Sunday, August 30

He's moving now!

Luke's really on the go! I'm not kidding, just two days ago he was he pulling up on Beth's bed for the first time, and today he's pulling up on everything. The coffee table, his crib, Beth's little table- anything he can get his hands on. Oh man, I am so not ready for this. I really thought he'd be content to do his three-legged crawl for a few more months!

Saturday, August 29

As you can see...

I am getting tired of the hot weather. I am officially ready for fall! Bring on the 70 degrees, falling leaves, crisp walks, and college football!

Oh yes, I should mention I spoke to soon, or that I did in fact jinx myself. Luke woke up 5 or 6 times last night, and as of yesterday he is suddenly interested in pulling up and scaling around furniture (specifically Beth's bed and school table). So, just great. ;-)

Friday, August 28

A quiet dinner

video

Our house is rarely silent. Beth even talks in her sleep, so night can be filled with Beth's talking too. But this dinner was a hit with both of them! This is the quietest our house has been in a long time... Mom, thanks again, for the Dan Dan Noodle recipe. Yum!

Thursday, August 27

"school"

At the suggestion of a few friends, I bought Beth a couple of Kumon books from Target for her to work on at home, to play "school" with. She loves the Tracing book, she has plowed through most of it this week! She started off very well, anxious to be very accurate, but toward the end as it gets harder, she's giving less effort at maintaining accuracy, haha. The book is not really tracing, more like following a path with your pencil. We first do it with our finger, then Beth holds the pencil (correctly) and she draws. The next book I have is Cutting. She loves to cut paper, she has a pair of scizzors already that we work with a couple of times a week. Our biggest challange right now is to help her remember to cut away from her other hand! There aren't too many for the 2-3-year-old range, but this Tracing book has been so awesome for her. I need to find another (cheaper?) book, similar structure. Or, what I should have done is torn out the pages and used page protectors so she could have written on them with an erasable marker! Doh, why did I just think of that???

you can have school in your pajama shirt and bloomers, right?

look at those straight lines!

Beth has always loved to read. Most days we read at least 30-45 minutes, off an on, and when Grandma and Grandpa visit, that number easily triples! This is what I walked in on the other day:


She did this all by herself! It cracked me up, of course I had to take a picture! The book she is ready (and summarizing quite well) is You Can Go to the Potty. I guess Ariel is still potty training?


Or not? Notice Ariel's big-girl undies! Today Beth decided Ariel didn't need to wear her diaper anymore, I guess Ariel is growing up too!

Next Monday Beth is going to go to a dance class! We're going to a trial class to see how she does since the class is mostly older (3-year-old) girls. I'm so excited to see Beth try it out! I danced only until fifth grade (no talent here!) but I love that I learned all the basics of dance. I want Beth to have a foundation in dance as well, but mostly I think this is a great opportunity for her to try something new! We were planning on doing Soccer Tots with her but Ryan really wants to do that with her, and we couldn't work it out this fall. She'll play soccer eventually too, her father will insist!

Last weekend I enjoyed some tax-free shopping at The Children's Place, Crazy 8, Old Navy, and Gymboree before starting my credit card diet. Beth and Luke each got a lot of new fall clothes, all long sleeves and long pants, but all super cute! I put this hat on Beth as a joke in The Children's Place, but once I saw it on her I couldn't pass it up! She loves wearing it, I can't wait till it's cold and she has a reason to wear it out of the house!

Wednesday, August 26

10 months

I forgot to write an update on Luke for his 10-month birthday, oops! It was my birthday that day, I forgive myself. ;-)

Everyone knows Luke is crawling, and he's fast! He isn't scaling furniture yet, in fact, he's totally not even interested in pulling up on anything except Mommy and Daddy. If we're laying on the floor, he'll pull up and stand rather quickly, but he won't pull up anywhere else. That's okay, I'm in no rush for him to walk!

He's still nursing well, he's to the point that he gets completely distracted by everything around us, so I have to be a little careful while nursing in public! Still no teeth yet, either!

Luke love cords and outlet. It's really scary, how quickly he'll move from one side of the room to another, just to pull on a cord. He also loves Finley, and our awesome Doggie will let Luke crawl all over him! Luke's gotten a few wet kisses in the face- so gross, but he just laughs!

He's also signing! Okay, one sign ("more") and he uses it totally out of context, but it's clear that he's signing it to tell me something. He signs "more" when he's on the floor, fussing, and he wants me to pick him up! With him, I also sign, "please," "milk (nurse)," "no,""mommy," "daddy," and "all done." We didn't do mommy or daddy with Beth, she actually learned those and "help" when she was much older, after she could already talk. I was thinking of creating a sign for "Beth" but I'm not sure if that's the proper way to do it. He's got awhile before he's using all those signs anyhow, hopefully he'll use"more" in the right context first! One cute thing he does that does seem to be intentional is to pray with us. At mealtime, as we pray grace, he honestly seems to stop and put his hands together. He is big into mimicking what we do, so it wouldn't surprise me if he was trying to pray with us!

We've noticed he has small reactions to bug bite on his head, only where his hair should be. They form a huge welt, so big you can see it bulge out of his little head, for about 24 hours. He did this a month ago, and then a couple of nights ago he got three bites- two on his forehead and one above his ear (where his hair is growing in). The two on his forehead are fine, they just look like bug bites, but the one on his hair got very swollen. I don't know if this is indicative of anything but it's something we have to keep an eye on. Unfortunately, both times its happened, I don't know what sort of bite he had!

Sleep. He's been doing pretty well, I haven't said anything for fear of jinxing it! He's slept all night for a few nights now, off and on. Most nights he'll go from 7:00 to 4:00, I'll nurse him, then he'll go for another 2-3 hours. When he wakes up, we hear him on the monitor just whimper for 10 seconds or so, then he puts himself back to sleep. We used a home-designed method to help him fall asleep, I'll describe it in another post. It seems to have worked very well for him!

I think this age is my favorite baby age. There is so much he's doing, so many new things to discover, so many smiles and laughs that it's just so rewarding!

Tuesday, August 25

Bow holder


Look what I did! Thanks for the frame, mom! Now I need a picture of Beth printed off! Beth doesn't own many bows, since she didn't have hair until recently, ha! She's still not really happy about wearing them, therefore we've lost a few and she's chewed up a few. Overall I'm really happy with the way it turned out!

PS- scroll down for birthday pics!

Monday, August 24

The Fly Swatter

video

Luke loves it when anyone tries to swat flies! Especially Beth!

Sunday, August 23

My birthday!

look how beautiful that water is!

happy boy! he was so happy to be eating sand again!

there's evidence of the sand-eating, right there.

vacation= a break from mommy's stringent eating rules!

Bethie and Uncle Michael. I love his shirt!

right after we arrived, but before the drinks ;-)

I had a fantastic day today! We went to the beach to visit my brother, played in the surf and had a very nice dinner with some yummmmmm bread pudding. I have some pics I can post later! Thanks for all the calls, texts, and facebook messages!

Friday, August 21

"De Nada"

Today Beth and I were in the kitchen, she handed me something and I said, "gracias!" not even thinking about it. Beth immediately said, "De nana," which is totally cool since I'd never taught her that. See, tv is educational! LOL!

How to make a butternut squash

Captivate the peanut gallery

Make a huge mess. Cut it up however you can get the darn thing to actually cut since it's like cutting a brick with a butter knife.

Give a sample to an audience member. She'll be happy...

...until she realizes uncooked butternut squash is gross. Take back sample and discard.

Add salt, brown sugar and cinnamon. cook and enjoy! yum!

Next time, contemplate doing it the easy way. ;-)

Thursday, August 20

Big girl jammies


Up until now, Beth has been sleeping in onesies for night time, going back to the good old days of when she would take off her diaper in the morning. She technically still hasn't outgrown them, but I bought her some "big girl jammies" the other night at Target. I splurged on 2 sets of Carter's sets (4 coordinating pairs) and a pink nightgown that looks like a ballerina dress (it has tulle on it). Guess which is her favorite? ;-) She didn't want to take them off so she wore her new pajamas all day long!

Wednesday, August 19

Changes

My life has changed drastically in the past several days! Luke is crawling for real, there is no stopping this boy once he has his eye on something, and he's fast! It seemed like it happened so quickly. Two weekends ago he was barely crawling and now he moves from one side of the house to another while I turn my head. He loves cords (Beth could have cared less) and outlets, he loves knobs and opening and shutting cabinet doors. I am so glad our house was mostly childproofed already because I would not be able to keep up with him otherwise!

Beth is also learning that her life is changing. She can no longer plant herself on one side of the room and be left undisturbed, now Luke is getting into what she's interested in and it's making her upset! We are forming some good habits now though, I am teaching Beth that instead of getting angry and pushing Luke or yanking a toy away, she needs to tell me right away that Luke is about to mess with her things. It's actually working, somewhat! I know they won't always get along, but I will try to teach her to use her words and not her fists!

Here's a short video from a few days ago. Does it play on your computer? It is very choppy on mine, but I'm not sure if it's the video or my geriatric computer.

video

Wish us luck!

Last night Luke slept in his bed all night! We put him down at 8 (later than normal) and he woke up at 10:40, put himself back to sleep within 4 minutes (believe me, I was counting) and then he woke up again at 2:30 and was asleep within a couple of minutes. I went and got him at 6:30, his usual wake-up time, brought him to our bed and nursed. I didn't plan to night wean him anytime soon, but if they boy starts sleeping through the night I don't think I'll argue! I can't even tell you how good we felt this morning when we woke up- everyone was so happy! What a nice birthday present from Luke to daddy!


And happy birthday to Ryan! I hope you had a great birthday week- Wingstop on Monday, lemon chicken on Tuesday, and surprise Arby's on Wednesday. And a clean closet. And peanut butter cookies. Could it be any better?

my helper in the kitchen!

finley was the happiest dog on the planet for about 15 minutes today. ohhhh he loved this treat, licking out every last bit of peanut butter from the empty jar!

Sunday, August 16

My happy boy

Luke is so happy now that he can crawl! He is all over the place! Still not too quick yet, but I've noticed he's learned the three-legged crawl for the hard tile and he'll do a traditional crawl on the carpet. These pictures were from Saturday morning while Beth was on a walk with her daddy, Luke was enjoying some quiet time on the floor with me first thing in the morning! You've never seen a baby so excited about an empty Puffs container!




Saturday, August 15

Watering is so much more fun...

...when done in a beautiful dress!

Painting!


We've painted our room! We painted the walls last night and tonight we're touching things up. The room is a mess, but here is a picture from this morning, before we pulled off the tape. Our furniture should come next week sometime (we hope!).



Friday, August 14

Encouragement

This is sort of a random thought, but I keep forgetting to write it down. We attend mass on Sunday as a family, and going with Beth and Luke is usually challenging for us. It's rare that the actually hear a homily, let alone have time to understand and think about it. Ryan and I try to prepare before mass by going over the readings and reflecting on a short meditation. Anyways, mass is a constant battle to keep Beth quiet and Luke still, but we still feel that it's doable and important that we bring our children to mass with us- and actually sit in the church, usually in one of the first few rows. Despite what you think, Beth actually behaves better in the front (usually) since she's able to see. She follows along in a kid's book and I point out the important parts and tell her what's going on. She knows when the bells are going to ring, and follows along by raising her hands like the priest does (really funny!) and singing loud at the top of her voice!

Last week we attended mass at a different church, and Beth asked, "Where's Father Tom?" It was so funny, she cracked me up!

Every now and then, Ryan and I will both feel discouraged after mass, musing with each other that "This is our worst one yet!" Yet probably half that time we feel like our kids were the most disruptive, noisiest, and distracting kids in the church, it never fails that I have someone come up to me after mass and compliment me on my family. I am so moved and so touched, usually I tear up at the nice words people have to say. I've been told my kids are so quiet, so well-behaved, and that it's beautiful that I'm teaching them the faith at such a young age. I can't even repeat half the compliments because I was so in awe that someone would think these things about us that a lot of it is just blurred together. I am so thankful for these people, they are so encouraging and their compliments usually come at just the right time! It helps me endure the rough days, and even though we know we're doing what is best for our family, it's nice to hear a compliment every now and then. :-)
Stolen from Building Cathedrals:

Cooking and cleaning can wait til tomorrow,
For babies grow up, we've learned to our sorrow;
So quiet down cobwebs, and dust go to sleep,
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

I think I'll print this and hang it up in my kitchen.

Thursday, August 13

In all fairness

Today I took Beth and Luke to a local restaurant that has a sandbox and toys for the kids, we met a friend that I hadn't seen since college! Anyways, Beth had a blast- she played practically 2 hours all by herself in the sandbox! I told Ryan that whatever it would cost to build a sandbox like that, with those exact toys, would be totally worth it. It was a lovely day since it was overcast and there was a storm blowing in, so it was nice and windy.

While Beth manages to ask "why" all day long, I am mostly patient and try to answer her questions. I just wasn't ready for it- I really thought this happened when they were a little older! Anyways, it's an opportunity for us to learn. None of her questions are too deep yet; "Why does daddy go to work?" or "Why is Luke hungry?" are typical. Her speaking is so clear though, but I'm still surprised that the everyone else seems to understand her just about as well as I do!

Her dancing skills improve daily and being a ballerina is usually a top priority for the day. When she gets bored, she asks me, "What can we do next?" In a day, she usually draws, reads, dances, plays with her dolls, interacts with Luke, and helps me with chores. She is a big help- really! She loves to vacuum and use the swiffer wet jet. Yesterday she helped me dust and clean the windows. When I do laundry she helps me sort and put the clothes in the washing machine. She is such a little domestic cutie.

Ryan and I are considering putting her in a little soccer program in September called Soccer Tots. I really want her to do something, and while I like the idea of Little Gym it's just a lot of money! I think we'll try this because it's an 8-week program, so not a huge commitment, plus Ryan is just anxious to get Beth on a field kicking a soccer ball! If this goes well, maybe she could start ballet in the spring!

PS- suddenly my computer and camera are feuding and I can't get my pictures on to the computer. Sorry! Hopefully they can make up and be friends again and then you can see pics of my cute kids! I have some good ones!

Wednesday, August 12

Why oh why

"Why?" is what I hear from sun-up to sun-down. I thought this started when they were 3 or 4?

New Poll

I've created a new poll, look to the right----->

I was thinking today that I'd like to start a new blog called, "Things for Which I Am Thankful." All it would be is a blog of gratitude and thanksgiving; posts about what I am thankful for in my life and maybe some highlights of great things that happened to me. It would be to combat the pity-parties I find myself throwing once or twice a week, and remind me to bring my thankfulness to prayer.

So, should I just add these posts on this blog, or start a new one with exclusively this topic? Vote! If you vote "other," please explain why in the comments section of this post. I'm not sure which option would be easier for me, that will ultimately be how I decide. ;-)

Tuesday, August 11

Cranky mommy

I've been so moody lately, and before you ask, no- I'm not pregnant! I can go from being in the world's greatest mood to grumpier than anything in a matter of seconds, to tearing up at a stupid commercial on tv within minutes later. While I'm not entirely sure what's going on, I have a few ideas.

Technically, I guess I am still post-partum, since I think that period lasts until your baby turns one. So while I guess you could say my hormones are still balancing out, I don't think that's it (since I tend to start cycling again at 2-3 months post-partum, I've had quite awhile to even out again).

Could it be my moody 2.5-year-old? Possibly. She and I feed off each other, and tend to mimic each other's moods. For some reason, she has reason to be moody also, and when she's cranky I'm usually cranky soon after. Sometimes when I'm on top of things, I can get myself into a great mood (fake it till it's real) and then she might follow my mood, but it's no guarantee. Beth's moods have been so wild lately, little things set her off and I have a hard time anticipating what's coming next. I think one day I'll keep the camera in my pocket and try to document each mood, it would be really interesting for me to see if there's some sort of pattern!

If my house is clean, I'm usually in a better mood. When I say clean, I mean little things that just seem impossible to get done- and empty sink, no laundry to be folded, and my bar area cleared off completely. I can handle toys scattered on the floor- that's easily picked up. But why is it impossible to keep the sink empty? And why is there always laundry to be folded?

I've considered doing something like Flylady or Motivated Moms. But I can usually keep the house clean on my own schedule- even if I'm not dusting the blinds once a week, they usually get done before it's too gross. I never needed help before, but maybe now that I've got two kiddos who are both wholly dependent on me, it would be a good time to consider some planning help! The one thing I can never stay on top of is our master bathroom. Please, if you ever come to my house, stay OUT of my master bathroom. You might get bitten by a bat or something. ;-)

I think another reason I might be grumpy is my constant battle with my prayer life. When I feel like I have one aspect of life under control, another aspect struggles. My prayer life is always struggling- and when I say struggling, I mean I cannot meet the goals and expectations I set for myself. Even now, here I am blogging about what's wrong with me when I could be using this time for meditative prayer.

I am constantly trying to be a better person- to not raise my voice(ever, is my goal), to not snap at my family, to always think the best of people and give them the benefit of the doubt (harder than you think!) and to keep my mouth shut when I feel like saying something catty or rude. Maybe I'm bottling things up and need a better outlet to release frustration and tension, maybe that's what's wrong.

My question for my readers- and I know you're out there, I've had 321 unique visitors since August 1- is how do you cope with stress? How do you refrain from letting your children's sour moods bring you down? How do you get past being a cranky mommy- so that you can fully, whole-heartedly enjoy every moment in your day?

Nearly 10 months

I know I usually write monthly updates for Luke, but he's accomplished so much recently that I have to write a 9.75 month update for him this time. :-)

Luke is crawling! Real, traditional crawling! The boy has been scooting around on his tush for awhile now, but other than walking, he does everything else- rolling both ways (he really didn't roll much from back to stomach until recently), sitting, pushing up into a sitting position, pulling up to a standing position, and he's starting to navigate around whatever he's pulled up on.

Of course, with new-found skill comes sleep disruptions...He who had been sleeping pretty well is now up about every 2 hours again, and when I go to him he's sitting up trying to pull up. I know this is typical when babies develop a new skill, but I felt like he was just starting to sleep well- last week for 3 nights in a row he had only woken up twice in the night! I know that still seems like a lot for some, but it was just short of heaven for us.

I am still nursing Luke, and he is still very much into it. I will definitely keep nursing him till his birthday, and most likely afterward for...who knows. With Beth, she weaned herself at about 16 months since I was pregnant, but I'm not sure how that will play out this time!

Luke loves baths and pools, he loves banging pots and pans on the floor, and he loves getting into his big sister's things! Beth will be experiencing a new part of sisterhood soon as Luke really starts getting into her stuff... I am not sure how to handle this part because discipline is sure getting harder around here! There is lots of, "Mine! No Lukee!" and pushing. I guess these mechanisms are innate in children because I sure as heck haven't modeled this behavior for her! But that's another post all together!

His ears must have been ringing because he just woke up... at 7:52, after being asleep only an hour... It's going to be a loooong night...

An old toy made new

After redoing Beth's room, we cleaned out a lot of "baby" toys that she no longer plays with and moved them into Luke's room. We also moved around furniture in Luke's room to accommodate some of these "new" toys (they're big) and make a little more play space. I had forgotten that we'd stored some of the bigger toys in the attic, so we pulled a couple of them down and now, of course, Beth is obsessed with them! This little one is Beth's "fire truck" and she was just going off on Luke about how it's "her" toy. I pulled up an old video of Beth playing on the truck when she was a little older than Luke, and I showed her how she used to love to play on the toy when she was a baby. Now she's more than willing to share with Luke since she got to play with it when she was a baby too! Of course, old habits die hard... She still rides the fire truck a lot!



Last Tuesday night we went out on a double date! We went to a burger place on the lake and watched the sunset with some drinks and stayed out late. We had a great night!

Monday, August 10

Right now


Beth is watching Dora. I told myself I would *never* rely on television as a babysitter, but here I am. Luke goes down for a morning nap at 8:30, and conveniently that's when Dora comes on! So she watches Dora while I put Luke to sleep and get myself together for the day. It's very peaceful around the house- Beth gets in "the zone" and I don't here a peep from her for 23 minutes!

Thursday, August 6

Yay!

Eating dinner is so much fun! Doesn't he look like Beth (when she was a baby) in these photos? It help that he's wearing a pink bib (oops) but I just can't get over how much these pics look like her! The past three days, Luke has been putting his arms up in the air and leaving them there, or only putting one down to eat. He doesn't do it any other time of day, just in the high chair. It's hilarious! He just sits there looking around with his arms up!




he's the spitting image of his big sister in this pic!

To Grandma's (and Grandpa's) House We Go...

Beth left us again to go stay with Ryan's parents- this time for 2 nights all by herself! I tell you, I bet the girl doesn't even know we're not there. His parents came in Tuesday night so that Ryan and I could go on a double date (Papa's on the lake- very cool!) and then yesterday they took Beth back home with them. Ryan and I will drive together Friday evening to go pick her up.

I am taking advantage of her absence by doing what's hardest to do with her around- shop! Yesterday I went to Target and mulled over their organization stuff... Beth's room has driven me nuts for awhile now and I wanted to fix it up. I try to take on a minimalist perspective when it comes to toys, but somehow things keep piling up and looking messy. In an effort to organize and get rid of stuff she never plays with, I bought part of an Itso organizational system from Target along with some canvas boxes. (Now, here's the part where I justify my purchase to myself, claiming that I would love to be a more DIY-type of person and that if only I had the time then maybe I could shop thrift stores and refinish something myself...But I'm not that person. Not right now, anyways, and so I had to be proactive and just do something about it.) I tackled her room last night, purging old toys, moving out baby toys and organizing the rest and viola! It looks fantastic!


Our bedroom is a mess right now since I sold my old bedroom furniture on Monday. Ryan and I had been using my high school/college furniture, and it wasn't fitting our needs anymore, so I sold it. Our bedroom is currently housing our king bed on a metal frame, a dog crate, my Ikea night stand, and a pop-up card table for the computer. Clothes are everywhere since we have no place to put them, and mix that with the usual plethora of kid's toys and a lazy dog, and we have a big fat mess. Hopefully by next week things will be a little better! Our comforter should be coming in the mail today, then we can pick a paint color!

Today Luke and I have errands to run and friends to visit. The house is very very quiet with Beth gone...

Monday, August 3

My garden has failed

I am very close to throwing in the towel for my summer garden this year. All of my squash plants and my pumpkin died, and I'm certain it was due to a certain condition called stem split. What happened was it didn't rain for about 6 weeks, then we got probably 3 feet of rain in one night (okay, not literally, but a LOT) and the stems couldn't support that much water so they burst open. And then the plants slowly croaked, from the base of the stem all the way to the very last leaf. How sad, but honestly, totally out of my control! Right? (That's my story and I'm sticking to it!)

I have a cucumber. It's pretty sad looking but it's a real, singular cucumber. Actually I have several more growing right now, we'll see if they make it past 2 inches long though (that's usually about where I lose them).

it was actually pretty good- i made a really yummy cucumber and cream cheese sandwich!

My tomatoes are still doing fine, though they are out of control since we didn't bother to cage them this year. I don't think they'll do fine for too much longer since the plant it leaning over so much...I did figure out a cost-effective way to cage them next year, so hopefully they'll do better.

My herbs are no fun. They're there, but not really growing.

Since I'm giving up on this garden, I'm looking ahead to a fall garden. I didn't bother last year since I was 7 months pregnant! Based on preliminary research, I am going to do carrots and broccoli, maybe some sort of leafy green like kale. Beth LOVES raw carrots, so I'm hoping they do well- how cool would that be???

Saturday, August 1

Our week

one of my new favorite pictures!

On Monday I left with the kids to head to my parent's house for a visit. We had a nice visit- I got to hang out with my family and a couple of friends I hadn't seen in a long time, and Beth had so much fun playing with my brothers! I didn't take a lot of pictures, but here are a couple. Beth spent a lot of time petting the cats, watering the garden, playing with cars and little men (GI Joes?), and enjoying time with my parents. I think Luke had a good time too!

watering the flowers

wrapped up in fabric Uncle Michael brought us from Africa!

oh good grief. the obsession begins (she had no idea this was a video game since we never turned it on, she just liked beating the drums!)


Today Beth attended Grace's third birthday party. She was supposed to go dressed as a princess, but as it turns out we have no princess attire in our home! So she went as a pretty ballerina...And I guess I'll have to keep my eye out for some princess clothes and shoes!

A fresh start

As of today, the sofa cushion has been professionally cleaned.

As of yesterday, the carpet in the living room has been professionally cleaned.

As of last night, a certain car seat cover has been washed, once again.

Please, Lord. No more human or animal bodily fluids on anything in my house or car. Not at least for a week.
 
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