Friday, October 29, 2010

obsession

Patrick is obsessed with dinosaurs, as I've mentioned, so the logical choice for a Halloween costume was a dinosaur. Luckily, I also found one in Eli's size (though I didn't take a picture of it - where Patrick was reluctant to ever take his off, Eli is reluctant to ever put his on) so we've got TWO scary dinosaurs this year. So anyway, if you see a T-Rex in your neighborhood, don't be alarmed! Just give him candy and he'll go away :)
Check out that tail! He likes to "bonk" with it, like an Ankylosaurus.
Roooooaaaaaar! Scary headgear. It gets played with more than it gets worn (he likes to eat his plastic dinosaurs with it). We'll see how many houses it lasts through (my optimistic guess is 3).

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

walk this this way

video

I wanted to post this video when it was fresh; now Eli is much better at walking than this, even. I think he practices in his crib after naps because I don't remember that Patrick got the hang of it this quickly. From taking his first steps only 2 weeks ago, now he can stand up unassisted in the middle of the room to start walking, and even change directions. What a big guy!

I looked out the window and what did I see?

A HAWK! Eating his breakfast on our woodpile, which was kinda yucky (especially when he flew away and left some bloody scraps and feathers), but mostly it was really awesome! Patrick was pretty excited about it, too, and Eli was so excited he decided to scare it off by banging on the windows. Thanks, li'l buddy :)

video video

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Updates on Patrick

Building a bridge for his dinosaurs to fight under.

In general, Patrick is good - just an awesome 2 1/2-year old who surprises me every day. He's not good at the moment, though; he picked up hand/foot/mouth disease and has had the WORST TIME of it. It gives kiddos rashes on their hands and feet and possibly bum, then sores in their mouthes. Both boys got it, both had mild fevers, both had mild rashes, but while Eli got over it, Patrick has the sorriest looking mouth you've ever seen - he won't stick out his tongue to show Joe, but I've seen at least 3 horrendously large, white, broken clisters on the bottom of his tongue, and I'm assuming he has others around his cheeks/gums/etc. We heard it was pretty mild, Tylenol should get him through the trauma of eating, but NOT SO. It's been 72 hours since he had any solid food, poor guy, though he keeps asking for it and then BAWLING as soon as he puts it in his mouth. Day 1 we figured this would be quick, so we stuck with milk and gatorade. Day 2, still no go on anything but liquids, so we added fruit & yogurt smoothies to the mix. Day 3 we realized we could be in it for the long haul, so breakfast yesterday morning was a smoothie with a banana, peanut butter, milk, and 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal - breakfast from the blender! He drank it all down, but hasn't had anything since. We read it generally lasts about a week, but COULD last 2-3 weeks... this morning he woke up in good spirits and hasn't taken medicine in over a day, so I hope we're on the downhill slope! I am already dreading that this may be a long winter with lots of illness unless I quarantine our family until May of 2011, which brings its own set of things to dread, like cabin fever a la "The Shining."



But whether it's 2 more days or 2 more weeks I know he WILL get over this eventually, so up until now, and after this bout, here's what Patrick has been up to: spending lots of time on his own. Every day he is allowed to watch a movie while Eli takes a nap. Since he stopped napping movies have been his "down time" and generally stave off evening tantrums, with the added benefit that I get to take my own nap during this time. He initially woke me up numerous times for his needs but has become completely independant lately, which is AWESOME - he can go potty without any assistance whatsoever, he has one glass of juice and knows he won't get another snack til I wake up, and when his movie is done he takes it out of the DVD player and puts it on top of the TV (which he turns off) and then goes and plays by himself until I get up. It's CRAZY, and I like to think he is exceptionally self-sufficient for a 2-year-old. Am I right? He plays trains, reads himself books, digs in the sandbox, gets out all his dinosaurs for a dino-brawl... I've said before that my house is not baby-proof, it's Patrick-proof, and this is just an example of that. Let any other 2-year-old loose in my house without supervision and it would be destroyed, I'm sure.

Outside of my nap time and his play time, he is currently obsessed with dinosaurs. We get the $1 dinos from WalMart, which have the names on their tails, and he is incredible at remembering and pronouncing their names - not just T Rex, but Pachycepholasaurus and Parasauralophus and ankylosaurus... and he corrects me when I misname one! Heaven forbid! So we read lots of dinosaur books and got him a dino costume for Halloween, I figure it's a good love to encourage! Certainly I can think of much more annoying things that kids falls in love with... He is still the world's sweetest boy and LOVES to snuggle and read books, indicating how many he'd like to read by holding up that number of fingers - sometimes ten, sometimes two, depending on how long he's trying to put off bedtime. No matter how many books we read, though, he still wants "four minutes 'fore bedtime," silly boy. He pets my face and smiles and tells me "you happy to see me!" to which I am required to answer "I'm always happy to see you." If he gets in trouble his defense is "you happy to see me!" with a sob in his throat and a tear in his eye, or if I'm yelling at him he yells at me, "you happy to see me!" so because I'm happy to see him (aka I love him) I can't yell or get him in trouble, I guess. I've been working on explaining the difference between me loving him and me NOT loving that he just hit Eli :) He likes to look at pictures, and my scrapbooks have made a handy reference to how babies grow and his family on both sides, but he often requests pictures we don't have, like "daddy and Fafa on an airplane." Sorry, bud, I don't have pictures of EVERYTHING! Hmmmm... there are 10 bajillion things to write, but I think this is quite long enough!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Updates on Eli


Eli has by far the most to update on - it's been such a busy month! He started standing solo, gradually going from 2 second to 10 seconds or more, but before he even got very good at that (honestly, he's still not a pro) he decided some steps were in order. He started walking nearly two weeks ago, Tuesday night while I was at work. What a li'l stinker, walking for daddy and not me. Joe was on top of it, though, and got the camera out for a few quick videos for me. Unfortunately I can't seem to post them, I'll try again soon. His walking style is like "lead with your arms and head, and hope your feet follow," he's not timid at all! Probably from having a brother that beats on him no matter WHAT he's doing, so he might as well be walking away and bonk his own face in the process.

He's also been talking a lot more and started babbling "mama" - guess that makes up for showing dad his walking skills, huh? He got his 8th tooth - I guess I'd better be including him in our nightly teeth-brushing bedtime routine! He likes to read and will mostly sit still with Patrick on my overloaded lap while we browse a few board books together. His favorite thing to do is follow Patrick around, and when they play outside they can stay out there, alone, doing their own thing, for over an hour! It's nuts! I'm so grateful we had them so close together, they are wonderful playmates. Other than playing mini-me, he likes to load/unload toys/diapers/utensils from bins, and throw things upstairs/downstairs/in the trashcan. He will crawl from the living room across to the kitchen trash just to throw away his perfectly good toy, unassisted. He's our little helper :) He still takes a bottle, but I hear 12 months is a good time to wean kids and it will give us a bit of a buffer before baby girl arrives so SHE can have a bottle if she needs one (I plan on nursing, but am definitely more open to bottles after the good experience we had with Eli), so it's good that he is also comfortable using sippy cups of all kids, plus straw sippies like Patrick uses. HE'S probably ready for some switches, from formula and cow's milk, from rear-facing car seat to front-facer, from bottles to sippy cups, but I am not. In my head he is still my baby, and babies don't do any of those things.

Maybe it'll hit home a little more when the BABY baby arrives and all of a sudden he's like Goliath - a walking, babbling, self-feeding Goliath. But then again, I'd like it if he could stay a baby for just a few more months, he was such a good one! I miss you, baby Eli!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

de-funked

I made good on my promise to avoid blogger until at least October, meaning no posting as well as no reading (really the source of my troubles, it doesn't take too long to post, generally). While at first it felt tough, after a while I appreciated the extra time and tried to make good use of it elsewhere, which really paid off. So for a quick recap of my month...

After leaving off on the most sour note I can imagine, Joe and I had a few days of intense discussion about housework, jobs, child-rearing, etc, and after much gnashing of teeth we came to a remarkably simple solution: after we put the kids to bed we should clean together for 20 minutes. I will continue to do my best during the day to keep the house from burning down or being overrun with garbage, but since we both know that wasn't cutting the mustard, we will combine forces. 20 minutes is quick, so we don't feel like we're losing our evening to cleaning, and with 2 people doing it it's really equivalent to 40 minutes of MY time, so a lot gets done. And what doesn't get done probably wasn't that important anyway. This isn't a hard-and-fast rule, either - if the house is good enough for us and we're just not feelin' it, forget the 20 minutes. Like I said, it seems pretty simplistic after all that I wrote, but it seems to solve the problem of me feeling overwhelmed and him feeling like it's still not good enough.

Enter problem #2, where barely 2 weeks later Joe thought it was another *really good idea* to drop bombs on a pregnant lady and tell her "I don't feel like we're in love anymore." THAAAAAANKS. Because you telling me I wasn't good enough TOTALLY made me feel in love with you, too. Fortunately, I suppose, we lost that loving feeling (whoa-ah, whoa-ah, whoa) at the same time, so we were both ready and willing to work on it. Also fortunately I happened to be reading a relationship book at the time that gave me some insights and ideas. So while the bomb should have been pretty big, it was more like a dud, and within the hour we'd made a pact to start ACTING like we were in love. We weren't missing anything huge in our marriage, but we were missing the little things that add up to something that feel huge, so we each need to work on adding back the little things, like giving REAL kisses when the other gets home, hugging more often, calling during the day to check in, leaving little notes, bringing each other surprises from whatever we were doing that day, etc. Everything that's natural when you're dating and wooing but becomes a bit of a chore when you've already got your plate loaded with kids and home responsibilities. We even went on our first date in a long time, and it was a huge success! I was only in charge of picking the babysitter instead of the date, time, place, etc. BIG step in the right direction!

September was an eye-opener for me, I suppose, that marriage is work. When you're so in love at first it seems like it could NEVER be work, and *obviously* people who have to work at it are doing something wrong or weren't really in love in the first place... but that's ridiculous. From the first week we were dating I KNEW that Joe and I were meant to be together, always. Perhaps somewhat thanks to that knowledge, and thanks to growing up a bit, I know it's still true, but I also know things take work. Time. Effort. 110% from both sides. And if I ever considered starting again, it would be just that - starting this saga ALL OVER AGAIN. And NO THANK YOU. Marriage is difficult, but dating? Life decisions? Blending families? Falling "out of love" and into habit again? It seems roughly 1,000,000x easier and more fulfilling to keep working at it and get it right THIS time. So Joe and I will keep plugging away at reconnecting and I will keep plugging away at being my own personal best. No, not the World's Best Housekeeper, but simply my personal best. And let's anticipate doing this again in a few months because 2-3 nuclear-scale meltdowns a year seems pretty standard for me. Sound good? Good.

I'll update on the boys soon, they're a whole different story!