Preschool is in Session

Mason and Sienna started preschool a few weeks ago.  This is Mason’s last year of preschool before big kid school next year! This is Sienna’s first year, and she has really enjoyed going to school, making new friends and getting lots of attention from her sweet teachers.  It’s been nice having a few hours to myself a few times a week for the first time in many years!  So far, I have been volunteering some at Parker’s school a few days a month and running a few Thursdays with a friend, so that has been great to be kid-free for.

We have enjoyed the preschool quite a bit, but the only challenge has been that it’s (I feel) not ideal for families that have multiple children attending.  They have staggered pick-up times, and that has been an adjustment having it be a 10-15 minute process each time I pick up both kids, but hopefully as everyone gets into the groove of school, it’ll get easier.  We love the teachers so far and the kids, above all, are happy and love telling me about their day.  We are thankful for that, and looking forward to a great school year for these two {Super-cute} Preschoolers!


Spring Photos!

I’m still learning about photography, and one of my favorite subjects to practice on is my three sweet kiddos! Here are some recent photos that I took with my Cannon 70D 28mm lens. I had the F stop at about 2.2. The F stop goes to 1.8 but I seem to get a lot of motion blur if I’m not focused enough and when I’m dealing with wiggly kiddos! My ISO is set low at about 100. I’m still learning about shutter speed, so I’m not exactly sure what that was set on. I’ve recently been “practicing” with Manual although I’m more comforable in AV mode simply because I feel I don’t know enough about shutter speed to know what I want to set it at in relation to lighting.

Nevertheless, I had a great time capturing my sweet three in their Easter attire a few days before Easter!

Parker, 5
Mason, 4
Sienna, 2

Sienna Turns 2!

I can’t believe my baby girl is so big! She truly has come into her own in so many ways over this last year. Just looking at her pictures from last year where she was just a tiny baby with barely-there hair on her head, to full locks of curly blonde hair in no time flat! She is quite the spunky girl!

Sienna's Golden 1st Birthday last year

Sienna’s Golden 1st Birthday last year

A few things about Sienna:

1. She loves to give hugs, kisses, etc. Very affectionate. She can get pretty possessive over Mommy and can be quick to nudge her brothers if she thinks they’re taking up her Mommy time. This girl loves being with her mommy. She’s truly a Mama’s girl and I love it. She splits salads with me when we go out to eat, and she climbs in my lap any given moment.

2. She loves story time before bed. Her favorite books are Sandra Boynton book and her current favorites are the Little Pookie series. It never gets old to her!

3. Similarly to number 2, she loves story time at the Library. Listening, clapping, dancing, getting attention and having fun… she’s all about it.

4. She’s a fan of music and dance parties. She is quick to shake her waistline to the beat of fun kid songs in the playroom, or even jam out in the car to her latest pop music fave. She’s a clown.

5. She loves pretty much every toy. She likes little lego men quite a bit. She’s fascinated by the fact that you can take the legs off and put on different ones, and she likes that they’re small. She also loves baby dolls, dogs, Sophia doll, her kitchen set, little people, star wars characters- especially Darth Vader (Daaat- Vaaadaa) Who knew? She loves outside toys, balls, tball, her scooter, her pink coup…etc. This girl can get into it all. She loves girly toys, but can hang with the boy’s toys too!

6. She doesn’t really watch a lot of TV, she’s usually playing when the boys are watching a show, but she does love Dora. Occasionally she’ll sit through a whole show while I clean the kitchen or get some chores done, but she mostly likes the opening song. She also likes to watch Sesame Street sometimes and she’s starting to get into Sophia the First. She loves the opening song, but hasn’t sat for the entire show.

7. The girl can eat. Like I mentioned in number one, she loves to split a salad with me. The boys never liked salads, but I just love that about her. She’s my side kick at Zoe’s kitchen, chowing down on almost half of my quinoa chicken salad. She isn’t a big breakfast eater, but makes up for it for lunch and dinner. LOVES to steal mama’s food, so it’s a good incentive to keep it clean so she doesn’t eat junk! Her favorite snack to steal right now is pistachios. She’s my little side kick. I hope that never changes.

8. Rough housing with Daddy and brothers is a big favorite. If I had to name one thing she loved doing most with the guys in the house, it would have to be horse playing! Whether it’s with foam light sabers, piling up on Daddy’s back, or having silly tickle sessions… She loves it all! She can dish it out, too!

9.She loves to talk! I think she is pretty advanced in her verbal skills, and may even be ahead of where the boys were at this age. She is pretty darn good at communicating her needs, and can throw on the drama and emotion when needed! The girl is even starting to get opinionated about the clothes that she wants to wear. “NO, MAMA, I want SOPHIA dress!” Hmmm… It’s 30 degrees, you’re wearing pants, doll. We’re in trouble!

10. Every. Where. I. Go. “Aw.. Isn’t she cute?!”… “What a pretty little girl”… “She’s adorable!!”. I know I’m bias, but she is quite possibly the cutes little 2 year old girl EVER. I get reminded of it every where I go, but I already know it. I love her sweet smile and her spunky spirit. She’s so beautiful to me inside and out!

The morning of Sienna’s birthday, we went in and surprised her with some Dora balloons and started singing to her. She was super excited about her special day!

For Sienna’s party, we decided to do a Build-A-Bear party. She loves stuffed animals, and has enjoyed being in the store before, and we thought she would be old enough to enjoy the build-a-bear experience. She had lots of opinions about the animal she wanted to pick, and didn’t like almost anything I showed her. She ended up with the Hello Kitty animal, and didn’t want to get any clothes on her. I think she just wanted to keep her soft and cuddly! I think the boys had more of a good time than she did, but it was still a lot of fun.

The party continued upstairs near the carousel. We sang to Sienna, everyone enjoyed a homemade cupcake, and most of the kids rode the carousel. I was surprised that Sienna knew what to do for her birthday candle. She blew it right out. I remember practicing this with Parker before his second birthday because I was afraid he wouldn’t know what to do… but then while everyone sang, he was trying to blow the candle out instead of waiting until the end. So this time I didn’t bother trying to teach her, but she was smart enough to see her buddy Walker blow it out first, and she followed the lead!

When we were at the mall last week, we saw that they had little stuffed animals that you could rent and ride on. Seriously… How cool is that? So, we told the boys that maybe we would try it for Sienna’s birthday. So, that’s what we did. The boys got a tiger, and Daddy and Sienna got a Rhino. Aunt Amanda took a turn for fun too. They all had a blast!


We ended the evening with Sienna opening some amazing gifts from some generous friends and family. Sunday morning was spent playing with all her fun toys since one kid had a belly ache (probably too much sugar over the weekend) and Mommy was nursing a sore throat and we didn’t make it to church. It was also very chilly out, so Daddy enjoyed building us our first fire of the season. Overall, a fun birthday weekend!


A Few Happenings

Last week Dan started a new job.  It’s been so nice having him home more, spending time with the kiddos, enjoying dinner (albeit late at times), and getting to enjoy some time together after the kiddos go to bed.  He has a commute into an office each day, but will eventually get to start traveling again, but not as much as he was before.  The company is larger and there is more opportunity for a bigger career challenge and future growth in the company (which is huge).  Dan may have to turn in his “status” card for a while so he can be a trainee and learn the ropes. However, we feel it is a huge blessing and answer to prayers that the opportunity presented itself, and is now apart of our new reality. There will be some growing pains for Dan with the training, and commute, but will pay off in the long run! The boys have been loving the anticipation of waiting for his arrival while they play outside. This day, after a rather early dinner and some bike riding, the boys enjoyed a home made fruit juice pop on the porch while waiting for Daddy.

 

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Wednesday morning was like Christmas morning for the boys.  I had just scored some amazing deals at the summer consignment sale I go to every year, and got the boys some more costumes (like they needed more) for playtime and dress-up.  So, after raiding the new costumes that morning while I was warming up Sienna’s bottle, we got Sienna up for the morning, and Mason came in and asked sweetly if he could feed Sienna.  That kid is SUCH the nurturer and is going to be one amazing Daddy one day, I just know it! Of course, I couldn’t refuse.  Parker wanted to sit by his brother (per usual) and he got some sweet time with his sister once Mason was done doing his big brother duties.

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I can’t believe Parker will be four in a month!  He’s such a bright, happy kid, and I just can’t wait to celebrate him, and see what year four brings for him.  He has the pleasure of being the guinea pig for new adventures for us as parents since we’ve never parented a four year old before.  He’s always loved being the one to learn and figure out things on his own without wanting help from others, so he plays the independent big brother role quite well!  I took a few pics of Parker in his new (second hand, but new to us) spiderman costume for his evite invitation photo.   He loved being a ham for the pics!

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As I was taking a few photos of Parker, I had to take a few of Sienna too since she decided to show off by pretending she was going to make her way up the stairs.  She quickly spotted my intent to capture the moment, and decided to chase after the hanging lens cap.  Slow down, baby girl!

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A box of smiles

A little sad that the kiddos are starting school next week. We’ve enjoyed our summer, and the boys have thoroughly exhausted being silly, being loud and energetic, being creative, and being… well I suppose normal 2 and 3 year olds.  I had a lot of consignment sale preparation to do last week, and the boys succeeded in entertaining themselves for a while.  They found a box, and from the other room I heard loud bursts of laughter, and Parker yelling “Let’s do it again, Mason!” as they played in the box, entertaining not only themselves, but Sienna too! I grabbed my cam to snap a few pics, since they were having so much fun!

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Mason’s Big Boy Training

If someone asks me about potty training,  I will likely tell them my experience with the 3-day potty training method.  Why?  Because it works SO well! We used this method for Parker with great success when we potty trained him a year and a half ago.  It turned out to be nice timing because Dan was working from home this week (the first time since we’ve moved in) and Parker had summer camp this week Monday through Thursday.

The first morning of course was rough, he didn’t get it as quickly as Parker did.  I even heard Dan mumble under his breath that he didn’t think he was ready after we cleaned up the third pee accident in a row.  At one point he refused to put on underwear and yelled NO.  It can be really hard not to show emotion when they have accidents or when you are getting frustrated.  I just kept my cool and then it just happened.  Right before nap time, on the first day, we were playing in the playroom and like a broken record I kept saying “Tell me when you have to go potty, Mason…okay?” and instead of replying Okay… he looked at me for a second and just stared and said “Yes!” with a big grin.  We made it a fun and I yelled “Yay! Run Run Run!” and then he’s been good ever since!  He had his first poop accident on day two (he had no bm day 1 or 3), then on day four he finally used the potty for poop.  Yay!!  We were overjoyed and I was acting crazy singing his praises!IMG_8827

 

We had fun playing outdoors, activities inside, anything that made him feel like he was special, and encouraged.  We went on walks and did a few indoor activities.  He loved all the individual attention.  We did Mason jars (fitting for Mae Mae, am I right?) full of chocolate and yogurt covered raisins for a reward as well as a sticker chart.  I felt the candy was great for the instant reward, and the sticker chart is great for him (and ME) to look back on at the end of the day to see how “accomplished” we were for the day.  I had three sets of stickers and I just let Mason pick out a sticker of his choice when he peed or poo’d.  He loved doing this! We had three bathrooms that we put a chart and candy in, so that we could reward the good behavior in different areas of our home.  The chart below was from our main level on day two.IMG_8829

With the three day method there aren’t any pull ups or diapers involved at all.  Even at night.  I feel it’s important at least for the first week to do this so that they understand that diapers have been completely removed from their world.  For Parker, he didn’t do so well keeping dry at night, so after the first few weeks with no success in night training in underwear, we put him in pull ups at night.  He was completely trained during the day so we didn’t feel like he would regress by doing this.  About three months later, he was starting to wake up dry, so that was our cue to put him in underwear at night. I honestly can’t remember the last time Parker had an accident at night.  He’s done great even though we temporarily needed to put him in pull ups.

Mason however, woke up wet in the middle of the night the first night, but then the next two nights he woke up and told us he needed to go potty! So unexpected, but we’re going to go with it. I’m hoping that it really will be this easy to night train, but we’ll see.  Mason woke us up at 6:30am, dry (which we were super excited about) but he then didn’t want to go back to bed after going potty.  So, I guess you choose your battles.

Overall, I’d say it’s been very successful.  And you know what… me and the little man have really bonded through this.  I’m so incredibly proud of him.  I’ve enjoyed spending one on one time with him while Sienna napped, and Parker was in school.  These days, it can be really hard to get that one on one time.  Even though he’s now rockin’ the big boy undies, he’s still secretly my baby boy… my sweet Mae Mae.  After all, wasn’t he just born…like not that long ago? Jeez, time slow down!

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A weekend with my big boy!

Over the last month or so, Parker had been asking about going on an airplane.  He’s been on an airplane twice before, but it was when he was three months, and six months old and obviously doesn’t remember it.  So this year for as a combined present for Parker and I, Dan and I decided that I could do a little weekend getaway with just the two of us.  I thought it would be a nice way to bond before baby number three comes along.  We were able to find a cheap hotel, and opted to stay at the Embassy Suites so that we could have a separate living area.  Parker is weird about falling asleep with me in the room.  He only wants to play and doesn’t sleep!

We had a great flight to Orlando.  Parker was super excited to fly and the most entertaining things to him was the seatbelt, window shade, and tray table.  We arrived in the afternoon, and got our rental car and made our way to the hotel.  We took a little snooze, then we headed out to the pool for a while to let Parker play and enjoy the last bit of pool time of the summer.

Afterward, we headed out to dinner and went to downtown Disney.  They had a wonderful restaurant called T-Rex, so we decided we’d check it out.  They had an awesome archeological dig area for the kids to play in while we waited for our names to be called.  It proved  to be too long of a wait for us, though so we ended up eating at the bar.  It was still really nice with a fun aquarium behind the bar, and giant octopus legs coming out of the top. Every so often, the lights would dim, and all the prehistoric creatures would come to life.  It was awesome and definitely kept Parker entertained while we waited for our food.

The next morning we woke up early and headed down for breakfast.  We headed out to Magic Kingdom and got to the parking lot really early and we were able to find a great parking spot. We took the ferry over and waited outside the gate for about fifteen minutes before opening.  They had plenty to keep us entertained with a Mickey show with all of his friends who came chugging along on the train.  I have to say, that opening act brought tears to my eyes.  To see Parker’s face, so happy and excited! It was also my first time at Magic Kingdom, and I just felt so blessed to be spending it with my first born!

I definitely recommend getting there early.  We didn’t have to wait at all when it came to the rides.  We started with the Buzz Lightyear ride, and then went to the tea cups, and Dumbo, and there were either no lines, or just a few people in front of us for one ride cycle.  We walked some, and I let Parker stroll some… We took photos and just took it all in.  We didn’t feel rushed or anything, we just took it easy around the park.  We went ahead and did “A small world” since there wasn’t many people in line, then went to Mickey’s Philharmagic, a short length 3D movie, the Haunted House, and Peter Pan.  Parker was So open to doing anything and everything!  He wasn’t afraid of anything and got so excited for the next ride and always wanted to know what was next.  I would let him choose as much as possible, and he loved having the control.

After a busy morning, we decided to head to lunch.  I had already decided that we should go big since we only had one day at Disney.  The Crystal Palace had dining with the Characters.  In Magic Kingdom, the characters are from the Winnie the Pooh story.  Parker hasn’t seen any of their movies, but we have read several Winne the Pooh books, so he was excited to be dining with them.  It was about a 20 minute wait, but it was worth it because there was a Mickey Mouse show outside that kept us entertained until our buzzer went off, then when we got sat.  It was a buffet and we were able to eat immediately, which is also a bonus.  The smiles on Parker’s faces were priceless too.  He loved every bit of it!

We couldn’t have planned the lunch time any more perfectly because as soon as we stepped out of the restaurant, there was a parade right in front of the castle, steps away!  The first float was none other than Woody himself with Jessie, Parker’s favorite!  It was an afternoon to remember!

It was such a fun parade! Afterward, we headed back to the hotel to get some rest.  By that point it was starting to get a little overcast (light showers were foretasted) and Parker and I were certainly getting a bit tired.  If we were going to make it to the parade and fireworks that evening, a nap was definitely in order!

I was worried after our nap that we wouldn’t be able to get a close parking spot, but we actually got a closer parking spot than before! How awesome was that?  Apparently while we were napping, the rain started, and a lot of people decided to leave, so we got really close to the park, and only needed to take the monorail over.  We went straight for the area that we hadn’t gone to before, and decided to do the Safari boats.  Parker loved seeing the animals, even though they weren’t real.  We went from there to the Tiki Hut to see the birds sing, Pirates of the Carribean ride, and the Aladdin Magic Carpet ride.  On our way back into the park, someone gave us a fast pass to the Peter Pan ride again, so we did that for a second time, and then at dinner with “Pinnochio” in a German looking beer hall that served pizza and soda.  After that, dusk was upon us, and we decided to just make our way to the center of the park near the castle to hang out until it was time for the parade and fireworks.  We met some people there, and Parker enjoyed showing off his Zurg that he got after the buzz lightyear ride, and chatting with the friendly people.  Everyone was so happy to be in the “happiest place on earth”.

Parker was super excited to see the parade and fireworks.  He doesn’t ever get to stay up late since he goes to bed by 8/8:30 each night, so this was a special treat.  He’s also never seen any special firework productions, just the little firework displays of street fireworks that Dan and I have set off for the 4th.  He did great watching the parade as well as the fireworks.  He was pretty content in his stroller during the parade, but then I decided he needed to sit on my shoulder during the firework display.  He loved being up high, and fortunately, I didn’t mind the thirty pounds of extra weight for a little bit.  It was worth it to be able to experience the excitement with him!

On our last day, we decided to head back to Downtown Disney, watched Finding Nemo in 3D at their theater and grabbed lunch at the T-Rex restaurant for the second time (because Parker honestly couldn’t get enough of that place!).  We then walked around before heading back to the airport.

It was an amazing trip, and I’m so thankful that I was able to make some great memories with my sweet Parker.  There were some hiccups on the flight home, but nothing that was out of the ordinary for an overtired toddler, who was missing the comforts of home.  I know it will be something that we will remember for many years to come, and it was such a special bonding time for us both!

Parker and Mason’s First Day of School

Today was Parker and Mason’s first day of school at St. Aidan’s MMO/Preschool. Parker went into the two year old class since his birthday misses the cut-off for the three year old class, and Mason went into the MMO (Mother’s Morning Out) 18-24 month program that Parker was in last year.

Mason looked like someone beat him up, sporting a black eye from a fall last Friday, as well as a few bumps and bruises from, well… just being a toddler I suppose.  The photos below  weren’t the best either (the worst possible back lighting in the house) so it didn’t make that shiner look any nicer.  When we got to school, he walked right into his classroom and started playing, but did cry when I left.  When I came to pick up, she assured me that he only cried for about 10 seconds, just as I was leaving, and then he warmed up very quickly.  They said he was very happy and chatty all morning.  I was so worried when I left that he would be upset the whole time, but apparently, he did great!  I was so happy to see him when I came to pick him up.  Mason was so involved in pointing out things on a book, and had his back to me, that he didn’t even care that I arrived.  He just kept showing me things in his book, chatting to me in his own language.  It was so sweet, and it warmed my heart to know that he was so comfortable there and enjoyed himself!

Parker did great, too.  Of course, he’s used to going to school and even has the same lead teacher Ms. Amanda that he had last year! He loves her so much, and has warmed up pretty quickly to Ms. Linda, the assistant teacher as well.  He can sometimes be apprehensive about having someone else take him to the potty that he doesn’t know very well, but Ms. Linda took him three times during the day, where he pee’d and pooped, so he did great! That’s my boy!   He was so happy to see me when I came to pick him up and immediately got up from story time and ran to my arms to give me a big super hug.  He was excited to tell me about his fun day that he had, and I was thrilled that he enjoyed himself too!

Parker’s Speech Development

So, call me a crazy over-protective Mama, but I ended up breaking down and taking Parker to the pediatrician to discuss his developing speech.  I’m not sure if it is my pregnancy, or what that is making me feel super emotional about his not-so-perfect speech that has seemed to, for some reason lately, gotten worse.  Parker has had a bit of a stutter for a few months now, and apparently I was doing all the wrong things dealing with the issue.  I think everyone’s natural instinct when their child is trying to communicate is to help them communicate or to teach them the proper way to say things like you would with other developing skills.  However, when it comes to stuttering, this is exactly what you’re not supposed to do.

So, to make a long story short, we went to see the Dr. and she said that Parker is certainly within normal range for his speech development, and that there isn’t any need to worry whatsoever.  I think with all that I have going on with my pregnancy, I just feared that maybe I had ignored an important sign of a developmental issue that he could possibly need help for.  She said that at this age, a lot of times they get really excited and it just gets hard for him to articulate good speech.  It’s really difficult because communicating is how we feel close to people, and it is how I feel close to Parker, too.  I think I had taken it for granted until I started noticing that his stuttering was getting worse for some reason and I was overcome with guilt when I realized that I wasn’t responding to him appropriately.  She sent me home with a few sheets of info on what I can do to help Parker, and things I shouldn’t do.  I hope this helps others who may be reading this and in a similar situation.

  • Encourage Conversation-Sit and talk with your child at least once a day.  Keep the subject matter pleasant
  • Help your child relax when stuttering occurs– Mild stuttering that’s not causing your child any discomfort should be ignored.  When your child is having trouble speaking, however, say something reassuring such as “Don’t worry, I can understand you.” If your child asks you about is stuttering, reassure him that “Your speech will get easier and someday the stuttering will be gone”
  • Don’t correct your child’s speech– Avoid expressing any disapproval, such as by saying, “Stop that stuttering” or “Think before you speak.” Remember that this is your child’s normal speech for his age and is not controllable.  Do not try to improve your child’s grammar or pronunciation.  Also avoid praise for good speech because it implies that your child’s previous speech wasn’t up to standard.
  • Don’t interrupt your child’s speech– Give your child ample time to finish what he is saying.  Don’t complete sentences for him.  Don’t allow siblings to interrupt one another.
  • Don’t ask your child to repeat himself or start over- If possible, guess at the message.  Listen very closely when your child is speaking.  Only if you don’t understand a comment that appears to be important should you ask your child to restate it.
  • Don’t ask your child to practice a certain sound or word– This just makes the child more self-conscious about his speech.
  • Don’t ask your child to slow down when he speaks-
    Try to convey to your child that you have plenty of time and are not in a hurry.  Model a slow relaxed rate of speech.  A rushed type of speech is a temporary phase that can’t be changed by orders from the parent.
  • Don’t label your child- Labels tend to become self-fulfilling prophecies.  Don’t discuss your child’s speech problems in his presence.
  • Ask other adults not to correct your child’s speech- Share these guidelines with babysitters, teachers, relatives, neighbors and visitors.  Don’t allow siblings to tease or imitate your child’s stuttering.
  • Help your child relax and feel accepted in general– Try to increase the hours of fun and play your child has each day.  Try to slow down the pace of your family life. If there are any areas in which you have been applying strict discipline, back off.

So, after reading that, I know there are some areas that I failed in the beginning when the stuttering started and things I can continue to improve on as a parent.  I’m confident with this new info, that I can help him overcome this, and we can get back to a comfortable relaxed communication that I love and miss.  Here’s the two of us chatting a bit, and you can see where Parker’s speech is currently.  I’m hoping to do a follow-up on this in a month or so to see where his speech is, after practicing the techniques above.

The Status On My PMS

Life gets busy, but each day I see little things in each of our little PMS (Parker, Mason, and Sienna)  that I would like to document.  So, here is the first episode of The Status On My PMS

Parker:

Boy, are you just the chatter box!  I know it’s all a good thing, but seriously… we need to learn some manners with this talking business because it’s wearing Mama out!  Every time I’m in convo with Daddy or trying to listen to an important part of the nightly news, there it is again… a trailing of verbal expression from “Mommy, my placemat is dirty, get me the mickey one?..Mommy, I need my milk! Mommy, where did Daddy go?  Mommy, what are you doing? Mommy, look at that car on TV” Mommy, it’s looking HOT outside.. Mommy, what are we doing today?” Sometimes I admit that it tips my patience near the tipping point.  I know that he’s just a verbal and social being who loves to chat, but we’ll have to start working on some boundaries on when it is appropriate and how not to interrupt when adults are talking.

I LOVE how sweet and verbal he is in public to strangers though, always saying Hi to random people and offering to open their door via automatic button at the gym.  He’s really turned a corner with leaving places and very rarely has a tantrum.  He typically just waves goodbye and says as a matter-of-factly “I’m going home!”.  I love that! It was a long time coming after all of the nightmares we had leaving places in the past, but as everyone promised, he grew out of that stage, thank you LORD!  He’s doing great with the potty training too, showing me that he is the big confident boy that I remind him of.  He’s great about waking up in the morning to let us know that he needs to go potty since he’s not in pull-ups, but does have the occasional accident in his bed if he oversleeps.  It’s not enough to warrent putting him back in pull-ups though since more often than not, he wakes up in time.  We’ve added a little clock in his room that glows at 7am when it’s time to get up.  That has helped tremendously with previous issues of him not going back to bed if he woke up around 6am to potty, and thought it was time to start his day.  Now he knows to go back to his room and either stay in his bed and go back to sleep, or play quietly until the light on the clock turns green, and then he can come in our room and watch a little curious george and play with toys while Mommy gets going for the day.

He gets fussy about wanting to do everything himself, which can be a challenge when we’re in a hurry, but I try to give as much as I can feel confident, secure, and in control as much as possible.  Of course, also to avert his evil twin from emerging.  The current things that are off limits: Flushing the toilet, closing ANY door, getting into his chair or carseat, pressing the elevator button, getting out of the car, and going up and down the stairs… just to name a few.  If we try to help him or rush him by helping him with any of those things, it insights a riot!  Mr. Independence is his surname.

One of Parker’s favorite times of the day is story time before bed.  He LOVES picking out books and having me read to him.  We used to make bedtime routine such a long process, with singing, and reading etc. but now we’re pretty much just down to bath, teeth brushing, short program on TV (while I put Mason to bed), story time, potty time, prayers and bedtime.  He’s always taken well to his routines and I think enjoys the predictability of it.

He loves playing with his brother Mason.  He still has times where he snatches toys, but when I see it happen, he’s typically cooperative about sharing them and taking turns.  Their absolute favorite joint activity is “pillow mountain” and he and Mason have a blast taking turns running into the pile of pillows on the floor and giggling up a storm.  They also have fun doing dance parties, which we typically do a few times a week while I’m folding clothes and the boys are listening to music and playing with toys.  Fun times!

I have seen a few changes in his speech and as he has begun to be more verbal, he’s developed a little bit of a stutter.  I’ve heard it is normal, but sometimes when he’s tired or excited he stutters so much that he’s out of breath.  It makes me wonder if that is normal or not.  Here’s a clip of us that I took today, and you can notice some slight stuttering, but not too bad.

Mason:

I can’t believe how much my baby has turned into a toddler these last few months.  Mason can easily say 50+ words and is so very smart and verbal.  Parker seemed to hit this milestone a little later, although Parker knew quite a bit, just couldn’t say it.  Mason has pretty much skipped the sign language, although he still does it sometimes in combo with speaking.  He never ceases with his “PLEASE” when he wants food, a refill on water, a dab of powder on his nose when I’m putting on make-up… or food of any kind from a stranger.  He’s gutsy in that way, but ever so cute in the process. He’s pretty outgoing in his personality, but definitely has to warm up to new environments and new people.  In playgroup for instance, he’ll go and play on his own, but will stick around me for a little while first and scope everything out before diving in.  He’s meets new people with the same amount of regard and typically just needs to warm up to strangers first, but then has no problem chatting them up and playing with them.

I’ve also noticed that although he takes some regard with new people and places, he’s a brave and gutsy little toddler.  He LOVES to climb.  He’s constantly trying to climb on tables and chairs,  tubs, and anything within waist height of him that gets him up high.  If he falls, he’s so brave… he may whimper for a second, but only if it’s a really big fall.  Otherwise, he just gets right back up and tries again.  He probably hurts some part of his body about once a week by bumping into something or tripping and falling or climbing.  The boy is a rough house. He definitely keeps us on our toes, though with all the climbing.  I went upstairs today to grab some socks, and he had stepped up on our lego bin and helped himself on top of the toy bin.  I came back to see him lopsided across the toys holding on for dear life.  I helped him get his foot unstuck, then I snapped a pic as he sat on the edge of the toy basket.  A daring one he is!

He’s been getting used to being left at the gym and with other people like the babysitter.  It used to really bother him, but as he’s gotten older, I can see that it has gotten much easier.  He’s been fine with the babysitter putting him down at night, and doesn’t put up a fight at all! He still is a bit of a Mama’s boy, and if I’m not around, and he’s in a grumpy mood, no one seems to do the trick except for me.  I love that so much about him, especially since it’s so different from how Parker was since he was one to be pretty open to any and everyone.  I do however, worry a little bit about how he will be when Sienna comes along because I want him to know that I’m not replacing him at all.  He’ll always be my baby Mae Mae no matter what! Neither Parker or Mason are/were ones that enjoy being held and rocked a whole lot, but Mason is a bit more tolerant of it.  Especially so when there’s a storm out and he’s scared, or needs a reassuring hug during a firework show, like last month.  He enjoys showing love by giving kisses, blowing kisses, and giving hugs, and that will never get old.  I love my Mason hugs and kisses!

He’s still growing by leaps and bounds, being within five pounds of his older brother.  He’s started to get a little pickier with his eating, and tends to skip over or toss aside the veggies while he eats, the same thing Parker started to do at this age.  I don’t make any special meals though, and he still gets his typical foods which is usually fruit and whole grain waffles or yogurt in the morning, sandwich (either peanut butter and jelly or turkey and cheese) coupled with fruit or carrots and then dinner which is usually chicken, fish, or some protein coupled with rice or noodles and I always offer a veggie. He’s over the 95th% for height and weight, so he’s certainly growing and thriving!

Sienna:

I’m six and a half months pregnant with Sienna, and so far it’s been a pretty good pregnancy.  I just had a doctor’s appointment yesterday and I’m up seven pounds for the pregnancy, which they say is really good, but it would be even better if I was at an ideal weight prior to the pregnancy.  I was reading Boston Baby Mama’s blog and I loved her post about what she loves and hates about being pregnant, that I decided I’d share my thoughts on the matter.

What I won’t miss about being pregnant:

  • The first thing I can think of is having my sleep interrupted several times a night by my full bladder.  I try to skip drinking water an hour or so before bed for this reason, but I love drinking my water, and I get so thirsty at night.
  • Not being able to sleep on my belly.  That is one of the first things I do after labor once it’s time for me to really get some rest.  Roll on the stomach, one leg up froggy style, and my arms around a pillow.  That’s just how I roll.
  • Drinking myself into a coma.  Okay… not really, but you know what I mean.  I like to get my drink on from time to time.  What Mom of young kids doesn’t?
  • Having to toast my deli sandwiches in fear of listeria, having to watch my seafood intake and no raw sushi.  This girl loves some salmon, tuna, sushi and turkey sandwiches.  I really have to make an effort to watch my intake while I’m pregnant and that gets pretty annoying.  I eat turkey sandwich meat and Salmon the most, so they are the biggest culprits.
  • Feeling helpless when I want to do a billion things at once, but can’t.  I hate asking or bugging the husband to lift heavy things for me… I know, sounds like a “perk” of being preggers, but for me it just seems like something that has to “wait” instead of something that I can just “do”.  I had all these large items and boxes to bring down from the attic, but had to wait until Dan was back from a business trip to help me instead of just doing it myself like I normally would.  Not too steady on my toes with a bump.
  • Not being able to work out as hard.  It doesn’t bother me when I’m working out on the elliptical, or pulling the wagon along the loop, or walking a lot in general, but I sure feel it when the pelvic girdle pain starts to kick in later.
  • Getting the nosey questions from people about personal decisions like: delivery, induction, breastfeeding, co-sleeping and the like.  Unless you’re a close friend, it’s no business of yours, and no soon-to-be new Mom needs a guilt trip on her plans for bringing baby into the world, or what to do once they’re here.  Save it for your doula.

What I love and will miss about being pregnant

  • Feeling like I don’t need to suck in or hide my round belly.  Now, this doesn’t really apply to the first 4-5 months since I typically just look overweight since I have a really inset belly button that makes it look like I have two jelly rolls up until I’m about six months pregnant, but generally speaking, I love it once I have a “noticeably” round buddah belly.  I just feel less subconscious about my weight as weird as that seems.  It’s like “oh, she’s supposed to be fat…she’s pregnant”  Instead of “oh, she could stand to lose 10 pounds or 20…”
  • Feeling her move inside me.  It’s a gentle reminder of the miracle that is going on, and I love how it makes me feel like her protector and that no one can be with her yet except for me.  Our special bonding time.
  • The celebrating of a new life.  Who doesn’t like a party?  I’ll miss the celebrating with baby showers and family and friends, although there will be many new opportunities to celebrate once she gets here with birthday parties and the like.
  • The attention of being pregnant is nice, too.  Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love attention?  It’s a great convo starter by any nosey bi-standard who is eyeing my bump at the grocery store or park, and those who know me know that I am not shy about bragging that I have two little boys and that I have a girl on the way.  It’s just icing on the cake and gives me warm and fuzzies inside to talk about it.  I do get a few eyebrow raises when I tell them the ages of my boys (almost 3 and 16months) but I guess that is to be expected since I am borderline certified cra-zay.
  • Preparing for the arrival.  I love talking about the excitement of what will she look like, what will life be like, what are we doing for her nursery, how will the boys take to the new addition…etc. It’s just exciting to get to talk about these things with Dan and friends and family when preparing for a baby. Nothing beats the anticipation of holding her, feeding her, and snuggling her.

So, that’s the status on my kiddos! Stay tuned for more evolving news on them as they grow and thrive!