looking out windows, seeing dogs, pointing at things and having us say what they are, crayons and markers, and holding onto clothes.

She is so fun to be around, and so adorable.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Benjamin - 4 Years Old!!

Benjamin turned 4 years old on Tuesday!

With recently getting back from the big trip, and his birthday, and Felicity deciding this was a good time to have a major melt down/sleep regression, and both DH and I busy at work, things have been crazy. Its the first year in quite some time where I am just not "feeling" the new year, so the new years posts have not been done. But, I think Ben deserves a post.

We have celebrated his birthday twice so far and will do so at least one more time. First, DH, Aunt M, and Felicity and I took Ben out on his actual birthday. We went (by his request) to McDonalds, then to Adventure Zone, an arcade with bounce houses as well. We even swung by the classic candy store - Hepzibah's. Ben especially liked the bounce house slide, the "Star Wars Battle Pod" arcade game, and chasing his sister around.

Then, on Thursday we had a family birthday party with my parents, older sis and brother (and their spouses of course). It was a lot of fun. We decorated pizza's to taste. Aunt K made really cool snacks - Harry Potter Broomsticks (pretzels with mozzarella), cracker tie fighters, pretzel stick wands and lightsabers, cake pops decorated as snitches and death stars (Hand Painted!) ... it was very cool. Even if the broomsticks lost all structural integrity.... we colored Harry Potter and Star Wars pictures. Ben got a lot of lego sets and immediately wanted to build them. He also got to pay shoots and ladders with his uncle. It was just a generally fun, relaxing time, and he did not melt down when we sang the birthday song to him.

We will have one more party in a couple weeks for his friends. He has told me that I need to decorate more before that (currently we have some streamers, a Happy Birthday banner, and a few balloons). I asked him what he wanted and told him he needed to come up with ideas. His answer was "a medium sized shiny 4 hanging from the ceiling with Darth Vader, 3cpo, and r2d2 on it". I guess I have my work cut out for me.

I put this on Face Book on his Birthday:
Four things about Benjamin my (brand new) four year old that I want to brag about/share with the world:
(1) He just started to build lego sets by himself! Yes, he needs some help with tricky parts but he does very well with it and has shown a lot of perseverance.
(2) He loves Harry Potter, whether it be listening to the audio books, listening to us read it, watching the movies, playing the lego board game, or playing make believe. He is familiar with the first two books and will be allowed to start the third now that he is four. (After that there will be a wait).
(3) He dotes on his baby sister. Even when he is super grumpy, she can make him smile. Sometimes his doting is a bit rough, but oh how he loves her.
(4) He is so curious and wants to learn about the world around him. Lately he is especially interested in the water cycle, outer space, and time.

It summarizes some of the most fun things about him right now. He is constantly cracking us up, usually accidentally with the way his mind works. Other things to remember about him at this age - he roots for the bad guy most of the time. He likes being contrary, so he wants to root for the teams we do not. He says he is going to live with us forever, or, "in a house really nearby so we can walk to each other". He doesn't like transitions/leaving places. If we are home, he wants to stay home. If we are at Grandma's, he wants to stay at Grandmas. He loves board games, especially lego board games, but in general. He loves reading books, especially if they have magic and monsters or space ships in them. He is into both Harry Potter and Star Wars. He has an entire fantasy world where "good Darth Vader" is the main character and he comes up with the most detailed crazy stories for what happens to good Darth Vader. He pictures the Hogwarts hospital wing as a tower with separate sections for each house. He builds an awesome spaceship or castle. He draws a lot. He likes to color. Most of the time he does not like having his picture taken... but when he does want his picture taken he has a super corny big grin. He is not afraid of movies or books, but he is afraid of models (like big dinosaurs at a museum) and live animals (like the zoo), and he is not a big fan of pitch dark. We have some behavior issues, especially at daycare, but it depends on the day. 

Little man, Benjamin, Mr B, Ben, Big Brother, Bry Guy, I love you very much and look forward to seeing how you grow and change in the coming year!!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Christmas/New Years Trip 2015

On December 22nd we left Duluth MN and drove the 10 hrs down to St Louis MO to visit my ILs. We arrived back home on Saturday (Jan 2nd). Here are some highlights from the trip:

- Felicity ate every clementine she could get her hands on while Benjamin lived on a diet of ham and toast mostly.

- We taught DH's family to play Pandemic.

- It RAINED for five days straight, and when it was done raining it started flooding. Luckily, the ILs live on high ground.

- The large playground near our ILs house, which last year was a pirate ship according to Ben, was Hogwarts this year. Also, the motorcycle that last year I took a picture of DS and DH on it, was this year a back drop for a photo of DS and DD. So cute.

- Christmas was epic. The kids got SO MUCH. We were in a sea of wrapping paper. Of course, Felicity was more interested in handing out packages than opening them. Big hits included a dinosaur that roars, new crayons, and star wars everything.

- Christmas dinner was also epic. It was characterized by "both/and" rather than "either/or". (Ham and Turkey, Cheesy potatoes and mashed potatoes, etc). Very tasty.

- We got to spend time with Aunt A and Uncle D, along with great Unkin/Aunt S/S.

- We took the kids to the Science Center. Felicity liked the glass railings and the optical illusion "spring" that was not really there. Ben liked the Rube Goldberg track in the front lobby and the Mars rock he got to touch. Ben did not want to see the dinosaur section because it was too scary.

- Ben played lots and lots and lots of board games and watched HP 2 movie for the first time.

- We went to the zoo with our good friends B&R from college (who currently live in San Diego, so we do not see them often), and met their adorable daughter.

- Felicity liked the Polar Bear at the zoo, she got as close to it as she could (wheedling her way up through the crowd of larger children when it got near the glass so that she could be feet from it.). Meanwhile, Benjamin ran from the glass when the bear came close.

- We also got to go ice skating with B&R at Forest Park. I did not know Forest Park had an ice rink, but it does and we went. We also had coffee with them at a bizarre Mediterranean cafe where we were the only customers and the owner tried to hard sell us appetizers. Good "Borgia" though (orange mocha).

- FIL made us his old Beef Stew and his new Chili and both were delicious, despite DH's whining about change.

- I got to go clothes shopping without kids.

- Aaron and I got to go out without kids.

- We went to an old college friend K's new apartment, we had not seen him in four years. It was nice to hang out and catch up. He lives in "Old Grand" neighborhood of St Louis, which I had never been to, so that was also nice.

- We watched a lot of good movies... Frozen (I had seen this.. but I liked it more the second time), St. Vincent, Lone Ranger (OK.. I had to go to bed before the end but I was laughing my head off at it), Guardians of the Galaxy... and others I am already forgetting.

- On the way back from St Louis we stopped overnight to see our friends J&S (and their daughter) in Plainfield, IL. It was so nice to see them! Ben taught their daughter to play Light Sabers and both kids enjoyed sampling her toys.