Thursday, December 17, 2009

Night owl



This is one of those parenting moments when you can not keep from laughing and will put a smile on your face for years to come.

Above is how I found Finnan at 10:00pm. Two hours after I put him to bed. I knew he was still up around 9:30 as we heard animated shrieks coming from his room. When I hadn't heard anything for a little while, I went in to turn off his lamp. Instead of seeing him curled up with his face pressed into an open book, I found him surrounded. No wonder he could not go to bed, there was no room. The three books he took to bed clearly multiplied. After clearing his bed and turning off the lamp, I offered Finnan panda to cuddle with. He turned me down. "No...book." He grabbed two of the three books he was allowed to keep in bed with him and turned over holding on to them in the dark.

In regards to Finnan's nightly reading habits, both Atticus and I are pointing fingers at each other. Atticus stays up late. His best working hours are after midnight. I am a book lover and can not go to sleep without reading a book. He clearly shares aspects of both of our personalities. Just not in any combination we had anticipated. True to Finnan's pajamas, he is a little night owl...now, how am I going to move Jude out of our closet and into Finnan's room? (Ironically, Jude ended up in our closet instead of our room because I needed to read in bed :))

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Follow That Bird!

Every once and a while Finnan takes very, very long naps. Sometimes, he doesn't even wake up until morning. Yesterday after he had napped for 4 hours, we assumed it would be one of those naps, so we put Jude to bed and settled down for a movie. Well, Finnan ended up waking up at 8 and crawled in next to me on the sofa. Never wanting to waste these moments, I decided to let him watch his first full-length film. Apparently, Accidental Tourist wasn't very interesting for him, or us, for that matter, so we searched through the instant netflix options and started Follow That Bird.

Follow That Bird is a Sesame Street movie from our childhood. The basic plot is that the Feathered Friends society decides that Big Bird should live with a bird family. So he is placed with the Dodos. Big Bird becomes very unhappy and runs away, trying to get back to Sesame Street. In addition to Big Bird having no directional sense, he also has the Feathered Friends Society trying to track him down and some seedy characters trying to catch him to make money. Luckily, all of our favorite Sesame Street characters are searching for him as well. I remember seeing this movie in the theater with my friend Susan and specifically remember being very moved by it, crying when Big Bird was locked in the cage and feeling joyful when he returned to Sesame street. It was made in 1985 so I would have been 4 or 5 at the time.

Being only 2, Finnan was not quite as taken with the movie. He did fixate on certain aspects though. First, we mistakenly mentioned Elmo. Well, as I always suspected, Elmo was not a character on Sesame Street during our time, so Elmo never appeared (although Atticus tried to convince Finnan that Telly was actually Elmo). Secondly, at one point there was a tractor in the movie. This was the end of any cuddling with me. He jumped up and never ceased to ask about the tractor for the rest of the movie. Numerous times we thought (or hoped) he had forgotten about the tractor as he seemed engrossed with his trains. Then, he would look up at the screen and desperately call out for the tractor. Also noteworthy, Finnan continued to assert that the Count was actually a monkey, and he did not understand why none of the birds in the movie could fly. He did think the movie was very silly and it was fun watching him. It is clear he is far from being ready for a movie theater. After napping for five hours, he still was not ready for bed at 9:30. We finally got him in bed, but when I went in to turn off his lamp at 10:45 he was still reading.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Stuck inside


Little boys are not meant to be inside for more than a few wakeful hours at a time. This holds true no matter how cold it is outside, how much it is raining, or how runny their noses are. We have been very lucky this fall/winter. Although we have had a decent amount of rain, it has not been that cold, or cold for more than a few days at a time. We also have seemed to avoid sickness. That is until December came. December has brought us colds, eye infections (in all four of my children's eyes), an ear infection, and croup. Still, we have been lucky. Finnan's eye infections, which were so bad he could barely open his eyes cleared up after one application of the drops. When we took him in for his eyes, they caught his ear infection at the very beginning stages. Jude still had drops left over from his month long battle with goopy eyes, so when his started oozing, I was able to stop that right away. And although Jude's croup is keeping us stuck in the house, it is a very mild case. Still, Finnan has been stuck in the house for too long and Jude's croup is keeping us further quarantined. All of this sickness also seemed to correspond with incredibly cold and rainy weather. Finnan can go out in the backyard for brief periods, but then some common sense overtakes my need for him to expend some energy and I have to corral him back inside. We are tired of being inside! But, once again, luck is on our side. In a week we will be headed down to New Orleans for almost two weeks. And even if the weather does not fully cooperate, my little guys will have their favorite people doting on them.

Jude eating solids



I think I figured it out. (A resounding knock on wood.) Mix everything with banana.

Up until last week Jude has not been interested in eating solids, or, more specifically, he has not been interested in eating solids off of a spoon for me. Atticus and my Mom somehow managed to force pureed fruits and veggies into Jude, but I was unable to manage it as it took some coordination and force, qualities I just don't seem to have. On the other hand, he would devour a whole banana for me. So, I decided to mix chunks of bananas with his pureed foods. He now seems excited to eat and will open his mouth willingly for me. While this may seem an obvious solution, I do think I also stumbled upon it when the timing was right for Jude. I also took a tip from a couple of friends with babies not interested in solids. Yogurt. Once he got a taste of yogurt he seemed much more willing to open up to see what was coming next. I am going to try to get through some more of the pureed baby food that I made, but will probably skip over to finger foods shortly. He doesn't have the coordination to feed himself (I guess it runs in the family :)), but I think he will have more fun eating and I will have more success feeding him.

And, the best part of Jude eating...he is much easier to entertain at restaurants! The pictures above were taken at Radial, my favorite breakfast place. Jude got to enjoy his banana and water while I was able to eat my southern eggs benedict and Atticus, his pinapple upside down pancakes, without me nursing or Atticus juggling. We will treasure this stage as I know, based on experience, shortly Jude will not want to sit in his high chair and want to hop from lap to lap, play under the table or run around in circles. Oh wait, we already have one of those toddlers.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Growing up fast




When people ask me how old Jude is, I have to stop and think. For some reason, I always want to say 3 months. In reality, he is going to be 7 months old next week. Atticus often says when we had Finnan, someone pressed the fast forward button on our lives. We have two little boys changing so fast right in front of our eyes. Regardless of how much you take the time to enjoy each moment, they keep changing and we never feel like we have gotten quite enough.

Over the course of a day, Jude went from eating his toes or toppling over when I propped him up in a sitting position to sitting perfectly. I think his favorite part of sitting is being able to drum. He has also become quite the dancer (although not when sitting up, yet). With or without music he will become inspired and lift up his arms and legs and wiggle his hips. He especially loves to dance when being held outward with his bottom propped on my hip or n the bathtub. He has started to chatter a lot and will go from typical baby babble and bubble blowing sounds to mimicking a screech owl, all in good humor. Finnan and Jude seem to have conversations with each other, mostly with Finnan copying what Jude is doing. It's hysterical, but isn't it suppose to be the other way around?

With his dancing, chattering and general participation in what's going on around him, Jude has gotten remarkably more fun in the last week. So, no, I don't still want him to be 3 months old. In fact, I am guilty of wishing he was starting to walk, which was my favorite milestone with Finnan. I guess, it is just a matter of my brain catching up to my life. And to think, I still occasionally catch my self writing 2008.



Monday, December 7, 2009

My little reader




Finnan has always loved reading. I started reading to him when he was only days old. I wish I could say I did this to promote a love of reading, but, quite frankly, I did this because I did not know what else to do with him. I would run out of things to talk to him about and when it's just you and a baby there is very little to narrate. So, we read a lot. When he got his first soft book for Christmas, he started turning the pages right away.

Two years later, with the distractions of trains, trucks, and tools, Finnan still loves to read. He can not go to bed without three books. (For some reason, every time a question calls for a number, the answer is three. How old are you? 3! How many hammers are there? 3! A few weeks ago his answers changed from 2 to 3. I guess he figured out 3 is usually the better answer.) Recently, we have had to put a lamp in his room so that he can read before he falls asleep. When we check on him before we head off to bed, we'll find him using his book as either a pillow or a soft animal.

A few days ago, he was looking through his book on the sofa. I sat down next to him so that I could read the book to him. He immediately gave me a distressed whine, "No!!! Mine!" Then, he jumped off the couch (with his book of course) and got another one of his books for me to read. He gave me the book, saying, "Mama." And then sat down with his book, reiterating, "Mine." Okay. So while I read I Stink, a story about garbage trucks, he looked through I Love Trains. ( You can guess what most of his books are about :))

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Two weeks and no blog

Watching the trains at the Botanical Gardens

Happily being pushed in the swing by Finnan

My two cowboys riding the horse together

Look at my tongue!

Just because I haven't blogged in a while doesn't mean that I haven't had anything to blog about. In the last two weeks, we prepared, decorated for, and celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas with my family and my aunt's family. My normal down time was then spent working on a 32 hour consulting gig for UNAIDS (my first in 8 months!). But, now that the project is done, I can provide a few snapshots from the last two weeks.

Since my family left Chicago for Pennsylvania more than 20 years ago, every couple of years we have been celebrating Thanks-mas with my aunt's family. This year we were lucky enough to have all 7 of them drive to Atlanta for the holidays. To make their trip worthwhile, we wanted to make their time here perfect. Atticus and I picked out a tree while Finnan ran and hid among the tree stalls and for the first time our house shines out to the street with a tree inside and lights outside. We cooked a Thanksgiving feast, but, more impressively, managed to fit all 14 people at one long table (well, 13...Finnan slept through the meal). On "Christmas" (black Friday) we exchanged gifts. Conductor Zoe seriously took over the trains while carpenter Delia slid under the table to drill and hammer away and gardener Finnan frantically made sure every blade of grass in the house was mowed. (This was the second day of the visit. On the first day Finnan just stared in awe at his older second cousins' play.) We had a great time and were very thankful for the company and hope we will be doing it again soon! Unfortunately, we didn't manage to get any good pictures...

We have also visited the Botanical Gardens a few times in the past couple of weeks to see their train exhibit. The exhibit is only two oval tracks, but Finnan and Jude could both watch the trains for quite some time, with Finnan pointing out the engine and "boose" and Jude curiously feeling the foliage around the track. In general, Jude has been very interested in plants recently. He loves our Christmas tree and if he is fussy when we are out and about, finding a plant for him to touch will make him happy. Recently, he is also loving swinging, riding my leg horse, dancing, and sticking out his tongue. Finnan seems to share these loves, which occasionally causes a bit of drama, but most often leaves them both smiling and laughing together. Finnan seems to do funny things everyday and I haven't done a very good job cataloguing them, but I did want to share a few. The other day he lifted up his shirt and started nursing his panda, while proudly smiling and saying "Ba-be...milk!" (I'm actually surprised he hadn't done this sooner or since, but his expression was priceless.) I also recently caught him blowing kisses at tractors :)

Ok, hopefully now I'll get back to more regular and thorough blogging! (Not likely with a weekend trip to Chicago and a two-week trip to New Orleans coming up....but I think I just found a New Year's resolution, or at least another one to add to the list.)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

New nickname required




Jude had his 6-month check-up today. He is now 26.25 inches (50th percentile) and 16 lbs 7 oz (25th percentile). We thought Jude was huge and had been referring to him as Chub-a-dub or Chunky Monkey. Apparently not. I guess he just has wonderfully chubby and soft cheeks which make him look big. He is our little Ju-ju-be or Jumi (Jude Miller) once again.

Jude is currently spending his time working on sitting up and grabbing anything and everything in his reach. I am still trying to figure out how to get more sleep. But with or without sleep, we still have a very happy, content, and laid back baby.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Welcome to the tree house!




Atticus and Finnan have finished the treehouse. As much as Finnan loves the treehouse and slide, I think he misses treehouse construction. We have saved a bunch of scrap wood so he can do his own "construction." Everyday the wood gets hammered with a "hammow," drilled with a "zzzz," cut with a "tsaw," and he wants to climb the "daddo."

Finnan is obviously obsessed with tools. This week the Sears tool catalogue arrived at the house. Finnan is enthralled. He seems to study the pages, questioning us about mysterious tools and identifying the tools he knows. That? That? Saw? Two saws!

Friday, November 13, 2009

The trouble with blogging

Arriving at Gabriela's to pick up Finnan is always a treat. You are presented with ten or so wonderfully dirty little faces sitting around a large table slurping down soup or eating fresh bread intently. I love scanning the table looking for my little face and seeing it light up at my presence. Finnan used to jump up from the table at the sight of me. Over the past couple of weeks, we have been lingering longer and longer at Gabriela's. Jude and I will sit down with the other children and serve them more soup or juice. Other parents come in and do the same. It seems that no child ever wants to leave. Today when I arrived the children were picnicking outside. Finnan appeared happy to see me, but when I stood beside him, he looked at me and waved, saying bye-bye, as if I was just dropping him off. From his bench he climbed up the A-frame tree-house type structure in the yard and started swinging it the swing that sits in the center of the platform. I was really struck watching him. Here was my baby swinging in a real swing (not a baby swing), surrounded by a few other little boys and was as happy as could be. Suddenly he seemed so grown-up to me. Watching this scene made me realize that I needed to update the blog regarding his time at Gabriela's. Clearly, he is no longer saying "no...no....no...." at the mention of her name.

The trouble with blogging about children is that they change so fast. Sometimes, I'll blog about something one of them is doing one day and the very next day they will change. Unfortunately, I rarely can keep up with these changes. In addition to the Ms. Gabriela's update, I feel as if I owe Finnan another blog update. The day after I wrote about Finnan's after-nap tantrums, they seemed to stop. Sometimes he will still wake up grumpy, but I found if I offer him a spot on the couch and a TV show, he seems to be able to get out of his funk without throwing his body to the floor or crying hysterically. Now hopefully, this won't change tomorrow as well :)

Apples it is!


Despite intensely staring at our meals and desperately grabbing at our utensils and plates, Jude has not taken to any nourishment other than breastmilk. And even that seems to have to come directly from the source. For about two weeks, I have tried to introduce Jude to "solids." As instructed, I started with rice cereal. That's was a no go, even when mixed with breastmilk. I thought, no big deal, it doesn't look very good to me either, let's just move on to the good stuff. Pumpkin? No. Sweet potato? No. Banana? He did get some banana down, but I think it was only because it was offered on a nice big shiny spoon. Up until today, all of the food present to Jude has provoked and absolutely horrified face followed by bubble blowing in an attempt to get it out of his mouth.

Well, today, I figured it out. Apples! Jude loved sucking on my apple. So much for all of the homemade baby food I have prepared over the last couple of weeks. Sigh. Just kidding. Apparently Jude is not quite ready for solids. We'll just keep trying every few days.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Bzzz!




We did it. We brought out the clippers. And I was the one who initiated and authorized the buzz.

This decision came as a surprise to me too. I love unruly hair. The problem is, it takes frequent haircuts to keep up the messy look without it turning into a mullet or requiring hair ribbons. So, we took a 7 guard (7/8 of an inch) to Finnan. It was easy, but I'm not entirely thrilled with the outcome. He's still cute, of course, but I miss his curls and their reddish sheen. The next steps? First, hopefully wait more than two weeks before the next haircut is required. Then, I am going to try another guard. Do they make 2 inch guards?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The last pumpkin in Atlanta





Rain spoiled our trip to the pumpkin farm so instead we took our little conductors to the aquarium. When after 30 minutes we had not even made it to our favorite tank, we decided to search for pumpkins to carve. Apparently we were a day late. We couldn't locate a single pumpkin on the 7 miles from the aquarium to our house. I was ready to call it quits, but Atticus was suddenly on a mission to decorate. Thirty minutes before our Halloween guests were suppose to arrive, he threw some old clothes and shoes at me and his dad, instructed us to make a scarecrow and headed to the farmer's market for a pumpkin. As one little monkey was arriving, Byron and I were perfecting the scarecrow and Atticus arrived home with two pie pumpkins and a watermelon. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of our scarecrow or our carved watermelon, but I think we started a new tradition.

Luckily, I did manage a few pictures of the two conductors and Finnan's friends, Christian and Lily. After pizza and cookie decorating, we braved the rain and trick-or-treated around the block. We had a great time chatting with neighbors and seeing everyone dressed up. With every bowl of candy, Finnan was hesitant but determined. You can see he even decided his costume was not complete without a chocolate mustache.

Friday, October 30, 2009

What a sweet little boy...


A couple of weeks ago I had my favorite pictures of Finnan and Jude from the past year printed (The picture above was taken in May, shortly before Jude was born). As Atticus and I were looking through the pictures and reminiscing, we both said aloud, "What a sweet little boy he was...so innocent." Before I go on, let me preface this post. Finnan still is an incredibly sweet little boy, who is still very loving and innocent...but...it appears that we are dealing with the dreaded terrible twos.

Finnan is in the process of testing us and his emotional capabilities. He is testing our rules trying to get away with just little infractions or, at least, threatening infractions. No throwing books? Ok, what happens if I just throw it a few inches? No licking Mama's phone? Ok, what if I grin impishly and stick my tongue out a millimeter away from the phone. No walking through the flowers at the Botanical Gardens? Ok, what if I run through them? Individually this infractions are not terrible and I usually feel like I can deal with them appropriately, but his recent tantrums are another story. He seems to have gotten in the habit of having post-nap tantrums. Despite my efforts, I have not figured out how to effectively prevent them. Yesterday, he did not want to change his diaper. Well, the diaper had already been on over 8 hours and a spot was forming on his jeans. When I took his pants off, it started, but the tantrum was not yet ear piercing nor did involve dangerous lunges yet. In hopes of preventing escalation I explained to him that we could go for a walk or play outside when we finished. We could even go to the park if he wanted. So, I continued and took his diaper off. That did it. The screeching and lunging began. He threw himself to the trash can and dug out the sopping wet diaper I just took off of him. He wanted to put that diaper back on instead of one of the clean diapers I offered him (I offered every color of cloth we had or a disposable). No, he wanted the dirty one. Really? Seriously? Now I have read many of the books and I try to follow "kum-by-ya discipline" (this is Atticus' term, not the official term, which is positive discipline). But it is completely ineffective for these tantrums. No amount of prevention, comfort, or empowerment seem to help. Jude's presence seems to aggravate him further. He has to go in time-out to try to calm himself down. I can do nothing for him. Eventually, I'll have my sweet little boy back again, but I have yet to figure out what he needs. We are just hoping he passes through this phase quickly, unlike his father, who apparently lingered in it for quite some time and in the meantime focus on finding just a little bit of humor in it.

Reese?




It took Finnan a couple of days, but as we entered the backyard today he started to ask, Reese? Reese? Reese?

This past weekend we drove to the cottage on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The purpose of the trip was to give Reese to my brother, Michael, and his girlfriend, Rebecca. The changes around our house in the past year have put a lot of stress on Reese. She has always been a timid dog, specifically terrified of thunderstorms and wary around children. When Finnan was a baby she was able to stay away from him, but as his mobility skills increased, so did her fear of him. Over the past couple of months, Reese had a few run-ins with Finnan. When storms approached, she became increasingly anxious, needing to beneath our legs or in a dark corner. Finnan got in her way. The first time she just batted him with her paw. The second she bit him. While it was only a superficial wound, it became clear that we could not keep her. She bit him right below me while I was changing Jude's diaper and both of them were vying for my affection. I know this was my fault, yet, unfortunately, I did not realistically think I could prevent it from happening again.

Luckily, Michael and Rebecca bought a townhome a few weeks ago and were able to take Reese. Of course, I was upset that we had to give her away. She has been a wonderful companion and has always been an incredibly sweet and loving dog. But, I know now, especially after this weekend, that she is going to be so much happier with Michael. Michael and Rebecca spent the day with us at the cottage and Reese was immediately drawn to them. I was pleasantly surprised that when they left, she ran out to their car without any coaxing, despite the fact that it was storming. It really seemed like she knew she was going with them. Or if she didn't, she made it very clear that she was ready for a change and wanted to go with them. It is such a relief to me and Atticus to have her with Michael and Rebecca. We have already gotten wonderful reports back of her happily greeting them as they arrive home, walking through the neighborhood, and even sleeping on their bed. She is once again a spoiled dog. Thank you, Michael and Rebecca!

As an added benefit to the trip, we got to see Atticus' mom and sister, Caelyn, along with a few of his aunts, uncles and cousins. Both Finnan and Jude loved their visit. Finnan got to go in a boat, sit in a tractor, tromp through the river, play incessantly with a few of Atticus' younger cousins and be spoiled by Honey and Caelyn. He even fished for the first time. They didn't catch anything, but Finnan mastered reeling. Jude absolutely loved the attention he received from Atticus' cousins Josh, Luke and Rory. He laughed continuously as they blew kisses on his belly and made funny faces. He thrived with all of the commotion and attention.

Now, drive to Maryland, you might be asking. . . after the last experience where Jude cried all the way from Navarre Beach, Florida to Atlanta? Well, yes. We did it because, well, we didn't have any choice, but it went pretty well. The ride there was perfect. We left around 2 pm. They both took 2 hour naps in the car then were entertained by Atticus for a while before we made our first stop. We lingered for a little while at a rest stop then made it another 2 hours before dinner. After dinner, they both feel asleep for the rest of the 11 hour trip. It was timed perfectly. On the way back we stopped in Charlottesville, VA to visit a college friend Jackie, her husband, Austin, and her two-year-old Tucker. The live in an amazing 1800s farm house complete with chickens, gardens and a lot of land. And, probably more important to Finnan, Tucker has the same obsession with wheeled vehicles. They played together while the adults got to visit. It was the perfect stop followed by the not-so-perfect drive home. We left in the morning and so endured much more awake time. Atticus' iPhone and YouTube saved us for the last couple of hours. It looks like we will definitely be getting a DVD player for the car before our Christmas travels.

We did learn that driving with 2 kids does not have to leave us grasping for our sanity or worrying about hearing loss. We'll no longer be on lock-down at home and look forward to heading back to Maryland soon!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

5 months


This past month started off a bit rocky, but I really feel like the past week or so with Jude has been one of the most enjoyable.

I guess I'll start with the rocky. Jude progressively started waking up at night more and anyone who has had a baby (and others can imagine) that not only makes for a crankier baby but also cranky parents. To compound this, Finnan's night time "non-routine" was getting out of hand and he seemed to be going to bed later after ump-teen books, songs, the retrieval of trucks, water, snack, milk, etc. and he still seemed to be screaming as we left his room at night. So, in come the sleep theory books. As an aside, I really dislike these books. I consulted them so frequently through Finnan's first year, agonized over their differences and let them make me feel guilty every step of the way. Naturally, I swore them off this time around. Oh well, for better or worse (I think better), they came out again. With marching orders from the experts, we moved Jude out of the swing and into the crib, gave him an earlier bedtime and we Ferberized him, or partially Ferberized him, I'm still a bit of a softy. Basically, what that means is that we let Jude cry it out, but we went in to pat him and talk to him after 5 minutes of crying, then another 10 minutes, 15, 20, 25, 30 (yes, we got to this, our little stinker was stubborn). According to Ferber, your baby will be sleeping through the night after 3 nights of this. Well, I decided, I don't need Jude sleeping through the night, I just want him only waking once. So to ensure he only wakes once, I only feed him after three. He seemed to get the point after only one night, thankfully. However, he does continue to need some crying it out as he loves to roll to his tummy, but tends to get stuck there and frustrated. Naps are still kind of all over the place. According to the experts, I need to get him on a strict routine, but that just doesn't seem practical to me, so I'm avoiding it for now. For Finnan, Atticus created a brilliant routine. We read one to two books out of his room on the sofa before bed. Then we ask if he wants to take the books with him to bed and let him lead the way to his bedroom and climb in bed himself. Voila! Finnan is now almost always in bed at 8! All of the above makes night-time so much more manageable and enjoyable. And, best of all, both Finnan and Jude seem to be happier during the day.

Okay, on to the more fun stuff. Jude seems to be getting more interactive and he particularly enjoys being with Finnan. When Finnan gets up close to him, a huge smile flashes across Jude's face. Jude laughs when Finnan lays his head on his belly, gives him hugs, or even lays on top of him (this is not something that I advocate). Jude now tolerates, and maybe even enjoys, all of his carriers now. I think his favorite is the kangaroo hold in the sling. He watched Finnan's music class today in his car seat and did not fuss the entire time. I was impressed- he did better than all of the toddlers there :)! As I said before, he is rolling from his back to tummy continuously, but can't seem to get back over. He is doing some scooting. He loves his play mat and is just starting to use the exer-saucer. He is still only nursing. I did try to sneak some formula in his diet in anticipation of going away for a night, but as Elisha Cooper says in the book Crawling: A Father's First Year it was as if we inserted a cattle prod into his mouth. Oh well, luckily I like nursing! It looks like the next stop is sitting up, which I think will open up a whole new world for him and the rest of us.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

'Tis the season


Welcome fall, welcome home improvement projects! As our house and our family grew this past spring, so did our to-do list. We built a front porch, well now we need a porch swing. We tore down our old deck, now we need a new deck. We had to cut a tree down, ah, the perfect place for a tree house. Our house was extended in almost all directions, all of our landscaping needs to be reconfigured and it would be nice if paths were laid out. And this is only our outdoor list. The summer heat prevented us from getting started on many of these projects, but now, with the goal of finishing by Thanksgiving, we have devoted all weekend energy to them. In the past couple of weeks Atticus has been working on the tree house (hopefully a tree housewarming party will be in the near future :)) and with Paw-Paw's help this weekend (while I am in New York), he hopes to get started on the deck.

I am proud to announce the completion of the first project- the porch swing has been stained and is now hanging on our front porch. We now just put a baby gate at the porch stairs and leave the front door open. I love it! I intended to take a picture of the porch swing, but apparently my camera has a mind of its own. You can at least see the chain that the swing is attached to...

Friday, October 2, 2009

Apple picking




This week we went apple picking with Heather and Lily. Finnan and Lily have been strolling next to each other since they were only a few months old and have become good friends in the process. They are also lucky enough to both go to Ms. Gabriela's play group on Fridays. I know it has been a relief to me to know that Finnan has Lily there to look after him and vice versa.

You can see they enjoyed their trip to the orchard...although, we probably could have also walked to the field down the street and they would have had just as much fun. The two of them were so perfectly picturesque- holding each other's hands, hugging each other, sharing snacks and running through the field together. Finnan even carried Lily's bag of apples for a while. Finnan never successfully picked an apple (he preferred holding on to the bag rather then pull an apple with two hands), but I am sure he will enjoy helping me make the apple pie which is sure to come!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Who's who?





Ok, this isn't that hard of an exercise, but recently I have found Finnan and Jude's resemblances striking. Looking back at pictures, Jude, at 4 months, looks a lot like Finnan did at 6-7 months, which happens to be when both of them hit the 14-15 pound mark.

Despite their similarity in appearance, they are quite different babies. As a baby, Finnan loved to be out and about- cars, strollers, and especially in his carrier. Jude, on the other hand, seems to thrive when at home and really dislikes the car and various carriers (luckily he has gotten used to the stroller). When out, I often have to just carry Jude (and have gotten adept at carrying them both at the same time!) Jude is much more social than Finnan was as a baby, smiling and laughing more easily and frequently. Although Jude spends a lot less time fussing than his older brother did, he occasionally has some pretty dramatic mood swings. And, unfortunately, he is not interested in comfort nursing. He'll eat when he needs to, but that's it...now how can I convince him he doesn't need to eat at night?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Finnan at Two



Reaching the age of one is an accomplishment for an entire family. I don't think anything can match the amount of change that occurs in a family from the birth of a first child to their first birthday party, but the roller coaster does not stop at one. Over the course the past year my bald, toddling baby seemed to change on a weekly, sometimes daily basis into the curly-haired sprinter he is now. I have many blog posts about these changes and developments, but I have not yet taken the time to reflect on Finnan's personality. I am very curious to see which of the below traits will persist and which of them will fade with age. I am already seeing many differences between Finnan and Jude as young infants and I am wondering if personality traits can really be seen as young as a couple months old.

Finnan is a very pensive and focused toddler. He seems to have a long attention span and a good ability to continue to figure things out despite frustrating setbacks. This quality appears not only in play (putting together train tracks or figuring out how to work the toy elevator), but also in his communication. Finnan has been slow to develop verbally, but he has figured out to effectively communicate through signs, even inventing them when needed. Finnan is very mechanically inclined. Of course he has his moments, but overall, I don't think Finnan is particularly strong-willed or stubborn. While he can be extremely focused in what he is doing, we can often shift his play without tantrums. He is on the shy side and tends to cling to me or Atticus in unknown situations. He is often content sitting with us and watching. Finnan is not a performer. He does not seem to act for the approval of others, but remains very active nonetheless (maybe an understatement.) He is very imaginative during play and seems to have a keen sense of irony. . . as in "Ha Ha, Mama, I made the cow drive the tractor."

Above all, Finnan is an incredibly sweet Mama's boy and I hope that doesn't change! Happy Birthday, Finnan!


A little bit of sunshine

video

At least we had a bit of sunshine while we were all stuck in the house this birthday weekend. Thank goodness we decided to forgo a party this year as we had a pond in our front yard, streams in our backyard, no hot water and no power on Saturday afternoon. Luckily, Finnan and Jude had Paw-Paw, Weggi, Great Grandma and Grandpa Weglewski to entertain them (and Aunt Paula the week before). Thank you all of coming, we had a great time!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The doctor...again

One thing that I do not love about having an infant are all the trips to the doctor. Although I am thankful for well-baby care, there is nothing pleasant about seeing your baby's face turn bright red, eyes and nose tighten, mouth spread into a line and open ever so slightly and then, wait a few seconds, here it comes, the piercing scream. Earlier this week, we took both of the boys in for check-ups, Jude for his 4 month and Finnan for his 2 year (gasp!).

At four months, Jude weighs 14lbs, 2oz (40th percentile) and is 25 inches (50th percentile). He was quite cheerful for the doctor and everything checked out. The doctor mentioned starting rice cereal and juice, but I just nodded, knowing that I probably wouldn't start solids until 6 months (or maybe a week before his appointment so I can give the doctor a report). Not too much has changed since my 3-month report. He is still getting up about once a night, although his naps seem to be getting shorter and more frequent. He remains to be the most unscheduled baby I know, never getting up at the same time at night and never taking predictable naps. Luckily, he handles this lack of organization with ease and continues to be pleasant with skipped naps or short cat-naps. Its hard to tell if this is a consequence of my lifestyle or how he would behave naturally. I imagine it is a combination of both.

At a week shy of two, Finnan weighs 25.5 pounds (20th percentile- woohoo!) and 34 inches (50th percentile). We were excited that he is climbing on the charts, but it has not helped him fit into clothing. The other day at the park, his 12-18 month sized shorts fell off of him despite his bulky cloth diaper. Needless to say, I am happy to discover pants with adjustable waists, as all of the pants that fit his waist are too short. He was also extremely pleasant at the doctor and played cars with him. He may not be speaking much, but the doctor thought his imaginative play was extremely developed. Finnan received one shot, but for the first time did not make a peep or even flinch.

My little fish



My mom and Aunt Paula were visiting this week, so, despite the rain and potential flash floods, we have hit all the sites. Since his birth Jude has been to the zoo and botanical gardens more times than I can count on my two hands. However, Jude's favorite Atlanta attraction is the Georgia Aquarium. He went for the first time a couple of weeks ago and we went again yesterday. While Finnan vroom-vroomed his cars through the aquarium, Jude watched the fish. It is amazing the focus an infant can have on certain objects. An infant's stare is so intentional at this age and seems so thoughtful. They have so much to figure out in this world still and they do it one intentional look, touch and movement at a time. I love that about infants.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

video

There was no way for me to describe the sweetest 'no' one has ever heard...so here is my first video upload. This is our going to Ms. Gabriela's routine. He cheered up a little bit when I asked him if he wanted to walk or drive (we drove). The good news is that I was able to drop him off this morning without screaming, only whimpers. When I left today, the children were grinding millet for their lunch.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

First love?




Timmy, a lifelong friend of Atticus', came to visit this past weekend with his wife Kelly and 18 month-old daughter Ava. As you can see by the above pictures Finnan and Ava hit it off. Although it was always loud and disaster always seemed to be around the corner, it was a blast to have two toddlers in the house. They played so well together. Finnan clearly fell for Ava. He was always trying to sit next to her, scoot closer or sneak in a hug (or even a kiss). At the zoo and the botanical gardens, he wanted to hold her hand and show her around. He shared very well with Ava, even though that also meant sharing a cold (and then also sharing it with me and Jude). Ava definitely wore my little guy out. Last night he crashed at 4 and slept until 6:30 and today he has been napping for three hours already!