Saturday, February 28, 2009

Botox Baby

Look who decided today would be a fun day to bust his lip wide open (and that hair, well that's just natural from sleeping).

There were three people within five feet of the kid, and none of us are exactly sure how it happened. He did an abrupt about face and took off running and then serious screaming and crying ensued and he was down on his knees in pain. It's pretty clear that his top two teeth tried to bite through his lip, so he hit something pretty hard. Did he hit the floor? Or run into the banister? Or perhaps the stone column? All of these were near by, but we have no idea which is the actual culprit.

But, busted it is and pitiful he was.

In the aftermath of rocking and rinsing and holding, he managed to get sleepy (the incident and a few days of a lingering cold, we think). I took him upstairs and laid him down, which probably helped. He has some pretty serious sensory issues when it comes to his mouth and that loose, cut skin was going to be a problem. It sealed and stopped bleeding while he slept (on the sheets I just washed, of course).

After he got back up, you could tell he was fascinated by it. He kept licking it and putting his fingers up to the cut part, but it didn't seem to be bothering him too badly. He ate and drank and played, just like usual. Just a busted lip.

How long before his teachers report us? Falling asleep in class. A red dot on his face last week from a frozen skin tag (which is still there, unfortunately, despite the freezing). Bruises on his forehead from where he likes to hit the corner of our tile counter tops and the door on my truck (every single time he gets down, just about). Fearless and accident prone, at least of late. What a combination. Good times.

Return of the "Boat School"

For the first time in a long time, Connor got to enjoy the "boat school" yesterday. With the little guys in school every day, we have three days each week where Connor and I have several hours to ourselves. Most of that has been spent either running errands or trying to do some work around the house.

Yesterday, I compromised. I did need to run one quick errand to the store (we're having dinner guests for the second time in two days tonight, and I was unprepared at my last grocery visit). That took about 45 minutes of our three hours. The rest of the time was spent at the boat school, doing things like riding horses and playing with trains and, of course, boats.

Here are the highlights in pictures . . .

I'm guessing he didn't think too much of the adult supervision sign, what do you think?

It's a pretend John Deere Gator, as in, it no longer actually works. He had fun anyway.

Always ready for the next thing. Here, he's sliding down a small slide and already looking to what he's going to play with next.

Ah, the trains. We spent a lot of time here. Smart people, they've glued the tracks in place.

And last, but not least, the infamous boats (hence the name, as opposed to simply calling it what it is - the children's museum).

Friday, February 27, 2009

Photo Flashback

Happy little guy, then and now. Sawyer playing peek-a-boo at the table with Mommy and her camera. (February 21, 2007)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Enjoying the Weather

Another break in the weather. Another day outside on the play set (despite the fact that all three have a case of the sniffles and a bit of a cough).

Mr. Attitude, age four. Doesn't that look just say it all?

Fierce climber. He hates to use the actual ladder to climb back up. Walking the slide is much easier, apparently.

Serious slider. He can do this over and over and over again. For hours. In addition to loving the slide, he also has discovered the joy of swinging by himself. That gets one of the biggest grins you'll see from him these days.

Just another day in the life . . .

A First

There is a first time for everything.

Today, Sawyer's teacher e-mailed me to tell me that he was actually beginning to interact with the other kids in his class. It's the second time we've heard it this week. After all of two weeks of school, he's already doing something that we have never seen him do before (unless you count this adventure at the park, which I don't). In countless times out at the park, at the pool, at the children's museum, and just out at stores or restaurants, he has never shown any interest in other people or what they might be doing.

Sometimes it's the little things, those small steps, that mean so very much.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

It's All Mine

My children all think it's fun to go around with your tongue sticking out of your mouth, apparently. In case you don't know toddlers, this face is "Ha, ha, the car is all mine, buddy - get your own!"

Or maybe he's just really, really tired. You know, from being too much on the go. I can relate to that.

It's funny, but I thought I would have more down time once I got the boys all in school. Not so much. I've been busy running errands (the grocery store, more times than I can count) and trying to get things off my to-do list for a change. Today it was stops by two stores, one to pick up the dog food that wasn't there last week (my luck, of course) and the other to get some things for the little guys lunch (packing lunches at age three for picky toddlers, so much fun, really). I rushed to put away groceries and then took Buster on a much needed walk. And then I squeezed in a phone call to check on getting Connor signed up for swimming lessons (a Christmas gift from Grammy and Pappy) before I rushed out the door to pick up the little guys from school. I'm turning into "that" mom already, the one who's last to pick her kids up from school. And that's so not me - I'm punctual to a fault. We're going to have to work on that.

But, as it turns out, it was a good thing I squeezed in that phone call, because today was the last day of registration for the next round of swim lessons and there were only two spots open. Connor got one of them, so after a quick lunch and a walk around the block for the twins (enjoying the warm weather for a change), we headed over to the pool to drop off the payment (required to reserve your spot).

And guess who screamed when it was time to leave the pool, you know, without actually going to the pool. Xander had fallen asleep on the way there, so he could have cared less. I actually had to carry him inside and hold him the whole time. No, it was my other water baby, Sawyer. He knew where we were. He kept trying to go down the stairs (that leads to the locker room and the pool) the whole time I was doing the registration. He was beyond pissed when Mommy said it was time to go and headed for the exit instead of the water.

Our last stop of the day was at Grammy's house, to check on the big boy himself. He'd been away on yet another adventure (it never ends for him, apparently). Cousin Ryleigh turned four last week, and her birthday present from Grammy was a day at the pool. She thought it would be more fun for Ryleigh if Connor tagged along, since they're pretty good play buddies when they get together. So he left our house last night after dinner and spent the night, and had a big day with Grammy and Ryleigh today that included the pool, McDonald's, the park and even taking turns driving the PowerWheels car around their neighborhood (where I met them as I was pulling into the subdivision).

Just another day in the life . . .

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Day Bag

For those of you who know me, you know that I am not a girly girl. In high school, I was strictly a jeans and baggy t-shirt kind of girl. I didn't start carrying a purse until I started going to work, after college, and only then because it seemed expected. I usually stuffed it inside my work bag with my planner and notebook.

Even after I stopped working, the purse I used usually sat in one of two places - on the kitchen desk or hidden under the seat in my truck. I rarely used it. I was much more likely to pull out my wallet and just carry it and my keys with me. That's just me.

But I've finally given in, sort of. I have entirely too much stuff that I want to tote around on a daily basis. More than anything, I'm on the go much more taking the kids to and from school. And there are also more errands being run in between said trips to school, and more adventures with Connor on the days he's not in school. I compromised and got a day bag.

And ssh, don't tell anyone, but it's actually a diaper bag. (David might recognize it as one very similar to the "man purse" he received when his baby girl was born - mine is just bright red instead of dark green!)

Yeah, I know, as if I didn't have enough diaper bags already. I didn't want to ones that are plastered with baby formula names (the free ones from the hospital, we got one for Connor, and not two but four with the twins, because the nurses thought we might want the extra freebies tucked inside). We also had the two back pack ones from when Connor was born (when we were young and stupid and thought we needed two of everything, just in case one of us dropped him off somewhere and the other one picked him up). And we also still have the big duffel bag one, but it's still actually used for the kids.

This new one, well, it's mostly for me. I've been wanting to pack my camera around more, learn a little bit more about all the fancy features that I haven't got a clue how to use yet, and just play with my photography a bit. I'm hoping I'll have some extra time while the boys are at school and it might give me a little sanity break. Hoping is the key word. So far, not much use, other than taking photos of Connor on our adventures. But that's okay, too.

So, this new bag has my camera (the diaper bag was a hint from my photography book, to disguise the expensive equipment instead of using the one plastered with Nikon and to offer padding to help protect the expensive equipment). It also holds my phone, my wallet and my keys. And a few assorted girl items, if you know what I mean. Last, it holds the most important extras of all - a few pieces of chewing gum (for Connor) and a few fruit snacks (for the kids). Sanity savers.

Like I said, it's a day bag. It should get me through most of my days with everything I need. And it's no bigger than a lot of the purses I see people toting around these days. It works, and so far, I've loved it.

The day bag, just a bit big for the basket that used to hold my smaller purse (the one I rarely used). I've taken this bag with me every day since I bought it, and actually used something out of it every single trip! Loving it.

Hanging Art Sale

Look at me, aren't I cute? Don't you want some to buy some of my brilliant artwork?

Actually, Xander and I had some rare one on one time last night and this is our accomplishment. It's not for sale, we keep it all in a big plastic tote in the closet (at least for now, though it's getting pretty full with three creative little boys).

Connor had gone with Daddy to run some errands, one of his favorite things to do (especially if he's allowed to "go inside too")! And poor Sawyer, he is either trying to get sick or is finally catching up on some lost sleep, because he was in bed at 6 p.m. last night and wasn't up until about 7 a.m. this morning. That's rare, people.

So Xander and I did one of his all-time favorite things. We got out the finger paints, the brushes (because I'm not that crazy), and the paper. He had a big time. Any shapes you see are courtesty of my paintbrush, because his only style at the moment is making a lot of random dots. He did do a few long lines back and forth, but he much prefers the dots.

Four pieces may not look like much compared to his usual output, you must remember that he doesn't like to waste paper and he actually paints on both sides. Yes, he flips it over immediately after he finishes, wet paint and all, and starts on the back side. Hence the make-shift clothesline in the kitchen - it's hard to let both sides dry at the same time, without having the paint (though washable) also dry on the surface it's laying on.

So much talent, so little time and resources, he says.

Monday, February 23, 2009

School Boys

We're nearing the two week mark, and the little guys seem to be settling in to their new preschool routine. So far, so good.

They've stopped whimpering as we pull into the car pool line, and Sawyer has even stopped hiding in the corner of the truck when I unbuckle them from their seats. They willingly let me put the backpacks over their shoulders, and they willingly take the teacher's hands to be led into school. They do look back over their shoulders, a bit of uncertainty on their faces, as I go back to the truck and away from them. But at least they're no longer falling down on the sidewalk and making the teachers carry them in the rest of the way with tears and screams (that's only happened a few times, but it's heart-wrenching just the same).

What a difference it is between the little guys and their big brother. Connor's first day of school he sat down kind of timidly, then noticed some new toys and it was all over. I might as well have not been there anymore, because he was totally fine.

The little guys, not so much. We eased them in, with a visit first and then a short week and then a full week. I think they're getting the hang of it, except for holidays and weekends. That first day back is always a bit of a struggle.

But, so far, so good. I even went in last week for story time, on two different days since the boys are in two separate classes. Sawyer actually did worse with my being there, wanting me to hold him and screaming for a large part of the time (way to go, Mom!). But Xander did just fine. I kind of hid in the background during story time, then let him see me for a few minutes during a craft project, and snuck out while he was busy playing.

They're in good hands. And I think it's going to be a good experience for them. I'm already seeing some improvement. Potty training (very early stages) is being reinforced there, so they're more willing at home. Making decisions about which snacks they want is improving (previously they just whined without giving any direction when they didn't like my offered choice). Sawyer is taking my hand to get my attention and then walking and expecting me to follow (instead of holding my hand the entire time). Xander is saying more words (still sporadic, but definitely expanding his vocabulary and using some words more consistently).

Baby steps. But it's forward progress, and it's only just begun. The journey continues . . .

Back to Barefoot

In our part of the world, there's a little stereotype about whether people actually wear shoes. I've always lived up to it. I can be found barefoot in the middle of winter or wearing flip flops in the snow (when we happen to have it, which isn't very often). I hate socks, unless I'm actually wearing shoes. And when I'm at home, I hate wearing shoes. Barefoot and happy, that's me.

But, in an effort to get my little people to stop doing as I do rather than as I say, I adopted a compromise. I found some house slippers last year just before Christmas. They took some getting used to, but after a while, I actually got used to them and didn't really mind them. It helped that they really just covered the soles of my feet and not much else. Cute, aren't they?

They've been gone since the first of the year. And it's absolutely not my fault. I tried, I really did. I can't help it if the things came in holes and became pointless after a little more than a month of use.

I'm guessing house slippers are not meant to be worn 14 hours a day, every day. Can I help it that my life is pretty much chasing three little boys around the house all day, every day (or it was, before preschool started and I became a chauffeur, but that's another story).

One month. That's pretty sad, especially since the shoes were not exactly inexpensive to begin with. Looks like I'm back to being barefoot . . . at least the kids have gotten the message (for the most part). Only Connor pulls his off these days, and that's just so he can play with them as puppets or to carry hidden treasures around in his pocket (what an imagination, that kid)!

Isn't He Cute?

Yet another sign that my four-year old has entitlement issues. This morning, after we dropped the twins off at preschool, his comment was:

"Where we go today? Hmm," he said thoughtfully, putting his finger on the tip of his chin (the expression was actually as funny as the words today). "We go slide and then to lunch at restaurant!"

Um, no, not exactly. Today we came home, where he got to pick a movie and I got to clean the very dirty hardwood floors. Exciting stuff.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Little Chef (Connor)

Who's in the mood for some sweets? Mommy was in an organizing mood this afternoon, cleaning out my baking cabinets, where all the spices and flour and sauces were in a rather large mess. Once I got that straightened up, I went ahead and pulled out one of my favorite cake mixes (the funfetti ones). Connor was all over it. He likes to help, especially when things are that tasty.

First you mix it like this . . .

And then you lick it like this.

He also had a lot of fun putting on the "sprinkles" and eating the stray ones that fell on the cabinet. He might have helped lick the icing container clean, too.

And we wondered why he wasn't hungry at dinner time. Silly parents.

Three Boys, Three Rooms

With a little help from Daddy (and his tools), we got the boys rooms rearranged this weekend. With all the sleep issues we've been having the last few weeks (see here and here and here), it was simply time. Tonight will be our first chance to see if it helps or not.

Here's a sneak peak of what the boys' rooms all look like these days . . .

Big boy Connor scored the old recliner in his room, complete with one of his old baby blankets draped over the back and his Wall-E pillow that we picked up on our Florida trip over Christmas. I've had this chair for years, before kids (and the husband even), back when my parents were nice enough to furnish me with a brand new house to live in while finishing up college (yes, you may hate me now). It's was a staple in the boys' nursery - Connor's in our old house, and the twins' in the old house and in this house (this room, actually). It was also briefly in the guest room, so Baby Claire is the only other baby who's been rocked in it (that I know of, anyway)!

Connor's room is pretty basic. A full-size bed, a few shelves (including the fun personalized bookshelf in the corner), and some furniture. And lots of Lightning McQueen accessories.

Enter Sawyer's room (aka, the twins' most recent shared room). Do you recognize the bed? It's our old crib (first Connor's, then Sawyer's) that converts into a full-size bed. The boys had finished off the other full-size bed we did have, breaking the headboard apart at the seams to the point it was looking kind of dangerous.

Old crib decor hanging on the walls - the two comforters that came with the crib bedding, you know, the ones no one ever actually uses. And those flannel sheets, also circa my old house in college. He chewed through the other jersey knits ones that we had on it (he bunched it up in his hand and kind of sucked on it like one might a blankie, if you're wondering). The good news is he doesn't seem to like the taste of flannel!

Welcome to Xander's new room, aka the recently departed guest bedroom. Although, we must warn you, it will still double as such. We will double two of the boys up, put on some clean sheets, and offer this one to anyone in need of an overnight stay (it's either that or the pull-out bed on the sectional downstairs, in the middle of the living room with no blinds on the glass doors).

Minimal decoration. They boys still like to pull stuff off the walls at odd hours, usually when they're tired of sleeping and we're not ready to be awake, at say 4 a.m. We did move one piece of furniture in, simply to have a high place for the CD player (we use it at night as a bedtime cue), and the old baby monitor that is sparingly used these days (usually when the boys are sick and we want to keep a closer watch on them).

And that's it. That's the new sleeping arrangement. Cross your fingers that it helps. Heaven knows that we are, at least for one of our little guys. We can't have them falling asleep in school all the time!

Snapshot Sunday

If you look closely enough, you will see that my four-year old is winking at you. Why, you ask? Because he has it good, and he knows it. With the twins starting school just two weeks ago, there have been approximately 5 days that he has had Mommy all to himself, for at least a couple of hours. We've done things like go to the store, run errands, and usually, grab lunch while we're out.

This photo is from last Friday, while the little guys were at school. We had just stopped by the library, his first ever trip (where we proceeded to clean out every Curious George book on the shelf, ten in all), and then we went to Captain D's for lunch.

I'm not sure who is having more fun, him or me. Lunch out. At somewhere other than McDonald's. I'll even wink for that.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Well, it's official. Our boys have outgrown one of the best childhood tricks I knew - DumDum suckers.

It used to be, on a trip to the store or quick errands when the boys were getting restless, I could produce a simple little DumDum and that would do the trick. It would keep them occupied for a good 10 to 15 minutes while I finished up whatever I was trying to get done.

Of course, they've learned that you can simply bite said DumDum and then eat it, without the mess or the wait of actually sucking on it. Not so much of a help when I'm trying to keep them occupied (and from not screaming) while we get a few things done.

Today was that dreaded of all days. I needed a few things from the grocery store - the real one, not the wonderful Sam's Club (with the double front cart) - and I had to take all three of them. The good news is that the store now has an extra-large cart, where you can strap two children in a small area on the back. The bad news is that Connor has to walk, and the real grocery store offers much more real temptation than the warehouse that is Sam's Club.

But we made it. About 15 minutes in, the little guys were getting restless. I managed to talk them out of it for a while, but as we neared the end of our trip, I finally had to dig into my bag for the new diversion - Ring Pops. Like all suckers, they're messy. That just can't be helped. But what's great about Ring Pops is their too big and too hard to simply bite through. You do actually have to suck on them for quite a while before you can even think about biting them. I try to save them for the checkout line, when we're waiting and the boys are especially restless.

And it worked like a charm. Same trick, new bait.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Sleep Issues, Part II

Another day, another sleepless night. And not one, but two, little boys carried out by their teachers from preschool, both sound asleep for the last hour of the day and barely waking up to be strapped into their seats in the truck.

It figures, you know. When they were home all day, every day with me, they had no idea what the word nap actually meant. They have not napped consistently since shortly after their second birthday - more than a year ago!

Send them to school, and they suddenly remember.

So, the time has finally come. We're in the process of transitioning the guest bedroom (you know, the one that's only been such for a few months) into Xander's new bedroom. It's not going to take much. A new waterproof mattress pad, just in case. Another CD player, because that's what we usually turn on for the little guys at night just before bed. They're both still to mischievous to hang anything up on the walls (we've already had several broken pictures pulled down).

It's a little sad, separating them at this stage. Especially given how much they have always seemed to enjoy sleeping in such close proximity to one another. Even when there were two beds in the room, they both always slept side by side on the same bed, curled into each other and often with limbs entwined. They look quite adorable when they're actually sleeping that way. Not so much when their both wide awake and dancing and laughing in the middle of the night.

Once we made the decision to separate, the next decision was who was going to go where. We're lucky enough to have enough bedrooms, so it was just a matter of who was staying and who was moving. We decided Sawyer could stay in the big room where he was, since change often comes harder for him. We also were being practical. Xander likes to be covered up with a blanket, and Sawyer emphatically does not. He kicks it off the second he feels it on top of him. And both of those bedrooms are at the end of the house, above the garage, and therefore a bit colder than the rest of the house. The big room, the one they have been sharing, is the coldest. It's directly over the garage, and we actually installed an additional wall heater shortly after we moved in (when it was still Connor's room) to keep it warm. So the no-cover boy gets to keep the one with the extra heater.

So that's step one. We'll try it for a while and see if it helps. Sawyer might still fall asleep in class, what with the whole waking up every day between 4 and 5 a.m.! But Xander, my sleepyhead, I hope will return to his normal self (which means sleeping in well past eight on most days). And we may still experiment with an afternoon nap (immediately following school, since that apparently makes them sleepy), which will of course make for a later bedtime (not exactly jumping for joy at this part). But we're going to take it one step at a time, so we can give it a chance to actually work.

And the really ironic thing is, that we could have tried for an earlier preschool if we'd known this was the habit the boys were trying to get in to. Mommy would have hated it, because it would have meant having them dressed, fed and at school by the ungodly hour of 7 a.m. (their poor teachers)! But at least they wouldn't have been falling asleep in the middle of class.

So it goes.

Photo Flashback

Happy little walker. Xander chasing Mommy and the camera. Points if you can tell what animated movie is playing in the background. (February 21, 2007)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Things We Do

Pick up the pillows from the couch and throw them all around the living room, despite being repeatedly asked (and then warned) not to do so.

Climb up on top of the dining room table, not once or even twice, but three different times. All after being told that you know better (which he does).

Walk right up to your little brother, hold out a stiff arm, and knock him down so hard he actually cries (when normally he would just get up and go the other direction).

Walk up to your other little brother and deliberately take the two trains he was holding in his hands and toss them across the room.

You do all of these things, within plain sight of your mother.

Because, clearly, this is more expedient than simply saying, "I'm really tired and in need of a nap today, and as soon as my head hits the pillow I'm going to be completely knocked out."

Indeed, he was asleep, within less than 60 seconds from when his head hit the pillow. We won't mention that Mommy picked him up and carried him up the stairs, where she unceremoniously dumped him into his bed and onto said pillow. That tears and screams followed for about 45 seconds and then dead silence ensued.

He's still sleeping.

I'll pretend this stubbornness isn't inherited.

The Magic of Childhood

Trying to taste it.

And to catch it.

It was snowing (lightly) in our part of the world today, and Connor managed to amuse both his mother and several people in the preschool parking lot. These photos were snapped in our driveway, but he was doing this the whole way to the truck at preschool, too.

Oh, and he was doing so with considerable style. Love the blue mardi gras beads that he picked up today from the treasure box (we finished a reading list yesterday)!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Sneaky or Not Well?

Why do I get the feeling I'm being outwitted by a three-year old? Xander is home sick again today, and it was actually my decision not to send him.

Yesterday, he slept for 16 hours straight - from 4 p.m. to 8 a.m. this morning. And when he got up, all he did was lay his head down on the couch and watch a bit of television, pushing away his offered juice and dry cereal. I was afraid to try his normal milk, as that's usually not good when he acts as though he needs to throw up (he didn't, but he gave a good impression of it earlier).

After all of an hour downstairs, he was dozing off on the couch and I carried him back up to bed. He was soundly asleep an hour later when I had to get him back up to take his brother to preschool. I just carried him to my truck and tucked a blanket around him in his car seat. He stared blankly out the window all the way there, while waiting in the carpool line, and all the way back.

We got home, and he was rather pitiful when I carried him back inside. But he protested going back up the stairs to bed (which is what I assumed he would want). I turned around and put him down on the couch with his favorite DVD, Word World, playing. He sat there about 10 minutes.

He's proceeded to drag me to the kitchen for milk (his request, believe me, because I still don't think it's a great idea after this morning) not once, but three different times. He's eaten a few club crackers and quite a bit of cold pineapple. He's been walking around and watching the rest of his Word World, even spelling the letters out loud and getting mad if I don't respond as he wants me to.

He's still clingy at the moment, but he doesn't act like he doesn't feel well anymore. After all, he's had three glasses of milk now without incident. So what do you think? Is he really not feeling well, or is Mommy being taken for a ride?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Afternoon Adventure

Not a very good photo, but it captures the moment well enough.

Today, while the little guys were in school, Connor and I had lunch out at Arby's. Big boy sat all the way across the table from me and proceeded to eat all of his roast beef (though only half of the bread) and most of his curly fries. He also had two small sodas, if you can imagine.

At least he chose the kind without caffeine - Sierra Mist. That counts for something, right? I imagine if we do more of this kind of thing, we'll be looking into the healthier options like applesauce and milk instead of always getting the good stuff.

This picture is from my cell phone camera, and it is only about the second time I've actually used said camera. It also marks the first time I've ever sent a text message (to my own e-mail and with just the photo attached, does that count?) With my new day bag, I'll have my good camera on hand for some of these smaller adventures, but that's another story.

Just another day in the life . . .

Sleepless Nights, Sleepy Days

Yesterday it was Xander in the kitchen floor. Today it was Sawyer in the middle of his classroom. Our kids are having trouble getting enough sleep, apparently.

We've struggled with sleep issues with the little guys for a long time. Afternoon naps turned into six-hour sleep sessions (or terrible tantrums if you dare wake them) and then bedtime battles (because who would be sleepy after sleeping six hours). No naps often result in little boys who fall asleep at the dining room table at dinner time. There is no happy medium.

Add to that our quirky and cool little man who doesn't require more than about 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night. He crashes like his brother anywhere from 6 to 8 p.m. for the night. He's usually awake by 6 a.m., at the latest, and often has middle of the night wakenings for several hours on top of that. Apparently that's taking it's toll on both of the twins.

Yesterday, after a particularly live night from Sawyer, Xander stayed in bed from 7 p.m. to 11 a.m. (when I woke him up so we could eat "breakfast" and get ready to go visit Grandma and Grandpa at the lake). He was tired a big part of the day.

Today, Sawyer's teacher had to carry him out of school, completely asleep, which he had been for the last 45 minutes of class. He fell asleep during circle time (story reading, I think), and just stayed that way until the end of class. Of course, he was awake at 4 a.m .this morning, and as far as I can tell, never went back to sleep. He's still upstairs napping, and it's now after 3 p.m. And he NEVER naps.

Looks like we're going to have to work on our sleep schedule yet again, whether its an attempt at short naps and later bedtimes, or separate bedrooms. One thing is certain, we can't have one trying to sleep in all morning (and miss school) and we can't have the other one falling asleep at school!

Three Boys, Two Schools, One Hour

People have always asked me how I do it , with the "it" being how I manage three little boys at one time by myself day in and day out. I usually have the same answer - you just do. People adapt, some better than others, but people adapt to their circumstances. You do what you have to do, and you go on. And, like anything, some days are going to be better than others.

I will never tell you it's easy. It's not. But you figure out a routine, and you get through it. And you always know, that sooner or later, things are going to change. The boys will get bigger, their activities and schedules will change. You keep reminding yourself that they are only little once, and you do the best you can to take care of them, to make sure all their needs and most of their wants are taken care of, and to enjoy the early years as much as you can.

In the last three years, since I left my job to stay at home with newborn twins and a 14-month old, I've adapted a lot. First, it was living through the haze of feeding and changing two demanding newborns while not completely ignoring my toddler (and the first six months, they really are a blur, even now). Then it was getting brave enough to take all three of them out of the house, by myself. A couple of strollers later, that's actually not too much of a problem for the basics like the grocery shopping or running errands. Here lately, it's been about finding ways to get us out of the house more often or to keep us engaged with something other than the television, which is on more than I would like.

There was also the new schedule that came with in-home therapy when we decided the little guys needed more than what we could do for them at home. And then there was Connor's preschool (for three hours) two days each week. Now we've added preschool for the little guys, which is three hours every day of the week.

As I said, lots of adapting. But you do. You figure out what works and what doesn't, and then you go on. It's not always easy and it's not always pretty, but you do it. And in the end, it generally works out just fine.

Right now, things are working out better than just fine. The little guys are adjusting to their new school and routine as well as could be expected. We couldn't be more excited about the opportunities they now have, and we feel extremely lucky to have them in two very wonderful classrooms with teachers who show so much care and concern already. And Connor still loves his school and his teachers and his friends, and we're glad to have him in a program that is so well thought of in the community. The boys are getting great experiences and chances to learn, and they're getting to be around other people, one of the hardest things for me to do at home or even when we venture out. That whole three kids, three different directions thing is kind of restrictive of what we can do at this age.

But with our new schedule, Mommy can start to regain a little bit of her sanity now, too. It's been three years since I had any amount of time that was my own during the day. There were nap times, of course, but those are long since gone (more than a year ago) and they rarely overlapped. Now, two days every week, I have one hour that is completely mine, when preschool overlaps and all of the boys are happily and safely in other environments.

Of course, so far, I have used all that glorious time to do things like run errands, go to the grocery or the bank, and routine things like that. But I have done so in complete and total peace. And I have done so without asking someone to watch my kids so I could leave the house. That's huge. There are lots of people who are always willing to help out with things like that (who both love to see the boys and to help us out), but independent soul that I am, I like that I can do it on my own these days without having to ask for help.

And today, I actually stopped in at the library again (it's been several months, unfortunately) and picked up some books (some for me, some for Connor). Something more fun to occupy that hour. I also picked up a new day bag, that will hold the contents of my old purse as well as my new camera. Perhaps reading and taking pictures at the park will be my new diversion when the weather breaks (or even before). Just something to get me out of the house for a little while, where I would inevitably find things to do, like dishes, or laundry (assuming we can find a belt to fix the washing machine, which we haven't yet), or any of the other random things that always need to be done at our house.

And on the other days, when the little guys are in school and I just have Connor, the world is still much bigger than it was. Taking one child (and one who is well-behaved for the most part, who understands things like "danger" and who is potty trained), that's huge. I haven't done that since he was a baby, more than four years ago. So we've been running errands and trying to do some fun stuff too, like lunch out (albeit fast food, for the most part, since that's all he likes), trips to the park, and we're even looking forward to rediscovering the "boat school" downtown (actually the children's museum) and maybe taking in a children's play (the one that he was supposed to see on a class field trip, but that was cancelled in the ice storm).

Thinking about and waiting for the transition was hard, but the actual transition has been relatively painless. The kids are adjusting. They're getting exposure I couldn't give them at home. I'm getting down time from all of the kids at times and from the very demanding little guys on a daily basis (all while they're getting the therapy and extra help they need). I'm getting to spend some quality one-on-one time with my oldest, who will be in kindergarten before I know it.

Change, it isn't always easy, but sometimes it's for the best. And right now, we're finding our way and enjoying as much of it as we can.

Monday, February 16, 2009

As Good As Any

Apparently the middle of the kitchen floor is as good a place as any for an afternoon nap. We're not sure if the little guy is really trying to get sick, or if he's merely tired. Sawyer has been up early for several weeks now, and perhaps that's interfering with our other (much more of a sleepy-head) little boy's routine since they still share a room and a bed. Xander's eating and he's playing, but he's also crashing at times. Maybe he was just afraid it was time to go back to school this afternoon!

Just Rewards

He looks well, doesn't he? Today he had blood drawn, and the ring pop was his well-earned reward. He only screamed a little, more in annoyance than pain (thank goodness). The nurses told me he did really well for his age and that they were impressed.

Way back in the fall, when Sawyer went in for his clinical evaluation and received his autism diagnosis, the developmental pediatrician recommended some blood work and testing. It kind of got lost in the weeks that followed, and then the holidays happened. As it had to be ordered by our attending pediatrician anyway, we just decided to wait until the twins three-year well visit the first of the year to get her opinion on the necessity and usefulness of such tests. She thought they were worthwhile, and we agreed to do them.

Rather than torturing all three children by making them watch their brother get stuck, I told her I would work on finding a sitter for the other two and just bring him by the lab when we got a couple of free hours. Then the snow and ice storms followed. Today, Josh happened to be at home for lunch and said he could stay for a while if I wanted to try to get it done. So off we went.

He almost fell asleep in the truck (motion does that to him at times). He was happy in the elevator from the top of the parking garage down to the street. He was unhappy to enter the medical building where we had recently been for our well visit. He apparently remembered that he was none to happy that day. He was even less happy to be in the lab waiting room and was seriously pissed to be in the actually lab room. But I sat down and held him (and he's strong, so that was no easy challenge) and it took just a minute. He was pissed when the needle went in, but soon settled into annoyed whining.

And when it was all over, I pulled out the coveted ring pop. He just stared at it for while, and didn't really start enjoying it until we were safely back in the truck and headed to the house.

But all is now well. He finished the ring pop, ate lunch and has been happily playing and watching Word World. What more is there to life at three?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Snapshot Sunday

Move it or lose it. Sawyer was apparently taking a bit too long for Xander's patience. He decided to give him a "helpful" little shove down the slide. Good times.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Ones Left Behind

Sawyer drew the lucky straw today. Aunt Kelly came over to get him for an afternoon of fun, which meant going swimming at the indoor pool and stopping for McDonald's lunch afterwards. He loves the pool, and is probably Aunt Kelly's new best friend by now.

That means his brothers did not draw the lucky straw, and they were stuck at home with Mommy.

We tried getting out of the house for a while, but it was a bit cool (mostly because of the wind). I pushed Connor and Xander in the double stroller so we could take Buster out for a little exercise. And we were going to do another lap around the block just walking after we brought Buster back, but the wind was too strong. It was practically knocking the kids down and Connor kept complaining about the cold. So back to the house we came.

Connor had been unhappy since he learned the packed bag on the steps was not for him. He continued to mope once we got back.

Mommy finally brought out one of the special occasion toys (because it's big, bulky and can get annoying after a while) - the bouncy slide. Hours of fun for two little boys (minus a few scrapes that had to be broken up by the referee). And the big boy even forgot, for a little while, that today was not his day.

Modern Conveniences

In today's busy life, you don't realize how much you actually use and rely on something until it doesn't work. Our washing machine decided to stop working a few days ago, and that's not something you want to have with three rough and tumble little boys.

Now this machine is not really that old, in terms of years of ownership, it's maybe four. But, of course, you must factor in that I do at least one load of laundry every single day, and sometimes two or three. We are a family of five, with three accident-prone toddlers and a big, hairy puppy who's bed is washed at least once a week, too.

And, of course, it would have to stop working right in the middle of the twins' first week at school. At three, you send in a change of clothes in case they have an accident or spill something on themselves. At least one twin has come home in that spare outfit each of the three days they've been in school so far. (No sippy cups or bibs at school, if you're wondering how they're suddenly so messy, but that's another story).

The machine also decided to stop right in the middle of a rather large load of half-washed clothes (you know, because we only have two types of laundry in our house - white and not-white). This was the not-white load, and it was our regular day of clothes, pajamas and the kids extra sets of clothes from school.

So, what was I to do with a big load of half-washed laundry and a machine that was broken? I dumped them into the tub in the bathroom across the hall from the laundry room. Then I filled it up with warm water and Tide, and then I washed them all - by hand. My arms still hurt from working with all those clothes (and I'm in pretty decent shape toting around three 40-plus pound boys on a daily basis). Then I drained and rinsed them, before rigging a rather sketchy bungee cord clothesline across the shower to help them drip dry before even attempting to put them in the still-working dryer. Even doing that, it still took twice as long to dry the clothes and I had to break them up into three separate loads instead of the normal one. I can wash them, but I can't replicate that high spin cycle that drains them.

With Josh's birthday last night, we didn't get a chance to look at the machine until today. Turns out it's a broken belt, which should be relatively simple and inexpensive to repair. I've already cleaned out the big mess of black powder that comes with a completely shredded belt, and Josh is going to try to pick up a new one while he's out working this afternoon. Hopefully it will be working again soon.

Which is a good thing, because we're still a messy family of five. I'm not sure how many more loads of laundry I'm willing to do by hand (and this one only makes two)!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Sick Already?

Whether he's trying to get sick or whether he's just sick of going to school we're not sure, but Xander got to come home early today. After all of three whole days (if three-hour school days can be considered as such).

His teacher called this morning about an hour after we had dropped him off, wondering if we'd noticed him not feeling well. I hadn't. Xander's signs of not feeling well are usually pretty obvious - he sleeps (even more than usual), he lays around, he doesn't eat, and he won't touch milk at all. This morning before school, he did none of those things. He ate his dry cereal and milk, he was running around chasing his big brother and playing, and he ate all of his breakfast and another glass of milk.

But, Ms. E seemed concerned. So, I quickly cut short the errands I had planned to run with Connor. We were returning part of Daddy's birthday gift that didn't fit, stopping by the grocery for a few essentials (more cereal), and then picking up Daddy's birthday cake from the bakery downtown. Connor was extremely disappointed, because we didn't get to look at the toys, as promised. We simply purchased what was already in our hands at the grocery and left the other stuff we were going to look at for another time. We did go ahead and run to the bakery, because it was five minutes away and getting in and out with Connor and the cake was hard enough. I don't want to imagine trying to balance a cake and two unhappy toddlers, one who may be getting sick, next to the very busy four-lane road where the bakery is located.

About 20 minutes after the call, we made it back to school to check on Xander. He was definitely not acting like himself (and how wonderful is it that his brand new teacher already recognized that?). He was eating and had been slowly starting to play, but his usual energy and enthusiasm were missing. He was also pulling on both of his ears and running a bit warmer than usual. That's usually not a bad sign, as both of the twins run a bit warmer than Connor ever has, but the combination was questionable. And, better safe than sorry. We don't want him to get any worse if he is starting to get sick, and we certainly don't want to risk the other kids or the teachers in his class if it's anything contagious.

So we came home, and only Sawyer got to stay to enjoy the valentine party at school. Connor and I had been planning to go and visit with both classes during party time, as parents had been invited and welcome. Perhaps another time. We left our store bought cookies (school policy, you can't make anything at home anymore) for the classes to enjoy, and we brought Xander back home.

And though he was a bit calmer than normal, he didn't truly seem sick. He played with Connor for the remainder of the afternoon while we were waiting for school to be over. He jumped right in the truck to go back and pick up Sawyer from school at the end of the day. And he ate a full lunch with the other two after we got back home.

I'm beginning to think he just pulled a fast one on all of us. He wasn't too happy when we pulled up into the carpool line this morning, and he saw where we were. Was that because he didn't feel good, or because he didn't want to go? Who knows.

Right now, he's running around with Connor again, riding his Lightning McQueen truck, and even playing with his blocks. He's saying letters right and left, and though a bit less energetic than usual, seems fine. We'll give him a long weekend to "recover" and then try again next week.

I always knew he was the sneaky one. And the one who would fight school the most . . .

More Valentines

The two on the right are from the valentines parties at the little guys school today (Connor insisted we add "my purse an' treat bag Payton gave me"). Xander's treat bag has his picture on it, and Ms. E was nice enough to send it home in the afternoon. Sawyer's bag is on the right, with the sparkles. His teacher, Mrs. R, said he had a great day today and is already leading her around the room by the hand wanting to play in certain areas!

Here is the take from yesterday after Connor's party at his school. All those envelopes on top are the valentines that came in our mailbox! And Connor is holding the picture frame that he made to give to Josh as part of the "Doughnuts for Dads" day. It says "I love you to pieces!" and has puzzle pieces all around the wooden frame.

All in all, a big valentines day for all three boys, whether they understood the whole concept or not. And, most of these parents went above and beyond in their valentines treats, because we filled a whole candy dish with the contents of these three bags!

Photo Flashback

Yeah, he still makes that same expression - it's the "What do you have that I want" face. In this case, the camera. (February 3, 2006)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Little Valentine

Xander getting a valentine surprise from his preschool teacher, Ms. E. He was, of course, too busy playing to look up and smile for the camera. (Photo courtesy of Ms. E and Mr. K, her assistant, who shared the photo with us at this morning's home visit).

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Day Two

A few angry tears from Sawyer, who kept looking back over his shoulder as he was being led into school and expecting Mommy to be following (which, of course, she was not). A little bit of whining from Xander, but not much, and he actually manged to walk into the building today (being led by the hand, of course). No notes in their folders, which means all went well for the day.

Tomorrow there is no school - a pre-scheduled day for home visits - so our teachers will be coming to visit us for a little while in the morning. And then back to school again on Friday. Mommy has to fill out valentines for all the kids in both of their classes before their parties! Who wants to help?

Oh, and if you're wondering about big brother, he's fine, too. He wasn't thrilled with the idea that his brothers got to go to school today and he didn't, but he got over it. We went shopping at Sam's and took Buster for a (quite windy) walk around the block before it was time to go back and pick the little guys up.

His Valentine's party at school is tomorrow, where fathers are invited to come in and share doughnuts and juice before heading into work for the day. We worked on his Valentine's earlier this week, where he tried (mostly I held his hand and he pushed down) to sign his name on all of them. He also wanted to eat the candy that was supposed to go with them, if you can imagine!

I'll Get It

The other day, I was taking some trash (meaning dirty diapers) out to the trash container in our driveway. It takes less than a minute, but that was long enough apparently. Josh just happened to call while I was outside, and I didn't hear the phone ring.

When I came back in, there stood my four-year old in the middle of our disaster of a living room - you know, couch cushions all on the floor, pillows thrown everywhere, and toys as far as the eye can see - and he was "talking" on the phone. Not the play phone, but the real one. I heard things like . . .

"I talking to Daddy. Yes, yes. I know. That's right. Ha, ha, ha. Okay, then. (Random jabber that made no sense). Mommy's not here. Yeah, I see you later. Bye!"

My first thought was "How cute is he," having a pretend conversation that makes quite a bit of sense (minus that middle part of jabber). My second thought was "Why does he have the real phone" because I know that he knows better and he's never really tried to play with it before.

I walked over and held out my hand, explaining that we do not play with the real phone, and he quietly and obediently handed it over (which surprised me). I looked down and noticed that he had, indeed, pushed the talk button because the timer was still counting. I clicked "End" and set it back on the base.

Before I had taken two steps away, the phone started ringing.

I thought, "Oh, no, who has he called and what has he done now?"

Turns out he was not playing with the telephone, he was merely answering it because it rang and Mommy was not there to get it.

"Is Connor your new secretary?" my husband wanted to know. It seems he had actually been talking to Daddy, not just having that pretend conversation I imagined, and I had hung up on him without bothering to check! Oops.

So, do we see why our front door has a key deadbolt on the inside? My four-year old is a bit too friendly. He opens up doors, answers phones and just starts chatting away!

So, if you call our house, you have been warned. If a small voice starts saying random things, you might want to hang up and call back later! Asking to talk to Mommy won't help, according to Josh.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Connor's World

With all of the focus and attention (or most of it, anyway) on the little guys starting school this week, I'll share a bit of Connor's world. Tonight, as we do most nights, Connor and I read a few books before bed (filling up his reading sheet for preschool, of course). He even "read" one of them to me - Go, Dogs! Go - and was pretty accurate. After we were done reading, he shared a story of his own. It went something like this:

"I need a bike," he informed me.

"You do?" I asked, surprised because he's never shown much interest in even his Big Wheel bike.

"Yes, a big one. And I get two seats on it for the babies, up here," he said, pointing on top of his head.

"Really?" I asked, quite surprised. "The babies might hurt your head."

"Yes," he said seriously. "They ride here. We ride and ride and ride. But then they fall down. And then they cry." He seems a bit too pleased by this fact. "I not fall down though. I big boy, I hold on and ride. Babies cry."

"Oh, no."

"But then we keep going. And then the letters float up into the air and then we see all the animals and then we shoot them." (I think the letters floating reference has something to do with one of the kids favorite shows of late PBS's Word World, but I'm not sure).

"But that's not nice," I interrupt, displeased by the shooting.

"We shoot them," he says again. "Ka-pow! Ka-pow! Ka-pow!" We even get sound effects, apparently.

"We don't shoot things, that's not nice," I remind him again (for what feels like the thousandth time), tucking him in with his customary hug and kiss. He is, of course, stalling bed time with his long, drawn-out story. "That was a very good story, but it's time to go night-night now."

"Ka-pow! Ka-pow! Ka-pow!" he says again, pretending to hold a gun and knowing that Mommy does not approve. Perhaps he's picking a fight to keep me there a little bit longer.

"Connor," I say, wondering where he keeps getting this from and how to make it stop. "It's not nice to shoot anything."

"But they eat my apple. I no want them to eat my apple so I shoot them!" (I think the apple reference is from one of the books we just read - 10 Apples Up on Top - but I'm not sure.)

And with that he abruptly pulls the covers over his head and ends the conversation. That's one way to win a disagreement, I guess. What are we going to do with him? Love the imagination. Not so crazy about the shooting everything in sight, which has been a theme lately.

So, while just about everyone in the critical world is raving about Wall-E and how wonderfully it tells the story of waste and sustainability, I'm silently cursing the animated robot that has made shooting all the rage with my four-year old.

I keep reminding myself this is just a phase, much like his Thomas fascination that has faded (he still loves playing with the actual trains, just not so much on watching the show that drives adults a little crazy).

Sigh. This, too, shall pass . . .

First Day

Our cute little coat rack is looking a bit crowded these days. And you have no idea how hard it is to find backpacks for little kids in the middle of the school year - these were on sale at Dick's Sporting Goods, thank goodness, because they were the only ones I could find and they were hanging up with the very expensive backpacking gear). Connor's bag was provided by (and required to be used for) his preschool. His little Thomas the Tank one is in the closet, used for road trips and other adventures. We opted for something more practical for the little guys, as we hope they can use them for several years (and who knows how long Thomas will be in favor).

Here are the boys actually wearing the backpacks (look how big they are on them!) - not that they left them on for very long. They were shrugging them off as I tried to quickly snap the token picture.

Waiting in line at the carpool drop off. Xander is yawning and Sawyer is dazed, which is probably not a good sign. Of course, it could have been worse, there could have been tears and screams. The rain you see out the window probably helped us out. When the staff came out to get them, they didn't have much choice but to go if they wanted out of the rain, which they did. Xander kept trying to sit down on the wet ground, so he was carried by one staff member, and then Sawyer tried the same thing, so the staff member holding Xander then took one of his hands and another staff member joined her and took Sawyer's other hand, essentially carrying him since he refused to put his feet down and be led. But they made it inside with just a few screams (they were more mad than sad, so I didn't notice any tears).

And this is my view from the parking lot, where I waited for a little while to make sure the teachers didn't need any help. I was pretty sure they wouldn't, but brought along a few things to do in the truck just in case. Xander's room is the first set of windows on the left, and Sawyer's is the next set of windows. You can see the car pool lane in the far right of the photo, and it's blurry, but a staff member is actually walking another child in under an umbrella. They walk in through a little fenced in area where the preschool playground is located.

So we all survived the first day. I left to do a few things at the house and then to go pick up Connor from his preschool. We made today a special day and went to lunch at Chic-fil-a. He didn't eat much, which shouldn't surprise me, but he did have a few french fries and drink his Coke. And he really enjoyed playing on the indoor play area. Mommy is such a sucker. She told him he would have to eat first, but when it came down to it, I was just ready for a little peace. I took my Coke to a table just outside the play area and turned him loose with the others. He'll be hungry before dinner, but that will have to be when he learns his lesson today. He's going to get his reheated lunch that he didn't eat (or nothing). We have to learn to not be wasteful, right?

After a while, Mommy got bored (next time I'll take a book or something). We still had about 30 minutes before the little guys would be finished for the day, so we decided to stop by the store to pick up something we needed. Connor likes to go shopping, even though he didn't get to ride in the race car cart (we only needed one thing, and we didn't have a whole lot of time today). He was cute, talking to anyone within shouting distance. He gets lots of smiles that way.

And finally we headed back towards the little guys school and home. Connor was fascinated by their school (it's much bigger than his, since it's located in the back of one of the local middle schools). He was also fascinated, as usual, by the directions we were taking to get there. The boy loves to know where everything is when he's driving. It's like he's trying to put the whole world in context of where he is at that precise moment. "Where's GrammyPappy's house? Where's Grandma an' Grandpa at the lake? Where's the beach? Where's Grandma Jo's? Where's store? Where's Mommy's house? Where's my school?"

We went through it while we were driving and again while we waited just a few minutes in the carpool line, and then Xander's teacher and the speech therapist walked out holding the boys by the hand. They were quite excited to hear Mommy's voice, and I got some of the best hugs ever from both of them. You know, the "thank heavens you came back for me" kind. They told me that the boys did pretty well for their first day, very little screaming and no tears, and they were looking forward to seeing them tomorrow.

I was a little worried about Sawyer on the way home. He sat back in his car seat with an extremely blank expression on his face and not making any of his usual noises. Though I knew he could simply be sleepy (he's had a few sleepless nights recently), I still wondered about that absent expression. It's one he gets when he's withdrawing from something he doesn't like or want to deal with. But, when we got home he snapped right out of it. He jumped right down from the truck into my arms, gave me the briefest of hugs, and went right inside the house. He's been happily playing ever since. I'm going to hope the car ride was just making him sleepy.

Xander seemed completely fine. He was jabbering and looking around like usual on the ride home. He jumped right down and went straight to the door to go inside the house, just like usual. He's been alternately watching a new Word World video and playing.

The only downside to our new school routine is something that Connor has already picked up on (smart little devil). When the teachers told the little guys "See you tomorrow," he instantly understood that they were going to have something he wasn't. He doesn't go back for two days, and he knows it. He wanted to know "How come babies go again tomorrow?" Mommy had to explain that their school was different, that they went every day and we would get to spend his other days (the ones he's not in school) doing fun stuff that was just for him and Mommy. That helped, but you could see he still didn't totally understand. And probably won't, at least not for a while, until he gets a chance to see how our new schedule is going to work. We're all going to have to figure that out.

All in all, the days seems to have gone well. Of course, we'll see how well it goes tomorrow now that they know what going to school means - being dropped off and left. Perhaps it will rain again!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Beautiful Day

How much are we loving the spring-like weather in our part of the world? Highs near 60 degrees and sunny. That is pretty near perfection, as far as Mommy is concerned. The boys and I have really enjoyed it and hope that it lasts, even if we did have to survive two weeks of snow and ice to get here!

We've spent lots of time out in the yard, playing on the swings and the slide (and playing rings with our big puppy). We've gone on stroller walks (also taking the puppy for his exercise), and even walks around the block (leaving the puppy at home while I have two and sometimes three toddlers roaming free, because how crazy do you really think I am?)

Look who's swinging all by himself (and quite proud about it, too)!

From one thing to the next, Sawyer comes off the slide and immediately heads for the swings.

Big boy swinging all by himself!

Bad puppy, eating dirt and tearing up the yard. He was banished for a little while, but Mommy eventually caved and let him back in the play area, too.

Who's Ready to Go to School?

Today our big (little) boys made their first visit to their new preschool. It went much better than I expected. There were no real tears and not much screaming (unless you count when it was time to put toys away to leave, which I don't).

Today was our trial run, of sorts. When I made the site visit last week, I talked with the teachers and others at the school about how best to transition them into this new phase of their life. I thought it would be best to start them on a Tuesday or Thursday, when I would already have Connor in school and could stay to help get them settled, if that became necessary. We also talked about bringing them in for a short visit during the actual class time, where I would stay with them and just let them look around and explore their new classrooms and the new people they would be seeing on a daily basis. That was today, and it went surprisingly well.

Of course, we almost didn't make it in time. Today was the day that Xander didn't wake up until after 10 a.m. - and only then because I went upstairs to wake him. Sawyer has been restless the last few nights, and has probably been keeping his brother (who likes his sleep) up a bit. So I woke him up, quickly got him some breakfast (since he'd missed dinner after falling asleep early last night), and got us ready to go. Pappy, who was nice enough to offer to help us out this morning, had picked up Connor a bit earlier for a late breakfast at Cracker Barrel.

So, we made it a few minutes later than we planned, but we made it. Sawyer was a bit hesitant coming out of the truck (which is normal for him), but he eventually came and then both boys walked on their own (holding Mommy's hand) into their new school. Mommy signed in, while Xander got busy exploring the hallway in general and Sawyer found a corner by the doorway, where a brightly colored piece of artwork was covering some glass, and he amused himself tracing the shapes and watching the light change - one of his favorite things in the world. That was probably a very good beginning.

Next, we were met by one of the therapists, the resource teacher, and the boys actual teachers. We came to Xander's classroom first, and Xander walked right in and started playing. Sawyer followed, even though this was not his room, and quickly made a beeline for the water table (empty, at this point). We stayed there for a few minutes, and then we had to drag Sawyer away into his classroom. He was not big on leaving the water table and the balls he'd found, but Mommy carried him into his classroom and we quickly got him entertained with some other toys. And there he stayed, pretty happy for the most part.

All in all, we were there about an hour. I was back and forth between the two classrooms, talking with the teachers and their assistants, the therapist and the others. If I'd had their things ready, I probably could have left them today. As it was, I still need to get them backpacks (big enough to hold all their things and not break their backs), and fill out the paperwork for their meal plans.

But neither was upset when I left their room to check on their brother. Neither was particularly ready to go when it was time (we were kind of disrupting the regular classroom). And that makes me hopeful.

Tomorrow we officially start. We will go at 10:35 to the car pool line, where I will unbuckle them from their seats and hand them off to the waiting staff to be ushered into their classes. I'm not sure how that abrupt transfer is going to go, considering we usually walk them into places, but we've decided to try to get them into the routine as quickly and as easily as possible. I will probably wait in the parking lot with my cell phone, just in case. But after today, I'm hopeful that it will not be necessary, that I will simply leave and come back at 1:35 to get them.

They will be in good hands, learning new things and being exposed to new environments. And, hopefully, they will be enjoying this new adventure.

Their journey, and ours, continues . . .

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Tasty Treat(s)

This afternoon, Josh and I decided to run a few errands with the kids. That's pretty rare for us, because Josh is usually either working on the weekends or recovering from working 80 hours the rest of the week. But, he needed to look at some potential lots for someone wanting to build a house (I guess he was technically working, again). So, we loaded the kids up in my truck and off we went.

Our first stop was Dairy Queen, for some milkshakes. We actually meant to use a gift card we've had for a while, but totally forgot about it. Guess we'll have to have more ice cream again soon! Our next stop was Krisp Kreme. We had planned on picking up some doughnuts for this week's breakfast.

You know what they say about the best laid plans, right? Our conversation in the drive thru went something like this:

"We'll take six of the glazed creme filled . . . " Josh began.

"We don't have any of those right now," the waitress interrupted.

"Oh, okay . . . we'll take six of the lemon filled . . ."

"We only have two of those left."

"Oh, okay . . . we'll take some of the chocolate iced cream filled . . ." For once, no interruptions. And we actually managed to find 12 we could live with after a few more misses. And then came time to use our coupon from the paper, where you get half off a regular glazed dozen (the only kind the boys like) after buying an assorted dozen.

"We don't have any glazed right now. There won't be any for at least an hour."


What kind of business is this? Was there a run on doughnuts at 5 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon? Really? Because I don't understand how you can't have anything left. Early in the day, perhaps right after church, yes, I would believe that. But 5 p.m.? We sat there in stunned silence for a minute, and then told the lady thanks but no thanks and drove off.

Clearly when the "Hot Now" sign is off, it should simply read "Keep Driving."

But the rest of our errands ran more smoothly. We looked at the two lots, and then picked up some take out on the way home (McDonald's, of course, for the kids, and some pad thai for us, if you were wondering). Xander missed out, since he fell asleep before we ever even thought about getting the food. He's going to be really hungry come morning.

If only we could have gotten some doughnuts . . .

Snapshot Sunday

Sawyer looking for something else to organize and line up. He's resourceful these days. He had to pull the dining room table chair across the kitchen and then climb up to the cabinet where we keep the plastic plates for the boys. That's okay, though. It's certainly better than the day he decided to organize the glass ones.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Who's in Charge?

In charge of the world, it's how I often describe my four-year old. If you need further proof, let's just say that he's out on another of his fun adventures, after already having two in the last week. The walls definitely don't get a chance to close in on him.

Grammy picked him up yesterday after work to deliver him to Aunt Kelly, who has a special weekend planned for him. Last night I'm sure there was staying up late and playing. Today is a combination of seeing the new children's movie Hotel for Dogs, getting something to eat, and going to the park now that the cold weather is finally breaking.

Yes, it's rough to be four. Where do I sign up?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Photo Flashback

Little bitty guys, for them anyway. Xander at about 6 lbs. on the left, and Sawyer at about 7 lbs. on the right. (February 02, 2006)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

In Pictures

He does look like someone who's in charge of the world, doesn't he? Connor spent a long weekend at the lake with Grandma and Grandpa, finally got to go back to preschool after the week that was snow and ice, and even went to the indoor swimming pool last night with Uncle Luke and his girlfriend Lizzie (we'll pretend it wasn't a school night and they didn't wait to leave until 7 p.m. and stop at McDonald's on the way home for Cokes and milkshakes). He also saw Grammy and Pappy today at the house, where he got to read books and play with "his" McDonald's kitchen. Who doesn't want his life?

And this one, well he just has no idea what he's in for next week. Today Mommy made the site visit to the little guys' preschool classrooms and met with their teachers and one of their new therapists (the other one comes to school on a different day, so we'll meet them later). No, he was busy lining up his letters on the new art easel (the magnetic board side) and happily playing while Grammy and Pappy were entertaining and Mommy was plotting such evil. I'm guessing he's not going to be pleased.

This one, well, he's probably going to scream the place down. Grammy and I are taking bets on which twin is going to resent preschool the most. We're pretty sure Xander is going to win, mostly because he's the quickest to anger and the loudest to protest. Just look at that face, he's already in the mood for a fight.

And this one, well he wins for the most pitiful face ever (though Connor has a pretty good pout, too). Yes, the first baby of the family is terribly neglected and abused. He doesn't have his own room, with his own enormous dog bed or dog door that lets him out into the nice fenced yard and even up on to the deck where he likes to bark at people who dare to walk on his sidewalk. He doesn't get puppy treats every single day (multiple times), have pepperoni bought just for him, or all the leftover meat from dinner. And he definitely doesn't get rubbed all evening while Mommy relaxes after the boys have gone to bed. No, you must have him confused with someone else, because he's too pitiful for all that.