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.