Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Journey Begins

Today our journey is taking a different path. Not better, not worse, just different. It’s like driving down a familiar road and finding that the way you expected to go isn't there anymore and you’re being led on a scenic detour instead. You’ll get there, eventually, just not perhaps the way you imagined. And you’ll be seeing different things along the way. Perhaps you will even slow down and take time to admire and appreciate the view.

At two and a half, our twins are clearly behind when it comes to talking. We've finally stopped taking the “wait and see” approach, and have had some evaluations performed based on advice from our pediatrician. They’re both way behind in terms of communication, like perhaps where a typical 18-month old might be. It was not unexpected, by any means. The five to ten words the boys once said sporadically have been completely gone for quite some time. They didn't suddenly stop; they just gradually faded, as though speaking wasn't worth the effort. They started pushing and pulling and pointing to get their wants and needs taken care of. Sawyer is now the master of taking my hand and pulling me to whatever it is he thinks he wants or needs – refrigerator equals drink, kitchen counter equals fruit snacks, garage door equals Mommy’s truck, entertainment closet equals movie, coat closet equals shoes and going outside, and . . . well, you get the idea.

And really, if truth be told, we follow such a familiar routine at our house, there isn't much they actually have to ask for. Wake up. Mommy gets you changed and dressed and on your way downstairs. Downstairs, Mommy will get you your milk cup and dry cereal and turn on PBS while she gets breakfast together. And there aren't many choices either – you get to eat what Mommy serves. Next it’s lunch, where milk and plates are set in front of you again. Then it’s nap time (or, sadly, it used to be). Then you get an afternoon snack of more milk and some Goldfish crackers. Then it’s dinner, then baths, then bed. Are we seeing the pattern here? Because there definitely is one – it is what has saved Mommy’s sanity these last few years at home with three little boys. But I digress . . .

So, the evaluations were done and a few therapies were recommended. The boys are going to have speech therapy once a week and developmental therapy (mostly working on social skills, some independence skills, and support of the communication skills that will be worked on in speech therapy). Sounds fun, right? We’re not terribly concerned, really, but we felt it was time to try out a little extra help. Connor was a late talker, but he had words at this point. He identified things, even if he didn't put two words together until well after his third birthday. And the twins just seem to have no interest in even trying to speak, which is probably the most frustrating and the most troubling.

Perhaps we’re not doing the best job as parents – doing rather than teaching with three toddlers because that’s easier, perhaps they’re just late bloomers, or perhaps they are simply a product of their isolated environment – we’re not sure. The twins certainly have not had the one-on-one attention that even Connor did, as three toddlers makes everything more like a routine than a learning experience. And then there's the environmental factor, the fact that they've only truly been around each other most of their lives and not much in the way of interacting with other little kids. In any event, we decided to see what options were out there and give them a try.

We’re in week two now, so the journey is really just beginning. Already though, I’m beginning to hear more sounds – not words, but sounds – from Xander. The cutest, by far, is when he says “Ssh!” with his little impish grin. He really is trying to make more sounds, copying what you say and even getting a few things out that almost sound like words from time to time. And Sawyer, though I've yet to notice a difference in his speech (still just random baby talk), I have noticed an improvement in his temper and his social skills. He’s not getting quite as upset and frustrated as he used to when things are not doing exactly what he wants (like the blocks yesterday, for instance). And, even more surprising, he’s the one most willing to let the therapists play with him. Xander is still a bit standoffish, but Sawyer is all for someone who wants to help him line up his toys and stack his blocks (so long as they, too, do it the “right” way). It’s clearly a work in progress.

We also have put all three boys on the waiting list of a well-respected preschool in our area. It's only part time, a few hours a few days a week, but we think it would be good for all of them. Connor would absolutely love it, being around other little kids and getting out of the house a little more - as long as he wasn't too bossy to make friends! And all three would benefit from a little more interaction with the world (if we could prevent the meltdown that would surely occur when Mommy leaves the two little guys the first few times).

So that's where we are right now. Hopefully, the speech will come, perhaps later than normal, but just as it did with Connor. The twins might just need a little extra help in getting there. I’m told some of it could even be a "twin" thing – that often they are late talkers and it will come in time. Here’s hoping, because it would be nice to get input from the little guys. You know, like at meal time instead of guessing what they will eat and what they will hurl across the table (before that actually happens, preferably).

Inside, Outside

In the middle of winter, I always anticipate and talk about warmer weather as if it's the saving grace of being a stay-at-home parent. It means a chance to get out of the house, which can sometimes feel like it's closing in on the four of us on a day-to-day basis. In my daydreams, I always seem to forget that the summer here is not really all that much better. It's usually hot, and it's ALWAYS humid. Perhaps I should just hope for spring and fall, when it's warm enough to be outside without being miserable but not too cold to require too many layers.

Today, I found myself with three tired and cranky little boys. The no nap thing can wear them down on occasion, and about 5 p.m is when they kind of go from mildly cranky to just down right annoying and non-stop whine. You know, like three sets of hands clutching at me from every direction and following my every move (even the dog, if he's lucky enough to be inside at this point, follows my every step), and a little bit of "Mom-my!" from the oldest one and a little bit of screaming and crying from the two little guys. Sound fun?

So today I had the evil choice of taking them outside in the heat and humidity or staying inside and being clutched to death. We went outside. And it was really, really hot. If I hadn't decided to make myself useful and clean out the little inflatable pool (which had some mold issues going on after weeks of non-use) and give the dog a much-needed bath, it would have been miserable indeed. At least the water was cold and refreshing. And, of course, Connor got in on a little of the spray action. He always sneaks over to the gate (they play in the clean side of the yard), poking his head over the little four-foot gate and says "Get me! Get Connor, Mommy!" He'll run away laughing as he gets wet, but then quickly comes back and starts the game all over again.

So, we had hot and sticky and somewhat wet fun outside. There was still whining, because everyone wants Mommy to "swing" them (you know, at the same time). There were icees, though never enough. And there was a little bit of playing mixed in with the screaming and whining. But, at least it doesn't echo quite so much out there. That's something, right?

Just Another Day

Connor, "Backing the boat on the trailer into the garage in the basement!" (that Mommy helped him build). Wonder what he's thinking about today?

Sawyer taking a quiet moment in "his" window to read. I love how he always sits up in the window like it's a seat (it's not, it's only about six inches wide).

Xander multi-tasking, walking and reading at the same time! The boy never sits still! (And yes, it's the same book. He had it first, but quickly discarded it for the trains).

Just another day in the life . . .

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Look Says It All

Xander is oh-so-thrilled to have Connor back home today. Can you tell? And Connor certainly looks like a good little fellow, doesn't he? No, he's not up to any mischief at all.

Big Brother Returns (& Rears His Ugly Head)

My oldest son, you've got to love him, desperately craves attention. It is as essential to him as food and water (okay, chips and juice). He always wants to be the center of attention and cannot stand to watch Mommy or Daddy play with brothers, even for just a minute, when he is also in the room. And if he cannot win you over with his very endearing pleas of "Play with me, Mommy!" or something similar, he will resort to something else.

And today, having just returned from three glorious days with Grammy and Pappy where he was, without a doubt, the center of attention, did not suit him at all. He came home tired, as he usually does, after one of his adventures. It's not that he's not getting enough sleep, just that he's so busy doing and going that he wears himself out. Yesterday it was hours at the pool and then hours outside in the yard. This morning he slept in for Pappy until almost 10 a.m., when he had to WAKE him up. This is my son, most definitely.

So the twins and I are in the floor playing (they're feeling much better today), trying to work on stacking blocks and rolling trains, and neither of these things suit Connor at all. Connor still thinks of all the trains as being his and his alone, and he is quite upset to see that Xander has taken them over in his absence. Sawyer is pretty OCD about his blocks - you simply don't touch them while he's working. They are his, and he's absolutely not sharing. Shoving, hitting, and biting all apply to those who question this theory. And Connor is torn, between wanting Mommy to play with him instead of them and wanting what he thinks is his.

Well, to kill two birds with one stone, Connor has decided that what he wants most to do in the world is to play with Mommy using the trains, rolling them down a track made up of blocks. So he steals more than half of the trains (all that he can manage to carry) and then goes and pulls about half of Sawyer's blocks away and lays them flat on the ground for his "track." Two little boys start screaming simultaneously.

Xander is mad, because he too wants ALL of the trains. Sawyer is beyond mad, because Connor has not only stolen HIS blocks, he's also using them the "wrong" way. Those particular blocks are supposed to stack up in a big, tall tower. They do NOT lay flat on the ground and stretch out across the floor. Connor is also screaming, because brothers are trying to take back what was theirs to begin with and he can't fight them both at the same time.

Ah, isn't it nice to have all three boys back home and playing so well together! Clearly all of my boys need a little lesson on what it means to SHARE when it comes to ALL of our toys.

And perhaps a little more sleep wouldn't hurt either, as all three of them are now soundly sleeping it off in their rooms - the two little guys recovering still from their recent sickness (just a little tired now), and Connor recovering from his adventures with Grammy and Pappy. And Mommy, well she's just recovering from the screaming and thinking how nice and peaceful the house seems right about now (and wondering how much Daddy is going to cuss her for making them take naps, since that means they will definitely not be ready for bed by 7 tonight).

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

On the Mend

Finally, some use of the extra bed in the twins' bedroom. They have long preferred one bed, and usually sleep side by side (or sometimes practically on top of one another) in that bed. Last night they had to give it up, though quite unwillingly.

One of our sick little guys, the one who decided late yesterday he was really hungry after two days without much of anything and ate a few french fries at dinner and a few pieces of toast later on, got a little bit sick again. So a little after midnight, Josh wakes me up (because I heard nothing) to help him clean up the mess. And it was a pretty huge and pretty disgusting mess, but I'll spare you the details. The bed was stripped, clothes were removed, and two very sleepy and pitiful little boys were moved to the clean bed once they too had been cleaned off, so we could finish up the mess. Xander, in a daze, tried not once but twice to go back to the other bed that was nothing more than a mattress at this point. Sawyer, the sicker of the two yesterday, just whimpered and curled up next to Mommy on the clean bed. Both were asleep again within minutes after Mommy climbed in with them.

Of course, this morning, only one remained on that clean bed. Xander, long known as my sleepy-head of the two, probably was still snoozing when Sawyer started kicking on the door early this morning (about 7:30 a.m.) A little while later, when we actually came in to get them, Sawyer had returned to the good bed (that Mommy had thoughtfully placed a comforter over last night, knowing in all likelihood they would return to it at some point). Xander was curled up on the other one, sucking his thumb, but happy to see Mommy and climbing right down.

And, of course, the good news is that both seem to be on the mend, having probably had just a little stomach virus passed among brothers that has seemingly run the course. They're still not eating a whole lot, but are starting to munch on crackers and toast at least. And juice is good, too.

Connor, luckiest of all, has managed to avoid getting sick so far. And even better for him, he was rescued by Grammy and Pappy and Aunt Kelly yesterday afternoon for an overnight visit and a trip to the pool. He's probably still splashing right now. He should be back sometime tomorrow, and hopefully by then all will be back to normal again! Mommy certainly hopes so, because her boys are picky eaters on good days, but are nearly impossible when they're the slightest bit sick.
Here's hoping . . .

Monday, July 28, 2008

A Little Sick, A Lot of Sleep

Living in such close proximity (sharing the same bed even), it's no wonder that our little guys seem to pass whatever sickness they have between each other. On Saturday morning, Sawyer had what seemed to be an isolated incident of being sick. Though eating and drinking a bit less than normal, he went on to play quietly for most of the day but seemed to recover just fine. On Sunday morning, Xander started the same process. He got sick once, then didn't eat or drink much at all, and was a bit more pitiful for the rest of the day, wanting alternately to be held and to sleep. Sawyer, though still not eating much, seemed fine yesterday, at least fine enough to want brother to stop taking up so much of Mommy's lap. Until he crashed about 5 o'clock last night, dead asleep on the couch and eventually carried upstairs where he slept all night and where he has stayed most of the day. He did come downstairs once this morning on his own, since we left his door open to keep closer tabs on him, but on finding the baby gate locked and Mommy out of sight (in the bathroom helping big brother potty), he simply laid down at the bottom of the steps, and that's where I found him a few minutes later - pitiful and nearly asleep again, stuffed into the small space between the bottom step and the closed baby gate. Xander has not been much better - asleep upstairs for most of the day, with only a few more hours downstairs than his brother, and still extremely pitiful. Both are at least drinking juice (and some electrolytes) again. Two pitiful little boys, sleeping the days (and hopefully the sickness) away. Now, if only we can keep big brother from catching whatever it is too!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Snapshot Sunday

Sick little man. Xander snuggles with Mommy after waking up with a fever and throwing up, then going back to bed until almost noon. Sawyer tells that chump to quit faking and give him his Mommy back (at least that's what we're assuming since he keeps trying to push his way into Mommy's lap and shove brother out of the way)! Little man is definitely not faking though, he's already back in bed after little more than an hour downstairs.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Another Lazy Saturday

For once, Daddy decided to take a much needed break this weekend. Not to say that we did anything much, just hung around the house with the kids.

There was some sleeping in, but only after getting Connor up about 7:45 to potty, then taking him downstairs and parking him in front of PBS with a bowl of dry cereal and some milk - Mommy is apparently good at sleep walking. The poor kid, he must be terrified to get up in the mornings. We've only recently started leaving the door unlocked, and every morning it's the same.

"Mommy?" Pause. "Daddy?" Pause. "Mom-my!" And our yelling from our bedroom down the hall to just get up and go potty is met with the extremely intelligent sounding "Huh?" and dead silence, which means he clearly is not following.

Next was a late breakfast of bacon and eggs, which Connor devoured, and a little throwing up incident with Sawyer, who has a bad habit of sticking his fingers too far into his mouth sometimes. Today he decided to do this after gulping down an entire sippy cup of milk (yes, it was disgusting).

Then there were hours of play. The favorite game of late, for all of the boys, is "Get me!" Connor thinks this is a great game, where he runs up to you, says it, and then takes off. You're supposed to give chase and try to tickle him. You're not supposed to catch him often though, and not unless he stops to let you get him. It's very complicated. The little guys just run around in circles around the stairs, laughing when you come anywhere close to getting them.

There were also attempted naps, since several little boys were laying around (one even sucking on his thumb), but none actually took. There was a movie when the whining and screaming got to really annoying levels. There was a messy dinner of spaghetti and french fries and yogurt, all self-fed.

Then there was more play, which quickly turned into more whining.

To save our sanity, we ended the day with a stroller walk sans shoes. Just a ride for the boys tonight, as asking the one walking to keep up or slow down the entire hour can get annoying for Mommy and Daddy at times. And it was getting late, so the boys were already tired and a bit cranky. Connor talked the whole way, if you can believe it. His favorite lately is to talk about the "Bales of cay!" that are in the fields on our walk between the two subdivisions. Connor is fascinated, but he always mispronounces it. Sometimes it's even more confusing and is just "Bales cay!" Xander occasionally pointed at something and wanted you to tell him what it was (like the clouds, or the trees, or a motorcycle). Sawyer just held out his hand and wanted you to hold it and walk beside the stroller with him.

Finally it was time for bath and bed. They all resisted, especially the bed part, but were asleep within minutes of being left alone. We didn't do much today really, but apparently it was enough.

Friday, July 25, 2008

15 Minutes

Today was the random rotate the toys day. After this last round of holidays and birthdays, the kids had amassed so much stuff that we decided not to keep it all out at once. It was in danger of taking over the whole first floor, and Mommy likes a little more order than that. So we keep about half of them in the pantry, and rotate them around from time to time. We even, occasionally, dig into the attic storage for the even older toys, when we get desperate.

And today the kids were bored. Mommy was bored. And since it's been a while since we've switched things up, today seemed as good as any. Especially since there were no more wonderful naps today. And I was tired of lining up Little People and being asked to make the tractors and trailers "work" together again, even though the boys either broke or lost the pieces that make them work a long time ago.

Sometimes, you just have to wonder what toy engineers are thinking when they come up with some of this stuff. Toy piano, it sounds simple enough. This is actually an older picture of it, and it has a bit more wear and tear since this time last year, but it didn't manage to stay out long enough today to get a new picture. Do you see anything wrong with the design? Namely the flimsy stand that comes with the piano? Now, I'll grant you, it probably has said design to make for easier storage. It comes apart into five pieces (the two yellow side pieces and three purple bars like the one you can see). It will, once deconstructed, store very easily.

And my boys, well they're very good at deconstructing it. Even after it's been super glued together, multiple times. You see, they love those purple bars. They make good sticks - you can beat things, like your brothers, with them. You can also bang them onto furniture, like say the pool table, and make a rather loud and annoying racket. Sound fun? Mommy didn't think so either, so back into the pantry it went, after all of maybe 15 minutes of daylight.

And I simply have to ask again, who designs these things anyway?

Photo Flashback

Wow, what is that? Love Sawyer's wide-eyed expression as he stares in awe at one of Connor's old toys (minus a sticker or two). Xander is too busy staring at the camera to care about the toy. (July 25, 2006)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Who's in Charge Here?

"Go office, Mommy!" my three-year old demands, as though he's in charge. He really does think that he is most of the time, so I shouldn't be surprised by the tone.

But it is funny, since the office is the last place the boys usually want me to be. If I'm there, it means I'm hiding out from them and getting a few minutes of peace (as much as you can get when only separated by two baby gates in open doorways). At the very least, no one is climbing on me or dragging me to the floor to play. And usually, within minutes of my going (or hiding, depending on your preference) into the office, I have a few boys hanging on said baby gates either trying to get inside (one of them is pretty close to swinging that leg all the way over, and not the one you'd probably think) or trying to get me out.

"Go office, Mommy!" he says again, a little louder and pointing this time as though I hadn't understood him the first time.

You see, the boys have discovered a new game and it's not one Mommy willingly allows when she's in the room (unless her and Daddy happen to be trying to finish their dinner in peace at the nearby table, then it may be tolerated). It's a game where you pull the removable cushions off the sectional (only the two that cover the hide-away bed can be taken off) and throw the pillows (three of them) onto the floor. Then you scoot the leather ottoman over, climb up, then make a ridiculous leap onto the couch, run all the way around the semi-circle it makes (bouncing all the way and even hopping over the empty space where the cushions should be) and then hurling yourself face first onto said cushions on the floor once you reach the end of the line. If a brother happens to be there when you land, so much the better, according to Connor. They scream and you just continue on your next trip around. This, I'm sure, is what he's envisioning as he orders me to the office. And aside from the getting jumped on part, the twins willingly go along too. Sawyer is first to help with pulling the cushions on the floor and Xander is first to jump up and start bouncing. Best game ever, apparently.

But it doesn't work today. Though, I can imagine, there might be some days when I will willingly heed that command. I'll need the peace and the sanity back, but not today. Today all three boys actually took nice, long naps (words simply cannot convey the depth of my gratitude). It was the first time in probably three weeks such a miracle has occurred. As we figure out life with three toddlers and no regular naps, Mommy's sanity is going to be in short supply, and I may have to take what I can get it. But not today . . .

Not while I was in the office anyway. This was later, while I was trying to put the dishes away from lunch and just before the boys much-needed nap time. Good times.

"Please, Mommy?"

"Connor have truck, Mommy? Please, Mommy?" he asks sweetly, almost innocently. His head is tucked so far down I can't see his neck anymore and his eyes are big and round, pleading.

You see, it's the truck that Xander has fallen in love with recently, the one he reaches for first thing in the morning and rarely lets out of his sights for the rest of the day. It's a red semi truck with a trailer, and my oldest son covets it too. But even more so once brother has started to play with it, as he has right now.

Xander, who can occasionally be counted on for a good game of rolling trucks back and forth, has been rolling this one with Mommy. He's gotten distracted by something else and wanders off, but it will be brief. He'll want that truck back, very soon. Connor knows it, and takes his moment when he sees it. He tries the most pitiful face he has, and his most polite tone.

"Connor have truck, Mommy? Please, Mommy?"

It works. Xander's gone, even though I know he'll be back and he'll be mad. But, share and share alike. When Connor puts a toy down, it becomes fair game for brothers. The rules have to apply to all, even though I know a meltdown will come.

It does, and the polite and pitiful boy shoots his brother a rather nasty grin as he saunters off, holding the truck out behind him as he goes in a final taunt. It's scary how sneaky they're becoming. Wonder where they learn that from?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Just Another Day

Okay, maybe home isn't so bad after all. There is a slide, and some swings, and a few smiles and laughs to go with them (some of the time, anyway).

One of Sawyer's new favorite games is to be chased. He likes for you to come after him and tickle him (no really, he does!).

I'm a big kid now! Xander loves to swing on the rings now that he's figured it out. Sawyer can do it a little bit too, but not nearly as well as Xander. And poor Connor, the oldest, can barely do it himself.

Just another day at home with the boys . . .

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Around the Block

Finally, a less humid day in our part of the world. Don't get me wrong, it was still hot outside, but at least not sticky and hot.

This morning, the boys and I even ventured out in the stroller for our long walk, with the boys taking turns walking while I pushed their brothers. Connor enjoys this the most (surprise), and I actually like that the best too, since he's by far the heaviest of the three and removing him makes pushing the stroller that much easier! Xander does pretty well, but he's the one who makes you nervous. At any point he might dart out somewhere a little dangerous, mischievous grin in place, just to test you. Sawyer just follows right along, usually wanting to hold one of my hands too, which kind of makes pushing the big triple stroller a little difficult. But we got out of the house for a change, so it was a nice change of pace.

And this afternoon Josh came home a little earlier than usual to catch up on some office work, which meant I had the chance to take the boys on their one-on-one walks around the block. I'm sure the neighbors think I'm just a little bit crazy, since I keep walking around the same block with a little kid in tow. Half of them probably don't even recognize the difference between the twins (especially today, since Daddy dressed them alike this morning and only their Crocs were different). Regardless, the little guys seem to like it, and I'm always ready to get out of the house a little more.

Sawyer is the slow one, taking his time and often wanting to be carried at least half of the trip. Today he got fascinated with the reflection in people's windows and glass screen doors, so he kept running back and forth in front of the same houses to see the light reflect. I had to pick him up and move him along after a while.

Xander is speedy, running and looking back over his shoulder with a grin to make sure you're chasing. He's also athletic, always catching himself when he trips (which is just as often as the other two). He manages to keep his knees from getting all scraped up, unlike his brothers.

And Connor, poor neglected and abused Connor, had a rough time waiting for his turn today. He cried, kicked, screamed and cried some more, every time I took a brother out the door (never mind that he started walking first today during the stroller ride, he doesn't like to take turns!). When I finally made it back for him, he'd cried himself to sleep on the couch and had to be woken up. And then, halfway into the walk, he tells me he's tired and "No want to walk anymore!" He attempts to get Mommy to carry him, but as that's not happening (he weighs over 40 lbs.), he's content to hold Mommy's hand and trudge on.

We all made it back, had our juice (today we swindled one of Daddy's Gatorade drinks from the garage since Mommy was really thirsty too), and finished out our day with a little playing, a little movie watching, some dinner, and then bath and bed. Just another day in the life . . .

Monday, July 21, 2008

Anywhere But There!

"No go home!" my three-year old says pitifully. And he says it, no matter where he is or who he's with or how long he's been away. He's always ready to go just about anywhere, anywhere but there.

Today he was with Pappy, coming home after a nice weekend visit that included lots of time playing outside, working in the yard, walking the dogs, feeding the horses, riding the "tractor," visiting relatives, going to the pool (several times) and running errands. He got to spend lots of time with Pappy and Aunt Kelly, and he even got to visit his good friend cousin Louie on his way back home.

Pappy was impressed with his sense of direction, knowing the roads in and around the local Sam's Club and how to get to the McDonald's from just about anywhere that they were. And he was also impressed and amused when the closer they got to our house, the sadder our big boy became. Now most kids his age are probably a little sad to leave the comforts of home, and are usually a little happy to return. Not so. Have suitcase, will travel, and will complain about going home, is apparently his motto. And he truly looked pitiful, coming out of the back of that car seat, clearly unhappy to be at his own house. Mommy and brothers are simply not the same. Less attention. More sharing. Not enough adventures. Nothing good can come of these things.

Pappy came in for a minute, to visit with his first grandson, Buster Brown, and to tell us about Connor's adventures with him and Aunt Kelly the last few days. But then he had to get going - more errands to run and things to do. Connor could barely say good-bye, he was so upset. He was crouched into a little ball in my lap, unwilling to even wave. After his car pulled away, he wouldn't speak for a while, moped for a while, then finally asked about going back to see Pappy and going to the pool again. When that was negative, the moping resumed.

He's asked me to post an open letter, requesting the his next visit somewhere, anywhere start pretty soon. He's not sure how long he can take it at home, and would really like something else to look forward to (his beach trip with Grammy in August is simply too far away)!

Identical (On the Outside) Twins

There's something about the word "identical" that is misleading when it comes to twins. Or perhaps it's just me. I guess the identical part really only refers to the outside, and in that, our boys are definitely almost mirror images of one another (if you discount Sawyer's extra pound or two, which gives his face a little more roundness than his brother's). But as for the rest of them, well there's not much identical there.

Often I think to myself that because they're identical and they're the same age, that they should want to do the same basic things. You know, like take naps at the same time, for instance. Now our boys have been steadily trying to give up the afternoon nap for a while, and honestly haven't had one in several weeks. But today is Monday, and I needed to clean the floors, and lucky me, Sawyer was laying his head down on the table during lunch. He was even yawning and having trouble keeping his eyes open (he is notorious for falling asleep sitting up at the table). All of these things were sure signs of sleep, or so I thought. And as he is my most stubborn when it comes to sleeping during daylight hours, I thought my chances today were as good as any I might get. So upstairs they both went, a little unwillingly, and after a few minutes of bouncing and laughing, dead quiet followed. Score one for Mommy! I got the floors cleaned, but an hour later, someone's kicking on the bedroom door - Sawyer's usual signal that he's done sleeping (if he ever was at all). Xander, of course, is peacefully sleeping through it all.

So tell me, why exactly, one of my twins still loves his afternoon nap (not that he gets it much, because really, what's the point in putting one down if the other one is still going to be up), and the other so adamantly refuses it? They're both two and a half. They should still want one, shouldn't they?

Clearly not, at least as far as Sawyer goes. He's standing here beside me, looking up at me with that "Now what?" expression that means he's bored organizing his markers and pens and assorted office supplies and it's Mommy's turn to entertain him. Now what, indeed.

You Snooze, You Lose

My kids have inherited my love of dry cereal, so that's typically how we start our day. They get their sippy cup of milk and a small plastic bowl full of dry cereal (Fruit Loops were on today's menu). Sounds harmless, right? It can be, but at other times it causes a few problems.

Connor has always had a bit of a sneaky streak in him, and when you combine that with his belief that everything in the house belongs to him, it can result in unhappy brothers. He's been known, on occasion, to steal their cereal when they're not looking and dump it into his bowl (and then to replace their bowl where he found it as if nothing had happened and his brother had simply eaten all of his while not paying attention). Like I said, sneaky.

Well, this morning in Connor's absence (he's still visiting with Pappy), Sawyer decided to follow his lead. It's the first time I've ever seen him do anything remotely sneaky. He usually keeps to his little window and doesn't interact too much with his brothers. But today he took Xander's bowl of dry cereal, carried it across the room to where his bowl was, emptied it, and then returned the bowl. He did it not once, but twice, because Mommy saw him the first time and redistributed the cereal into the two bowls. The second time, I just let it go. Clearly Xander wasn't into it, or there would have been screaming and crying anyway.

And though Mommy should not be encouraging or even allowing such sneakiness to occur, I did smile at the cute little grin on Sawyer's face as he was doing it.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Saturday Fun

With Grammy joining our cousins Katie and Josh on a medical mission trip to the Dominican Republic, our days at the big pool have ended for a little while (though Connor, lucky devil according to Sawyer, will be going with Pappy tomorrow for a little one on one time). Today Mommy took pity on the water babies and cleaned out the little inflatable pool in our back yard and filled it back up with water for a little Saturday afternoon fun. Sawyer (above) and Connor were all over it. Xander, of course, wanted no part of it. He played on the deck under the umbrella with his truck.

Tales from the Potty

It's been a while since we've been down this road. Connor has, for all intents and purposes, FINALLY passed the potty training mark! It's a great accomplishment, even if it was months (or what felt like years) in the making. It's nice to send him on his way without the assortment of diapers, wipes, extra clothes and other necessities that still follow his brothers. We'll worry about them later - I think they're still a long way off on that one too.

Connor has been pull-up free for a few months now during the day, and has had maybe one "accident" in that time. It's like a switch just flipped somewhere in his head, and he finally got it. And just this week, he'd graduated to going pull-up free at night too. There was one accident, mostly Mommy's fault, because he's so quiet when he wakes up that I don't always hear him until it's too late. The doors have been unlocked for a while, but he hasn't figured it out (at least not early in the morning anyway - he's kind of groggy like his mother at that time of the day). This morning was actually the first time he got himself up, walked out into the hallway (of course, screaming "Mommy? Mommy?" as loud as he could), then walked himself into the hallway bathroom and took care of business all by himself. He was quite proud, as he came bouncing into our room soon after. Our big boy.

Now that the trials of training are over, there are just the odd moments spent during "potty time" either helping, directing or sometimes just providing the necessary moral support - he's still a big fan of the "Great job, Connor!" and "Gimme' five!" as rewards. It's much less painless than cleaning up the countless "accidents" that were commonplace a few months ago, so we'll definitely take it.

Today was one of the funnier moments in potty land. Shortly after making it downstairs, he decided he needed to potty again. So we go inside (yes, he still needs help, because the doors have child safety locks to keep the little guys out), and he says he just needs to "Pee-pee!" So we raise both of the lids up and I help him with his pants before leaving him to take care of business. Today, he was a little distracted by the toy he brought in (a read with sounds book) and backed himself right into the open toilet! His response, simply "Oh no, trains are wet!" You see, he was wearing one of his new trains t-shirts from his visit with Thomas a few weeks back, and it was most definitely wet on the entire bottom half. Oh well, at least the water was still clean!

His other kind of funny thing lately is that he's suddenly become fascinated by seeing himself in the big vanity mirror in the downstairs bathroom. While "Washing the dirty off!" of our hands, he can frequently be found making faces at himself and laughing, or twisting his head in all kinds of angles just trying to see if he can still see himself. He apparently finds himself amusing!

The joys of childhood are apparently endless. One adventure always ends, but another one quickly begins.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Photo Flashback

The master of the bulldog face, Connor, who's also trying to fly. (July 24, 2005)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Who Needs Words?

Although still not saying much in terms of actual words, the twins have been getting better and more consistent about showing us what they want and / or need these days. Some of my recent favorites . . .

Drink. When Sawyer wants something to drink, he grabs hold of my hand with his, holds on, and pulls me up to the refrigerator. Then he throws my hand up toward the door handle. This means "Drink, lady. And be quick about it."

Snacks. With Sawyer, I also get a similar drag-along to the counter where the fruit snacks are kept. When we get there he pushes on me, to get me as close to the counter as possible, and then reaches his arm up.

All Done. At meal time, when Sawyer is finished eating, he not only pushes his plate away from him, he's now started to push himself (booster chair in the big chair and all) about two feet away from the table, usually in the direction of the television. Xander usually just pushes his plate away from him, throws his sippy cup across the table or the floor, and then gives a big jerk on his bib to pull it off (sometimes he struggles with the heavy-duty velcro, which is kind of cute too).

"Gimme." When Xander sees Mommy eating something tasty, like my favorite cookies, he's now started reaching both of his little arms up and making the "gimme" motion with his hands and fingers. It's very hard to resist such a cute request.

And my favorite of the week . . .

Let's Go! Several times this week, Sawyer has come running over to me and pulled me into motion. He's led me to the door that leads from the house into the garage, and he has even gone so far as to put my hand on the door knob (the one with the child safety knob still on it). Apparently he's ready to go for a ride in Mommy's truck. I know this because today I was curious, wondering what he wanted from this door - thinking perhaps a stroller ride or maybe a ride in Mommy's truck. It was Mommy's truck, because he drug me over to it and put my hand on the door handle to the back door where I usually put the little guys in. He climbed right up in his seat and seemed to look at me with a "Let's go! What are you waiting for?" kind of expression.

Not sure where it is he wants to go, but apparently he's ready!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Quoted & Noted

"C'mere!" Connor says enthusiastically. "C'mere, Grandpa! Grandma! MommyDaddy!"

After another visit with Grandma and Grandpa at the lake, where he got to do fun stuff like put "Boat in the water," "Grandpa's truck and trailer back down to the lake," "no get Grandpa's truck wet," and "go swimmin'," Connor returned home today.

He wasn't terribly excited about it either. "No Mommy's house. No babies, Daddy and Buster. Go to Grandpa's house!" he told us, on our way back from Uncle Brian's (very belated) birthday dinner tonight.

He was fine during dinner, playing with cousin Austin (who he worships) and cousin Kyndal. But when it was time to go, he was awfully quick with the "Bye, Mommy, see you later!" as he headed straight for Grandpa's truck. And who can blame him? At the lake, he got to do fun things like put the boat in the water and even go swimming with ducks, of all things, in the middle of the lake. He got to ride around on the "tractor" and pull the wagon around and pretend to fish with a stick and some string. Those are good times.

Poor little guy, he's starting the rough transition back home already. First, he's exhausted and fell asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow. He's been confused ever since Grandma and Grandpa left about who we are (we're all apparently "Grandpa" and then "Grandma" before we turn into "MommyDaddy"). And he ran out of grape kool-aid in his sippy cup.

Sigh. "Welcome home," he thinks, I'm sure, wondering when he might get the chance to go back.

Rise & Shine

Three days of no nap has finally caught up with my little guys. Well, that and the fact that I had to wake them up this morning to get them ready for a doctor's appointment downtown. I NEVER have to wake the little guys up - they usually wake me up! I don't like to see a 7 anywhere on the alarm clock in the morning. I would prefer and 8 or sometimes even a 9 to be the first number. And Connor is usually right there with me too.

So we had our appointment pretty early (that 9 that I would prefer to see from the comfortable confines of my bed), and even got out much quicker than I anticipated. We attempted to make a stop at my old office, to visit with a few old friends. It was short, as were the boys tempers and levels of patience with Mommy this morning. After disrupting the work day of the first floor (and possibly the second, since Sawyer was pretty vocal in his displeasure this morning), we took our exit and headed back toward home.

And that's when Mommy got the rarest of treats - McDonald's breakfast. You'd think I get enough of the golden arches, what with my sons all loving the place and being perfectly willing to eat it every day that I am willing to buy it for them. And I do actually get really tired of it at times, but this was breakfast. I miss my breakfast - two hashbrowns, large Coke. Breakfast of champions, right? It used to be my before work pick-me-up, at least two or three times a week. And I haven't had it since my birthday several months back.

So, two good things from this morning's much to early doctor's appointment - nap time is back on (for today at least) and I'm still sipping on my beloved Coke. I better hurry up though, Connor will be home later this afternoon, and he will expect me to share!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


After braving the grocery store with two toddlers this morning, I must show you the afternoon reward - the most irresistible cookie ever (at least for me)! It's fudge covered fudge. Need I say more? They're kind of like the old Girl Scout "Tag-A-Long" (those were filled with peanut butter), a variety you can also find by Mr. Keebler, but I'm more of a double-fudge kind of girl myself.

You may thank (and / or blame, depending on your mindset) my mother for introducing these. I can eat a whole box in one day. Seriously. Ask her, because I'm pretty sure I ate all but two cookies on our last two-day visit to the lake - all by myself!

Last time we went to the store, I was extremely disappointed that our Wal-Mart didn't carry them. Josh was amused; I was not. But, today, I was so excited to see them that I got three boxes. Yes, three, really.

Josh, of course, is not a fan. He'd prefer some candy, like sweet tarts or smarties, I'm sure. The boys, well they'll take whichever - cookies or candy - they can get, preferably both! Right now, they love Mommy the best.

Out and About with Twins

Just because you can do something, doesn't always mean you should do something.

With a household once again of only two toddlers, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to go to the grocery store. The pantry and the refrigerator were looking a little bare, and my breakfast of champions (bagels) were gone! And I thought, only two little guys, why not?

Why not, indeed! Have you ever taken two toddlers to the grocery store? I have, but clearly I blocked it out. Because I made my ridiculously long list, pulled the coupons together, packed my Dum-Dum suckers and wet wipes (courtesy of this week's BW3's meal), and off we went.

First, the big family carts are all inside the entry way. You cannot possibly park near where they are, which means I carried two 30-lb. plus toddlers, one on each hip. Surely you don't think I would trust them to hold my hands and walk in the parking lot with all those crazy drivers, now do you? Xander most likely would have taken off running the minute my grip slipped, and Sawyer would have sat down in protest at not being carried!

We make it inside, and the moment the straps are clicked into place the whining begins. It's mild at first, but you see where this is going, right? Two suckers appear instantly. Happiness ensues, for about five minutes. Hands are wiped, trash collected and stored, and we continue on our way. After picking up about 1/4 of the items on the list, we pass through the toy section (by design) and pick up two hot wheels cars to carry around. $2 is worth every bit of sanity it buys, I promise. We shop a little more. About 1/2 way through, more suckers are required (and I've brought three each, so I still have one in reserve).

We make it through the rest of the time without any serious tantrums or whining - just general boredom and chatter, and we still have that all-important one sucker each remaining. You see, I have done this before, and some part of me knew to save them. The wait at the check-out line is endless, absolutely endless. And, of course, I have once again picked the slowest line ever. So we wait, whining begins in full force, and the final suckers appear. They barely make it to the point where I can actually put the groceries on the counter for check out - no small task with the amount of stuff we picked up. A little bit crankier whining as well, as some sneaking out of straps and standing, occurs. Almost there. $300 and quite a few groceries later, all meticulously stacked so that they don't fall out of the overflowing cart, we're finally on our way.

The boys seem to understand and begin smiling and clapping as we move toward the doors. Either that, or they truly do recognize that Mommy just said the magic words - McDonald's, french fries, nuggets, ice cream!

So we make it to the car, and I get them and the groceries safely stowed away. We head to the McDonald's that I'm hoping will not be as busy as the one that's actually closer to our house. It's not, and it has the double-drive through deal, so it's relatively painless. But it's also the McDonald's that frequently has trouble with its ice cream machine. There will be no Oreo McFlurry for Mommy and twins today. Perhaps another time, because I'm absolutely not entering the mess on the other side of town where we live to try that one. Connor would demand it if Mommy had already mentioned it, but he, of course, is not here. He's at the lake bossing his grandparents around for a change.

We make it home. The boys eat their lunch while I carry in and put away all the groceries. They finish a little early, but a little bit of candy helps buy me some more time. Now we've all had McDonald's yet again minus the best part. We're also all a little cranky, a little hot, and a little tired. It's nice to have the groceries, but I'm not sure it was worth all the trouble. Perhaps I'll be more thankful in the morning, when my bagels are there and I don't have to share dry cereal with the little guys!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Brotherly Love

A little brotherly love while playing out in the yard this afternoon. In fairness, Mommy was holding the coveted frozen icees, and they were merely trying to be the first one in line.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Today is Monday, which means today is the day I try to clean up the house a little bit (read, I vacuum the floors and also wash the floors). And for some reason, I was feeling rather ambitious this morning and decided to clean underneath the couch in our living room - you know, that really huge sectional that makes up all but one piece of our living room furniture.

My mother will certainly cringe at what was collected in that space. There was a time when I would have done the same, but that time is long since passed - three children and one large and very hairy puppy have joined our family since those days. But, even though I did not cringe, I must admit it was rather disgusting.

There was dry cereal, three different kinds (yogurt Cheerios, Fruit Loops and Trix). There was stale popcorn, and I know it must be stale because I can't even remember the last time we had popcorn at our house. There were pieces of chewed up granola bar (by far the yuckiest item). These must have been tossed from the dining room table, which sits in the near vicinity of the living room, because this a table-only item for my children. And there was hair, massive amounts of red and brown and black dog hair (because our puppy is nothing if not colorful). It was quite a site, let me tell you.

It's obviously a clear sign that I should clean under there more often. But really, how much good is it going to do. There will be more cereal tomorrow morning, because Xander has taken more interest in carrying his bowl around lately than eating it, usually at a rather lopsided angle that leaves a trail of cereal behind him. And the dog hair, well that's constant too. Perhaps I should just stop looking so closely under there as I'm digging out the lost toys at night!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Snapshot Sunday

Snack time - Pappy and Sawyer enjoying some cookies and Pepsi by the pool.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Ultimate Diaper Bag

Despite having three toddlers, it seems like we've been out and about a lot so far this summer. And I usually keep an "emergency diaper bag" in the back of my truck, with just the essentials - two pull-ups each, wipes, three juice cups and three individual bottles of apple juice. I know, not really all that small, but like I said, the necessities. It let's me run to the store or "Donal's" without having to get the big bag or wondering if we can make it safely (and cleanly) back home. But the trick to taking our boys out for any extended period of time is to take the huge diaper bag, the one I'm too lazy to fool with most of the time.

Here are the essentials for the big one . . .

Pull-ups and wipes. Yes, unfortunate, but still necessary for at least two of them. And I tend to add a new thing of wipes when the old one is half-gone, just in case.

Gallon Ziploc bags. They serve many purposes, mostly to contain stinky Pull-Ups (I never felt like I could get the little one that comes with most diaper bags to come clean enough), but sometimes for the excessive amount of trash from the food and snack items, and sometimes to contain messy bibs, spoons, or whatever. Absolutely essential, preferably in multiples.

Canned fruit. We have picky toddlers, and even at restaurants where they typically will eat, they don't always. So we keep canned fruit, which is one of their main staples. And the true trick to this is the next item.

Ziploc twist top containers (medium size). One must be empty, to drain the excess fruit juice so it's not a huge mess if you're at a sit-down restaurant and there's no trash can nearby. If fruit remains (rare in our family, unless the boys truly are not hungry), you can add the fruit to the juice to take back home and store in the refrigerator (we drain it at home before storing).

Munchies. For our boys, this includes several things. Again, they're picky. We have fruit snacks in individual packets (where the Ziploc bag will come in handy), Goldfish crackers in another twist-top container (to prevent crushing), and usually some form of dry cereal (another favorite for our boys) in another twist-top container (again to prevent crushing). And finally, Dum-Dum suckers. Yes they're messy, but they might just let you finish your meal in a little peace (and besides, that's what the extra wipes are for).

Bibs, plastic (child-size) silverware, cups. The restaurants sometimes have some of this stuff, but rarely have all. I'd prefer to not be surprised (or have ruined shirts, stabbed fingers using adult tableware, or spilled drinks which often result from using the restaurant's children's cup). And I bought some of the cheaper plastic stuff to keep in the bag, so I don't have to worry about pulling the everyday ones out of the drawer, losing them, or leaving them in the bag.

Apple juice. One of the few things I've been rather good about is not letting the kids have a lot of soda. They're already a little wild and crazy as it is, and caffeine cannot help. It's just easier to bring our own drink most of the time. The kids know it and expect it, so there's no meltdown.

Trinkets. There are three in our diaper bag, one for each little man. All are little key chains - one is a Lightning McQueen car, the other two are travel sunscreens (one for Mommy, one for babies). It's worked for going on three years now. Just watch out when they learn to open the caps and quickly teach them that doing so will result in removal of said trinket.

The Essentials. You know - Children's Tylenol, fingernail clippers, baby wash (trial size) and Chapstick. You never know when any one of these will make life much more bearable.

Did I mention the bag was rather large, because it has to be for three hungry little boys. Do you also see why it's only broken out for lengthy adventures?

And my last trick I will share is that I always (YES, ALWAYS) fill it back up after an adventure - usually at night after the kids are back in bed. Even if I'm tired or cranky or not in the mood, I simply leave it out on the counter and come back to it because chances are that next time I need it I'm going to be in a hurry trying to get three little people ready to go out the door. I usually make a quick check before I leave, but it's much easier to pack it while the kids are sleeping than trying to do it with three little people attached at the hip and probably excited and impatient about going somewhere.

So there it is - my version of the "ultimate" diaper bag. Take it for what it's worth - what works for one mother of three.
And if you're wondering what brought this entry on, it's simply logistics. Thursday afternoon we were at the pool. Friday night we were at Grammy and Pappy's house celebrating Aunt Kelly's birthday. Today we were half way across the state at Great Grandma's house. Tomorrow we're contemplating breakfast out at the old IHOP, since we're back down to two boys from three. Oh, and I was actually refilling the diaper bag from today's adventure, since the little guys just had their bath and went to bed.
Tomorrow we begin all over again . . .

Have Suitcase, Will Travel

"Bye-Bye, Mommy! See you later!" says my three-year old excitedly.

We've not even left my grandmother's house yet, and already he's anticipating the fact that he is not going home with Mommy and brothers, that he will be going again to spend a few days with Grandma and Grandpa at the lake. I don't know whether to be offended or proud that he handles these things so well.

Today we traveled to the western part of the state to visit with my grandmother and the rest of my extended family who gets together just about every Saturday for a family dinner. We, of course, stopped at McDonald's before dropping in. Three picky toddlers and long drives in car seats do not make happy campers, but french fries typically cure all evils for my boys. Get them happily fed and hopefully they will cooperate for a little while, even if it is right in the middle of their normal "nap" time that they're trying to outgrow anyway.

Connor has had a busy summer, but he seems to thrive on it. He loves getting to go places, getting that undivided attention that is so hard to come by with two little brothers at home. He's always willing and ready to go, especially with both sets of grandparents. They're good play buddies for him, and they take good care of him while he's gone. You know, things like grape kool-aid in the sippy cup and all, which is pretty important stuff to a little guy. And with this set of grandparents, there's the added bonus of "boat on the water," which is all the kid can think, talk, sleep, eat and breathe about the last few weeks. He's what one might call slightly obsessed.

So he's off on another adventure, his trusty suitcase packed and with only a carefree "See you later!" to Mommy and brothers as he drives away. Clearly there are better things in store for him where he's going than there would have been at home!

Friday, July 11, 2008


Though it's been more than a week since he was there, my oldest son's mind is still very much on the lake (and the boat and the trailer and the water and Grandma and Grandpa) that he left behind. It's so fun to watch their imaginations develop, especially since he's at the age where he's able to tell you what he's doing.

Today, he pulled out half of the Little People airport and turned it into something else entirely. That red semi truck, in his mind's eye, is Grandpa's truck and the boat trailer. That blue foam block is the boat. And that ramp leads down to the water (where "No get Grandpa's truck wet!" is a frequent saying). And that big hill doesn't lead to that overpass you see, but instead the hill leads up the ramp back to Grandpa's cabin (when backing up, it's "Slow and careful!" and when going up it's "Go fast!" - which you have to do to make it up the hill with the heavy boat).

And at nap time this afternoon, he helped me put away all the toys like usual. He likes to be helpful. At least, until we got to these toys. "No put boat and truck and trailer away! Connor play later!" Mommy, sucker that she sometimes is, didn't have the heart to contradict. All of the toys except these are put away, despite the fact that Mommy usually enjoys a toy-free floor when all the boys are napping. It's a small price to pay, knowing that he's going to come bouncing back down those stairs, all smiles to see his toys right where he left them and ready to put the boat in the water yet again.

Clearly, the boy has a little thing for the water (and with boats and trailers and trucks and all that good stuff too), and a great imagination to go along with it!

Photo Flashback

Playful puppy who doesn't want to share his toys either. (July10, 2003)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

No Naps Here

At various times, all three of my boys resist nap time. Connor, the vocal one, usually says "No nap. Connor no tired. Babies tired. Connor watch Bob the Builder (his new show of choice lately)." Sawyer just dances around with his happy scream in his room and keeps Alexander awake most days, and falls asleep in the late evening on the couch on the days Mommy lets him skip his nap. Xander is the only one who still seems to appreciate nap time, but even he resists at times.

Well, today we ventured out in the middle of nap time for another adventure at the club pool thanks to Grammy and Pappy. Xander was having none of the water and quickly fell asleep in one of the poolside chairs. The other two, my water babies, played themselves to sleep. Their photos are below, Sawyer fell asleep within minutes of the drive home, Connor held out a little longer (we had to recover from our screaming mad / sad fit of leaving the beloved pool first). He fell asleep with dried tears on his face, he was that upset to be going home. Apparently we're not as fun as everyone else lately!

The non-water baby - snoozing by the pool in the shade.

The pitiful water baby - sad to be going home, too tired to keep up the fight.

The tired water baby - his third day of no nap finally caught up to him.

Expensive Play Date

During yesterday's child switch with Pappy, Xander got the spend the afternoon with Daddy while he ran errands and did a little light work in the afternoon. It turned into a rather expensive play date for Daddy.

You see, Daddy was measuring up some potential jobs for exterior remodel work, and Xander was tagging along after him. And at the last job, there was a swimming pool. Now if he was either of the other two boys, he might have been at risk for simply jumping in and wanting to play. But water baby he is not, at least yet, and that was not his problem.

Have I mentioned that he's sneaky? What he likes to do is pick up things (preferably when you're not looking) and then throw them into the water. Like, for instance, the potential customer's cell phone that was lying nearby.

Daddy, of course, should have known better. At our last pool adventure, he threw no less than four pairs of shoes into the water (thankfully some were ours and others belonged to understanding and highly amused parents of other children). He also tossed a water-resistant (but not water proof) watch into the deep end too, but no damage was done.

Not so with yesterday's adventure, where Daddy ended up paying a potential customer quite a bit of money for a damaged phone. Looks like Xander will not be invited on any more play dates with Daddy for a while!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

One Sleeps, One Sneaks . . .

The one who likes to fall asleep in the middle of dinner (yes, sitting up in his booster seat) . . . he of the "no more naps" attitude who will try to fall asleep at 6 p.m. and want to get back up at about 4 a.m.

And the one who sneaks, any chance that he gets . . . here, he's pulling his booster chair over to the bank of light switches behind the couch. I'm guessing the fan will soon be on high speed and every light in the living room will also be on.

And Now There Is Only One

For the time being, anyway. Pappy negotiated an exchange of boys for this afternoon on his lunch date with Daddy, so Connor went with Daddy to be switched out for Xander. Daddy had some errands to run before he came back home, so Xander gets to tag along. And that leaves Sawyer and Mommy at home - though we haven't been here long!

With only one child, I saw an opportunity to get out of the house for the afternoon and took it! I ran one quick errand to the store, which Saw didn't really appreciate though his complaints were minimal. I think he was just happy to be out of the house too! Then we stopped by the requisite McDonald's for lunch. I seriously contemplated trying another (more sit-down) restaurant, but didn't want to push my luck. I have picky toddlers, to say the least. I didn't think I could enjoy trying to pacify even one without my trusty huge diaper bag, and I didn't want to mess with it. So McDonald's it was, and Sawyer was clearly pleased with our choice. An entire chicken nugget Happy Meal later, including some red soda to drink which mercifully managed not to end up on either of our shirts, he was all smiles. We stopped by the little neighborhood park for a while, to swing and slide and ride the see-saw and then swing some more, all until the rain drove us back to the truck. It was a quick, hard shower that ended before we even made it home (not even a five-minute drive).

Add one whimpering and pitiful puppy in, and we decided to take a stroller walk around the block. I would have just taken him on a walk, but Sawyer is a bit on the lazy side on our walks. He will walk a while, but almost always runs in front of me and turns around with his arms up to be carried. It was a bit too hot to carry him most of the way and walk with Buster too!

So there ends our afternoon play date. He's now in the floor happily organizing his toys and having the run of the house for a change. Twin brother will be home later this afternoon with Daddy. Connor will make it home either late tonight or sometime tomorrow - he's guilted Pappy into taking him swimming this afternoon if the weather cooperates.

You see, Pappy had to witness a little meltdown yesterday when he came over to pick up Xander for his afternoon adventure. Connor is almost ALWAYS the one to get to go somewhere. He was VERY disappointed that yesterday was not his day, and when I packed Xander's swimming gear at the last minute (Pappy was going to give cousin Louie a bath in the yard when they got home), he was devastated. He thought they were going to the pool without him. So he gets his adventure today.

Musical children at our house lately, but that's what summer time is for - adventures. We're so lucky that our kids have so many special people in their lives who want to bring them along on their adventures - Grandma and Pa last week, Grammy and Pappy this week, Aunt Kelly and even Uncle Luke on their days off. Connor wants to know who's next, as he's always ready to get his car seat and go! The twins anticipate it less than he does, but seem to enjoy the adventures too!

And Then There Were Two

Yesterday, Xander was the chosen one for an overnight adventure. He was going to spend the afternoon visiting Great Grandma Kitty and the Kremer family and then spend the night at Grammy and Pappy's house. That left Sawyer and Connor at home with me.

The two played about as well as can be expected. Connor likes to think all of the toys are his, and he also has a rather mean penchant for disturbing the ordered world Sawyer tries to create. If Little People are lined up in the window, he steals them one by one and drives Sawyer crazy. If blocks are stacked up or organized, he simply takes a sweep of the hand and destroys them.

Although, there was one bright moment of pure fun yesterday that I did not expect. Sawyer is usually most happy to play in his little window corner by himself, but just before dinner Connor decided it was time for a game of "Where's Connor?" Since I was busy getting dinner ready, I told him he'd either have to play with Saw or wait until later. Much to my surprise, he started chasing Sawyer around, and Sawyer actually seemed to enjoy it. Sawyer ran around in circles around both of our staircases with Connor chasing him, his little belly laugh following him as he went. He even came over to Mommy, hiding behind my legs when Connor got too close. They played for about 15 minutes, wearing each other out and laughing and smiling the whole time. It's not often you get Sawyer to play with his brothers that way, so it was fun to watch.

Of course, they then went to their separate areas and started playing again. Connor was watching Bob the Builder on television while hoarding his tractors and trailers, and Sawyer went back to his Little People. And Xander, of course, was getting the best of both worlds - individual attention, toys that were all his, and a chance to get away from home and brothers for just a little while.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Things Connor Misses This Week

After spending more than a week with Grandma and Pa, Connor has been in for a rude awakening since being back home. He's not the only little boy in the house, and Mommy is not quite as accommodating as he'd like. Here are just a few of the things Connor's had to adjust to since rejoining the real world.

Less Attention. And this one kills him, for he so loves to be the center of everyone's attention. He loves to talk and have you respond. He loves to play games with you and have you play with him. He loves to be in the middle of everything. He hates having two brothers who cut in on HIS attention.

Sharing. All of the toys are his, or at least they should be, to hear him tell it. He hates that he now has to share and take turns. He didn't have to last week, and he doesn't want to this week!

Milk. Our sippy cups at home are filled with milk most of the time, with the occasional apple juice or water thrown into the mix. Gone is the never-ending grape Kool-aid (once this weekend while visiting he even felt the need to inform me that "Babies no like grape! Connor's grape!"). Also gone are the Capri Sun pouches and the sips of Pepsi from Pa's cup.

Play Buddy. Connor loves to play games, like saying "Where's Connor?" and having you find him (never mind that he's giving himself away by asking the question, the boy simply cannot remain quiet for any length of time). He's been severely disappointed that Mommy doesn't join in every single time, never mind that she's busy changing two other little boys diapers or fixing lunch or trying to get some laundry done. He says he misses Grandpa, who he could order around and get down on the floor to play with him at all times.

Being in Charge. Connor likes to be bossy, to be in control, and to set the tone for whatever you're doing. He's had trouble adjusting to the fact that he is NOT ALLOWED to tell Mommy what to do. "C'mere Mommy! Right Now!" does not fly in this household. Neither does "Stop that! Connor's toys. Babies leave 'lone!"

Boat in the Water. He's mentioned it about once every hour since we've been home. He asks every night at dinner if we're going "Boat in the water later?" and is always disappointed to find out that we're not, that we don't have a boat here at our house, and that we're not immediately going back to the lake.

Ride the Tractor. During his visit last week, he seems to recall getting to ride on Grandpa's "tractor" (aka, the old lawn mower without a deck or blades) at least once a day. He reminds me of it here at home, even though we don't own a riding lawn mower.

Gimme Hug. This one is, indeed, adorable, and it's something he's always done quite a bit around the house. But while on vacation, he got in the habit of doing it ALL the time. He asks for it at the most inopportune moments - like when I'm trying to take five minutes to eat my lunch, or when I'm changing a diaper, or when I'm fixing everyone's dinner. He's having to learn a little more patience again, since every wish and whim is not instantly gratified (sorry, Grandma, the boy has to learn).

Nap Time. While he sometimes took naps on his visit, he didn't always. And I have a feeling that if he resisted very hard, he won the battle. That doesn't happen at home. If he's acting tired, he gets put in bed, regardless of whining, whimpering, crying and outright screaming. He says he thinks nap times should be optional, and he would probably never exercise the option. He'd rather fall asleep on the couch.

Learning New Words. Things like the long, drawn-out "Well!" when things don't go just as he thinks they should, or "You stinker!" when someone does something a little bit bad (usually Connor, calling himself a "stinker"), or finally, wanting someone to wipe his "bottom" instead of his butt. It's cute to see the differences in language after only a week.

Comprehension. This one would be hilarious, if it weren't so annoying. Clearly used to having his own way, he's having trouble being reprimanded or being told what to do. For instance, "Share with your brother," or "Leave brother's toys alone," are always met with a confused "What?" or "What you say?" He knows exactly what, and what I've said, for that matter. He chooses not to understand.

It's a slow process, readjusting to the normal rules of life after living it up with Grandma and Pa at the lake for so long. He says if he knew how to write, he'd sneak in here later and post an open letter to Grandma that essentially says "Save me! Mommy bad! No share! No brothers! Grape Kool-aid now! Donals now! Swimmin' and boat in the water! Back the trailer in the water. No drink (the lake)! Keep mouth closed (as if)! Kick and paddle! Save me! Mommy bad!"

Monday, July 7, 2008

Weekend at the Lake

Late last night, Josh and I brought home three very tired little boys from a weekend at the lake (Connor was coming home after more than a week with Grandma and Pa). The drive back was uneventful, other than the fact that all three boys decided they were hungry a mere 45 minutes after we left the cabin (and had a rather large meal). They wolfed down an entire LARGE 10-piece chicken nugget meal and french fries, and even got part of MY large Coke (the only reason we really stopped in the first place). I really think they would eat McDonald's every day, if given the option.

So we spent the last few days alternately chasing three little boys around a non-childproof house or the wrap-around porch, taking them out in the "boat on the water," taking stroller walks in the neighborhood (which has lots of rather large hills, I might add), and watching them play with "new" toys and fall in love with grape Kool-Aid as their new beverage of choice in their sippy cups. Oh, and finding them completely unwilling to sleep most of the time. Connor resisted nap times, afraid he was going to be left behind while we all went out on the boat without him. The twins never do well in strange places, but Sawyer was nearly the death of us all. The boy woke up around 4 a.m. both mornings. 4 a.m. - surely he cannot really be my son with those sleep habits! Grandma quickly marched upstairs and put him back in bed, but it didn't last long. By 6:30 or so, he was ready to go again. By the end of the weekend, one look in the door from Grandma sent both boys running back to the bed, be it nap time or bed time, when they were trying to stay up and play in their room!

We also learned that we definitely have at least two water babies on our hands. Connor can never get enough swimming. He kept telling whoever was driving the boat to "Stop!" every five minutes while we were actually moving. He wanted to stop and swim, AGAIN, you see. And he would stay in the water for hours and hours if you let him, never getting tired (or at least pretending not to be - you could definitely notice a slower stroke later in the day) and never wanting to get out - not even with the attempted bribes of drinks or snacks. Sawyer, though hesitant at first (mostly because of the bulky life jacket he's not worn much), eventually got into it by laughing and splashing and kicking his feet in the water. He still wants you to hold on to him in the water, but Connor has moved on from this stage. He likes to swim back and forth to people and seems as comfortable by himself as when he's with someone. Xander was not much for the water this trip. In fairness, he was tired and fell asleep the minute the boat started moving and didn't wake up until it was time to go back to the dock. But even if he'd been awake, given our recent pool outings, I don't think the lake water would have made him any happier than the pool. We'll have to keep trying with him, or find something else he likes better at the lake.

We had a good weekend, visiting and catching up with Grandma and Pa. We got to eat lots of good food, mostly slow-cooked on a charcoal grill (something we're both too lazy and impatient to do at our own house). And we got to spend some time in the water and at the cabin, watching the boys as they played and got to escape the walls of our house for a change. Connor loved his trip the most, and was a little sorry to come home. As we were packing things to go last night, Xander was standing by the gate crying, afraid of being left. Connor, on the other hand, looked once at me and once back at Grandma, then said, "Connor stay with Grandpa. Babies go home."

Clearly we'll have to take the boy to visit again soon. I've already heard about seeing "Grandpa later tonight!" and going "Boat on the water later tonight! After while!"

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Snapshot Sunday

Family shot - Daddy holding Sawyer (our newest water baby), Connor hiding (he was both tired and wanting to get back in the water), and Mommy holding Xander (who finally woke up at the end of the day on the water).

Saturday, July 5, 2008

A Day at the Lake

Connor and Pa earlier this week on his adventure at the lake.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Photo Flashback

Connor, fascinated by the television. (July 25, 2006)

Sawyer with his baby blues, before they turned brown. (July 25, 2006)

Xander with his baby blues and a little bit of slobber, too. (July 25, 2006)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Who Needs Culture?

Tonight Josh and I tried something different - the key word being "tried." This is our last night with just the little guys, as we head to the lake tomorrow to visit with Grandma and Pa and to bring Connor back home with us after the holiday weekend.

Grammy and Pappy and cousin Josh were going downtown to part of the early holiday festivities - an outdoor concert on the lawn of the local college. We packed up the boys, a blanket, the two single strollers, a big diaper bag, a small cooler and were off. After driving around downtown a little while, we managed to find a great parking spot just about a block away and began our adventure.

The boys were not so sure about it from the beginning. They clearly preferred walking to strolling, but didn't complain too much when we insisted on the strollers. We met up with Grammy and Pappy and Josh, who had staked out a good spot right in the middle of Third Street, thankfully away from the very large (and very loud) speakers on the corners of the lawn. The boys were unimpressed from minute one. They didn't want to sit in their strollers, though suckers were quickly issued (and just as quickly consumed). They didn't want any of the chicken or snacks that Grammy and Pappy had brought. They didn't want their apple juice. They didn't want any Goldfish crackers or raisins or fruit snacks. They wanted to move. Xander was the loudest, so I took off walking with him first. About 10 minutes later, I saw Josh walking down the street with Sawyer. They were hard to miss in their bright orange surf outfits. Apparently Sawyer was only pacified until the second sucker was consumed, and then he kept looking around for Mommy. So we switched twins and walked together a while longer on the nearby streets that were closed for the event, and then we tried sitting back down. More tears, more wanting to run around, crashing into people sitting next to us and whining rather loudly. So, a whole 30 minutes after we arrived, we said our good-byes.

It was a bit much for the little guys at this stage. They enjoyed being out and walking and looking around, but they were not about to sit still for anything. Slowly, ever so slowly, we're trying to get them out into the world a little more. Perhaps next time we'll try with something that involves more moving and less sitting. They are only two and half, after all. But you never know, at least until you try.

And, because the twins were not much on the culture of the evening, we've at least made it home just in time for the rain! Hopefully Grammy and Pappy and Josh are not getting wet downtown!

Hard Day's Play

Love this photo of Sawyer - lining up his Little People in the window and still digging for more toys in the toy box (all with his little Monkey shirt, too!)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Two Little Boys

Two tired little boys forcibly carried upstairs for their afternoon nap. Two tired little boys moving directly to their bed and climbing into their usual spots. Two little boys grinning and burying their heads, as they always do, when Mommy starts to sing her (very off-key) version of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." Two boys crying as Mommy closes the door behind her. Two boys suddenly growing quiet, twenty minutes passing. Two boys jumping up and down on their bed, squealing and laughing. Two boys running back and forth across their big room, the sound of little feet easily heard downstairs. Two boys jabbering and screaming (the happy kind). Two boys rattling the child safety knob on the inside of their door. Two little boys, running to Mommy with a smile and a hug as she opens the door. Two little boys, back downstairs, playing happily with their toys (especially without big brother around to harass them).

One Mommy, hoping against hope she's wrong, that two little boys aren't giving up their afternoon nap, this time for good. One big brother already has . . .

A Day at the Park

Okay, so we went out for Steak-N-Shake and the park last night instead of Backyard Burger - that's what Daddy was in the mood for. The boys would have eaten the same thing at either place - french fries only, and then some goodies out of the well-stocked diaper bag. As an added bonus, they got to enjoy some of the double-chocolate sippable sundae (sound healthy, right?).

Then we made our way to the park - the big city one on the lake, not the smaller neighborhood one that we sometimes visit. There was one thing that I thought the little guys would like - a big metal disc that's suspended near the swings that swivels the full 360 degrees, kind of like the modern version of the old tire swing. Of course, the disc was no longer there - clearly it's been a while since Mommy's been to that park.

The little guys weren't so sure about the park at first. They just kind of looked at us like, "Now what do we do?" Xander eventually took off running first, going through the maze of wooden structures that offer a little bit of everything - steps, planks, bridges, slides, narrow passages, bouncing walkways. You name it, and it's probably there - this is a pretty huge city park. Sawyer was more cautious, holding Mommy's hand and sort of following Xander, but quickly leaving the wooden structure and heading for the swings that backed up to the lake. Mommy tried putting him in the children's (bucket) swing, but he screamed a little too much and people were staring. So then we did our usual compromise - Mommy got on the big swing and he came running with his arms up. Much better, clearly. Xander came over and wanted his turn too, so not much was different from the swings at home except that these were larger and Mommy was more comfortable.

We eventually made our way to a small area of the wooden structure where the boys could climb up steps, walk across a small bridge and get to a large, fast slide. Xander LOVED this, and did it over and over and over again. Sawyer eventually got the hang of it, but the combination of a few too quick slides that scared him and some bigger kids bumping in to him as he took his sweet time at the bottom made him less impressed. The boys were getting tired too, since it was after 8 p.m.

Neither of them seemed to be thrilled when we got there, perhaps because they've had so few trips to the park where people weren't harassing them to stay close (because all three boys were there). Last night each of us could just follow one, and let them roam at will for the most part. They didn't even seem particularly happy while there, just an occasional smile as they went down the slide or on the swing, mostly a lot of roaming around kind of aimlessly. But they were none to happy to leave. Xander kept trying to sit down while we were trying to walk them back to Mommy's truck. Sawyer was so into playing with a serious of half-buried tires that he had to be pulled away. Finally, both of them had to be picked up and physically carried off the playground. We were those parents last night.

Perhaps we'll have to work on getting them there a little more often. They seemed to like the freedom and different scenery as much as anything, and Mommy can relate to that too!

(The "Momma-razzi" - as Josh has nicknamed me - forgot her camera last night, so I'm sorry to tell you there are no pictures from this trip! I'll do better next time!)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

From Three to Two

It's different around our house this week with two boys instead of three. For one thing, it's certainly a lot quieter. And sometimes that's a nice thing, but more often than not, I find myself listening for the constant chatter that usually fills my house. It's filling Grandma and Pa's house this week, I'm sure.

The boys and I have been venturing out to a do a few things that usually don't happen when three toddlers are around, but our routine really hasn't varied all that much. We have taken two walks around the block (about 30 minutes or so). They start out the same, Xander having freedom to walk ahead and Sawyer clutching at my hand like it's a lifeline. Eventually it must be broken though. Xander walks much too fast for us to keep up at Sawyer's preferred pace, and Xander's not very good about listening when Mommy tells him to "Stop! Wait for Mommy." So, half of the walk is spent with one toddler on each side, one holding my hand willingly and the other trying to pull away at every turn. And finally, after being pulled forward on one side (Xander) and pulled back on the other (Sawyer), I give in to what both boys really want. I pick Sawyer up and carry him while chasing after Xander who's finally allowed to run free. I'm sure the neighbors are constantly amused by us.

We've also had a more enjoyable time just playing, without that disturbance that is "big brother" who constantly feels the need to annoy his little brothers. Xander and Sawyer occasionally get into it over the same toy, or when Xander shows us just how much he really is like Connor in personality by messing up the careful order that is Sawyer's world. This morning it was a lined up row of Little People that Xander sent flying in all directions and the mischievous grin that immediately followed. Call him Connor, Jr., at times.

We've also been spending time outside on the play set. Xander has started to rival Sawyer on his preference for swinging. He used to love the slide much, much more. But lately he's taken to coming beside where I'm swinging with Sawyer and watching for a minute and then sitting down in the grass beside us, as though patiently waiting his turn. Sawyer is less upset by this than I would have expected, as he easily goes on to slide or do other things when it's Xander's turn to swing (that's definitely new, and an improvement over the screaming and stomping temper-tantrums that used to result in him being set down to make way for brother!). It's nice how their preferences sometimes alternate, so I don't feel like I'm constantly having to go back and forth to provide equal time.

Tonight Josh and I are planning to take the little guys out for some Backyard Burger and a stop by the neighborhood park. That's something we rarely do with all three, because it always seems like the boys shoot off in totally different directions and want to do different things. Two parents can't be in three places at the same time, no matter how much we try or might want to be. Sometimes I worry the kids are missing out on things because of that, but I'd rather be safe than sorry. So we'll take the little guys tonight, just as Connor's had many trips to the park by himself with Aunt Kelly and even with Mommy a time or two. And besides, we all know that Connor is having a big time at the lake. He's probably pestering Grandma and Pa about "Boat on the water!" right now.