Saturday, June 29, 2013


Tomorrow morning the boys and I are driving to Florida to visit my parents for the week.  Since our last trip to Florida, we have been enjoying a fairly laid back summer.  Finnan did a week of Agnes Scott's Sports Camp and both Finnan and Jude participated in Vacation Bible School this past week.  The boys have been eating at least two popsicles daily and having a blast with the slip n slide and their first water guns.  Everyone has started staying up a little later, including me, watching Battlestar Galactica and canning to keep up with the cucumber harvest. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Rory is 18 months

At 18 months, Rory is quite a handful.  This beautiful little boy resorts to screaming... a lot.  I know he is at an age where demonstrating independence is important while communication is still limited, but, man, he seems to take these tasks to a different level.  While I was on a girl's trip Atticus started resorting to putting Rory into time-out for screaming.  It has actually helped, and with a few more moments of quiet around here, I feel like I have had more of a clear head to figure out what is going on with my little guy.  He really enjoys having jobs.  One of his favorites is collecting the eggs ("egchs") every day.  Every day he carries one egg from the coop to the fridge.  

He loves watermelon and frozen blueberries.  I need to to keep those around to satisfy his unending hunger or demands to "eeaacht."

He needs a creative outlet.  He LOVES play dough.  Every day, he sets up his supplies on the table and signs for help to open the containers.  He specifically loves playing with the play dough waffle press, using the spatula, and then presenting it to us on a plate to "eeaacht."

Rory also loves balls and cars.  He will claim he wants to read books, but usually only sits through a page or two before climbing out of my lap and finding another one to bring to me and climb back in my lap.  He does not like it when I try to put him in his car seat.  He likes to get in himself.  However, the past couple of days he has been sitting himself down in Finnan's or Jude's seats before they can get to it. He finds that very amusing.  A couple of days ago, he found Jude's old tricycle.  He is quite taken with his new ride and always wants to wear his "hat." 

At Rory's 18 month doctor's appointment he weighed in at 20lbs 11oz (below the US chart, but on the WHO chart) and was 32.5 inches (in between 50th and 75th percentile) with a head circumfeence above the 95th percentile.  There was some discussion about his weight, but other wise he checked out as healthy and received his last immunization (until 4). He was very fussy during the visit, crying whenever the doctor or nurse touched him.  He cried when he received his shot, but then stopped the second I opened the door to the office.  This is the same thing that happened last time.  I think he is developing a complex about the doctor's office.  He stopped nursing about a month ago and he is sleeping well at night and taking 1 two hour nap.  

Hopefully, our channeling of his energy and excitement will continue to work and our household will continue to get more least in terms of toddler temper tantrums.  It doesn't seem like he is going to take to people standing in his way.  Eventually, I am sure that will serve him well.

Summer swimming

This summer Finnan is a Decatur Gator.  The season has been a bit of a struggle for us.  It was hard to get to practices and sit through practices with Rory in tow.   Then, despite Finnan saying he wanted to go to practice, he had a good deal of anxiety while at practice.  The first couple of practices he had trouble getting through to the end without getting teary-eyed.  It got better, but you could tell he was stressed while at practice.  There were many triggers.  The water was very cold and some practices there was too much standing and waiting.  Other kids would splash or goof off. It was the end of the day.  I started to stop mentioning practices, but we did decide to let Finnan swim in a meet.  If he liked the meet, we would keep going.  If he didn't, I would forget about it.

Finnan's first meet was against Lindmoor Woods.  Atticus took him and volunteered as the 6 & under boys bullpen parent.  The boys played cards and watched each other play I-Phone games.  He started to get anxious when it was time to swim (he really, really was worried about getting his googles on in time).  He swam the 25 freestyle and did great.  And despite his very serious post-race demeanor, he said he had fun.  We thought that was going to be his last race, so I offered to take him home with the other boys, but he insisted on staying.  Since he stayed and another boy did not show up, he was able to swim 25 backstroke as well.  After the meet Atticus and Finnan hit Dairy Queen, where he was much more taken by the hamburgers than the blizzards.  I heard many times over the last week, "Mom did you know how good the hamburgers are!  They really are!"  OK...

Since he had a good time at the Lindmoor Woods meet, I signed him up for the next two as well.  Last night I took him to an indoor meet against Glenwood.  Atticus convinced me to cut the cord and not volunteer as bullpen parent.  Since, I did not volunteer, I just dropped him off at the beginning of the meet and let him deal with all of his anxiety on his own.  He did fine.  He figured everything out and there were no tears.  He swam in a relay and 25 freestyle.  This time he won his heat of the 25 freestyle (the third heat...the first has the faster kids), but it was a good confidence boost.  Today he wanted to go to practice and did much better.  We will enjoy one more meet next week and then I will breathe a sigh of relief that this all worked out and hope that this experience did indeed have a positive affect on Finnan.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Navarre Beach, 2013

(Guest post by Atticus)
For the first time Alison and I can remember, this vacation with kids actually felt like one.  I always looked forward to our vacations since I have such fond memories of the beach with my parents, but it seems like since we've had kids, we've always come home needing another vacation.  In our 4 previous beach vacations since Finnan was born, we've had 3 trips to the ER or urgent care, and average night's sleep was probably in the 5-6 hour range.  But last week, I think we finally turned the corner. . . or at least passed our vacation luck to my brother, Loren.  None of our immediately family got sick or injured, and everyone slept like they were supposed to.  Mom booked 2 great condos in Navarre Beach, and Caelyn had prepared an excel spreadsheet for everyone's meal responsibilities.  As a result, we were as prepared and comfortable, with some exceptions, as ever.

Unfortunately, Loren did manage to break his collarbone (into at least 5 distinct pieces) the day before we came down (golf cart racing); and as if that wasn't hard enough on Katherine, Maddie managed to dislocate her elbow on day 3. . . google "nurse-maid's elbow," and look for Uncle Frank in the video.  
Oh, and I almost forgot that Miller was waking up 4 every morning to make sure no one made things easy on Katherine.

For us, though, things couldn't have gone more smoothly.  Finnan was almost tireless at the beach, busting waves, diving for shells, hunting for sand fleas and coquina clams ("diggers"), or simply racing around.  Jude was slightly more subdued, and always wanted to be in the shade or at least have his sunglasses on; but he certainly did his fair share of wave-busting as well.  Fortunately, the pool was mostly shaded, and his swimming improved dramatically while we were there.  Rory was wary of the sand for about 30 seconds before he made a mess of himself, and by day 3 or 4 was running headlong towards the surf (every parent's dream).

Other noteworthy news from our trip was my father's Pied-Piper like spell over Rory.  I'm not sure if there's some magic emanating from Paw-Paw, but Rory became obsessed.  Rory would literally run around our condo yelling for "Bah-Bah" until he picked him up, or would shriek with laughter as soon as he arrived on the scene.

This was also the first time Finnan and Jude discovered sand fleas, and since we couldn't manage to catch any crabs in the surf, we actually decided to try to cook them.  Apparently they're a delicacy in Thailand and a few other places, so we battered and fried a few, which the boys decided was their new favorite food.  For anyone curious, you can find a few videos on youtube for both catching and preparing "mole-crabs."  The verdict from everyone who tried them was that they were pretty good, like a cross between soft-shell crab and shrimp.

The boys all thoroughly enjoyed spending time with their extended family, and we  were all very sad to leave. We did get to spend an extra week with Lyle, who came home with us and was a great help around the house, as well as great company on my daily work duties.  I think Jude assumed he was going to stay all summer, and was a little teary-eyed when I told him we were taking Lyle to the airport.

It was a blessing to have everyone together once again, and I'm so grateful to have had the R&R with our family.  We can't wait to do it again next year. . . unless anyone wants to go sooner.

The Crew (minus Loren's arm sling)
Just us

"Bah-Bah" with his two biggest admirers (neither of which enjoyed sharing him)

Here comes trouble x 2

Nevermind, they're all angels

Best Brothers, Best Friends

Fun in the sand (and Loren's injury in the background)

Rory and "La-La" who became a good replacement for "Bah-Bah" after Lyle spent a week with us at home.

Rory was fearless in the waves, his mother not so much.

Rory busting the waves

Watching the dolphins in the distance

Jude swimming in the ocean

Finnan body-surfing

Looking for sand fleas

More sand flea hunting

Contemplating the abyss