Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Needlepoint

Finnan has always been quite taken by Weggi's projects.  He questions her on what she is doing, how she is doing it, why she is doing it, and then makes sure he sneaks in his own special requests for the project.  I am pretty clueless about this world, but a while back I came across a beginning needlepoint project on the SouleMama blog.  It seemed simple enough, so I sent my mom out to get the supplies (really, she is a much better shopper than me as well).  Then, yesterday, Finnan and I had a rare moment when both Rory and Jude were napping, so I introduced him to needlepoint.  I set up each piece of yarn for him, but then he settled in on the guest bed, and quietly worked.  He loved it.


He titled his final creation "Pirate's Treasure."  According to him, the little black stitches were the treasure and the other pieces of yarn were ropes hiding the treasure.


When Jude woke up, Finnan excitedly showed him his work, enticing Jude to do his own project.  


I just loved how Jude would stick out his tongue in concentration.  As Jude was working he would point out letters that he made and at one point he determined he had made an airplane.  In the end, he titled it with some nonsense words that I couldn't really make out.


And, here is the inspiration for the boys interest...my mom recently completed Rory's Christmas stocking to match Finnan's and Jude's.




Rory at 1


Somehow over the last year, Rory has earned the nickname "Bright Eyes" among the nurses at the doctor's office.  They obviously don't know him that well, so it surprises me how much that nickname really does fit him.  He really does seem to take in the world with (figuratively) bright eyes and those eyes of his are quite literally bright.  He was determined healthy at the doctor's office with no concerns. He weighed 18lbs 7oz (below 5th percentile) and was 29.5 inches (about 40th percentile).  He received 5 shots today.

At 1, Rory is a happy, active little guy.  He continues to be a climber (in the above picture he is about to head up to the treehouse) and has recently mastered the art of appearing in the middle of our kitchen table...basically any time I turn around.  Pushing in the chairs does not help me much.  He is spry enough that he will wedge himself in between the chair and the table and then scream until I move it out enough for him to climb the rest of the way.  Below, he is on his way up to the table.


Right after his birthday, he gained the confidence to let go of my finger and walk.  It is still not his preferred mode of getting from place to place but he can walk all over the house.  Of course, this has been so much fun to watch, and he is clearly quite taken by it as well... or maybe he is just enjoying the cheers from me and his brothers.

He is not particularly verbal, but does say "uh-oh" fairly clearly and very often.  He also seems to make a "ba" sound for ball and a "da" sound for dog.  He signs for "eat" and "all done" when encouraged and even says something close to "all done."  His eating is pretty erratic.  It seems like his favorite foods right now are chicken stew/chicken pot pie, clementines, spaghetti, and pizza.  Sometimes he eats a ton, other times barely anything.  He is still nursing about 4 times a day, but many times after only a few seconds, he will stick his fingers in his mouth instead of nursing.  But, it is working now so I have no plans on changing anything.

He is wavering between one and two naps a day, but still sleeps from about 6:30pm to 7am.  He usually wakes up once around 6am, at which point I nurse him and put him back down for a little more sleep.  Rory still does not like car rides or the stroller, but he will gladly push the stroller anywhere we need to go.

Mainly, Rory likes to play with his brothers and he loves to be outside.  He pretends to rake, enjoys rides on the toy rollercoaster and is thrilled when his brothers push him in the little tykes car.  Inside, his favorite toys are the Ikea tunnel and pull-back cars.  He is starting to sit for and enjoy books, particularly the "That's not my..." series.

But, mainly, what I want to remember about Rory at 1, is how happy he makes me every day (and oh how tired I am every night).





Friday, December 14, 2012

My December baby


At a recent church meeting, we were asked how we keep the true meaning of Christmas in our hearts.  I probably never had a good answer to that question before. Maybe I never even worried about the true meaning of Christmas.  Last December 13th that changed.  When Rory was placed on my chest for the first time, I understood the true meaning of Christmas.  I was given such a gift, my own Christmas miracle, and my own Christmas angel.  With a newborn in the house, our Christmas was truly about family and, in Rory, we were reminded of the pure goodness in our hearts.  I, in particular, was able to sit back, holding my new baby, and take in all of my blessings. In his first couple of months, Rory brought me an indescribable feeling a peace.  And, over the last year, I think he has truly brought out the best in our entire family.  I know, every December, these memories and feelings will come rushing back to me.

A very happy 1st birthday to my Christmas angel.  What an amazing gift you are.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Kindergarten is coming


I had my first school meeting for parents of prospective kindergarteners today.  I felt good about the school and thought it would be a good fit for Finnan and our family.  I am also excited about many aspects of kindergarten.  However, I still left with some lingering sadness.  Sending Finnan to kindergarten is going to be a transition for our whole family.  We have all grown accustomed to having a lot of time together, especially Finnan and Jude.  They wake up together, spend all day together, and go to bed together.  Kindergarten will be the end of that.  

We finally figured out how to get the boys to obey the "green light rule" and stay in their beds quietly until 7.  Just before I was about to invoke the name of Santa, I kicked Finnan out of the room one morning and told them if they got up before the light turned green again, they would have to sleep in separate rooms.  Since then, we have had silent mornings.  And that brings me to another drawback of kindergarten.  Apparently, it starts at 7:50am.  Yikes.



Thursday, November 29, 2012

Getting there


A rainy morning

A rainy morning spent in the treehouse playing i-spy....


A little one becoming very enthusiastic about learning how to walk....


And realizing I may have a chance at getting all three boys to look at me for a Christmas card photo...


These were just a few of my favorite things this week.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Rory at the creek





I guess the water was colder than it looked (or than it should have been considering Finnan and Jude took their shoes and socks off and were walking through it).  These pictures were taken in the backyard of a house Atticus is building (well, renovating) in our neighborhood.  I wish we could live there.  It is like an ideal vacation home in the North Georgia mountains, but in Decatur.  It is beautiful.  I think we will be spending a lot of time here until he sells the house.  This will most likely be the backdrop for our Christmas card picture...that is assuming I can every get Rory to stay in the same frame for long enough.

Jude is three and a half. Jude.


As of the 14th, Jude's age officially changed from three to three and a half.  I am often in awe this blond haired, blue-eyed child is mine.  Jude is funny (especially to his peers).  He talks (a lot).  He is enthusiastic.  He can be defiant but is very even-tempered.  If we are out, he never wants to go home.  He is just such a people person.

At three and a half, Jude is thriving.  He loves school (art school and church school), soccer and gymnastics, and being a big brother and a little brother.  He spends a certain amount of each day in races through the house, dramatically huffing and puffing as he goes.  Then, he sets up shop at the kitchen table to draw, in the playroom to build, or on the sofa reading book after book.  He has developed his own art style, which mainly consists of abstract line drawings.  He always draws for other people.  After he is done, he will decide who his work is for and writes their name (with my help spelling) on each page.  He gets really excited when someone else's name has a 'j,' 'u,' 'd,' or 'e.'  "Mom!  Jude has a 'd,' too! Jude" He has also started talk like this.  He makes a statement and then emphasizes the subject with an additional statement.  He will also often dedicate his building projects to Rory.  "Mom!  I built this for Rory!  He can knock it down!"  Rory thinks he is the best.  Jude also spends a lot of his time in character, he is often a talking feline of some sort (cheetah, jaguar, leopard, lion...) or a superhero.  Jude is always lobbying for donuts or a milkshake.  I am often floored by his memory.  Besides his brothers, Jude's best buddy is Christian.  The two of them are pretty much peas in a pod.

It is so much fun to follow the world from Jude's point of view.




    

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thankful for brothers


Since the time change, the boys have been having trouble staying in their beds quietly "until the light turns green" (at 7:00am).  When they don't stay in their beds quietly, they do not get to watch their nightly television show.  After about a week of no television, I asked them why they could not stay quiet until the light turned green.  Finnan replied, "Because I love Jude more than TV."  Jude agreed.  I am so thankful to be a mama to three best brothers.

(This sentiment made up for Jude's "I'm thankful for..." statement at school.  Last week when I was picking the boys up I saw a board with each child's "I'm thankful for..." statement.  First, I spotted Finnan's.  He was thankful for his family.  Then I saw Jude's statement.  Jude stated that he was thankful for his friend's houses.  While, I am also thankful for great friends, I had to laugh when I saw that.)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

11 months

Rory spent much of this past month feeling sick or teething.   Two things happened as a result of this.  Finally, at 11 months, Rory has become more cuddly.  When he is tired or not feeling well, he will stick his two fingers in his mouth and just lay on me.  Of course, that is sweet.  He has also become a screamer/screecher.  Not so sweet.  We have definitely entered an "I want up, NOW!"/"No, I want down, NOW!" phase.  While it is admittedly driving me a bit bonkers most days, I know that this will pass soon, most likely when he learns to walk.  He loves to cruise, push toys, and only seems to like the stroller when he is pushing it, however, he doesn't seem very sturdy without support.  He does really want to one of the guys though.  He already seems interested in wrestling with Atticus and loves when the boys compete in crawling races so that he can join in.  These are quite amusing.  Finnan understands that he should let Rory win and makes a big deal of how fast Rory is.  Jude just creams him every time.  He puts so much effort in winning the crawling race that he has even injured himself in the process.  Rory finds Jude very funny.  This past week we have actually had to separate them at the dinner table.  Jude's main focus at dinner was to make Rory laugh and I was worried Rory was going to choke!  The highlight of Rory's day is taking a bath with Jude.  I can not seem to get him in the bath quickly enough and they just splash and laugh.  Not a single day goes by without both Jude and Finnan telling me how much they love Rory.  I think all three of them are anxiously awaiting the day when Rory can move into the boys' room.

My camera is in the shop (trying to clear up some back-focusing issues), so I was only able to take pictures on my phone today.  After story time today, it still seemed too cold to go to the park, so we ended up heading to the Fernbank Museum instead.  We walked through the Genghis Khan exhibit, very slowly (Rory insisted on pushing the stroller), twice (Finnan was very strangely/disturbingly (?) fascinated by the exhibit).  Then we headed up to the play area.  It was empty, which was perfect for Rory.


This afternoon it seemed to warm up, so we headed out to Glenlake Park for the drop-in tennis lessons. It got cold quickly, so the three of us mainly stayed cuddled together to stay warm while watching Finnan.



I managed to catch a rare still moment in the bath.


Apparently, I have gotten behind on laundry and we had to resort to Christmas pajamas for tonight.  We had to place Rory in the middle for the picture.  Typically, after I put on his pajamas he has a strange burst of energy and happily explores the house (without screeching) before bed.  Finnan and Jude started out cuddled like this pre-picture and stayed cuddled together with arms around each other through their show.


I know this next month is going to fly by with the holidays.  I don't like to think about the next milestone post.  In fact, it seems to take my breath away every time I accidentally think about it.  These days are just too sweet.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Dragons



This past weekend, the boys had their last soccer game.  Jude played for the Dragons.  This year his team decided to give trophies (or as Jude first called them, those things that stand up on their own).  I was hoping he would forget about his trophy quickly, but he has placed it on the kitchen table for the past three days.  He seems most impressed with the fact that the soccer ball on the trophy does not have air in it. 

The Dragons also received awards.  Jude won the "Best Offensive Player."  Jude did score a goal or two every game, but that is not the award I would have given him.  I would have given him "Most Enthusiastic" or "Best Team Player."  Jude was always happy to play, but always understanding when it was someone else's turn.  Jude was always very careful never to take the ball from his own team (a very common problem in the 3 year-old league).  He cheered on his team mates from the sidelines and even while on the field.  According to Jude, his "paper" said he was the "Best Champion."  He was such a joy to watch. 

  



Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Monday, October 22, 2012

10 months


Rory can get around.  Fast.  High.  Outside.  Above he is pictured on top of a little outdoor table.  This morning, as I was cutting up strawberries, he managed to get from his high chair to the middle of the kitchen table.  He loves going up the stairs and shrieks with glee whenever he is doing it.  More impressive, this week he learned to go down by himself (as long as we get him pointed in the right direction).  As pictured below, he can climb up the ladder to the tree house, as well as the ladder to the slide...followed by a face first belly slide slowed by my grip on his diaper.  Last week we went to the zoo.  Instead of riding in the stroller, he decided to push it.  And he did, all the way from the red panda to the indoor gorilla viewing area, which is probably about a quarter mile.  I've considered putting a gate on the stairs or always keeping the back door shut (it is usually open in the Spring and Fall), but it is fun to follow him around and see what he gets into.  And I love to see how happy he is to move freely as well.  I do have some strategies to direct his attention when I can not follow him around.  The playroom is always a draw and is at the furthest point away from the stairs in our house.  Kitchen cabinets also have a similar draw.  But, mostly, when Rory is awake, my time is spent with him or with a close eye one him.  And, quite frankly, that is what I want to be doing anyway.   

Rory is independent.  I knew this months ago, but it is becoming more and more evident with his increased mobility.  At the park he has no problem playing quite a ways from me.  At the toy park, he will find a push toy and walk himself until he hits an obstacle, not looking back.  He is very enthusiastic.  He loves to clap and interact with his brothers or other children.  He does not mind other adults holding him.  

Rory is not an impressive eater.  His favorites include guacamole, muffins and graham crackers.  He will try anything, including banh mi, and loves to suck on lemons.  However, he does not eat as much as he used to.   He may sit for part of a yogurt but then will be ready to get up and go again.  It is not helping that now he thinks he should be in control of the spoon.  Even when something does not require a spoon, he will try to put it on the spoon and then try to get it in his mouth.  I have yet to see him successfully do this.  He does still nurse 4-5 times a day.  Between that and a few baby food squeezers every now and then, he seems to be getting by.  

Rory has yet to have one tooth come in fully.  At least 4 are in process, probably 5.  Between teething and a cold, his sleep has not been great recently.  In general, he goes to bed between 6:30 and 7 and wakes for good in the morning between 7 and 7:30.  Pre-cold, I was nursing him once in that time, between 5 and 6.  I am ready for him to settle into that routine again.  He naps twice a day and is flexible with at least one nap a day.  With the beautiful fall weather, we have been spending hours at the park in the afternoon, pushing his second nap later and later.  He remains content and when he does get tired seems to get by with little cuddles here and there which energize him to go some more.  Since he does not usually cuddle, this is a special treat for me.  Putting his two fingers in his mouth also seems to stave off fussing and keeps him going.

It is amazing what can happen in ten months.  As the months go by, we just keep having more and more fun with our little guy.  



Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Flying Superhero Cheetahs!


It is soccer season again.  This year Finnan is on the Flying Superhero Cheetahs.  It is a team of eight great kids and Atticus is one of his coaches.  They are both having fun.  Not much has changed since last year.  Finnan loves soccer.  He is always ready to play.  He always wants to know which team won at the end.  An added bonus this year- practice one night a week.  In short, Finnan is serious about soccer.  He will practice drills in our backyard by himself and is trying to work on playing as a team.

I am almost always proud of Finnan when I see him at soccer games.  He always tries hard, cheers and is ready to go.  This past week, he wowed me.  By the last few minutes only three kids still wanted to play.  In a little team huddle before the game got going again, Atticus told them to work on passing.  Finnan's top priority became passing.  The ball was barely moving forward because he wanted to get it to his other team mates so badly.  At one point, Finnan dribbled the ball down the field all the way to the goal.  He then specifically stopped the ball right at the goal line, moved it over, and let a team mate kick the ball in.  Everyone around me went, "Awww..."  The mom next to me said, "That just gave me shivers."  It was incredibly sweet and he did not even know it.  

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Wounded

It appears that I have emotionally wounded one of my children today.  I think (I hope) this was the first time.  Today at the toy park I was pushing both Jude and Rory.  While pushing Rory, Jude slowed to a stop and asked for another push.  He loves going high, so I pulled him back as high as I could and then let go.  The second I let go, I saw he was not holding on.  So, yes he fell, resulting in two large bruises on his back and one on his elbow.  I comforted him.  I apologized.  We hung out on the bench together.  As soon as we went home I put on the obligatory band aids.  I didn't think much of it.  As he started walking out of the bathroom after I put on the band aids (at least an hour after the incident), Jude started tearing up again.  He looked back and between sobs said, "I can't believe you did this to me."

Hopefully, tomorrow I will be allowed to push Jude on the swing again.  But, knowing Jude's memory, I think he will remind me often to wait until he is holding on.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

And all three were baptized

Last month, all three boys were baptized.  A few jokes floated around that thrifty Atticus was waiting for a three for one deal, but to be honest, it just did not feel right until this year.  Honey, Paw-Paw Byron, Weggi, Paw-Paw Jerry, Uncle Michael and Aunt Rebecca all came in for the occasion.  My mom took pictures for me during the ceremony.

Both Honey and Paw-Paw Jerry did their best to keep Rory still during the baptism.  



And Paw-Paw Jerry's beard may have suffered a bit.


Father Brian had the boys open the top button of their shirts so they could be blessed with oil.  Jude really wanted to take his whole shirt off.  


When Atticus first lifted Finnan up he had his mouth wide open as if he was planning on drinking the holy water.  He thought the water flowing on his head was hilarious.


Jude followed suit and giggled during his turn as well.


Rory was not amused, but did not cry.



You can see how well our attempt at getting a picture of the three boys dressed in white (after 45 minutes in church) went.


After the baptism, we celebrated with a birthday lunch for Finnan.  His request: two types of chicken (the chicken daddy brought home the other day and the chicken from the yellow box at the beach), rice and beans, and salad.  Originally he requested cupcakes, but I convinced him that apple crisp would be a good idea since we had a fridge full of apples from our trip to the mountains.  The rest of the afternoon was spent playing with Finnan's birthday gifts, one of which was a build-your-own bat house kit.  Although I was not there to witness it, the guys put together the bat house and Atticus decided to put it on the house.  While Atticus was on the ladder (about 12 feet off the ground) the ladder slipped and he fell to the deck below.  Amazingly, he was fine.  In case the baptism and the celebration of Finnan's first five years were not enough, we were given another reminder of how precious life is.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

At 5


This is Finnan at 5.  Sure, he can be loud and wild, but mostly he is deliberate and focused.  Doing things correctly is very important to him.  Sometimes, too important.  He wants to draw the perfect 's,' hit all home runs, and hammer through wood just like Daddy.  I have loved watching this little boy grow over the last year.  A very happy (belated) birthday to my buddy.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Rory is 9 months




Rory had his 9-month check up at the doctor today.  As soon as the nurse saw his eyes, she whisked him up to show him off around the office.  His brief stint of separation anxiety last month is definitely over and he was happy to flash smiles around the office.  A few thought he should be a Gerber baby, but then they decided he wasn’t quite chubby enough.  The doctor came to the same conclusion in his visit.  At 16lbs 3oz, Rory has fallen below 0% on the standard US weight chart and came in at 3rd percentile on the WHO weight chart for breastfed babies.  Apparently, babies are determined underweight when in the 2nd percentile on that chart, so we dodged that label for now.  He measured 28 inches, which was in the 30th percentile.  His head circumference, however, was in the 90th percentile.  These number seem like the would make a strange combination, but Rory is pretty stinking cute.

I imagine one of the main reasons Rory is so tiny is that the child does not stop moving.  The first adjective that comes to mind when I think of him is “active.” He is a fast crawler, will climb the stairs again and again, pulls up, and is starting to cruise.  If he is held captive in his high chair or in your arms, his arms and legs will wave and kick until he is freed.  After the doctor’s visit today we went to the toy park.  In our 2 hours at the park, he learned how to walk with a push toy and clap his hands.  He also spent a good deal of time trying to figure out how to climb up the slide. 

I know I keep saying this month after month, but Rory’s other dominating personality trait is that he is happy.  Rory loves to laugh and continues to find joy throughout each day.  He still loves being in the playroom with his brothers, but his new favorite place is in the cloth tunnel in the boys’ room.  Rory loves surprising us with which side he will come out and loves playing with Jude in the tunnel.  The two of them will laugh and laugh while hidden away in the tunnel.   

Rory is eating three times a day and he is getting a mixture of pureed food and finger foods.  His favorite finger foods seem to be pizza crust and blueberries.  He also loves guacamole and has even tolerated it with jalapeno peppers (although there were some tears then as well). Rory has one tooth that is about a quarter of the way out.  Rory is still nursing about 5-6 times a day as well…including a nursing session in the middle of the night.  I am doing my best to put an end to this now.  I will not miss  waking at 3 every morning, but I will miss the way he relaxes during those times.  

Rory's first train ride 

Waving!
Clapping!

And Rory walking with the push toy!

video




   

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Labor Day Race

My children love to run.  As soon as I recovered from giving birth to Rory, Finnan and I started taking short jogs around the neighborhood.  We never turned these jogs into a routine, but they often helped him when he was feeling out of sorts.  One remedy for any tantrums last spring was to ask him, "Do you want to go for a run?"  The answer was always yes and he always felt better.  

This summer, the benefits of running extended to Jude.  In the late afternoons, when my energy level was low and the boys were bouncing around the house (or into each other), we started going outside for "World Championship Races" (their terminology).  Rory and I would wait at the bottom of the hill and the boys would line up at our house.  And they would race.  Again and again.  One day, I got a video of the race with an interview at the end.


video

With their enthusiasm for running and my dream to become enthusiastic about running, I signed us up for the Avondale Estates 1-mile fun run.  Finnan had been planning on running ever since I first brought it up to him.  One day when my mom asked us what we were doing for Labor Day, he told her that we were running a race.  (This was before I actually bit the bullet and signed up!)  When Jude heard that Finnan and I were doing the race, he wanted to sign up too.  I was hesitant, but did not want to underestimate him, so all three of us raced.


Finnan was very serious pre-race.  He couldn't stop asking me when it was time to line up and race.  Jude was being Jude...unfazed and goofy.  When the race did finally start, I was surprised how it played out.  Jude set off and ran pretty fast considering his little legs.  However, Finnan was set on a deliberate jog.  I tried to keep them both close and hung out between them.  During one big hill we stopped to walk and then continued on running the rest of the time.  Before the race, we warned them that it would be a long race and that they should not go too fast.  Finnan took that advice very seriously and was careful not to wear himself out.  Jude ended the race, sweaty, tired and excited.  Finnan was still pretty serious at the end.  He said he had fun and has asked me several times when we are going to do another race, but I don't think I ever saw him crack a smile.  Next time I will make sure he knows he can race a little more.

The Avondale race was the perfect event for them.  There were tons of kids.  It started and ended at an awesome park and we ran through neighborhood streets.  It was also pretty successful for me.  After the mile, I felt energized (something that I haven't felt after running for a while).  I can't say that I have started running regularly, but since then, I have gone once a week and have been enjoying it.  And, I swear that I will do a 5K this fall....and when I do, I will be sure to remember to take my time like the little boy who could exercise all day and picture the sweet gait and ending smile of the little boy I wasn't sure could run a whole mile.