Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Just because I liked this picture.


This is my Gabe. In some ways, he is his momma's boy, but in most ways, he is just himself - pure Gabe. He is his own boy and always has been.

If he doesn't want to kiss you goodnight, he won't.

He has an opinion about what clothes he wears, and it usually revolves around how many pockets the outfit has.

He is a great respecter of rules.

From birth, he set a bed-time for himself - 7pm. When we tuck him in at night, we know we won't see him again 'til morning. Which means he is usually our favorite child at night.

He is absolutely hooked on Dinosaur Train. He would watch the show and play its games on the computer all day if I let him.

Over the last few days, I have been teasing him about telling me what he got me for my birthday. Being a respecter of rules, he shakes his head and says, "Nope. Can't tell!", but tonight when I tucked him in, he got a twinkle in his eye and whispered to me where they bought it (which definitely gives away what it is). Awww, it made my night.

He puts up with a lot from both of his brothers.

But not too much.

He knows how to sass Colin just right when Colin gets too bossy. He picks Ollie up, puts him outside the toy room and shuts the door when Ollie messes his train tracks up.

He gave a talk in church a few months ago and memorized it. No one could hear him say it because he was so quiet, but he said the whole thing.

When he gets mad and loses his temper, he starts running in circles, like he can't help himself. It happened today, and boy were Chad and I laughing.

He has a crush on a girl in preschool.

Get him alone and he will talk your head off. Catch him in the right mood and he will crack the funniest jokes you have ever heard from a 4 year old.

The Sir. Panchetta. Panda. Gabers.

We love him.

1st Grade Excitement



Hey Mom! Guess what happened during school today?!



My tooth finally came out!

A trip to the nurse, tooth stickers and a tooth holder.

Made for a very exciting day for a six year old.

I'm just glad I can send apples in his lunch again. That thing had been loose forever! You can see the new one already growing in.

And I thought he couldn't get any cuter. Guess I was wrong.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Paying Up


Audra and Levi finally had a chance today to go on their Valentine's Day date (not sure if we can call it that on Feb. 23) that Audra won from my give-away. Since they went on a lunch date and three of their kids were in school, I only ended up watching four of their kids (Nolan and Yonas are home-schooled) and they came to my house. I would say I got off pretty easy. Actually, really easy. They kept Oliver and Gabe happy for a few hours and all of them are good good kids. I like being an aunt.

Now to fulfill this blog obligation. Sorry Ashley and Mom!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Keep him busy

Oliver was still not himself yesterday, not wanting to leave my side, so I kept trying to find things we could do together. After an hour or so of playing with blocks I thought I was going to lose my mind and knew we needed to find something productive to do. I found a semi-healthy pumpkin muffin recipe to make and let him "help" as much as he wanted. Gabe was very concerned about the whole process. Apparently he doesn't think a 18 month old should be stirring raw eggs, occasionally sticking his fingers in, and dumping baking powder on himself. Well La-Dee-Da Gabriel.
.

It was a good way to pass the time and get some of Oliver's restless energy out. He sure enjoyed those muffins all day long.

The smile is back!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Look what I found in my garden today




Beautiful little crocuses, a sure promise that spring in on its way.

Very timely, I thought.

Thank you all for the kind comments that I received on my last post. It is always so nice to have a chance to hear that people care about you.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Spring

*Just a disclaimer - this post is talks about breastfeeding and other womanly issues. Also, it alludes to the fact that we are total hippies in some of our parenting choices. If either things gross you out, feel free to skip it.

I am weaning Ollie. He is just shy of 18 months old, which may seem ancient in breastfeeding months to a lot of you, but both of my other boys breastfed past 2 years, so part of me feels like I am short-changing him.

With breastfeeding past a year, my motto is "you do what works for you, and when it no longer works, you change it." I woke up on Monday morning to the realization that nursing Oliver was no longer working for many reasons. The cutting back that I had been attempting for months was not working. He is an all or nothing type of kid. You give him an inch and he takes a foot. I knew, in a flash, that he needed to go cold turkey.

That flash of intelligence has been questioned over and over again by my heart the last three days, but I just can't deny it. All of my past experience with this boy is telling me that it needs to happen and it needs to happen this way.

This is a change that has been building for awhile, but I can tell you that is was a very unpleasant shock to my baby. His world has changed dramatically, and he has had no say in it.

It has been a hard few days. I am physically in pain, but worse is the dark cloud that has been hovering over my little boy's head. I left Oliver with Sabina yesterday while I took Gabe to speech, and she said he was crying off and on the whole time. He needed to be near her at all times. He was screaming at the YMCA later on- two different workers told me how unlike himself he was acting. I know that in his own way he is coping with a loss of stability and comfort.

Today has been somewhat better, but he is so unsure of everything - screaming, wanting to be held at all times, not smiling as easily.

February has been a cold, somewhat bleak month for me. I am ready for it to be over. Besides the sickness I have talked about on here and on facebook, I experienced a chemical pregnancy, or very early miscarriage, at the beginning of the month.

Two pregnancy tests on January 21st and 22nd told me that I was pregnant. We were so excited, so ready for a new one. For a week and a half after, Chad and I planned for a late September baby. We talked about when and how we would tell everyone our news, and speculated about whether it could possibly be a girl.

I woke on Sunday the 31st, happy to be snowed in with my family, without even church to go to. I soon saw blood. I called my midwife. It was no longer a magical snow day. The blood got heavier, and Chad, who was supposed to be flying out the next day, changed his travel plans so that he could be with me at my appointment on Monday.

After way too long with the midwife that day, it was confirmed that I wouldn't be having a baby in nine months after all.

Just like that, our year looked completely different.

I have never had any kind of miscarriage, but I can tell you that I am sure a later miscarriage would have been much more painful. This felt like I lost a pregnancy, not a baby. I lost an idea, and plans, not a person.

I spent a week bleeding, taking care of my kids as usual, cleaning as usual, catching a cold, taking care of a sick Ollie....all as usual, but with a tired heart.

I found myself laying in bed at night, coughing and blowing my nose, but plotting my garden in my head, smelling the warm sun on the soil, breathing in the earthy scents of spring. I am talking hours and hours of dreaming of flowers and warmth.

I was okay. I was comforted. I knew that my hopes were not going to be fulfilled right now, but in the future. I knew that it was part of a greater plan.

Spring would come, no matter how cold it was right now.

I wish Oliver could understand that.

I guess it is something you can only learn for yourself.

Monday, February 15, 2010

In honor of the diet I am supposed to start tomorrow



Serving size 2 Tbsp.?!

40 servings per container?!

"HA!" I say.

HA!


Sunday, February 14, 2010

P&G Olympic Commerical

If you have been watching the Olympics, you have probably seen this Procter and Gamble commercial. I tear up every time it comes on. I can't help but picture my Colin.

Anyone else like it?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

For My Mom and Dad

We went over and tried your hill out this morning. Sadly, it wasn't quite steep enough for sledding. Your house looks especially charming in the snow, so I took some pictures for you before it all melted this afternoon. We miss you!


Friday, February 12, 2010

A Good Day For Ollie

Ollie began the day carrying Chica's (my parent's dog, who were are watching) food around, trying to get her to eat it. All around the house - "Here go Tee-ta." Chica was not the least bit interested in it but he persisted.

After getting Colin off to school, I was working on some kitchen chores and between Gabe and I, the pantry door kept getting left open. Ollie took full advantage of it - first getting a box of Lucky Charms out, dumping them of the living room floor, and happily sharing them with Chica.



Then he got the pancake mix out and dumped some of it. All of this while I was in the kitchen, just a few feet away from him. He is just so fast! I thought maybe he was hungry, so I gave him a granola bar.















So he got our Christmas plate out of the cupboard, broke the granola bar into pieces and left it all on the floor.That's when I figured out that he was just trying to find something that would intice Chica all along. He may be trouble, but he is smart and he is cute.
















Next I was putting the silverware away from the dishwasher when I heard a strange rolling sound across the wood floors. I turned around to see this.

Really Ollie? The whole bottom rack?

Right after I took the first picture, he started chasing Chica around with it and I made him put his new toy away. Poor old Chica.


























Then Ollie's cousin Liam came over, thank goodness, and I got a little relief. Oliver followed him up into the toy room where they placed very nicely for a half hour. I was holding my breath the whole time.

To top the good day off, it snowed in the evening. We were out and about, and Oliver's big brown eyes lit up. He could not take his eyes off of it, pointing out the window with a half smile on. As soon as we got home, he went out back with us and started throwing little snowballs.

After an ice cream cone there was more snow-gazing out the window. He was so happy not to miss out on it this time.

It is still snowing out there - biggest snow of the year - and Oliver is still awake upstairs. It is Chad's night for bedtime and so far it has taken over an hour. Go to sleep Ollie- you aren't missing out on anything fun!



Thursday, February 11, 2010

Chinese New Year Performance

If any of you don't know, Colin is in the Chinese program at a language immersion school. Today they had their big Chinese New Year performance. Colin was just as serious about his dance as last year. I had so much fun watching it - I still have that dancing/performing spirit in me!

We had a party in his class beforehand with dumplings and fried rice. They asked that no children 4 and under attend the performance, so I had left Oliver and Gabe at Sabina's house, and the party was so much more relaxing than usual for me.

I got some cute pictures of Colin with some of his friends. I think he has a little thing for the young lady with the glasses. Colin is always informing me that they "are friends again" or "not really talking." I was talking to her dad today and he was joking with me about how much of an advantage Colin has being only one of 4 boys in the class. He said that when he comes in to help, Colin is always surrounded by girls who are paying attention to him - that the other boys are just rowdy boy-boys and Colin is the quiet, smooth guy. Ahh, that made me laugh. Girls do indeed love him.


The video quality is not that great, but I knew Granny and Grandma would love to see it anyway.

Enjoy!
(I sure do adore that kid.)



Wednesday, February 10, 2010

No Snow, Only Wind

We have had a bone-chilling wind sweeping over Charlotte today. Our barren backyard is so unprotected that when it blows through with such ferocity it sounds like ghosts are howling at our windows - even ripping some of the siding off our house in the past. Today I heard some clanging and looked out back to see our grill blown over, and our trampoline a good 15 feet away from where it used to be. See the step-ladder?

The last time the wind came through, I went out back to see what was going on and made the mistake of letting Ollie down out of my arms for a few seconds. The wind picked his 20 lbs up and threw him to the ground with a fat lip.

I think I will feel like ending every post in February, regardless of its content, with this statement, "I am ready for spring." I close my eyes and dream of blooming tulips and salvia in my backyard. I was definitely born in the wrong month.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Today

  • Ollie starting puking before 7:30.

  • I lay in bed with him over half the day to keep him happy. I have finally seen the listless Ollie that we always wondered existed. Thank goodness I had The Goose Girl to read (and thank you for the recommendation Autumn).

  • Chad took care of everything else. I mean everything. Today was the day of a million things that needed to get done, and he did them plus some, all with good humor. That guy...I can't even tell you how lucky I am.

  • Gabe's speech teacher told Chad that Gabe was ready to graduate from speech. Hip hip hurray! He has worked SO hard and I am so proud of him.

  • Colin worked on his class Valentines all by himself. He finished four in about an hour. Yikes. I will help him tomorrow.

  • My sister Lindsey went to the hospital to have their baby girl! Still waiting to hear of her arrival.
Summary:

Today could've been better, but it could've been a lot worse. I am just thankful today.

*Update -Lindsey had Mayan Jade Morris last night around 7:30. She is 6 lbs 11 oz. 19 inches. Lindsey said labor went really really well, and she hopes that Seth will be able to post some pictures later today.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Two Lies, One Truth


A picture I took on my webcam last night, for no real reason

Chad and I were at a fun Valentine's Day party last night with a big group of other couples. We played a game where you had to tell two lies and one truth about yourselves, or your relationship, and everyone had to guess what the truth was. You know how it goes.

Our statements were:

We went to Cancun on our honeymoon, where we met both Gary Coleman and Emmanuel Lewis.

In the 2002 Winter Olympics we went to a medals ceremony where Sheryl Crow played.

In the last presidential election, we voted for different candidates.

I heard a lot of votes for number one (funny considering our honeymoon was one night in Palm Springs). When it was revealed that statement #3 was the truth, there were several gasps from the very conservative crowd. Chad and I had sworn to each other beforehand that we wouldn't reveal who voted for who, so we just met all questions with a smile. It was fun being a little mysterious, just for one night.

(A couple of you out there know the truth, but, shhhh, mum's the word ;o)

* Just to be clear, everyone was a little shocked, but still very nice about it :o)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Cereal, Cereal, Everywhere

The 100th day of school is coming up, so Colin was assigned to present a project to his class featuring a collection of one hundred items.

Here is what we finished last night:

10 bowls with 10 pieces of cereal in each one. I made straps on the back so that Colin can wear it while he shows it to his class.

And just for fun, this is what I let them have for dinner last night:


An all-you-can-eat-cereal buffet. All three boys were pretty excited - I haven't seen them eat dinner so well in a long time. They had already been sneaking into it all day - I can't walk anywhere without hearing crunching noises.

We got a lot of kinds that we normally don't, just because I wanted cereal that had bigger pieces so they would be easier to glue down. The life cereal was the household favorite (already gone).


What are some of your cereal favorites?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Coleman Guide to Red Robin


Since we go to Red Robin at least four times a year, let us offer you some sound advice.

1. Red Robin is very very tasty, but $9 for a burger! Gulp. Sign up with their eClub to receive a free birthday burger, which you can use up to a week before, or a week after your birthday.

2. Have your kiddos split a kid's meal. Trust me, my kids can eat and it is still plenty for them. The Red Robin waiters are not the least bit snooty about it either. They even bring two drinks, and once when Colin finished his mac and cheese, the waitress brought him more at no additional cost. Plus the kid's meals have a wide selection of sides - mine usually choose the melonslices or mandarin oranges.

3. If you want to be sung to, present your birthday coupon early in the meal. They will also bring you a free (delicious) sundae! If you don't want to be sung to, pull the coupon out right before the bill and they may not come around, but you may be forfeiting your sundae too!


4. All burgers come with bottomless fries! The thing is, I have only gotten a second helping a couple of times because the burgers are so filling. Which brings me to...

5. It is always tempting to get a shake or the onion rings, and yes, they are SO tasty...but trust me, you are going to feel like crap if you eat those and then your burger. Too much of a good thing, and your wallet will thank you if you refrain.

6. After many a trip there, our firm menu favorites are:

The Whisky BBQ River (onion straws-yum!)
and The Royal Red


...which has bacon, cheese, and a fried egg on it. Sounds very breakfast-y but it isn't. Just very rich.

Runner-Up:
Banzai Burger, which has
a slice of grilled pineapple on it.

6. They often run special burgers, but we have never had one we were impressed with.The Wise Guy Burger I tried in October was a huge letdown (pictured below - I know, it looks tasty, but it was just okay.)



7. Sometimes you will look around at the other tables and see a dainty little lady eating a turkey and avocado sandwich on a croissant, and you will think, "Oh, that looks yummy. I should try that." But you shouldn't, because yeah, it is okay, but it isn't a burger. End of story.

8. Don't forget balloons for everyone on your way out.

Monday, February 1, 2010

What I have been doing today


Watching the new Masterpiece Classic "Emma" online.

Anyone else watching it? It is airing online until March 9th if you haven't caught it on TV.

*Post edit - Doesn't that picture match my header? I love it.*

The Winner of The Valentine's Day Give-Away



I put all the entries into a bowl yesterday and had Colin close his eyes and draw one out. When he pulled my sister-in-law Audra's name out, I just had to laugh to myself.

Of course if I offer to babysit for anyone that lives nearby, the one person with 7 kids is going to win!

Good thing those 7 kids are my nieces and nephews, whom I adore, and I really don't mind watching them.

Besides, if someone has that many kids, they sure as heck need a free Valentine's Day out, especially when they are a small-business owner too! (Check out their hawaiian shaved ice shop, Aloha Snow.)

Congratulations Audra!
Thank you for always being a loyal reader of my blog and a loyal sister-in-law too!

Thank you to everyone who entered the give-away and thank you thank you thank you for reading my blog. If you are new here, come back often. I hope to have some enticing debates going on this week.