Friday, November 13, 2015

First Words

This week, Asher's teacher sent home a paper asking parents to send in a baby picture of their child along with the child's first word.  This seemed like a cute idea.  The only problem was that I didn't actually know what Asher's first word was.  But that was fine because when Asher was a baby I was actually pretty good about filling out the baby book and that would certainly be one of the things recorded there.  Except it wasn't.  In fact I don't seem to have recorded that suddenly vital piece of information anywhere.  What was I thinking?!?  Didn't I know how important it would be six years later?!?  After looking through old blog posts from around the time Asher started talking (because I was also a much more faithful blogger when Asher was a baby), I have decided that my best guess is "bye-bye," and that's what I'm writing on the official first-word form.  If I get audited, I will deny ever having had doubts and you will be charged with denying reading this admission.  Got it?

While we're here, I would like to state, for the record, that Jonah's first word was, "uh-oh," and that he finds this exclamation to be appropriate both to declare that he has accidentally dropped something, and to draw attention to his having intentionally thrown something to the floor.  I plan to need this information approximately six years from now.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Summer 2014

This spring, when random strangers would ask me when my baby was due, and I would tell them late August, the conversation would generally end with the stranger informing me that I was in for a long, hot, miserable summer.  Despite all of this well-intentioned well-wishing, I actually managed to have a really great summer.  Was I a little warmer than I might otherwise have been?  Sure.  Did I melt like the Wicked Witch of the West?  No.
We started off our summer with our first long road trip with children.  We packed up our minivan and drove eighteen hours to Hilton Head, South Carolina.  We took two days to get there, and despite the fact that the novelty of driving across the country was definitely starting to dwindle by half-way through day two, I found the whole experience to be decidedly bearable, and, in fact, preferable to flying with children.

Once we got there, we relaxed on the beach for a week with Grandma and Grandpa and a few cousins.  I took a nap every day, snuggled up with Ivy.  It was awesome.  Asher told me at the end of the week that Hilton Head is his favorite place on Earth.

After our week at the beach, we drove three hours to Grandma's house in Florida for another week of playing and relaxing. When it was time to head back home, Asher told me that the problem with Wiaconsin is that it doesn't have a beach.
We managed to have a pretty good summer at home even without the ocean.  Wisconsin, whose views on weather are not generally in line with my own, blessed me with the coolest, most beautiful summer of all time.  Asher and Simon took eight straight weeks of swimming lessons four days a week, during which Asher jumped into the deep end of the pool and then swam back to the side completely unassisted, and Simon overcame his fear of swimming.  Ivy's big accomplishment of the summer was growing enough hair for it to get into her eyes.
Other than the swimming and the hair-growing, our days primarily consisted of doing whatever we felt like.  We went for walks, ran around pretending to be superheroes, built with Legos, did craft projects, went shopping, sold rocks and sticks to the neighbors, cleaned out closets and cupboards, and generally soaked up the freedom of summer.
My biggest accomplishment of the season was, of course, this:
Our little Jonah Maxwell, whom we all adore.

Happy Fall!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Simon the Four-Year-Old

Last week, we celebrated Simon's fourth birthday.  In honor of the occasion, I threw my second real birthday party.  Actually, the whole birthday party thing was Simon's idea, and once he was talking about having one, Asher said, "me too!"so we had two birthday parties in two weeks.  We followed the same plan with Simon's party as Asher's:  a few friends coming over to play however they pleased, food, and a piñata (The piñatas were Simon's idea too.).  Since we had Simon's party while Asher was at school, we saved the cake for when he would be home and fed Simon's friends muffins and fresh fruit and veggies instead.  Simon's piñata was also filled with toys and all-fruit fruit snacks instead of candy.  If any of Simon's guests were disappointed by the lack of sugar at the party, they were polite enough to wait to complain until they got home.  The kids got so wrapped up in playing that we ran out of time and Simon had to open his presents after everybody left, but I actually thought that was nice because Simon could open them at his leisure-opening one and then really appreciating it and playing with it for a while before moving on to the next one.

Simon wanted chicken burritos for dinner and the same chocolate cake with raspberry sauce that he had last year, which was easy since "the same cake from last year" was a slice of the Great Wall of Chocolate from P.F. Chang's split among the members of our family.  Simon got a scooter (which was good since every day since Asher's birthday he had told me that for his birthday he was going to get a scooter just like Asher), a "Moon Lightning McQueen," and a toy dragon that shoots plastic "fire" from us and some Duplo blocks and a Lego shirt from my mom.  He got pink candles on his cake because somehow that's the only color we had left.  I don't think he minded.

Simon loves chocolate and strawberries, but not as much as he loves chips and salsa.  He loves wrestling, his rain boots, and being outside.  He is good at watching out for Ivy and sharing with Asher.  He has an endless supply of funny things to say.  He likes knights and dragons, pirates, and robots.  He is sweet, imaginative, playful, and a good friend, and we love him.

Asher the Six-Year-Old

A couple of weeks ago, we celebrated Asher's sixth birthday.  He wanted Lucky Charms for breakfast and spaghetti with meatballs for dinner.  While he was eating his magically delicious breakfast, he got to open Legos, oil pastels and art paper, and a scooter from us, and more Legos and a Lego shirt from my mom.  Our little artist/builder was suitably thrilled.

This is what Ivy looks like when she realizes that this time all of the presents are for somebody else.

In honor of Asher turning six, I hosted my very first real birthday party.  I happened to have an OB appointment the day before and my doctor asked what I was doing that weekend.  When I told him we were throwing a birthday party, he said, "good luck!" and asked me what the "theme" was.  It had not occurred to me until that moment that a little kid's birthday party should have any theme other than the child in question.  It turned out that I was right and that we didn't need any of my doctor's luck.  We had a handful of Asher's friends come over, they all played whatever games they made up on the spot, there were presents, and an ice cream cake (as per Asher's request), and a piñata, and then the friends went home.  And despite the fact that this simple party required very little planning on my part, I heard Asher yelling up from the basement, "This is the best party ever!"

Asher loves to create things.  He could spend a whole day building, drawing, painting and molding.  He probably wouldn't even notice if he missed lunch.  He is even pretty good at cleaning up when he's finished.  He also loves to read.  His kindergarten teacher sends home chapter books from which he is supposed to read one chapter per night, and he often "accidentally" reads the whole book in one sitting.  He loves to have his own space (particularly away from Simon), to find things that match, and to eat blueberries.  He tells me he loves me with some frequency.  One day when we were in the car recently, I started to drive before he had buckled his seatbelt.  He told me that I needed to stop because if we got into an accident, the one who loved me would die.  He loves to give gifts to people, and a couple of weeks ago he managed to find a whole robin's egg that had found its way onto the school playground, so he picked it up and put it in his pocket so that he could give it to me.  Unfortunately, though perhaps predictably, the egg got smashed in his pocket.  When he related this tale to me, he reassured me that I didn't need to worry because one of the teachers had helped him clean out his pocket.  Asher is thoughtful, self-motivated, creative, and extremely energetic.  I think we'll keep him around another year.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ivy, the Two-Year-Old

Hello there.  It's been a while.  Between the fact that there never seems to be enough time for all the things that need to be done around here and the fact that I have been writing long weekly letters to my missionary little sister documenting our life, I haven't managed to make blogging a high priority.  And it turns out that with three little people around who think that your purpose for existing is to serve only them, if something isn't a high priority, it doesn't happen.  Ever.  But in a few months my sister will be coming home, and I figure I should return to my attempt to capture a few of life's moments here for the sake of looking back after the whirlwind of children has moved out and having some kind of idea of what on earth I spent the last few decades doing.

This weekend, we celebrated Ivy's birthday.  I made whole-wheat, reduced-sugar pumpkin muffins.  Because if the birthday child is too young to know that birthday cake is supposed to involve frosting, there's no reason to give it to them.  And while you're at it, you might as well get in some whole grain and a vegetable.  It took Ivy several "fffff"s to get her two candles blown out.  And once she finally managed it, she did NOT want them removed from her muffin, so she just ate around them.

Ivy received a baby doll stroller and some Nemo bath toys from us and a puffy pink skirt and some spiky building blocks from my mom.  She wanted to use all of her presents immediately, so I figure that means they were good ones.  She is most attached to the pink skirt.  I don't know how she knows that she is supposed to like pink or skirts.  Asher and Simon are not modeling that behavior and that's who she hangs out with all day, but she figured it out somehow.  She wanted to put her new skirt on right away, and when I tried to put it away at bedtime she got very upset.  So she wore it to bed.  She's still wearing it now.  She may never wear anything else again.  She did allow me to remove it briefly while she took a bath, which she wanted to do so that she could play with her new bath toys.

After the bath, and the reapplication of the skirt, she used her new blocks to alternately build towers and comb her hair.

Ivy is generally sweet and happy, but she is extremely opinionated.  She suffers from hanger- a genetic condition that causes the afflicted person to become extremely grumpy and unreasonable anytime hunger strikes- but will magically turn back into her sweet self at the sight of either of her two favorite food groups:  cheese and goldfish crackers.  She wants to walk everywhere rather than be carried or ride in a cart or stroller, and will take every possible opportunity to "do it a-self!"  She likes to snuggle, read books, play with legos, cars, and baby dolls, and tell her brothers what to do.  (Asher!  Simon!  Come on!)  She is a copy cat, a comforter of the sad, a toy hoarder, and a joiner of all games.  I'm sure that in this next year of her life she will continue to keep us on our toes.  We can probably use the exercise.