Monday, December 11, 2017

Seeing Double: Seven

Thus we enter the time of the year when we have two seven year olds! Irish twins, Miriam and Vivian, "enjoy" about a month of being the same age. At least one of them generally likes being as old as her sister. The other one...doesn't. This year wasn't as bad as last
Chatting. So much chatting. Girls talk. And talk. They just talk so much. Over each other or one at a time. Sometimes at the same time on purpose.  Miriam and Vivian's signature move is to look at each other and say, "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" And then they try to say the same thing at the same time. Occasionally this works. Often they aren't "thinking what I'm thinking." But it's still makes us smile.
And they boss. Some people boss more than others.
They tell secrets. Some people love secrets.
Happy Sharing Seven, big girls.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Vivian is Seven.

Vivian was she is on her LAST day as a six-year-old. There was a last-night-we-tucked-in-six-year-old-Vivian. 
She woke up SEVEN. For her birthday treat at school and her birthday cake she requested vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting. And sprinkles, of course.
This was not surprising. The girl enjoys the white carbs more than most...rice being her #1 choice. And breakfast cereals. She eats them twice a day - breakfast and after school snack. Rice crispies (rice theme!) are her favorite. But for her birthday meal she chose corn dogs, mac and cheese (from the box, NOT homemade!), and broccoli. 
Then she went on her birthday date with Daddy a few days after her actual birthday. To Cracker Barrel so that she could spend a bit of her birthday money in the store after their meal. She bought a stuffed unicorn named Pixy.
Other notes about seven year old Vivian: She is smart. So so smart. She speed reads! Says math is her favorite subject. Adores her teacher. Does not enjoy coloring just for the sake of coloring. Likes to watch Wild Kratts and Arthur. Has a sharp tongue. Wants to be warm! Often prefers to play alone and can get pretty grouchy if she's interrupted by her sisters. Loves to share long stories, real or made up. Barbies are her favorite toy and she sleeps with her stuffed dog Woofster at night. Isn't a morning person and sleeps in later than the other three...we have to drag her out of bed for school.
She's a tiny power house...all muscle, running or hopping everywhere she goes. Viv's probably going to be shorter than Miriam and Felicity when they're all grown. She's fearless, doesn't mind dirt, can make Simon laugh just by looking at him, doesn't care what she wears and sometimes even puts her clothes on backwards. She has her own way of considering the world, categorizing, and asking questions. We just love every bit of her.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Simon is One!

At the one year mark, Simon:
  • Has four teeth
  • Says dada, mama (mostly when he's sad or mad), and points to whatever he wants; is generally very vocal
  • Starting to shake his head "no"
  • Good at clapping
  • Dances whenever there is music
  • Sleeps 11-12 hours each night without waking and take 2 naps that are about 1.5 hours each
  • Never had much separation anxiety
  • Waves goodbye to Daddy and the girls each morning; LOVES when Daddy comes home
  • Is just okay with bathtime
  • Is a bit of a picky eater - especially likes grapes, strawberries, bananas, carrots, cheese, crackers, and goldfish...and anything sugary
  • Does well with a bottle and sippy cup
  • Adores his sisters - loves to play peek a boo with them, hates to be shut out of the playroom when they're playing
  • Great going up and down stairs - no more baby gates!!!!
  • Has taken a few steps but is such a fast crawler he DOESN'T want to walk
  • Is a reorganizer...cleans out several cupboards each day in the kitchen and pantry
  • Loves his cousin Elijah and gives him big kisses when they see each other
  • Not extremely ticklish, but being chased really makes him laugh
Simon and his other best friend, Claire (Mommy's cousin)
Simon's first birthday was celebrated with piles and piles of candy
and a ridiculous family costume. Because Simon's birthday is on Halloween! 
Gru, Lucy, Margo, Agnes, Edith, and two cutie-pie Minions
And if our Halloween spirit wasn't bright enough, Grandma and Grandpa put on a show for the trick or treat-ers! Aren't they the best!?!?!
We hope he loves this someday...
because I wouldn't put it past us to make Simon's birthday the reason we MUST ALL dress up every Halloween. Like a tradition that goes too far and leads to someone actually shaving their head.
Oh. Wait. That happened on year one.  
We'll see what the next 80ish years of celebrating Simon bring!

Monday, November 20, 2017

October Extras

There were October days that weren't spent in Florida or the Halloween/Simon Birthday Extravaganza.

Celebrating Sarah's 34th birthday. So much love.
We had a bonus child for a few days! Sarah's niece Catherine came to stay!
She is a busy two year old now! She painted and colored and played with Felicity while Simon napped and the girls were at school. She was our entertainment and always hoping to be a big help with Simon. When her baby brother or sister appears in December she's going to love her big sister role!
Sarah and her sister Bridget took Felicity, Simon, Catherine, and Elijah on errands one morning...four kids age four and under. That was it's own kind of adventure, especially as lunch got closer. Four hungry tiny ones are LOUD.
We also celebrated Grandma's birthday...all of her grandkids there to help blow out the candles!
Catherine did really well with us - she wasn't used to our hectic mornings and all the after school busy-ness of homework and dinner prep. But she kept up with all the commotion! And probably learned to cherish quiet in a way she'd never considered before.
When Annette and Tom came to pick up Catherine we surprised Annette with dinner out to celebrate her 30th birthday with her parents, siblings, and godparents.

Tim made the local paper for getting a flu shot. Slow news day...
Sarah and Miriam began working on the Blessed program to prepare Miriam to make her first Reconciliation in December. She goes to Catholic school and Sunday morning Religious Education at our parish. But we know the world's values don't always align with ours and she'll be facing challenges throughout her life. We want to give her a foundation in God's love that will ground her as the daughter of a King for the rest of her life. We're making sacramental prep a priority so that she's ready for the graces that are about to be poured into her life.
Let's see...Simon turned one at the end of October and finallllllllly stopped demanding to be spoon fed at every meal. The girls were all 100% done with baby food by the day they turned 10 months old. Vivian rejected the purees when she turned 8 months old. Simon was MORE THAN content to be fed every single bite of his food. But we did it! And he's a ridiculously picky eater. But slowly we'll conquer those taste buds...probably getting more than 4 teeth in his mouth should help, too. We'll find out as they pop through.
He's very, very active. Beginning to climb into his sisters beds, up and down the stairs with ease, in and out of boxes. No interest whatsoever in walking.
He took his first power wheels ride. Mommy wasn't home - this would have given her a heart attack.
And he's already being conned into pushing and pulling the girls around. 
This is just the beginning, Buddy.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Fall Break: Florida

Florida in the fall. Perfect.
Well, except for the tail end of the hurricane we drove through on our way into Tampa.
But after just one murky looking day, we were on the beach and in the pool. Glorious.
So this is how our Florida vacation went. Drive all day Saturday - everyone did well! We could go for maybe 4 hours without any huge meltdowns or excessive whining. The girls found new and creative ways to ask, "Are we there yet?" It was impressive. Points for vocabulary. Saturday night, stop in Atlanta to sleep and go to Mass on Sunday morning at St. Thomas. {If you're ever in the area, we recommend them for Mass. The Mass was beautiful, the music above all expectations, the grounds so peaceful, and everyone welcomed us like we belonged.} Drive more on Sunday through the end of a hurricane...maybe it was Nate? Tim did all of the driving during this trip. So all the hugs and kisses to him for getting us there and back safely and not losing his mind when the Florida drivers decided that the best course of action during any rainfall was to hit the breaks. 
Most mornings, Mommy was up before the sun and got to take a walk or pray on the balcony. Tim slept in - his favorite. The sun came up around 7:30 or so. We all got to take that in. The whole ocean would change colors. One morning it looked like the whole earth had been colored purple for a few minutes. We were so happy to just sit together taking it in for a few minutes before everyone was SO HUNGRY. We bought groceries on our way into Indian Shores, so most meals were at the condo. Simon had his first taste of Lucky Charms. He now recognizes the box! How's that for branding?
Mornings were spent on the beach. Simon is still taking two naps a day but he must have been able to sense that this is vacation! and only took one nap most days.
Our kids ran in the water, found shells and skins that crabs had shed, splashed in little tide pools, watched the clams come in with the tide, body surfed on the waves Hurricane Nate brought in the first day of our stay, walked up and down the beach, made several new friends, made sand castles, sand tunnels, sand beds...Basically play until their mom decided they were crispy enough for the morning and forced them to go in for lunch.
Simon loves to pull hair and Tim had to physically restrain him when Vivian was buried in sand and just a head of hair was available for the taking! The worst part is that these girls spoil him so much that she probably would have said, "It's okay, he can pull my hair" for at least the first minute.
Simon kept an eye on the girls during our beach time and mimicked them closely - digging with shovels, splashing in the water, scooping up sand to make little moats.
He also ate a lot of sand...but this was something he did all on his own. None of the girls seemed very interested in that food group.
After lunch, Simon was finally just too tired to go on and napped for a while. The girls watched all the cartoons. He would wake up and we would go to the pool until dinner to wear them out some more. Then it was a shower and supper time. We went through more food than Sarah expected on the trip - these people get hungry when they play this hard!

We did try getting away from the condo a little to play at the park two blocks away, check out the bird sanctuary next door (that left an odor memory for the trip!), extra trips to the grocery when everyone woke up way too early one morning, and putt putt with alligator feeding. Mostly though, we were happy to be where we were.
See the alligators behind them!?!? There were 16!
We did do dinner out a few nights! Fancy!
Two of Tim's high school friends, George and Brian, live in Florida now. We had a really fun evening with them at an outdoor restaurant on the river. A live band and a wild cat to chase gave the 10 kids we had between our three families all the entertainment they needed!
Nights when we didn't do dinner out, we hurried back to the beach after dinner to take in the sunsets.
After the kids went to bed, Sarah did one of her favorite vacation things...climb into bed very early and watch HGTV. We don't have a TV in our bedroom at home so this feels like an indulgence. Tim stayed up later reading and doing whatever normal-hours-people do at 9 PM.

Two more items of note! Simon got really good at standing on vacation, but was still completely uninterested in walking.
And we saw dolphins in the water from our window a few mornings! Kind of hard to see in the picture below, but we loved it! And one evening as we were eating dinner, Tim noticed a bunch of fish jumping out of the water, then birds came to pick them off...then we saw something bigger in the water circling the fish. It wasn't dolphins, but it was big. Just a little creepy to think about what you're sharing that whole huge ocean with.
On the last day, Vivian got a small taste of what she was sharing the ocean with. She got stung by something that made her ankle and foot develop white welts and itch, but it went away within an hour and she was back to playing that same evening.

Already time to go home. Some vacations you are ready to get back to your own bed and life. And some vacations make you think it we be okay to stop the hurry-hurry and just live like this forever. Forever. And ever.