Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Vacation, Day Two

There was some shopping ...

... some race cars (he wanted six rides, but I think he settled for four) ...

... some napping (from a still not completely well little boy) ...

... and some outside time.

Grandma and Grandpa tell us he's doing better, though still needing a little extra rest to make it through the day. He took a nap this afternoon, which of course meant he was ready for to end the day at the swimming pool!

It's a hard life, he says, but someone has to live it.

I'll Take That, Thanks

Starting to Eat Again, originally uploaded by cheryl.

Even though I know it's bad to encourage him, and most of the time I try not to do it, today I let it slide.

Sawyer has a really bad habit of just walking up and taking what he wants. He doesn't always understand (or perhaps I should say he isn't always willing to acknowledge) the social skill of asking for something he wants and waiting to receive (or be denied) permission to have it. He actually tends to just walk up and take.

I will never forget the day at the playground when my little boy who rarely sought interaction with anyone walked all the way across the playground and literally started eating cereal out of someone else's hand (someone who was nice and didn't seem to mind a little boy not bothering to ask or even look at her first, who just walked straight over to her and reached his hand in and took).

So it was today with my lunch. I was cleaning out some of the leftovers in the refrigerator and settled on some leftover macaroni and cheese Connor had requested before he left on vacation. Xander won't touch it, and Sawyer hasn't been eating anything since Sunday. That left me.

But today Sawyer decided he was in the mood for macaroni. While I was taking a drink, he just walked around me and picked up the container and walked away and started eating. It was kind of cute, even though we don't usually allow that kind of thing. He has to ask, with at the very least a pointed finger if not a hand-over-hand sign for either "more" or "please" to go along with it.

But today I let it go. It was enough just to see him eating again. The poor kid hasn't had anything to eat in days, and he LOVES to eat. We'll work on the lesson another day.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Vacation, Day One

Connor wasn't up for going "up on top of the mountain" yesterday, or so he told Grandma and Grandpa.

So day one kept them pretty close to the condo, with only a few stops on the way in to pick up some groceries and some Krispy Kreme doughnuts for breakfast.

Our gamer, taking a break before pool time.

And our swimmer, enjoying the indoor pool despite still not feeling 100 percent just yet. Grandma and Grandpa tell me he's slowly getting better. Apparently he was right, he would feel better in the mountains!

These Four Walls

Though I love my house, the walls are definitely closing in on us. We've been a sick house since late last week, with at least one and sometimes all three little boys feeling under the weather.

The good news is that two of them are on the mend. Connor talked his way into going to the mountains and then back to the lake with Grandma and Grandpa today for the rest of his Spring Break. It had been the plan all along, of course, until he started coughing like a chain smoker last week. That deep, nasty kind of cough that just won't go away. That, and the constant sleeping. But he's been getting steadily better, actually showing bursts of energy last night, getting down in the floor to play rather than just laying on the couch with his brothers.

If that were not enough to convince us, his cuteness won out. Last night as I was putting him to bed, I was asking him how he felt. Usually I get "I a little sick" or "I okay" or something along those lines. Last night it was "I okay" followed by a long pause. As I was getting ready to go, he added, "I feel better in the mountains."

Sneaky little boy. Of course he would. And I hadn't mentioned the trip at all the last few days, because I was seriously worried he wasn't going to be well enough to go earlier in the week and didn't want a sick and miserable little boy. But he remembered, and he thought he was well enough.

I was on the fence up until that point, but I just couldn't refuse him. I gave Grandma and Grandpa the option, told them they would probably be taking a semi-well little boy who may or may not be up to his usual activities. Turns out they couldn't refuse him either, so off he went this morning.

Xander has also been improving. Still not eating much, but he's keeping down what little he eats and he's even gone back to wanting milk (and keeping it down as well). He's also shown a lot more energy the last few days. Today we even snuck outside for a while to enjoy the warm weather - chasing bubbles, playing on the swings and even playing a little bat and ball.

And that just leaves the last one. He's by far the most pitiful of any of them. He was the last one to get sick, and it appears he got hit the hardest. The little boy who never sleeps has done nothing but sleep since Sunday afternoon. He was awake maybe three hours yesterday. He's not even hit that mark today, sleeping all but about two hours so far. There is no food at all to tempt him, even his beloved dry cereal is pushed away. Yesterday I got lots of Sprite into him, today we've had lots of Gatorade. So far so good, as far as him keeping it down. But he can't seem to stay awake.

And that makes our walls close in. Xander and I went outside for a little while today, but I was constantly running back and forth making sure he was still sleeping comfortably and didn't need anything. And we can't venture out any further into these beautiful Spring days with one little boy still so clearly not well.

Monday, March 29, 2010

... and They All Fall Down

And It Continues ..., originally uploaded by cheryl.

It was only a matter of time. First Connor. Then Xander. And now Sawyer.

Let's just say we spent a lot of time laying around today, once the boys actually managed to get out of bed. We've also been cleaning up the beds, the floors and the couch. Several times.

Two of the three are on the mend. And the last one probably still has another day or two to go. What a fun spring break!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Sick & Pitiful

Sick & Pitiful, originally uploaded by cheryl.

Sickness comes in waves to our house. First it was Connor, a little bit run down and a lot of coughing. Next was Xander, who apparently picked up a stomach bug. Sawyer, so far, seems immune. But all three boys are off schedule. The two sick and pitiful ones have taken a nap every day since Wednesday. The one well has even snuck in a nap or two (which is very out of character for him). Visitors beware ...

Friday, March 26, 2010

Time to Slow Down

Today was one of those days where I felt like I had a million things to do, all before the day was half over, and in trying to do all of those things, I didn't do any of them particularly well.

Spring Break is upon us, and the boys are out of school until April 5th. Connor was having his annual Easter Egg hunt at 11:15 this morning, and parents were invited to attend. Sawyer's class was having story time near the end of their day at 1 o'clock. And today also happened to be the last work day (where people would be available to consult anyway) before a rather large freelance project is due on Monday.

The morning started off badly. I was up late last night (finishing up edits on said freelance project, because Connor was up late and I also squeezed in our big, two-hour grocery run of the month). The alarm went off before eight, and in our house, that's a bad sign. Josh was long up and gone for work. That meant I had to get myself and three little boys up and ready so we could take Connor to school at 9 a.m.

So how many little boys do you think were awake at that ungodly hour? On a normal day, probably all of them. Today, not a single one. I started with Connor, because his room is first in the hallway. He's been laying around kind of pitiful the last few days, complaining of being tired and "a little sick" though there is nothing much wrong with him (other than the fact that he really does seem tired). I asked him if he felt well enough for school, which he said he did, at least after I reminded him about the Easter egg hunt. And he proceeded to get up and get himself dressed and downstairs.

Next was Sawyer, who had managed to wake himself up while I was getting Connor ready. He was happy to see me so quickly after waking up (trust me, when he's up at 6 a.m., he enjoys his room for a while). I took him to the bathroom and got him downstairs and started on his dry cereal and milk. Xander came wandering down shortly after him, so I handed him his cereal and milk and then ran upstairs to get their clothes together and brought them back down to get them dressed.

We all managed to get ourselves ready in time, and the twins even did well taking Connor into school. I had to carry Xander, but with a little help from Connor's teachers (they signed him in for me), I didn't have to let go of either twin and we made it out the door without any meltdowns. I was actually still feeling pretty good about the day at this point. That's probably the first time in months we've managed a drop off at Connor's school without some sort of issue out of the twins, either screaming or laying down and not wanting to leave his classroom.

So, back to the house. I turn on the twins favorite SuperWhy on PBS so I can follow through on my plan to bake cookies for the teachers on the last day before Spring Break. I also check in on my freelance project edits and make plans to stop out later in the day to pick up a few more. At this point, everything is still good.

Then the photo you see above, the one I usually include on the cookie container, won't print. After four tries! The good day is slipping away, because it's getting late and Xander has taken off his shoes and left them somewhere that is apparently not obvious to anyone. They are upstairs in our walk-in closet, of all places, where he is not technically supposed to be.

We finally get everyone out the door and on the way to school. I also grab the bank deposit Daddy has requested I put in today on one of my "breaks" from the boys. Off we go. Drop off goes pretty well, though Sawyer is still not happy to let go of my hand and keeps trying to fall down (we've been having this little problem for a few weeks now and are still trying to figure out what's bothering him). Mrs. S, one of his teachers, finally has the brilliant idea of letting him carry the cookie container inside. He was all for that, having already sampled the cookie dough at home. I'm pretty sure he even went into school with chocolate still smeared on his mouth (it was that kind of morning).

So off I went to run my errand. I still had a few minutes before Connor's Easter egg hunt, so I ran home to finish cleaning up the dishes from the cookie baking session (it killed me to go out the door and leave them dirty in the sink, but we were late)! Then I remembered to go upstairs and make the twins' beds. In my rush to get their clothes on them, I had forgotten. I also noticed that Xander hadn't touched his dry cereal or milk.

And that's where the day got worse. Xander's room was a disaster. He had apparently thrown up all over his bed during the night (numerous times). The comforter, the sheets, the pillow cases, the mattress pad - all of it was covered. I had just enough time to pull that mess off and just set it in the laundry room (fun for later, of course).

Off to Connor's school, at this point a little late, because I simply was not going to leave that mess on the bed. I arrived in time to see him happily in the floor with his eggs. The hunt was already over, though in fairness, it only lasts about 30 seconds. The preschool staff members just toss all the eggs in the floor of the big, open music room and the kids line up and go when they hear the word. I was there last year, and it was over before it even started.

Connor didn't seem to mind at all that I'd missed the big event. He was in the floor playing with his good friend Jack and his Mom. He was just happy to see me. We got his things from the classroom and called it a day (30 minutes early for the kids whose parents came in for the hunt). We stopped by the office of my freelance project, discussed the edits and picked up some pieces I needed to work on this afternoon.

Next on the schedule was lunch. I wasn't thrilled about stopping at the Arby's on that side of town, it's one of the smaller deals attached to a gas station, but it's pretty much the only option between that office and the twins' school. So that's where we ate. And the food was good, it just took forever to actually get it. And the service was less than friendly. Needless to say, we didn't stay long as we sometimes do on our lunch days. We left within 20 minutes, and we were much too early to pick up brothers from school, so we simply headed home. I knew there was still a mess in the laundry room to tackle.

So have you figured out what I forgot about? Sawyer's story time was at 1 o'clock. We would have been a few minutes early, but that had been my original plan. Pick up edits, get lunch on that side of town with Connor (otherwise we would have went to the good Arby's), then stop by Sawyer's school for story time. Totally forgot about it. Too focused on getting home to make edits and to clean up the giant mess waiting in the laundry room.

Which, come to think of it, I probably should have called the school to check on Xander. He had seemed fine, except for the not eating (which I didn't notice until later). He got dressed and ready for school, and even jumped out of the truck at car line easily enough. But clearly he was not, given the mess I found in his room.

But I didn't think about that either, so we went to pick them up at normal time. Both seemed fine. Now, edits are done and the mess is on its way to being cleaned back up. Still at least one more load to wash, because the comforter was so bad I had to take it outside and hose it off before I could even wash it! Yes, it was that bad.

One little boy (Connor) is upstairs asleep, complaining he still doesn't feel well. Another one (Xander) is half asleep on the couch, though no more sickness at this point. And the last one (Sawyer) is bouncing around just like usual.

I think it's definitely time to slow down and take a break. Two little boys apparently need it to get well, one will hopefully get over his aversion to being dropped off at school after a little break, and maybe Mommy get the time to take a breath and not feel like she lives in her truck!

Spring Break couldn't have come at a better time. Now, if only life will cooperate a little bit! We'll see what the week brings ...

Photo Flashback

Look how much we've grown!

Xander, back when the hair was still long.

Sawyer, getting ready to climb.

And Connor, Mr. Personality even at three!

(March 20, 2008)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Just Kidding

This is Sawyer, the day after he gave everyone at school a hard time. He says he was just having a bad day on Wednesday. He's very sorry. (And thanks to Mrs. R for sending the pic of him today in class!)

Sleepy Boy

Sleepy Boy, originally uploaded by cheryl.

Looks like someone at our house is getting into a bad sleeping pattern already, and Spring Break is still a few days away!

Connor fell asleep late yesterday afternoon, which meant he was up until we went to bed last night (late by three or four hours for him, if you're wondering).

This morning he was up bright and early, which is typical for him on the days that he doesn't have school. And then he crashed again, earlier today. He started getting sleepy about lunch time. He barely made it back from picking up brothers from school about 2 p.m.

It's 4:30 now, and he's still sleeping the day away. Perhaps he wants to stay up late to watch the basketball game tonight? Or perhaps he's gearing up for next week, when he'll spend part of his Spring Break in the mountains with Grandma and Grandpa. Either way, he's definitely off schedule.

And he's probably not going to be in the mood to get up tomorrow morning for school, even with annual Easter egg hunt. So it goes ...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

All Smiles

All Smiles, originally uploaded by cheryl.

Sawyer wants to apologize to his teachers (and therapists and other staff members) for his behavior today at school. Because the side he showed to them was nothing like the little boy he was for me at home.

It started at school as it has for the last week or so. He's been clingy at drop off, not wanting to let go of me and making one of the teachers carry him all the way into school from the car line. Usually, he's fine once they get him inside.

Today, not so much. Today he was fussy and whiny. He also promptly fell asleep for about an hour maybe 15 minutes into the school day. But then he woke back up with more of the same. He was clutching his stomach a little, screaming a lot, and demanding to be held constantly. And perhaps most telling, he was refusing to eat. It was pizza day, which is not a favorite school lunch by any means, but he wouldn't even touch the snack we keep packed in his backpack.

All together, it wasn't typical Sawyer. So his teacher called (which we love, that the teachers know him well enough to know when he's having an off day and wanted to talk to someone about it).

Connor and I said so-long to our afternoon plans for a bike ride around the neighborhood, and instead went straight from his preschool to the twins' school (see post below for Xander's related story from today).

We talked to a few people at school about Sawyer's unusual behavior today and also about some things that are coming up next month and next school year that affect the boys. I took Sawyer straight from his teacher's arms, where he was refusing to be leave until he actually noticed who was trying to take him. We also ended up bringing Xander home because he was determined not to be left behind. He kept peeking in at us in the hallway from the playground door saying "truck?"

So home we all went. That was a sight, let me tell you. I was carrying Sawyer, who was wearing his backpack. In the hand I was using to hold him up, I also had some papers we need to fill out and return to school as well as Xander's jacket and backpack, which he could barely be convinced to get from his classroom, much less actually put on. I took hold of his hand with my free one, and told Connor to just stay close as we made our way out the door and across the parking lot.

The minute we got home, guess who jumped out of the truck and into my arms. I got a big, long hug from Sawyer/ And as soon as we were inside the house, a tug on my hand took me to the kitchen. Seems someone was hungry after all.

I made us all lunch - leftover Zaxby's chicken fingers and french fries from the oven (and some applesauce and mandarin oranges). Sawyer ate us all under the table. Three whole chicken fingers. French fries. Applesauce and oranges. And a whole sippy cup of juice.

He did clutch at his stomach a time or two for during the afternoon, but never with any screaming or even any real fussiness. He didn't even want me to hold him as he had been doing to his teachers all day.

What he wanted - or at least what I think he wanted - was some very intense sensory input. As soon as he was done eating, he went straight for the big, bouncy exercise ball the boys have stolen from Daddy's exercise room upstairs. He will bounce on that thing for what seems like hours. And that's just what he did, the entire 45 minutes or so it took for everyone else to finish up lunch and for me to clean up the mess. Rock and bounce, rock and bounce, all with that big grin of his.

Next we headed outside. He LOVES to be outside, especially if it involves swinging. He went straight for the swings and was on them for hours. Smiling, grinning, laughing. Always ready for more. Not a single scream or frown or belly clutch. Totally fine. Well enough for icees, even, as you can see.

So, Sawyer would really like to apologize to everyone at school, I'm beginning to think the kid just thought it was too nice a day to be at school and decided he was ready to go home.

Sneaky little thing.

How Far We've Come

Today, Connor and I stopped in at the twins' school while class was still in session. As I drove past the preschool playground, I noticed Xander's class was outside for recess. This was not necessarily a good thing. He knows my truck. He knew that I was inside that truck. And he thought it was time to go.

He stood over at the edge of the playground fence, looking toward the truck. Connor and I got out to go inside. He stood there, staring at us as we made our way across the parking lot. I knew better than to try to hide from him, so I walked where he could see us until we reached the sidewalk. We were going to be turning in the other direction to go inside. He watched us the whole way, completely done with whatever recess he'd been enjoying just moments before.

When we were close enough for him to hear, I said "Hi, Xander!"

He grinned and said "Hi!" and started waving with his stiff little wave.

We still needed to go inside, so I looked over at him and said, "Bye-bye, see you!" as we started to turn and go the opposite direction (it's his script for good-bye). He said it back to us, waving even more enthusiastically.

The bad news is that he wasn't meaning that the way you would probably think. He was excited because he thought I was there to pick him up and take him "bye-bye," which wasn't exactly the case.

But we'll overlook that part. What was amazing about that moment was the interaction. He responded to both of my greetings, both verbally and with a wave. He was communicating appropriately and consistently.

A year ago, you wouldn't have gotten any of that. He might have stood by the edge of that fence and screamed and cried or even tried to climb over it to get to where we were standing. It's just another sign of how very far he's come in the last year.

As for why Connor and I were at school during the day ... well that's another post for later (once I've downloaded a picture or two to share).

Monday, March 22, 2010


And so it begins ...

Today was the first day we managed to forget something important for school. Connor's school bag, with his snack (or lunch, really) included, made it to the garage but didn't quite make it to school.

In between getting the mail out to the box and getting Connor's booster seat into Daddy's truck, neither Connor nor Daddy noticed until after they got to school that the bag was still at home. They were too busy worrying about the chocolate doughnuts and milk they were enjoying for breakfast on the way, apparently.

When I took the twins out to my truck for their school a little after 10 this morning, I saw it sitting on the table in the garage. Oops.

So after I got the twins off to their school, I stopped back by Connor's school so he would have something to eat. The class was out, which meant the door was locked. They were either playing in the gym or in music class, so I simply hung it on the outside of the door and hoped for the best. Mostly that the class hadn't already had snack time, since I was pretty sure the backpack and kiddie lunch were safe inside the Christian preschool.

Turns out I was right. And we need not have worried anyway. Josh told me tonight that he told the teacher he could stop back by the house to get it, but the school keeps extra snacks on hand in the office for just such occasions. Which was why he didn't call me. But I didn't mind, because Connor's school was on my way back home anyway. And that means the school can save the snack for another child at another time.

So tell me why I am suddenly seeing visions of last minute homework and projects suddenly being left behind or completely forgotten until the morning they're due? Clothes that were supposed to be washed the night before for special days at school but no one bothered to mention? Lunches packed or monies turned in for field trips?

I'm sure it's only the beginning ...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Adventures of the Baby Sat

It's been a good week to be Connor.

On Tuesday, he spent the day with Aunt Kelly at the local kids playland (think lots of inflatables and lots of concessions). He also did some shopping and had some lunch.

Last night Grammy and Pappy came over to watch the boys so we could have a much-needed night out. We did P.F. Chang's and a little shopping, if you're wondering. The boys went for a stroller ride, played in the back yard, and enjoyed a McDonald's dinner (the twins' favorite)! Then Connor got to stay up late with Grammy watching one of his movies (meaning one his brothers do not like and one he therefor does not get to watch often). Because he was going home with Grammy for another adventure today.

Today Grammy took Connor and cousin Ryleigh to the indoor swimming pool. They played and splashed and played some more. They even had lunch out.

It's a hard life, Connor says, but someone has to live it.

Out of Sync

Sawyer slept in today.

Normally, that means he slept until maybe 8 or 9 a.m. Because, after all, he is our early riser. He's usually awake and moving by around 6:30 a.m. He requires much less sleep than the rest of us. No more than 8 to 10 hours total in a day.

Every once in a while, it might even mean 10 a.m. One day this week I had to wake him up for school about that time, and it was a hard wake up, let me tell you. I dressed him while he was still asleep, if that tells you anything. He would kind of open his eyes and look at me for a moment, but then he'd close them and tuck his head back under my chin. He wasn't ready to be up yet.

When the kid sleeps, he really sleeps. He goes and goes and goes until he crashes. Often it's quick and complete. He can be sitting or standing even, and just fall over asleep. He's hard to wake up, either with noise or movement. He sleeps and wakes to his own schedule. It's usually pretty predictable.

Not today. No, today the kid slept until after 1. In the afternoon.

According to Grammy, he crashed about 9 o'clock last night. He wasn't even up for playing after bath time, which is a treat the boys only get with sitters. He just crashed on her and went to sleep.

And he was up this morning, maybe around 7:30 or so for a little while. But then he fell back asleep. And he slept. And slept and slept. Until 1 o'clock in the afternoon.

I'm still in shock. I don't think the kid has ever slept for that amount of time, even counting the one break in between. Hopefully sleeping that much at one time has not short-circuited his schedule. I don't think I'm up for a middle-of-the-night awakening that lasts until bed time tomorrow night.

Let's be honest. I'm not even up for a 6 a.m. awakening. I think 1 o'clock in the afternoon sounds great.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Photo Flashback

Three brothers. See if you can tell them apart. (March 23, 2007)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Beautiful Day

Shot of the Day, originally uploaded by cheryl.

Sunshine. We've missed it these last few weeks. And today it made a big comeback. Not a cloud in the sky, a high near 60 degrees, and a good spring day to be outside.

Connor and I had big plans for our day. We dropped brothers off at school, then headed to the neighborhood garage to get the oil changed in my truck. What we love about this particular garage is that it's only a few blocks from a neighborhood park. Easy walking distance, especially on a nice spring day.

Conveniently enough, the road we walk along to get to the park goes right past the house of one of Connor's best friends from preschool. So we called to see if they were up for joining us. We knew they had company with a grandparent in town, but we still thought we'd ask. And Connor was in luck, because his friend was ready to escape and he tagged along.

The boys had the biggest time playing. And Mommy enjoyed the break. For once I didn't have to pretend to be a pirate up on top of the "ship" and follow each and every one of Connor's many imaginative whims. Today he had a friend, and they both kept making stuff up as they went along. It was fun to watch, and nice to sit down and not have to worry about chasing or entertaining the whole time. They were both well-behaved and didn't need much of anything - an occasional push on the swing or drink of Gatorade from my bag, and that was it.

It was even nicer because I actually ran into no less than three different people I knew, all bringing their kids out to enjoy this beautiful weather. I got to chat while the boys wore themselves out playing.

Five is a fun age. Some of the time, anyway!

More photos are here.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

"When I Get Bigger ... "

If I had a dollar for every time my five-year old says this, I would be a very wealthy woman right now. Because he says it a lot!

Sometimes it's rational. Things like, when I get bigger I'm going to drive a car or go to the big kid school. Or I'm going to have chicken fingers whenever I want (we drove past the restaurant today, but didn't stop, much to his dismay).

Sometimes it's a stretch. For instance, when he gets bigger he's going to build an upside down house or build a big bridge to jump his car off of and crash. Or maybe he's going to build us a great big house, you know, after he tears down the one we live in right now (with no thought about where we would live in the interim, of course).

And other times it's just plain ridiculous. He's going to build a car with shooters on it so he can shoot all the bad guys. He's also not going to stop at stop signs because he doesn't have to.

My five-year old, he's chatty and funny. He has more personality than any little kid I know. And an imagination and vocabulary that I never would have expected at this age. The kid is going to drive his teachers crazy in school. Always talking, always absorbing every little bit of information from everywhere, and always an opinion about everything.

And never quite content with where he is right this moment, always looking toward the next big or fun thing.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Brotherly Love

Life with three boys is certainly not what I expected it to be at this point.

By numbers, the boys should have much more in common than they actually do. After all, only fourteen months separates them. But with the twins' developmental delays, there is more than a single year separating them, at least when it comes to interests and abilities.

It can be hard to see that gap sometimes, to know that it may continue to get bigger and bigger as time goes on. But we try not to think about that, to instead focus on the progress each one continues to make, in their own time, in their own way. For the most part, the twins have always gone their own way. And even for identical twins, those ways are very different.

Sawyer likes to do his own thing and is hardly ever enticed into interacting with (much less actually playing with) his brothers. He occasionally interacts with adults, but mostly he just wants them to meet his needs (obtaining food, fixing a toy that is not cooperating, etc.). He entertains himself.

Xander is at a kind of in-between stage. He definitely likes to do his own thing, without any help or interference, most of the time. If he's playing with cars for instance, he wants to play with all the cars and all by himself. No one else should be trying to play with his cars. He occasionally seems to crave interaction, either with a willing adult or even with his big brother or a favorite school friend. But that interaction is typically short-lived, and soon he's back to doing something all his own.

Connor, on the other hand, always wants interaction. He wants someone to play with him, or watch him, or respond to his constant string of questions and statements. He would probably welcome brothers who were a little less independent and a little more social. Unfortunately, that's not in the cards for him.

So while we might have expected three brothers who would grow up close together in age and interests, we ended up with three very distinct individuals with their own personalities and very little shared interest at this stage of their lives.

The good news is that Connor and Xander seem to be showing a little more interest in one another. There's limited speech, probably limited understanding, but the two actually play together every single day. Usually it's a simple game of chase and tickle (with Connor, as always, the instigator of any interaction). Sometimes it's riding cars or bikes around the house and chasing each other. Or maybe it's tossing a ball or rolling a car back and forth. It's limited, and often brief, but the interaction is there. And it's starting to happen more and more often.

And that brings us to the bad news. It's all good as long as there are smiles and laughter. But there's another side to it. It's the side of a big brother constantly tormenting his little brother, just because he can.

Xander is our feisty one. Always quick to anger (and equally quick to voice that anger), always quick to react to any little affront or annoyance. Usually it results in the angry sound and also in him taking his hand and hitting his own forehead. It also usually involves screaming, very loud screaming.

Connor enjoys his anger. He looks for ways to push his buttons, to make him mad, and to keep him that way. And does things over and over again that he knows will make his little brother scream. Today he lost computer privileges for doing it on the 10-minute car ride home from school, after repeated requests for him to leave his brother alone. He simply can't help himself. Older brothers have to torment little ones. Sawyer is immune because he simply doesn't care, but Xander does. And Connor knows it.

In a world where very few things are considered normal or typical, it's nice that something actually is. It would be nicer if it was two boys sharing an interest in a particular activity or hobby. But I guess we'll settle for two boys doing what brothers do.

Driving each other crazy. Brotherly love at its best.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Snapshot Sunday

When I started the blog several years ago, I used to save my favorite photo of the week for a simple Sunday post. With my new 365 project this year, there really isn't much point in continuing Snapshot Sunday. I'm essentially selecting a favorite photo each day (assuming I've put some effort into it, and if I haven't then it's labeled "Lazy Day" on that particular post and you know I haven't)!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

To Grandma's House We Go ...

Three Brothers, originally uploaded by cheryl.

My grandmother turned 94 yesterday, and this morning the twins and I packed up the truck and made the two and a half hour drive west to visit with the extended family (lots of aunts, uncles and cousins) and to celebrate. We also met back up with Grandma and Grandpa (my parents) and Connor, so that Connor could come back home with us after his lake adventure.

There was lots of family, food and fun. Connor and Xander amused themselves pretty well for the day, sometimes even playing together. They also ate lunch pretty well considered we fed them mostly off the table with a few treats Grandma had stashed in her cooler. Sawyer kept trying to alternately steal cake icing from the birthday cake or eat jelly beans or swipe another piece of bread off the dining room table. He was like a little addict running around from place to place. And, of course, he didn't eat much lunch between all the treats. But he also played pretty well at times, too.

It's a long day, five hours in the car, but the boys did well. Sawyer took a catnap on the way there (for about an hour) and Xander stole his on the way home this afternoon (for about forty-five minutes). We'll take what we can get, since naps don't happen very often at our house these days.

We even stopped for McDonald's on the way home. Mommy would have preferred just about anything else, but it wasn't worth the fight or the expense. I settled for a large coke and a cheeseburger and will just have to munch again later!

A good day and a good visit with the extended family!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Where We Are

This morning I went to Connor's school for his annual parent-teacher conference. He passed with flying colors. I say that simply because his teacher had nothing but praise for him. Preschool is not a pass or fail kind of place.

Today's meeting was more or less an opportunity for the teachers to go over student progress and make assessments as far as kindergarten readiness is concerned. He had "check pluses" on just about everything (you get a check plus if you're doing very well, a check if you're doing well but still need to practice, and a check minus if you cannot complete a task and still need some work). Not a single check minus.

I also learned that my son is polite and well-behaved in school. His teacher was surprised that we often get "the hand" or are told "whatever" when he's not in the mood for something. And at school, he also doesn't have any problems sharing, is quiet and respectful when teachers are talking, and listens and follows directions well. He is well-liked by his peers and excels in many of the fine and gross motor activities.

In short, he is ready for kindergarten. Or "big boy school," as he likes to call it.

Of course, he is one of the older kids in his class. His fifth birthday came just a few short months after the school year began, and he will turn six just a few months into kindergarten.

And he is my adventurous child. He loves to be going and doing, and generally takes life as it comes. He looks forward to new things and is simply a sponge right now when it comes to information. He's interested in anyone and everything. We couldn't be more proud of him, and don't look for any problems with his transition next year.

Our big boy, ready for the next big adventure.

Photo Flashback

Mommy's boy. A little hug from the big boy. (March 05, 2007)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Stroller Rides Return!

Freedom!, originally uploaded by cheryl.

Though we've managed to take one or two already this year, the stroller rides have been few and far between. Too much snow and rain, and generally too cold to venture out in our part of the world this winter.

Today the warm weather continued, even with the early morning rain (the first time I've heard thunder this year, which I love)! So this afternoon the twins and I did some strolling. We took Buster on his short walk around the block, then Xander made it pretty clear that we were not stopping after that little bit of outside time. We did the long walk - around 2 miles round trip.

The boys had a big time, even if Mommy was too mean to let them get down and explore. The road we walk along is a lot busier than it used to be, and I just wasn't up to the challenge of chasing or willing to take the risk of them getting hurt. We'll work our way back up to brief walks when there's another set of adult hands nearby.

Regardless, it was good to go strolling again!

"The Dirty House"

With the recent economy, Daddy has been doing more renovation work and less new construction. Steadier income, less risk. One of his projects is for an extended family member, renovating a house that hasn't been updated in decades.

The few times we've been over there either to visit or to help Daddy, Connor refers to it, quite appropriately at the moment, as "the dirty house."

It's a sprawling 1970s ranch that was built with too many rooms and not enough open spaces. So some walls are coming down, some doorways are being reconfigured and the whole thing is getting a major facelift - wallpaper removal, paneling removal, drywall installation and repair, new paint, new flooring and updated bathrooms, and some other cosmetic fixes.

Right now, the inside is in pieces. And like any house under construction, it's dirty.

But all in all, it's a nice house. Solid construction, all brick, with four bedrooms, two and a half baths, and an attached two-car garage. It has a big, professionally built sunroom and a concrete patio off the back that opens to a large, fenced yard with big shade trees.

It's in a good neighborhood full of similar houses, with good schools very close by (and actually zoned for that neighborhood) and a big city park within walking or strolling distance. It has possibilities. Maybe even for our family one day.

But, for now, it's simply "the dirty house," as Connor calls it.

Hopefully he will reconsider the name when Daddy is finished with the remodel project, especially if we do decide to move in there one day. Can you just hear him telling his friends to come over and play at the dirty house? Because I can. And I can also picture his friends' little faces at such a request.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Long Weekend

Today was Connor's last day of school for the week. Parent-teacher conferences are Thursday and Friday at school, so he had a long weekend coming. And he, with a little help from Grandma, took full advantage.

Grandma and Grandpa drove up today from the lake to visit and to pick him up for a fun few days of one-on-one time. We met Uncle Brian for a late lunch after the twins got out of school about 2 this afternoon, then they came back to the house to watch the the boys so Mommy could go to work and Daddy could work a little later than usual.

Once Daddy came home, they headed out. Though I'm pretty sure they had to wake a tired little boy up to at least strap him into his car seat for the two-hour drive. Our big day yesterday and our early wake up today for school finally caught up with the big boy. He was tired.

That didn't stop him from helping me pack his suitcase after school or being ready to go when the time came. Long weekend equals big adventure, and he's always ready for one of those.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Beautiful Day

Whee!, originally uploaded by cheryl.

It most likely won't last, but we've had a couple of really beautiful spring-like days in our part of the world this week. Today Connor and I made the most of it while his brothers were in school.

First, we ran one errand for Daddy to the post office (tax time, of course). Then we stopped for an early lunch (chicken fingers, of course). And then we made our way to the park.

It was beautiful. Warm sunshine. Lots of kids to play with (and moms to talk to). A fun spring day to enjoy being outside.

We even spent a big part of the afternoon in our back yard, playing on our play sets. Aunt Kelly stopped over to visit after everyone was home from school, so all of us went outside for even more outside fun! Swinging. Sliding. Playing ball.

But the night didn't end there. Tonight was also Book Club night. And we were treated to not only a great lesson on dinosaurs (Connor has apparently picked up a lot from the PBS Dinosaur Train, because he was spouting off information I'd never heard of before), but also lots of fun treats and snacks. We even left with some Girl Scout cookies, because the host family has a big sister who's in a troop.

A long, but also beautiful, day.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sick Days

Being sick is no fun.

It's less so when you're the stay-at-home parent. Because life doesn't stop. There are no paid days of rest or recovery, and certainly no replacements arrive to take your place. Life just keeps going.

All the things you typically do in a day still have to be done. Kids up and dressed. Breakfast made and served and cleaned up. Backpacks and lunches ready to go. Errands to be run and groceries to be picked up. Laundry that will not wait and a puppy who still needs his walk. Picking up kids from school. Lunches and afternoon snacks. Dinner and clean up. Bath time and bed time rituals. And work, the part-time job and the freelance job, that both still need to be done.

Being sick is no fun at all.

I've been out of it for over a week now. A nasty head cold that came on late one night and just never went away. No one else in the house is sick, thank goodness. And I'm slowly starting to come out of the fog. Today I feel better. Not great, but better. And after a week of really, really bad, I'll take it.

The sunshine in our part of the world helps, too. Here's hoping they both last for a little while.

Note: I'll be back posting some of the more interesting things that have happened the past week or so that I've been wandering around in a daze. The parts I can remember, anyway.

Friday, March 5, 2010

One Day Later

The Split Lip, originally uploaded by cheryl.

In case you were wondering, here's a picture one day later. Still healing, still getting better. He a tough little guy.

Grammy stopped by to visit and help me take the boys to the park to enjoy the break in the weather. My head cold is still hanging around, but I figured the boys could use the break if I was going to take a sick weekend at home (we canceled our lake plans for the weekend because I wasn't up for the drive or the chasing that would be required in another house).

More photos from the park are here.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Down, But Not Out

Split Lip, originally uploaded by cheryl.

All in all, we've been really lucky when it comes to our boys. They've not had any serious injuries beyond the usual cuts and scrapes and bruises of childhood. We won't talk about the time Sawyer tried to put an M&M up his nose. That doesn't count. Connor had one notable tumble down a couple of stairs in our last house, but it resulted in only a cut and a rather large knot on his forehead. Xander hasn't had anything serious enough to recall.

Generally speaking, there haven't been any serious issues.

Sawyer tried to change all that tonight. The boys were playing together in another room, so we're not sure exactly what happened. All we know is Sawyer made an unusual sound for him and then the next thing we know Connor is coming over to tell us all about the blood.

Lots and lots of blood. Scary amounts of blood. Bright red and everywhere.

It took a while to wipe it up enough to figure out where it was coming from. His whole mouth and face and a large part of his shirt were covered in bright red blood. He wasn't screaming, but he was looking rather pitiful and very much wanting to be held.

Turns out he was playing and either fell (or was pushed) down pretty hard on his face. When he hit, his top teeth dug into his lower lip. There were three serious gashes in it, and it was bleeding a lot.

We contemplated stitches, because one of the cuts was pretty deep. But we weighed that against the long wait (after hours, so a trip to the ER would be in order), having to physically restrain him while someone worked on him, and then having to fight him to leave them alone once they were actually in.

Luckily for us, Grammy is a practicing ER nurse and was in the area. She stopped by to take a look, and told us he would probably only get one maybe two in the center cut. And that decided it. One stitch was not enough to put any of us through that ordeal, especially Sawyer.

Right now, it's scabbed over and starting to heal. The trick, of course, will be the same as if we had opted for that single stitch. Now we have to get him to leave the scabs alone long enough to truly heal.

So the bad news is he's got a pretty seriously split lip. The good news is that he's healing and doesn't seem terribly affected by it. Only time will tell whether he will be able to leave it alone to finish healing, or whether he's going to have a scar to show for the trouble.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Bottomless Pit

Also known as my five-year old son.

Last night for dinner we had a rare treat, something we haven't had in quite a while. We grilled ribeye steak outside. And no, it's not warming up any in our part of the world, we just wanted to.

So my five-year old is incredibly excited by this turn of events. He LOVES steak. He danced around the whole time saying "Yummy steak!" over and over again. He then proceeded to eat an entire ribeye, you know, an adult-size portion. He even ate the less choice parts, the ones we often save as scraps for our puppy. He also ate mashed potatoes and green peas and roll. And then he wanted seconds, on everything. Which he also proceeded to eat, all except a few peas, which are his least favorite of the meal.

Today for lunch, he was equally ravenous. He had two whole pieces of ham, about 25 or 30 Stax potato chips, and an entire can of mandarin oranges. And he was still hungry. He had some more chips and a big cup of milk.

And then an hour later, when it was time for his brothers to have their lunch after school, he was hungry again. As I start putting out their plates, he comes walking up and says,

"I love applesauce. I like grapes. And yogurt. And graham crackers."

Yes, you like just about everything. We know.

"Mommy, I'm hungry!"

And that's why our grocery bill is out of control. Bottomless pit, also known as the five-year old.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Busy Times

The last few days have been busy ones.

On Friday Connor's class had a field trip to a place called Monkey Joe's, where there are tons of inflatables for kids to enjoy. We spent several hours there, waiting to pick up brothers from school. A few photos are here, though the lighting conditions are less than ideal. He was ready for a nap before we even made it home after picking up brothers.

The end of last week also included another freelance marketing project for me, so I've started working on that in my spare time.

This was also my weekend to work at my part-time job, so I put in eight hours on Saturday and six hours on Sunday. That took up much of my weekend. The boys spent time with Daddy and also some time with Pappy just hanging out around the house.

Today school resumed for all three boys. I also had an in-depth interview with two school psychologists who are part of the team that will evaluate Xander for a possible autism diagnosis. That took a little over two hours.

Did I mention busy?