Friday, January 27, 2012

Special soup

Yesterday morning, Finnan came into the nursery asking, "Mommy, can I go to school if I have whooping cough?"  I asked him to cough for me and replied, "No, you shouldn't go to school.  Can you also tell you daddy that it is called croup?"  Since he wasn't feeling well we made honey tea and planned on getting special soup.  For lunch, we made the trek out to Atticus' office and we all went to Dai Loi for pho.  After some brisket pho, Finnan deemed himself better.  (Of course, I only heard him cough once all day. And that was when I asked him to cough.)

Rory has a new habit of staying awake on every outing.  This includes being awake (and for the most part quiet and happy) for 5 hours when he made an appearance at girl's night earlier in the week.  He was wide-eyed through our entire lunch and admired the ceiling fan and hanging dragons above him.  He was so taken by the ceiling decor, that he even forgot to scream for the first ten minutes of our ride home.  I think it is time we hang the decorative kites we got for him while we were in Chinatown (in San Francisco) in October.

Unfortunately, the healing power of pho did not last for long.  As soon as we got home, Jude put himself to bed.  This is never a good sign.  Then shortly after he woke up he started throwing up (and frankly didn't stop until 4 am).  Finnan then started throwing up two hours later.  I thought this was the end of my favorite Vietnamese restaurant for us.  But neither Atticus or I got sick.  Finnan also woke up this morning with a fever.  Then I heard a friend's child who attends the same schools as my boys spent the night vomiting as well.  It was a stomach bug.  Phew- I can still have my pho.

Jude woke up feeling great.  Finnan is still under the weather.  Rory decided to wake up every two hours last night.  Atticus and I are tired.  Right now we are admiring the sun while we lounge on the sofa and do endless loads of laundry, but I am looking forward to a sunny weekend.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Yes ma'am

Today, I heard my first unprompted "Yes ma'am" from Finnan.  Hearing this simple phrase has been long awaited, but it certainly came as a surprise this afternoon.  After Gabriela's, we got to work in the front yard.  While I nursed Rory and Jude fretted over the perfect rake, Finnan went straight to work.

He paused when he came across a lone crocus and asked to take a picture.

When I finished nursing Rory, I decided I better help Finnan and Jude doted on his baby brother.

And Finnan made sure Rory's area was free of leaves.

Then Jude finally found a job that suited him.  While Finnan and I raked the leaves into piles he charged himself with transferring the leaves into the trash can.

Finnan had been protective of his big pile of leaves, so we saved it for last.  I asked him if he was ready to move his pile into the cans.  Out of nowhere, he replied, "Yes ma'am."

The afternoon was only made sweeter by smiles from Rory,

smiles from Jude (while making a visit to the "potty tree"),

a "sunflower" hand picked and delivered to me "so that [I] could be a princess,"

and the sharing of a sweet, comforting snack.

This came only days after I, feeling hopeless, was complaining to Atticus at the dinner table, "I have been repeating "ma'am" and "sir" and correcting dinner table manners for months!  Is he ever going to get it!"  (This is also after I sent Finnan to his room for the night for atrocious dinner manners, including purposely dribbling milk out of his mouth onto the table- several times!)  I may continue to have to repeat and correct for the next 18 years, but it is a bit of a relief to know that it has taken root somewhere in his head.  This reminded me to stress less, harp less, and be less frustrated.  They are good kids- enjoy time with them and with loving, constant reminders, it will come.  A little bit of progress has been made on the marathon of child rearing.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Just Jude

With Finnan at school and Rory asleep in the carrier, Jude and I celebrated this beautiful January day with a trip to Dearborn Park.  Luckily, I had my phone to document our little afternoon adventure together.  

Jude pedaled the entire way to the park by himself.  When we hit Midway, I had to speed walk (with an occasional jog as a bus or car was nearing) to keep up.  He kept an eye on my, constantly reminding me, "I don't need your help!"

When we got to the park he swung briefly (on the one swing, which is way too high).   But then we moved on to the fun stuff.  Like traversing the rocky creek bed.

And digging for dinosaur bones.

And being thrilled with the rocks he found even though he didn't unearth any bones.  (I am not sure what makes a rock a rock versus a dinosaur bone, but apparently Jude knows the difference.)

And watching to see if his stick boat made it through all the rocks to the other side of the bridge.  (It didn't.)

By the time we heading home, he claimed to be too tired to pedal.  So I pushed him.  We made our obligatory stop to admire the bicycle tracks in the cement.  "Woah!  Who made that?"

Life is good.

Monday, January 23, 2012

"The Mean Sheep"

Atticus' parents describe him as a serious and intense child who was also a bit on the dark side.  He has paintings from his younger years to prove it.  A few years ago they sent us home with a very frightening and disturbed jack-o-lantern painting.  This month, we received a painting of shark.  The shark had what could only be part of a person in its mouth with blood surrounding it.  There was an empty, little white boat at the surface of the water.  The painting is a little vague because it is clearly that of a child, but its intent is obvious.

Finnan's most recent art school creation, "The Mean Sheep," made me laugh as they reminded me of what I have been told of young Atticus.  Finnan has been studying nursery rhymes at Color Wheel this month.  Given his obsession with rhyming, he has loved it.  For the first time, he tells me each day what they did at school.  He'll recite "Little Miss Muffet" (it's Miss Muffin in his rendition) or explain the clay creation he made to re-enact "Humpty Dumpty."  Last week, they did art based on "Mary Had a Little Lamb."  Yes, that is when he created "The Mean Sheep."  Oh dear.  At least his favorite color is not black.

A Rory update

Rory had his 1 month doctor's appointment today.  At 6 weeks he weighed in at 9lbs 4oz and was 21.25 inches long (both 25 percentile).  His head circumference is still holding strong in the 90th percentile.  

I also spoke to the doctor about a possible formula allergy.  Rory has had formula twice.  The first time he was fine while consuming it, but the next day projectile vomited his first three feedings.  I was hoping this was a coincidence.  We gave him formula again this weekend, but he not only vomited during the feeding but then continued to vomit up the rest of his feedings throughout the day.  The doctor recommended we try a soy-based formula, so I will probably give that a try.  I am hoping that he will tolerate some formula because when he is old enough I plan to take him the the gym nursery so I can do yoga classes or go swimming.  Of course, I can try to time these visits between feedings, but wanted to be able to bring him with some powdered formula so that they could feed him if necessary and if not there would not be any wasted breastmilk.   

Our other medical issue has been recurring diaper rash.  Unfortunately, I think I have concluded that the main culprit is Rory's cloth diapers.  While he had his first diaper rash (yeast), I switched to disposables.  As soon as it cleared up, I put him in cloth again.  By that night he had another diaper rash.  I am still working on getting that one cleared up and will not test the cloth diapers again for a couple of months.   

Rory has become even more alert over the past two weeks, smiling more often and even imitating sticking his tongue out.  He likes to "stand" and has been getting better at holding his head up.  Rory has demonstrated a clear dislike for his car seat, making errands difficult for me.  But he is doing better in the Ergo carrier, so I am encouraged that as long as I can tolerate the screaming in the car, he will be fine when we reach our destination.  His sleep has also improved!  He now sleeps for one 4-6 hour stretch at night and takes one long (3 hour) nap a day along with several shorter naps.  Sadly, I am planning on moving him to his nursery tonight.  He is a noisy sleeper.  About 20 minutes or so before I feed him he grunts and then will grunt about 20 minutes after I put him back down.  I want to be able to sleep through these grunting periods.  And, who knows, maybe he will actually sleep for longer stretches as I never let him get to the point were he fully wakes himself up before feeding.  Currently, it seems like he barely eats at all and then knocks back out.  He still sleeps in his swing, although I am testing him out in the crib for the first time now.  I am hearing him as I type (only 30 minutes after I put him down), so I guess that experiment did not go so well.

Here is a video Atticus took last night of him imitating me sticking my tongue out.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What makes Rory happy

What makes Rory happy:

- Naked time (or at least diaper-free time)
- His bouncy chair
- Baths
- Rocking with mommy in the rocking chair
- A smiling mommy or daddy

And what makes Rory happy, makes mama happy, because right now nothing seems better than his smile.  Except maybe when I hear hints of his giggle that is yet to come.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Rory is 1 month old

I can not believe it has already been a month or maybe its that I can not believe that it has only been a month.  It seems impossible that you can love someone and have someone be so much a part of you that you have only known for a month.  Rory is still laid back, although he has started to have some fussy evenings.  I think (and Atticus would confirm) that Rory has developed a preference for being held and soothed by me.  To others, he still looks tiny, but he seems to have grown a lot to me.  Yesterday, I packed up all of his newborn clothes as I realized he could no longer stretch his legs fully.  I won't see how much he has grown though for another two weeks (at a delayed 1 month appointment).  I wish I could say that we have developed some sort of predictable schedule that produced longer stretches of nighttime sleep, but we have not.  He still typically gets up about every three hours at night to eat, with an occasional four hour stretch.  He does however sleep well during the day.  When we stay home all day he will take 3-4 long naps and has awake times of 1.5-2.5 hours.  He travels fairly well, but is often not thrilled to be put into his car seat.  However, with travel and the holidays we have not fully gotten back into the boys schedule yet so he has not had to adjust to an on the go lifestyle yet.  I have not yet had to adjust either and have been enjoying lots of time holding, snuggling and admiring my baby.  Rory is very much adored by his brothers, especially Jude, who can not seem to walk by him without planting a kiss on his forehead.  I can't blame him. I seem to have the same problem.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Finnan Bio, Finnan Dio

If you have spent any time with either Finnan or Jude recently, you will have heard both the phrase, "That rhymes!" and the word "bio."  For about a month, Finnan has been on a rhyming kick.  He has been trying to rhyme everything and follows every rhyme with half question, half exclamation, "That rhymes!"  His first rhyme was one that I believe Gabriela says, "Rice is nice for mice."  From there I have spent many weeks helping him correct failed rhymes, but recently he seems to figure out rhymes fairly well by himself.  Mostly he rhymes more simple words like dog or cat or even nonsense words, but sometimes I'll hear him mumbling more complicated rhymes like, battery/stratergy (yes, not quite a word, but close).  Jude's name has been easy for him to come up with rhymes, but "Finnan" stumped him (and me) for a while.  He had some help from Uncle Lyle and Uncle Frank this weekend who came up with, "Finnan is winnin' with women."

Jude has also tried to join in the rhyming game.  Most of time he says something like, "Du-be-du-be-do, that rhymes!" Yesterday, he came up with a rhyme for his favorite word, "bio."  "Finnan bio, Finnan dio, that rhymes!"  Now, for Jude's favorite made-up word, "bio," I have no idea where it came or what it means, but he has been saying it for months.  It can be used in all kinds of contexts.  Sometimes it seems like he is name-calling, "No, you're bio!"  Other times it seems like it means something like "cool," other times it is definitely something that is eaten.  I tried to be clever a while ago and tell him "bio" really meant "biology."  My attempt to wean him off the word failed.  Here is a conversation Jude and Atticus had today while riding past the seminary (which had been under construction) by our house:

Jude: Daddy, the workers are all done!
Atticus: They did a good job.
Jude: They sure did.  Awesome workers!  That's bio!
Atticus: I thought you told me that bio tasted like tomatoes.
Jude: No, that's silly.
Atticus: No, remember when we were making pizza you asked for bio and we decided that it was tomatoes.
Jude: Yea.
Atticus: So the building tastes like tomatoes?
Jude: Yea, bio.

Tonight as I was helping Jude in the bathroom, he said something about, "bio-b."  Since I was in the middle of writing this, I thought I would make one more attempt at clarification.  Finally, I think I got the real truth about "bio."  Jude said, "Cause, I just like to say it."

Road trip for five

On our way back home, all three boys were asleep within minutes of leaving Paw-Paw and Honey's house.  Hours later, when Jude found out we were heading home, he started sobbing.  "I don't want to go home.  I want to go to Paw-Paw and Honey's house!"  And every now and then through the entire trip home we would hear, "But I want to go to Paw-Paw and Honey's house.  I miss Paw-Paw and Honey."  

I think all of us shared Jude's feelings.  We had a great visit with not only Paw-Paw and Honey, but over the course of our five days, we got to spend time with Lyle, Loren, Katherine, Maddie, Frank, Olivia, Mary, Sarah, Cullen, Amelie, Odile and Phyllis.  While we were in New Orleans, Atticus was able to go to St. Francisville for a night to go hunting (our new deep freeze is getting full :)) and went to the LSU-Alabama game.  The boys and I stuck around the house and enjoyed lots of scooter rides, walks to the park, great food (including my new favorite hamburger, the New Orleans burger from Bear's), ponies, and even swimming!  

Paw-Paw found Caelyn and Lyle's old razor scooters so both boys and Lyle were able to ride around.  Riding with Lyle was great for Finnan- mimicking his actions he became much more confident on his scooter and ended the weekend scooting faster and balancing well.  He did have to keep Lyle in check though- "Now Lyle, we are in a parking lot.  Be careful!"

There were small parties for both the Saint's play-off game and the LSU-Alabama game at the LeBlanc house.  For much of the Saints game, Finnan, Jude and Cullen spent sprinting around the hallway-kitchen circle playing "You can't catch me!"  They did take a break though when Uncle Frank had a present to open.  Clearly, he needed their help. Atticus had also coached the boys in football cheers, so squeals of "DEFENSE!" or "Pick six!" could be heard throughout the evening as well.  Everyone in attendance was shocked that Rory slept through all of this.

The weather was perfect this weekend and Paw-Paw heated the pool for the boys.  It wasn't quite as warm as the Y though, so they had to take breaks in the hot tub.

And Rory did wonderfully on his first long road trip.  On the way down we just stopped twice so he could nurse and barely heard from him otherwise.  Our timing on the way back did not work quite as well, but the trip was still relatively quiet and easy.  I guess this is the beauty of traveling with a baby so young- they do not really notice any change in routine yet.  I had debated whether or not Rory and I would join Atticus, Finnan and Jude, but I am so glad we did.  It was a treat to see everyone, have so much help and to spend so much time outside.  My kids are so lucky to have such wonderful grandparents and aunts and uncles.  I only wish we could see them more often.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012


This weekend, I was truly surrounded by cowboys.  Paw-paw and Honey arranged to have ponies for the boys and their cousins, Madeline and Cullen.  So, outfitted in their cowboy gear, Finnan and Jude rode ponies for the first time.  The night before the pony ride Finnan told me that he didn't want to ride a horse.  He continued to say that throughout the morning.  But, when Paw-paw explained to him that these were special teaching ponies (and nothing like the horses he had just seen on the Shirley Temple movie, Susannah of the Mounties) he agreed to get on the horses.  And, despite cracking about one smile while on the horse, he had a great time, getting back on again, and again, and again.  Jude was uncharacteristically serious while on the ponies, but also loved his first riding experience.  Ponies Bob and Apache rode the boys and Cullen (Maddie opted for brushing the ponies rather than riding) around the yard for about an hour.  Both Finnan and Jude declared Bob, the bigger pony, their favorite.      

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A new year

This year I was hopeful that I would not be up to officially ring in 2012.  We had a laid back dinner at Stan (Atticus' partner) and Elysa's house while we watched the three boys (including their son, Andrew) crazily race riding toys throughout the house.  We left at 8 to get the boys in bed and settled in on the sofa with glasses of champagne and an episode of 30 Rock.  And, I was in bed by 10...a perfect start of the new year, for me.

I wasn't sure I was going to make official New Year's resolutions this year.  But on a date night the night before New Year's Eve (thanks to Paw-Paw Byron and Lyle) Atticus pulled up on his I-Phone our resolutions from last year.  I was glad to be reminded of where we were a year ago and where we wanted to be.  Being at stay-at-home mom, it is often hard to feel like you have accomplished anything as your days are often filled with never-ending tasks like laundry, groceries and cooking, but looking at our list I felt like as individuals and as a family we all accomplished something in the last year.  So, we started on our 2012 resolution list.

A few of our resolutions will be easily measured: learn how to make good bread; start going to yoga weekly (or more often); baptize all three boys; and sign up for running races or triathlon (Atticus).  Others will be easy to determine progress toward the goal but will always be works in progress: putting forth the time and effort to become better friends with neighbors and working with Finnan on good social manners with adults (looking people in the eye, etc.).

However, the resolution most important to me will also be the hardest- the hardest to accomplish and hardest to measure success.  This year I want to reconsider my spirituality.  I have never been religious or spiritual, but recently I have been wishing I was more of each.  As I mentioned in my Christmas post, even though I often do not hear or participate in much of the mass, I have been been having overwhelming feelings of gratitude and thanks when attending church recently.  This feeling and reminders of it throughout the week remind and help me to be patient and positive while helping me avoid becoming frustrated or overwhelmed.  So, this year I want to think about how religion and spirituality can help me as a person and as a mother.  I also want to think about how this can affect our parenting and how we want to pass religion down to our children.  Recently, I read Mission to Motherhood which is about a mother (former missionary) using the bible and Christianity as a guide in raising her children.  While I can't imagine following the bible or referencing the bible in every day life as she did, I found her focus on motherhood and family refreshing and enlightening, and I hope I can figure out a way to have a similar focus throughout my year.