Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Road Less Traveled



Today was another beautiful Spring day in our part of the world, if a little on the cool side compared to recent weeks. But the boys and I ventured out just the same, albeit in long pants and sweatshirts and tennis shoes for them. My barefoot babies will have to wait a few more weeks to enjoy that freedom again.

So we started our daily walk as usual, taking Buster on the short neighborhood loop that seems to be all he wants or needs these days. He runs inside the minute the garage door is opened, and goes straight to his room to relax. The boys and I continued bravely on, though today we were armed with Mommy's camera because she was in the mood for something a little different (and we've been terribly negligent on our photo site of late). We took the long walk to the new section of our neighborhood, but on the way back stopped at our favorite little field to get out and play.

My boys rarely see such freedom. They are almost always confined in strollers, being carried or having to hold someone's hand, or even worse, leashed with a child harness. With three quick and mischievous little boys, it cannot be helped. But here, several hundred yards off the main road, in a grassy field that was once home to cows or crops or something other than the subdivision it will one day become, here is where we came to play.

The little guys were a bit timid at first, especially Sawyer. He tends to stick closest to Mommy in new situations, but he too quickly followed after Mommy and brothers as we walked on a beaten down old wagon path. Connor ran far ahead, having to be constantly called back or told to wait for Mommy and brothers. He was ready to go, and there's no telling how far he would have gone if Mommy hadn't forced him to stay close. Alexander was also quick to take off, but only at a relatively safe distance before he would turn back and look for Mommy and Sawyer. Sawyer, while eventually busy playing and picking up sticks like brothers, never ventured more than 10 feet away and was the first one to reach up his hand to walk back to the safety and familiarity of the stroller for the ride home. Connor came, though reluctantly, still wielding a big stick and spinning in circles saying "Whee!" from time to time and then pretending the stick was his very own airplane, at least when Mommy wasn't pestering him to come on (it was lunch time, after all). And Xander had to be physically carried back to the stroller, so adamant was he on not wanting to leave. First he played a "fun" game of keep away from Mommy (his new favorite unfortunately) and then Mommy caught him and carried him back - also stopping to spin around from time to time and say "Whee!" which he liked too!

So that was our morning walk, just a little ways off the beaten path onto a road a little less traveled. That's one of the fun moments of being a stay-at-home parent, taking simple, everyday things and turning them into little adventures. I always wonder if my kids are missing out in their young lives, since taking three toddlers out is not something I often do alone, certainly not without the confines of a stroller. But then I think about our little field and how much fun we've all had there on our little adventures, and I can only hope the boys one day feel the same. Happy traveling ...



(The photo looks like a great group shot of the boys, I know, but it's not. Actually, it was a great shot of Connor and Alexander walking up the path. Sawyer had to be PhotoShop-ed into the image - he was actually holding my hand and not big on getting too far away from Mommy! Love my PhotoShop!)

Lost & Found

It's funny, the little things that turn up missing in our house. With three small toddlers, we actually work pretty hard to keep most things out of the hands of little people around here. We have child safety knobs and locks on just about everything you can think of, for that once or twice daily occurrence of needing to run upstairs for a moment while all of the kids are allowed to roam free on the first floor.

This week, it was lip balm. And Mommy is a Chapstick junkie, so I practically tore the first floor apart looking for it. I keep a separate tube just about everywhere - in every bath room in our house, in my purse, in my truck, in the desk in the office, in the desk in the kitchen, and well, you get the idea. There is strawberry flavored Chapstick just about everywhere in our house. And now, there's one in an undisclosed location. You see, my oldest son also shares my love of Chapstick. He's long been sneaking it out of the bathroom drawer after potty sessions (yes, even with the child-safety lock, he can reach his little hand in and get it). Well, he's also advanced to pulling a dining room table chair or other height-enhancing object over to the kitchen desk and taking the one that USED to sit on the tray on the desk. This one is now MIA. And it's already been replaced, though placed in a higher, less visible area and unknown to my oldest son, at least for the moment.

It will probably show up eventually, inside some random toy or even a cabinet we rarely use. Or not. Perhaps it's joined the long-lost books, trailer hitches to the John Deere tractor toys, the first Thomas train, and other items our children have mysteriously "misplaced" in their relatively confined lives.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Bouncing to Sleep

Why is it that every time I take the twins upstairs to go to sleep, even when they are really, really tired, that they feel the need to jump up and down on their bed? Today at nap time, the two of them were practically asleep at the dining room table after lunch. So I quickly changed pull-ups and carried them upstairs, one at a time these days since they're getting quite heavy to tote two at a time, especially when sleepy.

So up I went with Sawyer first, simply because he was closest and Xander has a tendency of running away when you want to pick him up (it's a fun game, apparently). So Sawyer clutches his little arms around my neck and burrows in as I carry him upstairs, clearly tired from a long morning of play and going shopping. But as soon as I try to lay him on the bed, he stands up and starts bouncing with the biggest grin you've ever seen. It lasts just one or two jumps, then he belly flops down and starts stroking the sheets with the palm of his hand, something both twins do when they're tired (must be the soft jersey cotton sheets that are so well worn that they're coming in holes faster than I can fix them).

Anyway, I left him there and went back for Xander, who after a brief game of chase came running into my arms too. He also clutched on for dear life and burrowed into my neck, also clearly tired from a long morning and especially the drive home (driving always seems to make him sleepier than the others). He snuggled for a minute and was ready to go down. And he actually did lay down, for a second, then he too hopped up and started bouncing for a second. He did a butt-flop before rolling over and doing the same little move with his hand on the sheets.

Clearly they must have a sleep ritual that I'm not aware of - bounce first, then lay down and rub your hands on the sheets. And it wouldn't be so funny, except that today was by no means the exception. They do it practically every time I carry them up for their afternoon nap. Not when we go night-night, because then we're getting them dressed after baths and they usually climb into bed themselves rather than be carried there. But whatever it is, it seems to work for them. And for me - I get at least three hours of quiet almost every afternoon, at least from them!

Connor's World

Random favorites this week:

"Onnor's workin'?" Sawyer, our little OCD boy, has lately been allowed unsupervised access into the office. He simply organizes markers back and forth and rarely touches anything he's not supposed to, though sometimes the fax machine is a bit too tempting and he gets banished. The other boys, not sure why Sawyer gets such good privileges, usually like to hang at the gates and try to get in too. Connor associates workin' with the office, because that's what we tell him Mommy or Daddy is doing when we're in there and kids are not allowed. Unfortunately for the other two, they like to pull caps off markers and write on things, so access is denied! Even this cute phrase from Connor doesn't work.

"Onnor no tired! Onnor playin'!" This is my standard response every day at nap time, even if he's clearly tired and laying on the couch half asleep.

"Grandma be back!" He said this one to me a lot the first few days after we returned from the lake. Clearly Grandma is a better playmate than Mommy!

"Where's Onnor's shoes?" He has learned to associate shoes with outside and a little freedom. He no longer likes to take stroller rides without them, because he understands he will not be allowed to get down and walk around. And any time Mommy goes outside, even to get the mail, he wants his shoes so he can go too!

"Hep!" (translated, "Help!" with a silent "l"). This one can only amuse those other parents who've watched the Thomas episode where one of the trains is "bad" by always asking for "help!" because he's too lazy to do the jobs that Sir Toppemhat has assigned (and yes, I do know that it's scary that I know that many details and that I KNOW this is what Connor is emulating). The inflection of his voice is dead on, and he's usually asking for help on something that he can clearly do himself - like getting up out of the floor or simply walking down the stairs, something he mastered long ago.

"No, No (insert brother's name here)!" Connor loves to tell people what to do. He wants to be the Mommy, apparently. This morning, it was "No, No Xander! Leave Saw's blocks alone!" which might have been something I was telling Connor, because both he and Xander love to mess with Sawyer's neatly arranged building blocks and make him scream in anger and frustration. I think the phrase is "the pot calling the kettle black" or something to that effect?

And perhaps my favorite (she says sarcastically):

"In a minute . . . " Of course, he learned this from his mother as well. When he wants me to do something like play cars and I'm in the middle of something else like changing a baby's diaper, I usually say it to him. But he's gotten quite adept at using it himself when he doesn't want to stop what he's doing and do what he's being asked (or told) to do. For example, Mommy says "Come on Connor, time to go night-night." And then he replies, "In a minute . . . " and quickly takes his toys as far away from me as he possibly can. Good fun, as always.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Dog Days of Summer



My attack dog - asleep in front of the door and, ironically enough, his "Beware of Dog" doormat.



But he's not entirely worthless, he did wake up when I opened the sliding glass doors to get a better picture! He does look quite tired (or a little put out with Mommy) though.

Mr. Affectionate

While Sawyer has long been my clutcher and a big Mommy's boy, Xander is finally coming around. He's less on the hugging and more on the kissing, though. He likes to give big, wet, open-mouth kisses ALL THE TIME. And not just one, but usually five or six at a time, several different times each day. He's suddenly become Mr. Affectionate. Some who know our family best have joked that it's simply because Sawyer has become more independent of late, and Xander finally has an opportunity to get more of Mommy's attention. With brother not clutched on for dear life, he's seen his opening and he's going to take it!

Just For Fun



How can you help but smile at this one? All the boys love to be held upside down by Daddy, and here Sawyer is even sticking his tongue out at us! Too cute.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Snapshot Sunday



If only it were always this fun! Xander, Sawyer and Connor enjoying the slide for the first real afternoon of play this week.

Weekend with Daddy

For the first time in a long time, Josh took the weekend off (well, most of it anyway - he only worked yesterday until noon and even then he had Connor with him)! So the boys and I have enjoyed a weekend with Daddy for a change. Mostly it's been around the house - playing and rough-housing, taking turns pushing the really heavy stroller on our long stroller walks, and watching the NFL draft. Perhaps that was the real motivation for staying home? Because changing dirty diapers and trying to figure out what to feed three picky little toddlers probably wasn't it! Regardless of why, it was fun to spend the weekend with Daddy again and hopefully he got to enjoy a much needed break from work!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Afternoon at Play



What better place to play, than sitting on top of the dining room table? The laminate wood floor is clearly not as good as the laminate wood table. Points to those of you who can tell which twin thought this was the ideal place to play.

Tales from the Potty

Our oldest is turning into one stubborn little boy of late. After doing so well in early potty training, he is regressing. Perhaps Mommy is the one regressing, but after chaging five (yes, count them, five) rather disgusting big boy pair of underpants in a single day, the pull-ups returned.

It's quite amazing, how determined he is NOT to poop (or "poot," as he calls it) on the potty. You can sit him there for thirty minutes or more, and nothing. Ten minutes later when you let him leave, you smell the undeniable proof that he did, indeed, need to go potty.

The boy can even go all night without getting wet, so that part of the training is good. But there is apparently no incentive enticing enough for him to do his other business on the potty. Thomas trains withheld for accidents. Tears, but short-lived and no other effect. Candy withheld for the rest of the day. No argument and no effect. Loss of Thomas big boy underpants. No effect.

Perhaps the little guys will be faster and can teach their "big" brother how it's done? A mother can dream, can't she?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Photo Flashback



First day home, five years ago today! (April 25, 2003)

Boy of Summer

At least one of my boys has inherited (or at least shares) Mommy's love of summer. Connor has been just as excited as I am about the change in season. We spend hours outside happily, whereas his brothers are a little less excited. Not unhappy mind you, just not excited like we are.

All of us spend a few hours outside each day, usually on a long morning walk (a short one with Buster and the boys and then a long one with just the boys and sometimes our new neighborhood friend). We also have started ending the day out in the backyard on the play set, after the boys have napped and while we wait for Daddy to make it home for a late dinner. And if Connor is lucky enough to skip out on his afternoon nap, those hours are usually spent outside too. He can slide for hours by himself, with no brothers to take turns with. And he loves to get the "colors" out and draw on the sidewalk out front. Though now we have to remember our extra step in the morning - sunscreen! The boys get their daily dose while they're still strapped in at breakfast, much to their displeasure. Mommy is simply working on her tan, which is already pretty dark for this early in the year!

And then of course, there are the other summer activities we haven't started just yet . . . but it's coming soon, I'm sure. After a few days near 80 degrees, my oldest is already asking about the pool. Not the regular swimming pool, but the little inflatable one we put up in the backyard. Mommy even made the mistake today of picking up a new pack of "Swimmies" at our weekly Sam's visit, and that's all he could talk about the rest of the afternoon. "Swimmin', in a minute, " he said excitedly. Because "in a minute" is what we say any time we have to wait for anything!

If only we all had that kind of energy . . .

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Imagine



Do you remember when you could imagine just about anything? I was quietly amused on my afternoon stroller walk today by my three little boys.

We were doing another long walk because the boys were resisting their usual afternoon nap - and the twins are still sitting in the stroller as I type, sleeping peacefully in the cool garage (actually cooler than our house at the moment, as the windows are open and it's near 80 degrees, which I suspect may have been the problem with our naps today!). Lest you be worried for their safety, the exterior door is closed so that no one can kidnap them and the interior door is open so I can hear them and keep an eye on them.

So anyway, back to my original thought. The two of them falling asleep after loudly and violently resisting nap time in their nice comfy beds did amuse me, but Connor even more so. His imagination is definitely taking off. I've noticed it in pretend play with his toys around the house - the red headed "Little People" airline pilot is Kelly, in honor of his red-haired Aunt Kelly, among other things. But today and yesterday both, his navy blue Croc shoe has taken a dual purpose. He removes it from his own foot and holds it up pretending to take pictures of everything that he sees, even going so far as to push the little black Croc emblem on the shoe strap as the "button" while snapping pictures of birds, ducks, planes, flowers, sticks, you name it!

Perhaps it's another sign that Mommy does indeed take too many photos of her children, but I thought it was rather adorable!

Adventures of the Baby-Sat

For the last several weeks, our good cousins Katie and Josh and Joseph have been coming over on Wednesday nights to watch the boys so that Josh and I can get out for a few hours. Sometimes we run errands, sometimes we do work for Josh's business, sometimes we do something fun, but always we go out to eat. Last night was no exception, we paid a bill, did some shopping and went out to eat. The kids were at home having the time of their life.

Connor, is always excited to see them. In fact, he's gotten so used to seeing them every week that he usually begins every day with a quizzical, "Kay-dee an' Josh?" (as in, are they coming today or what?). Finally, the "Kay-dee an' Josh an' Jof-sef" day arrived, and he could hardly stand it all day long until they arrived. He was a bit shy at first, but he warmed up quickly. He was running around, dragging them into toys and games and make believe in no time. They also got to play outside on the new play set (the newness still hasn't worn off for them yet!) and even took a stroller ride.

This is one of the funny moments of the night. Connor, who is usually very helpful in the babysitting adventures, happily pointing out where things are in the cabinets and telling Katie and Josh and Joseph where anything they might need is kept. But yesterday he pulled a fast one on them. Joseph wanted to know how I managed to actually push the triple stroller because he thought it was impossible. Impossible, this from a college kid who plays sports and is in good shape? Clearly something wasn't quite right. I told him I usually push them about three miles a day, and it's not that bad.

But the truth came out, they had asked Connor where everyone was supposed to sit in the triple stroller. Sly little thing, he had pulled a fast one on them. He put himself in the very front seat, one he hasn't occupied since the twins were only months old. You absolutely cannot put the heaviest child over the front axle, which is where the first seat is. Steering is impossible at that point. And this was the problem, "Onnor's seat, first."

He loves to help, and this time he decided he would simply help himself first!



This is how they're supposed to ride - Connor (41 lbs) in back, Sawyer (34 lbs) in the middle, and Xander (32 lbs) in the front.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Reaching Out



I loved this photo of Sawyer, especially when I made it black and white. He, as all of my boys will do, was reaching out for the camera. Clearly, Mommy is as bad as the paparazzi!

Definitely Unique

We've long known that all of our boys have unusually sized feet. It's amazing to walk into a children's specialty shoe store, give them the size you need, only to have the clerk return with a single pair of shoes. "It's the only one in the whole store in that size," they will say. I've heard this on three separate occasions. Amazing. Either there are a lot of little kids who wear their size, or it's just so odd that they don't make more than one pair to send to each store. And the twins are just absolutely out of luck, because there's only one pair and they have the misfortune of wearing the same size at the moment.

So, there's not only little choice, but there's also the added expense. You MUST shop at the specialty store. Regular stores do not carry much in the toddler extra wide variety. That's right, extra wide. It's not that their feet are disproportionately big for their age. It's that their feet are a little too fat (or wide, which is apparently the politically correct term). There will be no cute flashing light shoes or character of the moment shoes for my boys. Stride Rite. New Balance. Crocs. Adjustable strap sandals. These are what they can wear, and the only ones they can wear.
If our shoe shopping experience hadn't taught us how uniquely shaped our boys feet are, then their footed pajamas certainly have. The pajamas fit perfectly well in height and weight, but the feet are nearly impossible to get on, especially when they wiggle (and what little kid doesn't) and when they're fresh from getting a bath and covered in baby lotion. Poor little guys, it's not enough that they've always been high on the growth charts and off the head circumference charts (we won't talk about the adult size winter hats our kids wear). Now the pajamas are too tight in the feet! Thank goodness it's getting warmer, and we'll soon be switching to summer pajamas (with no feet)!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Wonder of Identical Twins

When we found out we were having twins (when our firstborn was only about eight months old), we weren't sure what to expect. When we found out they were identical after birth, we wondered even more. It's so funny to see the ways that they are very much alike and then also see the ways that they are very much different.

I can remember being amazed to see them laying in their shared crib in the exact same positions - head turned the same way, arms up above their heads in the exact same positions. It was literally like a mirror image at times, especially if we were crazy enough to put them in the same outfit (and we had many, many same outfits thanks to my baby shower and all the nice friends and relatives who bought clothes). I also remember watching them in their swings, again with heads turned the same way and even sucking on the same thumb. Just like last night, when I laid down with them for a few minutes before bed, and both curled up next to me in the exact same way - laying on their backs, kicking their legs onto the pillows, sucking the same left thumb and using their right hand to try to get me to stroke their face with my hands (something both have always loved when they're tired). But those moments are becoming fewer and further in between.

Usually I'm struck by the different personalities. Xander is usually outgoing and not afraid to push back when tormented (Hello, Connor!). Sawyer usually keeps to himself and often will walk away from conflict, unless it's when he's organizing something - then you better watch out! Xander is fearless and just takes off at anything, whether it's climbing stairs or playing on the play set or just taking off down the driveway if you're not careful. Sawyer is more likely to reach out for your hand or reach up to be carried in new situations. Both are alternately loving, wanting to be held and kissed, and then standoffish, wanting a quick hug and then just as quickly wanting to be let go. They usually alternate though, so I always have at least one who likes to cuddle, thank goodness!

It's just so amazing to watch them as they grow up, to watch them interact with their older brother and with the world. There are of course little frustrations and simply bad days of being the stay-at-home parent, but there are also all the wonderful moments of watching your boys as they grow up into the individuals that they're going to be. What a fun ride (most of the time)!

Playing with Trains



It's amazing how fascinated all of our boys seem to be with the Thomas trains. Here I had fun in PhotoShop with a picture of Sawyer playing in his favorite spot - lining things up in the window sill.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Best Toy Ever



Though we've had it a few weeks, today was the first day that the boys really got to enjoy the "new" play set out back. One of Josh's good friends was moving and offered to let us have it for our boys since his girls had outgrown it, and luckily a few good neighbors were around to help us hoist it over the fence and into our back yard.

Our boys are loving it! Connor cannot drive past a park or playground without wistfully offering "Onnor's slides?" from the back seat. To have one in his very own yard is almost more than he can stand, especially since it's either rained or been too cold every single day since we put it back together! And, of course, he was gone all last week during the nice weather - not that he wasn't enjoying his vacation or anything - but he missed out on the chance to try out his new play set, until today.

As soon as I opened the gate into this part of the yard, Connor and Alexander charged straight for it. Connor, bigger and not very nice, pushed little brother out of the way to be first up the ladder. Xander, fearless and just as feisty, followed right behind. And, if you're wondering, I don't know whether to be impressed or terrified that he can already climb the straight four rung ladder to the platform.

Sawyer, on the other hand, didn't seem too interested in climbing or sliding at first. He was fascinated by the swings - first in watching Mommy sit down on one and start to swing, and then in climbing into my lap and wanting to swing with me. We didn't do it long though, because Mommy may be small, but she's not that small. Adult swings, these are not.

After watching Connor and Xander enjoying the slide so much, he finally wanted in on the action. He stuck his little arms up to me and wanted me to put him on the platform - no climbing for him, thank you. And then all three were taking turns (sort of, if you ignore the fact that Connor constantly pushed and shoved his way to slide about twice as often as the little guys). But that's also to be expected. Big brothers are never very nice at this age, and he is no exception.

Hours and hours of summer fun - if we can keep Connor in line and I can get Sawyer to start climbing like his brothers. Did I actually just wish for him to climb? Perhaps I'd just like him to apply the same effort and climbing on an approved area that he does on an unapproved area - the dining room table, anyone? Clearly the boy can climb, it's just a matter of him wanting to!

Eating Right

What's the best way to enjoy your favorite foods without packing on the extra pounds? Simple, try to eat it around three greedy little boys. My recent sweets obsession - chocolate double stuff Oreo cookies - is only enjoyed in small bites.

I get one small bite, and the boys get the rest! And you might think you were safe to enjoy them once the boys are in bed, but not really. Because then Buster takes their place, and he's even worse. He drools all over you and throws his paw up in your lap, just in case you weren't sure he was there and he was hungry. Your appetite will probably be gone, even if you could withstand the pitiful pleading face of a big baby like our puppy.

Mr. Chatterbox

All of my boys have been late talkers. Connor, at three and a half, is just now becoming the chatterbox that most kids start to become around age two. The twins, at just a little over two, have maybe five words between them. I can remember a time when I wished Connor would talk, just as much as I know wish the twins would start speaking. Because they are as routinely quiet as he is constantly loud.

Perhaps I should be careful what I wish for, at any rate. Connor was gone all of last week. And though I'm sure I noticed the difference in chatter some then, I can certainly notice it now that he's back. He never stops talking. Whether it's in trying to learn new words or phrases he hears on Sesame Street, or whether he's talking to keep himself awake, or just to even hear himself talk - he just simply never stops. And after having a little break, I'm having to work my way back up to a tolerance and patience level that I've lost in his absence.

Take today, for instance. It is Monday, so I had the kids strapped into seats to watch a Pixar movie so I could vacuum and wash the floors downstairs. The entire time, from the moment I began, all I heard was "Mommy cleanin' Buster's room!" An odd phrase in and of itself, I know, but one that he now routinely associates with the blue bucket I use to wash. You see, it's the same one I use to clean up Buster's room when it gets muddy during the rainy season. So Connor thinks that's what I'm doing any time I use it.

And it would be cute, the first few times I heard it. But after hearing it about fifty times in the span of five minutes (literally, just one after the other until he needed to stop and breathe), it got a little old and Mommy was ready to scream. This is when I remember my wonderful iPod, and tune him out for the last hour.

He's wondering if Grandma is ready to have him back, I'm sure. Grandma would never do such a thing!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Day with Daddy

The boys got to spend a few hours with Daddy today while Mommy attended a baby shower. When I got home, Connor and Daddy were watching NBA basketball while the twins played with their toys. If it's not animated and Pixar, they're not interested in the television. After saying hello to everyone, I sat down on the sofa. Connor, still tired from his long weekend at the lake, snuggled up next to me to watch.

"Shoot, shoot!" he said. If they made it, it was "Good job!" and if they missed it was "Try 'gain!" And this applied for either team, so apparently he just wants to see the ball go in the basket and hasn't yet learned to care about winning and losing. He was just applying the words we used at home when we played with his little basketball goal.

How sweet is that innocence? If only it could last . . .

Snapshot Sunday



Sunset at the lake. It's so beautiful and peaceful in the little neighborhood where my parents retired to last year, and the views are spectacular. A blue lake through the big, tall trees out back, deer and turkey in grassy fields on one side, and this amazing sunset on the other!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Tired Little Boys



After a few days at the lake with Grandma and Pa, we have three very tired little boys at our house (and one tired Mommy, too, after getting up earlier than she likes since little boys wake up sooner in strange beds and different rooms!). They are all in bed and asleep, well before 7:30 tonight, and that's extremely rare. Mommy may join them shortly!

I even had a relatively quiet drive back home - two little boys asleep five minutes into the drive, and the third asleep within ten minutes. He tried hard to stay awake, pointing out every single cow and horse and barn and tractor and car and truck and anything else he could think of to name. But eventually he gave it up, and was fast asleep most of the way home.

Poor little guys, visiting is hard on little boys. Too much running and jumping and playing and not enough sleeping and resting! But we all had a great time and enjoyed visiting with Grandma and Pa.

Connor was even disappointed to be going home, at least once we got here. We turned off the interstate and into our subdivision and he started whimpering. When I asked him what was wrong, he said "No Onnor's house, no Daddy and Buster!" which is what I had been telling him we were going home for - to visit Daddy and Buster. I'm not sure if he was sad to be back at home where he wasn't the center of attention all the time as he had been all week at the lake, or if he was just upset that we had turned the wrong way and didn't get "Donal's" on our way in. He fell asleep again before I could ask him. Poor little man.

Friday, April 18, 2008

City Slickers

There was a time when my brother and I were considered the "city slickers" of the family, especially since most of our family lived in a very rural county in the western half of the state. Honestly, the town only has one red light and just got a McDonald's in the last few years. Dairy Queen used to be it. So now, twenty-some odd years later, it's funny to see my children, who I never would have considered "city" myself, so at home in the rural area where my parents live on the lake.

The twins have had the biggest time just running around and playing in the big gravel driveway. Apparently they've never seen gravel before, because Xander loves running across it and Sawyer (always a bit of a thrower) cannot resist picking up big handfuls and hurling it as far as his little arms can send it (never mind that brothers and Mommy's truck are in the vicinity). And Connor, who's been down here all week loving every minute of it, seems the most at home. He likes to pick up rocks and sticks and squish bugs and point out all the trees and flowers and butterflies and boats and (you name it, he likes to point it out).

It's also funny how much I take certain things for granted. At home, we never let Connor walk. It's simply too dangerous, even in our quiet little subdivision, because cars usually drive at least 10 or 15 miles over the posted limit and Connor has no sense of fear or danger yet when it comes to the road. But all week he's been walking and pulling and / or riding in a rustic old wagon (another relic from my childhood) down the middle of a county road that dead ends at the lake. He walks on the gravel shoulder and picks up sticks and dandelions to "blow flowers" and has the best time.

Thank goodness my kids don't stay in the city all the time. Mommy loves the lake and the outdoors, and hopefully can instill in her boys a love of them as well. And we know that Grandma and Pa love to have little boys running around to visit just as much as they love to be here running around and getting a break from their normal routine at home. And I'm also sure that the sippy cups of kool-aid and coke don't hurt, either, since we live in a milk and occasional cup of juice kind of house at home!

Photo Flashback



Kicking back (and learning to sit up). Sawyer and Xander. (May 12, 2006)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Tortured Twins

It's amazing the things you think to do while you're waiting for something to happen. Today, I was waiting for a load of laundry to finish, so that I could pack it into our overnight bags to head to the lake. I could have done anything in that thirty minutes, but instead, I decided to torture all of us. I cut the twins hair. It was ridiculously long, and hanging in their eyes.

And torture it was, for me and for them. They of course don't sit still, even strapped into their booster seats at the dining room table. They wave their arms, shake their heads, and basically cause cut hair to fly everywhere. At least I did think to get out the central vacuum attachment first. But there were tears and screams, mostly theirs.

And I'm sure they don't look quite as good as the ones that were done at the very expensive children's salon (nearly $50 for three little boys). And their hair grows ridiculously fast, so I'm afraid there will be more torture sessions in the future. Why pay someone else to make them scream, because they screamed there too, when I can do it in the confines of my own house and save the money. We do have to keep buying more Thomas trains, after all!

So about an hour later, we finished and then I finished up the laundry and got us all on the road. The torture was short lived, and they seem to have recovered just fine. Candy and juice and grandparents are good treats to have, apparently.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Another Great Day

Finally, warm weather and sunshine again! After trying to squeeze so much in this week with only two little boys to chase, today was our day to relax. We had no plans other than to enjoy the afternoon.

This morning we took our first walk with Louie and Buster. Now that was interesting. I only wish I could photograph myself, because I think it would amuse most of you to see me pushing the triple stroller (minus one kid, of course) and with two dogs, one small one on one side and one very large one on the other, since they don't really get along all that well. It went better than I imagined, so long as I kept Louie from sniffing Buster (which freaks him out a little).

And during our stroll we ran into our new neighborhood friends, so we dropped the puppies back off at home and took another long stroll with Baby Zachary and his mom. Connor will be a little upset, missing two of his friends in one day, though I'm sure he's just fine with all the one-on-one attention at Grandma and Pa's.

So we spent the rest of the afternoon strolling, lunching, and sitting on the deck (well, the boys are actually napping now), but we've gotten to enjoy a little break in our routine and get outside, both good things. Mommy will enjoy a little more peace and quiet before our Wednesday sitters (good cousins Katie and Josh) arrive to give us an adult night out.

Tomorrow will take us back down to the lake, to visit with Grandma and Pa for a few days and to bring Connor back home this weekend. Let the good times begin (and thank goodness for nice weather again!)

Sometimes, I think we all get a little too caught up in going and doing and not enough time in stopping to enjoy. Today I have accomplished absolutely nothing. But the grocery store will still be there tomorrow or even next week. Same with the dirty floors and the laundry. We have enough food and clothes and we can get by with a less than perfect house. The boys will only be little once. I will only be thirty (or very nearly anyway) once. Sit back. Enjoy. At least every once in a while . . .

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Out and About with Twins

In an effort to get our kids out of the house a little more, especially since we're on equal footing this week with two on two, Josh and I ventured out with the twins again tonight. Mommy wanted a nice sit-down meal and needed to pick up something from the store, and Josh was home before dark for a change and up for the challenge.

We enjoyed one of my favorites - Cracker Barrel - though the twins were not much for it. Alexander took a few bites of his pancake (the only thing we've ever gotten them to eat from there), but Sawyer was having none of it. They seemed happiest with the dry cereal (Cinnamon Toast Cruch) and Sweetarts from the diaper bag and an occasional sip from Mommy's Coke. Thank goodness for well-stocked diaper bags! And, of course, our little OCD boy loved organizing the little triangle pin game by colors and then putting them in and out of the wooden holes. Xander played with an empty straw and threw things (imagine that!). But all in all, it was fairly pleasant.

And then we stopped by the store. Even with just two, it's not more manageable. I don't know what we were thinking. You either carry a rather heavy toddler (32 lbs. for Xander and 34 lbs. for Sawyer) or you put them down and watch them run (into the streets, down the store aisles, toward breakable objects, and, well, you get the idea).

I set my twin down to look at an item at the store and asked Josh if he could manage keeping an eye on both of them. Before the words were even out of my mouth, much less Josh gave his affirmative response, Xander was gone. Sawyer, was content to look at things with Mommy - must be all those neat and tidy rows of items stocked on the shelves that appeals to my OCD boy! Xander was down one aisle and then another. Josh could barely keep up with those little legs.

Oh well, at least we have one twin to point to when we ask, "Have you seen my other child? He looks like this one, only he moves a lot faster and he's harder to catch." Luckily, they even had the same outfit on for a change. I'm kidding, of course, he didn't get that far and we were never worried. But really, what were we thinking? Next time we'll order pizza in (and I'll shop online), and we'll be done with it!

Shopping with Twins

When you have three toddlers, it's hard to imagine a different way of life. Ours are at the age where they need constant supervision and attention, especially when we think about leaving the relatively safe confines of our child-proof house. Danger is still a vague concept to them.

For most outings, we like to take one adult per child, if at all possible. Because Mommy only has two hands, and inevitably, they want to run in three different directions. There are some exceptions, like the weekly trip to Sam's Club where there's enough seats to strap two little guys in, and Connor is pretty well behaved in the basket. I will also take the three of them to places where I know they can be safely managed via our triple stroller, but you have to watch accessibility issues here. A triple stroller is by no means small, and it has to be worth the effort of assembling and disassembling it at each stop.

Today, with only two toddlers, I did something unimaginable with three. I took them to the real grocery store, on our once every three weeks trip that usually takes a few hours and costs several hundred dollars. I will not say it was fun, because it wasn't. But it was manageable. The twins were strapped into the harnesses on the special kids' cart, and did relatively well with the production of DumDum suckers about mid-way through the excursion (though next time I should also include a few wipes too, rather than waiting until we get back to the truck and the diaper bag!). They were bored, basically, and the suckers were enough to capture their attention and gain Mommy enough time to finish up business and get them back into the truck.

All in all, a successful outing with two that would not have worked with three. But probably not one I'll do often, unless I really have to. You live and you learn (though you have to at least try it the first time to know!).

Monday, April 14, 2008

Borrowed Toys

When Connor is away, little brothers will play.

Once again, while Connor is away on a fun trip to visit with Grandma and Pa at the lake, little brothers have found his train collection. Actually, Daddy helped them find it one day while he was watching the boys this weekend, but they've been enjoying it ever since. There are a few random tantrums when one twin steals the two big trains from the other twin, and it goes back and forth pretty much all day. Apparently Gordon and Henry are the two trains to have. Alexander has long loved them (they are the biggest ones), and Sawyer has apparently developed some love too.

Connor would not approve, of this I am sure.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

From Three to Two

Yesterday the boys and I traveled a few hours west to meet up with Grandma and Pa and visit with our extended family at my grandmother's house. The boys were in good spirits for a change, so the visit went well. They spent hours playing with a set of magnets that have been there for years and years (still fun, though!). We had our requisite stop at "Donal's" just before, so that probably helped. We're nothing, if not predictable, and our boys have always been good eaters.

Connor skipped out on the return trip, opting to ride in "Pa's truck" and go home to the lake for a few days of one-on-one attention with Grandma and Pa. The moment we posed the question, he was quick with his response: "Bye, Mommy! See you later! Bye, Babies. See you later!" and out the door he went, literally. Nice to know you'll be missed, right? He clearly was excited about his adventure. Needless to say, we had a much quieter ride back home. No one was pointing out the many, many trucks we passed, the houses or barns, or even the cows and horses! One of these days the little guys will start speaking too. For now, Mommy enjoyed the peace and quiet of a long drive back.

And today we did something with two little people that would be just about impossible with three. We took the twins to the IHOP this morning, which is a rare treat for us. Josh and I are both big breakfast fans, but we rarely see that time of the morning out and about on a Sunday. We typically have to make our big breakfast ourselves (and then clean up the mess - yuck!). And taking two little people to a very crowded and busy restaurant was hard enough, believe me. Between trying to keep up with two pairs of slightly big Crocs shoes (that tend to fall off and be pulled off quite a bit), trying to keep utensils and hot items out of reach, and eating while simultaneously feeding a toddler. Well, it was challenging, to say the least. And the chocolate chip pancake we ordered for the little guys was not a hit - tasted like one big chocolate cookie but was very dry and didn't go with any of the "syrup" choices on the table. Luckily, my meal came with two small regular pancakes, which the boys devoured in minutes. Josh and I had better luck with our choices, so all in all, it went well.

One of these days we'll be brave enough to take all of our kids out to eat by ourselves (to somewhere other than McDonald's). Just not yet. There's too many hands to hold, too many things that still need to be kept out of reach and too many needs to be met for any of us to enjoy it. Life with three toddlers - usually fun, always interesting, never easy!

Snapshot Sunday



Love that happy little grin. For once, not hamming it up for the camera. He's just handing Mommy a "flower" he picked. Maybe he'll pick some for Grandma and Pa this week while he's visiting, if the warm weather and sunshine returns!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Black & Whites



Getting used to the new sippy cups (Xander).



Playing with blocks (Sawyer).



In motion (Connor, does he ever stop?)

Quoted & Noted

Welcome to Connor's world. Here are a few of his most frequent and humorous comments this week.

"Fast and careful! Fast and careful!" he chants from his car seat as we drive on the Interstate. This, of course, is another fun phrase we've picked up from Thomas and Friends. It's something the trains say when they're carrying breakable cargo. I won't scare you by going into the exact details, which I know, of the episode.

"Scoo-back!" (translated "Scoot back!"). This one is hilarious. The first time I heard him use it was when we were all playing out the yard with balls. Connor was wanting to kick the soccer ball back and forth, but he wants you to "Scoo-back!" until you back is literally touching the fence. Now it's in common use, especially if he would like you to move out of his way. Nice, right?

"Baby Zachary?" We've met a new friend in the subdivision on our daily walks of late, a three-month old little boy and his mother. Now, we cannot venture out of the house without Connor asking about him. He also thinks every baby we meet in a stroller is said baby.

"Hi guys!" He says this one any time that we meet more than one person. I think Josh used the phrase once to say hello to some neighborhood children we know (family of a customer who bought a house), and Connor has taken it upon himself to say it now to every group of people we meet. It usually gets a chuckle, especially when he repeats it the fourth or fifth time, bending around backward in the stroller to call it after they have long passed!

"Baby Connor." Pause. "Baby Onnor." The child can actually say his own name correctly, and apparently he willfully chooses not to! I had never heard him say "Connor" correctly, until a few days ago when Sawyer and I were looking at the family pictures on our wall. Both twins, and even Connor, like to be held while they point at photos and have you tell them who each person is. I was saying "Baby Connor" and big boy Connor was trailing us and fearing being left out of the game. So he started repeating everything I said, including his very own correct name. But he quickly felt the error, and went right back to "Onnor."

And perhaps my favorite (she says sarcastically) . . .

"What you say?" (translated "What did you say?"). I truly think there may be a "'d" on his "what," but it's so faint you usually don't hear it. Otherwise, he's picking up bad language habits at an early age. And sadly, he's probably learned this one from Mommy. This is her standard phrase to ask when he starts mumbling things in his time out chair. His response is usually "Nuffin!" at those moments, but he's started asking "What you say?" any time that you tell him to do something he doesn't want to do, or worse, when he knows he's doing something wrong he says this and quickly walks away like he's innocent. Good times.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Peace and Quiet

In a house dominated by toddlers, it's hard to find a little peace and quiet during my day. It's even hard to do normal things sometimes, like eat a meal or go to the bathroom, without constant interruption or three sets of eyes and hands following me.

In recent weeks, I've discovered a way to get a little more peace into my day. Now I know that "they" tell you it's important to share meals with your kids around the dinner table. And I agree, to a point. But with three messy toddlers (who often still need help feeding themselves), it just doesn't work. There is no possible way I'm going to get three toddler meals and my meal prepared and on the table, much less sit down and enjoy mine without having to get up and down to pick up messes and dropped items, fill up empty plates or glasses, or clean up dirty hands and faces after they inhale their meals in five minutes and are impatient to get back to playing - and do it all three or four times every single day. Believe me, I've actually been crazy enough to try it.

So, I've started feeding the kids first, then feeding myself. Certainly I eat a little later than everyone else, but I also get to do so in relative peace and quiet. Nothing is more true than of lunch, after which the two little guys are ready for their afternoon naps. Connor, not always one to take a nap, is even banished to his room for a little "quiet time" with a few simple (read "quiet") toys. Normally, it would be his trains, but they're now part of the potty training exercise of "If you go poo-poo in your big boy pants, your trains go bye-bye until tomorrow." So today it's some Little People and their assorted small cars. The result is I get to each lunch in peace. I usually pick up a book or magazine, preferably a non-parenting related item, and get at least an hour of "me" time. It saves my sanity in ways you cannot imagine.

Photo Flashback



Little Man Connor. (April 03, 2005)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Giving Back

Our good cousins Katie and Josh came over again last night to watch the little guys for us. We were supposed to go out to a nice adult dinner, but plans changed. Turns out everything in our life is about our kids, though I did actually get to have a Backyard Burger eventually!

One of Josh's friends was moving and had a playset in the backyard that his girls had outgrown and he offered to let our boys have it, so we spent the late afternoon disassembling it, loading it into Josh's truck and bringing it to our house before the rain moved in (or so we thought, though it never actually rained here last night). With the help of a few neighbors, thank goodness (since it was very heavy and Josh had to do most of the lifting at the other house), we rolled it over the top of the fence (too wide to fit through the gate) and it now sits in disassembled pieces in our backyard. We'll eventually get it together and get some pictures of the boys playing. What a nice gift!

And in the spirit of giving, I have to mention that the same good cousins who came to watch our boys last night are working toward taking a medical mission trip this summer. Both are hard-working seniors in nursing school, and they, along with about 40 other students from the Colleges of Nursing, Medicine and Pharmacy, are raising funds to go on a medical mission trip to the Dominican Republic to provide medical care for those in need. Each student has to raise $1,764 to cover their own air travel, lodging, meals, in-country travel, and the purchase of medical equipment and supplies to serve. We've made our contribution and wish them luck on this adventure!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Definitely Spring



Day by day, more of our flowers are starting to bloom. Now, if only I can keep Connor from picking and / or stepping on them while we're outside, all will be good!

The Joy of Spring

After falling asleep two days in a row in random places, you know that Connor is tired. Well, actually, all of the boys are tired. It's nearly 10 am and they're all still asleep this morning. Grant you, we did get to bed a little later than usual last night. Mommy was unable to get everyone fed and ready for bed before 8 pm when American Idol began, so it played during our late dinner ("sketti," for those who are wondering, and yes it was a big hit with the boys), and then we got ready for bed.

And with the really nice weather of the past few days - warm temperatures and sunshine - the boys and I have spent a great deal of time outside. We've done lots of long stroller walks with all three of the boys, and Connor and I spend just about every minute of brothers' nap time outside too. So, they're generally sticky and smelly at the end of the day, and in desperate need of the daily baths we've tried so hard to avoid with their sensitive skin. So it was nearly 10 pm before the last little boy was tucked into bed.

Clearly, they are all tired from the recent change in season and the assorted activities that go with it. Rarely do we see 10 am without SOME movement from their rooms. Not today. Guess our "schedule" will have to be modified a little today. And sadly, the rain is supposed to return. Our stroller walk may be a bit dicey today, and it wouldn't be the first time we've all gotten a little wet before making it back to the house! Welcome back, Spring.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Time Out to Sleep?



Asleep at the dinner table last night, and asleep in the time out chair today! Clearly being outside the last few days has taken it's toll - all that running around, using "colors" on the sidewalk, strolling, playing ball, blowing bubbles, and eating frozen popsicles has worn out our big boy. Don't worry, I woke him up to go stroller riding yet again. American Idol is on tonight, and Mommy plans to have them all in bed early!

Time to Eat?



Taken last night during dinner, at 6:15 pm! Perhaps we really did need a nap yesterday afternoon, after all? He did, however, wake up in time to demand part of Daddy's ribeye that we grilled last night. Expensive taste, for someone who only recently started eating meat.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Anyone?

It used to be that Connor would get excited when he knew someone was coming over for a visit. If we told him that we were expecting someone, it would be nothing to hear him ask about that person at least 10 times (and probably more) before they actually arrived. But here lately, I'm beginning to think that he's tired of his mother's and his brothers' company.

Lately, I hear him ask me about a long list of people, as though he's wondering aloud if they will come to visit him today. Here's today sample:

"Kay-dee an' Josh?" No. "Keddy?" Nope. "Grammy?" Sorry kiddo. "Grammy-Pappy?" Not today. "Louie?" No. "Luke?" No again. "Kay-dee an'Josh?" and we start all over again.

Clearly the kid craves attention, because everyone that he names is one of his best playfriends - someone who willingly jumps right in and starts playing the games only a three year old can truly enjoy. You know, chase me and watch me laugh at you. Crash trucks together, but only if I get the best crash. Tickle, but only let me do it. Those fun games.

There always comes a point in our day when Mommy is simply beyond it, and that's when the roll call begins. It's as if he's asking, isn't there anyone left to play with me? It's rough being three, you know.

Back in the Sun

After what seems like weeks of rain, we finally have good sunshine and warm temperatures again. The last few days, the boys and I have gotten in lots of long stroller rides, walking all the way over to the new subdivision that will eventually connect with ours (about an hour round trip strolling). Today the little guys even fell asleep, as we were later in getting out than normal (today is the day Mommy cleans the floor, you know).

But with the sunshine comes another step, or I guess a different one. There were no jackets today, though our boys are still in long pants and sleeves with their sniffles. No, today we added sunscreen to our pre-walk ritual that also includes potty break, clean diapers and finding all the misplaced socks so we can put on shoes (though this one doesn't always happen).

The kids were not particularly excited to see the sunscreen come out today, but with the bright sun and their fair winter skin, it wasn't an option. The little guys squirmed and ran away as fast as they could. Connor, on the other hand, was the only one of the three who was excited to see it. He immediately took of his shirt and said, "Pool? Swimmin'?"

Um, no, not quite yet. But clearly, my son is as ready for summer time as I am.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Snapshot Sunday



Xander is not a big Louie fan, he likes to lick your face and Xander hates that! That's why the twins usually hide out on the couch and on top of the toyboxes when he comes over to visit!

Nothing, If Not Friendly

In addition to becoming quite the little chatterbox lately, my oldest son has also developed a more open and friendly personality. Gone are the days when he used to duck his head and turn bashfully away from good-natured strangers who wanted to say hello. Nope, that little boy is gone.

Case in point, with such beautiful weather today, I could not help but load all the little guys up in the triple stroller and take them and our puppy for an early afternoon walk. Like us, many of our neighbors were outside enjoying their warm, sunny Sunday afternoon.

The first person we came upon was washing his car. Connor, ever observant, calls out "El-lo!", his drawn out version of "Hello!" that has developed recently. And he can't just say it once, he must say it five or six times, even after the amused neighbor returns his cheerful hello a couple of times before chuckling and returning to his activity. It's also usually followed with several friendly "Bye-Bye!" and "See you later!" attempts as we stroll on. These are usually given with his head bent around backwards watching the person who's several houses back.

And our new ritual is repeated often, for absolutely every person we chance to meet. Strangers almost all, but he says "El-lo!" and "Bye-Bye! See you later!" repeatedly, just as if they were someone we knew extremely well.

Oh well, at least we're leaving a lot of people with smiles and chuckles, even if they might think we're a bit odd. Perhaps friendly little Connor has brightened their day too.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

On the Outside Looking In



One of my favorite photographs of late. Sawyer loves to play in the office, and can often be found standing just outside either of the two baby gates that keep it enclosed. I loved all the sunlight filtering in and his little hand perched on top of the gate begging to be let inside. Our little office helper!

Day at the Movies



Today Connor got to experience his first real movie in a theatre, and it went surprisingly well. Of course, some might argue that with the big screen television at the house, it's not really a whole lot different. But it is. It was a really, really big screen. There were lots of other kids and parents and some just random people. We won't mention the rotten little girl who sat directly behind us and kicked the back of our chairs the whole time, EVEN after several glaring looks and finally a few choice words to the "parents" who were sitting on either side of her.

There was no popcorn and coke, as I had anticipated. Connor was too hungry BEFORE the movie, so we stopped in at a "Donal's" and split a large chicken nugget meal and an Oreo McFlurry. I think he got the biggest half, to be honest. He really was hungry, apparently. So we had a quick lunch, and I do mean quick, since Mommy had actually planned on eating AFTER the movie. But we made it in time to get our tickets, make a potty stop, and get into our seats before the big crowd came and the lights dimmed. We did have to sit through about five previews, and Connor was getting antsy every time a green preview ratings screen appeared. "'Nother One?" he asked, with a heavy sigh.

Finally, the lights fully dimmed and the 20th Century Fox searchlights appeared. He settled into my lap, since it was hard to see from the seat and it kept folding up on him (or he kept playing with it, one). We settled there for nearly an hour and forty-five minutes. Connor was quiet through most of it, though sometimes describing an animal or something he saw on screen. Toward the end I started hearing the dreaded "Onnor potty?" I let it slide the first two times, because I know it's often an attempt to change his scenery more than a real need to potty. But at the third question, and maybe five minutes before the credits actually rolled, we headed out to potty. He was really getting sleepy, and this was his excuse to move and not give in to the sleepiness, but he did actually potty as well.

And, we had to go back to Grammy's house, you see, where we had left brothers for the afternoon. Connor, though easily tempted into Mommy's truck with the promise of Donal's, was eager to return. He had not gotten to visit with Grammy or Pappy or Louie (a weekend houseguest). He wanted his chance to play at Grammy's house too. So all afternoon, despite the fun things we had planned and were doing, I also kept hearing, "Grammy's house?"

Maybe next time, we'll just go visit at Grammy's house. It would save me the ridiculous $5.25 it cost for a children's matinee ticket (not to mention the $6.50 adult matinee ticket). Then we can just wait for the DVD, and watch it in the comfort of our home with inexpensive popcorn and all the potty breaks we need!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Snack Time



Another OCD boy . . . Xander lining up his Cheez-It snacks.



Our usual OCD boy deciding to mix it up a little today.



Another OCD boy and good sharing fellow, offering a snack and a smile to the photographer.

These were taken yesterday, before the sniffles and coughing that have once again invaded our house. Silly spring weather, too many changes in temperature and too much rain. Isn't it time for summer yet? Mommy is certainly ready for it!

Photo Flashback



Just learning to sit up - Sawyer (screaming) and Xander. (April 17, 2006)

New Favorites

As our most social child so far, Connor loves to see people. He's always excited to see them pull into the driveway from the front windows, always the first one to the door when someone knocks or rings the bell, and always the one grabbing for the phone when someone calls (though he's just started to talk a little into it, where before he would take it and grin at the phone - you can see through the lines, right?)

Anyway, he's long loved all the people who frequently come to our house. Grammy and Pappy. Aunt Kelly and Uncle Luke. Cousin Jason ("Jase" as Connor calls him). Well, there is a new favorite in town. Cousins Katie and Josh, who are finishing up a semester in nursing school here and have had some extra time on their hands recently with school winding down, have been good enough to offer to babysit once a week for a total of four weeks before they head back to their hometown.

Connor is loving this. They let him pick out movies to watch. They get down in the floor and play his games. They chase him around and jump out and scare him. They let him stay up late. In short, they do all that a good play friend can for a three-year old. Even the twins have been more receptive to our recent visitors - not crying or waving bye-bye when they arrive or even getting upset when we leave.

If you want further proof, it can only be in the random thoughts of our three-year old, who is one to often wonder aloud at who might be coming to visit him during the day, especially when he's feeling bored or a little neglected. Sometimes he's focused on Grammy. Sometimes Louie (and Uncle Luke, though he gets second billing now to the dog). It's usually whoever has been to see him most recently.

This week is no exception. He's been asking all day every day since they were here, "Kay-dee an' Josh?" in that questioning tone. When I tell him that no, they are not coming today, he returns with "Kay-dee an' Josh, be back later," in a rather matter-of-fact tone. He doesn't yet understand the concept of days or weeks or even later very well, but he knows they will come. Because he wants them to. He's not going to like it when they head back home for the summer, not one little bit!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Quoted & Noted

"No, No, Mommy. Wait, wait a second. Onnor first!" he says, as he holds my hands down on my lap and climbs into it.

You see, we were playing another game of "Tickle, Tickles!" and Mommy had been getting too many tickles in on little Onnor for his taste. He wanted to be the one to tickle, not the one being tickled.

If only all of life was that simple. Ask and you shall receive . . .

"Tickle, Tickles"



Connor has discovered a new game. It is exactly what it sounds, he likes to rub his fingers on your cheek (or other assorted known tickle spots, and even a few that aren't typically so), and say "Tickle, Tickles." And yes, the second one is always plural, for no apparent reason. His good cousins Katie and Josh got a fair share of it last night when they once again volunteered to babysit for us so Josh and I could go out to dinner.

This has become his newest defense against going to sleep at night as well. You see, he likes for Mommy to lay down with him for a few minutes before going "Night, Night." Up until recently, we went through the nightly ritual of Connor pointing out all the features of my face and then his - Eye, Other Eye, Nose, Ear, Other Ear, Mouth (still pronounced "Mouf"), Cheek, Other Cheek, Chin, and finally Eye Brow and Other Eye Brow.

So now, it's reach out with our fingers and touch Mommy's face and say "Tickle, Tickles!" It's always accompanied by an adorable little grin, but at this stage of the day usually doesn't get much response. Perhaps tomorrow, as I'm sure we will play it all over again during the day and just before bed.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Mommy's Truck + Store = McDonald's

As a stay-at-home mom, especially one with three toddlers, I don't have the temptation that a lot of parents do for picking up fast food for meals. It's not that I wouldn't, because I truly love a McDonald's Coke and have very much missed my very frequent breakfast stops at that same place where the morning crew knew me by car and order (if not by name).

My oldest son has inherited the "Donal's" love. Twice this week the boys and I have gone out to run errands. A quick trip to Wal-Mart yesterday for new sippy cups (the dishwasher melted one of the lids and chaos has ensued without the "normal" cups for all the boys). A quick trip to Sam's Club today for more milk (what else?). And add two stops to McDonald's, one for each day. Ridiculous, I know. But my son cannot be driven past the golden arches without saying "Donal's?" in that questioning tone that says, "Am I going to get some fries or what?" It doesn't matter if he's just eaten, either.

I gave in rather easily yesterday, because we do typically have "Donal's" once a week on our Sam's trek. I wasn't really anticipating it so much today, until I heard the chanting from the middle seat, which would be Connor's. "Don-al's. Don-al's. Don-al's." I've never heard it quite like that, usually just the one questioning word. I think a meltdown may have ensued if I had taken the wrong turn out the Sam's parking lot because he absolutely knows which way to go.

So "Donal's" it was, yet again. Good thing we don't get out much, huh? I won't even think about the message it's sending an already bossy toddler to give in to such demands. I was just thinking how I could make it through lunch and into afternoon nap time without a major meltdown from any of us.

That's What I Get



It serves me right, I guess, for teaching my son bad habits. Last week, we wandered into the neighborhood common area (right across the street from our house) where a bunch of wild "Easter lilies" (yellow daffodils) grow at the base of one of the large trees that somehow managed to outlive suburbia. Connor and I picked some flowers to put in a vase in our window, even though Mommy knew very well it was probably against our deed restrictions (we won't mention the neighbor who likes to walk their dog over there every day to do his business, because that's probably against the rules too!).

Yesterday, while we were out doing "colors" on the sidewalk during brothers afternoon nap, Connor decided we needed some more. You see, Mommy had thrown the wilted ones away just that morning. Only, this time, he picked one from our driveway! There are hundreds across the street, and maybe five growing in our yard (well, now four). Serves me right, for teaching him to pick flowers instead of admiring them where they grow. I guess my tulips will be next, as they appear ready to bloom any day. Clearly Mommy and her bad habits need some work.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Toys in the Bedroom

Since our kids usually spend a little time in their rooms when they're not sleeping, we thought it would be a good idea to put some toys in there, an idea we resisted early on because we wanted them to associate the room with sleeping instead of playing. As most people who've been to our house will tell you, their rooms are a little like a prison state.

Our boys are climbers, so all the furniture is screwed into the walls to keep them from toppling anything over. All pictures and shelves are at heights where they can't reach, because they're also a little destructive at times, though you have to be careful with Connor who's learned he can jump on the bed and reach the edge of his display shelves. Their dressers are empty, because they love to pull clothes out of drawers and sling them across the room, and even with child safety locks installed they can still reach their little hands inside and wreak havoc. Their closets are locked, because all of their clothes are now stashed in there, as well as any of the keepsakes people have given them over the years. Mommy started locking closets the day she found Connor tearing pages out of his baby photo album because he wasn't in the mood to "nap" that day.

Anyway, we've decided to let them have toys, especially for the time between when they wake up in the mornings and when Mommy gets them up and ready for the day. Connor, of course, has trains. Lots and lots of Thomas and Friends trains, including the small track Grammy got him for his birthday last year. Sawyer and Xander were unimpressed with their little trains that the Easter Bunny brought (despite the fact that both boys go running straight into Connor's room on the way downstairs, every single morning), so Connor was happy to add them to his collection. And instead, the little guys were recently given the two dump trucks full of blocks that Grandma and Pa gave them for their birthday. They both love blocks, and these are a different size than the set we have downstairs, so it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Mommy has learned something though. You can only put them out after they have gone to sleep. If you leave them in the floor, in plain sight, the twins will play with them instead of taking a much needed nap. If you leave them out before bed, they will stay up all hours of the night playing and be terribly cranky the entire next day. We know this for a fact, because that's exactly what they did the three days I tried just leaving them out. So into the closet they go, and they're set out when Mommy or Daddy checks in on them before they go to bed for the night.

We've also had a few toddler meltdowns, for instance, when Connor's train track gets accidentally disassembled and he cannot figure out how to get it back together again. This is not good on an already tired little boy who's resisting taking a nap as it is. It results in crying, screaming and what I like to call Connor's angry voice, when all the words jumble together and it sounds really low and deep like a growl. Good times.

Sometimes, you have to live and learn . . .

Who Needs a Pony?



Connor is not the only one who's been paying more attention to Buster lately. Sawyer can be found giving him random hugs or laying down on top of him, or playing with his wagging tail. Or, as in the above photo, trying to ride him. Buster is mild mannered and takes it well, but you can tell he would prefer a little less attention from the boys. (And perhaps a little more from someone who could actually take him on a walk or play rings in the yard!)