Thursday, April 17, 2014

last weekend

I am delayed in posting this- we had a hectic weekend, capped off with 2 nights of Passover seders and then 2 nights of me working.  This is my first lazy night on the couch in a week!

We had beautiful weather over the weekend, which put everyone in a good mood.  Saturday was Eric's birthday, and we had a family morning at the zoo.  The first time we have been to the zoo as a family of 5!  Ever since Charlotte's birth, I have taken the kids to the zoo by myself.

no way to get all 5 of us looking at the camera
Boo at the Zoo
 The weather was beautiful, and we had a great time.  We left right as everything was getting busy, and everyone but Benjamin (and mommy and daddy) took a good nap.

After good naps, we went to get ice cream and water ice at the Rita's near our house.  The boys each got a water ice, and Charlotte and Daddy shared an ice cream cone.  I love this series of pictures:


"What's that in Daddy's hand?"

"Oooh, I want some..."


Playing around

Taking a break from intense water ice consumption
 Saturday night, Eric and I had a date night dinner in the city, which was really nice.  We got home a little early, so we went on a walk around the neighborhood while my parents continued to babysit.

Sunday the weather was even more beautiful.  I took the kids to Smith Playground, and I don't have photos because taking 3 mobile kids to a place like that is very anxiety-producing and requires every bit of attention I have.  I definitely lost the boys every now and then in an effort to keep an eye on my escapee daughter.  Asher insisted on wearing his super-cool sunglasses, which he lost when we got there.  Then I kept losing the kids.  They did have fun, and we met up with my cousin's husband and son for some play time and a picnic.  Unfortunately, people are kind of rude and disgusting and let their dogs poop all over the lawn where kids play and people picnic, so Asher stepped in dog poop, and then Charlotte stepped in poop, too.  Then I was overheated and we got in the car to go home, and sat in traffic the whole way home.  I was so exhausted!

My sister and I went for a jog together- I am supposedly getting ready for the Broad Street Run and wanted to do a long run, but it was 80 degrees and very sunny, so I pooped out.  She scolded me and I think isn't convinced I will be able to finish the 10 mile run, but I'll show her!

Sunday night we had our first dinner outside.  Our neighbors were all gathered, but we had invited my parents and a friend of my sister's to our house.  We stayed out way after dark, talking and eating. It was nice, and the kids were great and in good moods.

The kids are in spring break this week, so we have had some extra play time together.  Our Passover was fun, and the boys loved playing with their big cousins.  Even Charlotte loves being one of the gang!  Now we are looking forward to a weekend with Memere and Pepere and celebrating Easter.

Friday, April 11, 2014

4 year well visit + 15 month well visit

Asher/Stevie Wonder at lunch today

Big girl tackling the playground
Benjamin playing with photo booth on my computer
Today we had a combined appointment for all 3 kids.  Being the super-mom that I am, I forgot to write down anyone's height or weight, but here is what I remember.

Asher: 36.8 lbs, 40.25 inches
Benjamin: 34.2 lbs, 39.25 inches
Charlotte: 27 lbs, 31.25 inches

Charlotte is rapidly gaining on her brothers!  Asher was around the 50th percentile for height and weight; Benjamin's weight was much lower (30? I can't remember), and Charlotte's weight is in the 96th percentile, and her height is around the 70th percentile.  She is one very solid munchkin.

Overall, the kids are all in good health, and there were very few concerns.  The doctor said we could try to get speech therapy for Benjamin since he still mispronounces words (or, as he says it, "I say the wrong words"), but he will also be able to get speech once he starts elementary school.  I don't think he has trouble at school, or with friends understanding him, but I'll check in with his teacher.

We did get a referral to PT for Asher, because his torticollis is getting worse.  It had improved for a long time, and I had stopped noticing it, but now I'm noticing it again, and the doctor agreed that it is noticeable and could become problematic as he gets older.  Ugh.  She didn't seem overly concerned about the fact that Asher doesn't eat fruit, even though I am.  She said we could start giving him rewards for trying bites of fruit, but I can guarantee he won't put a piece of fruit in his mouth.  He eats enough dried fruits and veggies that he isn't stopped up, but I don't think it's healthy to exclude an entire food group.

Charlotte checked out just fine in every way.

All 3 kids got shots.  Asher went first, he was quite anxious and the nurse asked that I pin back his arms (he was snuggled in my lap).  He shrieked!  Then he got on Daddy's lap and calmed down quickly.  Benjamin was next, and he didn't make a peep!  I was really surprised.  Charlotte was last, and Asher got upset that he was going to hear her cry.  He had to put his hands over his ears while she got her shots.  She did cry- but stopped quickly.  I think she is just more pissed off that someone is hurting her than she is in actual pain.  I told Asher later that he had been so brave.  He said, "but I cried!"  And I told him that you can be brave and cry at the same time.

Then we were finally on our way.  Everyone was hungry, so we went straight to Panera for lunch.  There wasn't a scrap of food left! I ordered 2 kids meals for the 3 kids, and a lunch for both Eric and me.  I guess we were all starving.  Asher kept going on and on during lunch about how great lunch was, and how special it was that we were all together, and that Daddy was there.  He was laying it on thick!

We had planned to take the kids to the playground, but Charlotte was exhausted, so she and I got dropped home while Eric took the boys to the playground.  I think they had a good day- we ended the day with dinner with Meema and Papa Nick and Aunt Jane and Uncle Ed.  Meema made brownies for dessert for Eric's birthday, and we all enjoyed brownie and ice cream for dessert.  Tomorrow is Eric's birthday, and hopefully beautiful spring weather and a trip to the zoo.

Monday, April 7, 2014

This happened today:

My kids ate Pad Thai at 9:20 am.

Asher wore his super hero cape and mask to the Please Touch Museum.

Asher got into his birthday presents when no one was looking and opened his paint-your-own tractor and painted it (and himself) on his own.

Benjamin had a meltdown before dinner over not wanting to eat what I cooked.  Then he calmed himself down, came downstairs, and ate two helpings of everything.

Charlotte took a snack and went to eat it on the couch.  When Eric told her to get off the couch, she looked at him, shook her head, and said, "unh-uh."

Hurray for us that we are raising independent-minded children?

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Four Year Old Birthday Party

We had the boys' 4th birthday party on Saturday.  It was at a fire house- a big fire house, with a big fire truck, and even a boat in the party room!

I thought the party went well.  My mom described it as "low-key," which I will take as a compliment since we had about 25-30 kids there.  I owe my mom a huge thank you for all her help with the party- I got strep throat on Thursday night and got more sick than I have been in as long as I can remember. I could barely get out of bed on Friday, and of course there were cupcakes to bake and frost, and our favor bags had never arrived.  My mom ran errands and picked up substitute favor bags (the same ones I had ordered but slightly more money) and fruit for the party, then came over and baked cupcakes and helped stamp the bags.  I was so sick that I couldn't even put a fire engine stamp on all 36 favor bags!  So with her help and the help of an antibiotic, we pulled it off.

When we arrived, the truck and firefighters were out on a real call.  I don't think it was a very serious one because they returned without any dirt on them (fortunately for everyone!).  All the kids got a turn to climb on the fire truck and play with some of the tools on there.
The boys, our firefighter host, and their friend Dana on the truck
Charlotte on the truck
After all the kids had as many turns as they wanted on the truck, it was time to try spraying the hose.  Thankfully not the huge hose, but big enough to still be fun.  Benjamin got to go first, and the look on his face made the whole party worth it!
Asher also took a turn, but was preoccupied with keeping his hat on:

Benjamin was also thrilled that his favorite teacher, Miss Alex, came to his party.  He will do anything for her, I think he's in love.
Wearing Miss Alex's super cool glasses
 Just as the last kid sprayed the hose, the pizzas I had ordered arrived, so we went in and had lunch.  Asher said, "I don't want to eat."  My mom and I both instantly thought about last year, when he got sick at his birthday party and threw up in a trash can.  Please, not again!  Fortunately, no vomit, but he definitely started dragging.

Here is a picture of them with their cupcakes.
My mom took it.  It is out of focus.  But here are some things I want to point out:

1) You can see, behind us, the party table.  No super cute cupcake holders, no decorations, no themed nothing.  I even forgot napkins.
2) Asher asked for chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.  Benjamin asked for vanilla cake with vanilla frosting.  Good thing I made some of everything.
3) On top of the chocolate-frosted cupcakes is a lid to a half gallon of ice cream.  I looked at, looked at all our guests and said, "Forget it." Eric put it back and then we forgot it there!  I hope firefighters like ice cream.

I apologize for the quality of these pictures- I think I need a photography class.  I am disappointed in our photos and the fact that I think I'm getting cute pictures but miss everything.

Despite my illness, my lack of pinterest aptitude, and Asher's feeling bad, it was a good party.  The boys got more gifts than any boy would need, really wonderful and thoughtful gifts.  Books, workbooks, crafts, building activities- just what they like.  And, I still can't believe my babies are four!  Such big, handsome guys.

Monday, March 31, 2014

a little ridiculousness

Today we had some moments of ridiculousness.  The morning started out pretty rough- we had to get out by 9 to get to the Monell Center, and I was taking all 3 kids, and Eric was on a phone meeting.  He has a phone meeting at 8:30 every Monday, and every Monday, some kind of shit hits the fan, and I end up looking like an incompetent mother.  One Monday, Asher hit me, and I had to carry him, screaming, up the stairs while I said, "That is completely unacceptable!" and everyone on his conference call heard me.  This morning, Asher and I were fighting over sweat pants and rather than engage, I went upstairs to brush my teeth.  So he sat at the bottom of the stairs and yelled up periodically, "Mommy! Mommy!" to interrupt Eric's meeting.

The kids were so whiny, at one point I told Asher, "Mommy isn't here right now."  He said, "Yes, you are, I see you!"  I said, "No, I'm not mommy, I'm Meema."  He said, "No, you're not.  You have boobs, and Meema doesn't have any boobs." So I told him that I'd have to talk to Meema about getting a better bra.

Then there was the big sweatpant blow-out. The boys are obsessed with wearing sweatpants, and I don't care if they wear them, but today it was a fight over who was going to wear which sweatpants.  Asher had already picked his sweatpants and put them on, and Benjamin rejected a pair that he said was the wrong size (they are all the same size), and I found a pair Benjamin would wear.  Well, Asher decided he wanted that pair.  So, in the process of me dressing Benjamin, Asher took his pants off, demanding Benjamin's pants.  We were already late, and Charlotte wasn't even dressed.  I thought I might lose it.  I told Asher he could either put his pants back on, or I would take him into town with no pants at all.  Since there was a time where I actually put Benjamin in his car seat without pants on (a different sweatpant fight), he knew I meant business and managed to dress himself.  I would have been the worst mommy in the world if I took my kid into the city with no pants on, but I knew he would dress himself again.

We finished our study at the Monell Center.  Charlotte was supposed to taste 4 different juices, but she refused.  She didn't roll on the floor and scream, but she wouldn't taste a single one.  She has such an attitude!

Last night the kids were also a little nuts- it has been tough, Asher had strep Friday into Saturday, and now Benjamin is under the weather.  Add to that the fact that it rained all weekend and various social plans were canceled, and everyone starts to lose it.  Yesterday we went to a party for our neighbors' son (his first birthday).  I got there late because Charlotte was napping and I never really felt like I was having fun.  We have a neighbor who seems to dislike me, I have no idea why, but she wouldn't even say hello to me, so that made me feel kind of self-conscious.  Eric left with Asher, and I was there with Benjamin and Charlotte.  We stayed to see the baby have his birthday cake, which he hated, and then he threw up everywhere.  Benjamin told me today, "When the baby threw up, it kind of ruined the party."  I totally agree.

Yesterday was just one of those washed-out days where everyone's mood was foul.  The big highlight for me was Asher's needing to poop during dinner, and while the rest of us sat at the table and ate, Asher yelled out from the bathroom, "I love you, mommy!"

Today the rain stopped and the sun came out.  We finished our study, Asher and Charlotte had great naps, and I got in a 5 mile run in perfect (well, slightly windy) weather.  I am hoping a good night's sleep restores our good moods, and that the sun is out again tomorrow.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Happy 4th Birthday, Benjamin and Asher!

School birthday cupcakes
Today we celebrated my big boys' 4th birthday.  I can't believe it was 4 years ago that I became a mom.  I remember that first night in the hospital, I had such a hard time sleeping- every time I started to drop off, I would startle awake thinking, "I'm TWO somebodies' mommy!"  What a huge responsibility.  By some miracle, we have all managed to survive 4 entire years together, healthy and happy.
Enjoying the cupcakes- with Charlotte joining in behind them
I tried to make today as special as I could.  The boys had chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast, and then I went to their class to read a story (Slinky Malinki) to their class.  After the story, the boys got their birthday cupcakes and the class sang happy birthday to them.  I stayed while they ate cupcakes (and Charlotte got in on the action!), and then went home to get ready for work.

I left work early so we could all have dinner together.  The boys wanted noodles (what a surprise!), and Asher asked for Chinese.  Actually, first he asked for Japanese, I made a reservation, then he changed his mind because he was a little tired, and asked for Chinese.  Benjamin just wanted plain noodles, but ended up eating two helpings of chicken lo mein.

I baked two separate cakes- one chocolate and one yellow- since the boys each wanted something different.  Then I cut Benjamin a big slice of his yellow cake, and he didn't eat it!  But everyone else enjoyed it.  Charlotte liked the cake, the ice cream, and the peanut m&ms.  Asher blew out all 5 of his candles in one breath.  I'm not sure he even paused to make a wish.

My next posts will be all about the boys at 4 years old- I want to make sure they each get their own and that I take the time to be thorough.

It gave me such pleasure today to spoil my boys and to see them so happy.  They loved their gifts, the attention, and all the sweets.  They are such wonderful boys, and such joys to have in my life.  4 years ago today, my life changed forever, and it was the best thing that ever happened to me.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Charlotte: 15 months old

trying on the headband I got her
 It's been a while since I gave my girl her own post, so here is an update on Charlotte and all of her many achievements.

Charlotte's personality is really starting to come out.  She is silly, funny, spunky, and full of attitude.  She never got the message that she's only 1, and her brothers are almost 4, and so she is constantly trying to keep up with them and imitate them.
Milestone: 1st selfie
Charlotte is walking and running, tries to jump with 2 feet, and tries to climb up and down stairs without crawling/sitting down.  She can climb up the ladder on a small slide and slide down on her own.  Her fine motor skills are also improving- she can hold a crayon and scribble, and feeds herself with a fork and spoon (hit or miss on how much gets in her mouth, though...).

She's not talking much... for some reason she says "Dada" for everything.  Anytime I say a word and ask her to repeat, she says, "dada."  She says her version of kitty, boot, more, dada, mm hmm (mm mmm is her way), and uh oh (uh ah).  She will imitate sounds if I look her in the eye and make them, but then she laughs at me like she knows I'm being an idiot.  Her receptive language is excellent, though.  She always knows exactly what is going on, and responds to commands or questions- when I say, "Charlotte, time to eat!" she will go to her booster seat, or bring me specific objects if I ask for them.  She also gives hugs and kisses, and blows kisses, too.  So deliciously sweet.
"I wonder what the limit is on this one..."
Charlotte is social and friendly.  She will look around a room and make eye contact and smile at everyone.  If we all start laughing at something in conversation, she will join in, even if she has no idea what we were talking about.  In public, she has no problem approaching strangers and smiling and laughing with them.
Wearing her new pink boots at Target
She is stunningly beautiful (in my opinion!).  I can't get over the fact that Eric and I managed to create something so gorgeous.  Of course I feel that way about the boys, too, but I am feeling it all over again with her.  I love her almond-shaped eyes, her big smile, her solid little tush.

She is doing well with her 1 day a week at preschool.  All the teachers rave about how much they adore her, and her information sheet always says "happy and playful" at the end of the day.  She gets a little sad when I leave her there, but is always playing happily when we come to get her.  She is independent and probably loves the arts and crafts she gets to do, and eating at the table like a big girl.

Charlotte has gotten more picky about food- she won't eat every single thing I put in front of her anymore.  She loves fruit, especially blackberries and strawberries, but will eat pretty much any fruit. She's not a huge fan of bananas, though.  She also likes avocado, black beans, sweet potato, asparagus, carrots, broccoli, string beans, and peas.  Like her brothers, she is not a huge fan of meat.  We could absolutely go vegetarian in this house if it weren't for Eric.  She likes cheese, hummus, eggs, and any carb there is.  She still nurses 3-5 times a day, but I can tell my supply has dropped, and the time spent nursing is very short.  It's ok if she is ready to move on.  Eric doesn't want me to nurse her until she is 2, and I expect we'll stop before then anyway, but I am having a hard time imagining myself cutting her off.

Charlotte's most difficult trait- she is not a great sleeper.  I never got her on a good nap schedule, since she is dragged around with her brothers most days, but she STILL doesn't sleep through the night.  We have done nothing to "train" her, and I continue to nurse her in the middle of the night if she wakes up, perpetuating our problem.  Every time we say we are going to train her, she sleeps through the night, and we don't do it... and then she regresses.  I am tired everyday, but totally used to it.  I highly recommend: Trader Joe's French Roast coffee (already ground, it is a gray bag with white writing) and Bobbi Brown under-eye corrector and concealer (2 separate products).  With these things, I give a good impression of being awake and alive.
Goofy Benjamin giving the cozy coupe a detailing
Time is passing too quickly for me.  There are many day-to-day complaints in being a mom of 3 young children, but it is also so much fun.  There are so many hugs, so many kisses, so many moments of joy and pleasure.  Charlotte is our last- and I am lucky she's the one I got!  I love her, and I love being her mom.