Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Rory's first swim

This weekend, we brought Rory into the pool for the first time.  Up until now he has watched his brothers swim from the sidelines or been dropped off at the Y's childcare center.  But, this weekend the childcare center was closed and both Atticus and I wanted to get into the pool.  So, I dug out a couple of diapers that I hoped together would create a seal and in Rory went.  He loved it.  He splashed, floated and was even dunked.  He was in the water for over and hour without a single complaint.  Then he fell asleep before we were out of the Y parking lot.

Color Wheel Exhibition

Finnan's last day of Color Wheel was last week.  Celebrating the end of the year, Color Wheel had an exhibition in Decatur's old courthouse on the square.  Although we were out of town for the opening (including King of Pops and Revolution Donuts), we went to see it this past weekend.  Morning Art School had a wall where each child chose a piece of artwork to contribute.  (In our case, I chose it as I remembered as I was running out the door and chose a piece we had on display, but not framed or tacked in.)  

Finnan posed in front of the wall for us.  His piece is on the top row directly above his head.  The red section is a mountain and the blue is a wave crashing into the mountain.  Apparently, it was done in the style of Hokusai.  

I told Finnan we were going to his exhibit and he needed to get dressed.  This was his "special" outfit for the exhibit.  In general, his favorite shorts are "exercise shorts" because he literally wants to be prepared to go for a run at any time.  He was happy to top it off with his T-ball hat from last year, which matched, which is another common theme in Finnan's wardrobe.  His ideal outfit this winter was red parachute-like pants (which I had gotten for a dollar so that he could roll around in the mud) with some sort of red top.  Because, of course, they matched!  Jude also dressed up "special" in a polo shirt.  Jude, however, insists on buttoning all buttons on any shirt with buttons, even when it is clearly uncomfortable.

Color Wheel, also had each of their artists dictate an artist statement.  Below is Finnan's.  The statements of 3-5 year olds were pretty amusing.  

Both Finnan and Jude will be going to Color Wheel next year Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  And now, I have to gear myself up for picking them up from Gabriela's for the very last time.  Wow.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Sunday morning, Atticus and I were surprised with breakfast: a plate of toast.  The boys have done this a few times before, but after a smoke alarm incident they have not done it in a while.  I am glad to see that it is back (and that Finnan remained in charge of the toaster).

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The cottage, 2012

Idyllic.  That is the only word to describe our stay at the cottage this year.  Walking down the beach with Atticus one morning, I questioned, will it ever be this good again?  Rory was napping in the cottage.  The boys were playing on the beach together.  And we were just able to look at it all and enjoy each other.  With the boys being a little older, with a little more common sense (and swimming ability), we were able to let them play on the beach while we lingered up at the cottage.  Finnan loved running laps up and down the beach and they both worked hard together on construction projects and dinosaur worlds.  Despite the cooler temperatures they both ran in and out of the water, even completely dunking themselves at times.  

Considering the peacefulness at the cottage, you would never know the amount of preparations and partying that was going on at the big house behind us.  Danielle, one of Atticus' cousins, had a spectacular wedding at the River Farm the weekend of (and the purpose of) our visit.  The boys wore their Easter suits and sat, parentless, at a kid's table. Another one of Atticus' cousins, Michael, who is maybe 8 (?), was the big kid at the table and helped the boys lift their water goblets for toasts and even escorted Jude to the bathroom.  Being a stickler for rules in new situations, at one point, Finnan was the only child at the table before the parents ushered all the kids back to their seats.  Finnan was also very excited about dancing.  Once the music started, he was insistent on being out on the dance floor (accompanied by either Atticus or I).  Rory did amazingly well, and fell asleep in Aunt Ginny's arms.  Jude ended up completely crashing at 9 on one of the sofas, so we headed out early, but we had a great time visiting and dancing.  Rory woke up at 11:30 that night and I could still hear the dance music roaring from the tent.  

Although we had the cottage to ourselves, much of Atticus' family was in town for the wedding.  So we had a lot of time to visit and a lot of donuts to go around (thank you Paw-Paw :)).  Some of our friends from college who live in the Md./Va. area also came to see us.  It is always nice to share the wonder of the cottage.  After the weekend, the weather started looking a little more grim.  We would rush the kids out the beach to play when we had breaks in the weather (starting as early as 6:30 am!) and ended up going to the National Museum of Natural History one afternoon (where Finnan's favorite thing was a video clip where a rock tool was shown and Jude's was the T-Rex) and visiting Caelyn's new apartment in Arlington (where they took advantage of the empty space by playing duck-duck-goose and wrestling).   And the most amazing part of it...I survived two 12 hour drives.  And I plan on doing it again next year.

Even though I feel like I rarely had my camera on me, I have many, many pictures from the weekend.  


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Bouncing baby


This week I brought down the Johnny-Jumper for baby Avie.  Avie never even made it into the jumper.  Rory got in and started bouncing and spinning.  And he loves it!

All the pirates died.

Below is a sticker story that Finnan recited to me a couple of weeks ago.

"Once there were four pirates [named Sword, Fight, Bad and Canon].  Two were fighting over some treasure.  Bad went away after he pulled off Fight's clothes.  Canon threw wine at Bad.  Bad got all wet.  Canon threw the barrel at Bad.  Bad said 'ouch' and turned around and fought Canon.  When he fought Canon, Canon was dead.  The end.  After Canon died the boat started sinking.  And all the other pirates got wet.  They started going out of the ship.  All the pirates died.  The end."

Friday, May 25, 2012

The "party"

Considering my oldest child is only 4, I know it is too early to say this, but I think I may be done with large birthday parties.  For Jude's 3rd birthday we had a "party."  We decorated with balloons, grilled, ate cake and opened presents.  He was thrilled and did not seem to notice that it was only us and my parents.  And, it was relaxing and enjoyable...even though Jude and I had to run to Kroger 15 minutes before the chicken was done to get cake supplies.

Jude spent his birthday weekend sick.  The type of sick where he slept on and off all day Friday, woke up Saturday morning for a glass of water, then slept until 5 Saturday night.  I had decided to go ahead and grill but to hold off on the decorations, cake and presents.  But, when Jude woke up, he said he was ready for his party, donut cake and all.  Jude, Rory and I headed to Kroger while my mom and Finnan wrapped presents and put up balloons.  

I thought the best thing about Jude's cake was that it combined his two favorite things: donuts and dinosaurs.  It turns out, the best part was that it only took 20 minutes to make, including the trip to the grocery store.  That saved the party.  Unfortunately, the dinosaurs weren't as lucky and they were decimated by lava.  

Because Jude had slept all day, he was able to stay up late and play with his new toys.  Finnan played with Paw-Paw all day (soccer, baseball, bike riding, repeat) and was exhausted.  For the second time, he fell asleep while sitting up at the table.  

Jude also had a party at Gabriela's.  Parties at Gabriela's are full of tradition.  Every child places a shell around the cake and flowers in the cake.  She sings a song about the child coming to our family and then growing year by year.  After each year, the birthday child walks around the table and lights a candle, while the parent tells a story about the child that year.  The birthday child wears a crown and cape.  This is the first time Jude had a birthday at Gabriela's.  He was very serious through the song and while lighting the candles. You could tell how special he felt.  It really was beautiful.  I took a few pictures with my phone (but with no flash).    

Monday, May 14, 2012

Officially 3!

Today, Jude is officially 3.  I say officially for two reasons.  First, we told him he was three on Saturday when we had his “party” (yes, there is a good reason for those quotation marks).  Second, for months, he had already seemed like a three year old to me. 

Jude has a big personality.  I feel like I am setting myself up for failure by even trying to describe him.  Jude is funny, sweet and loud.  In almost every interaction with him, I am either laughing (even if it has to be hidden from him), overwhelmed by his love, or thinking, “Jude, can you be more quiet!!!”  But, none of this is new.  Jude has displayed these qualities from only a few months old and I imagine they will never change.

Many things about him now will change.  He loves dinosaurs.  The only show he ever wants to watch is Dinosaur Train, but he will give in to Mighty Machines.  I added a new show to our Netflix list and I clicked on it to show him.  He burst into tears.  “I don’t want a new show!”  He is a collector.  He has a serious fossil collection.  Somehow he will pick up a rock and identify it as either a rock, a dinosaur fossil or a tree fossil.  Whenever we take a walk, he gathers special rocks, sticks, and flowers.  He loves worms and bugs, but wants to destroy every spider web he sees.

He loves going on outings.  Every time we go to the zoo, he squeals with excitement, “We’re going to the zoo!” as we walk in from the parking lot.  He acts so excited you would think he has never been, and certainly would not think that he had been only weeks before.  Whenever he realizes we are heading home, he says, “But, I don’t want to go home!”  Luckily, Atticus is working on a house around the corner, so it will generally appease him to swing by the “construction site” before we go home. 

Jude’s favorite physical activities are swimming and swinging.  He now knows how to pump although he still prefers to be pushed.  He enjoys playing soccer and baseball with Finnan, but he generally takes up the role of cheerleader, “Gooooo Finnan!  Go, Finnan Go!

Jude still loves to rhyme.  Everyday (at least once a day) I hear, “Hello Mommy Pommy!” Jude is good with his letters and numbers and enjoys trying to figure out what letter words start with (by me making the first letter’s sound).  Sometimes he will practice writing letters and can draw a handful of them. 

This year I thought it would be fun to do an “All About Me” type worksheet with Jude. 

My favorite animal is: Beluga whale
My favorite food is: Broccoli
My favorite game is: Hold the avocado (Yes, this answer is even stranger than the broccoli response!)
My favorite thing to do is: Count numbers
My favorite book is: The apple one (a book about lowercase letters)
My favorite color is: Black and green
My favorite movie is: I only like to watch Dinosaur Train.
My best friend is: Finnan
My other friends are: Anyone

Almost all of these answers were news to me.  That is Jude.  We never know what he is going to come up with next.  But, we are so excited to see what his next year brings.  

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Spring soccer

On Saturday, we had our last soccer game and I was able to officially retire my "COACH" shirt.  I acquired the shirt (and the job) through a misunderstanding.  The YMCA was looking for more coaches.  Atticus agreed to coach a team and I told him I would help him by fielding emails and setting up any necessary logistics.  Apparently, I did not explain my role appropriately because when the rosters came out, I was listed as the Sharks second coach.  At that point, I figured I would still be on the sidelines, but with Atticus' back troubles and a weekend away, I ended up acting as coach a few times.  But whether I was the acting coach or I was on the sidelines, just having the coach title made me feel somewhat responsible.  And no one should feel responsible for 3 and 4 year old soccer.

Atticus and I coached a team of 10 Sharks, including both Finnan and Jude.  For a while, I felt like every game was stranger than the last.  One game, all of our players were dying to play and the other team could not get more than one player on the field.  During another game, the other team only had two players and only four of our kids wanted to play, so the same kids played 3 on 3 the whole game.  My biggest frustration at the beginning was that I felt like no one was getting enough playing time, but as the season went on it that wasn't as problem and by the end of the later games it was sometimes difficult to get three kids on the field.  

Jude was always excited about playing and skipped happily around the field without any concern to where the ball was.  He even spent much of one game pretending to be an airplane.  He was always available to go in and play and always willing to sit on the sidelines if another child was ready to play.  He was thrilled to be part of a team.  Finnan took soccer very seriously.  For the most part he did a great job and he seemed to improve from the fall.  I think he scored at least 90% of our teams goals.  He was focused on taking the ball from the other team then dribbling it down to score.  He was very careful not to take the ball away from his own team members, which was impressive and required some patience.  However, he occasionally had trouble when things were not going as they should.  In one game, one of his team members took the ball away from him.  This made him very upset and he spent a good deal of time moping on the sidelines.  One game, the other team had some pretty strong players who were overpowering him.  I missed this game, but Atticus reported back that he kept playing, but with tears in his eyes.  I think this is the hardest part about coaching, or at least when both parents are coaching.  When our kids needed some special attention or a quick speech about sportsmanship or patience we could not do it.          

Here are most of the Sharks from our first game.

And, here are my two Sharks before our last game.

A beaver

Me: Jude, did you miss Finnan today at Gabriela's?
Jude:  Yes (making a very sad face).
Me: Did you tell your friends why Finnan was not there?
Jude: Yup, I told P.J. (really T.J.) that Finnan had a beaver.
Atticus: Finnan had a what?!?
Jude: A BEAVER.  Finnan had a beaver.

Friday, May 4, 2012

The plumber/baker

For some reason, on some days, Finnan requires some convincing (and follow-up) to wear underwear.  On some days, I forget to follow-up.  

Jude did enjoy his pre-birthday (mud) cupcakes though.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Time with James

One of my best friends, Kate, is moving at the end of the month.  Her son, James, is six months younger than Jude and they are good buddies.  We are trying to get in as much time with Kate and James as possible.

At the zoo:

At the pool:

And at the aquarium:

Oh, Kate, why are you leaving us?!?